Alternative arrangements made for patients at Tswelopele Frail Care Center – Gauteng social development

There are fears that the Tswelopele Frail Care Center is leaving the elderly homeless.

  • Gauteng’s social development department has denied claims that 72 frail and disabled people at the Tswelopele Frail Care Center in Hillbrow are homeless.
  • The department said two homes for the disabled and six homes for the aged have been identified as alternatives.
  • The center had serious financial difficulties and was unable to pay the rent, running up arrears of R3 million.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD) has denied claims that 72 frail and disabled patients at the Tswelopele Frail Care Center in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, are homeless.

The Gauteng prosecutor claimed the department failed to save the centre.

READ | 72 patients in limbo: care center for frail people in Joburg to close for lack of funding

Social Development Party spokeswoman Bronwynne Engelbrecht said the center was closing after operating for 17 years, providing 24-hour residential care for the frail, social work services, care respite and safety beds. The center also provides learning opportunities for social work auxiliaries, nursing assistant students and final year medical students.

Facing serious financial difficulties, he was unable to pay his rent, with an outstanding amount of 3 million rand, Engelbrecht said.

Representatives have been working with the department since 2019 and have asked for help.

“Tswelopele only received feedback from the department once after a year of acknowledging their email and the department promised to come back with a solution,” Engelbrecht said.

Engelbrecht added:

There was no further correspondence from the department despite several requests from Tswelopele.

But, in a statement on Monday, the Gauteng Department of Social Development said it “noted with concern the misleading statement” by the DA.

“Indeed, the department is aware that the NPO is currently being evicted by its landlord because it failed to meet its rental commitment which accumulated to R3 million while the board was responsible governance and administration of the NPO,” spokesperson Feziwe Ndwayana said.

Ndwayana added that the center has been taken to court and that the county and the city of Johannesburg are defendants in the case.

She said the case was heard in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on January 31, 2022.

“The case has been removed from the list, by mutual agreement between the parties, subject to the department implementing the action plan for the placement of all beneficiaries in alternative structures.

Following these developments, Ndwayana said the department held consultations with the board and staff members of Tswelopele and ensured that alternative facilities to relocate beneficiaries were identified.

She said that two homes for the disabled and six homes for the elderly have been identified.

Family members were also consulted and visited the identified facilities from March 7 to 11, she said.

“As such, the department can confirm that it has secured alternative placements for all beneficiaries with the Department of Health, ensuring that all health aspects before and during the transfer of beneficiaries to alternative placement are respected.

“The department is disturbed by attempts to use the plight of the poor to perpetuate a negative narrative regarding the work the department undertakes to foster the social protection and development of the poor and vulnerable. The department remains committed to its mandate and would not abdicate responsibility and allow the vulnerable people in her care to go unprotected,” she added.

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Joel C. Hicks