In an effort to empower and educate senior citizens, the South Durban Basin Area Based Management hosted a senior citizens empowerment event in partnership with the Ward 71 Councillor and various line departments on Tuesday, 4 December.

The programme was facilitated together with Parks, Safer Cities, Disaster Management, SAPS, Metro Police, DSW Education, Fire Department, Department of Social Development, Government Communications, Environmental Health, Shallcross Health Clinic, Heart Foundation, Shallcross CPF, and the Chatsworth Civic and District Federation.

The various stakeholders and partners provided important skills, information and services to the elders. Health screenings such as sugar and blood pressure screenings were provided. SAPS provided important safety information to the senior citizens. Ward 71 councillor, Previn Vedan said, “The event was well attended, seniors came out in their numbers, from all over the ward and in unity. As a ward councillor, I wish to provide hope to our people, ensuring service delivery needs are met for our communities. Our seniors face many challenges such as loneliness, healthcare deficiencies and outstanding bills.”

At the event, the seniors were empowered by departments on how to protect their rights and how to enforce them and also encouraged that they still have a role to play in guiding and sharing their life experiences. “They also have a role in teaching us how to keep our families together and how to overcome tough circumstances. In the upcoming months we want to look at bringing more programmes for seniors to Ward 71,” added Vedan.
Teddy Govender, chairperson of the Chatsworth Civic Federation said, “It was humbling to witness the year-end function for the senior citizens in Ward 71 and heart-warming that the 500 or so people enjoyed this empowerment programme.

It was great that many speakers from the different departments, informed the attendees of their rights, the do’s and don’ts of daily living.”
Senior Manager of the ABM, Mrs Singh, informed the senior citizens of their rights to demand service delivery and to escalate their needs. Kamini Pillay from Safer Cities said, “With a growing number of older adults living independently, it is increasingly important to make sure that they’re safe at home. Older adults who live alone may also become the victims of criminals who target older people. Crime is still a major concern for the elderly and their families. As people get older, they can become greater targets for petty theft, purse snatching, fraud, illegal loan sharks or unscrupulous insurance brokers. The Senior Citizens Empowerment Programme was facilitated to empower and educate the elderly, knowing the risks and how to prevent crime. This is important to staying safe and secure.”

SDB ABM Office, project leader, Irene Chetty said, “In keeping with the 16 days of Activism Against Women and Children Abuse initiative, this project aimed to promote health, safety and wellness awareness in senior citizens by conducting an educational programme for both formal and informal residents that focus to be on health, waste management, financial management, fire safety and crime awareness over the festive period.”

Eurakha Singh, SDB ABM senior manager in her address said, “The municipality is serious about making its vision of a caring and liveable city a reality for the people of eThekwini, and that the only we way we could do that is to go out to the people and to engage with them. It is the duty of the city and officials to provide efficient service delivery to all citizens. In closing, she expressed her gratitude to all the partners for working together to making the event a success.”

The SDB ABM wishes to place their sincere thanks and appreciation to all stakeholders, line departments and volunteers and our sponsors who worked together to make a difference in improving the lives of our elderly.