Govt employees forced to buy own toilet paper

05 November 2018 Author   Rinelda Mouton

Employees at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Windhoek have complained that the public sector wide budget cuts due to a biting economic crisis currently facing the country are putting their health and safety at risk.

In an exclusive interview with the Windhoek Observer on Wednesday, the employees claimed that they have been forced to buy toilet paper and other office essentials using their own resources after the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry failed to supply them.
“It is sad that we are being encouraged to be hygienic when the ministry is not buying us the essential supplies,” one of the staff members said.
“Whenever we enquire about the items, we are told that there is no money. When this happens, we have no choice, but to dig deeper into our pockets. It is very unfair, because we are already underpaid.”
The workers alleged that they were forced to clean their offices and laboratories for the greater part of this year because of a shortage of cleaners.
“A lab must be clean all the time, but we had no cleaners here for over seven months. Cleaners only started working in the second week of October.
“When there were no cleaners, we had to jump in and clean. It is not fair really, because cleaning is not part of our job descriptions. We were doing a job that we were not paid for,” one of the workers said.
The workers also accused management of hijacking training opportunities meant for junior staff members.
“Why is it that only management go for training? We also want to upgrade our knowledge and skills? We are willing and very eager to learn.” 
One worker said she can’t remember when last they were supplied with safety boots. She said government was supposed to have provided them with safety boots as part of their working conditions, but has failed to do so. 
“This is not fair, because it is very dangerous for us to work without them,” the worker said, adding that their complaints and demands have since fallen on deaf ears, because no action has been taken to change their plight. 
Another employee accused President Hage Geingob of having no interest in their welfare.
“Our president does not care about government workers. He is eager to go visit China and other places, but he has never come here, to see how we are working. Not one day, did he come to check on our working conditions,” the staff member said. 
Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Senior Public Relations Officer, Margaret Kalo, did not respond to questions sent to her office despite promising to do so.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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