'Govt must not spoil the people'

27 March 2019 | Local News

Andreas Nenkavu, 90, believes the government is to blame for the economic hardships the country is currently facing.

He says the economy cannot grow if the government offers too many free services to its citizens, and at the same time enforces strict regulations on those operating small business such as cuca shops.

Nenkavu says offering free services to citizens means that the government has to spend a lot of money, making it difficult for it to offer efficient, and quality, services.

“Sometimes when we go to the state hospital for treatment or refills for our medication, we are turned away and told that there are no medicines and we must go to private pharmacies.

“This is an indication that the government cannot afford to offer these free services and it is the citizens that will suffer at the end of the day,” Nenkavu says. “We cannot afford to buy medicine at private pharmacies. To improve the situation, we should rather pay a small amount that we can afford so that we can avoid such a situation. “It is better to pay as little as N$15 every time we go to the hospital, than ending up paying a lot of money at private pharmacies or not taking our medications because we cannot afford them.”

In his view, people can afford to pay a small fee for such services because they receive social grants.

Pensioners, people with notifiable diseases, and vulnerable groups such as children under five and pregnant women are exempt from paying any fees at state health facilities.

Nenkavu also does not support free food parcels as part of drought relief, saying it has promoted laziness. He says when he was young the government used to collect mahangu from farmers, stored it in silos and handed it out to the needy during droughts. He says the government did not hand out this mahangu for free, but organised food-for-work projects.

“The government of today buys food and gives it to the people for free.

"Many of the earthen dams you see today were excavated by the people during droughts.

"These were food-for-work projects and people used to get mahangu every day after work because that year there was no food at all,” Nenkavu says.

He adds that the government has introduced laws restricting people from buying alcohol, and strictly regulates the operations of cuca shops, which is unfair.

“If you go to shops in town, they are open in the morning and they are getting customers buying all sorts of products without restrictions. If you come to the village, cuca shops are prohibited from operating in the morning as apparently they are making people not go to work.

“There is no one who will go to the cuca shop leaving their mahangu fields untended.

"Those with cuca shops have the basic needs for those working in mahangu fields, be it sugar or bread,” says Nenkavu. He says cuca shops pay for licences to operate like any other business.

ILENI NANDJATO

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