Union Alleges Victimization of SME Employee

The Namibia Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu) yesterday handed a petition to the SME Bank in the capital calling for a halt to the victimization of the chairperson of its shop steward committee, Norwin Oosthuizen.

The union alleges that Oosthuizen has been harassed by way of fictitious charges resulting in a disciplinary hearing and subsequent suspension after he questioned the harassment of a fellow SME Bank employee.

The petition, which is signed by close to 50 employees of the SME Bank, urges the bank to be a responsible employer by adhering to and operating within the spirit of the Labour Act and to allow the bank’s employees to exercise their rights, including their right to represent their follow employees.

Calling for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the bank, the union’s general secretary, Asnath Zamuee said: “This is a clear tactic from management to silence the voice of workers at the bank. Something should be done about this bank before taxpayers’ money goes down the drain yet again. We wonder whether the millions of taxpayers’ money allocated to the bank will reach its intended target.”

Zamuee also questioned the financial management of the bank, saying it is worrisome to note that the bank is holding petty cash in excess of N$5 million. “How is this possible? This alone should be sending warning signs to any right thinking Namibian. It’s highly questionable,” stressed Zamuee.

The Nafinu general secretary said: “We are left wondering if this bank is not just a face with very little activities for the political elite from Zimbabwe to have a safe place to hide their illegal money. Fact of the matter is that all key positions are strategically filled by Zimbabweans to control the bank, when they shouldn’t even be here. These Zimbabweans are the only signatories to the bank’s accounts. Finance and audit departments are strategically occupied by Zimbabweans.”

“What are the Zimbabweans doing here occupying soft positions which should be occupied by Namibians? This is while our own graduates are roaming the streets in search of employment. Namibia has a high unemployment rate and this situation should not be tolerated. Why is the Namibian government quiet?” continued Zamuee.

Meanwhile, the SME Bank’s Head of of Marketing, Angrid Shimuafeni, said the bank would respond once it had an opportunity to familiarize itself with the content of the petition.

Source : New Era