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Media Statement: SAHRC condemns older persons abuse in South Africa

Attention: Editors and Reporters

10 April 2013

The South African Human Rights Commission robustly condemns older persons abuse as horrific and notorious stories pertaining the abuse of older women again made headlines in South Africa. This follows up after a brutal attack and rape of a 92 year old woman from Makau, North West in the early hours of Sunday.
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. On the Easter Sunday an 80 year old women from Bergville, in KwaZulu-Natal was reported to be raped by her 37 year old grandson. These are very shocking crimes committed against older persons who are regarded as wisdom carriers in our land.

It goes without saying that the rights of older persons are entrenched in the constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Therefore, older persons are ought to enjoy their rights as contemplated in section 9 of the constitution. 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.

We as the South African Human Rights Commission strongly condemn these heinous crimes against the elderly and we wish that those found guilty of such be punished to the full extent of the law. The South African Human Rights Commission through its provincial office plans to pay more attention to these allegations. The Commission urges that all those associated with such acts face the law and if found guilty be punished to the full extent of the law.

The Commission suggests that for the effective implementation of older persons act, everybody including civil society, churches, traditional leaders and ward councillors must play a role to ensure that older persons are protected and they are fully enjoying their rights. The Commission robustly believes that it’s the time to come up with more robust institutions with requisite capacities to translate older persons Act into programmes that are implemented to respond to the needs of older persons.

Issued by:
Isaac Mangena
Head: Communications
SA Human Rights Commission


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