South Africa’s elderly: “There’s plenty of opportunities for all of us”


Much of South Africa’s elderly population derive their only income through a government pension, amounting to about R1 200 a month. In Durban, some of the aged say they have been living on shoestring budgets but are making the best of what they have. RUMANA AKOOB reports.

photo 1Jacques Poupard, 70, retired timber factory owner

My biggest costs are my medical aid and cigarettes. We know where our taxes are going to and we, the elderly, need to pay tax. Do you know we could have done so much more with all this tax? Twenty years have gone past in our beautiful country and we could have made it better. I’m voting on May 7th for my party. I don’t believe Helen Zille is going to do much but it depends on the support and backing. Put a new government in with the right ethics and the accountability, even if it’s the ANC.



joy pJoy Phillips, 83, retired library assistant

I hate indicating my race every time I fill in a form. To me, race doesn’t count.. its who you are and what you do that counts. There’s more racial discrimination now than there has ever been before. There’s so much corruption and wastage. I don’t know if there has really been much change.








prAtricia vdPatricia van der Merwe, 70, retired hairdresser

All the promises they seem to have made aren’t being kept today. South Africa is a beautiful country but not what it used to be. Some of the things are better and some are worse. The crime is bad. At my age you have to keep looking over your shoulder.The biggest challenge is trying to keep well and healthy in South Africa. The prices of medication are exorbitant.







tj van wky2TJ Van Wyk, 75, retired motor trader

I don’t watch news. If my wife wants to watch news I tell her to go to the corner outside, then she’ll see real news.South Africa is a very nice country but there’s something wrong. Look at the petrol price, and I’m a pensioner.





Kathleen Swanepoel, 72, retired post office clark

There should be better housing for the elderly and the poor. Heads of state are walking around with everything and some people don’t even have a roof over their heads. Prices are going up and every time the price of food goes up we are the ones who suffer. Our pensions are small and we seem to be paying more out than what we are getting. There are some people who get more than others but for us, we suffer.


william daleWilliam Dale, 74, retired marine engineer

I love our country. There’s plenty of opportunities for all of us. The biggest problem is the cash problem. We don’t have enough money.I hope to vote this year. It’s all fair, everyone can vote for who they want. The majority must win. We live in a lovely country that has progressed since 1994.







adam hAdam Harris, 76, Retired cleaning service manager

We never had the freedom we have today. Thanks to the government, we are here today. This was once a whites-only home. I’m coming to the end of the line soon, so if I do speak its for the younger generation. We probably need a few changes in government… maybe to get people who are more qualified. They need to help the youngsters out so the country becomes more stable.


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