Windhoek — Some teachers and labourers who were transferred to the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) last year say they are in limbo as they have yet to receive their pension payouts from the Ministry of Education, six months later.
One worker, who spoke to New Era in confidence, said since the beginning of the year, around eight employees based at the Okakarara Vocational Training Authority (which falls under the NTA) have been waiting to be given their pension money but because their leave days have apparently not been calculated yet, they cannot get their money.
"Why have some (ex-employees) been paid out and not us?" asked a disgruntled worker.
The worker said this has made their lives very difficult as they had been looking forward to receive the money to clear some debts and make up for the "little" they get since joining the NTA.
The workers had formally complained to New Era that their new take-home pay was a "joke" compared to what they used to get before at the Ministry of Education.
They claimed that the NTA doubled their basic salaries to eye-blind them and make it look like they were getting more money, but almost half of that is deducted to cover benefits such as medical aid and taxes on the housing allowance and other perks.
They said they also do not get a transport allowance like they used to in the past and added that government benefits were much better since they included a transport allowance, a non-taxable housing allowance and a reasonable medical contribution of only N$60 or N$90 for members, who included family members on their medical aid fund.
With the government medical aid scheme, they had unlimited access to specialists, doctors and medicine, but with the new system at the NTA, they apparently have to pay between N$1 200 and N$2 700 per month out of their own pockets, depending on their medical aid package.
"Now we have to go to the hospital instead because we can't afford private doctors," said the NTA employee.
A clerk at the Ministry of Education said that they have already explained to the former employees that there is a fraud investigation going on at the ministry and they "cannot draw the files".
"The police are still there and I don't know how long the investigation will go on," said the clerk who did not want to divulge any further information on the matter, except that it was in connection with "money that has disappeared"..
He said that they were aware that more than 10 employees based at different colleges of education were waiting to be paid, but there was nothing they could do at the moment.
Six officials in the finance and procurement divisions of the education ministry were allegedly involved in large-scale fraud that led to some arrests and suspensions.
The police are now guarding the ministry to ensure that documents and other important goods and including computers are not removed from the premises.
It is alleged that the culprits paid 'ghost teachers' and 'workshops' that were never held.
Approached for comment, Anti-Corruption Commission Director, Paulus Noa, said that he had no knowledge that the investigation was hindering the process of paying out the former employees.
"I have no details about that. We just started the investigation and are still in the early part of it," he said, adding that he could not divulge more information regarding the case or cases.