Job queues getting longer

30 October 2019 | Columns

Yesterday we witnessed another unprecedented situation where more than 3 000 people - mostly the youth - showed up in the morning at the ministry of health to scramble for a few cleaner jobs. Youth unemployment in Namibia currently stands at 46%, we dare remind everyone.

A month ago, about 6 000 candidates sat for written interviews for nine cleaner positions in Ohangwena. This is ridiculous for many reasons.

Firstly, we find it extremely disrespectful and insensitive that thousands of people are invited for positions as few as nine.

In the Ohangwena case, it means roughly over 5 900 papers were deliberately wasted because more people than necessary were invited to sit for written interviews. Officials knew too well that they were abusing the resources of thousands of unemployed people, among whom only a tiny drop was actually needed for the jobs.

If one needs nine people, officials did not have to shortlist beyond 50 people. Not even the argument of giving everyone a chance can justify this level of absurdity. Or how would government handle a situation where 3 000 people actually pass the interviews, 1500 of them with exactly the same score?

The same logic that the officials used to select the final nine successful candidates should have been applied in shortlisting 50 or less for the jobs.

But let's not allow the bigger picture of this situation to get lost in our ranting. The real question that the custodians of our national resources must answer is how we got into this mess.

Or perhaps more importantly, what have they done to arrest this situation? It is one thing for government to say, as it often does, that it inherited the current economic challenges facing the country, but it is another thing to say what it has done to ensure the nation does not continue on this path.

Swapo's mantra of 'The legacy continues' must not remain a political slogan. Let's feed the nation with jobs, not empty political hymns.

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