Drought aid not only for Swapo members: Coetzee

11 May 2016 12:10pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 11 MAY (NAMPA) – Karasburg East Constituency Councillor Dennis Coetzee has dismissed accusations that drought relief aid was given only to Swapo Party members at his town.
He said he learnt about the allegations last week in local newspapers and from people at Karasburg who have been voicing their concerns at social gatherings.
“I want to emphatically state that this is not true at all. I am here on the Swapo-Party ticket, but I represent all the people of Karasburg,” he told Nampa on Wednesday.
Coetzee explained that he last month received 400 bags of maize meal weighing 12,5 kilogrammes each, which was distributed to 200 households throughout informal areas at the town. Each household received two bags.
“The truth is that the food is simply not enough for everyone. I submitted a request for a further 500 bags to the //Kharas Regional Council to give to those people we have identified that did not get aid this time around.”
He said other factors such as rampant unemployment and poverty contributed to the high demand for drought relief assistance.
When approached, Personal Assistant to the //Kharas Governor Lukas Shekwaanyena also dismissed suggestions aimed at his office that aid in the region was distributed to ruling party members only.
“The distribution officers do not ask for party membership cards when issuing drought relief because that would simply be unacceptable,” Shekwaanyena said.
He said if people suspect that they are not assisted because of their party affiliation, they should make a formal complaint to the governor’s office.
“Divergent views are important in our democratic country. We are all Namibians and if people qualify for drought relief and there is enough available, they should get assistance.”
Those eligible for drought aid include communal farmers, the elderly, the disabled and breastfeeding mothers.
It is estimated that about 500 000 people are affected by the ongoing drought in the country.