Pensioners Say Families Misuse Their Money

TIMOTHEUS GOcircagoseb claims that ever since he registered for his old age grant, he has never seen or used a cent of his money.

The 67-year-old man, who is a resident at the Katutura Old Age Home, says he has to beg for money to take care of his needs.

“I will not even try to hide it, I drink alcohol but apart from that I am a human being and I have needs. My brother dumped me at this place last year, and he is the one receiving my grant money. He is not giving it to me, saying that I will drink myself to death,” GOcircagoseb argued.

Another resident at the home, Rebecca Jagger (99), who is bedridden and needs money for various items because of her aanced age is not receiving any money from her son.

The caretaker at the home, Martha Rukoro, who confirmed to The Namibian that there are a couple of pensioners who do not get their money, said Jagger’s son comes only after three months.

“The family members don’t come by for months and, as a result, some pensioners don’t pay their rent and fail to buy cosmetics for themselves,” she said.

“One of our oldest members here, Rebecca Jagger, has special needs but her son will only come once in three months, which is not fair.

“Some pensioners require things like adult disposable nappies and special food stuff. We are grateful to generous people who donate these items to them. It is not good for some senior citizens to suffer like this. It is their money at the end of the day. They are not children and thus they should be treated like grown ups and with respect,” Rukoro said.

Efforts to get hold of GOcircagoseb’s brother and Jagger’s son were unsuccessful. In the case of GOcircagoseb , the number purported to belong to his brother was unreachable while the home does not have the contact details for Jagger’s son. Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Services Alpheumlus Muheua says they are aware of such problems, but there is nothing they can do to help elderly people like GOcircagoseb.

“We can’t really intervene because the person who receives the money is put in such a position by the pensioner. Unless they lay a complaint against the relatives they accuse of using their grants without giving them a cent, there’s nothing we can do” Muheua said.

He said they debated the issue and proposed not to give pensioners cash but buy food stuff, cosmetics and any other needs.

Muheua, however, said they could not implement this because they feared infringing on pensioners’ rights.

A research report, released by the parliamentary committee, revealed last month that many pensioners abuse their grand money to consume alcohol.

Source : The Namibian