SPEC wants discount on pensioners' water and electricity bills

09 Apr 2015 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 09 APR (NAMPA) – The Swapo-Party Elders Council (SPEC) has called on Government to force municipalities to implement a 25 per cent discount on pensioners’ water and electricity bills.
SPEC Secretary Mukwaita Shanyengana made the call during a media conference here on Thursday. SPEC members of the Sixth Parliament were introduced at the event. They include Deputy Minister of Poverty Reduction, Urban and Rural Development Reverend Aino Kapewangolo, Margaret Mahoto and Loide Shinavene.
“SPEC wishes to appeal to Government to press on municipalities to give at least a 25 per cent rebate on water and electricity bills,” Shanyengana said.
He noted that most elderly people have been staying in their houses since colonial times and “are still paying debts to municipalities to call a house a home”.
He also called on Government to construct old age homes in all major settlements throughout the country.
At the same occasion, the SPEC commended Government for the increase of the old age pension to N.dollars 1 000.
The government previously provided pension grants of N.dollars 600 per month to about 7 per cent of the country’s population aged 60 years and above. The increase was announced when Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein tabled the budget of the 2015/2016 financial year in the National Assembly last week.
Shanyengana praised President Hage Geingob for improving the lives of the elderly with the increment.
“This is indeed a good thing,” he said.
Namibia, South Africa and Botswana are some of the few countries in Africa that guarantee social grants for the elderly.
The percentage of the Namibian population aged 60 and above is expected to grow to about 21 per cent over the next decade, according to the 2011 Namibia Household and Population Census.
Meanwhile, research by a parliamentary committee into the abuse of alcohol in Namibia last year revealed widespread misuse of money by pensioners on liquor. The report on the motion on alcohol abuse in Namibia was tabled by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social and Community Development in April 2014. According to the report, several communities have appealed to Government to suspend the grants if it is proven that the grants are being misused on alcohol while people are facing food shortages.
The situation was said to be worse at the Kayirayira and Ekoka villages in the Kavango and Ohangwena regions, according to the report.