14 December 2012

Namibia: More 'Struggle Kids' Employed

MORE than 100 so-called 'struggle kids' living at a camp outside Windhoek say Government has failed to provide for their basic needs for the past five months.

The protesters were moved to the farm after picketing the Swapo headquarters in Windhoek.

Since then a majority of them have been given jobs by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, but they say they have had to endure many hardships waiting for that day to come.

Zulu Shitongeni, a Khomas regional councillor who has been the liaison between the group and the government, said many ministries have been reluctant to give them jobs.

"Here they can still wait for their appointment letters, it is not the problem. The main problem is the reluctance of the other ministries to cooperate with our people. The Ministry of Health has apparently misplaced our allocation forms. Even the ministers who were in exile do not want to cooperate," Shitongeni said during the handout of job appointment letters at the farm yesterday.

The group leader, Petrus Nendongo, told The Namibian that despite efforts to notify the Office of the Prime Minister of the harsh conditions they have to endure, little has been done to improve the situation.

About 25 youths received appointment letters from the Ministry of Agriculture, which has employed more than 100 of the demonstrators.

"The waiting is not a problem, the problem is the harsh conditions in this camp. We have no electricity, no food and no medical services," said Nendongo. He said a mobile clinic used to visit the camp every Friday but it stopped a month ago.

"We now have to walk to the highway and look for people to take sick people to the hospital, otherwise we have to manage by ourselves," he said.

Nendongo said there is only one toddler presently living with them at the camp and that the other children who used to stay there have been placed in the care of people who were willing to look after them.

He said it was because of the unbearable conditions that they were forced to give their children away while waiting for jobs.

"We were brought here to this camp after we demonstrated at the Swapo headquarters in June," said Nendongo. "We appreciate this, but the circumstances we are living under are not good at all."

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