Swakop Uranium denies involvement in recording

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 to “reorganise” the Husab uranium mine's workforce.

Swakop Uranium vice-president Percy McCallum said in a statement that making the recording was illegal and that the company reserved the right to take action against those who had recorded the conversation.

He said the company reserved the right to investigate the unauthorised and illegal recording of the conversation between the governor and Swakop Uranium, as such information was privileged and confidential.

“Such recordings are unethical and illegal,” he said.

According to McCallum wage negotiations between Swakop Uranium and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) started on 15 October last year.

He said the two parties agreed to invite Mutjavikua to act as mediator on 18 and 19 February this year.

“During the two days of mediation, tremendous progress was made between the two parties and the governor, as mediator, insisted on the company making compromises to ensure a speedy and acceptable wage agreement for the Swakop Uranium employees,” he said

McCallum said the governor held individual sessions with both parties as part of the mediation process.

“Social media then reported on an alleged confidential meeting between the governor and Swakop Uranium.”

McCallum said Swakop Uranium did not record any meetings between the governor and the company, nor did it give permission to any third party to record such conversation or to disclose confidential information.

“Without prejudice to any right which the company may have in law and to any other remedy available to it, the company reserves the right to take such action as may be warranted under the circumstances, including legal action against the perpetrators,” he said.

Meanwhile, the MUN says it will remove Mutjavikua from its wage negation team because the leaked recording allegedly indicates that he supports retrenchments.

Mutjavikua remains adamant that he did not hold any secret meetings, but was mediating in the wage dispute. He also claims that the recording circulating on social media was edited.

“I never mentioned the words 'retrenchment' and 'job losses' at all, nor did I advise the company to retrench. I made it clear to the company that no one must lose their jobs,” he insisted.

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) has called on the governor to resign. They said if he failed to do so, President Hage Geingob should fire him.

ELLANIE SMIT

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