Racial and gender imbalance at Rosh Pinah

 by Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Racial and gender imbalance at Rosh Pinah

Windhoek

Rosh Pinah mine only has one female and one black male in its top management, 26 years after government started to address the racial injustices and gender inequality of the past.

This stark reminder of the painful past is depicted in Rosh Pinah’s recent corporate poster depicting its management structure, a status quo that was confirmed on Tuesday by the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) regional organizer, Elvis Bekele.



Out of ten management positions Rosh Pinah mine only has one female and one black person in top management – two appointments that are seen as cosmetic.

This is contrary to government’s policies via the Employment Equity Commission, which seeks to achieve equal opportunity in employment in accordance with Article 10 and Article 23 of the Namibian Constitution.

The articles seek to redress through appropriate affirmative action plans the conditions of the previously disadvantaged in employment, arising from past discriminatory laws and practices.

It further seeks to institute procedures to contribute towards the elimination of discrimination in employment and provide for matters incidental thereto.

Rosh Pinah mine’s engagement manager, Kondja Kaulinge, was unavailable for comment both on Tuesday and yesterday as his phone went unanswered.

Mining activities are still at a standstill as the strike led by MUN members enters the 43rd day today.

Last week over 1 000 residents of Rosh Pinah petitioned the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration for the immediate cancellation of the permanent residency of Christo Aspeling, the mine’s managing director.

Residents were unhappy that the ministry in 2013 issued Aspeling with permanent residency, allegedly without the Mineworkers Union of Namibia’s (MUN) approval.

Residents are calling for the immediate cancellation of Aspeling’s permanent residency and for his deportation to his country of origin.

They accuse Aspeling of being a “racist” who apparently does not care for the well-being of black Namibian mineworkers.

According to the MUN, Aspeling is responsible for the suffering of employees at the troubled zinc mine.

Furthermore, earlier this year, MUN handed a petition to the mine management accusing them of discrimination and victimisation of its black workers, among other allegations.

At the time the union said the mine only appoints and promotes workers based on skin colour and that only whites occupy management positions.

The union further accused the mine of paying its black workers salaries lower than those of their white counterparts, while they occupy the same positions.

The 2013/14 Employment Equity Commission (EEC) report indicates that black employees accounted for a staggeringly low 22 percent of executive director positions in the country and 66 percent of managerial positions. Persons with disabilities comprised a mere 0.9 percent of managerial positions, while 6 percent of managers were non-Namibian.

Also, while the representation of the previously racially disadvantaged at management level showed a slight improvement of 2 percent compared to 2012/13, their representation is still proportionately skewed in favour of previously racially advantaged employees, who constitute a mere 5 percent of the workforce.

During the 2013/14 period, the EEC received 664 affirmative action reports from employers across the country, covering a total number of 167 502 employees.

During the same period the EEC received numerous complaints, including alleged racial discrimination in terms of pay, promotion and other employment opportunities.

 

 

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