By Eliaser Ndeyanale
A University of Namibia lecturer says the Harambee Prosperity Plan which was launched by President Hage Geingob in April has not addressed the issue of social security which is a fundamental human right recognised by international instruments.
Social security is monetary assistance from the state for people with an inadequate or no income.
Speaking at a book launch on Social Security and Social Protection in Windhoek Wednesday last week, John Nakuta a Criminal Law lecturer also proposed an amendment to the provisions in the Namibian Constitution that deal with social protection in order to make Namibia’s economic, social and cultural rights fully justifiable and that all laws related to social protection in the country be amended as well to make them more human rights compliant.
He recommended that a Social Protection Act be enacted and that all social protection-related pieces of legislation be harmonised as well.
Nakuta further recommended the domestication of all international agreements related to social protection that Namibia has ratified or agreed to implement.
Speaking at the same occasion, special advisor in the Ministry of Poverty Eradication, Advocate Bianca Gawanas says that different Government policies are at odds with each other and fragmented to effectively address poverty.
“Therefore, we need a social policy framework for Namibia to create a micro policy, and social environment where social policies speak to one another in a more coordinated and coherent manner,” says Gawanas.
Gawanas, who is also the former Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Commission of the African Union (AU) spoke at the official launch of a book entitled ‘Social protection in Namibia- a civil society perspective’ penned by human rights activist, Uhuru Dempers. According to Gawanas, the problem is that there are currently “very many fragmented policies,” within the Government. “If you look at the Ministry of Health, they talk about reducing maternal mortality while the Ministry of Education is talking about free education. It is disjointed on all sides,” she explained.
According to her, current policies such as those on maternal mortality, free education, are “disjointed and fragmented” and as such ministries need to come together to deliver a stronger message to governments to effectively address poverty.
“Once you focus on reducing maternal mortality you have to address poverty by making health care accessible to pregnant women by making health care free.”
She explained that this creates a situation where you find that the ministers for education, health and others are all working in conflict with each other. She suggests that the only way to overcome this is by advocating for a stronger social policy framework.
Gawanas added that the Ministry of Poverty Eradication is ready to work with civil society organisations and engage as true partners to ensure that social protection issues become prominent in national discourse through regular steering committee meetings. She explained that the ultimate goal of the Government and its partners is to provide social protection by ensuring that relevant messages are filtered down to the families who are most vulnerable and often affected.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015