DURBAN: Ms Siziba will be provided with the necessary psychosocial support.
The older woman, Ms Sizikele Siziba (79) was heard by passer-by pleading for help after she was locked in the house without food. This happened in Lindelani, north of Durban.
The abuse of the elderly seems to be continuing in the communities of KZN which has left a concern on the KwaZulu-Natal Social Development Member of the Executive Council, Ms Nonhlanhla Khoza.
It is alleged that Ms Siziba, who resided with her grandchildren, was left alone in a terrible condition, and at times she relied on neighbours to provide food.
The situation left a big concern to Ms Khoza because their department was not expecting elderly to suffer such abuse from their own children.
“It is disheartening that we find ourselves in this situation because we always encourage people to inform us if they are unable to take care of senior citizens,” Ms Khoza said.
According to the statement, MEC has dispatched a team of social, who immediately removed Ms Siziba to an old age home. She said Ms Siziba will be provided with the necessary psychosocial support, including debriefing and trauma counselling.
“Although social workers are still going to conduct an investigation, based on what was shared with us by the public, including the video circulating on social media, our team has removed Gogo Siziba to a safe and more comfortable environment.
“However, removing her is not good enough. We also want to know who has been using her old age grant. These grants are an intervention to cushion old persons from poverty. It is a crime for anyone to take the pension of an older person and fail to provide food for them,” said Ms Khoza.
She further says that if anyone could be found using old age grant for themselves , they need to be arrested.
“We will open a criminal case against the person while ensuring that this grandmother get a new South African Social Agency (SASSA) card to collect her grant,” added Khoza.
Ms Khoza emphasised that the department is a custodian for the protection of vulnerable groups, and will work closely with the police to ensure that any person who violates the rights of children, older persons and persons with disabilities, gets arrested.
“Indeed, one cannot pass judgment on the situation of the old person rescued from the Lindelani house, but nothing can ever justify leaving her in a locked house without anything to eat, while [the] government pays her grant on a monthly basis,” concluded Ms Khoza.