Shame­ful ne­glect

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

TO DIE a lone piti­ful death and have your body dis­cov­ered only af­ter it started emit­ting a foul smell which fil­tered through to the neigh­bour­hood goes against the essence of hu­man­ity.

We are a na­tion that prides it­self on be­ing friendly and help­ful, guided by our in­her­ent prin­ci­ples of botho or ubuntu.

But yet, we had two el­derly peo­ple dy­ing un­der the most in­hu­mane of cir­cum­stances.

Mmamo­jalefa Tshe­fane, 86,was found dead in her house in Mo­let­sane, Soweto, af­ter her body started de­com­pos­ing and emit­ting a foul smell.

Then this past Satur­day, Bheki Maloka, 61, died in hos­pi­tal where he had been rushed by a ward coun­cil­lor who found him in his shack, sick and with­out food or care.

Where were their fam­ily mem­bers? And where were their neigh­bours to alert so­cial work­ers or the po­lice to this ne­glect? Have we be­come a na­tion so self-ab­sorbed that we don’t care about what hap­pens around us? And why is the Depart­ment of So­cial Devel­op­ment not be­ing proac­tive in han­dling such mat­ters?

It is time for us to start show­ing com­pas­sion to those around us and en­sure that the el­derly en­joy their right to dig­nity, as en­shrined in the Bill of Rights.

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