Windhoek-The well-known trend of sport administrators and officials deceptively jumping at every opportunity to travel with various national teams to international competitions and in the process dubiously pocket excessive S&T money will soon be a thing of the past.
This was the clarion warning from the new Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Erastus Uutoni, made during a special meet and greet ceremony at the ministry’s head office in the capital yesterday, where he was introduced to the staff members of his ministry.
With his plea placing special emphasis on accountability and transparency as well as performance, Uutoni said he was fully aware of many sports administrators and officials who have discursively turned the ministry into their personal cash cow by organizing questionable foreign trips whenever national teams are travelling abroad and in the process claim excessive travel and subsistence (S&T) money from the ministry.
“I have taken note of sport administrators and officials who just come to work to check if there are any foreign trips so that they can squeeze themselves in and travel with national teams in order to pocket heavy S&T money. Be warned that this practice will come to an end and as minister, I will personally make sure that this trend of ten officials from the ministry travelling with one national team to foreign missions comes to an end as well. If we only need one person to travel with a national team, then only one person must travel. I promise you all, colleagues, that it will end. We should at all times be accountable and transparent in our duties as public servants,” cautioned Uutoni, who further said all staff working hours will also be closely monitored.
“We must account for the resources that government has entrusted us with. I urge all of you to seriously commit yourself to your working hours and do away with the habit of dodging work and doing your private things during working hours. Some people are in the habit of clocking in at work in the morning and then disappear the whole day until it’s 17h00 when it’s time to knock off. We will closely monitor that as well, as that cannot continue happening in government,” he added.
Uutoni also warned his ministry’s directors and other high ranking staff members to expect clashes with him from time to time, especially when incompetence is at play, but however advised that they should not take it personally as it will all be in the name of delivering on their mandate without failure.
Sending out a special message to senior employees of his ministry, Uutoni said all staff members should familiarise themselves with the ministry’s recently approved strategic plan, as it is the guiding tool to drive the ministry forward in its efforts to deliver quality services to the country’s youth and the sporting sector.
“Through this strategic plan, we have already set ourselves a vision that our ministry is an institution that can be recognised in sports and youth empowerment. We want the youth to visit our offices all the time as we are here to serve them,” he stressed.
He acknowledged that the current budget cuts will affect operations, but said by working as a team they will achieve the desired results despite the limited resources. He is deputised by Agnes Tjongarero. – Additional info: Nampa