Members of the public have accused the staff of Beitul Aman Home for the Aged in Wynberg of mismanagement, following allegations of the old age home being in a bad state. An annual general meeting at the Beitul Aman premises got heated last week when observers questioned the home’s management on the maintenance of the facility. The meeting was postponed due to a verbal altercation which broke out between the management board and members of the public pressing for answers to these issues.
One volunteer, who spoke to VOC News on condition of anonymity, said the facilities at the care centre do not adhere to reasonable standards for the old and frail. The main concern, according to this volunteer, was the wastage of food. Photos on certain social networking sites have depicted the appalling standard of toilets and the extent of food wastage at the care centre.
“When I have raised this matter with the chairperson and the board, I get told it’s not my business,” he said.
Waheed Sukool, a volunteer at the frail care centre, criticised the bad conduct displayed at the meeting. He said instead of engaging with the members of the public, the board had attempted to suppress any criticism. He felt Beitul Aman officials should at least have listened to the comments from the public and held a follow up meeting to address these concerns.
Nazima Thebus from the New Kids On The Block fundraising organisation echoed this, saying the meeting was poorly handled. Thebus decided to sit in on the meeting after hearing about it from friends. She thought it would be a great idea to perhaps begin a relationship with the home for the benefit of its residents. The ad-hoc committee awaited her response to finalise plans for assisting the home.
“After what had transpired, I thought it would be best to steer clear from a place with so much politics. While I might not know much about these allegations, I do know that the meeting was really embarrassing. It is sad as the organisation I represent would have really been able to positively improve the lives of residents at Beitul Aman. However, we will not be going forward with this plans until the management can address the underlying issues,” Thebus said.
In response, the home’s chairperson, Mr Jeppie, said while the meeting was open to the public and members of the media, these individuals do not hold any voting privileges and are not allowed to provide input but merely observe the discussion.
In light of this, some individuals who were quite vocal in raising their concerns, were removed from the meeting and management then went on to postpone the AGM for 10 days. Jeppie explained that the facility’s staff and management board are trying their utmost best to ensure the upkeep of the establishment that is now nearing its 30th year of existence.
“This is a daunting task for us. It is not cheap to renovate and redo all the bathrooms and other facilities here,” Jeppie said in response to the pictures on social media depicting the appalling state of toilets used by residents.
“We simply do not have enough funds for the refurbishment of all these facilities.
However, if those people who are complaining are willing to come in and give a hand in revamping the toilets and bathing facilities, we will more than welcome them. Instead, we find people taking to social media platforms spreading fitnah about us and this facility,” Jeppie added.
Those who spoke to VOC News said their intention was not to spread rumours as all the information they have shared on the public platform is in fact true. Their view is that the home’s management has not been transparent in terms of its operation at the facility. They said their concerns are based on the “dignity and well-being” of residents.
VOC News has on several occasions inspected the area around the facility. During one particular visit, our reporter was made aware of a wooden house on the left wing of the building, which looked like it was used as a stock room for food items such as bread and vegetables. However, these items were in no condition to last longer than just a few days before turning mouldy.
Responding to these complaints, Mr Jeppie said generous donations from the local community have helped keep the facility afloat. Though they appreciate and welcome these donations, he stressed that donors should rather contact the home to enquire what they are in need of.
“We find that sometimes generous community members come forward and donate 100 loaves of bread to us. This is great but at the time, we might not have needed that many loaves and so, struggle to get through our stock before it reaches its expiry date,” Jeppie explained.
A follow up meeting is due to take place this week. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)