Simunja Leaves August 26

FORMER deputy minister of defence Victor Simunja’s position as managing director of the military industrial company Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik (WMF) has come to an end.

The Namibian has learned that Simunja’s last day at the office was Friday.

Military sources said that Simunja is blamed for allegedly running the company into the ground and failing to make it profitable.

The sources further said the company was cash-strapped and heavily depended on bail outs from the Ministry of Defence.

WMF is one of the bigger subsidiaries of the military industrial company August 26 Holdings, which is wholly owned by the defence ministry.

The company’s core business has been designing and manufacturing landmine proof vehicles but has now also ventured into agricultural equipment.

It is further understood that Derick Moore who is in charge of business development at Sat-Com Communications Solutions, one of August 26 Holdings’ most successful subsidiaries, is earmarked to take over from Simunja.

Media reports late last year stated that the company was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The weekly Informanteacute reported in November that the company was failing to meet its financial obligations, including delays in paying workers’ wages and creditors.

The paper also reported that the defence ministry, the company’s biggest client, has also been unhappy with shoddy service delivery from the company.

Although these media reports stated that Simunja was shown the door, it appears that steps to remove him were only taken last week.

August 26 Holdigs chairperson, Frans Kapofi yesterday said Simunja was not fired, but that his contract has come to an end and the employer decided not to renew it.

He also said Simunja and WMF parted on good terms.

Kapofi refused to provide more details saying it was an internal matter.

Although talk is that Moore has already been appointed, The Namibian is informed that a high level meeting between the ministry and August 26 Holdings’ board and management was expected to take place yesterday.

The meeting was to decide on who should replace Simunja and a move away from Moore will not be a surprise since the heads of August 26 Holdings subsidiaries are often reserved for retired senior military officers.

Simunja could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Source : The Namibian