26 Jan 2014 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 JAN (NAMPA) - A national pension fund as well as a national medical benefit fund are crucial projects on the agenda of the newly-appointed Social Security Commissioners , Labour and Social Welfare Minister Doreen Sioka said on Wednesday.
Sioka made the call when she introduced the new commissioners during their induction workshop at Sun Karros (previously Daan Viljoen) on the outskirts of the capital.
The SSC chairperson is Bishop Dr Zephania Kameeta. Other members are Lourencia Tjiho, Herman Shitaleni and Rebecca Iyambo representing Government; Deidre Sauls, Hilya Nandago, and Michael Hill (representing employers); and Justina Jonas, Toini Nauyoma and Evans Maswahu (representing the trade unions).
The term of the new commissioners commenced on Wednesday this week and will end on 31 December 2014.
Sioka said the SSC Act requires the establishment of a national pension fund and a national medical benefit fund, noting thathese projects have been on the drawing board for an inordinately long period, and they are sorely needed.
I urge you to put maximum efforts into these projects so that we can operationalise these statutorily-mandated funds in the earliest possible time. I count on your commitment to the rule of law and to the will of the Namibian people, as expressed by the parliament through the Social Security Act, to bring these funds into existence, she noted.
Sioka cautioned the new commissioners not to be derailed by private interests which may seek to further stall or prevent the full implementation of the law.
The minister pointed out that another priority that requires intensified work and tangible results is the extension of the social security benefits to members in the informal economy.
The informal sector or informal economy is that part of an economy that is not taxed, monitored by any form of government, or included in any gross national product (GNP), unlike the formal economy.
These workers need the same benefits and protections as those in the formal sector.
She called for close co-operation with commissioners to harness sound relationships with her and the staff at the ministry.
Experience worldwide has shown that it is important for social security institutions to work closely with their governments and to play an active role in the discussion of future developments in the whole system of social protection. Therefore, I urge you to maintain and harness a sound relationship with the shareholder minister and ministry, including regular reports and consultations, said Sioka.
Early September last year, the minister forced some of the previous commissioners to resign and dismissed others for failing to reinstate SSC Executive Officer Kenandei Kapara Tjivikua.
Tjivikua was suspended on 12 December 2012 for serious misconduct, namely that of insubordinance, disobedience and related acts of misconduct.
He was, however, found not guilty of alleged transgressions during a disciplinary process on 08 October last year.