Namibia: LPM Accuses Bank of Victimisation

26 February 2021

Landless People's Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi has accused Bank Windhoek of victimising an employee who doubles up as the mayor of Lüderitz.

Swartbooi at a press conference yesterday said the bank gave LPM-affiliated mayor Anna-Marie Hartzenberg an ultimatum to choose between being the mayor and her position at the bank.

He said the LPM will not be shaken by Bank Windhoek's alleged threats, and that the bank is being unfair.

"They believe that we in the LPM will fall for such rubbish. They now want to give our colleague an ultimatum, and we will fight back."

Swartbooi believes Hartzenberg as a Bank Windhoek employee should be allowed to associate with the LPM and not be threatened with a dismissal.

"There is no way that because you are an employee of an institution who pays your water and electricity ... that to keep such a job one of the key requirements will be that your constitutionally guaranteed rights will be trampled on," he said.

He further said the party is discussing withdrawing all their accounts from the bank, because another LPM member experienced a similar incident a while ago.

"Where do you draw the line? Bank Windhoek takes money from the LPM as a political party, gives us loans and takes money from members of the public who happen to be LPM members. But [they] refuse to have our members who work for them to be part of LPM," he said.

Bank Windhoek's managing director, Baronice Hans, said the matter has been dealt with in accordance with their established policies and procedures.

Hans said this forms part of the agreed terms of the contractual relationship between Bank Windhoek and its employees.

"The potential competing interests of the employee and that of the employer that may arise in this instance have been thoroughly considered and was communicated to the employee," she said.

She said the bank cannot divulge any further information given the confidential nature of its relationship and contract with Hartzenberg.

Hartzenberg was elected as the town's new mayor in December last year.

She could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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