Poor planning put a damper on the excitement of
the Golden Games, an
annual sports event for pensioners, when the seniors were left
outside Vygieskraal Stadium
for three hours on Thursday
The event, which was scheduled to start at 10am, only kicked
off at 1.45pm, as the necessary
permit was not available on the
morning, and security guards at the venue could not allow the bus loads of seniors to enter the stadium.
Mariam Edwards, one of the seniors, said her group arrived around 10am, but that there were seniors who had waited at the stadium since before 9am.
“We were told to be here by 9am, but the security said they are not opening up because there was no permit. We waited almost two hours to get in.
“Some of us needed to use the toilet, and it was very challenging. I don’t know where the break in communication was, because we had meetings, arranged by the Older Persons’ Forum,” Ms Edwards said.
The Greater Athlone Older Persons’ Forum chairperson, Sharon Lang, said her organisation “did all we were supposed to do”.
“The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) never submitted the documents and now it puts us in a difficult position,” Ms Lang added.
Ms Lang’s statement was supported by Ward 44 councillor, Anthony Moses, who also formed part of the organising committee. All fingers were pointed at
DCAS officials who allegedly failed to submit the requirement documents.
Another senior, Myrtle Hendricks, from the Hanover Park Fairy Seniors’ Club, said she was disappointed that this year’s event was so poorly organised.
Chairperson of the Hanover Park Fairy Seniors’ Club, Sandy Lentoor, agreed, adding that
they heard there was a problem with the permit, as more
people than expected arrived at the event.
Violet Mnyimba from the Community Women Action Seniors’ Club in Eerste River, said she too, was disappointed.
“People were told the food
ran out, and now we have to wait for more food to be delivered.
I have been involved with seniors’ club sports events for 43 years,
and this has never happened before. People didn’t have a bottle of water even, and many of us
are on chronic medication. This is like elderly abuse. We are
very upset. How can people run now? We are hungry,” Ms Mnyimba said.
Tania Colyn, the head of communication at DCAS, said: “There were various role-players involved in the planning of this event, with
the organising committee consisting of representatives from DCAS, the City of Cape Town and the Older Persons’ Forum. There was some miscommunication between the various role-players regarding the status of the event permit.
“Once the DCAS officials became aware of the situation, they immediately took action to get the permit and the event was able to go ahead.
Unfortunately, there was a delay for some of the seniors entering the stadium but our officials did everything possible to ensure they could get the permit and the event could go ahead as scheduled.”