Criminalise long suspensions
19 October 2020 | Opinion
Some of them have been on suspension for as long as two years, raking in taxpayer money without lifting a finger.
It's not their fault. The inefficiencies in the government and semi-government bureaucracy are responsible for this criminal robbery of the masses.
In April 2018 the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) suspended its CEO, Hilya Nghiwete. For nearly two years, the fund kept paying her salary (believed to be about N$4 million during the period). This is in addition to extra fees reserved to pay the acting CEO.
There are two fundamental flaws to long suspensions such as Nghiwete's. First, it is outright wasteful expenditure when so much money is being paid out to someone for sleeping at home.
Secondly, persons that are suspended for extended periods risk having their professional integrity eternally damaged, perhaps innocently.
Suspensions should last three months at most. Anything that goes beyond that is a criminal case, not a disciplinary one.
Long suspensions also compromise productivity and therefore the overall performance of public institutions. Even when a person is appointed to act in the place of their suspended colleague, it now means they have their own work to do and that of their grounded colleague.
The Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Public Enterprises have a long way to go in rectifying this sick culture.