Old-age home employees deserve fair wage increase

The DA will write to the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, to request that urgent research be undertaken to determine a fair minimum wage for employees in government-subsidised old age homes. Costs of quality care and the effects of continued funding cuts to these old-age homes must also be considered.

This after the Minster revealed, in answer to a written parliamentary question from the DA, that employees in government-subsidised old age homes in Mpumalanga receives a scant R2 700 per month, and that the last increase to subsidies were in April 2012.

Despite food and other necessary resources becoming ever more expensive, these crucial employees have had to desperately try and make ends meet with a shrinking wage. The government-subsidised old age homes have also suffered from this stunted grant making it increasingly difficult to provide quality care, nutrition and safe environments for the vulnerable elderly dependent on them. Many old-age facilities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had to close their doors due to devastation funding cuts had on their budgets.

The DA will submit further parliamentary questions to establish the standards to run such old-age homes, and the minimum requirements needed to receive financial support from the Department of Social Development (DSD).

The DA will also request that the terms of the service-level agreements (SLAs) be reviewed and that DSD impose a standard grant amount for all homes in all provinces. At the moment funding for these NGOs and homes are at the discretion of the MECs, while the SLAs seem to be signed quarterly which is neither feasible nor sustainable. This leave NGOs and those dependent on them struggling to survive while waiting for their payments.

The Minister must simply do better for the vulnerable people in her care.