Fate of 65 Ehafo workers in balance

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Windhoek

The future of 65 employees at Ehafo Trust is in doubt after staff who have disabilities yesterday turned up for work to find themselves locked out.
A security firm was employed to ensure no one entered the premises of the organisation on the outskirts of Windhoek.

A notice at the premises, signed by Andreas Vaatz and Partners, the legal representatives of Ehafo Trust, read: “I would like to confirm that the property, namely Erf 235 Klein Windhoek, owned by Ehafo Trust, has now been sold and no one is allowed to be on the property other than with the express permission of the new owners.”

It further stated: “If you or any of your workers go onto the premises you may be removed by legal action and evicted. Trespassing is not allowed according to the law.” Speaking on behalf of about 35 workers outside the premises yesterday, the chairperson of the Ehafo Workers Committee Marius Nujoma said they were surprised by the action taken by the trust yesterday morning. “No one said anything to us – this is a clear indication that we the disabled people’s rights are not respected in this country,” said Nujoma who is visually impaired.

“How can someone just decide to lock the premises without notifying us?” asked Nujoma. He said no one communicated anything to them, not even the Ehafo Board of Trustees chairperson Andrew Matjila.
Nujoma said that the last time he had a conversation with Matjila was almost a decade ago in 2007. Some workers also complained about their tools, which they said were locked inside the premises.

“Right now some of our tools and machinery are locked in there; we got some of our clients waiting for us to do handy jobs,” said one worker.

The Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President responsible for the disabled Alexia Manombe-Ncube, who went to address the workers, yesterday assured them that the issue would soon be resolved.

“I have contacted the Attorney General Sacky Shangala and he said the government would file an urgent court application regarding the matter,” said Manombe-Ncube.

“So go back home, rest, and leave this issue with us. Hopefully by Friday we will hear the matter in court,” stressed Manombe-Ncube.

Matjila was unavailable for comment yesterday as his phone went unanswered.
It is yet not clear who owns the property at Erf 235, Klein Windhoek, from which Ehafo Trust operates.

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