Query: The Katutura Messenger of Court is his own boss and his superiors seem to fear him. Maintenance money and other things to be delivered and collected by him are always late. Ministry of Justice, please help us!
Response: The Ministry of Justice appreciates the public’s effort in highlighting service delivery shortcomings of the Ministry. We accept that there has been a delay, especially in collecting telegraphed money. Our investigation has however revealed that there was a hiccup with the service provider and this issue is now receiving attention in order to rectify it.
Query: Thanks to the ACC for investigating the Master of the High Court’s office. Please continue with the investigation as the entire office is rotten.
Response: The writer of the SMS is likely referring to the ongoing fraud investigation at the office of the Master of the High Court. We would like to bring it to the attention of the public that an investigation into the matter is currently underway. Only after the findings of the investigation will we know what exactly transpired. However, to claim that “the entire office is rotten”, as purported in the SMS, is unfair. While we know the allegations are serious let us all be patient and wait to see what the investigation will reveal, instead of using colourful language to portray a picture that has not been confirmed.
Query: Will the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice explain why his ministry does not pay its legal officers the re-grading money? Need we remind him that we have bills to pay and families to support? We are already overworked and underpaid, especially us public prosecutors.
Response: The Ministry takes note of the concern of the staff member who aired this complaint; money due to the affected staff as result of re-grading is being attended to. There are about 500 personnel who have to be paid. However, due to shortage of staff at our Human Resource Office, all of these staff members will not be paid out at once, hence the delay. Please consult your respective heads for more information regarding this. We assure the affected staff that you will be paid out before the end of August 2015.
Simon Idipo, Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Justice, contact at 061 280 5375 or firstname.lastname@example.org
National Assembly and National Council
Query: What is the role of the National Council, since it seems like they only rubber stamp what the National Assembly has decided on?
Response: The National Council reviews Bills passed by the National Assembly. The National Council may approve the Bill as is, or may recommend changes and send it back to the National Assembly. The National Council can object to the principle of the Bill and send it back to the National Assembly, which must then vote on the principle again. The National Assembly may not agree with all suggestions, but it must hear the suggestions and vote again. If two-thirds of the National Assembly still wants the Bill it can go forward through the stages. If not, the Bill cannot become a law. If approved by both Houses and signed by our President the Bill becomes a law. If the President refuses to sign, the National Assembly may still approve the Bill by a two-thirds majority. It is then published in the official government newspaper, the Gazette, as an Act of Parliament and comes into force from the specific date indicated.
Query: Are members of the public allowed to attend parliamentary sessions and committee meetings?
Response: Members of the public can attend sessions of the National Assembly and National Council chambers, or committee meetings, except when a motion to exclude the public has been adopted and supported by a two-thirds majority of members of the house.
Members of public are encouraged to participate by communicating with members of parliamentary committees whose functions cover their areas of interest. One can attend any committee meeting or hearing in parliament as an observer or witness. If you wish to make a submission or presentation, phone or write to the Committee Clerk to make an arrangement. The calendar for committee meetings can be obtained from the Committee Services department at Parliament.
Momley Amushendje, Public Liaison Officer, National Council E-mail Address: email@example.com
*These responses relate to issues raised by members of the public through The Namibian SMS section, as well as directly with specific government institutions.