Abemi threatens home

The management of Ikhaya Loxolo Lase Gugulethu old age home says it is worried after a group calling itself Abemi of South Africa wrote them a letter threatening the facility with closure for allegedly “threatening and harassing Vuyolwethu people.”

In the letter, Abemi describes itself as a “Grassroots Human Rights advocacy movement on behalf of the Vuyolwethu old aged people”(sic).

The hand-written letter, which is also in possession of City Vision, dated 23 July 2018, and signed by one Mr Luphondo, states: “We are going to close the facility of the old aged home due to the management that keep on harassing and threatening Vuyolwethu people.” (sic).

Vuyolwethu is but one of many senior citizen clubs that are granted space at the facility and are required to pay a minimum fee of R1500 a month for its use.

The letter does not offer details of the basis for the threats, but on further inquiry, it has become clear that the rental fee is at the heart of the matter.

Ikhaya Loxolo, previously known as Ekuphumleni, in NY 1 or Steve Biko Drive, is a place for the elderly, frail and the incapacitated, but also offers accommodation to senior’s clubs from the neighbourhood.

Noko Matiwane, the facility manager at Ikhaya Loxolo, said rental was introduced recently. “However, management was open to negotiations,” she added.

“No one can live for free, services such as water and electricity need to be paid(for),” said Matiwane. She added that they were in talks with the Department of Social Development to reach an amicable solution and they are also talking to their funders as well.

Mncedisi Thwalo, a leader of Abemi, said they acted after the home allegedly “threw out” members of Vuyolwethu Old Age Club.

The home recently underwent renovations and most clubs were asked to stop coming to the facility.

Thwalo said the club approached them for help after they allegedly could not access the kitchen, hall and the toilet. He said management informed them it was due to renovations and the club was offered a “small room” to carry out their projects. They were also allowed to use the toilet.

Thwalo did not address the contents of the handwritten letter, to which its author, a Mr Luphondo said: “At the end of July: 2018, we closed the facility.” (sic)