• April 25th, 2019
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Witvlei endures high unemployment and poverty


Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek-Residents of the sleepy village of Witvlei plan to petition Omaheke Governor Festus Ueitele to get government intervention in the increasing poverty rates in the area due to unemployment. Community activist Crooks Ngangane confirmed the planned protest, saying they are currently mobilising more people for the march to take place next Wednesday. According to Ngangane, so far over 1,000 youth in surrounding areas have agreed to partake in the planned march for jobs. Ngangane said he could not reveal in details what the petition entails but it includes a variety of issues ranging from unemployment to education. He said the community has tried to engage Ueitele via letters but they haven’t got any response from him. “Since his appointment as the governor, we haven’t seen him here,” stressed Ngangane. “Currently we are just waiting for police approval for the planned march,” he added. According to Ngangane, the closure of Witvlei abattoir in 2015 – the facility regarded as vital to the livelihoods of hundreds of people in the one-street village – has left people at the village and its surroundings in a state of hopelessness. Ngangane says the abattoir employed over 200 people and its closure has let many without anything to eat. Nampa last week reported that the lack of employment opportunities for residents, especially the youth, at Witvlei, which is in Omaheke Region, continues to haunt the close-knit community. In separate interviews with Nampa on Monday, the residents said the situation has become so bad that many young people are often forced by circumstances into committing petty crime. Piet Titus, an elderly resident of Witvlei, said the situation at home has driven his children out of the house to fend for themselves as he is unable to feed them on his meagre old-age pension. He said while most of his children dropped out of school at primary level, it was disheartening to see them going in and out of jail for the petty crimes they often commit. “It is not easy for a parent to see your children going to jail, but it is even more difficult seeing them starving in front of you,” he said. The over 20 shebeens in the small community do not make the situation any easier. “Alcohol seems to be the only thing that is freely available at this town. No wonder our children are drunk almost any given day and time,” another elderly resident, Albertina Cloete, said. Other issues rife in the community, according to residents, include a high rate of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts. Many children drop out of school because parents cannot afford to send them to high schools elsewhere. As a result, most children drop out of school after Grade 7. According to the regional profile of Omaheke, as provided by the office of the governor, urban poverty remains a huge problem at Witvlei, Leonardville, Otjinene and Gobabis. At the end of April 2017, a total of 7,756 beneficiaries were registered for social grants in Omaheke. A total of 5,964 beneficiaries received old-age pensions, and 1,792 are registered for a disability grant. – Additional reporting Nampa
New Era Reporter
2018-02-01 09:05:54 1 years ago

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