About 70 elders live alone in urban centres

Wynter Mmolotsi
Wynter Mmolotsi

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Frans van der Westhuizen says a total of 73 elderly persons live alone in urban areas with nobody to take care of them.

Van der Westhuizen said seven are in Gaborone, 24 in Francistown, 15 in Selebi-Phikwe, 22 in Lobatse and five in Palapye. 

This was after the Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown South Wynter Mmolotsi wanted the minister to inform Parliament on the number of elderly people who are staying alone without being cared for by anyone. 

He also wanted to know the number of those who are assisted by government through social programmes and when the ministry intends to establish old age homes or facilities to assist them. 

Van der Westhuizen elaborated that the 73 persons are benefiting from the Old-Age Pension scheme as a universal coverage for all citizens aged 65 years and above. “They receive P430 every month.

Furthermore, 56 of these elderly persons receive an additional benefit of food hampers together with services and an amount of P250 as Destitute Cash monthly allowance from the Destitute Programme.

Fourteen out of 15 of these elderly persons stay alone in Selebi-Phikwe and are beneficiaries of the Destitute Housing Programme,” the minister said.

Van der Westhuizen further stated that the ministry has no intention to establish Old –Age homes rather they have facilitated the establishment of such facilities by the private sector and civil society.

He said the intention is to draft guidelines for the elderly day care centres and old-age homes to facilitate service provision pending the drafting of legislation on the same. 

Adding to what her boss said, assistant minister Botlogile Tshireletso said through government efforts, they are trying their best to help all the destitute communities around the country and all plans are being revised so that they are of high standards. She said they are helpful to those given assistance all the time.

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