AfriForum argues in court that Sunfield Home’s subsidy amount must be increased

The Mpumalanga High Court in Mbombela today heard AfriForum’s case regarding the unfair subsidy amount that the Mpumalanga Department of Social Development pays to the Sunfield Home Fortuna outside Balfour. The civil rights organisation and Sunfield argued that it is unacceptable that the subsidy has never been increased in the past 15 years, and argued that it should be increased in line with the rate of inflation. Sunfield Home Fortuna is a home for physically and mentally disabled people.

Sunfield Home approached AfriForum for help in August 2022 when the department threatened to cancel Sunfield’s subsidy contract. This would have meant that all the residents had to be relocated. Shortly afterwards, in September 2022, AfriForum requested an interdict, that the court granted, which prohibits the department from canceling the contract and therefore forcing it to continue with the payment of the subsidy. AfriForum’s application to increase the subsidy to a fair amount was heard today without the department’s legal representatives joining the online session.

According to Louis Boshoff, Campaign Officer at AfriForum, the department has the necessary funds to offer sufficient financial support to the home. “Where there is an opportunity for tax funds to be spent on a worthy cause, AfriForum will step in to ensure that this happens. It is shocking to see the indifference of the ANC authorities to the well-being of the most vulnerable people in society,” Boshoff states plainly.

Sunfield Home Fortuna has received a subsidy of R1 984 per resident per month since 2008. Meanwhile there are other homes in the same province that receive up to R15 000 per resident per month.

“It is clear to AfriForum, Sunfield Home Fortuna and any South African with a sense of justice that a fair amount must be paid. We must not let the state’s negligence go unnoticed anywhere,” concludes Boshoff.

The court reserved judgment in this case.

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