83-year-old from Limpopo celebrating their 3-1 win after a soccer game during the golden games.

By Justice Malapane

  • The Department of Social Development is convening a three-day National Workshop to discuss the National Strategy on Ageing for South Africa (2022 – 2027), engaging stakeholders like the South African Older Persons Forum.
  • Aimed at ensuring accessible, equitable, and affordable services for older persons, delegates are actively deliberating on various Pillars, covering empowerment, health and well-being, enabling environment, protection and advocacy, and governance and research.
  • Key speakers underscore the importance of collaborative efforts to enhance the quality of life for senior citizens, aligning with the Decade of Healthy Ageing goals and emphasising inclusivity and stakeholder collaboration.

The Department of Social Development is hosting a three-day National Workshop to discuss the National Strategy on Ageing for South Africa, covering the period 2022 – 2027. Key stakeholders, including representatives from the South African Older Persons Forum, are participating in the event.

The workshop aims to guarantee that services for older persons are accessible, equitable, and affordable. Delegates, consisting of Social Sector stakeholders and officials, are engaging in discussions on various Pillars through Commissions to address these objectives.

Pillar 1, Empowerment: Focuses on Education and Lifelong Learning, Empowerment and Income Security, Intergenerational Solidarity, Active Participation, and access to Safe Transport.

Pillar 2, Maintaining and Improving Health and Well-being: Focuses on Health Ageing, Poverty and Social Security, Housing and Living Conditions, Food and Nutrition, Social Services and Health Workforce.

Pillar 3, Enabling and Supportive Environment: Focuses on Independent Living, Family and Caregiver Support, Civil Society Services and Support, Access to Long-term Frail Care, and Develop Age-Friendly Environments.

Pillar 4, Protection and Advocacy: Focuses on Rights and Legislation, Abuse and Crime, Advocacy and Awareness, Gender Equality and GBVF, and Crisis Emergencies and Epidemics.

Pillar 5, Governance, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Research: Looks into focus areas of Governance of Services, Inter-Sectoral Collaboration, Strengthened Data, Research and Innovation, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting.   

In her address to the delegates regarding the country’s stance on the Decade of Healthy Ageing (DoHA) 2020 – 2030, Ms Jabulile Mohlouwa, Social Work Manager for Older Persons in the National Department of Social Development, emphasised the purpose of the consultative workshop. She highlighted that it aims to encourage collaborative efforts that benefit all senior citizens nationwide.

Ms. Mohlouwa highlighted that South Africa has implemented, among others, the provisions of the 1982 First World Assembly Plan of Action on Ageing and the 2002 Madrid Plan of Action.

“The Older Persons Act 13 of 2006 was also developed in line with the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing, which seeks to advance the health and well-being of older persons in society. The Act aims to ensure that older persons remain as active within their communities as possible,” said Ms. Mohlouwa.

The Decade of Healthy Ageing aims to respond to longevity, acknowledge gains, and manage challenges by enhancing the quality of life in older age through empirically proven responses. This includes the development of proactive and responsive policies, programmes, monitoring and evaluation systems, and review processes.

South Africa’s Approach towards DoHA

  • South Africa plans to bring together various sectors of society, including, Governments, Civil Society, Agencies, Professionals, Academia, Media, Private Sector, Faith Based and Traditional Leaders, Families Communities to improve older persons’ quality of life. 
  • Keep older persons active as contributors and recipients of policy programs, services, actions, and agendas at various levels within their communities.
  • Ensuring that older persons contribute longer, with opportunities for good health at all stages of life, universal health, coverage, and integrated / people-centred.
  • Transforming health and social systems for older persons rather than systems based only on disease. 
  • Mainstream ageing processes within the country through the Older Persons Amendment Act process and implementing evaluation action plan. 
  • All these actions are aligned with the evaluation of the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Expressing his hopes for the workshop, Mr Andy Taunyane, an additional Member of the South African Older Persons Forum and Secretary of Gauteng Older Persons Forum, emphasized the critical importance of inclusivity of stakeholders and their inputs into the National Strategy on Ageing.

“Inclusivity will bode well and remains essential for the final product of the National Strategy. Another important aspect which we hope to achieve with this workshop is stakeholder collaboration and capacity building of Forums to implement their operational plans so that older persons’ lives are improved,” said Mr Taunyane.

According to Mrs Alvira Kleinhans, who is the Western Cape Golden Game Coordinator and former member of the Provincial Older Persons Forum, the final National Strategy would serve

as a guideline for departments to account for their work as they work jointly to address the basic needs of older persons.

“At the present moment, we are sitting with the Older Persons Act and good policies, but we are not fully working together as there is an impression that Social Development alone can achieve and make a difference in the lives of older persons. Therefore, a multi-sectoral approach is key in our discussions and this workshop must not be just a talk show but pave a way towards producing a report from which we can evaluate our work,” Mrs Kleinhans concluded.     

Situational Analysis of Older Persons in South Africa

The country consists of 5.6 million persons who represent 9.2 million percent of South Africa’s population, and 73.0 percent are beneficiaries of the Old Age Grant. The three common health conditions among older persons are high blood, diabetes, and asthma. In terms of medical aid coverage, 75.7 white older persons have access to media aid as compared to 5.4 percent of black African older persons.


Status of Services to Older Persons      

Province Community-Based Care and Support Services

Eastern Cape Province – 295

Free State Province – 199

Gauteng Province – 570

KwaZulu-Natal Province – 383

Limpopo Province – 293

Mpumalanga Province – 166

North West Province – 191

Northern Cape Province – 60

Western Cape Province – 286

Grand Total – 2443

The three-day National Strategy on Ageing for South Africa consultation workshop on the National Strategy will be concluded tomorrow at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre, in Boksburg, Gauteng Province.

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