DA calls for urgent intervention at Sunfield Home in Mpumalanga to prevent second Life Esidimeni tragedy

Issued by Bridget Masango MP – DA Shadow Minister of Social Development
21 Aug 2022 in News

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.

Unless the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, urgently intervenes, Mpumalanga might have a tragedy similar to Life Esidimeni on its hands.

On an oversight to the Sunfield Home Fortuna in Balfour, the DA discovered that despite every attempt by Sunfield to save them and resolve the matter with the Mpumalanga Department of Social Development (DSD), 36 residents face a bleak future.

For the last 14 years, subsidies of homes that care for disabled persons have not been increased, causing devastating financial difficulties for the vulnerable in homes like Sunfield.

The Mpumalanga DSD is now threatening to send these residents back to their communities at the end of September 2022 despite the fact that there is no suitable care for them there. The Sunfield residents suffer from severe conditions that often require specialised care. Many of the residents have lived in Sunfield for 20 to 30 years and simply do not have communities to return to.

There seems to be no consistency in the amount care homes receive in government subsidies. Some care homes within a 50 km radius from Sunfield receive significantly larger subsidies although conditions are similar.

Unless Minister Zulu intervenes, the Sunfield residents will be forced back into communities and households – some of them abusive – that are not equipped to care for them. The Minister will be responsible for any ensuing tragedy.