Parliament approves GEMVAS motion

Legislators have approved a motion requesting the Minister of Finance to explain radical changes to the government employee’s loan scheme, GEMVAS.

The motion was tabled by Tonota MP, Mr Pono Moatlhodi, on Friday.
He wanted the minister to address alleged irregularities at GEMVAS.

Mr Moatlhodi said there were allegations that government employees aged 41 and above were no longer allowed to use the scheme to improve their lives as it had always been since inception of the scheme in 1988.
He said there were also allegations of plans to move GEMVAS to the private sector again.

β€œI am against those plans. GEMVAS is the only room for government employees to improve their lives and it belongs within the government enclave. It cannot be tossed around,” said the MP.

Mr Moatlhodi asked the Ministry for State President and that of finance to keep GEMVAS so that it could continue to assist government employees with fairness and transparency.

He argued that it was risky to move GEMVAS to the private sector while it was in the process of interfacing with other government departments that held confidential information.
Such departments, according to the MP, were immigration, deeds registry, road transport and safety departments and the Government Accounting and Budgeting System.

β€œIf we are going to move GEMVAS away, what will happen to the security of data from these departments?” asked the MP. Mr Moatlhodi further asked the minister to investigate allegations of loans from GEMVAS amounting to P122 million being untraceable.

He said there was no evidence about who created that burden to government since the loans were guaranteed to the tune of 70 per cent by government.
Finance minister, Ms Peggy Serame, however, said there were no changes that disadvantaged civil servants aged 41 years and above.

Ms Serame said she was only aware of some inconsistencies in interpreting the loan eligibility formula, which had the effect of reducing the amount of loan one was entitled to.
She said the issue had been addressed and that all GEMVAS customers that were unconvinced by the different interpretations were assisted.
She added that four customers were affected.

β€œThe scheme is currently running smoothly and I am not aware of any new complaints and concerns that were brought to our attention,” said the minister.

Ms Serame also said allegations of maladministration, mismanagement and possible corruption were taken seriously.
She said they investigated some allegations brought to their attention and necessary measures had been taken.
She further said the scheme was administered from the Ministry of Finance and that there were no plans to move it.
Members of Parliament (MPs) supported the motion.

Ngami MP, Mr Caterpillar Hikuama said the issue was important since GEMVAS was created to assist civil servants to acquire residential properties and vehicles.

Mr Hikuama, however, felt the scheme was more effective when administered by workers unions instead of government.
The motion was also supported by Nata/Gweta MP, Mr Polson Majaga, who said the desired objective of assisting civil servants to improve their lives would not be achieved if GEMVAS did not operate properly.
Kumakwane/Thamaga MP, Mr Palelo Motaosane urged the minister to investigate the allegations raised by the motion.
Mr Motaosane said employees should not be disadvantaged through any circumstances from using GEMVAS to improve their lives. BOPA

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