The |Khomanin Traditional Authority says the online registration and application process for potential employment for the 2023 Population and Housing Census deprives rural citizens, particularly youth, of opportunities for employment.

In a country where many are unemployed, the announcement by the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA) that it is undertaking a mass recruitment drive of over 13,000 Census Field Staff sowed a glimmer of hope for thousands of Namibians, particularly the youth who have no access to the internet, let alone smartphones.

But there is a catch. The world is in the digital age, and the NSA has strictly narrowed the application process to online.

The process starts with registration, followed by several steps, including uploading the needed documents.

Walter Haseb is the special advisor to the |Khomanin Traditional Authority, and he is of the view that the NSA's stance to limit applications to the online platform is unfair and not inclusive.

"Simply put, the online application process is discriminatory against the rural community, particularly those of you who do not have the means to facilitate an online application. As traditional leaders, we are said to be advisors to the government, but at what point are we considered stakeholders? When do our suggestions matter? When is our advice considered? We are saying that the online application is not feasible, but seemingly our cry is falling on deaf ears."

The Authority, says Haseb, attempted to assist youth from the Windhoek rural constituency and collected close to 400 applications with a cover letter, which they delivered to the NSA.

Their efforts failed to yield any success, though, as the NSA remained firm that it does not accept manual applications.

"The online application process in itself is very complicated and not user-friendly; even if you fill in everything correctly, the system still declines the application. I implore the NSA to relook at the entire process."

Statistician-General Alex Shimwafeni stuck to his guns when he informed nbc News that the statistics body cannot, at this point, consider or accept manual application forms.

Shimwafeni says the online application process is designed to assist the NSA in finalising its recruitment process efficiently and promptly.

He was, however, quick to point out that the NSA is aware of the challenges faced by rural citizens, including the unavailability of networks and other facilities to process online applications.

Shimwafeni says that the NSA will send out regional statisticians to such areas to aid applicants.

The application process ends at the end of June, while the Census will commence from September 18 to November 3, 2023.



Emil Seibeb