Centres to protect grannies from rape
ADULT daycare centres are being introduced in KwaZulu-Natal to protect grandmothers living in small villages from rape.
The province's social development department resolved to construct "many" centres in KwaZulu-Natal after a spate of attacks on elderly women.
Social development MEC Weziwe Thusi yesterday said the first centre would be constructed in KwaSwayimane in the Midlands, the village where two grannies were raped a week apart.
A 94-year-old great-grandmother was raped by a habitual criminal in the village in August.
A week later an 84-year-old grandmother was raped in the same village. In the same month a 74-year-old woman was raped, stabbed and robbed in her granny flat in Bisley in Pietermaritzburg.
Last month a 70-year-old woman was raped in her home in front of her grandchildren at Matsheketsheni Reserve in Sundumbili on the province's North Coast.
At the court appearance of the 26-year-old man accused of raping the 94-year-old woman, desperate KwaSwayimane grannies said they were considering moving into one home to protect each other.
Thusi said at least R7-million had been set aside for the construction of a centre in KwaSwayimane. It will have a gym and will offer occupational therapy and counselling.
She said: "It will operate like crèches, with people dropping off their grannies on the way to work and then picking them up later.
"Grannies can also be taken to care centres by their grandchildren who are attending schools to avoid leaving the elderly alone at home."
The centre will also have a day-care facility for young children.
Thusi's vision is for grannies to tell stories of bravery and moral values to children with the aim of turning them into respectable adults who stay away from drugs.
She said her department had found that drug abuse was high in the village. Department head Bheki Nkosi said drugs played a role in the abuse of elderly women in the area.
"We want to push a campaign against drugs because it is one of the contributing factors to the rapes," Nkosi said.
Thusi said she understood that adult daycare centres and old-age homes were not popular in some communities. She plans to embark on a campaign to promote the use of the new centres.