Blankets to keep the cold at bay

Senior citizens from Lwandle, Somerset West and Strand will be warm when going for their check-ups and visiting government offices, which require them to wake up early.

This is thanks to a donation from the Chinese business community in Cape Town, which donated 150 blankets to the elderly in Somerset Town Hall on Friday 10 August.

It was handed over by Albert Fritz, provincial minister for Social Development, as part of the donation part of the department’s ongoing Winter Campaign, which aims to mobilise the NGO and private sector to give generously over this winter period. “The blankets were provided courtesy of the generosity of the Chinese business community in Cape Town,” he explained.

“The department’s Winter Programme prioritises vulnerable groups such as the homeless and elderly by providing R47,6 million funding to NGOs that work with these groups.”

Fritz said the department is also working with a number of NGOs and the business community, to provide extra mattresses, food, and care packs to the poor.

Nowelile Sovita (71) from Lwandle said the blanket will keep her warm when she goes to the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices. “I used to wear a lot of clothes and jackets, but now I will take this blanket I received,” she said. “I am very happy that we finally got these blankets.”

Nora Juries, Helderberg Senior Community Forum chairperson, said the forum wrote a letter to the minister asking for the blankets.

“We stand in long queues and wake up very early when going either to clinic or other government offices,” she said. “We pleaded with the minister because it is very cold in the mornings.”

Juries said this is also senior citizens’ first victory as a constituency.

“We formed the forum in 2016 because we could no longer depend on young people to be our voices,” she related. “This is the start, and we will challenge other office bearers to assist us.”

The forum is for senior citizens, some of whom are over 100 years of age.

Fritz says his department will continue seeking elderly people to assist.

“As winter continues to bite, the department will continue to build partnerships aimed at providing relief from the misery that cold temperatures can bring,” he promised.