Some pensioners in the areas of Tsintsabis in Oshikoto region are wallowing in poverty due to excessive debts advanced by business people at monthly grant pay points.
This often results in pensioners going home with nothing after settling the debts, thus forcing them to seek more credit.
“I am worried about the well-being of my people, they are trapped in debts, such that they pay and borrow again leaving nothing to sustain themselves,” stressed the headman of Tsintsabis, Paul Geigowas.
He said some business people are crooking and manipulating elders to get goods on credit and only pay the following month. This however, has become unsustainable as the products are highly priced. According to the headman, they would be charged as much as N$300 for a 10kg bag of maize meal.
Most of the victims are San community members who also have a lack of financial understanding.
Community member Moses //Khumub echoed similar sentiments, saying this trade has become uncontrollable as these ruthless businessmen continue sucking off the little pension grant.
The monthly pension grant is N$1300.
“What these people do is day time robbery, how can you charge that high by giving credit of N$800 and above to a pensioner. How do you expect them to pay it off with the little money they receive, and if they pay what will remainfor them? Therefore, I appeal to these people to be considerate,” //Khumub appealed.
Another member, a government employee who refused to be named said he has seen this happening a lot on paydays where the sellers ambush pensioners and take all their money, leaving them with nothing.
“Just last week, an old lady had her whole N$2600 grant taken away by the business person at Farm 6, this was done in the presence of a paymaster. She was only left with N$200,” he said, adding that the worst part is that a few days later, they found children from her house eating sand, due to hunger.
“It was very sad to see these kids eating sand as a last resort to survive. I am asking if these business crooks can be banned and disallowed to corner people during paydays because I feel they are taking advantage of them,” said the public servant.