Mbumba calls for morecustodial officers at the NCS

Stefanus Nashama

Vice President Nangolo Mbumba has called for an increased effort to ensure that more custodial staff are recruited to improve the effective delivery of services at national correctional centres.

Mbumba noted that the shortage of custodial officers has negative implications on the daily responsibilities of the Namibian Correctional Service such as the operating of entrances and exits, guarding of inmates admitted at public hospitals, the manning of guard tower posts, conducting of searches and the escort of inmates to various destinations such as courts, amongst others.

He explained that for the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) to ensure safe and secure correctional facilities on a 24-hour basis, and to create a conducive environment for the effective delivery of rehabilitation programs, adequate custodial staff is critical to be able to provide dynamic and human intervention security.

Mbumba was speaking at the 17th celebration of the creation of the NCS in Omaruru last week.

While Mbumba is calling for efforts to ensure the recruitment of more staff, the Namibian Correctional Service in January rejected the applications of 33 059 people, and only 200 out of close to 15 000 shortlisted candidates were selected for the training.

The Namibian Correctional Service was only seeking to employ 200 young Namibians, and this is due to a lack of funds as there was no budget allocated for NSC recruitment.

Meanwhile, the Namibian Correctional Service’s Commissioner-General, Raphael Hamunyela yesterday told the Windhoek Observer that 200 people were recruited on the NCS’ budget to at least increase the number of staff members who are retiring, and resigning due to work under pressure.

“We did not receive any budget to recruit. We just used our budget to recruit the 200 people to increase the number of our staff members due to the shortage of staff,” he stressed.

Hamunyela through weight behind the Vice President’s call for efforts to be made to enable more custodial recruitment, saying it is important because inmates are a lot and the number keeps increasing day to day.

The Commissioner-General also mentioned that the shortage of custodial officers is a big challenge at Namibia Correctional Service.

Inmates are divided into units with rations, and this makes it difficult for custodial few officers to control them because where there were supposed to be 12 officers, you will only find one officer, which is a challenge, he said.

“You may even find inmates fighting the custodial officers because officers are not a lot to control them at once,” he clarified.

Hamunyela said that custodial officers are working under pressure due to a shortage of staff, and for that reason, the Namibian Correctional Service requires a budget to recruit more staff.

Because of working under pressure, Hamunyela further indicated that some staff members are resigning and quitting their jobs, which has also contributed to the staff shortage at Namibian Correctional Service.

He said there is a need to increase the budget for Namibian Correctional Service to recruit more staff like the Namibian Police and Namibian Defence Forces.

“We did not receive a budget. If the government can make efforts toward this call, we will recruit more staff as we need them,” he reiterated.

Hamunyela said there is no budget for the Namibian Correctional Service to make further recruitments for this year.

“We are at least asking for more efforts to be made so that there is a budget available for us to recruit more staff as necessary,” he emphasized.

Mbumba also called for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders, including government agencies, civil society organizations, the business community, and the community at large for successful rehabilitation and reintegration in the Namibian Correctional facilities.

“Successful rehabilitation and reintegration cannot be achieved by correctional service alone, it requires stakeholders’ efforts,” he reiterated, “It is worth noting that the achievements I have highlighted here today do, unfortunately, not come without setbacks.”

Hamunyela has since urged the government and stakeholders to engage in making extra efforts to ensure that more staff are recruited to provide additional quality services at national correctional facilities.

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