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Opinion - The Namibian General Public Service Charter – the present status

2021-05-31  Staff Reporter

Opinion - The Namibian General Public Service Charter – the present status
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Uwe Rathmann   


Our Father of the Nation lives a healthy and happy life, and we wish him well. His Excellency Dr Sam Nujoma, in the early 90s, gave us the Namibian General Public Service Charter. 

This was to guarantee service delivery, accountability and transparency for all Namibians. 

However, the Namibian General Public Service Charter died years after its formal introduction to the public. 

Our Founding Father and his “children” didn’t notice this. Instead, they realised that with a dead Namibian General Public Service Charter, there is much less work [service] to be done, and obviously no accountability, office efficiency and transparency. The majority of government employees, therefore, reduced public services and their responsibilities indefinitely, with their 13th cheque not questioned.

The “generous” ruling system had vast support in election times, and all political parties as well are happy and jumped on board the “gravy train”. 

Civil society in the meantime was left to experience that “public information is not good for society at large.” For example, for nearly 30 years, council meetings [regional and local authorities] were conducted on a monthly basis. All resolutions were minuted after being signed off, and these minutes then became “public documents”. 

According to the Local Authorities Act, Article 16, and Article 13 of the Regional Councils Act, these signed off minutes should be accessible for inspection to the public during office hours. To prevent public viewing and knowledge, these “public documents” are still kept under the lid of oppression. 

Some of the great and grandchildren of our Father of the Nation are now our newly elected, but inexperienced councillors. 

They got the task from their “custodian” [the minister of urban and rural development] to alone come up with “a plan of action” for the municipality of Grootfontein, an institution which like most other local authorities was for decades without any service charter and guidance from the custodian. 

The new CEO and the audit report declared the municipality last year as an administration in total disarray, with files of maladministration, alleged criminal cases and suspects. 

On one side, we have the new council to come up with a new “plan of action”, on the other side the municipality has to build a new administration from ground zero, with staff which remains lawless to authority. 

The new council started after four months with informative public engagement meetings. What is still missing, as per our proposal, is a monthly report about the extreme workload, the plans, as well as the first results on the way forward. 

To get to an understanding through interaction can in future only grow from this exchange of information. 

In conclusion, I wish the Founding Father a healthy and prosperous life, and thank him for trying to introduce the Namibian General Public Service Charter in the earlier years of post - independent Namibia.

2021-05-31  Staff Reporter

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