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The Older Persons Amendment Bill, which is currently a subject of a public consultation process by the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, received overwhelming support from mainly senior citizens in Vhembe District Municipality, in Limpopo.
During public hearings, yesterday, on the Bill at Makwarela Community Hall in Thohoyandou,the elderly people told the committee that the Bill’s objectives spoke exactly to their lived realities such as emotional and physical abuse from family members and accusations of witchcraft by their communities.
In support of the one of the bill’s proposals of relocating older persons to a place of safety, the elders said they welcomed this as it will save most of them from acts of abuse by relatives who often misused their social grants and leaving them to suffer on their own.
The intent by the Bill to discourage accusations of witchcraft received the loudest applause during the public hearings and the committee heard this was one of the most common forms of abuse against older persons especially in rural areas.
One of the elders told the committee that it was common for older persons of darker skin complexion to be labelled as witches by fellow villagers or in some instances by family members
Committee Chairperson Ms Nonkosi Mvana commended the senior citizens for speaking their minds about the draft legislation which directly impacts on them
The Older Persons Amendment Bill aims to strengthen the protection and prevention of abuse of older persons, elimination of harmful traditional practices including witchcraft accusations against older persons and recognising the responsibilities of older persons in passing inter-generational knowledge and wisdom. The Bill also seeks to make provision for the removal of older persons to temporary safe care without a court order.
Tomorrow the committee will conduct public hearings in the Capricorn District Municipality.
Details of the public hearings are follows:
Date: Sunday 4 June 2023
Venue: Jack Botes Hall (Polokwane)
Issued by the Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Ms Nonkosi Mvana.