Concern for the elderly

Monica Sutherland, Rondebosch

In response to the article (“Tenants forced to rehome,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, October 17), I have heard rumours that Communicare wants to build a students’ res on the site.

I am totally disgusted at their treatment of the elderly. They give no thought to the trauma they will, and are, experiencing.

It seems that no one cares about the elderly these days. They are being treated like a nuisance. Many have had to sell their property, due to all the taxes, and they are just living from day to day.

My heart goes out to them. If the rumour is true, then we should all object to it as a students’ res here will cause nothing but problems.

Why are satellite universities not being built nearer where the students live so that they wouldn’t have to travel so far and look for other accommodation? How is it possible that the place is in such a bad state that it has to be demolished?

Surely, if you cared, then you would have been looking after it over the years or, is it just that you deliberately let it run down so that you had an excuse to demolish?

Letting it get into such an apparently bad condition doesn’t say much for you as landlords let alone carers.

I would like to know what the “Care” stands for in Communicare.

Thank you for your article on this problem as many were not aware of it.

Anthea Houston, Communicare CEO, responds:

We share your concern that the move will have a negative impact on the elderly who have lived at Welverdiend for many years. You have my assurance that this is a priority for Communicare.

We have planned over a long period for this move and have all the necessary support from social workers, religious leaders and others to assist with the transition.

Through our planning, we have identified and reserved units in other buildings for tenants from Welverdiend. This includes options in Newlands, Lakeside and Diep River. You will be relieved to hear that about half the tenants have agreed to move and consider the new premises an upgrade.

We will ensure that no elderly tenant will be left without a place to go.

Many tenants have grown old with Communicare. As a social-housing organisation, we’re not equipped with facilities for the elderly, but we work in partnership with others who provide such services. Regrettably, some of the elderly have been neglected by their families with the responsibility of care falling on Communicare.

The problem with the building is not a lack of maintenance. The problems are structural, expected of a 68-year-old building.

This includes a failing plumbing system, no cavity walls, clay pipes that can no longer be repaired, severe damp, and rusted windows that don’t keep out the rain.

Despite investing millions over the years in maintenance, the structural problems can no longer be maintained.

We believe we are doing the responsible thing by moving tenants before we have to embark on emergency evacuations.

We have no option but to demolish the building. We are still in the planning phase. However, we will build discounted housing units for rental for all residents of Cape Town.

There are many rumours such as the one you’ve heard. Other rumours claim we paid R4  000 to tenants to leave and that we’re evicting tenants. These rumours are simply not true. Working with compassion and providing opportunities for a better life are what Communicare stands for. Our main concern, however, is the emotional well-being of our elderly.