KZN?s old age home of horrors

DESPITE being caught on video while allegedly abusing and torturing the elderly, a Pietermaritzburg nurse still has her job – and has not been reported to the police by the management of the home.

The Sunnyside Park Home in the Natal Midlands is run by the Pietermaritzburg and Districts Council for the Aged (Padca). The home caters for the elderly who cannot afford expensive private retirement homes and frail-care facilities.

This week it emerged, however, that the management of the home has shocking footage of a nurse deliberately torturing the elderly. In one scene the nurse – described as a ?strapping woman of at least 90kg? – is seen scalding an elderly woman with water. In other scenes she is seen pushing and shoving the residents about the halls.

The footage was taken by hidden video cameras installed inside the home by Padca. Padca board chair Colin Cahill said his institution was one of the few that installed such cameras ?as we are serious about stamping out the abuse of the elderly in our institution.?

According to sources at the home – who asked not to be named – the patient seen on the video was more than 80 years old, bedridden and defenceless. The nurse is seen taking sadistic delight while scalding the desperate and naked woman.

Although the footage was taken some time ago, no action was taken against the nurse. While her actions had been recorded on tape, nobody was given the task of watching the video.

Cahill declined to comment on any of the aspects of the alleged abuse. Executive director of Padca, Margaret van Zyl, said an internal investigation is under way into the alleged incident.

However, the nurse is still in the employ of the home and as yet no criminal case against her has been laid with the police.

Cahill confirmed that the nurse had not been suspended, saying: ?In terms of our labour law you cannot go around suspending people without good solid evidence.? Asked if the video tape did not constitute evidence, Cahill declined to comment.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Paul Kirk
Guest Author

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Press Releases

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'