Francistown City Council (FCC) has intensified its efforts to ensure no destitute in the area will lack basic necessities by setting aside P5 139 100 to support them. The council increased last year’s vote for relief of destitute by P148 260, FCC’s Finance Committee chairperson Zibanani Benfield announced recently. “A vote of P5 139 100 has been proposed to cater for the 550 destitute people resident in the council’s jurisdiction,” announced Benfield when presenting P223 412 750 budget for the council during a special full council session. Benfield, who is the ward councilor for Botsalano in the Francistown West, said the vote will be used to provide the destitute members of the society with P550 per month for basic necessities. The government provides destitute people with an amount of P550 which is equivalent to a social security food basket on monthly basis to orphans, elderly people and people living with disabilities. In addition to the P550 per month food basket, Benfield said they will use some other funds to activate the smart switch cards used by beneficiaries to swipe at supermarkets and spaza shops.
“The activation of smart switch cards is expected to cost P12 for each card,” said Benfield, adding that the activation has been necessitated by the changes made to the smart switch cards. According to Benfield, the smart switch cards’ security features have been upgraded to avoid incidents of beneficiaries being defrauded by some unscrupulous businesspeople who have been taking advantage of the less secure cards. “In addition, the smart switch cards have been upgraded to serve as visa cards thereby giving the beneficiaries an opportunity to purchase goods from the outlets of their choice,” said Benfield, adding that the smart switch cards were limited to certain machines only. Benfield added: “The proposed budget will also cater for needy students’ toiletry, medical care and appliances. With this budget, the council is expected to buy clothes in school uniforms for the students.”