Unam's first vet graduates stuck without work

The first 17 locally trained veterinarians say they are not getting any answers from the agriculture ministry about employing them.

01 July 2020 | Agriculture

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



The first cohort of students to attain the University of Namibia's Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree have accused the government of not creating the necessary opportunities for them to find work.

The students raised the issue with Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani during a courtesy call to the leader of the opposition.

The students enrolled for the programme in 2014 and were the first to undergo veterinary science training in the country.

Ten of the 17 graduates called on Venaani after approaching Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who referred the students to then agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb.

Group spokesperson Martin Katumbe said although meetings were held with agriculture ministry officials, no progress has been made to employ them.

“We approached them [government] since last year. We first wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, who referred the matter to the former minister of agriculture. We then had a meeting with the minister, the ministry's executive director Percy Msika and the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS). They agreed to restructure DVS and this was also approved by the secretary to cabinet, George Simataa,” Katumbe said.



No answers

When they enquired about the restricting of the DVS, the group was told that the ministry was not dealing with the matter anymore.

This prompted the group to write to current agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein.

“When the administration changed, we wrote to the new minister.

“We wrote the first letter and he rejected it ,saying it was not signed … we wrote a second letter but he never showed any interest,” Katumbe said.

PDM leader Venaani acknowledged the predicament the students faced, saying that the line minister would be asked to account for why the students were not employed yet.

“There is a need for veterinarians, in fact, it would be good if every constituency or two could be assisted by a veterinarian.

“We are underfunding agriculture. Your issue has resonance with us; we are going to take this issue up in the National Assembly,” he said.

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