Youth Leaders Challenged

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa has expressed grave concern about the lack of direction and supervision under which many of their staff operate in the regions. In a recent Ministerial New Year message, Mutorwa stressed that it was “unacceptable” for employees to execute their duties under no direction, encouragement or supervision at all from their supervisors. This situation became evident after the minister, together with his deputy and PS, undertook familiarisation trips to the regions last year. Viewing this as a challenge to be addressed more aggressively in the New Year, he urged all those in top-level positions especially managers and supervisors within the ministry to promote the art of managing their staff more efficiently. “Directors are professional managers and must therefore manage and supervise their staff at all times, directly or indirectly (through delegation),” stated the minister. He however admitted that there were some regional staff who continually delivered good public services despite the shortcomings. In light of this, emphasis should be placed on several recommendations to address this trend in the ministry. Among the many factors are effective, regular and clear communication between the headquarters, regions, constituencies and other relevant stakeholders. The minister called for proper coordination of activities at all levels where the “left hand must always know what the right hand is doing!” Another aspect that the ministry will be focussing on this year is improvement on the use of current resources more productively and time consciously. Coupled with enhancing productivity is to discourage absenteeism amongst staff members. “Absenteeism from work and unproductive presence at and in the work places are both unhelpful and unwelcome,” the minister stated. Concern was also expressed about the lack of a time ethic when it comes to executing daily tasks. Minister Mutorwa wanted to know why it took weeks, months or even years to, for example, acknowledge receipt of a letter, compile work programmes, file activity reports or process applications and fill advertised vacancies. He stressed: “There is no justification for such unnecessary long periods to accomplish successfully the above tasks! All of us are urged to continue improving during 2006 and beyond.” Looking at the year ahead, the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture will focus on amongst others finalising the appointments of the Board of Directors for the National Youth Service (NYS) of Namibia, appointing its senior staff, completing renovating and constructing the NYS physical structures at Berg Aukas and implementing the NYS courses and training programmes. Others include planning for the Zone IV Games to be hosted by Namibia, as well as for the Commonwealth Games. Several vacancies of senior level positions, namely the Director of General Services and Deputy Directors of Financial Services, Personnel Administration and Sport Women’s Desk are also expected to be filled during the first quarter of the New Year. All these activities are part of the ministry’s short and medium term plans for this year, under the motto: “Everybody and Everything, for the Youth, the Youth for us all”.