Airnam Board Member Unhappy With Restructuring

AIR Namibia board member Florette Nakusera was not impressed with the restructuring exercise at the airline, according to the board minutes of 18 June this year.

Her concerns come after Air Namibia appointed six managers tasked to turn around the airline. All the appointments are at managerial level.

Nakusera said she did a reference check with other airlines such as Kenya Airways and South African Airways, which were bigger than Air Namibia, and was concerned with all the general manager positions that were created.

According to the minutes of a meeting attended by Tim Ekandjo, Harald Schimdt, Erastus Hoveka and Eveline Zimba-Naris, Nakusera said some of the post holders were only on manager level and not necessarily on general manager level.

“She was of the opinion that the executive would be too bloated, and that the organogram should be based on the absolute necessity in terms of general manager positions,” the minutes said.

She also asked whether benchmarking with other airlines was done and that her principal issue was the submission of an organogram to the Directorate of Civil Aviation without the board’s input.

In response to Nakusera’s concerns, the acting managing director Rene Gsponer said “it was clear that some members did not understand or were willing not to understand”.

Nakusera did not take Gsponer’s remark kindly, asking him to withdraw because it “was totally unaceptable”. Ekandjo and Hoveka also took exception to Gsponer’s remark.

One of the issues also discussed in the meeting was the case of general manager: technical amp operations, which was occupied by Jonas Sheelongo, who is currently on suspension after the DCA said he was not suitable because of his track record.

Like Sheelongo, general manger for flight operations William Ekandjo was also not acceptable to the DCA as a post holder with no reasons given, despite the fact that he has a lot of airline experience.

The minutes also revealed that the post holder for training and standards. Ray Sheikhan, was not suitable because he did not close audit findings previously raised.

According to the minutes, the board was informed that there were compelling reasons on record to suspend the managing director, Theo Namases.

“Firstly, there is evidence that the DCA had found Namases as unacceptable to being the accountable manager (AM), this had serious underlying consequences for Air Namibia,” the minutes said, adding that during her tenure as accountable manager, Namases had failed to close off audit findings.

Namases’ suspension, the minutes further said, had become urgent as her continued interference and communication and contradicting communication to the DCA at such a crucial time caused an imminent threat to Air Namibia which endangers the certification process.

“The airline, under the leadership of Namases, had since 2011 not closed off major findings,” the minutes said. adding that she had written to the DCA requesting three to four months extension.

“This action did not support the process of recertification and indicated lack of seriousness on the matter. Thus precautionary suspension should be taken to allow the process to be finalised,” the minutes said.

The general manager for airport services, Noks Katjiuongua was also deemed unsuitable by the DCA because he only has two years’ experience, but in terms of his educational requirements, he qualifies.

The DCA requires 10 years or more experience for a post holder to be suitable.

Although the DCA regulations do not stipulate the number of years of experience, they state that the airline should appoint a “competent person” in the positions.

Katjiuongua was appointed by the current Air Namibia board.

The DCA also only seems to have discovered that Katjiuongua was not suitable after having been in his position for two years.

Although Katjiuongua was suspended together with Namases, board minutes discussing Namases’ suspension made no mention of his suspension and the reasons for suspending him.

In earlier interviews, Tim Ekandjo told The Namibian that the board was ignorant of the DCA’s requirements.

Source : The Namibian