A Western Cape old age home is being investigated for alleged abuse of the elderly, Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz said on Monday.
"The department of social development has launched an investigation into the unregistered Serendipity Old Age Home, after serious allegations of elder abuse were raised."
He said the allegations ranged from deaths due to poor treatment and human rights violations.
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"A specialist investigator from NGO Action on Elder Abuse SA has been enlisted to thoroughly investigate the Serendipity Old Age Home."
He said if there was a need to go to court to obtain an order to close the old aged home, they would do so.
"If any criminal conduct is uncovered through our investigations, the matter will be referred to the South African Police Services for further investigations and prosecution."
Important oversight role
Fritz said the Older Persons Act stipulated that all residential facilities (old age homes) have to be registered with the Department of Social Development.
"Responsibility is placed on owners of such facilities to ensure they are registered, and most importantly comply with the norms and standards set out by national legislation."
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He said the Act empowered the department to play an important oversight role, and monitor the level of care received by older persons at all registered facilities.
"If any information is received regarding an unregistered facility, the department immediately acts to make contact with that facility, with the aim of moving it towards compliance."
He said to further protect the elderly, the provincial department was in the process of investigating the possibility of establishing a dedicated inspectorate within the department that would be tasked with not only identifying unregistered facilities throughout the province, but also assessing all human rights matters and operational norms and standards at all residential facilities.
Indicators of elder abuse
Types of elder abuse
Financial abuse of elders
Image: Stop elder abuse from Shutterstock