n Law, Democracy & Development - Older Persons Act : out with the old and in the with the older?

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



In 2001 the Ministerial Report on Abuse, Neglect and Ill-treatment of Older Persons ('Mothers and Fathers of the Nation: The Forgotten People') gave horrific accounts of older persons suffering neglect and abuse in residential care, in their communities and in their family homes. The long-awaited Older Persons Bill 68 of 2003 and the resultant Older Persons Act 13 of 2006 promised to provide the regulatory framework within which older persons would receive the care and protection they deserve.

The aim of this article is to trace the legislative and policy developments from the Aged Persons Act of 1967 up to the Older Persons Act 13 of 2006. The Older Persons Act is compared to the Aged Persons Act to determine whether the former truly can live up to its promise as all-inclusive legislation regulating the protection and care of older persons, or whether it has ended up being merely its predecessor cloaked in more politically correct terms. In particular, it will be argued that the lack of express enforcement mechanisms detracts from the significant advance in the protection of older persons created by the rights-based approach introduced by the Older Persons Act.

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