Minister Dlamini meets stakeholders to discuss older persons
15 Feb 2011
Today, the Minister of Social Development met with representatives of the South African Older Persons Forum (SAOPF) and Blacksash in Cape Town.
This is part of the Minister’s ongoing consultation with key stakeholders in the social sector to improve services to older persons.
Speaking during the meeting Minister Dlamini emphasised that government is committed to the empowerment of older persons, particularly those in rural areas through access to government services.
"Our government is increasingly seeking to enhance the effectiveness of the delivery of government services to older persons through creative partnerships with civil society organisations such as the Black SASH and the South African Older Persons Forum. Last year we experienced tragic incidents at old age homes which resulted in the loss of human life. We must work together to ensure that such incidents do not happen again," said Minister Dlamini.
The Minister also expressed concern about how some old age homes, which are supposed to provide a caring and protective environment for older persons, conducted their operations.
In particular, she was concerned that there were old age homes whose management were illegitimately taking from resident older persons, their old age grants.
“We also urge non governmental organisations (NGOs) that are funded by government to offer services to older persons, to utilise the funds we allocate to them for the intended purpose,” she said.
The Minister instructed officials from the department responsible for this sector to develop a consistent and sustainable programme for active ageing, in line with the Madrid Plan of Action on ageing, which will allow older persons to participate in the affairs of society on a constant basis.
Among others, this will include programmes aimed at instilling positive moral values, especially to children growing in child-headed households as well as other intergenerational initiatives aimed at social cohesion.
The stakeholders also raised a variety of issues, including matters relating to the conduct of various service providers who have been contracted to pay out social grants on behalf of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
To this effect, the Minister promised that a meeting will be convened with the department, stakeholders, SASSA and the service providers in a quest to address the concerns.
Other issues such as coordination of older persons’ programmes at local level, establishment of older persons’ forums, monitoring of quality of care in residential facilities, access to social grants, employment of personnel in residential facilities and other government services were raised.
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Issued by: Department of Social Development
15 Feb 2011
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