The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has warned officials in her ministry acting as middlemen to stop doing so or risk being fired.
She said she would tackle the matter head-on.
Iivula-Ithana was responding to queries by MPs last Thursday during the debate on her ministry’s vote in the National Assembly.
“I will cut out cartels because these middlemen not only corrupt the public but our officials as well. The middlemen will be left jobless,” she said.
Iivula-Ithana has received rare praise from her fellow parliamentarians for improving the home affairs ministry since she took over, reducing the time it takes to issue passports and IDs, among others.
She accused some officials in her ministry of leaving their jobs unattended while attending to those paying under the table for preferential service.
She said the ministry’s plans to computerize its operations is just one of the many ways to end the middlemen syndrome, which has over the years engulfed most of the entire civil service.
In the Ministry of Home Affairs it is alleged that those with deep pockets would normally pay officials to expedite applications such as for passports, visas, identity cards and other documents.
Iivula-Ithana also announced during her budget motivation that there are 1 773 refugees and 874 asylum seekers at Osire refugee settlement, saying the majority are from the DRC.
Meanwhile, while responding to questions during the debate on the Ministry of Safety and Security, Major General (Rtd) Charles Namoloh said his ministry was seriously considering computerizing dockets to avert a situation where cases are delayed or thrown out of court because of missing dockets.
He said NamPol has a “special project” in place to computerise dockets.
Responding to MPs’ questions regarding treatment accorded to officers under the VIP Protection Unit, Namoloh expressed concern over the way some members of the executive treat their guards.
Some are accused of dining lavishly while their drivers and bodyguards starve, while others apparently fail to notify their safe keepers of travelling plans to allow them [guards] to apply for subsistence and travel allowances.
“It is not good to have a hungry officer. The conditions of our VIP officers need to improve. When you are travelling inform your people [bodyguards] in advance so that they can apply for S&T,” said Namoloh.
He said there have been cases where bodyguards went on trips without any allowance because they were not notified in time.
He also vowed to tackle the issue of officers not being entitled to promotion if they have a case pending. “I will work on it because things cannot go on like this. Minor cases even take as long as 10 years,” he said.
He defended the police after some MPs complained that customer service within the police ranks is pathetic. “The problem of customer service is not only confined to the police, it is a societal problem. Even nurses and teachers have that problem … maybe we need counselling,” said Namoloh.