MEC Bongiwe Mbinqo Gigaba: Northern Cape Older Persons Lunch

Acting Head of Department Ms Ruth Palm

Councillors

Senior Citizens of our beloved country

Comrades and Friends

Ladies and Gentleman

Program Director

It gives me great pleasure to address our senior citizens during the festive season as we are approaching Christmas. Christmas is a time for celebrating with our loved ones and sharing with those less fortunate.

However before we continue I would like to start off with something inspirational which I read and was written by Izabel Reyes: GREY HAIR: The Crown of Splendour. It starts off with a bible verse from Isaiah 46: 3-4 ” Listen to O house of Jacob , all the remnant of the house of Israel , who have been borne by me from before your birth , carried from the womb ; even to your old age I am He , and to grey hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear, I will carry and will save “

The Word says we are to treasure the elderly , for a long life is a blessing from God , yet it seems that this generation , spurred on by the technological advancements of the past decade , has adopted an “in with the new and out with the old ” mentality. This certainly does not reflect a Heavenly mindset considering it is with age that one gains wisdom – making the elderly extremely valuable and resourceful members of society.

Older people are the cornerstone of our country, repository of our history, cultures, customs and our heritage and passing them on from one generation to another.

Ladies and gentlemen, elder abuse, like domestic violence and child abuse, comes in many forms, and is often a silent crime as most of us never see it because victims are abused behind closed doors by their own family members. Often people who do see it choose not to get involved because it is “none of their business.”

Elder abuse, whether physical, psychological, financial, sexual or a form of neglect is a violation of older persons human rights and need to be addressed immediately. I plead with you today, if you suspect any form of elder abuse in your community, please report it immediately at you nearest police station or social development offices and remain anonymous if you choose to.

We have received many calls from different older people, where they reported to us of how their children and grandchildren, take their bank cards when they get pension and withdraw their money for themselves and not for you. This is financial abuse and they are depriving you from what is yours. Remember Old Age is not a privilege; it’s a right, a right that the ANC Led Government has given to you.

Ladies and Gentlemen the old age pension grants that you receive from this Government are there for you, our elders of society, because of your old age you cannot work and be economic productive. Our people must understand that social grants are not a salary it is there to render an added or helping hand. These grants serve as a buffer for many people against abject poverty. And therefore these grants are not there for your children to take control of it and decide for you what you can buy and when you can buy. This money is for you and you must spend it wisely on yourself, by buying your groceries, toiletries, etc. It is not there for you to purchase alcohol either.

During this festive season, all of us who can, and are able to, are compelled to lend a hand to those individuals and families that are unable to support themselves, and to show compassion to the elderly and children that do not have clothes, something to eat or a simple gift to bring a smile to their face.

It is by caring for our most vulnerable members of our society that we can save and cure the soul of our nation. However, the prevalence of crime blots our programmes of building safe and secure communities where everyone can exercise their right to live in peace and comfort.

I therefore wish to assure all people in our Province, that our uncompromising stance to fighting crime in all its manifestations remains unshakeable. The police force is geared up to fighting crime and bringing lawbreakers to book. However, they need the support of all our communities to ensure a safe and violent free festive season.

I appeal to all members of the community, to be patient with our law enforcers on the roads as they would be at work and in action. As government we will have a Zero Tolerance to Lawlessness, especially alcohol and drug usage , domestic violence , assault and more important the abuse of our elderly.

The abuse of alcohol and drugs are on the increase and has contributed immensely to the moral decay in our communities. As parents and activist in our communities, we should always be responsible and set an example for our children. In our modern life, the children became the parents and the parents the children. If we want to turn this situation around in the Northern Cape, we will need role models, responsible and disciplined parents who will be able to take back their rightful place in our society.

Ladies and Gentleman

Let us console those who have unfortunately lost family members and friends through natural and unnatural causes during this year in our communities and on our roads.

During this season of goodwill, let us not indulge in substance and alcohol abuse. Equally, let us all avoid physical violence at all costs.

Let us also bear in mind that the Festive Period is a time of giving and in this regard let us not forget the less fortunate, the elderly, the unemployed, child- headed households and other marginalised sections of our society.

May the peace and blessings of Christmas be yours, and may the coming year be filled with happiness.

Today, you will receive a small token of appreciation for the pivotal role you have played in our society and in educating our next generation.

I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! God Bless You!

I thank you!

Source: Government of South Africa.

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