The thriving culture of corruption in Namibia has taken root in the Food Bank initiative, with managers, nurses and civil servants benefiting from the free monthly groceries.
The Windhoek Observer is in possession of a list of Food Bank recipients from one of the constituencies in Windhoek, which shows that even those earning above the N$400 qualifying income ceiling have taken advantage of the free groceries meant for the most vulnerable in society.
Some of the people on the list own taxis and shebeens while others are police and army officers.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, Moses //Garoeb constituency councillor, Fanuel Shivute, said they were investigating some of the people on their list after complaints surfaced that employed residents, including civil servants, had registered as beneficiaries of the poverty alleviation initiative.
He said they had started re-registering beneficiaries and removing names of those they found to be earning higher incomes.
“It has been difficult to control people because once a person realises that even those who should not be benefiting are benefiting, then they also want to benefit,” Shivute said.
He added that the street committees tasked with registering beneficiaries were not exercising due diligence as required, resulting in a free for all.
The street committees are responsible for identifying and registering beneficiaries according to the criteria set by the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare. The committees also carry out assessments of vulnerability as well as collect and distribute the food parcels in the locations.
“The street committees that were established were tasked to target the most vulnerable people, but that has not been the case because even people who own businesses managed to cheat their way in,” Shivute said.
The councillor suspects that members of the street committees were also registering their friends and families who do not meet the requirements.
“You know the nature of a human being, once you hear that there is some form of help, naturally you would not want to leave out your friends and family,” he said.
President Hage Geingob launched the first-ever Food Bank in the country last year as a pilot project in Windhoek. The Food Bank initiative involves the sourcing and distribution of food and non- food items to the needy.
Only those households whose total per capita monthly income is below N$400 are supposed to benefit from the Food Bank, meaning that support is given at household level.
The monthly packages include maize meal, tinned meat and fish, cooking oil, beans, yeast, flour, brown sugar and a bar of soap. The value of each parcel is about N$550.
Comments from the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare were not received before going to print.