Hike Ruled Out
By Lindsay Dentlinger, The Namibian
the first ever national consultative conference for the elderly, Health
and Social Services Minister Dr Libertina Amathila said that while it was
Government's intention to continue increasing grants for pensioners this
could only be considered when the country was financially better off.
current pension is only N$250 per month.
conference comes ahead of the International Day of Older People, which
will be commemorated tomorrow.
108 423 pensioners are currently registered to receive grants - just more
than 80 per cent of the total eligible population.
said calls for an increase in pensions by opposition political parties
were an election campaign ploy and a tactic by younger people to take more
from their elderly parents.
were last increased in February 2002, from N$200 to N$250 per month.
Health Minister explained that her Ministry was spending a lot of money on
upgrading existing health facilities, and the building of new ones to the
extent that it intends to ask for an additional N$31 million from the
budget to carry out its projects.
National Assembly is expected to debate the increase in pensions this
week, at the request of DTA-UDF leader Katuutire Kaura, who tabled a
motion in the House last week, requesting an increase in pensions to
to lack of financial resources Amathila is instead proposing that social
pensions be supplemented with food rations in times of drought.
Kondombolo, who serves on the National Council for Older Persons in
of them, she says, are unable to meet payments for their houses in which
some have lived for over 30 years, while keeping up with municipal
services bills was impossible.
children of the elderly also came under fire at the conference for their
alleged maltreatment of their parents.
abuse the elderly terribly. They say they are going to the urban areas to
find work, and then they return with babies which they just dump with
them," said Kondombolo.
said she was aware of the increasing burden placed on the resources of the
elderly because they are forced to take care of the children who have
become infected with AIDS, and subsequently their grandchildren who are
orphaned as a result.
the Minister has said that the answer to these problems does not lie in
the institutionalisation of the elderly.
it will continue to support existing homes for the aged, Amathila says her
Ministry is not in favour of supporting the establishment of more such
national survey on the status of living conditions of the elderly is
expected to start next month, while a bill on the rights and care of older
people is also in the offing - in the hope of improving the plight of the