Over R13 million set aside for KwaSwayimane old age home construction

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The KwaZulu-Natal Social Development Department has set aside over R13 million to build a fully-fledged old age home in KwaSwayimane under uMshwathi Municipality, KZN Midlands.

The construction of the old age home follows an appeal made by senior citizens to Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza.

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The area has been plagued by a number of cases of sexual abuse of senior citizens since 2012, resulting in the department building a day care centre to the tune of R22.3 million.

During a dialogue with the community of uMshwathi, hosted by the department in 2020, senior citizens in the area pleaded with government to protect them against criminals and ensure that they did not suffer neglect.

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The senior citizens raised a concern that during the day they were safe, but suffered most attacks at night.

This week, Khoza embarked on Operation Siyahlola Monitoring Programme, where she visited KwaSwayimane Day Care Centre for older persons.

The programme, which was launched by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala in 2020, aims to improve government’s performance and making sure that people’s experience of government goods and services is pleasant, positive and one that leaves a lasting impression of government.

Khoza said the department has resolved to build a day care centre after a number of campaigns aimed at raising awareness about abuse and neglect of the elderly.

She said she is pleased with the reconfiguration of the day care centre, which is supposed to be completed to take in a few senior citizens.

However, the MEC said she is not happy that the first phase to start taking in residents has not started.

“We should be talking about the welfare and safety of the residents already occupying the first phase of the project,” she said.

Khoza cracked the whip on government officials and contractors for delaying the implementation of the first phase of the project.

She warned that while government gives opportunities to upcoming contractors, it is imperative that they produced good quality work.

“It is important to master the first phase, as we will be building the second phase of an old age home to accommodate over 100 residents. We cannot tolerate poor workmanship in building structures to be occupied by older persons. It is imperative that the home is well-equipped to take care of the sick,” Khoza said.

Khoza expressed her gratitude to the Gcumisa clan for availing land to build a fully-fledged facility to be occupied by senior citizens.

Umshwati Local Municipality Mayor, Mandla Zondi, who accompanied Khoza, commended the department for its commitment to safeguard the lives of the people.

“We are grateful that the department has been consistent in ensuring that even the municipality knows the plan. We are grateful that under Umgungundlovu District, as Umshwati Local Municipality, we were chosen to be the home of this first of a kind structure for older persons,” Zondi said.

Zondi added that the local leadership would be delighted if the department sourced skilled personnel [to work in the institution], to ensure that the facility runs professionally.

“With the Operation Siyahlola Programme, as government we aim at ensuring that the delivery of goods and services by government is pleasant. We are a government that wants to leave a lasting impression by addressing the imbalances of the past,” the Mayor said.

The facility is expected to be opened for occupation by 1 March 2022. – SAnews.gov.za

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