Employers Should Release Workers for Elections

Information and Communication Technology, Minister Joeumll Kaapanda, said it would be unacceptable for employers to deny workers permission to vote in Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for next week Friday.

The minister’s statement follows reports that some companies were refusing to recognise Election Day, November 28, as a public holiday despite it being Gazetted as such.

Emphasising that voting is a civic right of all Namibians, Kaapanda said: “No, that [denying workers to vote] is unacceptable. There must be arrangements made, such as workers’ shifts so that everyone is afforded a chance to vote.”

Some workers at a South African construction firm, Murray amp Roberts, who are currently working at the Tsumeb Custom Smelter, expressed fear that they might not be able to vote as they will be working on November 28.

This is apparently because the company has plans of closing earlier for the December holidays.

An employee at the company who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimisation said the company had given workers a choice to be off on November 28 or to work and receive double pay for that day.

Murray amp Roberts’ human resources officer Raphael Muyambango denied claims that the company will stop anyone from voting. He said the company will follow instructions contained in a government circular regarding voting next week Friday.

Kaapanda reminded voters that they do not have to travel to their areas of origin in order to vote, a perception doing the rounds in some communities.

“People don’t need to go back to their regions to be able to vote, they can vote from anywhere in the country,” the minister said.

The newly-amended electoral law has designated voting day as a public holiday.

Source : New Era