By Surihe Gaomas GOBABIS Anger, frustration and despair etch their wrinkled tired faces. He arrived at the paypoint as early as four o’clock that morning from the Steinhausen constituency in the Omaheke region. By evening, he’s still waiting. Close to eight hours have passed but he’s still there for the money he so desperately needs to eke out a living. “Everytime, every month, the wait is just too long and for us old people our legs just cannot carry us.” With endless queues crowding the Nampost offices at Gobabis this specific Wednesday morning, the sight of crowds of senior citizens especially that of the San is a common sight. When the New Era team arrived here, frustration was discernable as pensioners stood in queues to get the monthly N$300 pension. Some of the pensioners were tired and sought shelter under nearby trees, on the pavements and at streets corners. “We have a huge difficulty especially us old people,” said wife to Kwekwe, Sabina, holding the crumbled identity documents in her hands. She said the wait was a long one. But she had no choice. For the Kwekwe couple, the trip to Gobabis from Drimiopsis, some 50 km away costs N$40 dollars. “The pension money is not enough and we want an increase. I must still pay my debts and I will only have N$80 to buy food for myself and seven grandchildren at home,” said Maria Bessa standing in the long queue. On this day, it might take her any six hours before she gets her money. Her daughter Anna who’s been accompanying her mother in the line echoed the same sentiments saying that pension payouts are a struggle every month. However, with the recent introduction of a computerised system at Nampost offices countrywide, especially through the Smart Card system, things could become better for the senior citizens of Gobabis. Earlier this year when introducing the new Smart Card system, Chief Executive Officer of Nampost Sakaria Nghikembua said the faster and more efficient electronic way of making payments into one’s account will ultimately lessen the long queue factor. Currently, the pension payouts are done through the electronic Resposte System at most of the 121 post-offices countrywide, including that of Gobabis. The rest are still on the manual system of Paying Per Voucher. Yet with the digitalisation of the entire system at Nampost countrywide, this should gradually become something of the past. Besides the fact that too many of the senior citizens flock to the Nampost offices on a single day, most of them still have not adapted to the new digitalised system. “What normally happens is that the elderly still have the old blue savings books and they want their pension to be deposited in the Smart Card, which takes time, because most of them have still not enrolled themselves with the new system,” said Head of Post Offices at Nampost, Clement Dunaiski. He however added that enrolment with the new system will take some time and is progressing well. As for now, as the latest electronic system is currently being rolled out throughout the country, the elderly at Gobabis are however being encouraged to have a little more patience as the long queue factor should soon become something of the past.
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