Rundu — Newly appointed Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa says government garages across the country are vital and important public institutions, not only for the ministry of works but the entire government setup and thus should be kept active, up and running which is currently not the case. He has set about resuscitating these waning entities.
Mutorwa who was on a visit to Rundu over the weekend made the remarks on Monday when he visited the government garage and met staff at the dilapidated government garage facility. There were 178 government vehicles parked standing due to the slow implementation of the procurement process of acquiring spare parts, the garage has no spare parts to get the vehicles repaired and put them on the road.
Abel Shaapa, the head of the garage informed Mutorwa the requisitions to acquire spare parts were sent to Windhoek last year September and to date no response has been forthcoming from the head office in Windhoek despite several follow ups.
"This is the "hospital" that provides services to different institutions, including the citizens of this country and when you come here, and this is the same as at the government garage in Windhoek, and you don't hear any sound of any work activities then something must be terribly wrong," Mutorwa said.
"Cars are standing, whether it is the government garage in Windhoek, in Katima, in Ondangwa, something has gone terribly wrong. With regard to the procurement act I understand there are people complaining, maybe the way things are being implemented in ministry of works is worse, here they are telling me that 178 cars are standing and we can see them and that is why I opted for the meeting to be here so that people cannot say that the minister is maybe just exaggerating," he said.
"These cars are standing idle not because of big problems, people trained to fix them are coming to work daily but then the internal requisitions are sent to Windhoek and people wait, cars are standing and there is no operations, no service is being rendered and everybody stands up and says it is the problem with the Procurement Act and I want to tell you it's not the problem with the procurement act, it is the problem of some people who are wrongly misapplying the procurement act, I will soon discover where the bottleneck is," he warned.
Mutorwa said that during the past few days that he have been at the ministry, he will continue to first introduce himself to staff, "I first met the management, permanent secretaries and the management personnel at the head office and leaders of the various state owned enterprises that are under the ministry and also the government garage in Windhoek and the government central stores in Windhoek and today I'm here," he said. "I see the introduction exercise as very important, already here I'm so enriched, and the head of the government garage has given me a summary of the main issues affecting activities of this institution. The head of the maintenance division y has also given me a written summary of the main issues in his division affecting their operation," he said.
"This is important as it makes the learning process of the new endeavour much easier and it also makes decision-making very easy in terms of prioritisation of what to do, when and how," he said.