24 May 2013

Namibia: Ministry Registers Husab Mine Job Seekers

Some people are not receptive to the fact that the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is registering job seekers for the Husab uranium mine project.

Husab is expected to create 2 000 permanent jobs, 6 000 temporary jobs and at least 8 000 indirect jobs during the construction phase. No job applications will be handled at the mine to be located 60 km northeast of Swakopmund. Some job seekers say they were attracted by the massive billboard displayed at the labour ministry's offices in Swakopmund that encourages job seekers to submit relevant documents through its Employment Services Division.

Kevin Uirab, a qualified boilermaker who registered with the ministry for a position at the mine, said that the initiative is a brilliant idea since it makes it easier for people to be employed directly rather than through an employment agency. "This will allow us to earn better salaries - it must just be transparent and jobs should be given to those qualified enough," Uirab told this reporter.

Others were rather skeptical about the registration process saying it would only be government officials and their families that would benefit from the process, while yet others welcomed the exercise saying it signals the death knell for employment agencies since they will no longer be able to exploit workers.

When reached for comment this week the public relations officer of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Paulus Ashipala, said the final selection process rests solely on the shoulders of the prospective employers and that the ministry is not involved in the final selection.

"The ministry solely sends registered job seekers who match the job requirements of prospective employers. Employers then carry out their own interviews and selection process," Ashipala said. He explained that the duty of the Employment Services Division is to register job seekers, to canvass employment for them and further to assist applicants with preparations for job interviews. "Currently there is an Employment Services Act which was signed into law by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2011. This Act makes it compulsory for prospective employers to use the job seekers' database of the ministry whenever there are job openings. Currently, only Part IV of the Act, which regulates private employment agencies, has been implemented," Ashipala explained.

On the question of fairness during the registration process, he said the ministry registers job seekers throughout all regions. "A number of job seekers in the Erongo Region were registered during the piloting of the Namibia Integrated Employment Information System towards the end of last year. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare had been facilitating job placements for job seekers registered with the ministry's Employment Services Division under the Directorate of Labour Market Services," said Ashipala

The deadline for applications for the registration of private agencies with the ministry is May 31.

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