Gugulethu residents and the management of Ikhaya Loxolo Lase Gugulethu set aside their differences last week to establish a committee to manage the affairs of the home and care for the seniors living there.
It is hoped the committee will finally bring stability to the troubled home, which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Last year concerned residents marched to the home to protest against alleged mismanagement and raise concerns about conditions there (“Spotlight on seniors’ woes at home,” Vukani, December 17, 2015).
Concerned residents, led by Apostle John Sawutana, came together and formed a committee to find solutions to the problems. It was introduced to staff and the community on Wednesday February 2.
Committee chairperson Manelisi Msindwana said there should be a working relationship between the home’s management and the community.
“We want to promote the importance of unity. I want to thank the management for listening to us as the community. When we complained and cried for things that we felt were not good for this home, they listened. We also have police that worked with us. They also sat in meetings with us. We thank them too. What is important now is peace. There will be no problems here now. From now on we are going to work together,” he said.
Secretary Nonkosi Sontshantsha said the forum would have to look at many things, including complaints about board members.
They also plan to fix broken doors and windows to give seniors privacy.
“We want to look at those board members. We also want to look at how seniors are treated and their diet. We are happy to have had a word with the staff. We have assured them that we are not here to harass them but to make sure that everybody is on the same level,” she said.
Mr Sawutana, who acted as mediator, emphasised unity and respect for all parties. He called on the forum to always interact with management and the staff whenever there was an issue at the home.
“We all need to work for the well-being of seniors who are here. We need to respect each other. Workers need to respect the management and his or her work. There are guidelines in any work, so people need to adhere to those guidelines,” he said.
He warned there would be consequences for those who did not follow the guidelines and respect the management; and he encouraged the forum to ensure they applied the rules and guidelines. “It has not been easy to resolve the impasse here. That means we need to respect the work done by all those who have been coming here for meetings. Employees can now work and look after our elders without any fear,” he said.
Mr Sawutana is now concerned about the lack of social workers at the home.
“I so wish the Department of Social Development can provide a social worker, even if they just make rounds and are not permanent. We would greatly appreciate that,” he told Vukani.
The management of the home said they were not allowed to speak to the media.