Dignity restored for the aged at Ekuphumleni

FEBRUARY 22, 2016

It was public and private partnership in action at Ekuphumleni Home for the Aged in Nelson Mandela Bay, Zwide Township when the Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO, Kevin Hustler, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Danny Jordaan and the Provincial Social Department MEC, Nancy Sihlwayi officially handed over the newly renovated premises to the centre management and tenants on Saturday.

The handover was part of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Armed Forces Week that started on February 13 to February 21, 2016.

It was also part of the launch of a Legacy Project by the Department of Defence in partnership with Department of Social Development and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

The Legacy Project was established in 2015 in an effort to ensure that the needs of elderly citizens are given the priority they deserve in line with the commitments and priorities set out by Executive Mayor Jordaan in his inaugural speech in Council last year.

A decision was then taken that Ekuphumleni Home for the Aged be identified as priority beneficiary due to its bad conditions at that time.  This saw members of the SANDF, led by the SANDF Works Formartion on arrival in Port Elizabeth for the Armed Forces Week, undertake substantial refurbishment of the centre on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans.  Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber also came in with the donation of renovations tools and material.

Among other things that will be done as part of the Legacy Project, the Ministry of Social Development also committed to providing the necessary sustenance required for the future running of the facilities efficiently and effectively. While private service centres are available in urban areas, people in previously disadvantaged areas are largely left without access to services because of their inability to pay for them.

Speaking at the public engagement session with the elderly people from Ekuphumleni and other elderly people that were invited to the launch, Minister Mapisa-Nqakula thanked the members of the SANDF for the work done at Ekuphumleni.

“The work that has been done here restores dignity to the elderly people in this facility, it is a clear indication that this is not only an army, it is a people’s army,” said Minister Mapisa-Nqakula.

A visibly pleased Executive Mayor, Danny Jordaan could not hold back his excitement at the work that has been done at the centre.

“I would like to thank the Department of Defence that has done sterling work here at Ekuphumleni. From was it was, following the tragic fire incident that claimed the lives of three elderly people, today is a joyous occasion which gives us comfort that incidents of that nature will never happen again,” said Executive Mayor Jordaan.

The Executive Mayor further thanked the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber for the contribution it has made so that the work done by the Defence Force can be a reality.

“It is when we unite like this that a positive change is done to the poorest and the most vulnerable people in society, thank you to the Nelson Mandela Bay business community,” added Executive Mayor Jordaan.

Ekuphumleni Home for the Aged Manager, Mongameli Peter said the work that has been done has changed the lives of the elderly people residing in Ekuphumleni.

“The lives of elderly people here will never be the same again. We are in loss of words to thank them for what all the parties that have contributed have done for us. We could not have done this on our own, it is now confirmed that together we can really do more,” said Peter.