WINDHOEK – An investigation has been mounted to look into allegations of bribery and fraudulent activities involving employment and training opportunities meant to benefit the ‘struggle kids’, since their first demonstration in 2008.
Information obtained by New Era this week indicate that a number of the ‘struggle kids’ who have been camping in the open in icy conditions in Windhoek, are registered as employees in various government ministries – and the Receiver of Revenue has been hunting them purportedly for failing to submit income tax returns.
It further came to light that certain opportunistic individuals within government ministries have been soliciting as much as N$600 per person from the ‘struggle kids’, ostensibly “to secure their place” for possible employment in various ministries.
Zulu Shitongeni, Chairperson of the Khomas Regional Council, confirmed the investigation to New Era. Shitongeni is expected to chair the investigation committee comprising representatives of the Namibia Exile Kids Association (NEKA) and officials from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The ministries to be investigated are Safety and Security, Health and Social Services, Environment and Tourism, and Defence, according to Shitongeni who is also the Swapo Party councillor for the Tobias Hainyeko Constituency in the Khomas Region.
“These are the most targeted ministries, where many struggle kids were posted but were never called to start work.
“It is impossible that someone was posted to start working, only to be told later that there is no work. Some of these kids have started receiving notices to pay [income] tax,” explained Shitongeni.
A particular case is that of 31-year-old Fransina Nangolo, who is among those who were relocated from the Swapo Party headquarters to the farm of the Ndilimani Cultural Group located in the vicinity of Brakwater, about 10 kilometres outside Windhoek.
According to the records at the Receiver of Revenue - the unemployed Nangolo is employed as a police officer at Otjiwarongo since 2010.
A sobbing Nangolo said she was never employed and has on numerous occasions visited the Ministry of Finance to explain her predicament.
However, her explanations have fallen on deaf ears. The Receiver of Revenue continues with the demand for payment of what is owed in overdue income taxes since the commencement date of Nangolo’s fictitious employment.
“I visited the Ministry of Finance to ask them why do I have to receive that letter if I am unemployed. They answered me saying that I am currently employed at Otjiwarongo in the Ministry of Safety and Security, which is not true,” explained Nangolo.
Nangolo admits that she did enter the police cadet training programme in 2010 but did not complete training due to her poor health at the time. She had just delivered when the training commenced and the rigorous physical training took its toll on her.
Training officials sent her packing to the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture with an explanatory letter of why she could not complete the training.
New Era has seen the letter in which the Ministry of Safety and Security requested the youth ministry to find alternative employment for Nangolo. Subsequently, Nangolo was asked to do a course in hospitality before she could be offered employment.
Upon completion of the hospitality training course at a private college she took her new qualification to the youth ministry, but she is yet to receive a response.
“We know there are [‘ghost’] people working on behalf of those of us who are receiving tax letters, while were are not working. Someone put them there while the Nangolos and others, who are the real people whose details are in the system, are suffering,” said one member of the group.
Shitongeni said the investigation will commence immediately after the relocation of the group to the farm at Brakwater. The information has also been brought to the attention of the police.