11 February 2016

Namibia: MUN Accuses Rosh Pinah of Racial Discrimination

The Rosh Pinah zinc mine stands accused of discriminating against its black workers.

The allegation was made in a petition handed to the mine manager yesterday by the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) regional organiser Elvis Bekele. He added that black workers are also victimised.

Acting on behalf of the workers, he charged that the company appoints and promotes workers based on skin colour rather than merit, meaning whites have a better chance of being appointed or promoted.

He said the practice is rife, especially by the engineering manager who allegedly claims he is unaware that appointing and promoting whites only is unfair and against the Affirmative Action Act.

Bekele further charged that white workers earn much more than their black counterparts despite having the same qualifications and doing the same job, adding that top positions in the company are reserved for whites.

"The management is 89.9 percent white and this indicates discrimination and victimisation of black people," noted the MUN regional organiser.

The top management structure of the mine, as seen by New Era, indicates Kondja Kaulinge, the engagement manager, is the only black employee in top management while the other eight positions are occupied by whites.

Bekele said the company rents out its houses while the employees sit without accommodation. Added to that, workers have noticed that people renting the company houses are also only white. Since the resignation of the human resource manager back in 2013, the company has failed to fill the position leaving a loophole for heads of department to employ their favourite people and not the best candidates, the petition reads.

Bekele stressed that a big company such as Rosh Pinah can't be run like a shebeen and demanded that a new HR manager be recruited within thirty working days.

"It should be noted that this is one of the biggest companies in Namibia and it should not be like shebeens which operate without structures," he said.

The petition also called for the removal of the engineering manager and a reply to the workers' grievances within five working days.

The petition was handed to the mine manager Christo Aspeling, who promised the workers that the management would look into the issues raised.

Attempts to get comment from the mine proved futile as the company referred all queries to the engagement manager, who however did not respond to an email sent to him.


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