By Confidente Reporter
FORMER works minister Erkki Nghimtina who is the current labour minister has defended his action of abandoning his former Personal Assistant labelling him as “dead wood”. Nghimtina’s former PA, Joas Shimunyengu claims that the minister abandoned him without notice when he was appointed as minister of labour last year.
Nghimtina said that when his term of office at works ended, he informed his ex PA that his contract simultaneoulsy ended and therefore must look for other options.
Said Nghimtina, “He is not a civil servant. I could not take him along when my term of office ended at the ministry of works. He is incompetent and has been running around in suits unable to deliver. I cannot take along dead wood.”
He was replaced by Elizabeth Amutenya, who served as Nghimtina’s private secretary at the works ministry.
Shimunyengu previously worked in Government for 12 years before discontinuing his studies to take up the demanding assistant role for five years from 2010 to 2015. He was however transferred to the labour ministry on July 21, 2016. In a letter addressed to Labour PS Bro-Mathew Shinguandja, Works PS Willem Goeiemann noted that Nghimtina did not give any directive regarding Shimunyengu. “This letter serves to inform you that Mr. Joas Shimunyengu was holding the position of Personal Assistant Grade 6 and he was appointed at the behest of the Honourable Minister Mr. Erkki Nghimtina. This ministry did not receive any directive from the office of the honourable minister with regard to the status of Mr Joas Shimunyengu, therefore he was transferred to your ministry due to the fact that he was appointed at the behest of the honourable minister,” Goeiemann wrote. Shimunyengu claims that Nghimtina in July 2010 personally approached Shimunyengu with the intention to appoint him as his PA at the time when he was a second-year student pursuing a B-tech degree in Accounting and Finance at the then Polytechnic of Namibia.
Although he said he briefed the minister about his studies, Nghimtina explained his intentions before they agreed and signed a contract of employment on August 1, 2010. Today, Shimunyengu says that he is left on ‘no man’s land’, with his salary stopped without notification adding Nghimtina repeatedly evades him.
“At the behest of Minister Nghimtina, I was appointed as his PA and worked for him for five years. When he moved to the labour ministry, he left without me. He also did not mention anything to me until I realiSed that I no longer had a job when my salary was stopped without being notified. He also did not give directives for either my transition or for new responsibilities within the works ministry before he left. I’m now in a situation where I don’t know my status as an employee in government. I don’t know whether I’m still with the ministry of works or that of labour,” Shimunyengu explained. Shimunyengu further added that Nghimtina repeatedly avoids him and despite numerous attempts to get his audience, it’s all in vain. However in a letter penned by Nghimtina to then works PS Peter Mwatile dated August 5, 2013 the minister described Shimunyengu as a young, dynamic and potential future professional that he was willing to work with after completion of his studies.
“… I am aware that Mr Joas Shimunyengu is a second-year student pursuing a B-tech degree in Accounting and Finance at the Polytechnic of Namibia. You will be aware that the position of PA requires the incumbent to be at the disposal of the minister at all times and to travel with the minister when and wherever required. This has however, made Mr Joas Shimunyengu to compromise on the study he is pursuing, as the time at his disposal will not allow him to attend late night classes, because of ministerial office administration that are assigned by myself which at times also requires out of town travel from time to time,”. In the same letter Nghimtina also requested Mwatile to consider reassigning Shimunyengu to another responsibility that will allow him time to balance both office and study work, however this did not materialise.
“It will also be to the benefit of the ministry if he can be reassigned in an acting capacity at a managerial level. I would want this arrangement at a managerial level to be carried out as soon as possible because after the completion of his studies it is still my intention to have Mr Joas Shimunyengu back to my office in the future,” reads the letter. Shimunyengu also wrote to the Office of the President, the Labour Commissioner and the Public Service Commission for intervention. Shimunyengu’s lawyers have also written to the Nghimtina seeking clarity on his new duties towards the minister.
“…The current Cabinet was announced on 19 March 2015 and honourable Erkki Nghimtina was appointed into the new ministry of labour. We are informed that the honourable minister has already moved into his new office, however our member has not received clear indication as to his role in the ministry and towards the honourable minister. Our member now seeks clarity as to what would constitute his new duties towards the honourable minister,” reads the letter. Shinguandja when contacted for comment said that the issue is between the appointing authority and Shimunyengu. “When the minister came to the labour ministry, he came with a team including a body guard, driver and secretary/PA. His name was not mentioned when the minister came to his new portfolio.
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