NBC Evicts Workers

FOURTEEN Namibian Broadcasting Corporation workers were last week ordered to vacate the broadcaster’s flats in Pionierspark in Windhoek.

Although the workers were still at the flats by yesterday, the order for them to vacate was given on Thursday.

Some of the workers showed The Namibian vacating notices which indicated that they were supposed to vacate the flats between 1 December 2014 and 31 March. The deadline was later moved to 30 April 2015.

The decision to evict the workers from the Maytime flats came after the national broadcaster started building additional flats and carrying out renovations with a view to charge market-related rentals.

Until recently, the workers were paying N$1 400 per month for a two-bedroom flat, but with the renovations, they are supposed to pay anything between N$9 000 and N$11 000 per month. These charges would be subject to any market changes. The workers were also given the option to buy the flats for anything from N$900 000 to N$1,2 million.

The current housing allowance for NBC workers is N$1 600.

According to the workers, NBC promised to subsidise rentals, which is negotiated between the broadcaster and the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu).

They claimed that although the NBC director general Albertus Aochamub told them that NBC would subsidise rentals since their present salaries cannot afford market-related rents, he went back on his word.

The workers also expressed dissatisfaction with the way NBC management handled the issue, saying they entered an agreement with the company that is said to have been involved in the dubious sale of other properties in Coetzee Street and Lalapanzi apartments.

“Why did the director misinform us when he knew there was a third party involved in the deal, during and after the renovations of the property?” the employees asked.

In a letter dated 21 April 2015, the NBC chairperson Sven Thieme told the workers that the notice period was sufficient, and extended according to the norm in the industry.

“To that end, no further extensions can be considered at this time,” he wrote.

Thieme said a due process was followed with the appointment of the contractors for the renovations and building of new flats. This, he said, was done through an open tender process and the board approved the commencement of the project having satisfied itself of the facts presented.

Thieme said NBC does not have internal capacity to deal with property development and management of its own real estate and thus the appointment of Preferred Management System as the current NBC property aisers.

“NBC will complete the project with own resources and the property will remain NBC’s until other determinations are made.

Upon finalisation of the project, current tenants will have first option to buy andor rent the flats. A guarantee letter in this regard was already issued to all tenants,” he stated in his letter. Thieme added that a lease agreement has been prepared and is ready for signing at an appropriate time by individual tenants desirous to do so.

Last week Aochamub told The Namibian that NBC will charge market rates but will negotiate with individual tenants a fair rent as the landlord.

“The cheaper rates they were paying without valid contracts will unfortunately not be possible since other employees also need the same places to rent. We have explained that in no uncertain terms to them,” he said.

Aochamub said every NBC employee has the right to occupy those flats and those who can occupy them will get the right to move in.

“NBC has not taken any decision to sell any properties at this time. However, should that option be excised NBC employees have the first right to purchase at market prices,” he said.

Aochamub added that generally the tenants want near free housing in facilities that require major renovations and improvements.

“We cannot risk lives in those places that are falling apart and have to do something drastically before we lose lives in those apartments.”

Source : The Namibian