Keetmanshoop — Some guards employed by Nkasa Security Services stationed at the Keetmanshoop State Hospital claim they have not been paid since last July.
The guards said that while some of them have deserted their workstations due to non-payment, as the company struggles to keep up with paying its workers, some of them have decided to work, though they last received their salaries in July 2017. The guards say this has been the norm for the company, as many of them are owed three months salary or more, adding that queries about their salaries have fallen on deaf ears and the situation never improves.
The guards told New Era their lives have been difficult particularly during the festive season where they were reduced to spectators and they struggled to make ends meet. They say it is unacceptable that a person should go without pay in an independent Namibia. One of the guards, Petrus Appolus shared his ordeal with this publication saying he started to work for the company in December 2016, but only received his first salary after three months, which was not even paid in full as he allegedly only received N$ 1,564 for the three months he had worked. He further said that he again received his salary in, March, June and July last year, but that was the last time he had seen his salary up to now.
"It is painful! I have children and family members to take care of, and I went without pay through Christmas. I could not even buy my wife a cool drink or sweets for my children for Christmas just so they could feel their father really works," he said. Appolus added he had knocked on various doors to try to make the company pay him what is due to him and his colleagues but this had been in vain, and he now called on the relevant authorities to step in and assist the suffering workers.
Contacted for comment, Nkasa Security supervisor Joseph Nyama refuted the guard's claims that some have not received salaries since July 2017, saying the only salaries that have not yet been paid to the workers were those of December, which they were supposed to receive this month. Nyama however indicated that the issue of late payment resulted from the Ministry of Health and Social Services not paying the company on time for services it had rendered.
"Can you go to the ministry, they are the ones who are supposed to pay the company and then we pay the workers, and I think they have not paid us since last year August," he stated. In January last year, guards of the same company downed tools over unpaid salaries and unfair labour practices, leaving the state hospital open to criminals, and this resulted in break-ins as reported by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation.