Allegations that the Namibian Cabinet has had to find an alternative venue for its regular meetings because of a situation of disrepair at State House as a result of international sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been disparaged by a variety of officials.
A North Korean company was responsible for the renovation of State House and it is alleged that the sanction package aimed at the country and its businesses is causing difficulties at the Office of the Presidency.
The sanction package was originally initiated by the United Sates of America and their allies from all over the world after the war in the mid-1950s where the nation was eventually split into two halves. The US government intensified the sanction package in 2017 when the DPRK tested nuclear capable ballistic missiles. In the same year, the North Korean company that was busy constructing a military base in Namibia had to leave the country
The Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa, confirmed that meetings of the legislative body have been held at, amongst others, the Office of the Prime Minister in Windhoek while renovation works are ongoing.
“Currently, regular maintenance work is being done at State House which means that the Cabinet had to convene meetings at the Office of the Prime Minister and other locales,” Simataa said.
He said that the sanctions aimed at North Korea have nothing at all to do with the fact that certain amenities such as air conditioners and the escalators in the building of the Office of the Presidency might not be working.
Dennis Shikwambi, the Chief Public Relations Officer at the Office of the Presidency confirmed Simataa’s statements and said that Cabinet sometimes makes use of a different venue within State House to hold their meetings.
“The venue normally used for the purposes of Cabinet meetings is currently being renovated and the body had to make use of a different room. The Cabinet is not restrained to one specific venue and has made use of different locales such as the old Cabinet Room at the Office of the Prime Minister and other locales within State House not affected by the ongoing work,” he said.
Shikwambi stated that the air-conditioning system as well as the escalators in State House are in full working order unless they have to be switched off by construction workers in the course of their specific tasks.
Julius Ngweda, the Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Works and Transport, also confirmed that maintenance work is regularly done on the buildings and infrastructure of the various Ministries, offices and agencies.
“However, the current work being done at State House is the responsibility of the in-house team of the Office of the Presidency,” he said.
According to Ngweda, these individual maintenance teams were created by a decision of Cabinet for the specific task of servicing the infrastructure of the various Ministries, offices and agencies.
He also disparaged the allegations that sanctions against the DPRK have nothing to do with the difficulties that the maintenance team responsible for the Office of the Presidency might be experiencing.
None of the officials were able to state the cost involved in the ongoing renovation of the State House.