Sardarov’s workers on a warpath

Rashid Sardarov’s lawyer, Sisa Namandje, has denied allegations of abuse and unfair labour practices, saying his client is a big and important investor in the country and respects the rights of its employees, and at all relevant times acted in accordance with the law.

16 June 2020 | Labour



A group of former farmworkers at Marula Game Lodge outside Windhoek, which belongs to Russian billionaire Rashid Sardarov, are claiming unfair labour practices and human rights abuses. Five workers were dismissed.

Sardarov was controversially granted a 99-year lease for four farms he purchased and then donated to the Namibian government in 2018. This was after he bought several farms in the Dordabis area measuring 28 000 hectares (around 28 000 football fields) in 2013 through his Switzerland-based company Comsar Properties SA.

The state-of-the-art ranch known as Marula Game Ranch was built on the land.

Rashid’s lawyer, Sisa Namandje, has denied the allegations of abuse and unfair labour practices.

He said his client is a big and important investor in the country and respects the rights of its employees, and at all relevant times acted in accordance with the law.

Went blind

One of the workers, Karel Amid, says he was bitten by a snake and went blind in one eye but the farm manager refused to sign documents to confirm that he was injured on duty.

According to documents from the Windhoek Central Hospital stamped on 19 September2017, Amib was admitted to the hospital for conservative management and treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

The prognosis was very poor and his left eye was blinded.

“Patient was removing a stone under the trailer and the snake spat into his left eye,” the medical document reads.

No days off

Another worker, Isak Gomaxab, claims he was dismissed in December 2019 and prohibited from entering the premises after he had taken off a few hours to travel to Windhoek to withdraw his December salary.

“We do not get weekends off and it takes very long to apply for leave, but I needed to get food for me and my mother so I went to Windhoek. When we returned, we were told to leave the place immediately.

“We were then called again on 13 January this year and told to sign some documents. When we refused Mr Kotze threatened us with a gun and forced us to sign. We were afraid of dying to so we just signed the papers,” he said.

The group of workers, who have since been dismissed, accuse farm manager Johan Kotze of threatening them with dismissal if they approached the farm owner.

Another worker, who spoke through Stinkwater community leader Angelika Garises, said he was involved in a car accident involving Sardarov in 2015 and broke his ribs and a finger but was not paid any compensation.

“The accident took place at night, and some of us were really hurt and had broken our ribs and fingers. They promised to compensate us and to pay for our medical treatment but it never materialised,” he said.

Union’s hands tied

The Tourism and Allied Workers Union of Namibia (TAWUN) president, Ben Petrus, says all his attempts to meet with Kotze to find a solution for the workers have failed.

He claimed to have been removed from the premises on Wednesday, despite having agreed with Kotze to meet on that day.

“The people are suffering and he does not want to meet with us. He is refusing now for months to set down a time for a meeting. He told me that we could meet on Wednesday, when I arrived there, he said he had not given me a time so he was not available to meet. We were locked out of the premises,” he said.

‘Pure lies’

Namandje, speaking on behalf of Sardarov, said affected employees were put through fair and valid disciplinary processes, and were dismissed after they were found guilty of serious disciplinary misconduct.

Namandje also rejected Amin’s claim that he had been bitten by a snake whilst on duty. He said “something” went into the eye.

“In an attempt to remove that from his eye Mr Amib unlawfully and recklessly went into our client’s workshop and used a compressor to remove the item from his eye, thereby aggravating a small inconvenience in his eye.

“There are therefore no medical papers available, and Mr Amib never brought medical papers to our client’s Mr Kotze for such to be signed. There was, further, no order by any recognised tribunal for our client to compensate Mr Amib,” he said.

Namandje also dismissed the union leader’s claims, saying Petrus had in fact threatened to use the media as a weapon against Sardarov in an attempt to force through terms he wanted to negotiate for union members.

“Our client is a big and important investor in the country and respects the rights of its employees, and at all relevant times acted in accordance with the law. Our client has acted in accordance with the law and shall not be forced into making compensation to anyone simply on the basis of a threat of publication of defamatory allegations,” Namandje said.

