Okamatapati residents demonstrate over jobs given to struggle kids

A group of nearly 50 residents of Okamatapati on Tuesday staged a peaceful demonstration to oppose a Government decision to appoint 13 children of the liberation struggle on permanent jobs at settlements in the Otjozondjupa Region.

Okamatapati is situated over 200 kilometres east of Otjiwarongo in the Okakarara Constituency.

The residents there on Tuesday condemned a decision of the Otjozondjupa Regional Council to fill in all the 13 vacancies of cleaners, workhand and labourers with the children of the liberation struggle at the settlements of Okandjatu, Okamatapati, Coblenz and Okatjoruu as well as at the regional council's auxiliary services in Otjiwarongo.

The group accused Government of being unfair and bypassing the stipulated processes and labour laws in recruiting employees in the public sector.

The residents called on Government to re-advertise the vacancies, saying it will allow Namibians who are unemployed to have an equal opportunity to also secure these jobs.

On her part the Otjozondjupa Regional Council's Public Relation Officer, Cornelia Shikongo in an interview with Nampa with on Tuesday said this all started on 11 March 2019 when the regional council wrote a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) requesting for clearance to fill the several vacant positions at the council.

On 22 March 2019, the OPM replied to our request by approving the filling in of some positions, said Shikongo.

Shikongo said that amongst those vacancies which were approved to be filled were 13 posts of cleaners, labourers and workhand at settlement offices in Okamatatapi, Coblenz, Okatjoruu and Tsumkwe.

Shikongo said the OPM response letter also had an instruction attached to it, ordering the council to fill the posts of cleaners, labourers and workhand with the names listed of the selected children of the liberation struggle as well as their contact details.

She said on 10 May 2019 regional councillors held a meeting where they also endorsed the instruction of the OPM with a council resolution.

The recruiting process on these 13 vacancies then started and the children of the liberation struggle were appointed as our employees as from 01 October this year, said Shikongo.

However, one of them, a 36-year-old man turned down the offer after he was deployed to Coblenz where he was appointed a cleaner.

The Namibian Police Force (NamPol)'s Head of Operations in the region, Deputy Commissioner Moses Khairabeb on his part told this news agency that by midday on Tuesday the situation at Okamatapati was back to normal as all demonstrators had diffused.

Source: Namibia Press Agency