WINDHOEK – Pensioners yesterday described President Hage Geingob’s announcement that the monthly pension has been increased by 40 percent, from N$600 to N$1 000 as a ‘blessing from God’.
Excitement and relief were evident on faces of the elderly New Era spoke to yesterday, moments after the President made the announcement during his first cabinet meeting.
Geingob noted that the increase is in line with his ambitious plan of reducing poverty and inequality.
“The psychological impact of such an increase should not be underestimated,” the President, who has been in office for only ten days, said.
Some elderly people screamed while others clapped hands in appreciation of the N$400 increase. “This is a blessing from God. I’m very thankful,” visually impaired Mina Swartz, 80, said.
She said N$600 was very little on which to survive through the month despite her having people who take care of her.
Swartz, who lives in 8ste Laan informal settlement in Otjomuise, said she pays N$200 for the plot on which she lives.
She uses another N$200 for food and the rest of the money is spared for emergencies.
“I’m clapping my hands with joy because the Lord has heard my prayers,” another pensioner Jan Majiedt said yesterday.
Majiedt and his wife both relied on their pension of N$600 each to pay their house and municipal bills.
The Majiedts said they would continue to pray for the President’s health and wisdom. “Our eyes are fixed on our new President Geingob. Last year we did not get an increase but at least today we received this good news,” said Majiedt before hugging this reporter.
“This hug is for you to convey to our President for giving us such wonderful news,” Majiedt added.
When 67-year-old Hilda Goagoses heard the pension was increased she could not hold back her tears. Goagoses who shares a house with 13 other people including her children and grandchildren said: “Die Here is goed tog (the Lord is good).”
Goagoses said she would sometimes buy food on credit to keep her family going. “With the N$1 000 I will at least use N$500 for all the basic needs and the remaining N$500 I will keep in my bank account for emergencies,” said Goagoses.
From her pension Goagoses makes sure she pays N$115 for the piece of land (erf) she lives on. She spends the rest on electricity and other household needs.
“I’m so happy,” said Karolina /Gôagoses. She said the new pension would help her in repaying her ‘Build Together’ housing scheme loan.
“At least I will have enough to pay back my loan because I am building a house through Build Together.”