6 November 2017

Members of the ANC-led Gauteng Provincial Government have spent some time listening to the concerns of the elderly in Soweto this past weekend. Gauteng Premier Comrade David Makhura, Cooperative Governance MEC Comrade Paul Mashatile and Social Development MEC Comrade Nandi Mayathula-Khoza were in Dobsonville on Saturday – emphasizing the importance of the elderly in society.

Older persons in Soweto had written a memorandum requesting an audience with the Premier. One of their representatives Mme Mirriam Zwane welcomed the Premier and also told him of their daily struggles with the local councilors. “There are many children here in Dobsonville who are orphans and can’t get access to housing because councilors in the area are busy selling them.”

Comrade Makhura thanked the elders for submitting the memorandum and told them their concerns had not fallen on deaf ears. “Today’s Ntirhisano is primarily for you, bazali bam, and we are here to report on the issues that you have raised.”

One issue that was raised by the senior citizens was the waiting times in queues at clinics. The Premier also decried this saying it is important that the elderly are prioritized when getting medication. “We want our elderly people to receive their medication at home,” said Comrade Makhura.

The issue of crime against the elderly was also addressed in the meeting, with a renewed commitment coming from the ANC-led provincial government to work with the South African Police Service to root this out of the community. “You are our source of strength and we must take care of you,” said Comrade Makhura while addressing the crimes against the elderly.

MEC Mashatile began his address by apologizing for the illegal sale of RDP housing by some unscrupulous councilors. He also reiterated government’s call to prioritise the elderly and those who applied before 1996 for government housing. “Military veterans and people living with disabilities will be prioritized and we will go from township to township checking how many people applied for RDP houses.”

Some other good news for the elderly is that the ANC-led Gauteng Social Development Department will send social workers to conduct a service delivery blitz on the 17 November in Dobsonville. “Social workers will do house visits to assess the social ills faced by the community,” said MEC Mayathula-Khoza. She also spoke about the interventions that the provincial government is putting in place to deal with the issue of nyaope addiction among young people.

Comrade Mayathula-Khoza reiterated the position of the ANC-led government in Gauteng on the abuse of the elderly, reminding them that they had the right to safety. “Here in Gauteng we say no to the abuse of our elderly.” Gauteng residents are encouraged to report any form of abuse toward the elderly on 0800 204 190.