Labour Gives Doctor Salary Deadline

THE Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has given prominent Windhoek clinical psychologist, Ockert ‘Ocky’ Jooste, a two-week deadline to pay his workers close to N$300 000.

Last month, the ministry opened a case against Jooste who owns rehabilitation centres called My Wellness 247 in Swakopmund and Usakos, for not paying his workers and for dishonesty.

However, Jooste failed to turn up for a conciliation meeting yesterday and instead sent his wife to attend on his behalf. Jooste’s wife brought his doctor’s certificate.

The meeting was facilitated by the ministry’s arbitrator Lovemore Mughandira, who said it was an attempt to settle the matter amicably.

“This meeting is to help both parties to reach an agreement on the issue at hand. It is held before an arbitration hearing. The respondent requested for time to honour the obligations which the parties agreed to. We hope that the workers will be paid after two weeks. If not, then we will continue with the arbitration hearing,” Mughandira said.

Emotions ran high at the ministry’s boardroom as workers related their financial and emotional problems stemming from non-payment of their salaries.

Social worker Engine Black, who expects N$62 000 from Jooste, said she was tired of waiting and asked to be paid.

“I wake up to calls from banks and the municipality. It is really exhausting to have to explain why you cannot pay your debts. This has gone way too far. Although Jooste was a good boss, if he doesn’t honour his obligations this time, we must take further steps,” Black said.

Ndilimeke Nambinga who has not received a salary from April to July said Jooste owed her more than N$50 000.

“We were expecting him not to come, because we tried to meet him at various occasions and he did not honour his promises. Why must we trust him now and what guarantee is there that he will pay us in two weeks?” Nambinga asked.

Meanwhile, Jooste’s wife Mylene Jooste, told the group that her husband was trying to get the money together.

“He really wanted to be here and he is very sorry about everything but we are operating on an overdraft but there is money coming in the next two weeks. We have, however, paid some workers and the rest we will pay in two weeks time,” she said.

The workers also complained that social security subscriptions and income tax were deducted from their salaries but were never paid to Social Security Commission and to the Ministry of Finance.

Source : The Namibian