OTJIWARONGO: A 90-year-old wheelchair-bound pensioner here says she has given up on trying to register her great-grandchild with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare’s orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) programme.
Otillie Hoaes-Shikongo told Nampa in an interview last Wednesday that she has lost hope of ever having her nine-year-old great-grandchild registered with the programme in order for her to receive a monthly social grant, as she has been sent from pillar to post over a mistake on the child’s birth certificate.
Registered orphans and vulnerable children receive monthly social grants of N.dollars 200.
Hoaes-Shikongo said she first attempted to have her great-granddaughter, Sharlon Brigitte Soroses, registered with the ministry in 2010 after her father, Elton Hoaeb, died that year.
Soroses attends Spes Bona Primary School in Otjiwarongo.
“I went to their offices for the first time in 2010 and was told to bring documents, which I did. I was then told that the name of my grandson, Elton Hoaeb, did not correspond with the surname on my great-grandchild’s full birth certificate,” Hoaes-Shikongo explained.
On the girl’s full birth certificate, her father is registered as Elton Shikongo. He was mistakenly registered as such because the child’s mother, Salome Soroses, was under the impression that he, like his brothers, also carried the surname Shikongo.
Soroses is still alive, but she is unemployed.
Hoaes-Shikongo was told by the ministry’s officials at Otjiwarongo to obtain a declaration from the police confirming that her grandson’s Identification Document (ID) states that his full name is Elton Hoaeb, and not Shikongo.
The declaration, seen by Nampa, states: “I am the biological mother of the late Lucia Hoaes, 55 – the biological mother of the late Elton Hoaeb, 31, who is the father of Brigitte Soroses. My surname before marriage was Hoaes, after marriage it changed to Hoaes-Shikongo. I declare that my great-grandchild’s full birth-certificate wrongly carries Shikongo as her father’s surname. It is supposed to be Hoaes.”
The declaration was issued last year, and taken to the ministry along with other documents such as the child’s full birth certificate, her father’s death certificate and parents’ IDs.
Despite obtaining the declaration as initially told, however, officials at the ministry then demanded that Hoaes-Shikongo proceed to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to have Soroses’s full birth certificate amended so that her father’s surname could be indicated as Hoes and not Shikongo.
At the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Deputy Director of Population Services Lydia Kandetu told her that it was not necessary to change the documents as long as the police declaration was made and attached to the other documents used for applying for the social grant.
Hoaes-Shikongo said Kandetu told her that several orphans faced the same problem with the Ministry of Gender, and they were helped without having to change their documentation.
The pensioner now says she is fed up of being sent from pillar to post and is thinking of giving up. She is also calling for Government to assist her in having her great-grandchild for a social grant as she says she fears that this will not be accomplished before she passes on.
Soroses is one of five grandchildren living with Hoaes-Shikongo, and dependent on her monthly pension grant of N.dollars 550.
Approached for comment on Friday, the regional head of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare based at Otjiwarongo, Batseba Urika referred Nampa to the ministry’s head office in Windhoek.
Nampa also informed Permanent Secretary (PS) in the ministry, Erastus Negonga about Hoaes-Shikongo’s dilemma on Thursday, but he said he was not aware of the problem.
On Monday, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare’s Public Relations Officer, Rosa Nikanor promised to take up the matter with the relevant division heads in her ministry.