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There's something fishy at the Mohlakeng Old Age Home, says Engelbrecht

Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Apr 23, 2022


Johannesburg – Democratic Alliance Gauteng spokesperson for Social Development, Bronwynn Engelbrecht, believes there's something fishy going on at the Mohlakeng Old Age Home on the West Rand, where employees are paid salaries but the home is empty and not functional.

Speaking to IOL, Engelbrecht confirmed there was no one at the home. She said it has been empty for some time, but salaries are paid out.

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She said construction of the home started in 2010. It was completed in 2016, at a total cost of R43.5 million.

Engelbrecht said this information was revealed by Gauteng MEC for Social Development Morakane Mosupyoe in a written reply to questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

Engelbrecht said she was concerned about occupancy of the building, which has been standing empty for over six years, with no one doing anything about it.

"I am actually on my way now to view the building and assess it well," she said.

"I am not sure what the problem is with occupancy certificates. That is why I am busy finding out what is still outstanding.

Video: Bronwynn Engelbrecht/Supplied

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"Another issue is that an administrator – called Friendship Haven – was given money to complete the project on behalf of the department. Now we want to know why was the administrator appointed to do the project, what were they paid out the R43.5 million and were they given their full money in spite of the non-compliance occupancy certificates," she said.

"According to MEC Morakane Mosupyoe, the construction of this facility started in 2010.

"The initial cost was R39 440 232.00, which was adjusted to R43 523 01.26. The cost of the furniture was R2 979 512.00 for the 2012/2013 financial year. The facility is designed to accommodate up to 56 elderly people," she said.

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Engelbrecht said that according to a statement by the DA Gauteng Social Development office, Mosupyoe had said the facility was never opened or used, and there were no beneficiaries admitted because there was no occupancy certificate.

The DA had tabled written questions to the former MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi with regards to the Mohlakeng Old Age Home.

"According to Mokgethi, the construction of this facility was completed on 31 July 2016. It was launched on 26 April 2019 and the employees started working on 1 August 2019. Initially, they employed 24 staff members, of which 14 staff members left the facility for new opportunities. The cost of the salary bill for the staff since the opening is R1 051 759 98.00. In addition, the facility received R1 333 425.00 from the department for nine months."

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Engelbrecht said the DA would follow up on this in the provincial legislature to ascertain how many employees were still employed at the facility, how much had been spent on the wage bill, and what the scope of their work is.

"The community desperately needs that old age home. It's a very poor community and they don't have any social assistance, so they really need the facility to be up and running as soon as possible. We will do everything to make sure it opens," she said.

"The DA will continue to push for accountability in this matter. The department must be held accountable for wasting taxpayers' money by employing staff members while there are no beneficiaries and no work to be done. [It] must also account for its failure to comply with the occupational health and safety standards when constructing this facility.

"We will also fight to stop the abuse of taxpayers’ money and ensure that the vulnerable elderly people in Rand West are accommodated at this facility, as they continue to suffer due to the shortage of elderly facilities in the area."

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