Windhoek — In an attempt to curtail ballooning public expenditure, President Hage Geingob has decided there will no longer be a ministry served by two deputy ministers.
His decision comes at a crucial time following a public outcry that in order to cut costs and reduce the huge civil service wage bill, government needs to reduce the top-heavy structure, merge some ministries and slash the number of ministers.
Five ministries out of 25 were served by two deputy ministers each. These five ministries are the Office of the Vice President which had Alexia Manombe-Ncube and Royal /Ui/o/oo, while Maureen Hinda and Peya Mushelenga were at the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation; Kilus Nguvauva and James Sankwasa were the two deputies at Works and Transport; Urban and Rural Development had Derek Klazen and Sylvia Makgone; while the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry had Anna Shiweda and Theo Diergaardt.
In making these appointments, the Office of the President said Geingob took into account the need to realign deputy ministers.
Existing vacancies have been primarily filled with appointees from ministries that were previously served by two deputies.
To leverage resources, Geingob clustered three deputy ministers responsible for special recognition categories, marginalised, disability and veterans' affairs under the Presidency. Disability is deputised by Manombe-Ncube, /Ui/o/oo is the deputy for the marginalised while Hilma Nicanor is now responsible for veterans' affairs.
Tommy Nambahu has been moved to the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation as a Deputy Minister.
Nambahu replaces Alpheus Muheua who resigned due to ill health, while Engel Nawatiseb who was at Public Enterprises is now the Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology.
Geingob congratulated the new deputy ministers on their appointments.
He warned them not get overly excited and see their new employment as a "free ticket to enter Cabinet," saying they are duty-bound to deliver on their mandate.
With regards to gender balance, 17 of the 28 deputy ministers are women.
Geingob said Nekundi and Jagger were appointed in line with government's leadership succession philosophy.
Following recent re-assignments to Cabinet portfolios, Geingob also announced some changes with immediate effect.
Chief Samuel Ankama who was at Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has swapped roles with Makgone at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Since there are no more two deputies at one ministry, Christine
//Hoebes will now be a deputy at the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation replacing Mushelenga while Hinda is the new deputy at Home Affairs and Immigration.
Pieter van der Walt who was at the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development will serve as a deputy at the National Planning Commission, and the Ministry in the Presidency for Economic Planning where Lucia Ipumbu was, while she takes over at Trade.
Meanwhile, Geingob gave six appointment letters to new appointees comprising of both ministers and deputies after they were sworn-in by Chief Justice Peter Shivute at State House yesterday.
Those who were sworn in are newly-appointed Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Veikko Nekundi, Stanley Simataa who is now the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, the new Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga, and the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Bernadette Jagger.
Sacky Shanghala was also worn in as new Minister of Justice taking over from Albert Kawana who is now the Attorney-General as well as former deputy minister of Safety and Security, Erastus Uutoni who replaced the former Youth and Sport minister Jerry Ekandjo.
The new Vice President Nangolo Mbumba was sworn-in on Monday following the resignation of Dr Nickey Iyambo on medical grounds.