Rupara — A security guard has informally taken over the duties of the chief clerk at the Kahenge Constituency, in what has become the norm in the constituency, much to the frustration of the public who are fed up with the constant absence of the constituency officials from the office.
Community members accuse the constituency officials of depriving the public access to government services by always leaving their duty stations unattended without prior notification. A visit to the office by New Era last week found the security guard who is formally employed by a private company standing in for the chief clerk. She was assisting the public with the little information at her disposal.
Councillor Joseph Sikongo was attending a workshop in Rundu, while the chief control officer, Jairus Haingura, was attending a workshop in Katima Mulilo. The chief clerk, Sinathe Paulus, who was expected to report for duty that day had not yet showed up at the office by lunch-time.
Namibia Protection Services security guard, Pauline Immanuel, 32, unofficially stood in for Paulus.
She told New Era that she has "no choice but to act on behalf of the chief clerk because it will not look good if people come to the office for assistance and not find any help".
Councillor Sikongo said he was in Rundu attending a legal framework workshop that started on Monday. "All of us are not supposed to be out of office at the same time because there should be someone helping the community. I know the chief control officer is in Katima for a workshop, but I do not know where the chief clerk is because I am trying to call but her mobile is off. Sometimes the chief clerk goes on leave but I am not always aware of it, because she does not report to me but to the administrator of the regional council," said Sikongo.
"Some people come from far, therefore we just volunteer to help them. Like now there is a young person who came to apply for the National Youth Service Programme at Berg Aukas, I must assist them because there is no one else to do it," said security guard Immanuel.
The community say it is not the first time the constituency office is left unattended. "We come here to collect our documents or submit application forms, but then the people are not here. The security guards try to help us but it is difficult to get information from them because they do not have enough information," said one of a group of people visiting the office, with the others in agreement.