WINDHOEK – Prime Minister Saara Kuugongwelwa-Amadhila said the transport benefits of public office-bearers do not fall away when they attend political events such as party rallies, as long as their activities are authorised in law.
She made the remarks when responding to questions by the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) that charged that government vehicles are being used to transport ministers and senior government officials to and from Swapo political events.
PDM Member of Parliament Nico Smit recently questioned the use of government vehicles to transport ministers and senior government officials to and from Swapo’s political events.
He wanted the PM to respond to what he termed the abuse of state resources, making specific reference to Swapo’s 59th birthday bash held in recently in Zambezi Region.
Smit said their investigations indicate that approximately 140 government vehicles were used to attend the Swapo event in Zambezi.
“As the leader of government business, can you confirm that government vehicles were indeed used at this particular party celebration? Secondly, can you please inform this august House that the cars were used on taxpayers’ money?” he questioned the PM in parliament.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila responded on Thursday in the National Assembly to Smit’s allegations, which she said are untrue.
She said Swapo events are organised and held with the use of the resources of the party and contributions from party members and its supporters.
“This has always been the practice of the party. The Honourable Smit states that over 140 vehicles were used to attend the event and used during the celebrations. I wish to indicate that public officials are provided with different types of transport benefits that are appropriately approved as per the relevant public policies or legislation,” she stated.
Further, she said political office or public office-bearers as a category of public officials have transport benefits that are determined in terms of section 8 of the Public Office-Bearers (Remuneration and Benefits) Commission Act of 2005.
Therefore, she reasoned, the transport benefits of public office-bearers are not differentiated on the basis of their political parties.
Moreover, she said she did not receive any information about any public official that has violated the terms and conditions of their benefits in regard to transport in connection with the event cited by Smit.
She explained that should there be a case of that nature, Smit is welcome to share that information with her office or the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
“If the question of Honourable Smit is intended to initiate a debate on transport benefits for public office-bearers, I am not sure if this is the correct approach to do so,” she reacted.
She also indicated that due to the nature and geographic space of the work of public office-bearers which takes them across the length and breadth of the country, and the fact that public officials are deployed across the country, it is unclear how Smit came to the conclusion that any of the government vehicles that were in the area of Katima Mulilo were just to attend the Swapo event.
However, she said the government welcomes any information about the misuse of government vehicles, adding that she invites any member of the public to report any perceived wrongdoings, including perceived misuse of state cars to appropriate law enforcement agencies for investigation.
“The misuse of any government resources, not only vehicles, cannot be tolerated,” she said.
2019-06-25 09:36:47 25 days ago