Namibian Correctional Services

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On the 19th July 2017, an SMS appeared in The Namibian newspaper requesting the Public Service Commission to intervene in the corrupt administration of the Namibian Correctional Service because officers are working in vacant positions for more than a year, but are not appointed to those posts.

Query: Public Service Commission, intervene in the corrupt administration of the Namibian Correctional Service. Officers are working in vacant posts for more than a year and not being appointed to those posts. We are tired of this practice. At least if one is acting in that post, he/she must get half the salary of that post.
Response: The new organisational structure which was approved by the Minister of Safety and Security, (Rtd) Charles Namholo, on June 1, 2017, has been structured in such a way that it accommodates more junior positions in various offices in order to cater for officers that are currently assigned to those offices, but whose ranks are not catered for. This was after the oversight of a lack of junior ranks in some offices on the organisational structure was noted.

Following the approval of the above-mentioned organisational structure, all the heads of offices/workplaces were instructed through an internal memorandum, dated June 29, 2017, to ensure that officers who are in offices but were not catered for on the organisational structure are identified and correctly appointed into those offices.
Currently, the human resource management team is hard at work to ensure that officers are appointed in the positions in which they have been working. However, as much as the department would like to appoint all these officers in those positions in which they are assigned, we will at this stage only be able to appoint officers whose appointments will not have any financial implications, since there are no funds to appoint those who should be promoted.

Query: Commissioner General, why can’t the positions of maximum-security unit manager and the one for head of security at the Windhoek Correctional Facility rotate every third year? No normal person can tolerate the unruly behaviour of those hard-core criminals for more than 10 years without going crazy or losing their job. Or is it exactly what your agenda is?

Response: At the outset, it is important to indicate that the unit manager is in this post since 2013, while the head of security was appointed to that position in 2015. Both holders of these positions were appointed as such by the Commissioner-General and may be rotated by the appointing authority through his decision or on recommendation of the officer in charge of Windhoek Correctional Facility, or any other authority.

The unruly behaviour of inmates is an occupational factor that should be expected when working with inmates, particularly those in maximum-security. Officers who are appointed to the maximum units and to head institutional security have been appointed on merit, with consideration of their interpersonal skills, firmness, capability, as well as experience, which are usually the required competencies for working in those positions.
However, should the work within those positions become personally unbearable, the department has mechanisms in place for any officer to seek assistance or redress, either through their supervisor or the Employee Assistance Programme Division, which can then recommend in consideration of both the individual and the department’s interests.

Notwithstanding this, the department is hard at work to identify constructive activities for the maximum-security offenders to curb boredom and possibly avert unbecoming behaviour. Also, the department takes note of the proposal to rotate these officers, as it might be a good proposal and will possibly consider policy provisions to accommodate this proposal.

* Deputy Commissioner Eveline January, Namibian Correctional Services, E-mail: Eveline.january@ncs.gov.na

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