Discrimination against elderly criminalised

Wendy Gwata
PRESIDENT Mugabe has gazetted Statutory Instrument 100 of 2017 that brings into operation the Older Persons Act (Chapter 17:11) which criminalises discrimination against the elderly with offenders facing one-year imprisonment.

The operationalisation of the Older Persons Act will also see the appointment of an Older Persons Board by the President to deal with issues affecting senior citizens. A director of the older persons’ affairs will be appointed to work closely with the board.

“His Excellency the President, in terms of Section 1(2) of the Older Persons Act (Chapter 17:11) (No. 1 of 2012), hereby fixes the date of publication of this Statutory Instrument, as the date on which the said Act shall come into operation,” reads the latest Government Gazette.

According to the Act, those who will deny entry to an elderly person from accessing premises which other members of the public are allowed for any reason other than genuine safety concerns will risk being jailed for a year and fine not exceeding level eight.

The Act will also see a creation of an Older Persons Fund to provide for the well-being of older persons.

“Older persons residing in any home, hospital, accommodation, nursing home or clinic controlled or managed by the State or registered in terms of the Medical Services Act (Chapter 15:13), the Private Voluntary Organisations Act (Chapter 17:05), the Health Professions Act (Chapter 27:19) or any other law, shall not be denied his or her fundamental rights and freedoms under the Constitution or the enjoyment or exercise thereof to the extent that he or she is able to enjoy or exercise them . . .”

and every such older person shall be accorded full respect for his or her dignity, beliefs, needs and privacy, and for his or her right (subject to such reasonable restrictions as are made by the responsible authority of the home, hospital, accommodation, nursing home or clinic concerned in the interests of the health, welfare or safety of older persons as a whole) to make decisions about his or her care and the quality of his or her life,” reads part of the Older Persons Act.

 

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