14 February 2013

Namibia: Govt Deregisters Nabta

THE troubled Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) is fighting on all fronts to keep the union afloat. The office of the labour commissioner on Monday deregistered Nabta as an employers' organisation, backdated to March 24 2012, while a rival union is now claiming to be the genuine representative of bus and taxi operators in the country.

The labour commissioner terminated Nabta's status after the association failed to provide information that employers' associations are obligated to provide to the office.

Nabta was given a grace period from November 24 2011 until March 24 2012 to get its house in order after it promised to hold a congress within six months, a letter from the labour commissioner's office to Nabta reads. The association failed to keep this promise and, therefore, was deregistered.

To add to Nabta's woes, the Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association (NPPTA) claims that Nabta has lost members in droves in recent times and does not represent the majority of public transport operators and owners anymore.

NPPTA spokesperson George van Wyk wants his association to be recognised as the legitimate representative of bus and taxi operators.

NPPTA is a breakaway group from Nabta that was established in the second quarter of last year after extensive consultations with stakeholders, Van Wyk said.

He boasted that the association now controlled all major long-distance bus taxi ranks in the country except for Monte Cristo in Windhoek and the Oshakati and Ondangwa taxi ranks.

Documents seen by The Namibian indicate that NPPTA has close to 500 registered long-distance public transport vehicles under its wings, travelling to most major destinations in the country.

Van Wyk said NPPTA was negotiating with the Rhino Park Puma service station to become the sole operator from there.

"Only two or three operators operating from the Puma service station are still members of Nabta while 242 are registered with NPPTA," he said.

Van Wyk said the three other ranks, used mostly by north-bound bus operators, are in chaotic condition and his association is hard at work to recruit these operators to maintain order at these ranks.

Nabta also clashed with the Ministry of Works and Transport after Minister Erkki Nghimtina refused to officiate at a deeply divided, poorly attended congress at Rundu in 2011. The minister repeatedly said that the Nabta executive had no mandate to increase taxi and bus fares, as its term of office had expired.

Van Wyk questioned the continued presence of Nabta president Magnus Nangombe on the board of directors of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund.

The chief of corporate affairs at MVA Fund, Stephen Tjiuoro, said Nangombe remains a duly appointed member of the board as provided for in Section 12 of the MVA Act of 2007.

Nangombe was ironically caught up in a MVA Fund board meeting at the time of going to press and could not be reached for comment.

The NPPTA's first congress is slated for the second weekend of March in Otjiwarongo, to be preceded by a meeting of the preparatory committee at the same town this weekend.

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