Ex-SME Bank staff demand salaries

12 March 2021 | Banking

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Former employees of the defunct SME Bank are demanding to be treated the same as employees of Air Namibia, who stand to get a lump-sum payment from the government.

The bank's 208 former employees were informed by liquidators Bruni and McLaren that their contracts would cease to exist on 31 July 2017.

At the time, the employees were paid one month's full salary in lieu of notice, leave pay according to the leave records of the bank and a severance allowance of one week's pay for each completed year of service.

While Air Namibia's liquidation is yet to be granted, the government has promised 12 months of ex-gratia pay to the 629 airline employees. Bruni and McLaren have been appointed Air Namibia's liquidators and have promised workers just one month's salary.

In their letter to Geingob, the former SME Bank employees demanded payment of 12 months' salary, a total write-off of their loans, and jobs in the civil service or public enterprises.





Trade minister Lucia Iipumbu said her office had not yet received a letter from the aggrieved workers.

“I have not received the letter, I am not in a position to comment,” she said.

Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari was not available for comment.

Public enterprise minister Leon Jooste said public enterprises and their particular circumstances are unique and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Bank of Namibia placed the SME Bank under curatorship in March 2017 when it was discovered that close to N$200 million had been lost in questionable investments in South Africa.

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