South Africa: Access for older people to digital infrastructure is a priority

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Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said access to digital and virtual infrastructure by older people is the government’s top priority.

Zulu was speaking at the launch of Social Development Month on Friday. The month-long campaign was launched under the theme “Deliver DSD Services During COVID-19 in the Year of Charlotte Maxeke”.

“Indeed, the meaningful accessibility of today’s digital and virtual infrastructure by seniors is our government’s priority, as our broadcast platforms are on track to migrate from analogue to digital. “Zulu said.

The campaign aims to showcase the work of the department and aims to highlight the measures taken by the department and its entities to improve the living conditions of South Africans by promoting access to social development services for poor and vulnerable communities. , including children, people with disabilities and the elderly.

The launch also takes place on the International Day of Older Persons, when the United Nations commemorates this day under the theme “Digital Equity for All Ages”.

The Minister said that the theme underlies the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older people.

Zulu said that during Social Development Month 2021, they will continue to render service with their social partners.

“Our aim is to find ways to ensure that older people receive necessary and dignified services at all times,” Zulu said.

She called on society to ensure that older people are educated on digital platforms and that they are not left behind.

Working under the District Development Model approach adopted by the government, this month the Social Development Sector will show how its services have been responsive, relevant, innovative and holistic in this sense. that they were implemented by targeted people – public-private-civic-academic-multilateral partnerships.

The sector will also describe its practical implementation and reinforcements of a variety of its interventions where COVID-19 has impacted the lives of ordinary South Africans.

COVID-19 SRD special grant

The implementation of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) special grant between May 2020 and April 2021 has benefited more than six million new beneficiaries on a monthly basis.

Zulu said nearly R20 billion was paid for this grant and nearly R30 billion was spent on additional top-ups to existing grants during this period.

“On July 25, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the payment of the COVID-19 SRD grant until March 2022. As we speak, SASSA and the department are working hard to provide income assistance to eligible South African unemployed.

“As of August, over 13 million applications were received for this grant. It should be noted that 44% of these are new applicants, with a total of around 4,570,357 caregiver applicants,” he said. she declared.

In terms of grant theft and corruption, the minister said that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the department, as well as relevant government institutions, have mechanisms in place to deal with those who benefit. illegally of this grant.

“Ill-gotten public funds will be recovered from the authors. We urge those applying for this grant to ensure that they qualify. If you have any income, please do not apply for the grant,” Zulu said.

Child and adolescent pregnancy

Zulu called on communities to educate children about rape and teenage pregnancy.

“We are as appalled as many South Africans are at the increasing prevalence of child and adolescent pregnancy in different parts of the country. We believe that beyond strengthening families to ensure they are protect the children and youth of South Africa, we should institute legal rape charges against those who impregnate these young girls, ”she said.

Zulu stressed that active measures should also be taken to successfully reintegrate these young girls into school.

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