Jocobeth //Gases, a resident of Donkerhoek settlement in Khorixas who together with her four children have been feeding on food meant for doves and chickens, are to get urgent assistance from the Kunene Regional Council.
New Era brought to light the plight of the //Gases family, who have been helping themselves to animal feed sent to them by a relative who works at a farm in Outjo area. The feed is meant for doves and chickens, but //Gases said she tasted it and started having it as meals with her children.
“It was not sent for us to eat but was meant for the doves and chickens. I tasted it and since my child and I were hungry we both started eating it,” she said.
//Gases, 48, first made the startling revelation at a community meeting at the town last week.
Yesterday the special adviser to the governor of Kunene on issues regarding the southern part of the region, John //Khamuxab, paid a visit to //Gases’ house to acquaint himself with the situation on the ground.
//Khamuxab said Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila too wanted to visit Donkerhoek to familiarize herself with the situation. “When the prime minister heard this story she wanted to fly to Khorixas to hear for herself.”
When //Khamuxab asked //Gases whether she had sought assistance from the Khorixas constituency office for food, she said her family has no confidence in that office and therefore did not bother approaching it.
“You go to them but they don’t listen to us, therefore we see no hope in going to the constituency councillor (Elias Xoagub),” a relative said.
//Khamuxab explained that there were special programmes at the Khorixas constituency councillor’s office for HIV-positive individuals who are given tinned fish and maize meal. He urged those infected to approach the office for assistance.
//Gases furthermore complained about the lack of ablution facilities and the few water points at the informal settlement as well as high unemployment. To this, //Khamuxab responded: “Animals may die but not human beings. People must not eat feed meant for animals.”
//Gases, together with her four children, reside in a two-bedroom shack with five more relatives and eke out a living by making plastic buckets from material she collects at a rubbish dump.
Following //Khamuxab’s visit to Donkerhoek yesterday, a man Eben !Howaeb and his wife !Howaes emerged with claims that their family too is starving.
They have eight children aged between 17 and five and are unemployed. “Every Tuesday our children wait for the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge truck to arrive at the dumpsite so that they can scavenge for leftover food,” they said. Five of their children attend school.