Gauteng Department of Social Development to close frail care facility

JOHANNESBURG — While Gauteng’s Department of Social Development has accused a flimsy care center of abuse, the owner says the allegations are false — and are being addressed.

Last week, the ministry announced that it would force the closure of the Frail Care Center in Abida.

READ: Residents of Cape Town nursing home complain about abuse

The sign for Abida Fragile Care Center has been removed, but an official, who declined to speak officially, said the center is still home to many elderly people.

Gauteng’s social development department said an investigation revealed exceptionally unpleasant conditions at the facility.

The investigation revealed that it was overcrowded with limited ventilation, and that other essential norms and standards required for the operation of such a facility were not respected.

A complaint from Fatima Callaghan’s family sparked the investigation.

Callaghan family spokeswoman Virginia Keppler said: “Fatima suffered injuries to her body, arms, back. She had a broken finger which never received medical attention. Fatima was also starved for days. And her medication was withheld for at least 18 months.”

Keppler says when Callaghan was placed in the care facility. She could talk and walk, although with some difficulty.

Keppler explained: “Now she can’t do any of this. Fatima didn’t talk to her family because she was afraid she was going to be hungry, you know they denied her food so they never knew until her son broke into the center and found his mother with a black eye and facial injuries.”

The owner, Abida Fakroodeen, refused to respond to the allegations, saying only that they were false.

Callaghan’s family has opened a criminal complaint.

“So we hope that this case will be taken to court, that the perpetrators will be arrested and tried, that they will be judged and then punished for what they have done,” Keppler said.

Gauteng’s Department of Social Development did not respond to an interview request.

Joel C. Hicks