Works and Transport Minister, John Mutorwa, has announced six new board members for the troubled rail operator TransNamib, in a quest by government to transform the institution into a profitable entity.
The new members are Josephine Shikongo, Dr Michael Ochurub, Gaenor Michaels, Oscar Kaveru, Advocate Sigrid Tjijorokisa and Vincent Mberema.
The seventh member will be appointed in due course.
The new board, whose term runs for three years, faces the immediate task of implementing the rail operator’s N$2 billion turnaround strategy, which will be partially funded by the State.
Setting the tone at a media briefing held on Thursday to announce the new board members, Public Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste, warned that time for personal fights, which have been holding up the parastatal, must come to an end.
He said focus should be shifted to transforming the fortunes of the cash-strapped State-owned Enterprise through the implementation of its five-year strategic plan.
“In my own personal opinion, TransNamib is one of the top two most important public enterprises in the country, if not the most important. The other reality is that TransNamib is not where it should be at the moment,” he said.
“I have so much empathy for my president and some of his current frustrations. We are fighting each other as Namibians. We are not focusing on the job at hand and I can tell that is the downfall of most of our public enterprises and it has to stop.”
Jooste said government cannot step in to stop personality fights, but it is the board’s duty to see to it that its focus is on running the parastatal instead of these battles.
“You have a new board, new CEO and a new approved integrated strategic business plan. You have [support from Government]. The ball is in your court. Only you can mess it up,” he said.
Mutorwa reminded the new board that Namibia is run by the rule of law and not anarchy, therefore everything should be done according to the laws and policy documents pertaining to the transport sector currently in place.
He pointed to the National Transport Holding Company Act (1998), Companies Act (2004), State Finance Act (1991), Public Procurement Act (2015) and Vision 2030 among others.
“If you put the documents in the drawer and you don’t know what is contained there, you will give wrong leadership…you have to make sure the services that you provide are of superior quality so that the people can make use of them,” Mutorwa said.
He said the ethos of integrity and accountability could not be overemphasised.