MEC fails residents of Zisize Disability Centre – again

Democratic Alliance media statement by Sharon Hoosen, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development

MEC fails residents of Zisize Disability Centre – again


The Democratic Alliance has been reliably informed that a case of rape (CAS 41/10/2108) has been opened at the Babanango SAPS after a 20-year-old mentally-challenged resident, living at the Ulundi-based Zisize Care Centre, was allegedly sexually assaulted.

In August the DA wrote to KZN Social Development MEC, Weziwe Thusi (see attached) to request her urgent intervention following claims of sexual abuse and other violations at the Centre. This after an unannounced oversight inspection of the facility which revealed allegations that;

  • Patients were having unprotected sex with other HIV patients;
  • Patients were being bitten by staff without any disciplinary interventions forthcoming;
  • The facility had no full-time nurses to provide the necessary health care to disabled residents;
  • Mentally and physically-challenged residents were not separated;
  • Residents with TB were not being given adequate medical attention;
  • Staff shortages meant that residents could not be properly monitored; and
  • Toilet and bathroom facilities did not cater for physically challenged residents.

The DA was shocked by these findings which were immediately noted in writing and sent To MEC Thusi for her attention. Despite the obvious gravity of the situation, the MEC and her Department have failed to take the matter seriously.

Not only has this latest incident created massive distress to residents at the Centre, it has also rocked the community of Melmoth. It is also entirely possible that it could have been avoided altogether had the MEC and her Department acted.

What is happening at Zisize Care Centre is a gross violation of human rights. On 6 September the DA wrote to the SAHRC (view here) to request a full-scale probe into the conditions at the facility. This was followed by another letter to the Commission on 22ndOctober (view here) to alert them of the rape allegations.

MEC Thusi and her Department have failed the residents of Zisize. If those with disabilities cannot rely on the Department of Social Development for relief, what hope do Women and Children’s Homes have? Furthermore, the lack of urgency displayed in response to both this – and other issues raised by the DA regarding conditions at KZN DSD-funded institutions – are proof that she does not care and that she is not cut out for the job.

It cannot be right that the very Department whose key focus is to build a better life for women, children, seniors and the disabled continues to fail them.

The DA expects the MEC to act immediately on behalf of the residents of Zisize. While she continues to ignore the DA and the plight of these residents, her reputation and that of KZN’s failed ANC government is hanging by a thread.

A DA government will prioritise the provision of quality social services that will guarantee the security and dignity of our most vulnerable members of society.

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