'Fire him, Hage'

The Swapo-affiliated umbrella union has demanded Cleophas Mutjavikua's resignation or his dismissal, but the Erongo governor says his comments were edited.

28 February 2019 | Labour

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) has accused Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua of instigating mass retrenchments in the mining sector, after recordings were leaked of the politician giving advice to a Chinese mine manager about how to 'reorganise' the Husab uranium mine workforce.

The union has called on the governor to resign. They said if he failed to do so, President Hage Geingob should fire him.

Mutjavikua was adamant yesterday that he had never used the word “retrenchment”.

“The circulating audio recording has been edited and is only a fraction of the total conversation,” he said at a press briefing.

According to Mutjavikua the audio recording was made last week after he was called in to mediate in salary negotiations.

“We negotiated for two days,” he said, describing this as an annual event.

He admitted that he had used the word “reorganising”, but insisted that was in the context of “systems and processes” at Husab.

“The reason is that they want to link the annual salary increases to the performance of the company, which will then be a completely different ballgame,” he said.

“But I made it abundantly clear that no job must be lost. On the contrary, we are constantly negotiating with Swakop Uranium ... to create even more jobs.”

In the leaked audio recording Mutjavikua and a Chinese mine manager allegedly discuss the “reorganisation” of Husab mine. The governor can be heard stating that President Geingob was unlikely to support the “reorganisation” plan since it was an election year.

NUNW secretary-general Job Muniaro yesterday accused Mutjavikua of instigating public violence in the Erongo Region. As Muniaro was speaking, NUNW members shouted slogans such as, “Down Mutjavikua, down!”.

Muniaro said the NUNW was “peacefully requesting” Mutjavikua to resign and join the ranks of the unemployed.

“If he does not resign, President Hage Geingob must fire him with immediate effect ... We will fight until he is unemployed like the mineworkers who lost their jobs in the region.

“The rights of workers in the mining sector of Erongo have been tampered with by the governor and his so-called good friends, the Chinese, at the Husab mine.”

Muniaro said the NUNW condemned the reorganisation suggested by the governor.





Muniaro stressed that Mutjavikua was supposed to be fighting for workers but instead he was calling “secret meetings” to make sure that workers lost their jobs.

“We thought Erongo had a leader. It is so painful that people entrusted with our votes betray us like this,” the union leader said.

Muniaro said the governor was advising the company how workers could be retrenched.

He alleged that the governor suggested using a clause in the Labour Act to reorganise Husab by “lying to the labour commissioner”.

According to Muniaro, the governor wanted to make sure that the mine's recognition agreement with the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) was cancelled.

“He also told them that the unions would be upset when they heard what he was advising the managers [to do]. If this advice was truthful, why was it leaked? You trapped yourself with lies.”

Muniaro further claimed that Mutjavikua had instigated the recent closure of mines in the region, which led to thousands of workers being laid off.

“It is clear it was instigated by him. The price of workers losing their jobs must be paid by him. He must join the unemployed.”

Muniaro also wanted to know what Mutjavikua was referring to in the recording when he said it was an election year and that Geingob would be angry with him.

“Does this mean you do not need workers at all, but they are only needed by the president, because you are just appointed? Does it mean workers must not vote for your appointing authority?” he wanted to know.

“Mutjavikua is in fact embarrassing the president, who is tirelessly fighting for employment,” said Muniaro.

“He is betraying the president. The governor of Erongo is a liar. All the liars that have been appointed must go. They are destroying lives.”

Muniaro said Namibians should stop trusting Mutjavikua because he was not worthy of their trust.

“You failed and betrayed all workers and must live with that failure until the day we bury you.”

Muniaro said NUNW would fight for the protection of the workers.

“This country is for Namibians and not those fighting to become Namibians and who are passive robbers.”

He further threatened that if “the Chinese did not behave” in Namibia, the unions would take the law into their own hands.

After the leaked recording spread like wildfire, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) also called a media conference where they condemned the governor's statements.

“We demand a public apology,” said regional MUN chairman Abiud Kapere.

