Brutal Abuse of Elderly On the
By Sue Segar,
August 8, 2012
Image Credit: IOL News
are increasingly being robbed by family members to
feed their drug habits and falling victim to abuse
by loan sharks and accusations of witchcraft,
often leading to brutal attacks, Parliament heard
Roedolf Kay, national co-ordinator of the SA Older
Persons Forum (SAOPF), told the police oversight
committee that there were no concrete plans or
programmes in place to curb these offences, and
older people were fast losing faith in the police.
In a presentation titled “Older Persons in South
Africa: The Forgotten Victims”, Kay said the
safety and security of elderly people was not a
priority for the police, many of whom were not
familiar with the Older Persons Act of 2006.
The act was designed to address the unacceptable
levels of abuse and neglect suffered by elderly
people in residential care and in communities.
“The SAOPF is particularly alarmed by the
countless reports of exploitation of older persons
and people with disabilities at pension paypoints
throughout the country.
“Money lenders often withhold pensioners’ IDs and
pension cards for the purpose of extorting money.
These ‘loan sharks’ are charging interest rates of
between 30 percent and 50 percent, which is well
above the legal interest rate,” Kay said.
He said the prevalence of human rights abuses
under the pretext of culture had escalated
alarmingly in relation to older people, with
claims of witchcraft regularly being used against,
primarily, older women.
Often, these targeted people were suffering from
Alzheimer’s or dementia and were seen as witches
because of their “strange behaviour”.
Kay said belief in witchcraft was still strong and
widespread, especially in rural areas. Those
alleged to be witches and wizards became victims
of extrajudicial killing, forced exile and
Many of the attacks against older people were
“horrific, brutal and downright evil”, he added.
“Stakeholders in the aged sector and older persons
are of the impression that SAPS members are often
unwilling to investigate reported cases of abuse.
They have lost faith in the SAPS.
“When older persons call the SAPS for assistance,
they either take an exceptionally long time to
respond or do not respond at all.” - The Star
© Global Action on Aging
of Use | Privacy
Policy | Contact Us