By Precious Mupenzi

  • The South African Older Persons Forum, represented by Chairperson Kgosietsile Sehularo, raised concerns regarding the evaluation of policies and Acts pertaining to older persons, noting a systemic misalignment with constitutional principles.
  • Sehularo addressed these issues during the National Active Ageing Programme (Golden Games) on Human Rights Day, coinciding with the forum’s inauguration at Hoerskool Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
  • He underscored discrepancies in the implementation of the Older Person Act 13 of 2006, emphasising the need for vertical and horizontal integration by state organs and urging for the inclusion of the SAOPF’s role as outlined in the South African Older Person’s Policy (2005).

The South African Older Persons Forum indicated the need to evaluate policies and Acts concerning older persons inherent within a system that worked contrary to the prescripts of the Constitution.

Kgosietsile Sehularo, Chairperson, addressed this matter during the National Active Ageing Programme (Golden Games) at Hoerskool Nelspruit in Mpumalanga on Human Rights Day, coinciding with the inauguration of the forum.

He highlighted the provisions of the Older Person Act 13 of 2006, which underscore the importance of vertical and horizontal integration and coordination by state organs. However, he expressed concern that such integration may not be effectively implemented.

“We are also aware that the OPA speaks of competing interests which in reality may be a reference to scarce resources. The remedy to this Minister may lie in Chapter 2 of this Act which relates to creating an enabling and supportive environment where older persons can or should participate in activities that enhance income-generating capacity and can access opportunities that promote their optimal level of social, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.”

He further pointed out that the aspirations outlined in the South African Older Person’s Policy (2005) by predecessors have not been reflected in the enactment of the Older Persons Act 13 of 2006, as it does not mention the SAOPF or any potential role it should or could undertake.

“Whilst we appreciate the yearly funding that the SAOPF so far receives from the Department of Social Development as a Non-Profit Organisation, it will not be proper should we forget to refer to observed structural weaknesses in the establishment of this organization concerning the expected role it should play within older persons’ affairs,” said Sehularo.

He noted that despite the Department’s ongoing efforts to amend the Older Persons Act of 2006, which has undergone national Public Hearings and is nearing promulgation as an amendment, a significant gap will persist. This gap is further underscored as they concurrently develop the Departmental Five-Year National Strategy on Ageing for South Africa.

The forum’s recommendation in this regard was that the Terms of Reference for the SAOPF be considered and placed by the Minister of Social Development before the Executive Council for approval.

“The purpose of this will be to Give effect to the SAOPF’s reason for existence which should include the role of Monitoring and Evaluation as spelt out under the South African Older Persons Policy, 2005, and which should call for a uniformed approach to older persons issues throughout the nine (9) provinces in so far as the implementation of Older Persons policy and legislative requirement is concerned. It would also be a good thing if matters of institutional arrangements can be looked into for purposes of a national asymmetrical approach to older persons’ issues,” he explained.

Sehularo took the time to applaud DSD for its continued efforts that are expanding toward improving the lives and welfare of elderly people in the country.

“Today is Human Rights Day, a day on which we, as Older Persons, should reflect on the rights accorded to us…We always feel sad and aggrieved whenever we learn through the media about violence, abuse and inappropriate treatment experienced by some of the Older Persons. Ageing is a process that all of us must go through, and therefore if such atrocities are not curtailed, many of our people will continue to experience them in the future,” he emphasised.

And even though the day had been about the elderly, Sehularo shifted the spotlight and applauded DSD social workers for their efforts and contributions describing them as hardworking, and overburdened adding that they were underpaid.

“Your efforts don’t go unnoticed and we do appreciate your services. We are also hopeful that additional capacity will be created to enable such departments to be effective and efficient in the delivery of their mandate.”

The forum members are as follows:

1 Kgosietsile Sehularo Chairperson North West 
2 Mpho Joyce Mohlamme D/Chairperson Free State 
3 George Khati Secretary Northern Cape 
4 Mafefyane Phetla D/Secretary Gauteng
5 Sydney Sithole Treasurer Mpumalanga 
6 Juline Newman Member Northern Cape 
7 Maureen Mammie Zondi Member Kwa-Zulu Natal 
8 Nomsa Joyce Mazibuko Member Kwa-Zulu Natal 
9 Ramotale Jonas Ramotsoela Member Free State 
10 Gloria Makhubele Member Limpopo 
11 Idah Masehela Member Limpopo 
12 Mildred Nhlapo Member Mpumalanga 
13 Margaret Mathebula Member Mpumalanga 
14 Nontobeko Mkumla Member Eastern Cape
15 Bukana, Rose Mahlatsi Member North West
16 Andy Taunyane Member Gauteng


Leave a reply