KEETMANSHOOP – While many gathered at Khorixas in the Kunene Region to celebrate Workers Day on Tuesday, some security guards at Keetmanshoop spoke to New Era of how the day is only a reminder of how much they are exploited.
Many guards still work under unsafe conditions and are paid peanuts, while many go for five consecutive months without receiving their monthly wages.
This year’s Workers Day commemoration was held under the theme “Namibian Workers and Employers Unite for Economic Upliftment.”
Petrus Appolus, 60, told New Era that while many were celebrating the day he was at home wondering where his family’s next meal would come from.
Appolus, who works for Nkasa Security Services, said it has now been six months without receiving his salary despite carrying out his duties over the same period, and that as a husband and father, he has been struggling to take care of his children and wife during this period.
“How do you celebrate such a day when all it reminds you is of your rights? Rights which are exploited, there is nothing to celebrate, what can you celebrate as a worker when you cannot take care of your children?” he asked.
Appolus, who is responsible for guarding the Keetmanshoop state hospital and clinics at the town, further said he does not understand how government is allowing security companies to get tenders while they keep exploiting their workers, and he pleaded with the government to blacklist companies that treat their workers worse than during the apartheid era.
Another guard Petrus Rooi, 50, spoke of how he has been a guard for about eight years now. Yet working conditions have not improved over those years. “What can we really celebrate, we do not get our salaries on time, our working conditions are bad, and no one seems to care, we cannot celebrate while we are hungry as we last received our salaries in November last year,” he said.