ERC refutes claims of expired drought relief food

Niël Terblanché

The Erongo Regional Council (ERC) has denied allegations circulating on social media that tins of fish distributed as part of the drought relief programme in the Usab location of Karibib were expired.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ERC declared that the claims are false and misleading, reaffirming its commitment to adhering to established protocols for food distribution.

Sam Ntelamo, Chief Regional Officer of the ERC, stated that the video suggesting that the tins of fish were expired and kept for distribution is completely misleading.

“We confirm that the tins of fish in stock have not expired. In fact, they are set to expire in 2026. This can be verified against the same consignment of tins left in the warehouse for distribution,” Ntelamo said.

He reiterated that tinned fish’s shelf life is five years from the production date.

Ntelamo also clarified that the 127 tins of fish in question were damaged during handling by a forklift, which, although unfortunate, is a normal logistic occurrence in commodity handling.

He said that according to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), when such damage occurs, a certified health inspector is called to inspect the products, determine the extent of the damage, and declare the damaged products “not fit for consumption.”

“These products are then removed immediately to prevent them from spoiling other products,” he added.

Ntelamo said that the health inspector did not take the damaged tins directly to the dumping site.

“Instead, they were taken to the premises of the Karibib Municipality, where similar products destined for disposal were being collected. A Town Council employee noticed the damaged tins, took videos, and shared them on social media with incorrect information,” he explained.

According to Ntelamo, the misleading allegations in the video clip appear to be political propaganda.

“The shared video is disturbing and confusing to beneficiaries as it indirectly suggests that the government is feeding them expired food, which is completely untrue,” Ntelamo said.

He encouraged the public to report any irregularities observed during food distribution, but he advised against politicizing drought relief food assistance and spreading misinformation that could instill fear and confusion among already vulnerable beneficiaries.

Ntelamo reiterated the ERC’s commitment to providing a clean and efficient distribution of drought relief food assistance while also adhering to strict protocols to ensure that vulnerable communities receive the support they need during these difficult times.

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