Windhoek — Government has reminded officials in the ranks of government and public enterprises, who seemingly still cling to their jobs after they have reached the retirement age, of the law requiring them to leave.
The legal retirement age in Namibia is 60 years. Early retirement on reaching the age of 55 is also possible on the approval of the prime minister.
However, there have been and continue to be several officials in the ranks of government and public enterprises who seemingly are not willing to leave their jobs once they have reached retirement.
This has partially contributed to unemployment in the country, as younger Namibians, particularly young graduates, cannot occupy jobs held by retirees. In a circular issued by Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa on public service management, he stated the pieces of legislation on the retirement age in the public service of Namibia.
The memo, issued on March 15, was addressed to all executive directors, deputy auditors general, director of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service, chief electoral officers and secretaries of both the National Assembly and National Council.
Simataa said the purpose of the circular was to remind offices, ministries and agencies that the retirement age in the public service is 60 years as provided for in Section 24 (I) of the Public Service Act, 1995 (Act 13 of 1995).
He ordered executive directors and accounting officers to ensure that all staff members in government offices, ministries and agencies and regional councils comply with the provision of the circular and the Public Service Staff Rule.
"All staff members shall be retired on attaining such age  except if approval for the extension of service beyond such age is granted by the Prime Minister, on recommendation of the Public Service Commission," he directed.
Government can save N$670.5 million annually if 40 percent of civil servants aged between 55 to 59 years were instantly placed on early retirement, an analysis by First Capital Namibia reveals.
President Hage Geingob, in an exclusive interview with New Era last month, said the 'elephant in the room' as far as government expenditure is concerned, was the wage bill.
Simataa also advised civil servants to familiarise themselves with the Public Service Staff Rule regarding the retirement of staff members in the public service - offices, ministries, agencies and regional councils.
Simataa said in case of circumstances not dealt with in the staff rules or a need for a deviation from any provision in the staff rules, the executive director or accounting officer should apply six calendar months in advance, with a comprehensive motivation to be submitted for consideration by the Secretary to Cabinet, before a submission is made to the Public Service Commission for a recommendation and subsequent approval by the prime minister.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had earlier told New Era in an interview that human resource management in government is done strictly in compliance with the government's Human Resource Policy, the Public Service Act and the Labour Act.
She said these laws and policies provide for flexibility where it is in the public interest for employers to extend an employment of an individual beyond the retirement age.