The Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Audit Hon. Lebbius Tobias engaging officials stationed at Katwitwi Border Post in Kavango West region
|Story by Rafael Hangula
The Audit Committee of the National Council is calling on the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Safety Security as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform to urgently address issues and challenges facing public servants employed as Immigration and Police officials at the boarders.
Officials based at various border posts such as Dobe Boarder, Mohembo, Sarusungu and Katwitwi are in critical need of basic services such as accommodation, Water, uniform, and network. These challenges were discovered and reported in 2019 by the National Council Parliamentary Standing Committee on Security, Constitutional and Legal Affairs, however, they are yet to be addressed.
Furthermore, lack of proper road infrastructure and transport for immigration officials and police were also pointed out as challenges that have been overlooked for a long period. Officials at the border posts stressed that problems such as that of transport hampers them from patrolling the borders.
The committee discovered this during its regional visits to the border posts in Otjozondjupa, Kavango East, and Kavango West, to assess the impact made by the oversight activities of the National Council Standing Committee on Security, Constitutional and Legal Affairs and the National Council Standing Committee on Urban and Rural Development, undertaken in the Financial Year 2019/2020.
The Audit Committee is the overall committee responsible for auditing the work of other Parliamentary Standing Committees of the National Council, hence its mandate is to scrutinise and report to the National Council on the work of any Standing Committee or any other body as may be determined by the National Council.
Other critical challenges include lack of Covid-19 preventative measures such as sanitisers and testing equipment for arrivals, particularly at Dobe boarder post in Otjozondjupa region, Sarusungu boarder post in Kavango East and Katwitwi border post in Kavango West region.
Officials stationed at Mohembo border control which is situated between Namibia and Botswana further stressed that it takes about four to five years for a Minister or Executive Director to visit them, and get to know what is happening of the ground.
The Chairperson of the Audit Committee Hon. Lebbius Tobias told the officials that the committee is visiting the border posts to see to it if what was reported as challenges by the National Council Standing Committees is true or not, and whether such challenges were addressed or not.
“We are at pain to see you with challenges that are not yet addressed. Why are we neglecting our fellow Namibians? We really need to take care of our fellow Namibians” said hon. Tobias.
Hon. Tobias informed the officials that, as the Chairperson of the committee, he will engage the ministers involved to ensure that these shocking challenges are addressed.
“As the Chairperson of the committee I am going to see face to face the ministers involved, and show them these challenges that need urgent attention. We want you to work happily as sons and daughters of this country. But also when there are no funds you as Namibians will understand, but you need to be spoken to,” he emphasised.
The Audit committee will further visit border posts in Zambezi, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene, Hardap and Oshivelo post. It will also hold meetings with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform in Kunene, Hardap and Omaheke regions.
Other members of the committee are Hon. Nguzu Muhuarukua and Hon. Johannes Sikondo. The regional visits which started on the 6 July 2020 are expected to end on 30 July 2020.