Union Snubs Namdeb’s 20th Anniversary

THE Oranjemund branch of the Mineworkers’ Union of Namibia boycotted the Namdeb 20th anniversary celebrations last Thursday.

Namdeb is 5050 owned by government and De Beers and was established after Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM) entered into a joint venture partnership with the government in 1994.

The local MUN branch members snubbed Thursday’s 20th anniversary celebrations event when the company management at the eleventh hour refused to grant leave to the union’s branch chairperson Shavuka Mbidhi to join them at the gathering although he had been invited two months ago to attend.

Seats that were reserved for the MUN branch executive members at Thursday’s gathering remained conspicuously empty, portraying the bitterness between the union and company management. Shavuka yesterday claimed the company management refused to grant him leave to attend the gathering in fear that he would incite workers, who face eviction from company houses, to squat on open spaces when evicted.

Namdeb brand manager Pauline Thomas yesterday refused to comment on claims that the company management had refused to grant Mbidhi leave to attend the gathering, saying “it is an internal issue”.

Speaking during the event, mines and energy minister Isak Katali said the strike by Namdeb workers called for sound relations. He said strikes must be avoided at all cost.

“When they (impasses) become too many, they don’t fit and explode,” Katali warned.

Katali implored the workers to take ownership of the company. The town should survive beyond the mine,” Katali remarked. Speaking at the same event, board chairperson Elijah Ngurare said the public private partnership between government and CDM has grown.

“Consider the option of private public partnership such as the one in question. Such a partnership ensures that all are partners through our government,” Ngurare added.

Source : The Namibian