‘Stand up for rights of elderly’

2013-01-09 00:00

THE South African Human Rights Commission ­is urging citizens not to remain silent when elderly people are abused and violated.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Isaac Mangena, head of communications, said the commission was aiming to put increased pressure on the government to ensure the protection of senior citizens.

“We believe that government has been too relaxed in ensuring that the rights of elderly citizens are protected …

“People do not know their rights and it is about time we put pressure on government to protect elderly people,” he said.

Mangena said attacks against older citizens, especially women, were widespread.

In one of the latest attacks, on Christmas Day, four youths attacked an 84-year-old woman in her home in Pinetown. They kicked and punched her while ransacking her home.

In Impendle last year, two women aged 74 and 86 were raped in the same week, while at Jozini on the North Coast, a woman aged 74 was reportedly gang-raped.

Mangena pointed out the rights of the elderly are protected under the Constitution and by the Older Persons Act.

He added that if community members came forward, it would enable the commission to investigate the various incidents and assist with providing access for people to get help.

“We also need to conscientise the communities to respect the elders because most of them are living alone or with young grandchildren, which makes them very vulnerable members of society,” Mangena added.

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