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‘The old people are suffering’

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The staff at Resthaven had been on a go-slow due to the fact that the facility’s subsidy had not been paid.

APPALLING: Caregivers at Resthaven Old Age Home embarked on a second day of protest action at the facility yesterday, while shocking details about the apparent conditions at the facility also emerged yesterday. Picture: Danie van der Lith

SHOCKING claims about conditions at Resthaven Old Age Home in Kimberley emerged yesterday, as caregivers embarked on a second day of protest action at the facility.

About a dozen caregivers embarked on a go-slow at the old age home this week, after not receiving their last salary payment.

They are also demanding a
4.5 percent increase to their R 1 900 monthly salaries and have indicated that they have not received an increase during the last seven years.

Northern Cape Department of Social Development spokesperson, Moss Tyuthuza, confirmed yesterday that the staff at Resthaven had been on a go-slow due to the fact that the facility’s subsidy had not been paid.

“The subsidy is late because there is outstanding documentation that has not been submitted. Legislation prescribes that for an organisation to be funded it must be compliant. The department has been in consultation with management of the facility to speed up the process of the payment,” Tyuthuza said.

He added that, according to the acting centre manager, “the facility is functional”.

“Older persons have been fed and washed. The challenge is with one shift only. They hope to address the challenges they have and resolve the matter amicably,” Tyuthuza said.

However, a visit to Resthaven yesterday afternoon revealed that not a slice of bread was available to serve to the residents with their afternoon tea.

The protesting caregivers also raised concerns about the well-being of residents, saying that while residents paid monthly fees (some apparently handing over their entire pensions) and the facility received a subsidy, many residents did not even have shoes to wear.

“The old people are suffering and being neglected, but no one can say where the money, meant for their care, is going. There are no heaters, clothing or alarm systems and the residents are washed with leftover pieces of used soap collected from local hotels. They have to wait for someone to die before they can get that person’s old clothes and completely depend on donations,” the workers said yesterday.

They also claimed that there is no transport available to take residents to clinics or hospital and that those especially suffering with diabetes did not receive proper food and care.

“The residents pay huge amounts to stay at Resthaven and the facility receives a subsidy, but that money is nowhere to be seen. Now we have not received our last salary and we also don’t want that R1 900 any more, as we are demanding an immediate 4.5 percent increase,” the caregivers said.

They also indicated that they had not received any feedback from the department or Resthaven management since raising their issues and embarking on the go-slow.

“We are still completely in the dark and have heard nothing. However, the issue is not so much about us but about the well-being of our residents. We just want the best for them,” the caregivers concluded.