Storm is Brewing at TransNamib

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek In a ruling that could open a can of worms for TransNamib, Magistrate Uaatjo Uanivi ruled in favour of Erenfried “Tjivi” Ndjoonduezu, a former senior manager who claimed unfair dismissal by the parastatal. In his ruling yesterday in the District Labour Court, Uanivi ordered that Ndjoo-nduezu be re-instated in the position he accepted under protest after being transferred from another position within the same company. Uanivi also ordered Transnamib to pay Ndjoo-nduezu an amount of N$95 000 as re-imbursement of study fees of an MBA course in terms of the agreement concluded between the manager and Transnamib. Transnamib was also ordered to pay Ndjoonduezua a three-month salary in compensation for any loss that might have been occasioned by unfair dismissal, in full and final settlement of the dispute. Uanivi, who is the chairperson of the District Labour Court further ordered that the payments be effected without failure at the offices of Ndjoonduezu’s lawyers by yesterday at 10h30. Uanivi also warned that if any subsequent disciplinary hearing was taken against the complainant on the same charges and the same facts within a period of six months, such action would be regarded as unfair and unjustifiable. The judgement yesterday brings to end a long protracted labour battle, which started soon after TransNamib fired Ndjoonduezu in December 2004 for alleged absenteeism, disobedience and poor time management. Yesterday’s verdict could open a Pandora’s box for TransNamib as the parastatal faces similar labour cases from employees who were dismissed. TransNamib also faces two other charges of unfair dismissal and one of witch-hunting from two managers who were fired in a similar fashion, as well as one of constructive dismissal. Another case of former manager Bernhardt !Gaeb was postponed earlier to July 7 because Judge President Petrus Damaseb had an urgent matter to attend to. Damaseb was supposed to listen to Transnamib’s legal team as the company attempts to put on hold the execution of a Labour Court order, that the parastatal pay N$468 200 to !Gaeb until their appeal against the judgement could be heard. The Labour Court instructed the company to keep !Gaeb on its medical aid scheme for the next four years and to pay him full pension benefits. !Gaeb resigned in January following an alleged witch-hunt against him. Two other cases of managers Godhard !Howaeb and Moses Mbai are still pending in the District Labour Court. Ndjoonduezu’s lawyer Jeff Tjitemisa, who is also representing !Howaeb told New Era yesterday that the case of !Howaeb is very similar to that of Njoonduezu and he expects the same verdict when the case is concluded. The Namibian newspaper reported that Tjitemisa claimed that Transnamib had withheld crucial information from Ndjoonduezu before the disciplinary hearing and that its witnesses had lied in court when they said that such information was given to Ndjoonduezu, while the Human Resources General Manager Jason Hamunyela had confirmed that this was not the case. Tjitemisa said the company had victimised his clients’ witnesses and ensured that they did not get time off to attend the hearing by stating in advance that the witnesses would refuse to attend. He said his client’s original disciplinary hearing was chaired by Transnamib Chief Executive Officer John Shaetonhodi, while Hamu-nyela was the prosecutor. However, Shaetonhodi was gathering information to charge Ndjoonduezu and that was confirmed by Claus Jensen, Senior Manager: Information Services, from whom he requested some information related to the case. Tjitemisa said that when his client appealed, Trans-namib appointed a friend of Shaetonhodi and business partner of Hamunyela, Sakkie Aipinge, as chairperson of the appeal hearing. “Mr Aipinge was on a clear mission. He was given a clear instruction by his buddies. He dismissed the request for an appeal, saying my client would not have any new evidence,” Tjitemisa said. He said it was evident that Shaetonhodi and Hamunyela had “plotted” to oust Ndjoo-nduezu because when reports started appearing of victimisation of former senior managers, only his client was called in to answer questions about the origin of such reports. Tjitemisa also informed Uanivi that the company had offered to settle the matter out of court “because the friendship of Aipinge, Hamunyela and the CEO will compromise their case”. The lawyers of Trans-namib, Shikongo Law Chambers told New Era yesterday that the clients have not indicated whether they would appeal or not and that they were awaiting further instructions.

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