The Ministry of Veterans Affairs has been downgraded to a directorate and now falls under the Office of the Vice-President, headed by Dr Nicky Iyambo.
The name change from Ministry of Veterans Affairs to Directorate of Veterans Affairs was effected from March this year, when President Hage Geingob took over as the country’s third president.
Geingob appointed Iyambo – who was then the minister of veterans affairs – as the country’s vice-president.
The veteran affairs directorate falls directly under Iyambo. Also falling under the vice-presidency are two other departments, namely for physically challenged people and for the San, Ovatue and Ovahimba’s development.
Edson Haufiku, senior public relations officer of the veteran affairs directorate said Hilma Nicanor remains the deputy minister. She is still a member of the National Council until the regional and local authority elections are held in November. Nicanor is the councillor for Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency in //Kharas Region.
Haufiku also explained that the mission statement remains the same, which is to provide social and economic support to veterans that will enable them to engage in sustainable initiatives and improve their livelihood, plus keeping alive the history of the liberation struggle.
During the 2015/16 financial year, the directorate was allocated N$861 million to implement three programmes, namely, veterans’ welfare and development, liberation struggle heritage and coordination and support services.
During the 2014/15 financial year, an amount of N$844 million was spent, resulting in an execution rate of 98 percent and a variance of N$16 million.
About 21 112 application forms were considered by the vetting committee during the year under review, while the veterans board approved 1 442 and disapproved 2 758, and the rest will be considered during this financial year. This brings the total number of registered veterans since 2009 to 26 124.
“After taking office Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia re-organised the government structure in order to enhance service delivery. As part of the re-alignment of the executive branch, the veterans affairs portfolio has been placed within the Presidency, under the Office of the Vice-President. With this, the name Ministry of Veterans Affairs ceases,” states a memo issued by the permanent secretary in the directorate of veteran affairs, Ambassador Hopelong Ipinge.
He said the purpose of the memo is to officially direct the nation not to make reference to the directorate as ministry any longer.