RUNDU - With unemployment taking its toll, leaving thousands of university graduates without jobs, the government allows many pensioners hang on to their jobs after they have turned 60 in the public service and SOEs, which critics say is unfair to youths who cannot not enter the job market.
Although New Era does not have statistics on how many of these people aged 60 are in the ranks of government and SOEs, it is aware there are many people that are working past the age of 60, an issue that has not gone very well in certain quarters as some people feel those aged 60 and above should make way for qualified university graduates who could take up jobs made vacant by retirees.
New Era approached the Office of Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who said that the Human Resource Management in government is done strictly in compliance with the government’s Human Resource Policy, the Public Service Act and the Labour Act.
“These laws and policies provide for flexibility where it is in public interest for employers to extend an employment of an individual beyond the retirement age. Extension is only done when it is in the best interest of the government and not to accommodate personal interest or employment needs of the concerned individual,” she explained on those pensioners being allowed to hang on.
The retirement age in the Public Service is 60 years. When a staff member reaches the age of 60, he/she is deemed to have retired from the Public Service. “In cases of rare and critical skills, a staff member may be given a maximum of 2 years extension by the government while a replacement is made. Such extension is done on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission,” she noted.
New Era asked why is government allowing these people to cling to their jobs at the expense of hordes of unemployed graduates who are supposed to take up these positions but unable to as some of those who reached the age of 60 feel they are still productive and refuse to retire, the Prime Minister brushed this sentiment off, saying the allegation some people cling to their jobs is incorrect.
“Staff members actually retire at the age of 60. Extension is only granted by the government in exceptional cases, on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission. A staff member is not retained to accommodate personal needs. Moreover, positions where these civil servants might have been retained, are very few and will make no difference in addressing the unemployment situation in the country,” she said.
There are some reports that some people have changed their birthdates so that they could remain in service, “The Office of the Prime Minister is not in possession of such information and such incidences if they exist constitute criminal actions and we are urging anyone with such information to bring it forth as a matter of urgency for the law to take its course,” she stated.