Preferential Treatment of Foreigners Irks Locals

Some residents of Gobabis are complaining that a South African company in a joint venture with the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) to upgrade the Gobabis-Aminuis-Aranos road to bitumen standard are sidelining Namibians for foreigners, even for unskilled jobs.

The residents who did not want their names mentioned claim that the contractor Teichmann is bringing in unskilled employees from South Africa as foremen, while there are Namibians with such skills.

“The contract says they must first look for locals, but they are not conforming to that standard,” said one source ruefully.

He further complained that labourer and operator jobs were also being dished out to residents mainly from Okahandja, while the Omaheke Region has many unemployed people who registered in the hope to get such jobs after the road works started.

Like the Gobabis-Otjinene-Grootfontein road, tarring of the 232 kilometres of the Gobabis-Aminuis-Aranos road is expected to ease travelling on the busy road.

But Thomy Kaereho, human resources manager for the road construction project dismissed allegations of preference of foreigners, saying that most of their general workers are Namibians from the surrounding areas of the project.

He admitted that they have foreign workers on their payroll but only for technical positions for which it is difficult to find qualified locals.

He said that they are very transparent with the hiring process and whenever they need employees they liaise with the office of the Omaheke governor, which provides them with a list of jobseekers from all constituencies in the region.

“They (governor’s office) invited people in the region who can operate machines after the Gobabis-Otjinene-Grootfontein road was completed. At the time of recruiting, we went through the list, but some only submitted their (driver) licenses without attaching specialised skills,” he said, adding that it was difficult to tell whether the candidate had the needed skills.

Kaereho said that they currently employ 100 general workers (labourers), who are all Namibian and from the Omaheke Region and a number of skilled employees both local and foreign, but he could not specify how many do jobs such as bulk foreman and surfacing foreman, junior to senior foreman, layer foreman and administration staff.

“There is no general labourer. They should show us who is a foreigner,” he said.

Omaheke Governor Festus Ueitele could not be reached for comment.

Source : New Era