The Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs has spent N$91 million in cashon 559 veterans of the liberation struggle last year, minister Frans Kapofi has revealed during a staff meeting this week.
The age category of veterans paid ranges from 50-100 years and above, with the highest number of 212 veterans paid from the age category of 60-69 years old and 50-59 years old, with a total of 169 veterans so far paid.
In recent years, the ministry had revealed that since the inception of the veteran’s affairs division, the State has paid 28 510 veterans a once-off lump sum of N$50 000. At the same time, 1535 veterans were also given a once-off payment of N$20 000 each.
At the same meeting, the defence minister urged staff members of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) to show respect when dealing with members of the public as they are the” sovereigns”.
“Let us be reminded that when we are providing service to these people, we are not doing them a favour, we are actually doing what is expected of us. Therefore, let us always show respect and go all out when we are dealing with the members of the public, they own this institution, they are the sovereigns,” he said.
Kapofi said the office receives a high number of visits, letters, and phone calls from the veterans of the struggle for national liberation, with many complaining about how they are treated by the staff members.
“Many a times they complain about how we receive and talk to them and the lack of empathy we seem to show when dealing with their issues,” he said.
He further urged the ministry staff members to be empathetic when attending to veterans as they have sacrificed a lot for the freedom of the country. “These are people who have sacrificed their all to ensure that we enjoy the freedom and various opportunities we have today. Let us be empathetic when attending to them,”he appealed.
Furthermore, the minister reminded the staff members that the ministry is tasked with a huge task of defending the country and its people.
“We are charged with the mandate to protect the territorial integrity of this nation,” he said.
Kapofi asked the NDF members to be exemplary as he points out the issue of NDF members getting involved in fights while off duty as this tarnishes the ministry’s image.
He also warned NDF members not to use their training skills against civilians.