Windhoek – The N$100 increase in the old-age pension grant will not make much difference in the lives of pensioners at Katutura Old Age home, unless pensioners change their attitude towards handling money, says a senior caretaker at the dormitory, whom New Era spoke to yesterday.
Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein announced during his budget speech last week that the old-age pension will increase by a further N$100 per month.
“This brings the total annual monthly grant to N$1,200 per senior citizen,” Schlettwein said during his speech in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Alex Kanu, a senior caretaker at the Katutura Old Age, home yesterday opined that the extra N$100 in the pockets of the elderly at the old age home would not make much difference, as some elderly do not use their money wisely.
“To be honest, it would not make a huge difference. The people are still who they are. It’s what they do with the money that counts,” Kanu said.
He noted that for pensioners to live at the old age home they have to pay N$200 monthly for rent.
“This means they will have an extra N$1,000 as pocketmoney. But the majority of them do not use their money wisely. People still wear the same clothes that were donated to them and few would buy extra food.”
He said the caretakers are not allowed to interfere in the finances of the elderly, but he has witnessed disturbing trends whereby some retired folk buy alcohol “and claim to pay rent of their children”.
“Pensioners should not spend their money on families. I know in the African culture we share, but it shouldn’t be that way, because these are poor people. That is why they are here. They already depend on government and there are people who depend on them,” remarked Kanu, saying pensioners need to be educated on how to spend their money more wisely.
A concerned Kanu further said: “For the ones who are addicted to alcohol and cigarettes the habit will just get worse, because they have an extra N$100 to spend.”
He believes the few who will benefit from the extra N$100 added to the pension grant are those who are penny-wise.