Elder Abuse [16]

17 May 2015
Undercover footage of the brutal assault of an 84-year-old woman entrusted to the care of an East London facility for the aged. Horrific footage revealed ongoing, brutal assaults by a nurse. Carte Blanche speaks exclusively with the family and victim and hears a controversial justification by her attacker.

[Includes disturbing footage]

Producer: Sasha Schwendenwein

Presenter: Derek Watts


After the story aired numerous viewers contacted Carte Blanche with similar stories. Bernice Robertson, one of Hope's children, said their family was overwhelmed by public support, some even asking for advice regarding their elderly family members.

The public outcry sparked welfare organisations for the aged to pressurise the National Prosecuting Authority into taking action. In early 2015 the NPA in the Eastern Cape had decided not to prosecute, but following the story criminal charges were pursued against several care givers at the Lily Kirchmann complex.

Sadly, in December 2015, Hope Shepherd passed away. Robertson said the family decided to pursue the fight on her behalf, to ensure that this case would serve as a warning for other "would-be" abusers. During the trial, which lasted two years, Robertson said Ncendiswa Mkencele never showed remorse. In 2017, Mkencele and another male employee, also implicated by the footage, were found guilty. She was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on five counts of assault. Magistrate Ignatius Kitching ordered that Mkencele must serve at least eight years of that sentence. The other male caregiver was given a suspended sentence. 

Hope's family remember her fondly and believe her legacy captured in this story will only help fight for the rights of the elderly in South Africa.