Hundreds of residents of Mopani District Municipality in Limpopo gathered at the Nkowankowa Community Hall in Tzaneen,yesterday, to make inputs on the Older Persons Amendment Bill.
The Bill which is currently before the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, seeks to introduce changes to the Older Persons Act of 2006 in order to strengthen the safety and protection of older people which includes the protection and prevention of abuse,elimination of harmful traditional practices such as witchcraft accusations against older persons.
Elderly persons from across the Mopani region told the committee that they welcomed and supported the Bill and expected it to have a positive impact on their lives if properly implemented.
Others said the proposed amendments were long overdue and proposed that in addition to the Bill’s objectives to protect older persons from physical and sexual abuse, the legislation must also include verbal and emotional abuse.
Reservations were expressed by some participants about a chapter in the draft Bill which proposes means test. They argued that this would disqualify an older person from getting government social grant in a case where their spouse was a former civil servant and receiving civil pension. This was regarded as a discrimination against married couples and that it must be changed or removed to have every elderly person to receive social grant irrespective of the financial status of their spouse.
Issued by the Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Ms Nonkosi Mvana