The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Khumo Matlhare has raised concern over rising pauperdom in the country.
Speaking before Public Accounting Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, Matlhare said the budget for destitution programme keeps on going up because of the increasing number of beneficiaries.
Mmegi has learnt that the numbers of people affected by destitution has shot up from 32, 000 to 35, 000. According to an insider at the Ministry, 32,000 of the 35,000 were deemed permanently destitute while 3,000 were temporary destitute persons who keep hopping in and out of the programme.
It is understood that 32,000 people who are registered as permanently destitute are the elderly who cannot work nor have any source of income and some people living with disability.
“Going forward, the government wants to do what is called single registry to check if these people who are on destitution programme have not registered for any other programme.
“This is a clear sign that poverty level is going high. If all government beneficiaries are in one register, then the government would be able to assess case by case,” Matlhare said.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Seleb-Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse wanted to know if there were people who were defrauding the government by registering into two programmes, such as being under destitution while also benefitting from Ipelegeng.
“Are these government
Matlhare was however equivocal on whether the government programmes would be sustainable going forward or not.
“I think these programmes can be sustainable if we look for projects that could create jobs for some people. We do listen to economists’ advice. The review of some programmes would help us look for projects that would create jobs for people …for example under Ipelegeng programme, the workers could stop cutting trees,” he said.
Just recently, the South East District Council (SEDC) reported that they had an increased number of destitute persons over a period of three years.
It has registered 633 permanent destitute persons, 457 needy students and 95 needy children registered with Social and Community Development office.
The council research shows that the increase is attributed to low socio-economic status and high unemployment levels. The district had spent P1, 673,963.55 from a total amount of P7, 011,170 that was approved for 2018/19 financial year and their expenditure is likely to balloon in correspondence with the already overspilling numbers of destitute persons.