Office of the Vice President: Veterans Affairs
Query: The Department of Veterans Affairs should change its name to the ministry of returnees affairs because the ministry is mostly only approving applications of those who were outside of the country during the war of liberation.
Response: Veterans Affairs totally refutes the allegations that it is mostly approving veterans who were in exile for veteran status at the expense of those gallant sons and daughters who were persistently fighting against the South African colonial regime inside the country. As per the Veterans Act of 2008 as amended, a veteran is defined as “a person who was a member of the liberation forces, provided the person was above 18 years of age on 21 March 1990; who consistently and persistently participated or engaged in any political, diplomatic or underground activity in furtherance of the liberation struggle up to the date of independence and who owing to his or her participation in the liberation struggle was convicted, whether in Namibia or elsewhere, of any offence closely connected to the struggle and sentenced to imprisonment, provided the person continued with the liberation struggle activities after being released”.
The Act makes provision for the application and registration of persons for veteran status to be referred to the Veterans Board, which amongst others is to determine applications for registration as veteran. The Veterans Board, based on the information provided by the applicants, approves or disapproves such applications.
According to our records, thirty thousand one hundred and ninety six (30,196) veterans have been approved since inception. From this total number, twenty three thousand one hundred and thirteen (23,113) approved veterans were active against the colonial South African regime inside Namibia, making up the biggest number of the veteran population. Furthermore, Veterans Affairs encourages applicants who are aggrieved by any decision of the Veterans Board to appeal such decision through the Veterans Appeal Board to consider their appeal.
Query: Ministry of Veterans Affairs, I would like to know who deserves to be given a state funeral or to be granted hero status. Some people, whether having been a minister, do not deserve a state funeral. We have brave men who commanded battalions during the liberation struggle, while some of the ministers only got their positions through the vote.
Response: Veterans Affairs is mandated to initiate, promote and implement programs which address the socio-economic needs of registered veterans, including keeping alive the history of the national liberation struggle. The power to confer national honours and the granting of a state funeral is a prerogative of the President of the Republic of Namibia as enshrined in Article 32(3) (h) of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia.
Under Section 9 (2) of the Conferment of National Honours Act No. 11 of 2012, the President has the power to confer honour of the status of national hero or heroine; conferment of a state funeral and conferment of interment at the National Heroes Acre.
Section (3)(1) of the same Act stipulates that the President may confer upon citizens, residents and friends of Namibia, such honours as he or she may consider appropriate and such honour may be bestowed upon such recipients during the recipients’ lifetime or posthumously.
Section (3)(2)(b) further stipulates that, where the President wishes to confer any honour, regarding heroism or leadership or act or achievement meriting recognition of national status upon a person, he/she in consultation with the committee on the conferment of national honours takes into consideration whether the person on whom such honour is to be conferred: –
(i) Is a veteran and whether such person exhibited or exhibits qualities, actions and achievements of heroism for the betterment of the Namibian nation;
(ii) Is a person who has made significant contributions to the betterment of the Namibian nation in economic, social, scientific, academic, public administration, security or any other field of human endeavour in Namibia; or
(iii) Is a person who has provided a noteworthy service in the national security forces or a notable service in international peacekeeping duties as a representative of Namibia to the betterment of the Namibian people.
With regard to the conferment of State Funeral, the Conferment of National Honours Act No. 11 of 2012 (4)(1) gives the President the power to confer a State Funeral to a person subject to Section 3, a State Funeral at the National Heroes Acre or at any other burial place in Namibia.
• Edson Haufiku, Public Relations Officer, Office of the Vice-President: Veterans Affairs, Email Address: Edson.Haufiku@mova.gov.na
Namibian Correctional Service
Query: Commissioner General of the Namibian Correctional Service, I think that it is high time you seek advice from your predecessor. We are losing hope in your administration.
Response: Perhaps the complainant should be specific on what advice the Commissioner-General should seek from his predecessor, since the administration of the Namibian Correctional Service is guided by laws, rules, regulations, directives and policies.
More critically, the Commissioner-General avails himself to an open-door policy where any officer or staff member can consult or communicate to him at any time for advice, guidance, recommendations, reporting of irregularities etc. It will however be more constructive if complaints about the administration of the Commissioner-General are pointed out more specifically since administration is such a wide area. This will enable the Commissioner-General to address those administrative anomalies more effectively.
Query: Commissioner General of Namibian Correctional Service, can you please change to the old organisational structure to address the current problems at correctional facilities.
Response: Over the past years, the organizational structure of the Namibian Correctional Service was amended several times to respond to challenges particularly those faced at correctional facilities. A few examples include the introduction of the Employee Assistance Programme to address issues that negatively affect employee work performance; the establishment of maintenance officer positions to respond to defects and dilapidation at correctional facilities; the addition of more security services positions to enhance security and reduce institutional incidents; the creation of positions of Offender, Arts and Crafts to engage offenders in constructively and reduce boredom as well as institutional irregularities. We also added more junior positions to the NCS structure in offices which had only senior positions in order to allow for gradual growth amongst the NCS staff within the various offices.
All these changes were made to address challenges the NCS experienced in the past. Suffice to say, the amendment of the organizational structure was and will always be done through a consultative process that includes input from the grassroots level. Hence, all employees always had and still have the opportunity to make contributions to the amendments on the organisational structure of the Namibian Correctional Service.
• Eveline January, Deputy Commissioner, Media and Public Relations, Namibian Correctional Service, E-mail Address: Eveline.January@ncs.gov.na