012 664 8871 dsat@downs.org.za

PUBLIC STATEMENT ON UITKOMS CARE CENTRE

Issued by the Management Committee of Uitkoms

08 JULY 2011

 

 

BACKGROUND TO UITKOMS CARE CENTRE

Uitkoms Care Centre is a home for intellectually disabled adults. The centre was founded in October 1990 by Mrs Pikkie van der Merwe, herself the mother of an intellectually disabled son who still resides at Uitkoms.

 

Statutory registrations

On 4 Nov 1991 a fund raising number was awarded to Uitkoms for an indefinite period by the National Department of Health and Population Development in terms of section 5 of the Fund Raising Act, Act 107 of 1978, under reference number 02 200155 002 5. Uitkoms was registered at the time by the department as an independent branch of the Northern Transvaal Society for Mental Health. Subsequent to changes in the applicable government departments, Uitkoms was registered as an NPO (non-profit organization) with the Department of Welfare since 26 Nov 1999 (NPO no. 004-028). Uitkoms has been submitting its annual financial statements and annual report to that Department, now the Department of Social Development, ever since.

 

Funding and property

Uitkoms is fully privately funded by the families of its residents – i.e. no funds whatsoever have been received to date from the national, provincial or local government for the establishment or operation of the centre. Uitkoms owns the land and the building in which the centre is accommodated – this was acquired in 1994 and has since been paid for by the families of the residents. Donations received from third parties have largely been used to expand and upgrade the facilities, including the construction of the current workshop building.

 

Residents

At present Uitkoms accommodates 36 residents who live in and 15 disabled adults who come for day care only. During working hours they mostly spend time in the centre’s workshop where basic skills are taught and rudimentary projects undertaken. After hours the emphasis is on the creation of a homely environment where residents have choices in leisure, socialising, organized activities, etc. Uitkoms currently employs 13 staff members to fulfill its mission to care for its residents and day visitors.

PUBLIC STATEMENT ON UITKOMS CARE CENTRE

Issued by the Management Committee of Uitkoms

08 JULY 2011

 

 

Entry criteria defined in Uitkoms’ constitution

Uitkoms was founded as a centre for intellectually disabled adults with no or very little physical disability. The centre’s constitution determines that a disabled person has to be self-sufficient and independent with respect to his/her physical needs (eating, hygiene, appearance, etc) in order to be allowed to reside at the centre. The centre’s facilities, staff compliment and cost structure have been organised in accordance with this criterion since its inception.

Uitkoms is a non-racial organisation. Membership, residence and employment are open to all races and religions. Uitkoms’ constitution determines that it should be based on Christian values and principles. The management committee and senior staff members embrace the principle of no discrimination based on race, gender or religion.

 

 

GOVERNANCE OF UITKOMS CARE CENTRE

The centre is run by its staff under leadership of the principal, currently Mr Gert Jordaan. The house matron (“huismoeder”) oversees the running of the residence. Apart from the house matron and her husband, 5 employees live in on the terrain.

Governance is overseen by a management committee who is annually elected by the members from the population of members. This election takes place at the annual general meeting of members, usually in May each year. Any member may make him- or herself available for election. Usually members who make themselves available are co-opted onto the committee when not directly elected. Each elected member’s term is for one year only, hence a member has to be re-elected after 12 months in order to serve on the committee. The principal is an ex officio member of the committee for reporting purposes. The house matron is usually invited to attend committee meetings for reporting and information purposes.

The elected (and usually co-opted) committee members are parents or close family members of disabled residents of Uitkoms. This ensures automatically that the management committee governs the centre with the best interest of the residents and day care visitors in mind.

Mrs van der Merwe, the founder, has been elected a number of years ago as a life-long member of Uitkoms and the management committee. At the age of 79, she still attends all meetings of the management  committee.

 

UITKOMS’ RELATIONSHIP WITH PIETER AND DEBBIE ESTERHUYSE

Mr and Mrs Pieter and Debbie Esterhuyse became members of Uitkoms when Debbie’s daughter, Vanessa Alexio, was permitted as a resident of Uitkoms approximately 6 years ago. However, their membership was terminated in February 2011 following repeated transgressions of Uitkoms’ formal and informal codes of good conduct. As a result, Debbie’s daughter is no longer a resident of Uitkoms. The management committee was unanimous in its decision to terminate the membership of Mr and Mrs Esterhuyse since their conduct has been beyond all reasonable boundaries.

PUBLIC STATEMENT ON UITKOMS CARE CENTRE

Issued by the Management Committee of Uitkoms

08 JULY 2011

 

Mrs Esterhuyse filed complaints against Uitkoms, its officers and management committee at various government departments, the SA Police Services, the Human Rights Commission, the local metro council and its agencies and the media. Numerous investigations followed by all the above agencies and epartments and to date no significant issue of non-compliance have been identified. In fact, Uikoms received praise and accolades for the way in which it was being managed, especially when compared to numerous similar institutions. The management committee regards the matter of expelling Pieter and Debbie Esterhuyse from Uitkoms, as closed. We advise that third parties should view allegations and public utterances about Uitkoms by them as revengeful attempts to discredit an organisation that kicked them out due to their sustained bad behavior.

