Good Samaritans respond to destitute pensioner story

Home Featured Good Samaritans respond to destitute pensioner story

WINDHOEK– Following New Era’s report on the destitution of 71-year-old Angolan born Maliu Armandu it has emerged he has Namibian identification documents. Many people have also been moved by the story about the bitterly impoverished old soul and have opened their purses to him.

Last week on Monday New Era carried a news story on Armandu’s dire situation of poverty.

Armandu was born in Angola but spent most of his life in Namibia where he worked as a miner, according to documents in his possession. He also worked as a handyman.

New Era has reliably learnt that an old identification card (ID) of Armandu is in possession of a community member who has assisted in applying for a pension grant for Armandu.

New Era can also reliably confirm Armandu has a voter’s card dated 2009. But he has yet to receive the state’s pension grant of N$650.

Joshua Ngomo, a committee member of the Mix settlement who has been fighting for Armandu to get a pension grant since last year says he is sent from pillar to post each time he goes to enquire about progress on the old man’s pension grant.

He went as far as applying for Namibian citizenship for Armandu whom he has known for many years. “Armandu and I have spent many years together here in Mix,” said Ngomo.

Ngomo explained that he enquired with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration but he has not received a satisfactory answer on the way forward.

“Every time I go there they tell us he is not yet approved but I don’t know what exactly is the problem. I don’t go there often anymore only when I have transport money,” he said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, New Era learnt last Thursday that Armandu’s citizenship certificate would be ready at the end of the week.

“We are busy processing it. He is a Namibian citizen by naturalisation because he has been here for so long,” a source in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration said.  Efforts to get information regarding Armandu’s pension application from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare proved futile as Lourencia Tjiho of the social welfare division did not respond to questions sent at the time of going to print.

This is despite promises she would respond.  Windhoek Rural councillor Arie Frederick told New Era on Saturday he would seek the services of social workers to assess Armandu’s case.

Frederick feels Armandu should be rehabilitated.

“He is not sick. He is fine, he is just not himself,” said Frederick. With regard to helping Armandu to get a social grant, Frederick said bureaucracy makes it difficult for him to effectively help the old man and others in similar positions.

“The bureaucracy is killing us, there is too much bureaucracy. Sometimes it’s like you have to beg someone to do things for you. It’s not only him (Armandu) who is in this kind of situation but I will try my best to see that these people get a lasting solution for him,” said Frederick.


Meanwhile, Armandu was showered with donations from good Samaritans last Wednesday.

A teary eyed Armandu did not hide his gratitude when a New Era team of two reporters, a bus driver and fleet coordinator as well as a donor from the public showed up at his shack to hand him a bed, blankets, clothes and food.  “Thank you very much,” Armandu responded time and again when he was told that the items had come from sympathetic readers including those who did not want to be named.

Jimmy Pumulo Lilungwe who gave Armandu a second-hand bed, blankets and clothes said he was touched when he read about the old man.

“I broke down into tears and I still cannot come to terms with the fact that there are people living like that in our society,” said Lilungwe. He stressed that people should look out for one another.

“We must love each other and take care of each other regardless of who we are,” stressed Lilungwe.  It was a pleasant sight on Saturday afternoon when New Era visited Armandu’s shack. Everything was better packed and in order. His neighbours also cleaned the shack for him.