KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Social Development, Mrs Nonhlanhla Khoza has expressed shock and concern at the lapse of operations at the Durban and Coastal Mental Health Society (DCMH).
During an unannounced visit earlier today, MEC Khoza and Head of Department of Social Development, Mrs Nelisiwe Vilakazi, discovered an extremely unpleasant condition in the facility, with residents fed poor quality food.
The MEC's visit follows a public outcry that people residing in the facility were not given food. The Departments of Social Development and of Health have a service level agreement with DCMH.
After meeting with the board of directors and management of the organisation, MEC Khoza expressed concern that the DCMH is not in compliance with the service level agreement.
"It is shocking to see how the board has run the affairs in that institution. The appointment of service providers who have no contracts is one of the concerns. The institution is currently unable to perform its responsibility very well. It is clear that there has been mismanagement and misappropriation of funds in the institution," she said.
MEC Khoza said the Department is funding the institution with a lot of money and the service it renders should reflect the amount of money allocated to the institution.
"This institution is expected to render services to the most vulnerable groups in our society. Our service users can never be treated like this. We were very disappointed by the food given to the end users in the facility.
"The food given to them is not healthy. No person can eat sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. We give funding to this organisation to take care of our people. We want to ensure that their dignity is restored," she said.
MEC Khoza said the board of directors is governed by the NPO Act and should be compliant with it and all other laws of the country.
"We need to see this board having a turnaround strategy. There are unforgivable things that are taking place in this institution. We are not going to leave this matter unattended to because the end users are going to suffer," she said.
MEC Khoza said the financial problems in the institution need urgent attention."The inefficiencies of a bloated management structure have also brought the institution to its knees. The Department will be working with the board to fix the problems facing this institution. We will get to the bottom of this and ensure whoever is responsible for such maldminustration and corruption embezzled faces the law," she said.
The Department will continue providing funding to the institution to ensure that beneficiaries are not affected. However, the MEC announced that she has appointed a team to help deal with problems at the institution.
ISSUED BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT