15 February 2019

Namibia: 'Stay in Your Lane' - Outgoing NWR Boss Warns

OUTGOING Namibia Wildlife Resorts managing director Zelna Hengari this month told workers to stay in their lanes, warning some that their time was up.

Hengari said this in an email dated 2 February 2019.

The email, seen by The Namibian, gives the notion that Hengari was unhappy with several issues at the company.

Hengari yesterday told The Namibian that she could not comment as she was in a meeting and referred questions to NWR spokesperson Mufaro Nesongano who confirmed the email.

"You will remain in your lane. Some of you are screen-shooting WhatsApp convos and sharing with your handlers. You are known, and your time is up," she stated.

Hengari added that she could only relate and work with local people who have the best interest of NWR at heart. Two weeks later, she was told that her contract would not be renewed. Hengari began her email by greeting colleagues she had not yet met this year.

She then went on to point out how officials in the entity's departments are failing to adhere to procurement rules, general policies and procedures.

Hengari said the workers are instead acting outside their powers, recklessly spending money without her approval, rumour- mongering, sharing confidential information with outsiders, and practising divide-and-rule tactics.

"As you might have noticed, I have been quiet, and removed myself from co-managing the departments. As such, I took a deliberate decision to start observing how far you can go without my constant monitoring and reminders," Hengari said. The Namibian reported last week that the NWR board had decided not to renew her contract, and gave her six-months notice after a round-robin resolution on 15 January. NWR board chairperson Leonard Iipumbu told The Namibian last Friday that a managing director's position is regulated by a contract of employment, such as the one between Hengari and NWR.

"Thus, the board resolved not to renew the aforesaid contract of employment in terms of the provisions of the said contract," he stated.

Hengari challenged the decision through her lawyer Sisa Namandje, and branded it illegal due to the fact that the board did not apply its mind, nor consider her contribution to the company.

Namandje placed a lid on the board's decision by saying Hengari would need time to seek the right advice to progress her case, and thus no further progress can be made on this case. Nesongano said in response to questions that NWR believes internal matters should remain as such, and that colleagues should safeguard the interests of the company.

"Be that as it may, Mrs Hengari, as the accounting officer, is duty-bound to ensure that whatever is done under the name of NWR is according to the law because at the end of the day, it is her who needs to account if anything goes wrong," he said.

He also urged employees to go through normal structures if they have grievances.

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