Vutomi Mushwana

Vutomi Mushwana

After years of alleged intimidation, nepotism and mismanagement of funds, pensioners at the Bekkersdal old age home on Gauteng's West Rand have reached the end of their tether.

They say they are "sick and tired" of keeping quiet.

Bheki Simelane of the Bekkersdal Social Development and Trauma Centre told Soweto TV News about "the social injustices" taking place at the old age home.

David Mtyosho, an administrator at the home, said: "There were three donations made to the home by the SDT and the mayor of Johannesburg for the amount of R951200, but the funds were not utilised to improve the lives of the pensioners.

"The minibus that is used to transport the pensioners to and from the home is registered in the name of the manager, Gibson Padi," Mtyosho said.

The pensioners complained that some of the caregivers and managers treat them badly.

When Sowetan arrived at the home, Padi disappeared. Coordinator Steven Radebe refused us entry into the old age home.

The home is paid R100 a day for each pensioner, but the old people are allegedly fed as though they are free boarders.

Those pensioners suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments that are common among the elderly are not given a special diet.

Caregiver Edith Bokgolwane, said: "It is a struggle to get basic toiletries such as antiseptics."

She said caregivers were given ordinary garden gloves to wash the old people.

She had a list of demands for management, "the main ones being transparency, better working conditions, clarified responsibilities and equal pay".

"We want to know why some people are doing jobs that do not fit their job description and why we are not paid the same," Bokgolwane said.

There is a big problem with resources despite the home recently having received a R40000 donation from the Joburg mayor's office.

"There is no cheque book and all remunerations are made out in cash with obvious discrepancies," said Mtyosho.

There were also reports of unfair dismissal.

Jimmy Boihang used to be a caretaker at the home and on the building team.

He said: "When I raised complaints about nonpayment, the manager axed me."

Boihang has decided to take his case to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration to contest what he says was an unfair dismissal.

Pensioner Magdeline Nong used to be chairman of the executive committee until she voiced her opinion about mistreatment and mismanagement of funds.

The manager allegedly hired his girlfriend and paid her twice as much as a caregiver.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, defended herself and said that she "goes the extra mile and does multiple chores, even those that fall out of the job description".

Sowetan was told by the police to leave the centre.

Our safety was in jeopardy as tempers flared and we thought it was best to leave.