300 San Development Volunteers Unpaid

MORE than 300 volunteers and 400 beneficiaries of the San development programme have not received their allowances for the past three months.

Project director in the Office of the Prime Minister, Gerson Kamatuka, confirmed the issue this week.

He said budget hiccups in the national San development programme are the reason for the delays in paying the workers and beneficiaries of the programme.

Kamatuka did not explain the nature of the problems being experienced in the budget.

Government allocated more than N$2,5 million for the San project for the 2015 financial year.

The money is supposed to go towards resettlement, sustainable livelihood support programmes, education, land and income-generating initiatives for marginalised communities.

Kamatuka was responding to grievances presented by 17 San students who are sponsored by the project through the OPM.

The students, who are studying in various fields in Windhoek, told The Namibian last week that they have not been receiving allowances for the past three months and no valid reason has been given.

Kamatuka said they were also experiencing hiccups in the payment of allowances because they were in the process of moving the programme from the OPM to the Office of the Vice President where the department for marginalised people and those living with disabilities is now operating from.

“The move has been affecting our operations and it has not only affected the students but also the allowance of volunteers such as nurses, councillors and social workers who work with the San in the regions,” he said.

He said although the 300 workers were not full-time employees, they are supposed to receive a monthly allowance to cover their basic needs.

Kamatuka also rebutted accusations by the 17 students that he had been uttering discriminatory remarks against them whenever they enquired about the delays in paying the allowances.

The students said they were told that the San can survive for three months without food when they asked about their allowances. Kamatuka denied making such remarks.

“We are here to help them. Why would we make such remarks?” he asked, adding that they were trying to speed up the process to get the project running again.

“We apologise for the delay,” he said.

Source : The Namibian