KEETMANSHOOP – On poll eve while most people got ready to vote, for the poor the cruelty of life continued as they tried to make ends meet.
All they wanted was a miracle to happen, and the miracle was not for Martin Lukato’s relatively obscure NDP to win most of the votes but simply that whoever wins and comes into power will improve their lives.
With no jobs and fixed income, the Keetmanshop dumpsite has become home and office for hordes of destitute people.
People come here all day hoping to get their hands on something that can help them feed them and their families.
One of the scavengers Joseph Anton, a pensioner, says he goes to the dumpsite hoping to get something he can sell.
Asked if he would participate in the elections he explained that the last elections he took part in were in 1989 but planned to vote on Friday.
“I voted to make a fellow Namibian rule our country and now that Namibia is independent I’m just seated at the back hoping whoever is at the steering wheel can drive properly,” he said.
Anton’s big wish is that the old age pension be increased to N$1 000 as the current N$550 “is not enough”.
With four children and a wife waiting at home, Stephanus Fransman leaves his home early in the morning like any ordinary worker.
He spends all day at the dumpsite hoping to find something valuable.
“I come here because I don’t have a job and my wife and children need to eat and the children also go to school. Here I can get something to sell,” he said.
Fransman says he has been unemployed for a long time and depends on the dumpsite to put food on the table.
He sells scrap metal, brass and beer tins to help feed his family.
Fransman elaborated that he can’t find a proper job and every time he goes to town to look for work people chase him away as they think he just wants to steal.
“We even spoke to the municipality that whenever there are casual jobs we can be called to work but none of us was ever called for a job,” he said.
Children as young as six years old could be seen with their mothers at the dumpsite trying to find something profitable, and some children managed to find food for lunch from inside the piles of plastic bags.
They could not predict who would win the elections but all they pray for is a better living and job creation by whoever becomes the next president.