Similar News


Jobless teachers protest over ­recruitment process

19 hours ago | Labour

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKUnemployed teachers will embark on a national demonstration on Thursday to protest against the education ministry's recruitment procedures.The United Unemployment Teachers Movement (UUTM) will...

Shoprite workers threatened, union claims

1 day - 19 January 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKStriking workers of retail group Shoprite Holdings are allegedly being threatened by their employer to drop the ongoing demonstrations or...

NYS fails to pay guards, union on time

2 days ago - 18 January 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKThe National Youth Service (NYS) has failed to pay security guards their...

Nampol unapologetic over Shoprite shootings

2 days ago - 18 January 2021 | Labour

TUYEIMO HAIDULA OSHAKATI Namibian police deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi said rubber bullets were...

GIPF pulled into Shoprite-AR brawl

6 days ago - 14 January 2021 | Labour

MATHIAS HAUFIKU WINDHOEKThe Government Institutions Pensions Fund (GIPF) could suffer collateral damage from the...

Swapo enters Cheetah Cement fray

1 week ago - 13 January 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKSwapo’s Otjiwarongo branch has entered a labour dispute involving Cheetah Cement and its employees after calling for a meeting to...

Strikers score court victory against Shoprite

1 week ago - 11 January 2021 | Labour

ADOLF KAURASWAKOPMUND Shoprite employees cheered after the High Court in Windhoek ruled in favour of their trade union, Nafau, in its application against the...

Nafau files urgent application against Shoprite

1 week ago - 07 January 2021 | Labour

NAMPA WINDHOEKThe Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) has filed an urgent application...

Employee salaries are market-related, says Shoprite

2 weeks ago - 06 January 2021 | Labour

NAMPA WINDHOEKShoprite Holdings Namibia and its subsidiaries offer market-related salaries and working conditions that are in compliance with prevailing labour legislation....

Show solidarity with Shoprite workers: Jauch

3 weeks ago - 24 December 2020 | Labour

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK The chairperson of the Economic and Social Justice Trust (ESJT) Herbert Jauch says Namibians should show solidarity and support the fight against starvation...

Latest News

RTE and Slaughterhouze part ways...

5 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEKNamibian record label Remember The Eagle (RTE) Records has agreed to part ways with local group Slaughterhouze.While the group consists of DJ Spuzza,...

Trustco scrambles to meet JSE...

19 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUTrustco Holdings Limited is scrambling to finalize and submit its financials as a Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s deadline, less than two weeks away, looms. JSE...

New vehicle sales moving in...

19 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUVehicle sales contracted by 2.0% year-on-year in December 2020, compared to a contraction of 2.2% year-on-year in December 2019, with 714 units sold in...

Nekongo breaks silence on Fishrot...

19 hours ago | Crime

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKSwapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Ephraim Nekongo yesterday said he did not know that the N$65 000 allegedly deposited into his personal account...

15 350 pupils ‘lost in...

19 hours ago | Education

ESTER KAMATIOTJIWARONGOWith the ministry of education taking a blended approach through online efforts and remote teaching and learning, about 15 350 learners did not return...

Shangula looking beyond Covax for...

19 hours ago | Health

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNamibia is looking beyond the Covax facility to procure additional stock of Covid-19 vaccine, health minister Kalumbi Shangula has said.The Covax facility, an initiative...

Namibia more of a consumer...

19 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUNamibia recorded a trade deficit to the tune of N$1.4 billion in November 2020. The recent figure shows that the deficit improved by...

Going back to the original...

19 hours ago | Opinion

It's not too late to salvage Namibia from the jaws of predatory tendencies threatening our existence as a nation.Think of the ideal Namibia we had...

Groundwater threatened by drilling

19 hours ago | Environment

FRANK STEFFENWINDHOEKIn 2011, a hydrological study dating back to 2001 was republished.Together with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR in Hanover, Germany),...

Load More