 

 

UITKOMS’ PRINCIPAL, MR GERT JORDAAN

Mr Jordaan was appointed as principal of the centre as of June 21, 2010. The position was advertised and the entire elected management committee was involved in the subsequent selection process. The principal reports to the management committee. Prior to his appointment, the management committee conducted several independent background checks on Mr Jordaan. All these checks produced only positive results. His past experience in the management of a children’s home proved to be very applicable and valuable.

Mr Jordaan’s conduct towards Uitkoms’ residents, employees, members and external stakeholders have to date been nothing but impeccable. The management committee is extremely pleased with his performance and especially with his compassionate conduct towards Uitkoms’ residents and staff.

 

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT UITKOMS

Uitkoms is run by an elected management committee, all of whom are parents or close relatives of disabled residents of the centre.

It therefore stands to reason that the management committee regards health and safety of the utmost importance. The members have over the years decided time and time again in favor of running a relatively small centre with a homely atmosphere and culture. Hence Uitkoms resembles in several respects a hotel rather than an institution for the mentally handicapped.

A balanced diet is provided, especially for the permanent residents who have three meals per day at the centre. Input has been obtained from a dietician on several occasions regarding meal planning. The weekly menu is always on display in the dining room where all members have access to it. Residents are served at tables in the dining room. It is virtually unprecedented to receive any complaints from residents or members about the quality or quantity of meals at Uitkoms, a proud tradition which the management committee and staff intend to keep up as a cornerstone of the homely environment that the management committee intends to preserve.

 

 

PUBLIC STATEMENT ON UITKOMS CARE CENTRE

Issued by the Management Committee of Uitkoms

08 JULY 2011

In response to numerous complaints and allegations by Mrs Debbie Esterhuyse, the Departments of Health and Social Development conducted more than 10 investigations at Uitkoms during 2010. A consolidated report dated 22/10/2010 from the department covering all the inspections and allegations concluded that there were no significant non-compliances at Uitkoms.

A safety investigation was conducted in 2010 by Firesafe Gauteng cc. who was recommended to Uitkoms by Mr. Freddie Oosthuysen of the Tshwane Fire Brigade Services Division. This report recommended the installation of smoke detectors in the rooms of the residents in order to be fully compliant with all applicable fire regulations. Smoke detectors were installed in all rooms in February 2011 at a total cost of about R105,000. Medication is not prescribed by the centre nor dispensed without instruction from the family  or medical doctor of a resident. Until May 2011 a system was in place by which either the families or the medical doctors of the residents packaged medication for each day. The medication was received, recorded, stored and administered in a way that was approved by the Department of Health during its numerous inspections. Upon a recommendation of the Department suggested as a potential improvement, the centre changed this system as of June 2011. The centre now contracts the services of a registered nurse who oversees the entire medication management process. As a result, the families of the residents no longer pack medication themselves, but hand the original sealed packaging to the centre under supervision of the nurse.

Residents must always be checked out when visiting family and checked in upon return. As much contact as possible with the extended family of the resident is officially encouraged by Uitkoms. Family members are invited to visit as often as possible.

 

 

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Uitkoms is well known in its community and is often visited by members of the community. Several of the churches and businesses in the area regularly invite Uitkoms’ residents and staff to functions and fiestas.

The workshop programme is primarily run by volunteers from the community, coordinated by the principal. Craft items are made in the workshop from materials that are donated by volunteers. Regular volunteers from the community teach the residents to dance, sing and entertain.

Uitkoms regularly receives funds or donations in kind from business or sport clubs in the area. These businesses and clubs visit the centre to identify needs and oversee correct application of such donations. Accurate record is kept of all donations and reported in detail in the monthly management reports. One 4X4 outdoor club takes the residents out on a day trip each year.

Due to donations from the community, Uitkoms’ residents attend shows from time to time at the State Theatre, movie theatres and other performances. Uitkoms has its own social club which is funded by the families and donations. The social club arranges excursions to places such as holiday resorts in nearby towns and villages and acquires leisure equipment for the residence.

 

 

 

 

 

PUBLIC STATEMENT ON UITKOMS CARE CENTRE

Issued by the Management Committee of Uitkoms

08 JULY 2011

 

FRAIL CARE

In the recent past, the management committee has started planning for the possible introduction of frail care for the centre’s ageing residents. The current estimate from the quantity surveyor who is advising the management committee, is that such a facility for 15 people will cost R6.5 million plus a further R2 million to equip it. The management committee estimates that an investment portfolio of R2 million would be required to ensure the frail care unit’s long-term sustainability. This is at present well beyond the capability of the centre and its members. Unless specifically earmarked for other purposes, practically all cash donations are saved towards this worthy goal. The centre intends to involve the media, large donor organisations and the local community to attract donations to make the dream of a frail care centre a reality.

For further information, contact the Chairman of the 2011/2012 management committee, Mr Fanie Immelman. He can be contacted via Uitkoms’ administrative office.

 

SJ Immelman

Chairman: Management Committee 2011/2012

08 July 2011