By Confidente Reporter
CONTROVERSY surrounds the promotion of former Air Namibia senior manager of Quality and Safety Lawrence Makanza to General Manager, after the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) formerly the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA), had previously reportedly labeled him incompetent for failing to improve the airline’s compliance record.
Documents in Confidente’s possession show that the NCAA three years ago had recommended that the airline nominates someone else for the post of GM: Quality and Safety in its restructuring exercise.
NCAA regulates the country’s aviation industry, thus conducts competency assessments of post holders and recommends their nomination for their suitability in terms of competency and experience to carry out regulatory functions.
However, the twist in the story is that the NCAA appears to have made a major U-turn on Makanza’s competency, sparking favouritism claims. Sources in the know said that Makanza should have parted ways with the airline at the time then Air Namibia managing director Theo Namases left, as colleagues that worked closely together and depended on each other at the airline.
In a letter dated June 2014, Director NCAA Angeline Simana-Paolo wrote “…The DCA has made it clear that both the Accountable Manager and the Quality Assurance Manager are no longer acceptable to the DCA. We noted that you have nominated Mr L. Makanza as the Quality Assurance Manager in the deputy’s to be nominated post holders. You should nominate someone else to post holder GM: Quality and Safety.”
Another letter a month later read, “Following further discussions with the flight operations team, I wish to clarify the DCAs position in regard to your question about specific post holders. According to the letter from the honourable minister to the chairman of the board (13 March 2014), the second part of the condition stated that the organisational structure should incorporate the review of the responsible persons in these major areas; Accountable Manager, Quality Assurance, Flight Operations, Ground Operations and Training.
“These management areas were identified due to their poor non-compliance record. As the cornerstones of the company’s safety/compliance system, the accountable manager and the quality manager were identified separately to be unacceptable to the DCA. Regarding the post holders for the remaining three areas listed, the DCA expects the new accountable manager to consider the competence and compliance history of the incumbent post holders as part of the wider review of the management structure.”
Yet speaking to Confidente this week, Simana-Paolo said, “…At no point question (sic) the suitability of Mrs. Namases as Managing Director but rather her nomination as an accountable manager of the airline which is a regulatory position in terms of NAMCARs… As regards (sic) Mr Makanza suffice to say what we only ascertain whether a person nominated by the airline possesses the necessary skills and competencies to carry out the functions for which he/she is nominated (postholder), we do not interview for purposes of appointing, that is, done by the airline. In short, the airline appoints, whereas the NCAA advises the airline on the candidate’s skills and competencies. As far as we are concerned Mr Makanza has the necessary experience and skills to head quality oversight duties within the airline the position we advised on and which he occupies now. Air Namibia’s Compliance as mentioned in my telephonic remarks already I cannot discuss an Air Operator’s compliance status with a third party.”
However, sources also said that Makanza did not do much to improve the airline’s track record adding his promotion is highly questionable.
“The competency assessment is questionable because his track record as senior manager has proven that he is incompetent. All of a sudden he passes the assessment so we ask whether the test is proving its purpose. Also as manager, it meant the accounting officer then Mrs. Namases counted on his competency but he failed and that played a role on why she parted ways with the airline. So we ask why Makanza didn’t leave because quite frankly they worked as a chain,” a source said.
Makanza, when contacted for comment trashed being incompetent or being favoured saying the competency assessment was not conducted when he was a senior manager.
“I was only promoted after I passed the assessment test which was not done before. The results speak for themselves, so to say I am incompetent does not hold water.”
Meanwhile, Air Namibia’s spokesperson Paul Nakawa said, “How the process works is as follows, when the interviews are done at the airline, the name(s) of the successful candidate(s) are sent to the NCAA, because as the regulator they have to conduct further tests to qualify the decision to appoint the Safety and Quality Postholder. The NCAA has all the right then to confirm the appointment after the incumbent has been screened through the Fit for Purpose (FFP) test.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015