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FOOD AID BLOW FOR ELDERLY

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MBABANE – Some elderly people will no longer be eligible to benefit from the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) food aid programme.


Mainly to be affected are those who receive an elderly grant from government yet have a lot of responsibilities such as taking care of grandchildren, among other things. A health motivators’ (bagcugcuteli) sensitising programme yesterday revealed that some elderly, who received elderly grants, will no longer be registered for the food relief.


The relief is meant to assist households that were affected by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.Affected families are given food parcels and in some instances, they get E700 as a cash-based transfer.


This money is meant to purchase food items. Bagcugcuteli from the Mbabane West Constituency were told not to register elderly people who were receiving elderly grants through the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. This was yesterday when they were being trained and sensitised at the Mbabane Inkhundla Centre, next to the Mbabane Police Station. They were being sensitised on the second phase of the registration process.


A source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the health motivators were sternly told not to register elderly who were also beneficiaries of the elderly grants. “They were told not to register them, even if they did so the first time. The elderly will continue receiving their money from the DPM’s Office,” said the source. Elderly registered for grants receive E500 monthly. Some receive it through the various banks while others get it after three months as a lump sum of E1 500 through the Eswatini Post and Telecommunications Corporation (EPTC) or MTN Mobile Money.


Registration


The source said during the training session, they were sternly told to be vigilant when carrying out the registration process so as not to include  the elderly registered for grants.
Lobamba Indvuna Yenkhundla Bheki Bhembe said some elderly in Ezulwini were not registered for the second phase of the food aid. “The second registration was different from the first one. This time around, a few elderly were registered. Only 10 elderly were registered from each chiefdom,” said Bhembe.


According to Bhembe, the registered elderly were those that were destitute and looked after orphans. He said the elderly with less responsibilities were not registered. NDMA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Russell Dlamini confirmed that some elderly were not eligible for the food aid programme.
“We have to be very thoughtful with the funds that we have so many people who need the relief. We are eliminating duplication by not registering elderly who are already receiving grants from the DPM’s Office,” he said.
Worth noting is that the NDMA food aid programme was solely established for COVID-19 relief.

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