Court to rule on Hengari's NWR fate

09 March 2021 | Labour



The High Court will next month deliver a judgment over the Namibia Wildlife Resorts' (NWR) decision not to renew the employment contract of its former CEO Zelna Hengari.

The public entity's board suspended Hengari in her final days at the company until her contract lapsed.

She was suspended over a deal which NWR struck with hospitality operator Sun Karros, which the board deemed unfavourable to NWR.

Hengari's contract was due to end on 16 July 2019, but in January that year she was served with a notice of non-renewal.

In April, she was suspended amid allegations that she contracted NWR into a public-private partnership with Sun Karros Lifestyle Safaris without approval.

Sun Karros reportedly constructed 20 luxurious tents, a pool, restaurant and 10 campsites at NWR's Sesriem campsite to the value of N$43 million.

According to Hengari, as per a lawyer's letter, the appointment of the NWR board was done unlawfully as there was no publication in the Government Gazette, as required by Section 15 (7) of the Public Enterprises Governance Act.

Pay fight

Hengari also previously demanded N$8.4 million from the NWR.

The N$8.4 million demand includes N$1.2 million for being underpaid, and N$3 million as salary for the remaining years she reportedly had on her contract. She also wants N$3 million for her performance bonus.

The other demands include N$200 000 for using her own car, and N$400 000 in the place of a company vehicle, while she also wants N$430 000 as severance pay.

“Following our meeting with president Geingob, on 16 May 2019, and subsequent meetings on this matter, I was advised that a directive was given that NWR pays out all my outstanding monies, including for two years that ought to remain on my employment agreement, which was erroneously backdated to 2014,” she wrote.

Hengari earned N$1.1 million a year as acting MD, before she was substantively appointed in the position.