March is Human Rights Month in South Africa and the Department of Social Development, will in collaboration with the South African Older Persons Forum (SAOPF), promote the rights of older persons through dialogue and sporting activities in Mbombela, Mpumalanga.


South Africa will this year commemorate Human Rights Month under the theme: “Three Decades of Respect for and Promotion of Human Rights”; and President Cyril Ramaphosa will this year commemorate  Human Rights Day on 21 March 2024, at the George Thabe Stadium, in Sharpeville, Gauteng.


In choosing to concentrate on the human rights of older persons, the department is trying to encourage the country to respect the human rights of older persons as enshrined in the Constitution. The active ageing programme is a platform to inform older persons about their rights; establish cooperation with government so that older persons’ rights, concerns, needs are identified, voiced, and addressed.


Statistics South Africa’s publication titled: “The Social Profile of Older Persons, 2017 - 2021, states that between 2002 and 2022, there has been a rise in life expectancy.


During the State of the Nation Address in February, President Ramaphosa announced that: “life expectancy has increased from 54 years in 2003 to 65 years in 2023. Maternal and infant deaths have declined dramatically.”


According to the 2022 Census report, the country’s older persons population was estimated at 5.6 million. The 2022 Census report shows an increase in the number of older persons across all provinces, with highest number of the older population being in Gauteng at 1,4 million and KwaZulu-Natal at 940 000.

This is an indication that South Africa is becoming an ageing society which is not immune from the burden of disease, that can cause disability due to an increase in old age-related chronic diseases.

In a few decades, the loss of health and life worldwide will be greater from non-communicable or chronic diseases, such as, Cardiovascular disease, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Arthritis, and Diabetes among others.


In South Africa older persons are also faced with numerous challenges including, Gender Based Violence and Femicide. They are often deprived from enjoying their old age as they are often forced to take care of orphaned and vulnerable grandchildren.


Under the theme: “Leaving No One Behind during the Decade of Healthy Ageing;” the active ageing programme seeks to improve the quality of life, health, and well-being of older persons by instilling dignity, peer social integration, as well as promotion of senior citizens’ voices and the creation of awareness concerning their ability to express themselves through dialogue, music, sport, and recreational activities.


On the first day, the active ageing Programme, will unfold through an interactive dialogue wherein older persons will find space and opportunity to participate in a democratic manner by independently expressing themselves on how they would like to be treated by authorities and society.


Amongst other topics, they will also reflect on the role of Traditional Leadership in the Promotion and Protection of the rights of Older Persons, Family Care and Support.


Older persons will also participate in various sporting activities including, amongst others soccer and athletics which are also an essential component of Active Ageing Programme.


All government departments, tasked with the implementation of the Older Persons Act will be part of the proceedings.



Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the Active Ageing Programme Dialogue and Golden Games planned as follows:


Date:    21 - 22 March 2024

Time:   10h00

Venue: 1 Cameron Street, Hoerskool Nelspruit, in Mbombela, Mpumalanga Province  




Media can RSVP by contacting Ms Nomfundo Lentsoane on 0664806845 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Media enquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 0834848067 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.