17 February 2017

Namibia: Ex-Casuals Evicted From Namport Premises

A GROUP of former Namport casual workers were ejected by police from the parastatal's head office at Walvis Bay yesterday, following a Walvis Bay Magistrate's Court order.

The workers had been on the premises since their services were terminated at the begining of February. They had been hoping for compensation, or to renegotiate their employment status with the harbour operator. The workers, some who claim to have worked for Namport for 15 years, say they have been treated unfairly and that they were not properly compensated, as well as that some had even been promised that they would be re-employed in permanent positions.

After an official announcement of the casuals' fate by Namport last Friday, the workers said they would remain on the premises because they had nowhere else to go.

Walvis Bay Magistrate's Court issued an eviction order on Wednesday after Namport had filed a complaint.

Claims of chaos during the eviction were dismissed by Nelumbu.

"I explained to them the procedures, and that the police were there to execute the order peacefully. We were not there to listen to their labour relations as this is something we cannot solve," said Nelumbu, adding that some refused to leave, but were prompted to move about 500 metres away from the headquarters.

"There were even some who climbed into the police van and said we must lock them up because they have nowhere to go. We took them to Kuisebmond and dropped them off there, but they said they will go back to Namport until their demands are met," he said.

Nelumbu, however, warned that if the workers decided to re-occupy the Namport head office to camp there, they would be doing so illegally, and would be guilty of contempt of court.

"We will then have to arrest them," he warned.

Due to international and local economic conditions, which have forced Namport to streamline its operations and costs, which also effected its workers, the parastatal decided to terminate the employment of about 250 casuals who were mostly used on an ad hoc basis in fish repackaging, according to Namport CEO Bisey Uirab. The workers, however, submitted a complaint to the labour commissioner, accusing NamPort of unfair labour practices.

As for the about 50 casual workers picketing at the headquarters, Uirab said Namport would be willing to follow the correct procedures and cooperate with the labour commissioner, and he expressed the hope that the workers would also respect the laws and procedures, and not camp at the company's head office.

According to Namport's port operations executive, Raymond Visagie, the casual workers were unlawfully squatting in front of and around the Namport property. "There has not been another arrangement between the casual workers and Namport in the meantime. There is currently no intention to lay charges against them, and as long as the court order is complied with, there is no reason for Namport to take any further action," he told The Namibian. The casual workers listed in Namport's urgent application to the High Court must on 24 March show the court why the eviction order should not be made final.


Cosafa Cup All Set for Kickoff

Southern Africa's national teams converge on Polokwane in the north of South Africa for the next fortnight to decide the… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 The Namibian. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.