Seniors’ lunch disappoints

Lorraine Isaacs, Lotus River

A signed petition was handed to ward councillor Patricia van der Ross on Thursday October 25.

We wished to inform her of our continued indignation two weeks after the fact.

There is no way our elders, a most valued human resource in our communities, can be treated in such an undignified manner.

Previous councillors, Mr Smith and Mr Isaacs, provided much better events. There was, among other special events, a much-anticipated splash-up Christmas lunch for seniors of Ward 65.

For the past three years, under Ms Van der Ross, things have taken a turn for the worse. The first year there was nothing at all, the second year the merest effort was made to serve a Styrofoam bowl of food.

“Ons het verwag na laas jaar toe ons ten minste ‘* klein bakkie akni gekry het, sal sy hierdie jaar dinge kon beter doen. Maar dit was slegter, nie eers ‘* klein bietjie moeite nie.”

The date was set for October 11. A month before, we were informed of the “annual Christmas lunch” by word of mouth.

At 10am on the day, the seniors, some as old as their 90s, arrived to lunch at the Lotus River multi-purpose centre. There were about 70 or 80 guests. There was no decoration to suggest a luncheon or even Christmas.

A few empty trestle tables stood around, naked of even a tablecloth. Chairs were loosely scattered about. The councillor was there, and provided some half-hearted entertainment.

After a few hours a poor attempt at provi-ding coffee and tea was made, but they soon ran out of sugar and there wasn’t enough milk.

At our age we are used to proper cups and saucers. Older, frail people had difficulty handling hot beverages in Styrofoam cups.

“Ons kom uit die comfort van onse eie huise, waar ons nog ’* sandwich kan maak as mens honger is, naar in daai hall van 10 o’ clock af, om daar honger te sit en daar kom niks nie, nie eers ’* bietjie water of ’* nibble nie. With other councillors we had everything, even puddings and yellow rice, roast potatoes, roast meat – and a gift bag even.

This year things have reached rock bottom. After hours of sitting around and waiting we were not offered an explanation or apology. The old-aged seniors
of Ward 65 returned home with an empty belly, nauseous with hunger.

* Ward councillor, Patricia van der Ross, responds:

The seniors are very dear to my heart and I have much respect for the seniors. Ward 65 has had many outstanding issues that has not been tended to due to some or other reason. When I was elected in ward 65 I first went around and listened to what the community wanted and what the needs of the community were. Among the most important was unemployment, housing, traffic calming and gangsterism.

Over the past two years the ward allocation mainly went into safety and security in the form of cameras and equipment for the neighbourhood watches. The safety of the residents of Ward 65 will always take first priority.

Thereafter the focus is on outstanding and new traffic calming measures. We have been using funding to upgrade our parks to make it safer for our kids to enjoy.

In saying this yes, the funding for parties was not available as the needs of the community became my priority. This year we had planned a small function for the seniors to say thank you and also tell our seniors about the two-year journey. Unfortunately, the supplier disappointed us and we ended up having a plan B.

We are planning an event for seniors and for it to be big. This invite will be for about 150 seniors from our different senior groups in the ward. And yes our recreation department will work extra hard to make this a success.

Our seniors are what is sacred to us as a community and we look forward to spoiling them. What we, however, need to understand is that there’s a great need in our community to create opportunities for our youth.