GIPF stuck in HR dilemma

18 June 2021 | Local News

MATHIAS HAUFIKU



WINDHOEK

The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), which has for almost three years operated without a human resources executive, is accused of stalling the process to favour one candidate.

Namibian Sun understands GIPF wants to promote Getrude Xawes to take up the position as the general manager of the fund’s HR department. Xawes’ substantive position at the fund is that of HR manager.

When the fund called for potential candidates to apply for the executive position in 2019, one of its primary requirements was that candidates must possess a master’s degree in HR, industrial psychology, training and development, organisational development or the equivalent.

Xawes was one of the applicants who ended up being shortlisted - despite not having the required qualifications when the application process closed on 10 April 2019.

Critics blasted the recruitment process, saying Xawes was never supposed to make it past the first stage, let alone make the shortlist, because she did not meet the requirements.

As the acting head of HR, insiders also claim that she was central to the decision to recruit Elite Employment agency to manage the recruitment process. Information passed on to this publication indicates that Xawes scored the highest during the interviews.

The fund has allegedly not been able to appoint her because of the red flags that were raised regarding her qualifications.

Talks have since emerged that the delay to fill the position was necessitated to allow Xawes to complete her studies, which she allegedly undertook in order to meet the requirements.

‘Necessary evil’

Those in support of the fund’s move describe it as a “necessary evil” to ensure that women are not sidelined when it comes to taking up leadership roles.

“She is indeed very capable for the role and this can be backed up because she has been running that department successfully for quite some time now. Those propagating these stories clearly have their own agendas,” a source close to Xawes said.

Xawes yesterday said she cannot comment on the matter because she was “just one of the applicants like anyone else”.

She also said she was not part of the process that led to Elite Employment being appointed to run the process because she was on maternity leave at the time.

“I followed the normal process like all candidates, so it is just fair that you ask the CEO,” she said.

GIPF CEO David Nuyoma did not answer detailed questions sent to him regarding the recruitment process and the status thereof.

He did, however, confirm that the position is yet to be filled.

“Although GIPF strives to uphold the utmost transparency to all our stakeholders - including the media and the public - kindly understand that the matter is an internal matter that is still ongoing. Therefore, divulging any particular details about the process and/or candidates will not be in the best of interest of the recruitment exercise,” he said.

Male-dominated

Meanwhile, there are claims that under Nuyoma’s tenure, not much has been done to change the male-dominated executive structure – which, since the CEO’s appointment – has only consisted of men.

He, however, disputes that little has been done to empower women. Insiders echoed this, saying the decision to fill the vacant HR executive position is to ensure that a woman is appointed.

“On the matter of gender representation at executive management level, the fund is fully aware of the need to address the current gender imbalance and has consequently built into its Affirmative Action workforce plans and recruitment processes,” Nuyoma said.

While GIPF has in the past adopted a rotational policy when officials are in an acting capacity, this has not been applied since Xawes started acting as HR head.

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