Namases Reports to Work

SUSPENDED Air Namibia managing director Theo Namases yesterday turned up at her office and allegedly told staff that she was not going anywhere unless she is removed by force.

Namases was suspended on Monday together with the general manager for airport services, Nokokure Katjiuongua, while another executive, Jonas Sheelongo, the general manager for technical and operational services, was suspended about six months ago.

They were suspended a few days after the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) declined to renew Air Namibia’s operational licence citing non-compliance.

Although Air Namibia has not said why Namases was suspended, Tim Ekandjo, one of the board members, said the DCA has issues relating to the completion of operating manuals as well as placing competent people in the various positions it has keen interest in.

Sources told The Namibian that Namases, who was suspended on Monday, stayed on the premises from 08h30 to about 11h30.

She refused to comment on her return to the office and her suspension yesterday. “This is probably the third call from the same newspaper. No comment,” she said.

Air Namibia sources told The Namibian that Namases, who was accompanied by her husband, said she was returning to her office and her company.

Paul Nakawa, the head of corporate communications at Air Namibia could neither confirm nor deny that Namases turned up for work yesterday.

“I did not personally see her and no one said anything to me,” he said, adding that he had a meeting in the morning yesterday, and returned to the office later in the day. “Therefore, I did not see the MD, Ms Theo Namases.”

Regarding the question whether he heard if Namases was in the office, Nakawa said, “I am forever busy [such] that I do not even get time to hear speculations that are going on in the building.”

Ekandjo told The Namibian that the DCA holds the MD liable for all safety and compliance issues.

“The responsibility of the re-certification process is a collective responsibility of different post holders from various sections of the business which includes safety and quality, flight operations, ground operations, training etc. The overall accountability, however, lies with the MD who assumes overall responsibility to ensure that all post-holders close any findings in the different departments for which they are responsible.

“These positions are mostly in the operations area and they have a good relationship with the safety of the airline. The DCA, therefore, expects these post-holderseople to comply with regulatory requirements both in terms of experience and qualifications and they do a “fit for purpose” test to ensure that these individuals satisfy these requirements and if they don’t, it remains an open finding from the DCA,” he said.

Ekandjo also said the board was informed three months ago about the licence and immediately started overseeing the process with close supervision as required and requested for by the authority.

He said they were informed by the DCA that the airline’s management has not been compliant for a number of years and does not show any willingness to close the outstanding issues.

“The board literally supervised the project and ensured that the desired deliverables are satisfied. The board also made certain changes to replace post-holders that were not found suitable by the DCA so that we can close that critical finding.

“This meant that we had to employ new people to satisfy these requirements even though we had post-holders already in these positions which were declared unsuitable by the DCA and this obviously caused a lot of dissatisfaction among management but it had to be done,” Ekandjo explained.

Although he could not elaborate much on the acting managing director, Rene Gsponer’s qualifications, Ekandjo said his “skills and qualifications were extensively elaborated on when we appointed him as chief operations officer”.

“He was not appointed by the board but by the managing director (Namases) who has such powers to confirm his appointment. As board members, we were closely involved in the appointment and we were satisfied with the experience and skills he brings to the airline. He is here on a two-year contract and will leave once his contract expires so he has absolutely no desire to take over,” Ekandjo said.

Source : The Namibian