All Peoples’ Party (APP) president Ignatius Shixwameni says APP understands the plight of teachers and their representative union, the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu), but at the same time blames Nantu for the current salary dispute.
Shixwameni says Nantu is partly responsible for the problems facing teachers, because in his view Nantu has long tolerated government’s apparent failure to resolve the issues faced by teachers. Shixwameni made the remarks in a statement handed to New Era this week on the looming nationwide teachers’ strike.
“We would like to remind Nantu that they are party to the problems facing the teachers today, because they have tolerated government’s lack of resolve regarding the deplorable conditions and circumstances faced by our teachers today,” Shixwameni said.
“Nantu, don’t get married to government for your own convenience and strive [rather] to be the forceful bargaining power you were established to be. We, however, stand firmly in solidarity with all our teachers countrywide,” he added.
Shixwameni further urged government to address the demands of the teachers for an 8 percent salary increment, saying the government should give teachers what they want without fail, or offering petty excuses.
“We strongly reject the excuse of there not being money for the most important professions of our society, whilst we spend money on unnecessary luxuries for the political elite and their cronies,” Shixwameni further added.
According to the APP president, it is high time government realises the need to cut costs, starting with reducing the number of ministers and multiple deputy ministers, as well as multiple, redundant and already retired advisors, so as to free up the necessary funds to cater for teachers and other civil servants who are living in conditions that are “an insult” to their respective professions.
Shixwameni appealed to both parties, including government and teachers, to take into account the Grade 10 and 12 learners, who will soon be writing their final exams and use this as motivation to find a lasting solution to the current stand-off.
“We are hopeful that government will make use of the contingency budget to resolve the current dispute amicably,” he said.