Police recruits entangled in cash loan cobweb
Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga has blamed the late payment of the cadets to technical Information Technology challenges within their pay roll.
This comes after police cadets went for six months without getting their payments. Investigations by The Villager show that some of the recruited officers are now relying on cash loans to sustain their living after failing to get their remuneration for six months. Ndeitunga also revealed to The Villager that in future the next recruitment cadets will have to be trained for 12 months instead of the conventional six because of an addition of subjects to the training manual.
“The training program will be extended from six months to 12 moths, this is due to the number of subject of the training program, Cadets don’t get enough time in the six months accommodate all the subjects and physical training of the program”, IG Ndeitunga told The Villager. A rather upbeat Ndeitunga told The Villager that the failure to pay the new recruits has been due to their computer system that is not updated and that those who have not been paid will be paid when the system is updated. Although, he could not give guarantee as to when the system will be updated and running, he said “Most of them worked for the government and because of proper documentation information flow was slow and computers have to be updated’’, Inspector General, Sebastian Ndeitunga told the villager.
A few cadets who spoke to The Villager confirmed that life has not been all rosy and has left them with no option that to turn to micro lenders to make ends meet, as the police payment system, is still crippled by unupdated information. Some of the micro lenders in the country have a bad reputation of pouncing on the lowly paid who end up being stuck in a vicious cycle of debt.
The cadets who are supposed to receive remuneration in the form of allowances every month, although benefiting from the police for shelter and food, are unable to provide for their families because of the late payments. The outcry which had not been addressed in the ranks, has seen police officer going as far as to social media platforms to create awareness for their circumstances.
The Villager spoke, to recently graduated police officers who are still waiting to be paid more than 6 months later. The police officers who spoke to The Villager under anonymity said, they have to buy goods from shops owed by The Ministry of Safety and Security, whom they will owe until they receive their salaries.
Some of the female cadets, had to be granted permission to purchase toiletries from the Cantina at the training base. “I am not yet paid and still owe the Ministry (MoSS) money as I am still waiting on my payment of six months. It is getting worse because now I owe some people money I had to borrow for basic needs. I am now tired of waiting because the people I owe are on my case. One even threatened to open a case if I do not pay within the next two weeks. I owe the ministry and the shopkeeper that assist my family, a police officer told The Villager.
The situation has been so aggressive that some police officers have been forced to contact their relatives in order to get necessary support as a result. They have all been granted permission to call their next of kin for support when the ministry realized that it could not pay them on time.
“Since the base is not far from my home town, I would usually phone home to get necessary things from my relatives. It is just that I am in debt because I still have not paid back my relatives that supported me during the training and my debt seemed to be rising every day. I do not have any idea why the payment process only paid of my colleagues and not all of us, a female cadet said. Another added saying, ‘’I have to call home every month and talk to a shopkeeper to help my child and nephew of whom I am the guardian with monthly groceries and toiletries in order for them to have food.
I thought the Ministry would be paying us every month but to my surprise it was not the case. Now that I have been paid it seems that I went to training to come pay off debt for groceries.
All I am left with now are just peanuts”, another cadet fumed. Statistics released by Namfisa recently also shows that the appetite for borrowing from ordinary Namibians especially those in the low income earning bracket had gone up. Namfisa report showed that Namibians from low end of society had borrowed about N$600 million from micro lending institutions in a space of three months.