The Social Security Commission (SSC) has laid a plan to decentralise its services countrywide to reach out to all Namibians needing their services in a bid to contribute to the Harambee Prosperity Plan and also improve service delivery, the commission’s Executive Chairperson Milka Mungunda told our sister publication Prime Focus.
“ When lady (Penehupifo) Pohamba was the first lady, she actually realized that there is a need to accommodate and protect women who goes to hospitals to deliver and Social Security (Commission)as a company responsible for providing maternity benefits, we got ourselves involved. We then pledged about N$40 million to assist with the setup of this shelters. They have already started with the shelter in Outapi and we are going to continue with Katima Mulilo soon because we already have property and land available.
“ In Rundu they are still trying to get land. There is also going to be a health center in Aussenkehr and very soon we are also going to start with the shelter. So, there are some structures set up. However, they are not completed and that is how we as SSC comes in this projects. Ones all the mentioned above are completed we will hand them over to the ministry of health,” she said.
Mungunda further went on to add that the commission will be looking at the challenges it faces and finding ways to overcome them and coming up with improvements, as there is a lot of improvement that needs to be done.
“Although SSC has reached a high level of good governance, we need to move forward to the next level by looking at improving benefits or enhancing the members benefits as well as looking at a lint structure but yet which is affective,” said Mungunda.
Mungunda went on to add that in terms of effective governance the commission would have to preview the social security act as in some instances there are provocative aspects of the act, only then would they be able to improve the governance.
“We will continue to build more offices in the regions and not just offices but satellite offices, so that we can have much greater impact. However, we are also looking at our internal processes so we can see how we can improve on the governance from inside, so, there are a number of strategies we are putting in place to mostly and importantly improve on the governance side,”said Mungunda.
Mungunda went on to add that the commission has noted that there are employers who have not registered their employees as stipulated by law, with some employers only approaching SSC offices once they realize they need to pay their employees or are faced with court or labour action.
“Taking SSC to all corners of our beautiful country is our primary goal. It is our wish that all Namibian citizens have access to our benefits and that we are represented everywhere and accessible to everyone in the future. Currently we have close to 14 offices countrywide but that is not enough. In short, we are in the mission of extending coverage and make ourselves relevant and fulfill our mandate,” said Mungunda.
As part of their mandate SSC increased their maternity leave benefits by 24% from N$10 500 which will include an increase in sick leave and death benefits. This increase was put into effect as of the first of July 2016.
“What prompted this development is the cost of living, the cost of living is quite challenging everywhere and we have realized that, for quite some time we have not been doing any improvement. So we thought of looking at the cost of living and coming up with strategies to assist members. We then looked on the fund’s performance and through that we propose enhancements to various benefits falling under the MSD Fund,” said Mungunda.
Mungunda went on to add that the SSC put aside N$3 million to assist the Ministry of Health with sonar machines, with the tender already being allocated. With the equipment either being delivered already or in the process of being delivered by the Ministry of Health.
“We need to start looking at where exactly are the loopholes, identify them and close those loopholes and make sure not to tempt people to be tempted to corrupt and by educating people especially the staff that commit corruption. However, corruption does not really pay in the long run and I think we should concentrate more in building a company, processes and how to improve the processes and not to open up for people to find loopholes,” said Mungunda.
Although acknowledging and sharing in the sentiments that the state has a shortage of hospitals, Mungunda went on to state that it is not in the mandate of the Social Security Commission to construct hospitals.
“Our core business is to provide a foundation of social protection on the principles of solidarity for workers in Namibia and their dependents in respect of earnings replacement due to contingency arising from maternity leave, sick leave and death and work related disabilities, injuries and loss of employment. To come closer to your question of whether there are plans to construct hospitals the answer will be no,” said Mungunda.
Read full interview in Prime Focus this week