In a belated letter to the organisations in June, the department indicated that the prohibition on movement of the elderly and these caregiver organisations meant that they were not legally able to provide services and the department therefore no longer intended to fund them despite the contracts that were in place. By then the department had already not paid the organisations’ April, May or June subsidies.
Each organization daily provides food, nursing and enrichment programmes to elderly people at day care centres. Many of the elderly have chronic heart or other conditions including alzheimers or dementia.
When the lockdown was announced, these organisations shifted their daily care model to home based care where they would instead visit those who attended the centres and feed, bathe and care for them. But, the department said it would not pay them as this would constitute wasteful expenditure.
Imbumba Association for the Aged took the department to court on behalf of all its member organisations.
Imbumba was represented pro bono by Webber Wentzel attorneys.