Batawana in Maun have made a suggestion that the Office of the President (OP) should be relieved of their duties as they have shown incompetency in the administration of the poverty eradication initiative. They said the authorities there have lost so much focus that they cannot even explain why they failed Batswana or if they have anything in mind to replace the failed programmes, especially the backyard garden initiative.
At a meeting addressed by the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Dikgakgamatso Seretse, they recommended that the program should instead be outsourced to Non Governmental Organizations as they might do a better job than what the OP is doing now. Residents also decried the fact that the OP overlooked some fundamental aspects associated with gardening; that most beneficiaries couldn’t progress because of lack of water as a basic necessity. In incidents whereby there are water connections, they said government should take the responsibility of ensuring that beneficiaries’ water bills are paid for, considering that the Water Utilities Corporation charge exorbitant prices, which are paid by people not benefiting from the scheme.
“We take it that because these people have been assessed, their situation is well known to whoever carried out the assessments. We might be family, but we do not have to carry their burden as we did not start it. They have not been orientated on saving the little that they make out of their sales, and so they don’t even know they have to contribute towards the payment of water bills. As we speak, water has been disconnected in our yards, and so now we are equally destitute”, said Mmatshetse Kalaloka a village elder.
Makgalemele also told residents to make it a point that they take full responsibility of disabled people in their midst and make sure that they are given all the necessary care so that they may feel complete and wanted. He said arrangements have been made with some bus operators, adding that the latter had agreed to offer free transport to various destinations to people with acute disability as long as they present the necessary documents. However he said no provisions will be made for people accompanying such people as they are deemed fit to take care of themselves.
Meanwhile Deputy Coordinator at OP Sumbe Ongadile said it is regrettable that some people still shun poverty eradication programmes meant to improve their livelihoods. He said while it is a well known fact that Ngamiland people are faced with so many challenges which have turned some of them into destitutes, people should learn to give credit where it is due.
“With or without your challenges, poverty has to be eradicated. We are quite aware that some people have gained from the schemes and are happy. However we cannot deny some of the challenges faced by yourselves, but let us not discourage those who still want to see a change in their lives”, he said.
As for the escalating water bills, Ngamiland Deputy District Commissioner Keabetswe Lesiela said they are currently in the process of addressing the issue with assistance from program officers at local level. He said assessments will be made and that bills will be collected, after which his office will determine the kind of intervention to be made.