The claims at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court that family members are being hired, refuse to die. The Ministry of Justice has however dismissed claims of nepotism regarding appointments at the court.
Interpreters at the court have told this newspaper that the minimum requirement to be employed as an interpreter or a legal clerk is Grade 12 with 20 points, and a minimum E symbol in English. The requirement was decided by the Public Service Commission (PSC) after regrading.
Casual clerks who did not possess the minimum requirements could not be shortlisted for interviews for temporary posts of legal clerks, and their services were terminated on June 30.
“The positions of temporary legal clerks and for interpreters were advertised in an internal circular, which was sent to all magistrate offices countrywide, and casual employees were encouraged to apply. The applicants were shortlisted and interviewed. Thereafter successful candidates were appointed irrespective of any blood relations to any staff member in the Ministry of Justice,” Simon Tangeni Idipo, the senior spokesperson for the justice ministry said last month.
However, interpreters claim that after the regrading the chief clerk appointed relatives, who were allegedly squeezed into interviews to become interpreters, while some that have been there for several years were overlooked. “The ministry is not aware of any nepotism going on at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court or any other department of the ministry. If there are such allegations of nepotism, we urge the public or anyone with such information to report it to the office of the permanent secretary, or the Anti-Corruption Commission, for investigations to be launched,” Idipo said.
“It is regrettable that if an applicant does not meet the minimum requirement the Ministry of Justice does not have any other process available to accommodate those who do not qualify. We are also subjected to the Public Service Act, rules and regulations, which we must comply with, without deviation,” he said.But the interpreters who are out in the streets have gone on the offensive.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one aggrieved interpreter said: “Some of us, the interpreters, have been working for nine years in the ministry but now we are replaced by new people, who are casuals as well.”
“Why can’t they replace us with permanent employees. In the ministry there is no way a casual can replace a casual, it makes no sense,” he claimed, adding that the ministry should consider the years that they have worked in the ministry.
They further claim that they were let go without letters, only to be told that the instructions came from head office. “How can we fight poverty if we are sent out on the streets?” another interpreter said.