Maria Hamutenya

Public Enterprises minister, Leon Jooste says he is tired of seeing public enterprises being dragged to court due to governance failures that can easily be prevented.

The minister’s frustrations come as the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) joined the growing list of public enterprises that have been taken to court over various transgressions.

“I will always be concerned when there’s an aggrieved party due to any process that should be conducted in a fair and transparent manner. I’m really tired of seeing Public Enterprises constantly being dragged to court, in particular when it’s due to governance failures that can easily be prevented. Having said that, I have enormous confidence in the integrity of the legal process and take no issue with the outcome thereof,” he said.

Quizzed on his demands for answers from NUST after the university’s recruitment processes were found wanting after the government owned university overlooked Frednard Gideon for the position of Vice-Chancellor in favour of Erold Naomab.

“The purpose is really to understand exactly what process was followed and, if required, to ensure that a new process is designed to prevent a reoccurrence of similar events,” Jooste said.

Asked if the University had gotten back to him regarding his concerns, “I’m still waiting for feedback.”

This comes as the fight for the Vice-Chancellor post at NUST is far from over, with Lawyer Sisa Namandje telling the Windhoek Observer that his client, Frednard Gideon is still pursuing his challenge to the appointment of Naomab to the top post.

The statement by the prominent Lawyer comes as Naomab officially resumed his duties this month after being handed a five year contract by the university, replacing Dr Tjama Tjivikua who held the position for over 24 years.

“We are not appealing because this case was never dismissed, we are still at a stage of exchanging papers, the main case is still pending but it will continue,” said Namandje.

According to information made available to the Windhoek Observer, the NUST Council appointed Naomab to the top post despite him scoring 64.5 percent during the interview, compared to Gideon’s score of 68.8 percent.

Namandje added that since it was not dismissed by April/May the case will continue. According to reports by the Windhoek Observer, the appointment decision was however not only based on the interviews and presentations but on four criteria.

Apart from the public presentations the council conducted closed door interviews that consisted of only the panel. “The third criteria were psychometric tests and the fourth one was the background checks and the reference checks with those that the candidates are working under.” said NUST Council Chairperson Florette Nakusera

She further indicated that there was no favouritism in the decision-making as the majority of the people in council, 9 out of 14 had voted Naomab to be appointed to the VC post.

“None of us has any sinister ideas about who we want. We looked for the best candidate in accordance with our views as a council who has been entrusted by the NUST Act 7 of 2015, to appoint the VC.”

NUST has been without a vice chancellor close to two years of which acting vice chancellors Morné du Toit was appointed on 01 April 2019 for a period of six months while Dr Andrew Niikondo took over on the 19 May 2020 until the appointment of Naomab.