The Helderberg Society or the Aged (HSFA) has been in the limelight recently, both in the printed as well as social media, mostly for the wrong reasons.
I wish to put the record straight about Libertas in particular, and the HSFA in general.
In respect of Libertas, I need to emphasise that the HSFA has not, and will not, evict any resident from the flat that he/she currently occupies, despite the reports to the contrary in the press and social media. For the record, the current residents were given, and still have, the opportunity of moving to alternative accommodation within the HSFA at no expense to themselves. Those portions of the building destined for demolition have been vacant for two years precisely because, in the opinion of the HSFA, they are no longer suitable for the housing of older persons. Allegations to the contrary, by any member of the public, are malicious and uninformed and should not be heeded. I wish, further, to confirm that the HSFA has not received any funding from any organisation, be it state, public or private, towards the upkeep of the buildings and, contrary to what is being publicised on social media, has not asked the public to contribute towards any such fund.
It is a sad state of affairs when persons, who should know better, use the fears of older persons to further their own agendas.
With regard to the HSFA in general: while there are many residents of Somerset West and, indeed, those further afield, who know and appreciate the work done by the dedicated staff of the HSFA, there are, it would seem, a large number who have no idea of what the HSFA has meant to the community since its inception in 1958.
At any one time, the HSFA cares for between 650 and 700 older persons, in blocks of flats for independent persons, two large facilities for assisted living and two frail care centres, including a facility for the care of persons with dementia. Of these, 80% are subsidised in one way or another by the HSFA. The amount of subsidy received from the Department of Social Development, for the care of the frail aged social pensioner, does not cover even one-third of the unit cost per month and the shortfall is carried by the HSFA. Social pensioners living in our Independent Living Units are charged a minimal rent which, more often than not, does not cover the maintenance and upkeep of the building concerned and, again, the shortfall is carried by the HSFA.
The HSFA is also one of the largest employers in the region, with a staff complement of 230, most of whom are local. The HSFA supports local businesses as far as possible and is committed to the welfare of the Helderberg region and, especially, its older residents.