THEMBELETHU – Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni addressed Older Persons Indaba at Khulisile Palace, KwaMhlanga within Thembisile Hani Local Municipality. Older Person Indaba was staged on February 16, 2019 under the theme “Stepping into the future with older persons’ contributions”.

The chairperson of Mpumalanga Older Persons at Ehlanzeni District, Simon Skonela told the premier to monitor departments’ services for older people. “Adult abuse is practical, there are long queues at pension pay points, 3 hours of waiting at Home Affairs for passports, grandchildren open hair salon and locked the old grannies outside shack,” said Skonela.

Nkangala District chairperson of Older Person Forum attest the fact that older society is not considered hence there are no shelters but government officials under the Department of Housing keep on promising without an action. “For this reason, there should be a an older persons parliament meeting prior the real provincial one so that you can have tangible evidence of older people complains and take decisive actions against lazy and unprofessional government officials, said Skonela.

Older persons enjoying themselves during indaba at Khulisile Palace

In response, the premier didn’t minced her words. “Older people are our priority in terms of housing and they should not give their grandchildren title deeds, otherwise they will illegally sell the houses. MEC of health should ensure there’s an effective method to distribute medication to older people. Generators should be continuously checked in hospitals to save life. We are in the process of buying bicycles so that we can distribute medication to a large group of older people in their homes, especially those who take chronic medication. I belief long queues will be reduced at health centres, water supply with water tanks trunks will be strictly monitored. In terms of job opportunities, most of the adults got farming skills and I would like to encourage them to come forward so that we can address their farming needs.

This will encourage healthy food production in our back yards,” said Mtshweni. “The rights of the older persons are enshrined in the Constitution of the country which establishes and promotes a society based on democratic principles, social justice and fundamental human rights. The Bill of Rights seeks to improve the quality of life of everyone including the elderly as well as promoting and protecting their dignity, well being and safety and security. It is for these reasons that an indaba has been proposed to involve the older persons in the development of the frameworks and the protection of their rights.

Attendees during the Older person’s indaba at Khulisile Palace

We would like to encourage those who can afford to pay services to do so in order to help municipality and entire government, concluded Mtshweni. The province has called a representative sample of 400 older persons across the three districts to participate in dialogue and encouraged active ageing and healthy lifestyle and pledge was signed by among others the premier, chairperson and secretary of older persons. In attendance were members of the Executive Council, Executive Mayors, Councillors, Traditional Leaders, senior members of the provincial and local management and other invited dignitaries.

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