The Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently undertaking stakeholder engagements in all 14 regions to sensitise stakeholders on the commission’s purpose and mandate. The commission is also gathering information on human resources related challenges in the public service.
PSC Deputy Executive Director Alfredt Tjirorua Tjihambuma told The Villager in an interview that everyone has a similar way to pursue a job that is based on merit regardless of race, ethnicity or area of origin, stating that Namibia is regarded as a unitary state that prides itself with equality and fairness in recruitment opportunities.
The deputy ED is of the view that Namibia’s constitution is committed to equality and diversity through the PSC, an entity that is responsible for enforcing democratic laws that make it illegal to discriminate against job applicants by virtue of race, sex, and religion.
Tjihambuma further stated that the PSC doesnot have a policy that limits people who are in a specific area to only compete for specific positions as everyone can compete and apply wherever they want to compete.
However, he said the Affirmative Action Act makes provision for regions which feel the need to consider certain people in certain roles from their localities, to do so.
“Unless regions feel that there is a special need to consider people from local areas, then the commission might consider,” he explained.
Commission’s Chairperson Salmaan Jacobs also reiterated that should the region seek local applicants, explicit submissions and motivations should be submitted to the commission as to why they should be exempted from opening the specific position for everyone to apply.
“Regions might differ from region to region based on their specific needs, so if there is a special need for instance where a region feels that they need to consider people from local areas, the only body that is empowered to recommend or advise is the Public Service Commission. So what they need to do is come with clear submission, with clear motivations to the commission why they should be exempted from opening the specific position for everyone to apply,” Jacobs clarified.
Moreover, Tjihambuma stated that positions in public service are now open for everyone, unlike in the past when positions/vacancies were only limited to staff members within the public service through the E-service.
“This now means that at this stage you cannot only promote people based on performance alone as it will be difficult to assess the performance of those that are outside and willing to apply for specific positions,”said Tjihambuma, noting that candidates suitability is now being determined through their performance during interviews.
“The most successful one will be taken being from outside or from inside the public service.’’
Jacobs said that one of the initial purposes of the commission is to advise the president and the government on human resources in relation to balance structuring. Therefore the commission is looking at the provision of the constitution while at the same time considering cases that are peculiar to regions.
“The commission is also aware of the country’s diversity and its demographic realities in different regions and should thus seek for ways on how to address these issues.
“When there are cases that are seen to be peculiar to the region, and the region submits those requests to us and says because of these reasons, we feel that this person needs to consider this position, maybe the person is marginalised.There are reasons we feel they need to be considered in these positions for the reason being that they are from this region,” Jacobs elaborated.
Tjihambuma said that the PSC can however make special recommendations for applicants from previously disadvantaged communities, women and people living with disabilities under the Affirmative Action Act 29 of 1998.