Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
More than a quarter of South African children are looked after and live with their grandparents due to having lost their parents.
This has prompted KwaZulu-Natal legislature speaker Willies Mchunu to organise a lunch for thousands of older persons.
He hosted elders in his capacity as an older person himself at the Ezakheni Stadium in Ladysmith on Friday.
"I'm privileged to host men and women of wisdom, the repository of our knowledge, culture and custom," he said.
"I want to thank all elder persons for a life well lived, for the love they have given, for the comfort they have sacrificed for their loved ones."
Mchunu said figures provide an indication of the importance that the elderly are playing in maintaining the social fabric of the society.
"They are central in raising the future generation of our country and the mainstay of our family systems," he said.
He said elder persons had been there during the times of apartheid, when parents were absent because of the migrant labour system.
"And they are there today in times of unemployment and the devastation brought about by HIV-Aids, which is leaving many children without parents," he said.