Mukwe constituency councillor and chairperson of the Kavango East Regional Council, Damian Maghambayi has questioned whether the leaders in his region are aware that people survive by scavenging for eating expired food.
The development comes as Cash and Carry supermarket in Rundu in the Kavango East was on Wednesday shut down by the Health Inspector of the Rundu Town Council.
The store was allegedly found to have been selling expired and rotten items.
The food items were ordered to be dumped at the Rundu dumping site, attracting more than 100 residents to the dumpsite area to go and dig for the expired food that was scattered around the site.
“There are government sectors responsible for the welfare of the people of this country, if the sectors are in the region, why did they not inform the leadership that this is what’s happening? I am not blaming anyone but community leaders and Rundu Town Council could have also informed the council about people eating or surviving from the dump site.”
According to Mughayambi, these incidents are only happening in urban areas, such as Rundu, where urban migration has increased. He also argued that people have been moving from rural areas to urban areas for 30 years, while not having land to plough, and are not participating in any agricultural schemes.
“Rundu town council is responsible to ensure that things of this nature never come out. We need to identify these people by the relevant factors such as the ministry of gender and quality eradication. The government has programs to register these people on social grants, so they can benefit from the program.”
Mughayambi also argued that the economic situation in the region is not bad and that there are many opportunities for interventions to assist communities.
“The community is encouraged to submit their proposal and come out with a better proposal to transform their livelihood. The Kavango East regional council has called out for submission of the proposal. The due date will be 30 April 2023. This proposal is from gardening, bricklaying, and poultry. This can change the situation of the families. We encourage this type of community members to come closer to their constituency office and participate in the activities of the region,” he told The Villager.
The Head of Public and Environmental Health at the Rundu Town Council, Tuwilika Hamukoto, said the shop will remain closed due to the expired food found during an inspection at the shop.
Hamukoto also added that some food items expired in 2022, adding that the shop will remain closed until all the mistakes are rectified.
Katrina Muyenga, a resident at Kasukwa and a mother of six, was among those residents digging and hoping to find some food, although the food items were expired.
She told The Villager that the main reason why she and her family were there at midnight, digging for the expired food, was due to hunger.
“Some of us have been doing this every time we hear expired food being dumped here. I remember when Spar was also closed and food was dumped here, we came to collect the food items but never got sick. I am unemployed and only depend on my garden,” Muyenga said.
Among the food items that the residents were digging were baking powder, sweets, cool drinks and soap.
A security guard from the Beta company told The Villager, “it’s very hard and dangerous to stop such people from taking expired food from the dumpsite. Our security company doesn’t provide us with any equipment to protect ourselves from people who want to attack you and I can’t afford to stop hungry people on my own.”
He added: “I personally think that the Town Council should build a long fence and should put more guards at the site, maybe then residents here will stop coming for the expired food. Imagine some people even sleep here just digging for food that they will eat.”
Numerous complaints of selling expired food items were laid against the shop and a video that went viral on social media was seen as a life-threatening situation by many residents in the Kavango East.
The video contained images of Cash and Carry workers repacking expired and rotten potatoes into new bags.
All People’s Party secretary general Vincent Kanyetu has called for the Cash and Carry supermarket at Rundu to be closed since it allegedly habitually repackages and sells expired food items.
“There are a lot of health hazards in this shop, clearly they don’t care about the health of the Namibian people,” Neumbo said.