Aged Persons Amendment Bill: discussion

Social Development

28 September 1998
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Meeting report

Dr Cwele said that the joint committee was called to facilitate progress of legislation through the House

WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE; SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE: JOINT MEETING
29 September 1998
AGED PERSONS AMENDMENT BILL: DISCUSSION

Documents handed out:

Aged Persons Amendment Bill will be found at – access at http://www.polity.org.za/govdocs/bills/1998

Proposed amendments to Aged Persons Amendment Bill (Appendix)

Negotiating mandates (supporting the bill without amendments) from Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga

Negotiating mandates (supporting the bill with amendments) from Kwazulu Natal

Dr Cwele said that a joint committee meeting had been called to facilitate the progress of this legislation through parliament. Not all the provinces have held public hearings but most have done so and sent in their response. They have also sent representatives to this meeting. A number of apologies have been received. Northern Cape will send in their response later.

A committee member raised the issue of refugees. She asked whether they should not visit the areas where they need to check whether the Department is doing its job properly. Another committee member asked whether the Relief Fund caters for South Africans only or for those from outside South African borders. It was agreed to ask the Department and come back to this later.

The question was raised whether the Aged Persons Amendment Bill was still appropriate. It was felt that completely new legislation is needed, not amendments to an old, outdated Bill. This was supported by Ms Turok.

It was finally agreed that there are urgent matters concerning the aged which need immediate attention, i.e. abuse and control of homes. The new Parliament will have to introduce new, comprehensive legislation in 1999.

A committee member challenged the use of the word 'aged'. She maintained that it had been agreed to replace it with 'elderly'.

Mr Saloojee replied that it had been discussed in the Portfolio Committee at great length and it had been agreed to accept the international term of 'aged'.

Discussion followed on the definition of abuse, the meaning of 'financial power' and 'community'. Ms Turok proposed and it was agreed that 'community' should include the catchment area.
A questioner asked why the Minister would 'withdraw the subsidy' from an organisation in the event of a misdemeanor rather than sack the person responsible. It was explained that the Minister 'may' do so, after consultation.

It was agreed that there is a need to define the different functions of the management committees and the governing bodies.

The Chair explained that this Bill deals with two issues only, abuse and control. It must be passed between 2 - 6 November.

Appendix: Proposed amendments to Aged Persons Amendment Bill

SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS TO AGED PERSONS AMENDMENT BILL

[B127-98]

CLAUSE 1

1. On page 2, from line 11, to omit the definition of "abuse" and to substitute:

"'abuse' means the intentional or negligent maltreatment of an aged person or any other infliction of physical. mental or financial power on such person which adversely affects that person;'".

2. On page 2, after line 14, to insert the following paragraph:

(b) by the insertion after the definition of "care" of the following definition:

"'community', in relation to a home for the aged, means the people who live within the geographical bounded area of that home for the aged who are involved in interaction, and who have a bond, with each other and with their place of resident;"';

2. On page 2, from line 17, to omit the definition of "designated body" and to substitute:

"'designated body' means-

(a) a person versed in law; or

(b) a statutory body referred to in section 181(1)(a) of the Constitution, designated by the national Minister, by notice in the Gazette, for the purposes of sections 3A. SA and 6;"; and

CLAUSE 2

1. On page 4, from line 5, to omit subsection (1) and to substitute:

(1) When a subsidy is paid in terms of section 2, the national Minister shall, by regulation in terms of section 20A, prescribe the conditions of use of that subsidy, including conditions regarding the accounting for the subsidy so paid.

2. On page 4, in lines 11 and 12, to omit "determined in terms of" and to substitute "referred to in".

3. On page 4, from line 13, to omit subsection (3) and to substitute:

(3) If any condition referred to in subsection (1) is not complied with, the national Minister may, in consultation with the relevant competent authority referred to in the definition of 'Minister' in section 1 and after one month's notice of the intention to do so, withdraw the subsidy in question.

