Uncertain Future for TransNamib Board

STATE-OWNED enterprises minister Leon Jooste said he and works minister Alpheus !Naruseb will meet to overhaul things at TransNamib.

This comes in light of controversial TransNamib board chairperson Pieter Oosthuizen’s abrupt resignation last week.

Jooste told The Namibian that he received a copy of Oosthuizen’s resignation letter on Thursday and that they will soon be looking for a replacement.

“There are a lot of changes to be made. We need to know we have the right people in place and this will result in making new appointments. Once the works minister and I meet, we will discuss the way forward,” said Jooste.

He said there is a Cabinet committee on trade and economic development which is looking at TransNamib and its 180-day turnaround strategy. Johan Piek, responsible for the turnaround strategy at the parastatal, was recommended to the board by Oosthuizen.

Jooste said the committee will report back to Cabinet tomorrow, when a decision will be taken to award money needed for rail infrastructure development and for funding the parastatal’s turnaround strategy.

Oosthuizen has been the subject of media reports pertaining to both TransNamib and the Road Contractor Company, where he works as acting chief executive officer since last year. The media reports highlighted a handful of questionable dealings at both parastatals, as well as the legality of his residency permit and qualifications.

The Namibian has seen an internal memo sent out last Thursday informing TransNamib employees of Oosthuizen’s resignation from the company’s board of directors.

According to the memo Oosthuizen’s resignation is with immediate effect.

“The chairman said his resignation was necessitated by personal reasons and he regrets that he could not fulfil his role as chairman of the TransNamib board until the end of his term,” states the memo signed off by Michael Feldmann, who was acting chief executive officer while Hippy Tjivikua was on leave.

This comes after works minister Alpheus !Naruseb held a meeting with the TransNamib board to discuss issues pertinent to the parastatal.

Although !Naruseb was unreachable for comment yesterday, works spokesperson Grace Mubonenwa confirmed the meeting on his behalf.

“I do not know why Oosthuizen resigned, I did not see the letter but the minister said he will accept the resignation if he (Oosthuizen) so desires. He did not yet respond to the letter though,” said Mubonenwa, adding that the minister also went back to TransNamib yesterday, on a familiarisation trip.

The Namibian reported last month of Oosthuizen’s resignation from his post as acting chief executive officer of the Roads Contractor Company, saying he was tired of taking all the flack for a company that was already in a mess.

It was also reported in The Namibian that the State-Owned Enterprise Governance Council had recommended the reinstatement of all the suspended parastatal CEOs and other managers. A further recommendation by the SOEGC states that the boards of the affected parastatals should be removed.

If this decision is endorsed it might see suspended Sara Naanda (TransNamib), Theo Namases (Air Namibia), Maria Nangolo-Rukoro (NTA), Leilanie Hochobeb (RCC’s internal auditor), and Nokokure Katjiuongua (Air Namibia general manager for ground operations) all reinstated.

When called for comment yesterday, Oosthuizen declined to comment.

Source : The Namibian