Forum launched for Manenberg seniors

Vanessa Damon, from the Department of Social Development, encouraged the forum to take up issues affecting seniors.

Thirteen seniors’ clubs gathered at Phoenix High School hall on Saturday June 23 for the launch of the Manenberg Seniors’ Forum.

The seed for this launch was planted just less than a year ago, when seniors complained to Ward 45 councillor Bonita Jacobs about how the seniors were neglected and how their needs did not form part of the area’s community action plan.

The plan is an initiative of the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP).

The day started with the seniors marching in the roads with placards to highlight the challenges they are facing. Representatives from government departments and ward councillors were among the speakers at the event.

Melanie Page, from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) explained the process under way, for seniors have to get new cards.

She said it was a quick process but that queues were unfortunately long.

The Athlone SASSA office will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 1pm, as the card swopping has to be completed by the end of August.

Ms Page also announced that the centres which offered cash payments in Manenberg, Gatesville and Belthorn Estate, will be permanently closed.

Vanessa Damon, from the Department of Social Development, congratulated the forum, saying they have to champion the challenges seniors face.

“The forum must take up the lack of accessible transport, infrastructure challenges, as venues to host meetings are a big problem; lack of accessible and secure housing and assisted living, as well as access to health care,” she said.

Chairperson of the forum, Alice Fouten, encouraged all seniors to join a club.

“We have so many needs, and how can a 45-year-old speak on behalf of a 75-year-old? Yes, we appreciatewhattheyounger people are doing for us, but we want to speak for ourselves. As old as Manenberg is, we don’t even have a seniors’ home,” Ms Fouten said.

The rest of the forum’s executive includes deputy chairperson Gertrude Fransman, secretary Ilse Matthys, assistant secretary Alfred Davids, organiser Hassiem du Toit, and additional members, Jenny Herman and Owen Plaatjies.