Call for protection of elderly

2010-09-28 00:00

ON the eve of the KwaZulu-Natal Senior Citizens Parliament, provincial legislature speaker Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni has called for the protection of senior citizens against widespread abuse and accusations of witchcraft, which often lead to brutal attacks and murders.

Nkonyeni’s call follows a series of attacks on senior citizens, apparently because they were accused of practising witchcraft.

The KZN legislature will be holding a Senior Citizens Parliament on September 29 and 30 at Esayidi FET College (Gamalakhe campus) in Port Shepstone.

“It is often said that senior citizens do not contribute to society. Many are ridiculed, discriminated against, abused or regarded as a burden. The majority, especially the rural poor, suffer poor health, which is compounded by access barriers to health care and persistent violation of their rights.

“Most senior citizens are lonely and their old age pensions are mainly utilised as an income for the entire families.

“Elderly women, especially in rural areas, are accused of witchcraft and as a result they are brutally murdered on the basis of those suspicions,” Nkonyeni said.

Some elderly citizens have contracted HIV/Aids while caring for their sick children, relatives or neighbours.

Nkonyeni urged senior citizens to attend the parliament in order to raise their grievances so that government will know what interventions are required on their behalf.

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