Durban and Coastal Mental Health staff locked out of facility over ongoing issues with management
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DURBAN: Staff at the Durban and Coastal Health residential facility, in Sherwood, were locked out of their offices on Thursday morning.
A staffer, who declined to be named, said that when they arrived at work, the gates were locked and they were prevented from entering.
“This means that the people who need our help, won't get it,” the staffer said.
Staff have been staging pickets at the entrance to the facility, for about an hour each day, since Monday, over ongoing issues with management.
Staff are accusing management of not adequately providing for patients living at the facility.
They further claim that management has been misusing funds meant for the care of patients and maintenance of the facility.
A staff member was also suspended for allegedly arranging the pickets.
In a drafted statement to the media, staff said the organisation provides a vital service, to one of the most vulnerable groups in society.
They said, for the past two years, patients have been submitted to “pathetic catering, cleaning, caring, safety, and security conditions”.
In May, the Daily News reported that the facility's new board was working on a strategy to ensure transparency.
The article said the facility was recovering from mismanagement by its former board chairperson, who had allegedly hired a chief financial officer (CFO), who was grossly unqualified and had trebled her own salary while in the position.
In November last year, the Department of Social Development said it had been responding to a series of complaints, regarding the ill-treatment of patients at the facility, as well as the facility's failure to meet the norms and standards set out in the service level agreement.
The department said a report was compiled and was going to be shared with management. Staff are now demanding to know the contents of the report. A staffer said they deserve to know the findings of the report and recommendations made by the department.