'Say no to the abuse of elderly'

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

Hundreds of pensioners, some with walking sticks, brought the Durban CBD to a standstill yesterday when they took to the streets to protest against the abuse of the elderly.

They displayed banners and posters which said: "Old people fighting the terrible twins: TB and HIV", "Age is Gold", "Aged demand Action" and "Say no to the abuse of elderly".

The pensioners converged on Broad and West streets and made their way slowly to the city hall.

Walking hand-in-hand and assisting each other, the frail pensioners blew whistles as they called for a "better life for the elderly".

Pastor Sakhile Langa, one of the organisers, said the march was planned to honour senior citizens this month - which has been declared a month for the elderly.

The march, supported by organisations such as Tafta and the Muthande Society for the Aged, was also to highlight the plight of the elderly and create awareness about issues affecting them.

"Our elderly are going through a lot these days," Langa said.

"This morning I heard that one grandmother has not seen her children in more than five years.

"We want to say to the people that they need to respect senior citizens. Elderly people need to be honoured and showered with love."

Many of the elderly said they were tired of spending their pension money to "feed grandchildren left orphaned by HIV-Aids".

They said instead of being left to relax in their old age they are forced to be "parents again".

Antonia Khoza, 83, of Chesterville, said she came to the march to "tell the government" that she was "sick and tired" of standing in long queues at pension paypoints.

"We get there very early and they make us wait for hours in the queue," Khoza said. "That's not fair."

Mavis Goge, 85, said: "They also cut our water supply. Why do they do that?"

Obed Ndlanzi, chairman of Turning Point, a youth NGO, said they took part in the march to support the elderly.

"We want to see an end to the abuse of the elderly," Ndlanzi said. "We want to see our grannies happy."

The marchers presented their petition to a representative from the office of eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba.