Namibia: Fishcor Moves 600 Employees to Venmar

SIX hundred former employees of Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP) who were taken by Fishcor late last year, have been moved to Venmar Fishing Pty Ltd.

This was announced yesterday by Fiscor interim chief executive officer, Ruth Herunga who said the employees will be on a fixed-term contract from last month to 31 December.

"Fishcor is pleased to announce that all 600 former employees of Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP) received their April salaries, as per their fixed-term contracts," said Herunga.

Venmar which has no land-based operations, is one of the companies making up the Cavema group which mainly catches freezer horse mackerel. The group recently acquired the Dutch freezer trawler Cornelius Vrolijk for which they have been working to secure enough quotas.

Venmar secured 10 00 metric tonnes of freezer quotas from Fishcor to employ the 600 people. It is not clear where the people will be deployed as freezer fish is processed at sea and the company does not have offshore operations. The employees were on a four-month contract at Tunacor which ended in March.

They were being paid N$2 500 a month while sitting at home because the company could not offer them meaningful employment.

"Venmar is offering an attractive package which includes a basic salary, housing and transport allowances. The workers will work in the factory and do administrative work," said Herunga.

Mathew Simasiku, the employees' shop steward confirmed the agreement and that the employees had already received their April salaries. He could, however, not say where the employees will be deployed.

"We are still sorting that out. We are grateful that we can at least put food on the table," said Simasiku.

Fishcor, which was established to harvest marine resources on behalf of the government has been auctioning off its horse mackerel quotas because it has no operations.

Since the Fishrot exposé, the government started to auction off the governmental quotas through the Ministry of Finance.

Jacobus Coetzee, who has researched extensively on corruption sees no difference in the current operation of Fishcor with what the Fishrot accused were doing.

"It is similar to running a sinking ship with no destination, no public support or justification, merely to benefit the interests of the well-connected," he said.

He added the auctioning of quotas by Fiscor is no different from all struggling state-owned enterprises.

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