WINDHOEK – The Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Bishop Zephania Kameeta has warned against individuals selling alcohol to senior citizens on days they receive their monthly pension grants at various pay points countrywide.
There is a public outcry that businesspeople have been targeting senior citizens and selling alcohol to them at pay points.
The misuse of social grants by elderly people on alcohol has been observed within the communities around Namibia due to alcohol abuse while these senior citizens face food shortages because they squander their pension grants on booze.
Many concerned members of the public complained these elderly people end up taking almost nothing home as most of their N$1 200 monthly grants is spent on alcohol on the first day of having received their pay.
To make matters worse, these vendors do not even have permits to sell alcohol at these public places where pensioners gather.
Kameeta did not take these ill practices lightly, as he warned such individuals to desist from selling alcohol to senior citizens at pay points.
He warned that when senior citizens are receiving their social grants, there should be no sale of alcohol at all.
“This has been ongoing for years. When we took office, we started addressing it. This is a crime and it should not happen. The government mean well to assist the senior citizens. And we as Namibians come in and do the opposite. Then we turn around and say government is doing nothing. I think we, as Namibians must change our ways and attitudes of doing things and be more progressive and positive in building this country. We must not target money which government give these people and feed them alcohol,” Kameeta reacted.
The minister called upon the Namibian Police to seriously look into this matter and ensure pensioners are protected from this unscrupulous profiteering.
He also warned some individuals who allegedly go to pay points and crook senior citizens off their money by giving them false currencies.
“This is completely wrong and I regard it as a crime because when government is trying to do to assist, Namibians are breaking it down. On social media, it is just the government which is wrong, while the Namibians are fine. We must address these things and it must be stopped all over the country. It should not happen at all,” he warned.
He said the ministry has been sending out this stern warning through the various local languages for people to avoid selling alcohol at pensioners’ pay points.
Equally, he also urged regional councillors to see to it that senior citizens are protected against the sale of alcohol during their pay days.
The situation is also said to be worsening because some pensioners allegedly go straight to shebeens to drink and gamble after receiving their social grants.
This prompted proposals by some concerned members of the public who suggest financial training for elders receiving the government old age pension, to help ensure that pensioners use their money for its intended purpose.
One such concerned member is Keetmanshoop Rural Constituency Councillor Elias !Kharuxab, who earlier proposed training pensioners in basic budgeting and financial management is of great importance, as it will equip them with the necessary knowledge to manage their finances and will in the long run help in the journey towards prosperity, as the money received would be well spent.