KEETMANSHOOP - Despite not having been registered to benefit from the government’s food bank programme, many Keetmanshoop residents yesterday flocked to the bank with the hope of getting their hands on some of the food items.
The street committee members were hard at work distributing food for November and December, with each beneficiary receiving two bags of maize meal and a parcel containing basic food items such as cooking oil, sugar, canned fish and flour.
But while many were pleased to have received some food, some were equally disappointed, saying it is unfair that they did not receive food while they too are unemployed and poverty-stricken like those who have been registered as beneficiaries.
Daniel Topnaar, 45, told New Era that he heard that people were getting food and rushed to the WAD centre so that he can also collect food for his family, as they had nothing to eat at home, adding that life has been hard for his family since he stopped working three months ago.
Topnaar narrated that he is the sole bread winner and have to take care of his wife and four children, who stay with him at Keetmanshoop’s informal reception area, but he said putting bread on the table has been tough since he no longer works and it is unfortunate that his family was never registered to benefit from the food bank programme.
“I am unemployed for three months now, I had worked on a contract basis which finished and I am now just seated at home, I do not understand why I should not get these food, I am also poor like these people, so I do not understand why they did not register my wife despite them visiting our shack, this is not fair, we must all get food we are all poor,” he said.
Another resident, Clanks Haman (30), also expressed his frustration that he could not get food because he was not registered, saying he does not understand what requirements are followed, pointing out that as a young person who has been unemployed for two years now, it is hard to make ends meet.
He also questioned fairness of the registration process.
“How do I not qualify? I have been unemployed for too long, it is difficult to get something to eat, let those registering treat us the same and not have favouritism towards certain people,” he stated.
A government representative Wilma Dirk who was at the site told New Era that it is a common thing that unregistered people turn up and ask for food, but that it is unfortunate that they are turned away as only those registered are catered for, and those not registered will only be able to be registered next year.
“Some unregistered people also come when we handing out the food parcels, but we can unfortunately only give to those registered,” she indicated.
About 229 registered beneficiaries received their food.