state busts racist home

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

Evidence of racism at the Pieter Wessels Old Age Home in Nigel was uncovered by a team from Gauteng's Social Development Department.

Departmental spokesman Fred Mokoko said yesterday that the team was working with the managers of the private home to ensure the integration of black and white pensioners. The home is subsidised with government grants.

Sowetan reported yesterday that black residents at the home were kept separate from their white counterparts and received second-class treatment.

"The department sent a team to investigate and found evidence of racism at the Pieter Wessels Old Age Home.

In the meantime the team will work with management at the home to ensure that there is integration.

"We have referred the matter to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to establish how human rights have been violated," Mokoko said. "Our action will be guided by the SAHRC's recommendations after their investigation."

Black residents allege that they are not allowed to share the facilities the white residents use.

They say they have to use separate toilets, sleep in inferior rooms and eat in separate dinning halls.

Vincent Moaga said the Human Rights Commission had received a letter asking it to investigate.

"We will investigate as it is unacceptable and degrading to blacks in that home," Moaga said. "We find the situation unacceptable and in violation of the equality provisions of the Constitution, which provides that no one may be discriminated against on the grounds of race."

He said Section 7 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act provided that "no person may unfairly discriminate against any person on the ground of race".

He said that included "the exclusion of persons of a particular race group under any rule or practice that appears to be legitimate, but which is actually aimed at maintaining exclusive control by a particular race group and the provision or continued provision of inferior services to any racial group, compared to those of another racial group".

A receptionist at the home, who did not identify herself, said nobody in authority was available to comment.