Namibia: Gondwana Bosses Take 40 Percent Pay Cut

16 September 2020

The four executive directors of Gondwana Collection Namibia will from this month receive only 60% of their normal monthly income.

The latest development is a reflection of how the tourism industry has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

An insider at the company has confirmed that the hospitality company's managing director, Mannfred Goldbeck, two other directors, as well as its chief executive officer, Gys Joubert, have taken a 40% salary cut.

"This was a collective decision and we all agreed to the salary cut. Our managers and shareholders have always been good to us and our families, during the good as well as the tough times, and that is why we agreed to go this route together," the insider said.

In a staff communiqué seen by The Namibian, the chief executive officer said the rest of the company's 1 100 employees have agreed to take a 25% salary cut, which is expected to last until the tourism industry picks up again.

"This 25% pay cut will remain in place until business returns to a point where we can afford to pay full salaries again," he said.

Joubert said the company managed to retain all its employees since Namibian borders closed in March.

The company has not received a bailout from the government employment protection stimulus package, he said.

He added the company has also not received a cent of its N$9,2 million Value Added Tax (VAT) claims, nor have they received a penny from their insurance company - despite lodging a claim in April.

Joubert said the company lost out on bookings, especially during their "best two weeks", which is normally over the August school holidays, due to the recent travel ban from Windhoek.

"We at Gondwana have been in the thick of the Covid-19 storm for around six months now. During this time, we have lost more than 95% of our income, and we continue to lose millions of Namibia dollars every month," Joubert said.

He said the only funds they have received is from National Training Authority claims.

The company has restructured its finance model and is in the process of restructuring its banking facilities "to accommodate the ongoing expenses and mitigate the almost complete loss of income as far as we can responsibly do," he said.

During this period Gondwana has also waived the bulk of the company's cancellation fees.

Tour operators have also not paid for services rendered prior to the lockdown, Joubert said.

Gondwana operates over 20 upmarket accommodation establishments across the country, including campsites.

The hospitality industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by the global lockdown.

Some companies laid off staff, while others managed to weather the storm through salary cuts.

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