MARIENTAL – Pensioners in the Hardap region who collected their pension and grant payouts on Tuesday in Mariental have applauded the set up organised by the region’s task force subcommittee on social mobilisation and community engagement, which they said has reduced the time spent in queues.
The precautionary measures are in line with preventing and spreading the Covid-19 virus amongst the community especially the elderly who are more at risk. The measures placed at the payout points throughout the region include social distancing such as sitting one meter apart from the next person, washing hands with clean water and soap using tippy taps provided for them as well as avoiding a large number of people at one place.
“The way we were grouped according to our ages from old to very old, is very good for me because before there used to be a lot of fights and arguments and there was no order. So, if the situation can remain as is, it will be very helpful,” said Pauline Gowases.
According to 47-year-old Jeremiah Swartbooi, who came to collect his social grant, the virus made them aware of how important it is to practice social distancing in public places. “This disease is very scary and I didn’t realise the way we queued up before was a danger to our health. I strongly feel that we should continue queuing up this way because now there is order,” he said.
Pensioner Ida Oarum (70) added that the process set out at the pay points was long overdue. “I hope that in future it will be just like this so that our poor elderly people that used to be unhappy on pension payout day, can be happy as they are today,” Oarum said.
Since the President declared Covid-19 as a state of emergency, regions were tasked to form mobilisation task forces that ensure that the communities are informed through house-to-house health information sessions.
The region’s task team chairperson, Lisma Luipert, however said that there is still a lot of ignorance regarding the virus. “Covid-19 caught all of us off-guard and I think that there is a lot of ignorance of what the implications are and why these regulations are important. It takes time for people to process the information and to really understand that this is something serious, this is where the social mobilisation is extremely important because these are the foot soldiers, they need to go from house to house,” explained Luipert.
The precautionary measures are also set out at other Hardap payout points in Gibeon, Maltahöhe, Kalkrand and Aranos.