KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, has strongly condemned the phenomenon where senior citizens are accused of witchcraft due to the onset of dementia and related mental conditions.
Dube-Ncube on Sunday commemorated International Day for Senior Citizens at Umkhanyakude District Municipality.
The Premier said she is worried about the increasing number of senior citizens, who are being killed because of claims of witchcraft.
“The onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s causes forgetfulness among the elderly. Unfortunately, this is interpreted as witchcraft by members of the public, who then hurl and inflict abuse on the senior citizens,” Dube-Ncube said.
She said government has created an awareness campaign to educate members of society so that they understand the causes and symptoms of dementia and related mental conditions.
“We are gathered here today to tell our senior citizens that they are more precious than rubies, gold or diamonds. Senior citizens are reservoirs of knowledge, wisdom and history. We cherish their presence in our lives so that we can continue to quench our thirst for knowledge and wisdom,” the Premier said.
Dube-Ncube highlighted the provincial government’s achievements in supporting Small, Medium and Micro enterprises (SMMEs) owned by senior citizens.
“As the provincial government, we have thus far been able to create opportunities for senior citizens to run their own businesses successfully. Here in Umtubatuba, we have Lethusizo Old Age Club, which is managed by senior citizens, and government is funding it,” Dube-Ncube said.
The Premier also awarded cheques to the value of R1 million to assist senior citizen-owned cooperatives and entities, and showered centenarians with gifts.
She further advised senior citizens to take care of their lives by being active so that they stay healthy, and take their medications regularly and constantly because they still have a big role to play in society.
On the pressing issue of the late South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant payments, Dube-Ncube expressed her sincere regret and assured the senior citizens that she is in constant contact with Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
“The late payment of social grants to the elderly is deeply regretted and we assure the senior citizens that such mishaps do not happen again,” Dube-Ncube said.
Source: South African Government News Agency