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60 000 applicants for 13 000 census jobs

The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) has so far received 60 000 applications for 13 000 temporary census jobs as the recruitment deadline comes to a close this week Friday in yet another round of scrambling for jobs.

Namibia is currently sitting with a 49% youth unemployment rate.

In order to make a dent in joblessness, albeit temporarily, NSA statistician general Alex Shimuafeni says the recruitment drive is targeting unemployed youth.

He says the NSA will not consider applications from fully employed Namibians, or those below the age of 18.

The applications have not been assessed ahead of Friday’s deadline yet, Shimuafeni says.

“Imagine, by Thursday we already had 60 000 applicants, and they are going to be done online, because we are going to have a digital census.

“But it is cumbersome to have these manual applications, and to go through them will take some time, and we may not even meet the deadline.

“From next week, once the due date has closed, we will need to start sorting the applications, selecting and doing assessments. It’s very difficult to do interviews for those applicants, but we will do some assessment so that we make sure that the process is fair,” he said last week.

The NSA has also introduced some leniency in terms of vehicle requirements.

The deadline for vehicle registration with the NSA lapsed last Friday, but has been extended for another week.

Shimuafeni says the vehicle age requirement has been extended from 10 to 15 years.

These will cater for 8 000 enumeration areas countrywide during the census period.

“We are also saying that vehicles can be 2x4s, and not only 4x4s. We are going to remunerate people for using their vehicles, and it’s not a matter of giving a vehicle to the NSA, but one of you driving your own vehicle in your own constituency.

“We are also saying you are going to be rewarded N$2 000 per day, and you just need to provide your own fuel and own driver. This is for everyone, but not NSA employees,” he says.

The job rush at the NSA is a continuation of a trend which could be seen in May, when 2 000 unemployed young people flocked to Wanaheda Police Station for 750 cadet posts at the Namibian Police.

Two months prior, 2 000 jobless young people scrambled for six jobs at Temperature Lounge in Khomasdal.

This has sparked protests from the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) and has led to the arrests of activist Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and the party’s economic commissar, Michael Amushelelo.

Meanwhile, the /Khomanin Traditional Authority, through senior traditional councillor Walter Haseb, has expressed its dissatisfaction with the method of application for the temporary census jobs.

“We are having a serious concern with the census recruitment being online,” Haseb said on Thursday.

He said many young people in his community lack access to the internet and devices, making it difficult for them to apply online.

“Based on media reports and listening to the radio, this concern is not only limited to the /Khomanin community, but also affects other rural areas where people do not have facilities,” he said.

The /Khomanin Traditional Authority has in the meantime said it wants the recruitment process stopped so that “everyone can apply without difficulty”.

“Unless the NSA deliberately wants to exclude the /Khomanin people, we strongly suggest that the census be put on hold and that proper consultation be done to ensure all people from rural areas are fairly incorporated in the recruitment process.

“We suggest they go back to the manual way of applying, only then would the process be inclusive,” he said.