Land registration staff want permanent employment

Team bemoans poor treatment by ministry

31 May 2021 | Labour

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

The Communal Land Rights Registration Team (CLRRT) has proposed to the agriculture ministry that current staff members employed on a contract basis be placed under the Land Tenure and Advice Unit on a permanent basis.

This is contained in a letter addressed to agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein and his executive director Percy Misika as well as the labour minister Uutoni Nujoma and his deputy Anna Shiweda.

The CLRRT expressed concern with regards to poor service and bad treatment they receive from the agriculture ministry.

This, they said, happens under the directorate of regional programme implementation on the project for communal land rights registration.

According to the CLRRT, they have been employed under the communal land rights registration project since 2011 and under the programme for communal land development since 2016 on a contractual basis, renewed every financial year.

“Most of us hold relevant academic qualifications in land-related courses plus an in-depth work experience attained over the years in our occupations, which makes us qualified for various positions within the structures of the ministry.”

Concerns and challenges

The workers further said during the period of employment, various concerns and challenges have been experienced due to the nature of their employment.

This included a lack of employment security, and they, therefore, want all employees under the CLRRT to be given permanent employment.

They pointed out that government has been allowing them to work on contracts for “so many years”.

“No one wants or has to work on a contract for so many years.”

They further pointed out that several times in 2018 and 2019 they were given short notice that their contracts would expire and for several months they were without income as these contracts were not renewed.

“We ended up being in a lot of debt that we cannot even afford to pay rent, buy food nor pay school fees for ourselves and our children or families.”

Ongoing process

“We are very much aware that the land registration process is an ongoing process, taking into consideration that the land boards enacted are also part of the Communal Land Reform Act.

“Since new land parcels are emerging every day, and the ministry ought to register approximately 245 000 existing land rights, surely this registration project is not going to end any time soon,” the team said.

According to them, the ministry has to date only managed to register about 45 to 49% of the targeted customary land rights over a period of nine years since the inception of the CLRR project.

Other matters they listed as unfair administration include a lack of pension fund, lack of study leave and overtime as well as lack of financial assistance for financial institutions due to job insecurity.

They have requested a meeting with agriculture ministry, adding that the matter is currently before the labour court and that the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) could also attend to spearhead the meeting before their contracts end on 31 March 2022.