Elizabeth Nepemba faces acute shortage of staff

The Elizabeth Nepemba Correctional Facility situated at Mile 10 village in the Kavango West Region is faced with an acute shortage of staff leading to work overload on the already existing staff members.

The facility, which is under the Namibian Correctional Service is situated about 15 kilometres south of Rundu along the Trans Caprivi Highway.

Speaking during the Community Advisory Committee inaugural meeting held on Wednesday at the facility, Officer in Charge (CIC) of the facility, Assistant Commissioner Esther Joseph said as per the facility organizational structure, the facility supposed to have a staff complement of about 483 correctional officers but at the moment, they only have a staff composition of 180.

Overall, the facility is understaffed with 303 officers and staff members, a situation which Joseph said putting pressure on some officials because they have to take an extra load to make sure that the facility is running smoothly.

'Despite being under staff, we are managing. Yes now there is a lot of work for an individual staff as they now have to do responsibilities that are supposed to be executed by more than two officers,' she said.

The staff varies from health care officers, administrators, education and program and counselling officers, staff for case management services, security as well as those working in the facilities workshops.

Joseph said currently, the staff have 256 offenders in safe custody, 254 sentenced and two non-sentenced offenders and among the offenders, 221 are Namibians while 33 are non-Namibians which comprises of 17 Angolan's and 16 Zambians, incarcerate for various offences.

The CIC also said that the facility is faced with challenges of transport in terms of security vans, basic stationeries for offenders attending programmes and teaching resources for the educational programme, which is not enough for every offender.

Despite the myriad of challenges, Joseph also highlighted some of its achievements stressing that despite facing challenges of insufficient staff members, security incidents have been reduced drastically, compared to the last financial year, 2018/2019.

'We have also strengthened relationship with the Rundu Intermediate State Hospital and as a result, decentralization of antiretroviral treatment site was done and offenders who have tested HIV positive are being initiated at the facility clinic,' she added.

The CIC further added that the Test and Treat strategy was also introduced at the facility's clinic, including Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision.

Source: Namibia Press Agency