Events

EC continues to inform older persons about their rights

By Emily Nkinana and Glory Msungwa

In commemorating Human Rights Month, the Eastern Cape Regional Office and the Grahamstown Magistrate’s Court, together with Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster, recently conducted an information session on Older Person’s Act.

The information session, which took place at the Noluthando Community Hall in Grahamstown, was celebrated under the theme; “Celebrating the Freedom Charter, Enjoying Equal Human Rights for All,” ¬†on 21 March 2015.

After going on a two-day door-to-door campaign, the session was attended by approximately 700 elderlypersons from the surrounding areas of Joza Location, Extensions 4, 7, 9, 10, Eluxolweni and Hoogenoeg, where the Settlers Hospital also gave out five wheelchairs to elderly.

Eastern Cape Senior Legal Administration Officer, Ms Emily Nkinana, explained that Grahamstown was identified for two reasons, firstly based on a number of domestic violence cases against the elderly and the high rate of murder and rape cases of older persons who are accused of practicing witchcraft.

During the session, the elderly were informed about the intentions of the act. “The Act is there to protect, promote and maintain the status, rights well-being and security of older persons. It also aims to combat abuse of older persons,” highlighted Ms Nkinana. She advised the elderly to always ensure that they report the abuse and not protect the perpetrators.

Delivering a key note address, the Eastern Cape Regional Head, Mr Vuyani Mguqulwa assured the elderly that the department and its JCPS stakeholders are working together to uphold and protect their rights. He urged all the public servants to respect the elderly people when serving them. “We must serve our communities, including our elders, with dignity as we are all enjoying freedom because of their sacrifices,” he appealed.

A representative from the Department of Social Development, Miss Linda Xuba, advised the elderly to report any misuse of their old age grant and in instances where loan sharks are taking away their bank card and identity documents, “you should go and report them at a nearest police station,” she advised.

Amongst other stakeholders who graced the event to share the services they offer included the South African Police Services (SAPS); Departments of Health; Social Development; Correctional Services; the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA); Legal Aid South Africa; the Judiciary; Master of the High Court: Grahamstown; Makana Municipality; South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Board of Old Aged Homes.

Community members we also given an opportunity to ask questions, some of the concerns raised included the turn-around time of beneficiaries receiving their maintenance monies from justice service points. Another concern was the skills offered to offenders when they serve their jail term and upon release, they are unable to get support to use their skills.

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Published: 27 March 2015