35 years in the public service
Linekela Hafeni Temba Nghitaunapo is in the elite category of veteran public servants. The Walvis Bay-bred spent all his career working for the Namibian government.
After completing secondary school at Augustenium, he took up employment with the Department of Civic Affairs and Manpower, currently the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security in June 1986, which was his first job.
Recounting his journey in the public service, Nghitaunapo said he started in the ministry as a record clerk, responsible for the processing and scrutinising of national documents before it goes for final production.
He was later promoted to the senior clerk – procurement officer – before being elevated in 2003 to the regional head of the Ministry of Home Affairs Immigration, Safety and Security in Erongo, Kunene and Otjozondjupa regions.
“It was always my dream to work for the public service; my passion is to work with people, as I enjoy working with the public,” said the veteran civil servant, who recently called it quits after 35 years of public service.
Nghitaunapo’s long career in public service was to ensure Namibians have access to various national documents. He has been part of the ministry’s effort to take services closer to the people.
“The most challenging part about my work was the fact that the public has very little knowledge about the importance of national documents and the resources that the government pours in to ensure that it meets the demand of the public. The government has put offices in hospitals and everywhere in the fourteen regions to ensure that the public has access to national documents,” he said.
“The most satisfactory projects that I undertook were seeing how many learners and community members could apply for their national documents, without leaving their school premises or traveling a distance. This was due to our mobile outreach programmes and knowing that they understand the importance of their national documents. I also draw satisfaction from providing the public with quality service and helping solve complicated issues/cases of the public members.”
Nghitaunapo said he is leaving the public service with his head held high. He is especially proud of his accomplishment during his tenure as the regional head of the Erongo, Otjozondjupa and Kunene regions.
During that time, he noted that a number of sub-regional offices were opened in Karibib, Usakos, Omaruru, Kuisebmund, Outjo, Khorixas, Kamanjab and Otavi.
“I have to acknowledge that the opening of these offices really improved the level of Administration completely to a higher level,” he proudly remembered.
Last year, he also facilitated the handover of the national documents, including identity cards, birth certificates and marriage certificates for Otweya residents, after a devastating fire destroyed their homes at the harbour town of Walvis Bay.
“I enjoyed working for the government because public service is for the people and not a one-man show. Any decision taken on the ground must be to the advantage of all – unlike in the private sector,” he said about the uniqueness of the public service.
Having been a civil servant for a long time, Nghitaunapo is infuriated by the general misconception that civil servants are unproductive.
“I do not agree with the statement, as each and every government institution has its own procedures to finalise whatever is there. All procedures need to be followed to get the final product. There are certain private-sector institutions where the clients have to wait long before they receive proper service or assistance but no one complains about their poor service delivery. But, when it comes to the government, everybody has a binocular. If each and everyone in the public service were incompetent, the government could have collapsed long ago,” he said.
In conclusion, Nghitaunapo has a word of encouragement for civil servants and those who are joining the public service today: “to work hard with honesty and serve the Namibian people with dignity – and above all, practice selflessness. I would also like to encourage the youth, who are joining the public service today to work hard with honesty and serve the Namibian people with dignity and above all practice selflessness”.
At 60, this extraordinary public servant said he is ready for retirement. “I am done, unless a special request for me to continue serving my government is made, which I will gladly accept,” he said, though oblivious of the ministry’s decision to keep calling on him on a need basis. This is due to his invaluable tacit knowledge in national documents management.
In the meantime, Nghitaunapo said, “I am planning to enjoy my retirement by exploring our beautiful country, Namibia, by visiting all recreational facilities as well as heritage sites”.