Hi-Tec helps keep Ethembeni hope alive

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Ethembeni members with the Mlengana and Magwentshu families, who organised a Mother’s Day treat for the elderly at the recently re-opened centre. Photo: Lindani Donyeli

From left to right (standing): Noluthando Shelle (Secretary), Noziphiwo Ndawunele, David Mhleli Faltein (Deputy Chairman), Andrew Butters ( Hi-Tec), Master Ngeleza (Treasurer, Andre Wille (Hi-Tec); (seated): Nozipho Mpahlwa (chairperson), Grace Ncete and Nomafumane Cagwe (Assistant Secretary). Photo: Lindani Donyeli

(Left to right):Bonakele Magwentshu, Keni Mlengana, Thandie Mlengana, Bongi Mlengana brought members of Ethembeni Old Age Centre a Mother’s Day treat. Photo: Lindani Donyeli

Hi-Tec Security have joined forces with the community to make sure the town’s elderly have a place to call their own.

The Ethembeni Old Age Service Centre in Nompondo Street, Joza, has, over the years, played a significant role in supporting the elderly residents in the community, providing meals and a range of activities, plus transportation to and from the centre.

Elderly members of the community spend half-a-day at the centre enjoying each other’s company instead of spending time at home alone.

However, due to rising costs over the past couple of years, the centre’s management board found it increasingly difficult to pay the fixed monthly costs such as salaries, municipal levies and charges, and the all-important security aspect affecting the building itself and its contents.

In addition there were the monthly operational costs that the centre’s management had to contend with, such as daily meals and transportation costs for the elderly visitors who find it difficult to walk to and from the centre.

Matters came to a head in June 2017 with the temporary closure of the centre, but the reaction to the closure from disappointed regular visitors was such that the centre reopened four months later.

The Ethembeni Service Centre is in receipt of a subsidy from the Department of Social Development but this is not sufficient enough to cover monthly costs.

Last year the Ethembeni management took the decision to reduce operating costs in various areas, as well as approaching its suppliers for assistance and seeking new funders to supplement the Social Development subsidy.

It was at that stage Grahamstown security specialists Hi-Tec Security stepped in to offer assistance to the Ethembeni Service Centre. Hi-Tec’s monthly sponsorship covers the security costs of the Joza-based centre – alarm system maintenance, surveillance and armed response availability – plus transportation costs involved in conveying the elderly folk visiting the centre on a daily basis.

The Centre has a new committee, comprising Nozipho Mphahlwa (chairperson), David Faltein (vice chair), Noluthando Steke (secretary), Master Ngeleza (treasurer), Nomatumane Gcagwe (vice secretory) and additional members Grace Gcethe, Nocawa Vandla and Mrs Nkeni.

Meanwhile two Garahamstown families represented by Bonakude Magwentshu, Keni Mlengana, Thandi Mlengana and Bongi Mlengana hosted a Mother’s Day celebration at the Centre. Tea and cake and cosy dressing gowns for gogos and grandpas alike on the day were a special treat. And the news that the Grahamstown families, along with Hi-Tec Security, were determined to re-open the Centre and keep it open, made it a very special Mother’s Day month.

Steke said, at the Mother’s Day event, “We, this family,decided to come and visit you and celebrate with you as our mothers. It is our duty to remember we were raised by parents like you.

Kenny Mlengana said, “We have to say thank you, because without you, we wouldn’t be who we are.

“The old people use to pray for the mines not to fall,” Mlengana said. “Even this home cannot be closed down if the elders pray.”

Hi-Tec Security director Andre Wille said the company is pleased to be able to assist in helping Ethembeni back onto its feet.

Wille said: “When we heard of Ethembeni’s plight we immediately decided to come on board, feeling the need to give back to the elderly folk in our community.”

He added that by alleviating some of Ethembeni’s expenses each month, Hi-Tec Security is hopeful the centre will continue to offer its invaluable services to the elderly for a long time to come.

Grocott’s Mail had received no reply to our request for comment to the Department of Social Development by the time of publishing.

Former chairperson Brian Fargher wished the new committee all the best and said he was willing to offer any help or advice the new committee might request in running the Centre.

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