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Older Persons Parliament giving voice to the elderly
​Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, Deputy
Minister of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu,
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi
with members of the KZN legislature and members of the
Senior Citizens Forum from various provinces during the
Older Persons Parliament at the Durban Exhibition Centre.
TO UNPACK issues and challenges pertaining to the livelihood of senior citizens, the Department of Social Development in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and eThekwini Municipality hosted the National Parliament for Older Persons on 23 October at the Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC).

The Parliament also aims to give senior citizens an opportunity to engage with high-ranking government officials as well as participate in decision making processes. During the session, senior citizens representing various provinces gave detailed presentations on issues affecting them.

Addressing attendees, Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini urged beneficiaries of social grants to use the funds wisely. She also encouraged senior citizens to apply for government’s Grant-in-Aid funding programme. “If you are already receiving an old age, disability or war veteran’s grant and are unable to care for yourself to the point where you need full-time care from someone else; then you may get an additional monthly payment from government’s Grant-in-Aid programme,” she said.

She explained that senior citizens cannot get the Grant-in-Aid solely, but should be in addition to their old age, disability or war veterans grant. “You cannot get the Grant-in-Aid if you are living in any kind of state-subsidised institution,” said Minister Dlamini.

The City’s Senior Citizens Forum Secretary Pat Ballantyne said social security and healthy living for senior citizens must be at the forefront of government’s agenda. “These are the things that we advocate for.

We are very grateful to government for giving us the opportunity to raise our concerns and to also make recommendations.” Issues raised during the Older Persons Parliament will be presented by the
Department of Social Development to relevant government departments for consideration and intervention. These issue are also expected to be debated by the National Assembly.

themba.khumalo@durban.gov.za 
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