Free State to Host Public Hearings on Amendment for Better Protection of Older Persons

BLOEMFONTEIN, FREE STATE – The Portfolio Committee on Social Development will conduct public hearings in Free State Province this weekend on the Older Persons Amendment Bill [11-2022]. These hearings are part of the committee’s nationwide initiative to gather public input on the proposed legislation, in accordance with Section 59 (1) of the Constitution.

According to Parliament of South Africa, the Bill is intended to bolster the safeguarding of older individuals in South Africa. It aims to intensify prevention of abuse, eradicate detrimental traditional practices such as witchcraft accusations against the elderly, and underscore the role of seniors in transferring knowledge across generations. Another significant aspect of the Bill is the provision allowing for the temporary safe care of older people without the necessity of a court order.

Feedback from various regions has been diverse, with some participants emphasizing the necessity to manage living expenses in old age facilities. Concerns were voiced about the high costs associated with such homes, with some reportedly making substantial deductions from old age grants. Additionally, there is a debate surrounding the means test clause of the draft Bill, which could exclude individuals from receiving a social grant if their spouse is a former civil servant with a pension. This has raised concerns about potential discrimination against married elders.

The committee encourages all interested parties to participate in the hearings to convey their perspectives.