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07 August 2012 at 21:10 - Posted by Anonymous

Pensioners lose faith in police


Parliament, Cape Town -

The elderly are often turned away or ignored when reporting cases of abuse at police stations, MPs heard on Tuesday.

“I don't blame the elderly for not having confidence in the police,” Congress of the People MP Mluleki George said.

SA Older Persons Forum co-ordinator Roedolf Kay briefed MPs on the daily security challenges pensioners faced.

“The exploitation and abuse of older people is a major problem,” he said.

“The majority of elderly South Africans do not live in old age homes, but in our communities.

“The perpetrators are often family members and the abuse of the elderly happens under a veil of silence,” Kay said.

He said loan sharks and thugs often targeted the elderly outside pension pay-out points.

In some instances, loan sharks withheld pensioners' identity documents until they were repaid what they were owed.

The forum claimed police officers were often unwilling to investigate when pensioners attempted to lay charges at a station.

MPs vowed to lobby fellow parliamentarians and the government to prioritise such abuse.

SAPS deputy national commissioner Godfrey Lebeya responded by saying police did not keep figures, as crime stats were not formulated on the basis of age.

“We've taken note that when (pensioners) move away from the pay-points, there is a need for something extra to be done,” Lebeya said. - Sapa

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