The following speech was delivered today, 18 July 2016, by Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at the Beaconvale Frail Care Centre in Mitchells Plain where she handed over wheelchairs, mattresses, solar water heaters and other goods donated to the centre.
Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little;
General Manager, Mr Raymond Mitchell and staff of the Beaconvale Frail Care Centre;
Residents of the Centre;
Representatives of the South African Navy;
Representatives from SunScan, Northface Solar, Renaissance Solar, SolarMax and Xstream Geysers;
Good afternoon, goeie middag, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom.
It is my honour to be with you all today as we share this day with our senior citizens.
It is always refreshing and humbling to be in the company of the mothers and fathers who laid the foundation of our great city and who made the sacrifices that allow us to enjoy the rights and freedoms in the country we have today.
I want to thank you for all that you have done for us, for your children and for society.
We owe a great to deal to our senior citizens and we are here today to say that we value you and what you have done for us.
One of my favourite verses that I live by and always impart on young people is “Honour your mother and father so that you may live long”.
Over the past five years, in our work of building a caring city, the City of Cape Town has implemented a range of interventions to care for senior citizens.
Our Social Development Directorate’s projects aim to raise awareness of the rights of older persons and to highlight the services that are available to promote healthy living and active ageing.
Our healthy living and active ageing programme encourages older persons to live healthy and active lives through programmes with City Health, the Department of Social Development, Dementia South Africa, the South African Police Services, Elderly Abuse, the South African Social Services Association and various community organisations.
We have also rolled out a successful home-based care unit which provides a variety of social care services.
The home-based caregivers assists senior citizens with light housekeeping tasks including cleaning, laundry, referrals to other social services, companionship and other tasks that seniors are no longer able to do on their own.
In the last financial year, the City recruited people from our Job Seekers Database and trained 400 EPWP workers as caregivers where they provide assistance at people’s homes, old-age homes and clinics.
In 2014 more than 2 580 senior citizens signed up for the programme and last year the number doubled to 5 557.
Each year, the City also hosts the successful Cape Town Games for Older Persons where more than 4 000 senior citizens from all over the city come to the Green Point Athletics track to participate in fun and games with a range of races and other physical activities.
These are some of our ongoing initiatives and a demonstration of our commitment to caring for our senior citizens.
My office also regularly donates wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and commodes to residents in need of these aids. Since 2013, we have donated more than 600 of these items to residents across the city.
Today, it is once again my pleasure to lend a helping hand with the 10 wheelchairs that we are handing over to Mitchells Plain residents which have been requested through our ward councillors.
I am also donating five wheelchairs, five commodes and 60 mattresses to the Beaconvale Frail Care Centre which I hope will go a long way in bringing comfort.
I am also pleased to announce that the City’s Accredited Solar Water Heater companies, who heard about your needs at the Centre, offered to donate and install three solar water heater systems worth over R60 000.
Thank you to SunScan, Northface Solar, Renaissance Solar, SolarMax and Xstream Geysers for your generosity. Your donations are most appreciated and I know that the Centre will benefit greatly from the electricity cost savings achieved though the solar heating.
Many South Africans are today doing something for those in need as the country celebrates the life of the Father of Our Nation, Nelson Mandela and observes the “67 minutes for Mandela” initiative.
Tata Madiba personified the values of compassion, humanity, sacrifice and caring for those in need. He said: “There is nothing more invigorating than to do doing something that makes the people around you smile.”
His life’s work is a reminder to us that we can all do something no matter how small to help someone in need.
Our humanity and ability to help the next person does not have to be restricted to a special day or to a specific time frame.
If we show more respect and care in our daily interactions with one another, we can change many of the evils and social ills that are tearing families and communities apart.
In closing, I would like to say a special thank you to the management and staff at the Centre.
Thank you for taking on this selfless act of caring for our senior citizens and for being here for them every day so that they are not left all alone.
Your work is a labour of love and for that we thank you.
It is only by working together that we will continue to make progress possible and make greater strides in building a caring city.
Thank you, baie dankie, enkosi, shukran.