Veteran Affairs rebuts claim it neglected veteran

WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Veteran Affairs has dismissed claims by a war veteran that the ministry neglected his application and has now invited Gottlieb Haufiku to visit its offices so that it could clarify his status.

Senior public relations and communications officer in the ministry, Edson Haufiku, said: If Gottlieb Haufiku claims to be neglected by the ministry and he meets the criteria of being a war veteran then he must come to our office and we will provide him with all the necessary information because as far as we are concerned we have provided the support to all registered and recognised war veterans.

Gottlieb Haufiku, who says he is a former war veteran was previously employed by the German embassy where he was dismissed from his job as a driver of the ambassador of Germany on grounds he was apparently mentally inept because of post-traumatic stress disorder from the liberation war.

His mental faculties appear diminished because of his war experiences.

Fifty-seven-year-old Gottlieb said he was severely beaten by members of the security forces and was imprisoned for a couple of years which has affected him mentally.

I was on the way to exile when the colonisers caught me, beat me brutally on the head and put me in prison at Onamungundo camp in the northern part of Namibia. When I got released from prison, I noticed that something had changed with the way I think and the way I react to certain situations, said Gottlieb, adding that after independence he registered himself for war veteran status and he was confirmed as one when the Ministry of Veterans Affairs vetted him.

In 1998, Gottlieb said, he started working for the German embassy until 2016 when the embassy took him for mental check-ups and they got a letter that stated that he couldn't keep up with work as a driver because he reacted too slowly.

According to Gottlieb, the German embassy gave him an option to resign as a driver and become a security guard but he rejected the offer because of the salary the embassy had offered compared to when he was employed as its driver.

Currently I am unemployed. There's no way I can support my children, especially the one who is at tertiary level. I used to earn money from transporting people in the north but now I sold my car to pay for my child's tuition fees, said the war veteran.

Gottlieb complained his mental condition is caused by war and that it's the ministry's responsibility to intervene in the matter and find ways they could help him financially.

He said that the last time he was at the ministry earlier this year, they told him that his name is in the system but he was wondering why they didn't give him any support since 2008.

Gottlieb is also requesting the German embassy to provide his daughter with a scholarship because he was dismissed from work and they couldn't provide him with any pension.

Due to data protection regulations, the German embassy Windhoek does not provide any information on human resource issues, was the brief response from Eva Borkner who deals with press and political affairs.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia