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Poverty figures rise in North-East

CONCERNED: North-East Council Chairperson Mpetsane
CONCERNED: North-East Council Chairperson Mpetsane

P2.5 million allocated for destitute housing

The number of people living below the poverty threshold continues to rise in the North-East District.

Council Chairperson, Florah Bogadi Mpetsane revealed this at the Full Council session in Masunga recently.

Mpetsane told Councillors that her district continues to assist the less privileged with social safety nets in terms of housing, food baskets, disability cash components as well as providing them with other corresponding interventions.

She however said that the District has experienced a rise in social welfare beneficiaries’ statistics especially destitute persons.

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” So far, 1578 destitute persons were registered as opposed to 1371 in the last quarter,” revealed Mpetsane.

The Council Chairperson further said this surge is attributed to a lack of employment opportunities and the continued disruption of livelihoods resulting from COVID 19 restrictions.

She further stated that Out of the 1578 destitute persons, 264 are on a temporary basis, while 187 are cases of drought-induced programmes.

“Furthermore, the District registered 821 Orphans, 37 community home-based clients and 89 children in need of care all receiving various material and psychosocial support,” she said.

The chairperson further said that since the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year, the North East District has managed to advocate for 49 needy students in various tertiary institutions through the Special Dispensation Programme.

“Of these 49 students, 11 were re-sponsorships after failing part of their programmes, 31 were new Degree sponsorships, and 7 new Diploma Sponsorships,” revealed Mpetsane.

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Although she did not tie the rising number of orphans and defilement cases to poverty, Mpetsane revealed that they currently have 35 cases of defilement and 821 orphans.

“Between March and May 2021 four cases of defilement were closed. There were two convictions, one transfer to Franciastown while the other was dismissed for lack of evidence,” she said.

Mpetsane said currently assessment on 12 defilement cases have been completed and case reports have been submitted to the court and awaiting trial.

The Council Chairperson further told the Full Council that as part of the Affirmative Action they have placed 28 children in various places of safety.

“It is worth noting that the District’s initiative of introducing Foster Care Programme is fruitful since the latest placements of four siblings having been placed with two trained foster parents within the North East District,” Mpetsane said.

The collaboration, Mpetsane said was a partnership between the Department and Skillshare International Botswana and has realised its dream of reviving and training all Village Child Protection Committees in the district.

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Mpetsane further revealed that for the current financial year, the District has been allocated a budget amounting to P2 520 000 for 28 housing which are at the procurement stage.

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