Three Cape Flats old-age homes for the poor are to close because of money problems.
The welfare homes which face closure are Nerina Place in Bishop Lavis, Lilyhaven Place in Bonteheuwel and Oakhaven in Heideveld.
They are all run by the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA), which says the residents will be moved to other homes.
The CPOA made the announcement on Monday December 7.
The non-profit organisation, which gets funding from the Department of Social Development, cited losses of R265 million over the past 10 years for the decision.
CPOA spokeswoman Sandi Gelderbloem said Covid-19 had hit the homes hard. High additional costs for protective gear, isolation units, and strict sanitising measures had eaten away most of the homes’ income.
“After long and intensive discussions between senior management and the board of directors (council), CPOA has decided it must close three of its five welfare homes.
“This decision was not taken lightly, but the ongoing financial pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic has made it very clear that operating five sub-economic homes with a combined annual deficit of R33.5 million is financially not sustainable,” she said.
The 300 elderly will be placed either at Erica Place in Athlone or Lotus River Place in Lotus River.
“With the residents of these CPOA homes being the main focus of this process, we will ensure stress levels are kept to a minimum by informing them of every step in the process.”
The move will start in February and is expected to take a year.
The managers of the homes would ensure there was counselling for the affected residents and they would keep their families informed, Ms Gelderbloem said.
Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus McKenzie said the funding from Social Development had not been enough to cover all the homes’ expenses.
Heideveld ward councillor Anthony Moses said he wasn’t happy to hear about the closures.
“I’m well aware of the financial challenges they have been facing. I will call a meeting with them to find out what we can do from our side. To get this kind of news at Christmas time is devastating. What is going to happen to these residents?”
Dr Michael Zipp, CPOA’s chief executive officer, said it had been a tough decision, but the organisation would continue to run welfare retirement homes at Erica Place and Lotus River Place with a combined 200 frailcare beds.
Denville Willie, chairman of the Lilyhaven Place committee, said the news had left him shocked and disappointed.
“There is a great need for these homes in the community. I am also awaiting more information so that I can keep the rest of the committee informed. I’ve heard that they will be doing this over a period of six months, but it seems that it will be done over a very long period to accommodate 300 residents,” he said.
Department of Social Development spokeswoman Esther Lewis said they would monitor the transition.
“There is a plan in place, and we will provide the support that we need to to ensure a smooth transition.”