TransNamib Afraid of Inquiry – Unionist

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By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK A crucial meeting is to be held today to thrash out the details of a committee being formed to deal with the multitude of problems facing troubled transport parastatal TransNamib. A press statement issued by TransNamib chairperson Foibe Namene late December suggested the workings and the makeup of the committee were already finalised, but this appears not to be the case. It has further emerged the committee is not strictly speaking to come about as a result of an initiative of the TransNamib Board of Directors as suggested in Namene’s statement. The proposal for the committee arose at a hastily convened meeting called by Works, Transport and Communication Minister Joel Kaapanda just before Christmas. Kaapanda called the emergency meeting after a bitter attack on the TransNamib board and management launched by the Namibia Transport and Allied Union (Natau) a few days earlier. Natau severely took TransNamib to task at a press conference addressed by Natau president Dawid Tjombe in which he criticised alleged mismanagement at the corporation. Kaapanda apparently told those present that he called the meeting in order to get clarification on the press release issued by Natau. The outcome of the meeting attended by TransNamib directors, unionists and officials of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication was the appointment of Under-Secretary for Transport Willie Kauaria as co-ordinator of the proposed new committee. General-Secretary of Natau, Johannes Kwedhi, however said his union had not yet made a final decision about whether it would participate in the Committee. According to Kwedhi, Natau still stands by its demand that the government appoints a presidential commission of inquiry to look into the affairs of TransNamib. “We called for an independent commission of inquiry because of the conflict of interest if there is any involvement by TransNamib directors or management. “TransNamib are afraid a presidential commission of inquiry will unearth some of the things they have been trying to hide,” he said. Even if Natau accepts the idea of the committee, he added, the union is still weighing whether it will participate directly or whether the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) will represent it. At the initial December press conference, Natau called for the NUNW to be part of any effort to find solutions to the problems at TransNamib. He said the final decision as to whether Natau accepts to work within the framework of the committee depends on the outcome of today’s meeting chaired by Under-Secretary Kauaria. Meanwhile, Kwedhi alleged the debacle surrounding the mechanical problems plaguing the Chinese locomotives purchased by China is still not resolved. TransNamib apparently managed to repair one locomotive, but when they took it for a test run to Hosea Kutako airport it again broke down somewhere in the area of the airport, forcing the corporation to leave it there.