What is wrong with the Guardian Fund?

14 Sep 2014 22:00





With the high unemployment rate ravaging the Namibian society, one becomes very worried when a high government office is short staffed because it is finding it difficult to employ new people.
 It also gets really worrisome when this problem is apparently compounded by space insufficiency. This, in a country where budgets for capital projects, for ministries, run into millions of dollars.
Need not to mention that these capital project funds are returned to treasury at the end of the financial year because of poor budget execution.
Yes, it was said that unemployment is partly brought by the skills shortage that is dogging the country. The amount of educated Namibians being awfully small was also cited as one of the causes of job disparities. But having a government department being short staffed, because there is no sufficient space, is a creative excuse and one that doesn’t suffice.
It is like the same government celebrates the idea of seeing screaming headlines about unemployment, in the country’s fourth estate mouth pieces.
One such institution is the Masters of the High Court which, ironically administers the Guardian Fund - a section of the Master’s office where moneys are administered and controlled by the Master for minors, mental patients, certain untraceable beneficiaries that receives a benefit from a deceased estate and creditors from insolvent estates. The Guardian Fund is also there to safeguard the minor’s and other’s interest. The total value of the Guardian Fund, on 31 March 2014, was approximately one billion Namibian dollars.
Not so long ago, the air of secrecy, that for years lingered around this institution momentarily evaporated, unveiling numerous challenges that dogs this institution - staff shortages was named as one of the biggest problems.
 That, along with the irregular submission of financial statements, due to systems that are outdated and difficult to integrate with current state of the art software.
At the time Master of the High Court, Elsie Beukes promised the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Issaskar Ndjoze that her office or vacant post was now funded and ready to be filled. This information at the time surfaced through an electronic communiqué between the two but, which somehow made its way to this writer.
It has now emerged that the funded positions are yet to be filled – in a country with an unemployment rate of 29.4%. It is more disheartening to note that, while the Guardian Fund is failing to employ people because it do not have adequate office space, Namibia as a country does not have enough buildings constructed, because there is just too much land.
Perhaps by saying such intolerable statements, government, is  looking for its wrongly timed 30 seconds of fame.
The revelation on the shortage of space, staff, and, and, and, again surfacing via another electronic communication between the two.  
Drawing the PSs attention to the previous discussion, Beukes maintained that, “We do not have sufficient office space currently to accommodate new staff and did therefore not fill all our vacant posts. The PG is currently occupying the 2nd floor of the Master’s building.”
She went on to inform the PS that the issue has been deliberated on at office level and that the PGs department is looking for new office space. What one would expect such a public office to do, is for it to write a letter to the powers that be demanding that they be allocated space to construct a state of art the building that will accommodate Namibians with qualifications to be in such a set up.
For crying out loud, even the Auditor General’s Office, which used to squat at the BPI house - with the excuse that they do not have enough office space - is now housed in a posh residence of its own - big enough to fit all the countable Namibian chattered accountants.
There is no reason why they cannot knock on the Prime Minister’s office today or whoever they report to and ask for land. Best believe that before the sun sets Lukas and the Government would have given them the land. For them to claim that they cannot employ people because they do not have space is debatable - and somehow smacks of untruth. It is either the Guardian Fund wants to maintain the office as small as possible to benefit the few that are there or someone is just not doing his or her job. Perhaps incompetence, of such nature, is tolerated in some Government offices.  But what one cannot tolerate is to deprive able and needy Namibians of work   because the good Guardian Fund, bankrolled by the taxpayer, does not have office space.
Such excuses should be brought to the attention of Statistician General, Dr. John Steytler, because to him, the Guardian Fund employing to more people will positively will positively affect his unemployment statistics.