The DA recognises the steady increase in human longevity and that it represents one of the greatest transformation challenges of our times. We celebrate International Day for Older Persons as it draws our attention to the worth that older persons has in our communities.
It also highlights that when older people vote, they can have significant political influence and governments must consider their rights and needs – or they risk losing support from this increasingly large and loyal block of voters.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission, 4 278 million registered voters are over the age of 60 years old, out of the total voter population of 26 000 million.
In Census 2011, the highest proportion of elderly persons was recorded in the Eastern Cape, at 9.7%.
Globally, the number of people over 60 years is expected to more than double by 2050, from 760 million people today, to over two billion.
In South Africa, as at mid-2014, it was estimated that there were approximately four million people aged 60 years and older. Representing 8% of the population, this figure is expected to rise to 15% by 2050.
Given the current rate of corruption and fruitless and wasteful expenditure, one must ask the question if the disintegrating ANC government will be able to respond and develop much more innovative, creative, efficient and effective policies to ensure that our older persons are catered for.
A DA-government would review how we can develop adequate intergenerational support systems, workplace pension funds, retirement policies, social welfare assistance, health insurance and healthcare provision.
The DA recognises that older persons make wide-ranging contributions to economic and social development of the country.
However, the poor treatment and abuse of the human rights of older people lead to their exclusion, poverty and discrimination.
The DA believes older people can make key contributions to any community through their experience and wisdom gained.
Crime is a challenge for South Africa. It affects all ages, and older people are no exception. There is a growing body of evidence that shows many older people face abuse and violence in their own homes and in long-term care.
Many are also denied the right to make decisions about their finances, property and medical care. They are often denied social security, access to health and productive resources, work, food and housing.
The ANC government views ageing as a social welfare or development issue. We, in the DA believe that this outlook reduces older people to recipients of charity rather than people who should enjoy their human rights on the same basis as everybody else.
As a caring provincial government the DA will ensure better protection of older people’s rights that will allow communities to better capitalise on the potential older people represent.
As a forward looking DA government, we will ensure that we keep pace with the changing demographic trends as to achieve a sustainable, secure and fulfilling future for people of all ages in the province.
Kobus Botha MPL
DA Shadow MPL for Social Development
* International Day for Older Persons is on on 1 October 2016.
The following two tabs change content below.