Nujoma seeks one-year extension for EEC commissioner

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GOBABIS: Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma, has formally requested an extension of Employment Equity Commissioner Otniel Podewiltz’s tenure for an additional year to facilitate a seamless transition.

Podewiltz assumed office on 01 April 2019 and his term is set to conclude on 31 March 2024.

Nujoma presented a motion in the National Assembly on Tuesday, advocating for an extension to allow Podewiltz conclude ongoing projects initiated during his tenure in office.

‘It is necessary to highlight a few aspects here for the consideration of this request. The principal consideration here is the future of the Equity Commission, which it at risk if we fail to ensure a smooth transition and stability,’ Nujoma said.

Highlighting operational concerns, Nujoma pointed out that the commissioner currently lacks an immediate subordinate, as the deputy director who previously served was promoted and transferred to the health ministry.

‘The recruitment is underway but is not ye
t completed. The next level employee after the commissioner is a senior employment officer in Grade 8. With the commissioner out of office there will be a serious leadership gap and more importantly, no opportunity for a smooth transfer,’ the minister said.

Nujoma also outlined ongoing initiatives within the commission, such as the development and implementation of an Integrated Review Scorecard assessment to evaluate employer compliance.

The assessment is to be tested during the 2023/24 fiscal year before the new system is implemented, and potential adjustments anticipated.

‘The expectation is that further adjustments and improvements may be required for the new system, which puts the whole process in jeopardy if the key architect is no longer available,’ he noted.

Nujoma also noted that the Employment Equity Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2023/2024 and 2024 is in its final stages under Podewiltz’s leadership. Delays in its release were attributed to issues with the Employment Equity Commission Electro
nic Case Management system.

He further clarified that Podewiltz is not seeking a full five-year reappointment.

‘In reality, we are asking for a one-year extension instead of a full reappointment for five years. Podewiltz does not seek a five-year term of office but is prepared to continue for one more year only,’ Nujoma said.

Source:The Namibia Press Agency