Defence and Veterans Affairs Minister, Frans Kapofi today reminded his staff members that they are not doing members of the public a favor in carrying out their duties, urging them to show respect at all times.
Kapofi was speaking at a staff meeting in the capital today when he made the remarks.
“Let us be reminded that when we are providing service to the people, we are not doing them a favour, we are actually doing what is expected of us. Therefore, let us always show respect and go all out when we are dealing with members of the public, they own this institution, they are the sovereigns,” he said.
Kapofi explained that a good number of clientele are veterans of the liberation struggle, some of whom are retired servicemen and women of the Namibian Defence Force.
“These are people who sacrificed their all to ensure that we enjoy the freedom and opportunities we have today. Let us be empathetic when attending to them,” the minister pleaded.
Earlier this week however, former Plan combatants handed over a petition addressed to the Head of State, Hage Geingob, requesting for the removal of Kapofi and his management amidst claims that he is mistreating veterans.
“They must be removed with immediate effect, because of ill-treating veterans and as a result many of the veterans are left out of the mighty Swapo’s green pastures. We request the Department of Veterans Affairs be removed from the Ministry of Defense and be made a ministry on its own like it was before. We also want veterans’ affairs to be led by the veterans’ children who were born in exile themselves,”the petition reads.
Kapofi says he has also learnt a lot about what is happening, the areas in which the ministry is doing good and where there is a need to improve.
“The ministry is a public institution and part of the system of government, the government which belongs to the people. I have also noticed the complaints received from the public about a lack of empathy,” he added.
Kapofi said that the process of payment of cash to veterans is going well despite the budget constraints that compel the ministry to pay a few veterans at a given time.
He urged staff members to prioritise respect and discipline, patriotism, good behaviour, desist from engaging in illicit activities, be dedicated to their course of safeguarding territorial integrity, follow instructions, buy durable items for the ministry and for good service delivery, have an internal mechanism to deal with issues, avoid unnecessary local and international trips unless absolutely necessary, spend money wisely and save the ministry’s resources.
Deputy minister Hilmar Nicanor, executive director Wilhelmine Shivute, and Air Marshall Martin Kambulu Pinehas were among the senior officials at the meeting.