Army personnel aggrieved over allowances

By Tracy Tafirenyika

NAMIBIAN Defence Forces (NDF) officers deployed at the Walvis Bay field military hospital are at loggerheads with their superiors after they did not receive their

subsistence and travel (S&T) and danger allowances since March this year.

The 27 army personnel say they have been denied their rate three allowances and other incidental allowances due to them despite attempts to get what they are owed.

Speaking to Confidente on condition of anonymity, one of the officers said that they reached out to the ministry and were informed that there is no money.

“An allowance is something that should be given if the person is moving to a certain place but yet the ministry said there is no money. We for sure know that there is money, where are they putting the money?

“Soldiers are suffering whilst they are supposed to receive S&T or danger allowances and all that to protect them and their lives since they are in danger. Even the ministers when they come here they get something, even those people who are working in the health department are getting something. There is a distance allowance, danger allowance, event allowance a lot of things but we haven’t gotten anything. It’s not fair like that (sic),” he said.

He added that they have not gotten any response from their superiors for their efforts.

“They did not discuss anything with us. We are here suffering. What about the medication … we do not even have any medication like the vitamins that others are getting. Where are we supposed to get those from if the minister does not provide us with any?”

In response, Lieutenant Colonel Petrus Shilumbu who is the head of the Public Relations Division at the Ministry of Defence said his ministry came to learn about the grievances of the deployed members from the media.

“These are false representations that seek to give an impression that the NDF is not addressing the needs of the soldiers. We are dismayed by the members who are using or instigating others to disparage the NDF’s reputation. While we normally refrain from dignifying such deliberate and irresponsible fabrication, we felt this cannot be left unchallenged.

“The Ministry is urging soldiers to refrain from spreading fabrications and remind them that the spreading of inaccurate information is unethical and is not in line with the culture and norms of the NDF,” he warned.

Shilumbu added that as a force which is built on a common purpose, to defend the territorial integrity and national interests, they are prepared to root out bad elements and punish those whose intention in the force is not in check with its core values.

“As soldiers, we took an oath and obliged to remain truthful to the force, to have our country at heart and to sacrifice at all cost. The Covid-19 pandemic is real and it poses unprecedented and disastrous economic conditions. We need to stand together and unite in order to battle and curb this invisible enemy.

“Soldiers deployed at Walvis Bay with the Mobile Field Hospital are provided with accommodation and supplied with food, while awaiting their rate three S&T for other incidental expenses and this is the procedure they have known or been informed. We should also remember that our mission and the decisions we took to join the NDF remain the key factors in our military lives endeavours”.