Volunteers demand permanent jobs from health ministry

Katutura Hospital

Some casual workers employed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services in 2017, picketed at Katutura Hospital on Thursday, demanding permanent employment and handing over a petition to the ministry.

Group spokesperson Isai Shapwa said they were all promised permanent jobs by the government, but that nothing has materialised to date.

He said the ministry has, however, hired new people who joined after the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the petition handover to health ministry, executive director Ben Nangombe, Shapwa said their group has served the country during difficult times.

“Namibia is a small country, we know their family members whom they employed. Some of these people were even our primary school classmates,” he said, further questioning the fairness of ongoing interviews at Windhoek Central Hospital, which the group believed were intended for them.

However, many of them were not called, despite applying for the advertised vacancies seeking at least 50 people.

“We worked without salaries or benefits from 2017 to 2019. Yesterday, when we entered the office, we found people attending interviews. That’s not fair. We didn’t see any familiar faces there,” Shapwa said.

The workers questioned why the ministry was not considering them and why they were seemingly discarded after the pandemic, despite their valuable service to the Namibian people.

Ben Nangombe


According to Nangombe, misleading information has been circulated regarding the Covid-19 volunteer employment programme.

“The Covid-19 pandemic emerged, and we sought approval from the prime minister’s office to employ volunteers on a temporary basis,” Nangombe said.

“The government allocated resources for this purpose. However, when Covid-19 cases declined, the funds unfortunately ran out,” he said.

“We need to move away from the assumption that volunteering for the government automatically guarantees permanent employment,” Nangombe said.

He adds that employing the volunteers would require available funding and vacant positions before recruitment procedures can be followed.

Nangombe said there are a limited number of vacancies and accommodating all volunteers would be impractical, as they are more than the available positions.

“We have approached the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation to allow the ministry to advertise vacant positions, specifically for the 2017 and Covid-19 volunteers,” he said.

Nangombe, however, receiveed the petition and vowed to provide a proper response to the group.

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