WINDHOEK – A silent as a stone President Hage Geingob listened as residents of Hardap Region raised issues ranging from recognition for veteran status, the N$1 250 social grant for pensioners not being enough, allocation of jobs, and the elderly owing the municipality as much as N$10 000 and asking for debt write-offs.
Participants at the town hall meeting held in the regional capital Mariental on Tuesday also asked Geingob and the executive to address the issue of transport between their homes and public health facilities such as clinics and state hospitals.
Having heard their cries, President Geingob hailed the residents of Hardap for the civilised and orderly manner in which they engaged him during the highly participatory engagement.
Geingob – who was accompanied to Hardap by the Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah – is currently touring the country to assess the drought situation while engaging citizens in lively conversations.
The series of these engagements kicked off last week in Omaheke before the Head of State headed to Otjozondjupa.
The President told the masses in Hardap that their concerns would be looked into, press secretary in the presidency Alfredo Hengari said.
Last week the presidency poured cold water on claims, mostly by the opposition, that these meetings were Geingob’s way of garnering support of the masses ahead of this year’s general election slated for November 27.
Government said the meetings were part of Geingob’s obligation to account to the people by giving them feedback on progress made in their respective regions so that they may make up their minds ahead of the elections.
Hengari said residents raised issues ranging from recognition for veteran status, the N$1 250 social grant for pensioners not being enough, allocation of jobs, elders owing the municipality as much as N$10 000 and asking for debt-write offs.
He said participants also asked Geingob and the executive to address the issue of transport from the clinics and state hospitals.
Hengari said Geingob agreed that the social grant amount is small, but that it is a grant afforded to the elderly and the reason why they are not coping with it is because sometimes they have to take care of their children’s children.
Geingob said he is aware of the elders being robbed when they collect their pension and government is therefore exploring an electronic payment system for the beneficiaries.
Farmers raised concern about the payment of tax returns to the farmers and poor road infrastructure close to their farms.
To this, government responded that the Ministry of Finance processes applications for tax returns twice a week and that the farmers should follow up on their applications.
Presidential Advisor on Constitutional Affairs and Private Sector Interface Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi provided a progress report on the issues that were raised during the last town hall meeting held in Mariental on October 9, 2015.
She pointed out that seven issues arose which included the need for a youth multipurpose centre in Maltahöhe.
Zaamwani-Kamwi said that a number of buildings have been identified and are being rehabilitated for this purpose.
“Another issue that arose from that meeting is a request by the women to be given preference and especially single mothers in the granting of fishing quotas,” Hengari quoted Zaamwani-Kamwi as having said.
“This request the advisor said was honoured as a special category for women and the youth are provided for when applying for the quotas,” he added.
Hengari says the issue of the affordability of mass housing was also listed as one of the seven key issues in the last town hall meeting and the government responded that social housing is being subsidised at 60 percent and the normal houses sold at market value.
He said residents of Hardap in 2015 also asked for better health care and Zaamwani-Kamwi said that the upgrading of the Mariental State Hospital has been budgeted for.
With regard to drought relief, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told the gathering that drought concerns that were raised during the 2015 meeting have been responded to in various manners as part of the ongoing drought relief programme.
The prime minister informed the meeting that the programme is designed in such a way to target those whose harvest and income had been affected by drought.
2019-07-18 09:35:49 | 4 months ago