Speech by Josephine Tshivhase on the Older Persons Bill Debate

23 March 2006

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Honourable Members of Parliaments.

Ndi wonoyu muvhuso u wo?he wo rangwaho phan?a nga ANC u dzhielaho vhaaluwa na pfanelo dzavho n?ha. ANC i di?ongisa nga mbetshelo dzi tevhelaho dzi pfumbisaho pfanelo dza vhaaluwa . Tsumbo ; Bathopele , Better life for all, Free-basic services na zwinwe zwinzhi. We are indeed a caring society and they are the true custodians of culture.

Growing old should be a period when a person's contribution to society is acknowledged and valued. In poor communities old people make valuable contribution to households as carers for children, people with disabilities and those affected and infected by HIV and Aids.

This Bill seeks to maintain and increase the capacity of Older Persons to support themselves and to contribute to the well-being of those around them.

The objectives of the Act are to:

a) to maintain, and promote the status of well-being, safety and security of older persons;
b) to maintain and protect the rights of older persons as recipients of services;
c) to regulate the registration of facilities for older persons and,
d) to combat the abuse of older persons.

The Portfolio Committee of Social Development did not want to rush the Bill in processing it. This is because the civil society was more attracted to it. We observed this by the number of both oral and written submissions to the public hearings where in certain instances we had to "burn the midnight candle". Since the first public hearings more NGO's and CBO's attended our committee meetings. 27 organizations and 8 individuals submitted written and oral submissions and presented them to the Portfolio Committee.

The Bill and its proposed amendments first of all seek to address the needs of older persons living in communities by spelling out the kind of services that would support older persons, as well as setting up the framework within which such services would be funded and offered in a manner that respects and promotes their dignity and their right to independent living. Furthermore, the conditions for registering community-based facilities such as luncheon clubs are spell out in the Bill. Similarly, the Bill details the procedures for monitoring norms and standards in the delivery of such services.

It has also been argued that in the context of extreme poverty, older persons are vulnerable to abuse.

Hune mundende wa mualuwa wa vha u wone u kholophaho mu?a, u wana henefho mu?ani mualuwa e ene a no wana zwi?iwa zwi?uku?uku, zwi songo teaho ngeno a ene a dzhenisaho tshelede . Na ene u wana a sa koni na u amba uri tshelede i tea u shumiswa hani. Na u zwi vhona uri u khou tambudzwa lwa ikonomi a sa zwi vhoni. Vha dovha hafhu vha vha zwipondwa nga murafho wa vhaswa . Vha vhiga tshifhinga tshothe uri mindende yavho i dzhiwa nga khani nga vha?uhulu vhavho. Na uri ndaka yavho i rengiswa vha songo zwi tendela kana u vhudzwa. Na zwauri a vha na n?ila dza u tsireledza pfanelo dza ndaka dzavho.

Chapter 5 of the Older Persons Bill deals with the protection of older persons against abuse, and provides a detailed definition of abuse. Abuse includes any conduct that comprises physical violence or the threat thereof towards an older person, or conduct that violates the older person's sexual integrity. Abuse also includes behaviour that forms part of continued degrading or humiliating treatment of the older person, or withholding of economic resources that the older person is rightfully or reasonably entitled to. It further makes elder abuse a criminal offence, and sets out the procedures to be followed should such abuse be suspected or reported. Clause 25 provides that any person who suspects that an older person is being abused should immediately report suspicion of abuse to the Director-General (DG) or a police official.

Arali muhumbulelwa kana mavharivhari a u tambudzwa a songo ripotiwa, o zwi vhonaho u wanala mulandu a newa faini kana a gwevhiwa minwaha mi?anu e dzhele kana zwo?he. DG na mapholisa vha tea u sala mulandu uyo murahu zwi tshi ya nga nzulele yawo. Clause dzi tevhelaho dzi tendela mualuwa a tshi nga bviswa arali mutakalo wawe u sa tendi; Clause iyi i tendela na u bviswa ha mutambudzi khumbulelwa afha hayani ha mualuwa.

It must also be noted that the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act (Act No. 116 of 1998) can be applied in cases of physical abuse of an older person. Persons who come into contact with older persons on a professional capacity, such as a social worker, a religious leader or a health practitioner, may report the matter to the social worker, upon which report an investigation must be undertaken to ensure that the older person is protected.

Ndi mushumo washu ro?he kha vhupo hune ra dzula khaho u pota vhatambudzi vha vhaaluwa vhashu kha mulondotavhapo, DG kana mulondotavhapo o newaho ripoto iyo u tea u ita tsedzuluso ya mafhungo ayo. Mualuwa a songo shuma zwi?aratani kana u humbela vhudzulo , U tambudzwa lwa vhudzekani, U vhewa kha nyimele ine ya huvhadza mihumbulo yawe, u naledzwa na u vhaiswa muvhili wawe. Vhukando vhu tevhelaho vhu tea u dzhiiwa musi ?ho?isiso dzi kati. Mualuwa kha gidimiselwe vhuongeloni arali o huvhadzwa kana vhukhudoni. Mapholisa vha mbo ?i vhigelwa ripoto sa zwe section 27 ya zwi angaredza uri linwalo la khothe li bve uri phondi i ?ivhonadze phan?a ha madzhisi?ara?a wa fhethu henefho.

The Bill requires the Minister to keep a register of abuse of older persons, and include in this register all notifications of abuse, together with the particulars regarding each notification. In addition, the Minister is required to keep a register of all persons convicted of elder abuse, and no person who has been convicted, may operate or be employed at a residential facility or community-based service for older persons.


Awareness of elder abuse has also been brought into focus inter alia, through the advocacy of International bodies such as the United Nations, the World Health Organizations and the International Network of the prevention of elder abuse. The Bill places the responsibility of reporting elder abuse on the shoulders of every member of the community where they know that it is happening. SAPS must be trained in the procedures to follow upon receiving a report of alleged abuse, as well as the special needs of older persons in these circumstances.

Vhaaluwa vhashu kha ri vha fune sa zwe Bivhili ya ri zwi na mashudu khazwo ngauri ndi IFA ?ashu . Vhu?ali vhu wanala khavho. ANC i sapota mulayotibe uyu.

Ndi a livhuha!!!