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Perceptions of older people with regard to the old age grant: a case study of the elderly in Umlazi.

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Old age pension serves as a poverty alleviation strategy in many poor households in South Africa. Many households in urban areas are plagued by poverty and are headed by the elderly who are often pensioners. Often the pension is the main source livelihoods for many households. With the high unemployment rate in our country this has only resulted in a great deal of financial stress within households. Initially the old age pension was made to facilitate older persons’ independent living and used to assist poverty stricken households. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of older people with regard to the old age grant. The study adopted a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews conducted with fifteen participants (eight older women and seven older men) who were recipients of the old age pension. The interviews revealed that the elderly were very grateful for the old age grant. The main reason the elderly were grateful for receiving the grant was because they were able to provide for their families. This study found that not only did the pension assist with food expenses, but it also allowed them to pay for household expenses. The pension also assisted with the payment of the grandchildren’s school fees, their health and clothing expenditures. However, the meagre amount of the pension was a major challenge as it was not sufficient to cover all their needs and it resulted in unending debts. Regardless of these challenges, the pensioners continued to persevere as their families depended on them. The South African government should extend the social security provision as it would serve the older person well in meeting their needs sufficiently.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.