Investigation ordered into aviation watchdog

The transport minister also questioned the appointment of foreign nationals without legal work permits and highlighted alleged dubious human resources practices.

22 July 2020 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Transport minister John Mutorwa has called for an independent investigation into the affairs of the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

This follows suspended assistant legal officer Natalia Isak, in a strongly worded letter, accusing the NCAA of preferring foreigners for employment, discriminating against employees on the basis of race and gender, humiliating employees and victimising them.

In a letter to NCAA board chairperson Kosmos Egumbo, Mutorwa asked that the concerns raised by Isak be studied and attended to by an independent committee.

“I strongly advise the NCAA board to institute an independent committee or panel of persons to further and urgently investigate the serious complaints raised in Ms Isak's letter, as well as other previous complaints raised,” Mutorwa wrote.

The minister also highlighted that directives he had issued on 28 May, which included those dealing with issues raised by Isak, were not being followed.



Directives ignored

“My honest but also unpleasant observations and conclusions are that my advice, directives and instructions are at best not taken seriously by the board, for reasons that are not yet clear to me, neither convincingly explained to me,” Mutorwa wrote.

Among the directives issued by Mutorwa was on the extension of the contract of interim executive director, Reinhard Gartner, with the minister raising concerns.

Mutorwa also questioned the appointment of foreign nationals without legal work permits and highlighted human resources practices such as the filling of vacant posts, remuneration practices, appointments, salary gradings and promotions at the NCAA.



NCAA responds

NCAA legal executive Gordon Elliott had commended Isak prior to the national lockdown, saying that her work and performance were not in question when addressing the matter this week.

“Her behaviour post Covid-19 [end of lockdown], I am also looking for an answer. We were in discussions with her [over her] stated, not lodged grievances. The matters she addressed were unrelated to her work,” Elliott said.

He added that the board was looking into her grievances, and that the matter would enjoy priority.

Gartner also pointed out that his contract was, in effect, legal. He mentioned that he holds a master's degree in business administration as well as commercial pilot and instructor licences, making him suitable to head the regulator. Isak has been suspended for the time being.

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