Scores of elderly people marched to Parliament on Tuesday to protest abuse by young people, and demanded an increase in government pensions.
Unless these issues were attended to, they said more protest action would follow in future as “all elderly people” in the Western Cape should band together and be heard.
They said they would not vote in next year’s elections unless government increased their old age grants from the current amount of R1 200 per month.
They also want tough measures to be taken against young drug addicts who robbed or even or sexually abused them with impunity, and called Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to look into their problems.
A contingent said Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula should look into compensating families whose fathers fought in the first and second World Wars yet only returned home with “a coat and bicycle” while their white counterparts were rewarded with land.
All hailing from Paarl, the senior citizens hired a bus to transport them to Cape Town and stood peacefully outside Parliament before handing over a list of concerns.
March organiser Lilian Wellington said if they received no response they would bring six bus loads of senior citizens from across the province to Parliament. Protestor Charlie Christie Meyer, 61, said “all old people across the province must stand up for their rights before the elections”.
He complained that the Democratic Alliance administration in province was ruling “by the color of the skin and face” and wished Nelson Mandela “could help us from his sick bed”.
Mary Nkaphe said the R1 200 their received from the government was not enough to pay rent, buy food and pay for water and electricity.
“We are always in debt, we can’t even give offerings at church.”
Elizabeth Februrie, 70, a member of the SA Cape Corps Military Veterans Association said they were families still waiting for compensation after their fathers fought in the both the first and second world wars but returned home with nothing.
She said, “our fathers returned home with a coat and a bicycle while white solders were given farms”.
After waiting outside Parliament for about 90 minutes a Social Department representative received their memorandum.
Christie Meyer said they demanded a response within 14 days. – Francis Hweshe