Query: Can the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation please tell us why, for the past 10 years, you have not employed Lüderitz people for labour inspector positions in the town? It is really unfair giving preference to outsiders when they end up leaving after a while. Are you telling us our people don’t have the necessary qualifications?
Response: The issue of high staff turnover for labour inspectors is experienced not only at Lüderitz Office but rather in the Ministry as a whole. The Lüderitz Office has been with no labour inspector for about two months now and not 10 years as claimed above and two positions for labour inspectors have been publicly advertised for Lüderitz.
The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation would like to emphasise that no “preference” is given to any so-called “outsiders” nor the Lüderitz residents during the recruitment process. Successful candidates are determined by an interview panel.
Namibia has no job reservation for so-called residents.
It is important to note that the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation is guided by the Personnel Administrative Measures (PAM) of the Public Service that stipulate the requirements for all job categories during the recruitment process. Based on these measures (as always indicated on the vacancy announcement) potential candidates are drawn from the pool of applicants. An equal and fair opportunity is granted to all suitable candidates without looking at places of their origin as there is no law that dictates to employers to appoint staff based on their places of residence or origin.
Query: When is the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation going to address the fishermen of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz? Your government gazette is totally clear on the current demands by the fishermen. Those men are innocent and their demand for the labour laws to be enforced on fishing companies is not illegal. Why do you keep quiet on the matter? Your PS already buried fishermen with their families alive.
Response: The Gazette came as a result of negotiations between the recognised trade unions and fishing companies. The manner in which the fishermen have acted was not procedural. If employees are aggrieved, they must follow the set procedures in order to be entitled to a recourse and protection. They have been advised again and again to follow procedures which they opted not to do. In the event that one opts to ignore the set procedures, it becomes difficult to get the appropriate recourse. The current Gazette introduces new changes in the sector. There is however no provision in the Gazette nor in any law that may assist the affected fishermen, as they had acted unlawfully.
This Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation regards the accusations towards the Permanent Secretary as baseless and personalised. Fishermen should instead blame their leaders who misled them to take ill-thought action with dire consequences but not to shift blames. If concrete evidence is available to prove his/her claims, the writer should approach the relevant authority in this regard.
• Maria Hedimbi, Chief Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, E-mail: email@example.com