Ombudsman blasts Utoni
05 October 2021 | Ministries
The Ombudsman has accused labour minister Utoni Nujoma of abusing his powers as minister by appointing Kylikki Sihlala as deputy labour commissioner.
In a letter to the labour ministry written late last month, Ombudsman senior complaints investigator Nick Idhogela wrote to the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) activist Simon Kavetu to inform him that the ministry has conceded to this oversight.
The Ombudsman’s office demanded feedback from Nujoma no later than yesterday, 4 October.
“The ministry had accepted that the honourable minister has acted ultra vires in appointing Sihlahla without observing the normal recruitment procedures applicable within the Public Service of Namibia,” Idhogela wrote.
He added that only after a public recruitment process can Nujoma recommend the new deputy labour commissioner.
The position was advertised in the media last Friday, in line with AR’s demands that it be publicly advertised to allow all interested and suitable candidates to participate fairly.
Namibian Sun reported in May that Sihlahla’s appointment as deputy labour commissioner raised eyebrows, with critics questioning her suitability for the job and claims circulating that she was handpicked because of her ties to the minister.
Sihlahla replaced Tuuliky Mwafufya, who at the time claimed that Sihlahla has no conciliation and arbitrary experience, which are key to the position.
The labour ministry has in the past insisted that the Labour Act allows the minister to appoint anyone as labour commissioner or as deputy labour commissioner and once these people are appointed, they are automatically arbitrators.
Attempts to get hold of Nujoma proved futile.