'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

 

Kahimise turns to Supreme Court

6 days ago - 14 March 2019 | Labour

Embattled City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise has endorsed the reinstatement and dropping of all charges against suspended City Police chief Abraham Kanime, but his...

Procurement board denies 'tribal purge'

1 week ago - 12 March 2019 | Labour

The deputy chairperson of the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN), Lischen Ramakhutla, has denied there is an ongoing tribal purge that favours Oshiwambo-speaking employees....

Skorpion Zinc faces losses of N$316m

1 week ago - 12 March 2019 | Labour

The general manager of the Skorpion Zinc mine, Irvinne Simataa, says a recent strike by workers of Basil Read placed the future of the mine...

Ina mu gandja po iilonga kaazaizai - aaniilonga yomatungo

1 week ago - 07 March 2019 | Labour

Ewawa lyAanyasha yoSwapo, ndyoka lya li li na okukala oshitopolwa shehololomadhilaadhilo olyiikutha mo mehololomadhilaadhilo ndyoka.Aaniilonga yomatungo omathele oya kutha ombinga mehololomadhilaadhilo ndyoka itaya popile egandjo...

Workers turn up the heat

2 weeks ago - 06 March 2019 | Labour

Swapo-affiliated unions and the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) have thrown down the gauntlet over billion-dollar tenders being awarded to foreign companies while...

TransNamib wins appeal against fired train driver

2 weeks ago - 05 March 2019 | Labour

The Windhoek High Court has dismissed the findings of a labour arbitrator who had ruled in favour of a former TransNamib train driver accused of...

Swakop Uranium denies involvement in recording

2 weeks ago - 01 March 2019 | Labour

Swakop Uranium has denied any involvement in leaking an audio recording in which Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua apparently advises a Chinese mine manager on how...

'Fire him, Hage'

2 weeks ago - 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...

MUN worried about Chinese monopoly

1 month - 07 February 2019 | Labour

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) is worried about the Chinese monopoly that will be created in Namibia's uranium mining industry if the sale of...

‘Yellow vests’ cost France dearly

2 months ago - 10 January 2019 | Labour

European media has reported that the anti-government "yellow vest" protests will affect the French job market and risk the income of up to 100 000...

Latest News

Africa Briefs

2 hours ago | Economics

No end date for Eskom’s power cutsSouth Africa's public enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday he cannot say yet when rolling blackouts will end, as...

Cob plundering suspects nabbed

2 hours ago | Crime

Leandrea Louw Two men arrested on Saturday for allegedly being in possession of 60 large cob made their first appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s...

Unfinished pipeline impacts 7 000...

2 hours ago | Infrastructure

About 6 932 people and 33 790 large and 18 395 small stock units are facing thirst, as the agriculture ministry battles to finish the...

Apple unveils new iPad, updates...

2 hours ago | Technology

Sonam RaiApple Inc, in a surprise move on Monday, launched a new 10.5-inch iPad Air and updated its iPad Mini ahead of a March 25...

Climate change and productivity

2 hours ago | Agriculture

Climate change is a long-term change in climatic/weather patterns of the earth or region. Such change is observed in temperature and rainfall patterns, amongst others....

Palladium hits record high

2 hours ago | Business

Palladium surged to a record yesterday as the risk of a ban on some Russian exports added to supply concerns for the autocatalyst metal. Spot...

State supports non-compliant security firms

2 hours ago | Business

Employers and trade unions agree that one of the major issues facing the Namibian security services industry is that some government institutions continue to appoint...

Company news in brief

2 hours ago | Business

Steinhoff ex-chairman open to talksFormer Steinhoff chairman and top shareholder Christo Wiese is open to negotiations over his US$4 billion claim against the company, he...

Agri ministry sidesteps timber issues

2 hours ago | Agriculture

The ministry has sidestepped key questions on whether it will re-implement the ban on the export of unprocessed timber until a local value addition processing...

Load More