DTA president McHenry Venaani says his party will embark upon a mass national march of the unemployed if government does not find a solution to the predicament of about 600 fishermen that went on strike last year and were subsequently dismissed.
Venaani wants the workers reinstated as soon as possible and issued his ultimatum at Walvis Bay on Friday when he addressed the fishermen who are still gathering on a daily basis in front of Kuisebmond Soccer Stadium.
The fishermen have been on strike for the past 11 months and many have since been dismissed from their jobs.
Venaani gave government 30 days to address the situation, saying the legality of the strike is no longer an issue, as the situation is now a crisis for the country, given that some of the fishermen already lost property and are sinking more deeply into poverty.
“We cannot lose jobs anymore. Government must find an alternative to the matter,” he said. “These people must be re-employed within 30 days. If they, the fishing companies, do not have the means to do so government must increase their fishing quotas or extend their catching periods, so that the fishermen go back [to work].”
“Really, we cannot turn our backs on them just because the strike is illegal. If 600 people are complaining about the same thing, clearly it must be investigated and a solution found. It should not be ignored because it’s illegal,” fumed the DTA leader.
He said if this does not happen within 30 days the DTA would mobilise unemployed people across the country and stage a mass demonstration that will start in Walvis Bay and spread to other regions and towns.
According to Venaani, government should not have allowed the situation to deteriorate this far, as the country cannot afford to lose more jobs, given that unemployment and poverty are rife.
“We’re preaching Harambee and inclusivity, but does it apply to the fishermen? Why can’t we do something about their situation? They had valid reasons. That is why they went on strike. Clearly that must be looked at by the government.”
“Our proposition is first [to take] the middle way. If the middle way doesn’t work we will mobilise the unemployed, as more than 30 percent of Namibians are unemployed.
“We must create jobs. We must solve the problem. What kind of leadership are we if we cannot resolve this matter? All I’m urging is that we find a middle way before I get agitated,” he said.