Pretoria old-age home strike leaves elderly neglected

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

The almost year-long labour strike is apparently because the nurses do not have official contracts or UIF.

Management at Huis Davidtz in the CBD will be meeting with government officials to discuss an almost year-long labour strike at the retirement home this week, reports Pretoria East Rekord.

This comes as board members are set to meet with members from the departments of health and social development on Tuesday afternoon.

“We will revert back to employees after our meeting,” said Huis Davidtz facilities board Cas Webber. The meeting will be held on Tuesday afternoon.

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The strike has reportedly left elderly and frail pensioners at the home unattended for days on end.

“They just lie for hours and hours in their dirty nappies while the beds get drenched with urine,” said Janieta Roos, whose sister is staying at the home.

“This was not how I planned for her to live. For long periods of time, people at the home go without food and water.”

Roos said the labour action was putting a large amount of stress on her.

She complained that she had received no feedback from the MEC, health department, or the home’s board members.

“I understand their problems, but it is the frail care of the people that suffers.”

Roos said if the problems were not resolved soon, the “place could close down”.

“The workers are tired of waiting on promises.”

A board at the entrance of the home.

Nurses at the home said they were “willing and eager to work” as the elderly needed their help.

“We are devoted to serve,” one nurse who wanted to remain anonymous told Pretoria East Rekord.

“However, we are ill-treated at the home.”

Nurses at the home complained about not having official contracts and not being registered with the unemployment insurance fund (UIF).

They also accused the home of nepotism and racism towards black staff and patients.

Nurses who have worked at the facility for decades also said they were being underpaid.

They also said they were unclear about their roles at work as sometimes they would be used as cleaners and other times as chefs.

EFF chairperson in ward 58 Mampuru Monamudi said his party supported the nurses’ strike.

“Not all of the workers are on strike,” he said. “Some are still taking care of people at the home. Most of the workers have been here for ages, but they are not being paid normal wages.”

Monamudi said the EFF would ensure their demands were met.

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