Getting BEE into Undertaking

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK The National Union of Namibian Workers, through its investments arm Labour Investment Holdings (LIH), is now a part owner of Avbob Namibia Holdings. The transfer of 40 percent of Avbob’s shares to the LIH yesterday became the first broad based Black Economic Empowerment deal in a burial society business that operates 12 agencies countrywide. The chairman of Avbob Namibia Holdings, Louis de Klerk, said during the announcement of the deal that the company has taken the responsibility to redress the inequalities in a manner that underscores the company’s corporate values as well as loyalty to its policyholders, clients and colleagues. This, he said, was in view of the fact that many indigenous Namibians were left out of the mainstream of economic growth. The president of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Alfeus Muheua, who is also LIH chairman, said he was pleased that the labour organisation could have shares in Avbob, which was regarded as an all-white company. With the workers, which includes Avbob’s staff, owning a 40 percent stake in the funeral company, Muheua said part of the focus would be to make the services affordable and assessable to all. De Klerk said that the company, which opened its doors in Namibia in 1963, would not have been as inclusive without bringing the workers to the table. Avbob was founded in 1921 in Bloemfontein and is owned by more than 800 000 members in Southern Africa. In Namibia, the company has branches in Keetmanshoop, Windhoek, Gobabis, Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb, Walvis Bay, Ondangwa and Oshakati. It assembles 40 coffins a day and as part of its corporate responsibilities, Avbob also helps people who cannot afford a coffin for their loved ones and furthermore makes donations towards HIV/AIDS prevention.