On Wednesday October 12 the City of Cape Town invited senior citizens from various old age homes in the greater Athlone area to a lunch and entertainment event at the Athlone civic centre, from 9am to 3pm.
When we arrived, we were given a single cheese sandwich and a cup of tea or coffee.
This was followed by hours of, apart from three or four impressive items, mediocre entertainment.
The only thing that kept most people there, many of whom had had to spent upwards of R20 to R30 travelling to and from the event, was the promise of a delicious, substantial lunch… such a rare treat for many senior citizens who are expected to survive on R1 500 for an entire month.
What a disappoint-ment it was to receive an unappetising container with a piece of chicken, rice and vegetables, three slices of carrots and a piece of sweet potato to be exact, which I ate simply because at that stage I was starving as was, I’m sure most every other person there, as no snacks or drinks were provided between the sandwich and lunch.
There were chairs set up around the hall but no tables so we had to eat balancing the container of food on our laps.
The City must really have little regard or respect for its senior citizens that they do not see the need to treat us with any dignity.
It was incredibly sad to see that those who did not have a written invitation were told that they had to buy food.
Food stalls were set up around the hall, but why invite people to a catered event and then sell food?
It just doesn’t make any sense. As it was the middle of the month and most seniors had to already spend money to get there, I don’t see how they could still expect any of us to be able to afford to buy anything to eat. I feel very disappointed in the City.
I must wonder whether the same type of poor quality event would be hosted in a more affluent area.
Suzette Little, Mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, responds:
On October 12, the City of Cape Town hosted a senior citizen event in partnership with the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA).
We were joined by Age-in-Action, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to celebrate our senior citizens and the contribution they make to our society.
The event, linked to International Day of Older Persons, is one of the many ways that the City acknowledges the mothers and the fathers of our city, breaking the stigma of ageism and addressing the challenges that many of our senior citizens face.
The City invited and transported 500 senior citizens from various seniors clubs across the city to the event at the Athlone civic centre.
An additional 500 seniors were invited by our partners Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged.
The sandwich, cup of tea, and the lunch were served according to the City’s catering policy and every effort was made to ensure quality lunch for the 500 invited seniors.
The CPOA does not provide catering for their members but provided food stalls selling quality snacks, food and beverages at nominal rates.
These seniors who are all members of CPOA attend this event every year and are aware of this, as it is a normal practice.
The programme for the day included educational and informative talks as well as entertainment.
The City is committed to its seniors and in acknowledging their contribution to society and we make every effort to provide meaningful programmes and events for our seniors.