South Africa: Currently, MEC for Social Development, Ms Motlagomang “Mamiki” Qabathe, is meeting with the Free State Older Persons Forum, which deals with coordination and advocacy for elderly People in the Province.
According to the Free State Department of Social Development, the Role of the Provincial Forum is to advocate for elderly people in society. It was established in order to make sure that elderly people are not isolated from the community. It also deals with bringing together older Persons and Protecting them from social ills by encouraging them to be active in sports programmes.
One of the initiatives for the elderly is the Luncheon Clubs.
These have been established to keep pensioners active through activities such as sports, knitting and food gardening; food gardens contribute towards food security in our society.
The Luncheon Clubs assist senior citizens with financial, spiritual and emotional support. The Elderly need support from the government in terms of running their programmes at the local, district and Provincial levels.
Challenges that the Forum raised include high rent prices in terms of office space, lack of transportation, and unpaid staff; hence older people feel like they are a curse.
The Forum emphasised that government should take care of them. They must be celebrated for their contributions to the Struggle against apartheid. “In our age, we wish our people could understand the importance of taking care of us.” said the Chairperson of the Forum.
MEC Qabathe emphasised that elderly people are important to society. She also alluded to the concern that elderly people are not safe in our communities.
“As the Provincial Forum in our work, we have seen that really elderly people are suffering; the work of advocacy towards elderly people needs more funding in order for our programs to spread in the entire province,” said Mr Kgothule.
The Elderly expressed their need for support from all government departments in the Province.