WALVIS Bay Urban constituency regional councillor Knowledge Ipinge will use an electronic verification process to avoid long queues of prospective Emergency Income Grant beneficiaries at verification points.
Ipinge says he was not happy that more than 1 000 people gathered at the Kuisebmund Football Stadium about two weeks ago, violating state of emergency regulations on social distancing.
This came after prospective beneficiaries were informed by the Ministry of Finance via SMS to visit their various verification centres, usually constituency offices, to verify the status of their application for the N$750 grant.
"It was totally unacceptable for the finance ministry to advocate such verification procedures, endangering lives," Ipinge says.
He says he advised other councillors in the region to find better means of dealing with the approximately 23 000 applicants in the region.
Ipinge submitted a recommendation to the finance ministry to consider using technology-based systems.
While waiting for the ministry's response, he installed technology he has been working on for some time on his office's website.
Beneficiaries who received SMSes from the finance ministry to visit the Walvis Bay Urban constituency office for their EIG verification are now asked by the councillor to first fill out a form on the website to confirm their appointment.
They must then wait for their "movement permit" to be approved before visiting his office.
"Applicants who have not received SMS notifications should remain at home until told to do so by the finance ministry," he says.
Ipinge says the link is ready for use and many applicants are already participating in the digital verification process.
He says he hopes to interview about 10 people per hour at the office, in line with lockdown regulations.
"This will not only support the government in its efforts to curb the spread of the virus, but will keep the community safe, and will streamline the process so that everyone can be assisted in time," he says. Those with access to smartphones will be assisted through a similar process, Ipinge says.