New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Kaaronda to Know Fate Today

Windhoek — The expelled National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) secretary general Evilastus Kaaronda and the Interim Khomas Teachers Strategic Committee's Mahongora Kavihuha, the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) president Dankie Katjiuanjo, Elfrieda Mwagbo and Josef Katjingisiua will know their fate today.

Judge Parker found the five in contempt of court in the High Court in December, after the Minister of Education, Dr Abraham Iyambo, and the Government brought an urgent application before the Labour Court on November 9, in which they requested the court to find Kaaronda and a group of teachers and other public servants who were involved in an illegal strike in contempt of court.

After hearing arguments from both the defence lawyer Steve Rukoro and Sisa Namandje, representing Dr Abraham Iyambo and the Government, Judge Parker said that he would deliver his judgment on Wednesday (today).

All five said that they would be able to pay a fine. It was expected that Kaaronda and his co-respondents would testify in mitigation of sentence, instead, it was only their lawyers that testified.

Rukoro informed Judge Parker that the issue at hand was of a bread-and-butter nature, and that the strike took place because teachers wanted to show that they live in poverty.

The defence lawyer said the teachers demonstrated to show the poverty that they face. He asked the court to show leniency.

Namandje argued the five were now asking for mercy but even after the striking teachers were ordered to end their illegal strike with immediate effect, they continued with their action.

He continued that Kavihuha had told the teachers, 'Let the message be clear, no money, no school. Nothing can stop us.'

Namandje said the strike was not at a bakery where it affected a few people, but the strike was by teachers teaching Namibian children.

He requested the court to impose a serious and appropriate sentence.

Last year on November 9 the Minister of Education Dr Abraham Iyambo and the Government brought an urgent application before the Labour Court in which they requested the court to find Kaaronda and a group of teachers and other public servants who were involved in an illegal strike in contempt of court.

Last November Kaaronda was quoted in the media calling for a nationwide strike of all Namibian workers.

Kaaronda was quoted as saying that the entire national workforce should down tools to demonstrate for a better standard of living - and should "include parents and children".

During the strike last year, teachers demanded a 40 percent salary increase, and they rejected government's offer of 8 percent, vowing to continue with their action until their demands were met.

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