International & National Principles, Rights and Responsibilities
of Older Persons
National Statements - A Charter for the Aged in South
The Charter for the Aged set out below was developed by the South
African National Council for the Aged in 1977, based on the experience
of other countries having similar charters or manifestos. For
further information, contact:
South African National Council or the Aged
P.O. Box 2335
Cape Town 8000
Republic of South Africa Fax: 27/21 232168
A Charter For The Aged of South Africa
The retired and elderly do not represent a small minority nor
are they a social problem. They comprise millions of ordinary
people. Their needs and talents are as varied as those to be found
in any other generation and they display the full range of human
What they should have is the freedom and responsibility to choose
their lifestyle, to have their views heard, to command respect
and to be able to continue to influence events.
1. Independence and exercising of individual initiative
The aged should have the opportunities for personal planning
and managing their own affairs together with the opportunity to
make contributions to their communities throughout their lifespan.
2. An adequate income and standard of living in retirement
Ideally the individual should have an income which is adequate
to maintain himself physically and delay mental and physical deterioration,
irrespective of his employment capability.
3. Employment opportunities
Individuals should have the opportunity to obtain employment
which is free from discrimination and exploitation by employers
on the grounds of age.
4. Participation in civic, recreational, educational and cultural
There should be adequate opportunities for the elderly to participate
in the widest range of civic, educational, recreational and cultural
activities that are available to them.
5. Suitable accommodation
The community should have a responsibility to provide adequate
and varied forms of accommodation to cater for the special needs
of the elderly. The cost of living in such accommodation should
be within the limits of their financial capacity to afford this.
6. Medical service
The aged should have the opportunity to take advantage of the
full range of physical and mental health services irrespective
of their economic circumstances, including appropriate hospitalisation
and after-care when required. Health services should be fully
developed to cater for the various needs of the aged.
7. Effective social services
There should be social services available to the aged that will
enhance their independence but at the same time make provision
for their protection and care when needed, including appropriate
institutional care when required.
8. Life and death with dignity
In respect of its members, our society should make provision
for self respect, respect and acceptance from others and independency.
This should also include dignity in dying and the right of the
individual to permit or deny the use of extraordinary life support