• September 22nd, 2018
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Kavetuna unrepentant on official vehicle use

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek-Health and Social Services Deputy Minister Juliet Kavetuna yesterday dug her heels in and refused to accept fault for using her assigned official vehicle to transport three bags of cement recently, despite a public outcry to the contrary. Members of the public on Sunday set social media platforms ablaze with claims that Kavetuna erred when she used her official sedan to transport cement. While ministers are allowed to use their official vehicles for private use, transporting cement in a sedan was widely criticised, with many social media subscribers charging that Kavetuna should have used her official bakkie for such purposes, instead of the luxury Mercedes Benz sedan. Kavetuna yesterday told New Era that she saw nothing wrong in loading three bags of cement weighing 150kg in total in her official vehicle, saying the weight was the same as most luggage regularly transported in such cars. “Contact the ministry of works and ask for the terms of reference on the use of government vehicles by ministers. I can go with an official vehicle anywhere,” she said unapologetically. Kavetuna explained that some “light” construction work was being done at her house in Katutura, and she had received a call around midday, when coming out of church, that the cement had been used up. “The people working at my house wanted three bags of cement and I used my discretion as a responsible person knowing that the car’s carrying capacity is 1,480kg and three bags of cement only weigh 150kg,” she said. Kavetuna says that as a minister she is entitled to use her car anytime. Perhaps, she said, the public need to be informed about such entitlement because she is currently being portrayed in a bad light after photos of her car loading cement went viral on social media platforms, including WhatsApp. “I no longer feel safe in that car. It is a marked car, everyone knows about that car now,” she said. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) recently stated that political office-bearers are allowed to use their official cars for private duties. The ACC was responding to the Windhoek Observer, after the official vehicle of National Council Chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams was allegedly spotted in Cape Town during the festive season. However, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein, responding to queries on Twitter, said on Sunday: “In spite of what the ACC clarified, personal usage of official vehicles is subject to a trip authority, which is restricted to the territory of Namibia.” “Secondly,” Schlettwein added, “to move government property outside the Namibian territory and jurisdiction requires Treasury authorisation.” The finance minister did not indicate whether his ministry had received any request from Mensah-Williams to leave the Namibian territory with her official vehicle. “These actions might be technically legal but are they ethical?” the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) asked on Sunday. ACC chief of investigations and prosecution Nelius Becker, responding to the weekly Windhoek Observer over Mensah-Williams’ use of the official vehicle to Cape Town, said: “Cabinet rules on official vehicles state: ‘There is no restriction on the use of official vehicles for private purposes and no prohibition concerning the use of these vehicles during vacation or any other period of leave, provided that if an official vehicle is used for private purposes, it must be done with discretion so that no embarrassment is caused to Government.”  
2018-01-23 09:00:57 7 months ago
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