Social development MEC meets Free State, older person provincial forum

South Africa: Minister for Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu and MEC for Social Development, Ms Motlagomang "Mamiki" Qabathe, joined by Mayor of Lejweleputswa District Municipality, Cllr Veronica Ntakumbana, are meeting and having lunch with the Free State Older Persons Provincial Forum and Older Persons of the area in Lejweleputswa District Municipality.

South Africa: Minister for Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu and MEC for Social Development, Ms Motlagomang “Mamiki” Qabathe, joined by Mayor of Lejweleputswa District Municipality, Cllr Veronica Ntakumbana, are meeting and having lunch with the Free State Older Persons Provincial Forum and Older Persons of the area in Lejweleputswa District Municipality.

The Forum deals with coordination and advocacy for elderly people in the Province while also making sure that it protects and promotes the rights of elderly people in society.

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According to the Older Persons Act 13 of 2006, these Older Persons Forum is established in order to make sure that elderly people are not isolated from the community. It also intended to protect, promote and maintain the status, rights, well-being and security of Older Persons in communities by combating any form of abuse against elderly people.


 

 


Minister Lindiwe Zulu said, “It is important for us as the country to take care of elderly people. We also need to share information on services offered or provided by Social Development to elderly people in order to do away with any form of abuse against elderly people. We also need to bring together older Persons and Protect them from all social ills by encouraging them to be active in the sports program. Hence the Department have annual elderly people sports activities held for all nine provinces.”

One of the initiatives to keep elderly people healthy and active the Department of social development has been supporting is the establishment of Luncheon Clubs. These have been established to keep pensioners active through activities such as sports, knitting, provision of food and food gardening.

The Older Persons Forum assists senior citizens with financial, spiritual and emotional support. However, the Forum today explained the challenges they are facing, which include high rent prices, lack of transportation, unpaid staff, etc.

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The Forum emphasised that government should take care of them. They must be celebrated for their contributions to the Struggle against apartheid. “And also be honoured for participating in Older Persons Sports games.” said the Chairperson of the Forum.

Image credit: Free State Facebook Page

The Department of Social Development, through Minister Zulu and MEC Qabathe, emphasised that elderly people are important to society and also alluded to the concern that elderly people are not safe in our communities.

“According to Older Persons Forum, there has to be uniformity in how Provincial Older Persons Forum are treated, really elderly people are suffering in terms of execution of their tasks without the necessary tools of the trade. The work of advocacy towards elderly people needs more funding in order for our programs to spread in the entire country,” said Chairperson.

The Elderly expressed their need for support from all government departments that are supposed to be involved in protecting, promoting and maintaining the status, rights and well-being of Older Persons. And the Forum have asked the Minister and MEC to speak with other departments to come on board in fighting against any form of abuse against elderly people.