ANC demands urgent meeting on closure of old-age homes
Cape Town - ANC spokesperson on social development Gladys Bakubaku-Vos has written to the chairperson of the social development portfolio committee in the provincial legislature, Gillion Bosman, seeking an urgent meeting of the committee over the closure of the three old-age homes.
Bakubaku-Vos demanded that the financial situation and impact of Covid-19 on funded organisations, the planned closures of old-age homes in the province and alternative strategies and plans to keep the three homes open, be discussed.
She also requested that the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA), MEC Sharna Fernandez, the social development department and affected communities be invited to give evidence to the committee .
After a follow-up meeting with the Human Rights Commissioner, the political parties and the community activists on Tuesday, CPOA suspended all removals of senior citizens to March 15.
Bakubaku-Vos said the planned closures have been met with widespread condemnation and rejection by families and communities, civic society organisations and political parties.
“Additionally, the planned closures have caused unnecessary traumatic distress to the affected residents. It is also a serious cause for concern that the planned closures may lead to job losses and severe economic impact for the affected communities. There is a potential of old-age homes turning into Covid-19 super-spreaders due to increased numbers of residents.”
She said despite community protests against the decision, the CPOA has vowed to move ahead with the planned closures.
“Given that the department of Social Development is one of the funders of CPOA, the standing committee needs to be afforded an opportunity to deliberate on these developments and to hear from the department and the CPOA the plans to address the challenge,” Bakubaku-Vos said.
Bosman said the letter was tabled at yesterday's meeting of the standing committee and has agreed to engage on the issue and broadly look at the status of old-age facilities across the province. Bosman said he also tabled the correspondence between the provincial department of Social Development and the national department.
“This is a complicated issue which reflects the collapse of the social sector. The Covid-19 pandemic and donor fatigue has made things very difficult for NGO’s such as CPOA. This organisation has been trading since 1953 and has been facing economic distress since 2017. They receive some funding from the provincial department but their operating costs have resulted in losses and this requires a change in their operating model. They are one of 117 private homes that are funded by the department,” said Bosman.
Pastor Wesley Moodley from the Bishop Lavis Religious Forum said the postponement would afford the communities enough time to work on strategies and proposals. Moodley said that in the interim, the communities have formed a working committee working towards finding amicable solutions and strengthening support within the communities.