4. On page 4, in line 19, to omit "determined in terms of" and to substitute "referred to in".

CLAUSE 3

1. On page 4, from line 24, to omit subsection (1) and to substitute:

(1) If there is reason to believe that any of the conditions referred to in section 3(3) have not been complied with, the national Minister shall, in consultation with the relevant competent authority referred to in the definition of 'Minister' in section 1, appoint a designated body-

(a) to monitor compliance with those conditions; and

(b) to order specific measures to be adopted to facilitate compliance with those conditions.

2. On page 4, in lines 40 and 41, to omit paragraph (b) and to substitute:

(b) furnish the national Minister with a full report on the steps taken regarding the future accommodation of the aged persons in question as contemplated in section 3(7);

3. On page 4, in line 45, to omit "homes of the aged" for "homes for the aged".

4. On page 4, from line 51, to omit paragraph (a) and to substitute:

(a) the composition of every management committee to be established under subsection (1), which shall include representation of the residents, staff and community of the home for the aged in question;

5. On page 6, in line 9, to omit "provide" and to substitute "ensure"

6. On page 6, in line 12, to omit "prevent" and to substitute "monitor".

7. On page 6, after line 21, to add the following paragraph:

(j) advise [who?] on new admissions of aged persons to that home.

8. On page 6, from line 22, to omit section 3C and to substitute:

Admission to homes for the aged

3C. (1) When deciding whether or not to admit a person to a home for the aged, no person shall unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against the first-mentioned person on one or more grounds referred to in section 9(3) of the Constitution.

(2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall, notwithstanding section 19, be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(3) The need for a home for the aged to reflect broadly the race composition of South Africa shall be considered when determining eligibility for admission to that home.

(4) If a person is refused admission to a home for the aged, the manager of a home for the aged shall, on the request of that person, give reasons for such refusal to the person.

CLAUSE 7

1. On page 10, from line 38, to omit sections 6A and 6B and to substitute:

Notification of abuse of aged persons

6A. (1) Every registered dentist, medical practitioner or nurse or social worker who examines, attends or deals with an aged person in circumstances giving rise to the suspicion that that aged person-

(a) has been abused: or

(b) suffers from any injury, the cause of which probably might have been deliberate,

shall immediately notify the Director-General: Welfare or the relevant officer referred to in the definition of 'Director-General' in section 1.

(2) On receipt of a notification in terms of subsection (1), the Director-General or the officer referred to in subsection (1)

(a) may issue a warrant in the prescribed form and manner for the removal of the aged person concerned to a hospital or such other place as the or that Director-General or officer may determine:

(b) shall arrange that the aged person receive such treatment as that Director-General or officer may determine.

(3) Any dentist, medical practitioner, nurse or social worker shall not be liable in respect of any notification given in good faith in accordance with subsection (1).

(4) Any dentist, medical practitioner, nurse or social worker person who fails to comply with subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall, notwithstanding section 19, be liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

Prohibition of abuse of aged persons

6B. Any person who abuses an aged person shall be guilty of an offence and shall, notwithstanding section 19, be liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

Keeping of register of abuse of aged persons

6C. The national Minister shall, in the manner prescribed by regulation under section 20A cause to be kept a register of all notifications received in terms of section 6A(1), together with a description of the circumstances regarding each notification.

2. On page 12, in line 2, to omit "6C" and to substitute "6C(1)".

3. On page 12, after line 12, to add the following subsection:

(2) If a manager of a home for the aged fails to comply with subsection (1), the national Minister may, in consultation with the relevant competent authority referred to in the definition of 'Minister" in section 1 and after one month's notice of the intention to do so withdraw any subsidy paid in respect of that home in terms of section 2.

CLAUSE 9

1. On page 12, in line 26, to omit "25A." and to substitute "20A. (1)".

2. On page 12, in line 26, after "may" to insert", subject to subsection (2),".

3. On page 12, after line 39, to add:

(g) the conditions of use of subsidies paid in terms of section 2;

(h) the keeping of a register of all notifications received in terms of section 6A(1).

(2) Any regulation made under subsection (1) shall be made in consultation with every competent authority referred to in the definition of "Minister" in section 1.

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