21 July 2010
What does the Proposed Constitution say about the older members of society?
The current Constitution does not make specific provisions about age
and older persons. The issue of age is dealt with sporadically with
regard to the qualification for certain offices such as the
requirement that a person who seeks to be President be at least 35
years of age.
However, it can be said the older members of society are covered under
the provisions that prohibit discrimination on suspect grounds such as
language, race, religion and others.
It can be argued that age would be one of these suspect qualifications
and that, therefore, it would be unlawful to discriminate on the basis
The Proposed Constitution makes it an obligation on the part of the
State to take measures to ensure that:
Older persons are involved in and fully participate in the affairs of
the nation alongside other citizens.
That the older persons are not hindered in their pursuit of personal
That older persons are enabled to live in dignity and respect and that
they are specifically protected from abuse or mistreatment on account
of their age.
The effect of the above provision is that it seeks to recognise the
older persons in society and to ensure that they are integrated into
the national affairs of society to the full extent that they would
wish to be involved in the issues of the nation.
Secondly, it obligates the government to establish a welfare system
that will enable the older persons in society to have and sustain a
The article says that this would be a role to be shared by the
government and the family members of the senior members of the