By: Kelvin Chiringa
Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Job Muniaro, has said that the resignation of public enterprises minister, Leone Jooste, has placed him in celebratory mood given the “mess he created with public enterprises”.
Muniaro, a Jooste-critic who has accused the outgoing minister of selling out the country to the highest bidder around the time of the liquidation of Air Namibia, said it might have dawned upon him that he had not many options to save parastatals from collapse and running losses.
“I think he realised that somewhere he has messed up. I call on all people to stand up and clap hands and salute because everyone was wishing him to go. So, I have no regrets when he goes. Equally he has no regrets because he cannot rectify the mistakes that he has done. It’s too severe for him to rectify. The best thing is for him to resign and go. He has not done that out of cowardice but he knows that he has no way of rescuing the ministry,” he said.
Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Graham Hopwood, said Jooste should have stayed on, despite his ministry destined to be crunched into a directorate under finance minister Ipumbu Shiimi.
“It’s not a surprise because I think he announced this in a press release a few months ago, that the ministry was going to be phased out and that as a consequence it was pretty obvious that he would be going.
“It seems he is now opting out of public life altogether. I think the ministry was not doing a bad job but it did not have much time to work with its main law. There is an argument that he should have probably stayed on and the ministry could have at least continued for another year,” he said.
Hopwood said it is unlikely that Shiimi will immediately get himself busy with trying to rescue state entities at the present moment.
He has kept a tight leash over the national purse from which the entities have been fed with bail-outs, an issue that gave Jooste headaches during his time.
He is credited for the High Breed Model which was an attempt to tighten control and better manage the entities, however he has been accused of plotting to run down state entities to allow for private business to thrive.
His role in the liquidation of Air Namibia also saw him being accused of killing the airline to allow another company, WestAir, which he was alleged to have shares in.
He denied all the allegations.
Jooste’s resignation will take effect as from the 31st if March 2022 and was announced by statehouse press secretary, Alfredo Hengari, Wednesday afternoon.
“Consistent with a recommendation from the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy in the year 2021y, the Ministry of Public Enterprises will be wound up and its functions integrated in the Ministry of Finance.
“In that vein, in a letter addressed to His Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob on 15 March 2022, Hon Leon Jooste informed the President about his decision to resign as Member of Cabinet with effect from 31 March 2022.
“Minister Jooste further informed that he would also tender his resignation as a Member of Parliament the same day. Thanking President for the confidence expressed in him through successive appointments as Cabinet Minister, Honorable Jooste conveyed availability to serve the nation in other roles, if called upon to do so by President Geingob,” he said.
Geingob is said to have accepted Jooste’s resignation and thanked him for his services.
“Also, President Geingob thanked Honorable Jooste for his determination in ensuring reforms of Public Enterprises through the enactment of the Public Enterprises Governance Act of 2019, including the successful conclusion of the mission of the Ministry. Furthermore, President Geingob said that Honorable Jooste played an important role in nation-building and wished him well in his future endeavors,” he said.