Pretoria 23 July 2019
South Africa’s elderly population is not without longer a purpose nor a significant continued contribution to the country’s socio-political and economic contribution, and it is only correct that it remains accommodated in programmes to develop the country.
This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which, in partnership with the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, hosted some 250 elderly people during a function to mark the international Mandela Day at the Mthatha dam on Thursday.
The choice of the massive dam (or lake, by some accounts) for the function was consistent with SAMSA’s expanded mandate to promote the environmental and economic potential value of the country’s inland waterways within context of the development of the country’s maritime and marine economic sector as espoused through the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.
The partnership for the event with the KSD Municipality, and to an extent, the KSD Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was part of a larger SAMSA Corporate Social Investment (CSI) campaign in the part of the Eastern Cape that is part the agency’s rural development programme in coastal areas of the country involving mainly youth skills development and job creation.
As it were, Thursday’s Mandela Day celebration with the area’s elderly, had been preceded by a day long SAMSA initiated and driven youth awareness programme involving more than 2000 high school children who were introduced formally for the first time to maritime sector careers.
In marking Nelson Mandela Day annually, SAMSA has over the last few years not only encouraged its own employees to donate 67 minutes of their own time to worthy causes, but also consistently focused on and donated material goods, mainly warm winter blankets to the elderly countrywide.
The activity also consistently involved the staging of a main function to entertain and dine the elderly our the country’s population.
In Mthatha on Thursday, SAMSA Head of CSI, Ms Mapitso Dlepu said the focus on the elderly was both in appreciation of their massive contribution to growth and development of families and communities, as well continued involved in support of those communities.
Many grandparents particularly in the previously marginalised and poor communities, still continued to play an active role in the rearing of children and in support of their own grown children many of whom face unemployment. Government grants are shared with whole families just to ensure that life remained bearable for many.
However in addition, according to Ms Dlepu, it remained sensible that the elderly were not only recognised and acknowledged for their significant continued contribution, but were also kept informed of developments around them.
She said SAMSA’s statutory mandate to promote South Africa’s maritime interest both domestically and abroad essentially involved continuous engagement with communities through information sharing for greater public awareness of maritime sector issues.
Currently in the Eastern Cape, SAMSA is engaged jointly with the provincial government through the Office of the Eastern Cape Premier in an ongoing Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) the both provides basic maritime skills as well secure them jobs on cruise vessels worldwide. Since launch in 2017, no less than 1000 youths from the province have since been assisted this way.
She said it made sense that parents including the elderly were also occasionally appraised of these developments in order to broaden their awareness and solicit support.
For Ms Dlepu’s remarks click on the video below.
Meanwhile, KSD Municipality Executive Mayor, Mr D.N Nelani told the audience that plans for the transformation and development of the Mthatha Dam into a marine tourism attraction were underway. He said the plans have long been established but little had been achieved to date. This he said, would need to change soon as job creation was among key objectives of both the local and provincial governments.
He said the introduction of cruise vessel services at the massive dam would be instrumental in achieving the goal. For Mr Nelani’s full remarks, click on the video below
Spoken to as they dispersed in late afternoon on Thursday, many of the elderly had high praise for the effort and expressed appreciation that Government and its agencies was consistent in acknowledging their continued existence and contribution.
This blog spoke to a few of them in the following video:
For more pictures and videos of the Mandela Day 2019 function for the elderly in Mthatha, see below