The Deputy Minister whose official vehicle dominated weekend news after it was captured ferrying cement bags from a shop has come out.
Health and Social Services Deputy Minister Juliet Kavetuna says she acted responsibly despite the public uproar.
“I do not have car allowance. I have two cars given to me by government, one the Mercedes Benz that I was using over the weekend and another off-road utility vehicle (SUV), which I only use when I am travelling out of town with work,” she said.
Kavetuna furthered that there has been some ‘light’ construction at her house in Katutura because of the recent rains, and she had received a call around mid-day while coming out of church, at the Cathedral. She said, “The people working at my house wanted three bags of cement. I had an option to either go home and get the SUV or just drive 500 meters to get the cement. I used my discretion as a responsible person. Knowing that the shops on Sundays close around lunch, I did not want to risk rushing home. In any case it was 150kg, the same weight I would load three cooler boxes or some luggage in there. In fact, when I got to the shop, I even asked for a cloth to put on before loading the cement. There was no restriction on weight, whatsoever.”
She was not the one driving, she admits, adding that she never drives
a government vehicle even though she is in possession of a license.
“I am not bothered by the debate on usage of government cars, but I
wish the Ministry of Works or even Office of the President could
inform the nation what is the role of these cars because when we
signed for them, we were informed they are now our cars 24/7.
“I pay tax from my salary for that car. I drop my kids to school with that car because I have no other car in Windhoek. Just this morning, my car was a subject of attention that I did not feel safe as I was dropping my children. Some are hooting at me, some are shouting at me etcetera. I do not feel safe anymore because everyone saw my number plate and think that I have committed a crime. Can a Minister not drive the car to the hospital during the weekend, or to the club or to a party when off-duty? Perhaps, the public needs to be informed about such, because now, I am no longer safe in that car anymore. It is a marked car. The next time I take my kids to swim, I might find it pelted with stones.”