GOVERNMENT departments and the private sector have been urged to respect senior citizens in their service delivery amid concerns that elderly people face challenges when they approach various departments and financial institutions for services.
The remarks were made by First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa in Bulawayo yesterday when she met senior citizens and donated rice and blankets among other items.
“It is important that in our government departments, our elderly people are treated with the respect that they deserve. I would like to encourage government departments to become more accessible to the elderly. It is our duty to protect the rights of the elderly and assist them to the best of our capabilities,” she said.
Reports have indicated that senior citizens are failing to access their pensions and sleeping in bank queues to do so.
The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is waiting for Treasury’s nod to effect a review of monthly pension payouts meant to cushion pensioners from the rising cost of living.
Principal beneficiaries are presently receiving minimum payouts of $80 per month, while the surviving beneficiaries are being paid $32.
The last increase was in October 2017.
Mnangagwa said the elderly bear the brunt of raising their grandchildren after their children would have succumbed to mainly HIV-related illnesses, noting that programmes are in place to make sure that those living with HIV live longer and healthier lives to lessen the burden on the older generation.
Earlier on, the First Lady had visited a senior Zipra war veteran Jane Ngwenya at Emganwini, widow of Zimbabwe’s first President Canaan Banana and late national hero Dumiso Dabengwa’s widow, Zodwa.
She donated some goodies to the families.