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SAHRC condemns brutal attacks of older persons in South Africa

8 JANUARY 2012

ATTTENTION: Editors and Reporters

In South Africa brutal attacks and abuse including physical and sexual abuse against older persons, primarily women, are rife. The recent incident where an 84 year old woman from Pine Town, Durban was attacked by four youths who broke into her home on Christmas Day is yet another troubling case that begs the need to ensure adequate protection of older persons.

The attackers allegedly kicked, punched and beat the old woman with sticks and ransacked her house. Similar cases of attacks against the elderly especially women who are vulnerable and powerless to defend themselves have been widely reported in the media particularly in KwaZulu-Natal province. Last year, two women in Impendle, KwaZulu-Natal between the age(s) of 74 and 86 were raped on the same week. Another older woman of 74 years was gang raped in Jozini, north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It was said that these women were sexually abused by youths.

Older persons in South Africa are protected by law. Thus, they ought to enjoy the rights contemplated in section 9 of the Constitution of the Republic and as envisaged by the Older Persons Act. However, there is little evidence to show that this is actually happening and the increasing reports of abuse against the elderly are alarming and highlight their extreme vulnerability regardless of the existing legislation enacted to protect them.

The South African Human Rights Commission strongly condemns these brutal attacks and urges the Government to take and implement strategic steps that will ensure the protection of older persons as entrenched in the constitution. The Commission further urges that all those associated with such acts face the law and if found guilty be punished to the full extent of the law.


Issued by:
Isaac Mangena
Head: Communications
South African Human Rights Commission

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