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City extends helping hand to senior citizens Print E-mail
17 May 2017

The City of Johannesburg’s Legislature has reaffirmed its “unwavering commitment” to deepening and broadening its support of senior citizens and entrenching their participation in the affairs of the City.

The commitment was relayed to scores of elderly citizens by Speaker of Council Cllr Vasco da Gama at the City’s Senior Citizens’ Empowerment Forum at the Roodepoort City Hall in Region C on Tuesday May 16.

Cllr Da Gama said the City was keenly aware of the challenges facing its elderly, such as poverty and the lack of access to clean drinking water, electricity and food security. “We’re also aware of the fact that instead of you enjoying your old age, you have assumed new roles in your families with your little old-age grants.

“You’ve a responsibility of becoming breadwinners. Some of you have even become caregivers to your children and grandchildren and overall pillars of your families,” Da Gama said.

He said to combat poverty and empower the elderly, the City would implement a six-point programme driven by the Health and Social Development Department.

He said the overall strategic objectives of the City were to: 

Significantly reduce the number of elderly citizens without shelter;

Reduce the number of senior citizens who are abused, abandoned or uncared for;

Increase the number of active and productive senior citizens in society;

Reduce the number of elderly people who do not have access to healthcare;

Ensure that older persons continue to live a normal and active life and not in isolation and boredom; and

Significantly reduce the number of senior citizens who die in conditions characterised by homelessness and poverty.

During the meeting, many senior citizens told the Speaker about their challenges, some of which dated to as back as 1994. They complained about noise pollution and drug abuse by the youth in their communities and the lack of housing, facilities to help promote a healthy lifestyle and proper healthcare services.

Sixty-six-year-old Mamotshidisi Mojake of Doornkop said many elderly residents suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes were not afforded special care at local clinics.

“I often find it very difficult when I’ve to stand in a long queue, especially when I’m in desperate need of medication. Some of us even collapse while waiting in the queue. We ask that this be changed or that special arrangements be made for us by the City,” Mojake said.

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Last Updated on 17 May 2017