Corruption - A social disease (Part 128): Canvassing the beacons of light in the land of the corrupt

12 January 2018 | Columns

Johan Coetzee - In terms of Transparency International’s ratings, the overall trend since 1998-2016 is stable.

The judiciary seems to be one of the beacons of relative independence from the legislative and executive branches. However, with the recent combining of the High Court and the Supreme Court, the executive encroached on the independence of the judiciary.

The Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Office are not independent. They should report to a board consisting of civil society members (with at least as possible political connections or associations with any political party) and the media, not to skewed Parliament with a two third majority of the ruling party.

Constitutional amendments without adequate public consultation do not encourage transparency and open debate.

The central government is very much in control and dominates the administrative and financial systems. The public sector is incapacitated, bloated and characterised by weak institutions and weak leaders as illustrated with the waste of public resources, e.g. the mismanagement of TransNamib, Air Namibia, Regional Councils and municipalities.


Central government neither has the capacity nor the inclination to monitor the performance of the ever increasing number of Public Enterprises (PEs) of which the number current is 98 after the recent creation of the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) who is involved in a questionable land deal.

The esprit de corps (common spirit) of public sector employees seems of such a nature that a transformation is required to motivate them and to improve their performance. Corruption is rife and blatantly manifested as illustrated in ignorance, arrogance and running second businesses during office hours (moonlighting).

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Black Economic Empowerment are used as loopholes to evade accountability and to enrich a small number of privileged politically connected people, e.g. the Government Institutions Pension Fund’s (GIPF) missing N$ 660 million and the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank’s missing N$220 million and the state of the resorts of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), including camping sites such as Jakalsputz.

Local industries are protected, e.g. milk (including Namibia Diaries), as well as the technology and banking sectors which were exposed by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) in a study as some of the banks with the highest service fees in the world. They are protected without any timelines or targets, creating an atmosphere of very limited competition and very limited incentives to increase efficiency and reduce waste of resources (a manifestation of corruption).


Public oversight mechanisms exist, but they are uncoordinated and rarely effective. Central government does not encourage public engagement with civil society institutions in order to stimulate open debate about national issues.

What has been positive was the current President's initial efforts to focus on poverty and housing. If these issues are alleviated, corruption can reduce, because housing, poverty and corruption are interrelated, intertwined and interdependent issues that cannot be addressed separately. The corrupt landscape should be changed to reduce corruption, making corruption impossible to occur, similar to the approach in addressing the crime problem in New York during the 1980's.

A beacon of light is the media that are allowed to play a critical role in exposing corruption and making people aware of its manifestations. The number of media institutions increased since Independence and within this context, the media's role in exposing corruption also increased. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA's) regional office is in Namibia and this illustrates the freedom of the Namibian media in the region. Namibia has been rated during 2016/17 as the African country with the most media freedom.

The media focus on corruption incidents, but does not adequately practise investigative journalism. The media focuses mainly on bread and butter cases such as covering incidents and not adequately provide an insightful an overall perspective about corruption related issues of national concern. Where investigative journalism is practiced, it is on ad hoc basis.

Investigative journalism costs much more money than merely reporting incidents. From a financial perspective, media houses are too small to focus adequately on investigative journalism.

Let us focus this year on reporting corruption to make Namibia the land of Light and the Brave. Let us live up to our name.

[email protected]

Similar News


Our dismal public healthcare

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Columns

There appears to be no end in sight to the many and deep-seated problems at the heart of Namibia's public healthcare sector. It goes without...

Labels, the choice is yours

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Columns

I've come across different types of artists; those that are prosperous and those who are only just making it by the grace of the Almighty....

Corruption claims taint army

3 days ago - 17 October 2018 | Columns

Namibian Sun lifted the veil last week on corruption allegations in the Namibia Defence Force (NDF), where deserving soldiers are allegedly being overlooked for promotions,...

It's all-or-nothing

4 days ago - 16 October 2018 | Columns

Tonight's crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier between the Brave Warriors and Os Mambas of Mozambique can play a significant part in the final...

90s babies are killing it

4 days ago - 16 October 2018 | Columns

Elizabeth JosephGone are the days when we looked forward to the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show at the Windhoek Showgrounds. By ‘we’ I mean the...

Why don’t you come to the party?

5 days ago - 15 October 2018 | Columns

The minister of finance Calle Schlettwein, during his meeting with the private sector at the close of last week, said that the taxpayer must come...

Our money-milking SOEs

1 week ago - 12 October 2018 | Columns

While making an impassioned plea this week for the National Assembly to pass the much-anticipated and long overdue Public Enterprises Governance Bill, public enterprises minister...

Corruption - A social disease (Part 147): The Bribe...

1 week ago - 12 October 2018 | Columns

Johan Coetzee - The objective of Nigeria's Bribe Code is to address the contract between government and companies as one of the potential key strategies...

Just do it, now

1 week ago - 12 October 2018 | Columns

Has someone ever approached you and told you that you are capable or really good at a certain activity, and your first thought was really?...

It will be the end of the road

1 week ago - 11 October 2018 | Columns

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has announced that for some years now, they have raised their security concerns with local authorities, but to date...

Latest News

Nail errant nurses - Haufiku

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Health

Health ministry permanent secretary Ben Nangombe has issued a directive that no nurses may use their cellphones while on duty, and that no health facilities...

No peace for Cheryl's family

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Crime

The police are still working around the clock to catch the killer, or killers, of nine-year-old Cheryl Avihe Ujaha although there has been a lack...

Recruiting the best staff

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Supplements

Below are some tips for employers on how to go about this often arduous task.Improve your candidate poolCompanies that select new employees from the candidates...

Taking Namfisa to new and...

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Supplements

Octavia Tsibes As the deputy CEO of prudential supervision at the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa), Erna Motinga is responsible for strengthening its supervisory...

Our dismal public healthcare

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Columns

There appears to be no end in sight to the many and deep-seated problems at the heart of Namibia's public healthcare sector. It goes without...

A vivacious young woman

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Supplements

Born and raised in a small village called Kayira-yira, situated eight kilometres west of Rundu, Zonia worked very hard throughout her school years and moved...

Improving sustainability through change

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Supplements

Justicia Shipena Her key role is to help Namport deliver sustainable performance improvement by utilising people. Futher focusing on how change can influence, which includes...

Airport downgrade a major threat

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Transport

Analysts believe that if Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) is downgraded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), it would lead to massive job losses,...

'Arrogant' Utoni under fire

1 day - 19 October 2018 | Government

Land reform minister Utoni Nujoma has been described as crude, dismissive and arrogant when it comes to dealing with the media.These were the sentiments of...

Load More