Orlando Pirates FC chairman Axab Auchamb has been given only 10 days in which to settle the unpaid salaries of eight players that took the club to the Labour Court in August, failing which Auchamb may face the full wrath of the law.
According to Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU) secretary-general Olsen Kahiriri, the latest notice on the enduring players’ salary dispute was issued by the Office of Labour Commissioner on Wednesday through the labour inspector, giving clear instructions that Auchamb has 10 days only (as of Wednesday) to pay the players’ outstanding salaries in full, or a warrant of arrest would be issued for him as a last resort.
Back in August, Kahiriri was at the forefront of the process when he helped the eight players drag Pirates and its chairman, Auchamb, to the Labour Court to seek relief. The eight players are Ronaldo Tsowaseb, Valton van Staden, Ivan Makina, Charles Uirab, Stanley Kamesepo, Marcello Horaseb, Riaan Hanamub and Christian Doeseb.
As per figures provided during the first hearing, the players are owed amounts ranging from N$8 000 to N$19 500 – meaning in totality Pirates was expected to fork out about N$122 000 to settle the bill at the time.
“Following the arbitrator’s instructions in August that Pirates should pay the eight players’ outstanding monies in full, the club failed to comply with the arbitrator’s notice, which then lead to further delays in the process.
“Also, I have to mention that Auchamb was one of the people subpoenaed by Arbitrator Christophina Namupala-Hamutele to appear at the first hearing, but he did not pitch at all, nor did he send a club representative, which lead to Namupala-Hamutele making a default judgment on the matter,” said Kahiriri.
As per law – especially following Arbitrator Namupala-Hamutele’s decision to order Pirates to pay the players – both Auchamb and Pirates as the employer of the affected players had 30-days to appeal against the Arbitrator’s decision, but they (both Auchamb and Pirates FC) did not, in the process giving NAFPU the upper-hand to take the case to the next level.
“Since they (Auchamb and Pirates) did not appeal against the arbitrator’s decision in August, we took the opportunity to forge ahead with the case and we managed to get the blessings of the labour inspector, whose duties are to make sure that whatever decisions the arbitrator takes are fully and lawfully enforced upon the parties involved.
So, as we stand, the Labour Inspector is now busy pondering his options and if the situation drags on, the possibilities of him issuing a warrant of arrest are likely possible,” continued Kahiriri.
Several attempts yesterday to get a response from Auchamb proved futile, as his mobile phone went unanswered.