Parly-Bound Civil Servants Forced Out

CIVIL servants who were elected to the National Assembly are allegedly unhappy with the public service law which forces them out of work three months before they can take up their parliamentary duties.

The Namibian has learned that a number of government officials who are going to parliament in March have been trying to get the Public Service Commission to circumvent the law to allow them to keep their jobs until end of February at least.

This is because the law states that civil servants on party lists are automatically removed from the government payroll the day election results are announced and it is confirmed that they have secured a seat in parliament. The law deems them to have resigned on the day the election results are announced and they are elected into parliament.

Some of the affected technocrats turned politicians also complained that their pension payouts will be heavily taxed as opposed to the case had they opted for early retirement.

They would have only qualified for early retirement had they submitted the request before the election results are announced. The ruling Swapo Party has about 16 former civil servants out of 77 going to the National Assembly. Even former Secretary to Cabinet Frans Kapofi was not spared from the law as he had to vacate his office in December, just for State House to reappoint him as a consultant until March.

Public Service Commission chairperson Eddie Amkongo issued a circular to all civil servants three days before the elections explaining the rules.

In the circular Amkongo stated that section 30 of the Public Service Act deems a staff member, who has made it to parliament, as having resigned the day election results are announced. The Act also states that those who did not request for early retirement before the election results are announced, will no longer have that option.

Civil servants who have not taken early retirement will now lose huge amounts of money in taxes and will not receive a government salary between now and March, when they are sworn in as members of parliament.

Public Service Commission acting chairperson Steve Motinga yesterday confirmed that all civil servants going to the National Assembly had resigned in terms of Section 30 of the Public Service Act which states that staff members eligible for candidature as President or as members of the National Assembly, will be deemed to have resigned from the Public Service with effect from the date on which he or she is so elected.

The Act also states that any such elected member of the National Assembly or of the regional council as the case may be, shall be on vacation leave from the date of his or her nomination until the date on which such election takes place.

Apart from Kapofi, Windhoek’s former mayor Agnes Kafula, special assistant in the office of the president Christine Hoebes, ministry of agriculture deputy permanent secretary Anna Shiweda, Ohangwena regional council employee Daniel Kashikola, education director Bernadette Jagger from Kunene region, teacher Lucia Nghaamwa and lands permanent secretary Lidwina Shapwa are some of the senior government officials who had to resign from their posts.

Political office bearers like governors are not affected by this law since they are not civil servants.

Sources said that the Public Service Commission will not budge and said that no one will be treated as a special case.

Source : The Namibian