HRC must probe non-payment to NGOs in Limpopo

By Lindy Wilson MP DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Social Development:

The DA has today filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission , requesting an urgent probe into the late and non-payment of grants to NGOs in Limpopo.

The DA has noted that in some instances old age homes have not been paid for up to three terms, leaving them with financial constraints which will lead to their closure.

One of the centres includes Loskop Old Age Home in Ephraim Mogale, which is home to 68 elderly citizens and 54 workers. They will be out in the cold if subsidies are not received this week.

According to the HOD of the Department of Social Development Limpopo, Daisy Mafubedu, non payment is due to the late submission of their business plans by the 7th November 2014. Their submissions were only made on the 10 November 2014, after Social Workers did not arrive for a meeting, inspection and hand over of documents on the 7th of November 2014. The fault therefore clearly does not lie with the Home.

The DA is further advised that the Piet Potgieter Home in Mokopane is facing the same crises as is a small home in Modimolle. Other NGOs like SANCA and some Child Welfare Offices only received their subsidies in mid-August instead of end of June, leaving them with severe financial constraints.

Failure to pay subsidies on time, particularly to Old Age Homes and where vulnerable people are involved, is both a contravention of the Older Persons Act and the Constitution, which state that everyone has the right to inherent dignity and has the right to have their dignity respected and protected.

The Older Persons Act 13 of 2006, Chapter 2 (7) (f) is clear that no older person may be denied the right to access opportunities that promotes his/her optimal level of social, physical, mental or emotional well being.

It is the responsibility of the State to create an enabling environment in which the rights in the Bill of Rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

Written requests to both the MEC of this Department, Joyce Mashamba and the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, seeking intervention in this regards have been ignored.

A request to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly to urgently bring the MEC and the HOD to account to the committee was acknowledged, but no further action has been taken.

We must ensure that this offense against vulnerable people is remedied and must ensure that plans are in place to ensure this does not happen again in the future.

If payment is not received by Loskop Old Age Home by the end of this week, the elderly residents will have nowhere to go and we will then ask the Human Rights Commission to assist, as there will then be a clear violation of human rights.

The ANC Government in Limpopo has forgotten its people and have shown scant regard for its vulnerable citizens.

It’s time for change in Limpopo, but first we must protect vulnerable people in harm’s way.