Social Development urges youth to prepare for retirement

More than 3 million elderly people around the country are struggling to make ends meet.

Pensioner Sally Cervati divides a loaf of bread by putting two slices each into a plastic bag and stacking them in her freezer so that it can last an entire week. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Social Development Department has urged young people to start preparing for old age as early as possible.

More than 3 million elderly people around the country are struggling to make ends meet, with a current monthly state pension of about R 1,400.

Those over 75 years receive an extra R20.

This week, Eyewitness News has been investigating the plight of pensioners.

Although pensions increased this year by more than the inflation rate, many pensioners are still forced to turn over every cent they have.

Sally Cervatti says it's a constant struggle getting through each month.

Of the R1,410 she gets every month, R1,100 of this is spent on rent.

"It is rather difficult because if I pay tithe when the R1,100 has paid my rent, then I have to pay for food and whatever I have to pay for my funeral plan, so I can barely survive."

The 65-year-old says she has to work carefully to make one pot of food and a loaf of bread last an entire week.

"I believe I am surviving with blessings, because whatever is left, what can you do with that money?"

When asked what she'd do differently to ensure retirement is comfortable, Cervati said she would have started saving much earlier in life.

Social Development MEC Albert Fritz agrees.

"I think people must really prepare for their retirement. I think this is the lesson many people are learning."