By Patience Nyangove
THE Office of the Labour Commissioner has awarded suspended TransNamib Executive for Strategy and Stakeholder Management, Hippy Tjivikua, a N$1 million settlement for outstanding benefits and salary payments.
Confidente understands that the labour, matter which was lodged last December, stems from TransNamib’s failure to meet all the obligations in Tjivikua’s employment contract between 2014 and 2016.
It is also understood that another TransNamib executive, Michael Feldmann, who was recently appointed acting chief executive officer and subsequently resigned from the top position, has also dragged the parastatal to the Office of the Labour Commissioner.
Documents show that on 10 May, Philip Mwandingi, an arbitrator from the Office of the Labour Commissioner, awarded the settlement in Tjivikua’s favour, after TransNamib opted not to contest the matter.
Tjivikua, who is also a former acting CEO at the rail parastatal, was suspended this week, along with Struggle Ihuhua, the TransNamib Executive for Properties.
Sources privy to the ongoing soap opera at TransNamib, which has seen the suspension of top executives over the years, allege that there appears to be a witch-hunt against the current executive committee.
“The board of TransNamib has gone out of its way to start a witch-hunt against the former acting CEO (Tjivikua), to cover themselves against the poor performance of the company. The witch-hunt started with letters earlier this year, threatening that their contracts will not be renewed.
“The executive committee has complained on several occasions, and has written to the line minister about the board’s unprofessional conduct and disregard for corporate governance, in the way that it continues to meddle in the operational affairs of the company,” sources said this week.
They added that the TransNamib board chairperson, Paul Smit has allegedly set up an office for himself at the parastatal’s premises.
“Some of the exco members have already filed unfair labour practices cases against the company, which the board opted not to contest. The case of Mr Feldmann is still ongoing.”
Confidente was also informed that Tjivikua was targeted after an incident last year, when it was established that there was a diesel leakage on the premises of TransNamib in Walvis Bay. The diesel leakage reportedly contaminated a large area, including the lagoon, in the coastal town.
“When Tjivikua was alerted about the diesel spillage, he took action to contain the situation. As a matter of urgency, the company assigned the contractor to rectify the situation and rehabilitate the area. The TransNamib executive committee declared the incident a disaster, and the matter was referred to the board, which authorised management to allocate N$5 million to complete the project.
“Namport issued a fine against TransNamib for this contamination and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism expressed their deep concern about the spillage and contamination. The board approved the N$5 million in December 2016. “The board is now accusing him (Tjivikua) of approving a project that is beyond his mandate, although the board noted this project. We have also learnt that the board has also launched a witch-hunt against TransNamib Manager for Health and Safety, David Tjombe, who happens to be a senior shop steward of the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau), for overseeing the project.
“It is against this background that Natau urged the government to intervene in the ongoing debacles at TransNamib.
“We have also learnt that despite Johan Piek, the consultant at TransNamib, being given notice that his contract will not be extended, Smit has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to extend his work permit by another three years,” sources added.
When the TransNamib board suspended Tjivikua and Ihuhua this week, it ordered employees not to communicate with them about the parastatal.The board also barred the two executives from entering any premises of TransNamib, without the written and express permission of the board.
“Their suspensions have been necessitated to enable the company to conduct an unhindered investigation into allegations levelled against them,” the board said in a statement on Monday.
In another statement on Tuesday the parastatal said it would be rotating the acting CEO position on a monthly basis, pending the appointment of a substantive CEO.
“The process of appointing the CEO is 80 percent completed and ought to be finalised in the next coming weeks. In the meantime, the board has to govern the business, with the minimum resources available to it, to ensure its survival.”
Smit did not respond to questions sent to him on Tuesday, while Tjivikua declined to comment, saying the matter is sub judice.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015