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‘Respect, protect older persons’

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In the Northern Cape, most households are dependent on old age grants, as a result of the high unemployment and poverty levels

File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

MORE than 87 500 older persons in the Northern Cape currently receive old age grants – at a cost of R148 million a month.

This is according to the Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu, who was in Kimberley for the celebration of Grandparents Day over the weekend.

Shabangu, who was speaking at an event at the 3 South African Infantry military base in the city, pointed out that the provincial Department of Social Development also provides financial support to 24 residential care facilities in the Province as well as 55 community-based care and support centres for older persons.

During her address, Shabangu urged residents to respect and protect grandparents and older persons in their families and communities, adding that they symbolised a “bridge that links our past, present and our future generations”.

“Our older persons are the backbone upon which our democratic South Africa was built and they therefore deserve more appreciation, care and support from families, communities and the wider South African society.”

Shabangu also urged the public to prevent and to report the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older persons. “Take a stand and report any form of abuse of our senior citizens. The abuse of older persons is a crime and a gross violation of human rights. It must be reported to police and social workers.”

Eight percent of South Africa’s population is 60 years and older and by 2050 more than 10 million people in South Africa will be older than 60 years.

In the Northern Cape, most households are dependent on old age grants, as a result of the high unemployment and poverty levels.

As part of the Grandparents Day activities, Shabangu symbolically issued the new Sassa card to a 72-year-old age grant beneficiary and a grandparent of seven, Margaret Seekoei.

– Patsy Beangstrom