Karas Governor Vows to Tackle Poverty

TACKLING social issues including unemployment, poverty and illiteracy, will get maximum attention under her administration, said new Karas governor Lucia Basson in an interview with The Namibian.

Basson said poverty reduction will receive priority and that it will be driven by a change in mindset of the poor rather than through what trickles down from the economy.

“My approach will be different from that of my predecessor. I will use the bottom-up approach to tackle poverty,” said Basson, adding that the fight against poverty requires a joint effort.

Basson also said she will engage all communities, local authorities and traditional and business leaders in her mission to tackle poverty.

“All stakeholders must come on board to fight poverty,” Basson implored.

She was diplomatic when asked about widespread skepticism among the region’s citizens on whether she would match the high bar in terms of economic growth, set by her predecessor Bernadus Swartbooi, now deputy minister of land reform.

“Continuation is very important. Reports on incomplete socio-economic projects were handed over to me. I will continue from where he left off,” said Basson.

Basson was guarded on new development projects she is planning to embark on, only revealing that she recently met potential investors.

“I do not want to say much now about the envisaged development projects, but I pledge that the media will be informed soon,” she said.

Responding to a question on what she would like to accomplish during her first 100 days as governor, Basson said: “I am now only a few days in office, and must still conduct broader consultations, therefore it is difficult to answer that question before meeting all stakeholders in the region”. Basson announced that she will deliver her state of the region address towards the end of the year as she still has to consult all stakeholders about their socio-economic development programmes and social challenges they are facing.

She also took the opportunity to urge the youth to refrain from drug and alcohol abuse and crime, and to involve themselves in development projects aimed at bettering their lives.

“You are the leaders of tomorrow, stay sober and get educated,” Basson aised.

POLITICAL DECISION

Basson divulged that it was a “political decision” of her not to retain her predecessor’s support staff including the driver, personal assistant and secretary.

“In politics you work with somebody you trust,” Basson remarked, adding that it is equally important in politics that you fail or succeed with your own team.

“Did he (Swartbooi) retain his predecessor’s staff?” she asked.

Critics believe that Basson should have retained her predecessor’s staff since she was working closely with them as special and political aiser to Swartbooi, before her appointment as governor.

Basson explained it is the prerogative of any governor or minister to retain hisher predecessor’s support staff, adding that the support staff were well aware that their employment contracts end when the governorship of their boss ends.

“Look, Angelika Maharukua (former deputy minister of gender equality and child welfare) also took along her personal assistant after her appointment as Kunene governor,” Basson remarked.

Source : The Namibian