According to him the term “reorganising” was just a “nice word” for retrenchments.

He expressed shock that “those who have been elected or appointed to advocate for the interests of Namibian citizens are in fact in bed with the enemy, under the pretence of advancing foreign investments”.

ELLANIE SMIT & ERWIN LEUSCHNER

Similar News

 

Standard Bank faces strike vote

4 days ago - 17 July 2019 | Labour

ELVIRA HATTINGH Members of the Bank Workers Union of Namibia (Bawon) are to vote on whether to strike...

Unions drag govt to labour commissioner

2 weeks ago - 04 July 2019 | Labour

The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) and Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) have lodged a labour dispute at the Office of the Labour Commissioner, after...

Union, MMI cement relationship

1 month - 20 June 2019 | Labour

MMI Holdings Limited (MMI) yesterday formally recognised the Namibian Bank Workers Union (NBWU) through the signing of a recognition agreement. MMI Holdings Namibia interim group...

Furnmart,Home Corp strike continues

1 month - 13 June 2019 | Labour

The countrywide strike by Furnmart and Home Corp employees is set to continue until the workers' demands are met.This is according to Metal and Allied...

Jobs for foreigners

1 month - 11 June 2019 | Labour

A total of 114 foreigners were employed in Namibia in 2017/18, including as science and language teachers, while an application to appoint a foreigner as...

Racial prejudice remains – minister

1 month - 10 June 2019 | Labour

White employees' dominance of management positions and disproportional favour for white employees despite 29 years of independence is a serious concern, labour minister Erkki Nghimtina...

NIP is lying, Katiti claims

1 month - 10 June 2019 | Labour

Former Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) CEO Augustinus Katiti has accused the company of “spreading falsehoods” to mislead the public and defame him.This followed a...

No joy for workers

2 months ago - 30 April 2019 | Labour

Labour commentators have decried massive job losses across most sectors of the Namibian economy, adding that the state of affairs was a putting a damper...

Union density up in tough economy

2 months ago - 30 April 2019 | Labour

Jo-Maré Duddy – More than one out of every five working people in 2018 belonged to a union, according to the latest Namibia Labour Force...

More woes for NIP

2 months ago - 29 April 2019 | Labour

Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) workers staged a protest march on Friday to express their disappointment with the leadership of acting CEO Mekondja Nghipandulwa.They accused...

Latest News

Making employees feel at home...

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Business

Jonell Malan Human resource management is essentially the management of human resources (HR). It is a function in organisations designed to maximise employee performance in...

Fascinated by consumers

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Business

Evany van Wyk Rozanne van der Merwe comes across as being the epitome of female empowerment and friendliness. And this is exactly who she is....

No dazzling half-year for Namdeb

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Business

Jo-Maré DuddyNamdeb Holdings recorded its worst first half-year since 2016, with diamond production for the six months ended 30 June plummeting by nearly 22% compared...

Vulnerable and alone

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Social Issues

After an initial projection in 2008 that there would be 250 000 orphans and vulnerable children under the age of 15 by 2021, President Hage...

Zero cattle on offer at...

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Agriculture

The Oshana Regional Livestock Marketing Cooperative suspects that livestock prices have dropped so low because of the drought that farmers are no longer willing to...

Hope rekindled at Linus Shashipapo

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Education

Hope has been finally been rekindled that Linus Shashipapo Secondary School, which is currently in a sorry state, will be renovated.This comes after a tender...

Resilient and strong

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Business

Mariselle StofbergWith her tenacious attitude, collaborative nature and desire to always learn and draw from other people’s knowledge and experience, Leorine Waggie is clearly on...

Being unapologetically you

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Banking

Mariselle Stofberg Adriano Visagie went from playing in the dusty streets of Katutura to becoming a powerhouse in the entertainment industry and has created...

The great unwind and calls...

2 days ago - 19 July 2019 | Economics

Lazarus Shigwedha - Balance sheet recessions are the toughest to manage when they occur simultaneously with distressed debt conditions in the wider economy. During balance...

Load More