By: Kelvin Chiringa
Law maker Jennifer Van Den Heever has made a startling claim that the poverty ministry has been distributing expired and rotten drought relief aid in the form of food parcels and maize meal.
Speaking in parliament this week, Van den Heever said the relief aid was meant for the years 2016 and 2017.
“Can the minister please furnish this August House about this development and whether this rotten and expired food is the alternative your ministry has come up with whilst locals wait the distribution of the delayed food parcels by your ministry?” she quizzed Kameeta.
She asked him if he was also aware that these alternative food parcels have long expired.
Van den Heever has also claimed that someone in the ministry felt the need to even go as far as indicating a new date, in pen that denies the actual expiry date of these foods.
“Are you aware that this maize meal is rotten and causing health reactions such as vomiting? What is your ministry doing to resolve this very pertinent issue that could be life-threatening,” she asked.
She did not make it clear in which areas this food was handed out.
Meanwhile, the ministry is yet to give a response to these questions which the law maker said she would ask the minister on the 28th of this month.
“A few weeks ago, I was asked to give my opinion on the delay in distribution of food parcels caused by an internal administrative error as given by the ministry of poverty eradication. I distinctively expressed my concern about the condition in which this delay in delivery was going to leave the food parcels in, especially at delivery,” she said.
The poverty ministry has so far spent a total amount of N$70 million for the acquisition of food parcels and administration of the food bank programme.
The programme, together with the World Food Programme, received a huge boost in terms of operationalisation with the official launch of the biometric system called SCOPE in November 2018.
Kameeta is on record saying that food beneficiaries would be introduced to income generating programs in order to graduate from food handouts and generate income to sustain themselves.
He said the concept of the Food Bank does not only consist of food handouts but will be re-engineered to include special case management and graduation model programs.
“We are not handing out food to make our people lazy like some people are saying. We do this with and intention to have them off the street. We do not want them to work on empty stomachs because they will not be able to concentrate.”
“We have worked tirelessly to make sure that every person has food on the table before they go out with their ideas to start their business. What I am saying is eventually a beneficiary will move forward once they have concrete income either from their business or from employment,” he said.