Veterans wait in vain

13 June 2018 | Ministries

The veteran affairs ministry has spent millions procuring items for socio-economic projects that have not been delivered.

Many war veterans are now frustrated, saying they are unable to get income-generating projects off the ground. The ministry funds veterans of the liberation struggle up to N$200 000 each for the establishment of their income-generating projects.

Ministry spokesperson Edson Haufiku confirmed to Namibian Sun some of its suppliers have defaulted and they are aware of the frustrations being experienced by veterans.

He said they are exploring alternatives to recover costs, some amounting to millions of dollars.

The veterans say no one is being held accountable for the delay in the delivering their equipment and other items.

Among the frustrated veterans is 64-year-old Wilhelm Shilongo, who has been waiting for his mahangu thresher that the ministry bought in 2015, but which to date has not been delivered.

According to Shilongo, nobody at the ministry can explain what is going on.

The purchase order seen by Namibian Sun, indicates the ministry paid N$28 995 to Renov Namibia on 17 June 2015. However, Renov has failed to deliver.

“This is very frustrating to me. Every time I go to the ministry offices at Eenhana I am referred to Windhoek. At Windhoek I am told to follow up on the thresher with Renov myself. How can I follow up with Renov if it's the ministry that paid for it? If they as a ministry cannot hold Renov accountable, how must I do it as an individual?” Shilongo asked.

He said he feels the ministry is not serious about the veterans' plight at all.

Renov Namibia's sales manager Jaco du Plessis would not comment on the matter, saying they have a lot of customers from the veteran's ministry.

Haufiku said the ministry is aware that some of the suppliers had defaulted on delivery in past years.

He said the ministry had since changed its procurement system.

“The ministry has changed the method of payment. In the past veterans had to get their own supplies and bring receipts to the ministry for payment. We realised some suppliers were not delivering, while others were delivering incorrect or sub-standard items.

“We realised there was a loophole and we decided to change the system. For now, suppliers have to supply first, then veteran affairs from the regions have to verify the items and veterans have to sign that they are satisfied before we pay,” Haufiku said.

He also admitted that Shilongo's case is not the only one, saying the ministry has several similar cases registered.

ILENI NANDJATO

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