And ‘dinner’ continues at dumpsite
We feel vindicated in our long-held belief that the announcement made by Government on August 15, 2011 regarding people eating at dumpsites was a knee-jerk reaction.
It was a hoax meant to calm the public outcry and not necessarily an effective initiative to end this shame.
Our visit this week to the Kupferberg dumpsite outside Windhoek strongly suggests that scavenging at the smelly site continues unabated, contrary to the supposed government plans to end this pathetic and unhygienic state of affairs almost a year ago.
We must be forgiven for concluding that it was a knee-jerk reaction when the Cabinet Committee on Overall Policy and Priorities (CCOPP) convened on August 9 last year following a string of media reports about scavenging at Kupferberg.
Government knew exactly what has been happening at this dumpsite all those year but nothing was done to rectify matters until a barrage of media reports last year. If Government had not known about it, then someone is failing in their duty to keep fingers on the nation’s pulse.
Meetings were held during which it was resolved that the Office of the Prime Minister, through the Directorate of the Emergency and Management Unit prepares food relief items to be provided under its Food-for-Work Programme as a temporary arrangement.
If that was the case, why is there still no end in sight for this debacle? Of course the so-called dumpsite scavengers are also a difficult lot. They were presented with an opportunity to do minor work and receive healthy food rations. They agreed to join the initiative, only to turn around and demand money instead of food.
We are among the few people that believe that Government is investing heavily in social grants and amenities. From the old people’s monthly grants to the money for orphans and the disabled.
But this is no excuse to have your own citizens surviving on rotten food. Dumpsites must be cordoned off. They must be declared no-go areas. But we must do this while providing humane alternatives in the meantime.
If the Food-for-Work Programme was a ‘temporary’ measure as claimed last year, what progress have we made in finding ‘permanent’ solutions? By August 15 this year, it will have been exactly a year since Government promised at a press conference that it would help the dumpsite eaters.
An independent Namibia, with its abundant resources and a supposedly people-centred government, cannot have hundreds of its citizens scrambling for rotten food. This is not what people have sacrificed their precious blood for.