Menzies is tainting Namibia’s sovereign reputation

Niël Terblanché

The Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) is a strategic entry point to Namibia and by not complying with a recent Supreme Court order, British-owned Menzies Aviation Namibia is painting a negative image of the country.

Ephraim Nekongo, the Secretary of the Swapo Youth League said the company’s actions are also compromising Namibia’s sovereignty and security.

“We call on all patriotic forces to unite and reject the imperial posture of Menzies,” the youth leader said in a statement.

The recent actions of Menzies Aviation at the HKIA have ignited a wave of condemnation from a wide variety of corporate and private Namibians.

Menzies Aviation’s refusal to vacate the premises of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) and its ongoing attempts to obstruct the transition of ground handling services to the Namibian-owned Paragon Aviation Services have not only drawn significant criticism but are causing financial damage to the country’s reputation.

Nekongo accused Menzies of engaging in “despicable and distasteful behaviour” that undermines the capabilities of black individuals, particularly Namibians.

“The refusal of Menzies to comply with the Supreme Court of Namibia’s ruling to vacate the premises and allow for a smooth handover of ground handling services to Paragon Aviation Services is an insult to the nation as a whole,” he said.

The legal battle between Menzies Aviation and Namibia Airports Company has been ongoing, with the Supreme Court determining in June this year that Menzies was unlawfully occupying the premises of the NAC and unlawfully providing services. Despite clear judgments from the highest court in Namibia, Menzies has continued to appeal and delay, sparking frustration and accusations of ulterior motives. Menzies Aviation’s alleged prejudice against Paragon Aviation Services has been further highlighted in a recent press release where they referred to themselves as the “leading global aviation services provider” for the airport.

According to Nekongo, the contract for providing ground-handling services rightfully belongs to Paragon Aviation Services, a Namibian company operating within the bounds of the law. The continued presence of Menzies Aviation at HKIA against court rulings has not only raised legal concerns but also economic ones. Menzies’ actions are a direct threat to the Namibian economy, and it is an act of sabotage.

“Namibian citizens and authorities are calling for the restoration of order and the rule of law at the HKIA to ensure the airport’s stability and continued contributions to the nation’s prosperity,” Nekongo said.

He added that the ongoing instability caused by Menzies Aviation’s actions has the potential to tarnish the country’s image on the global stage, thereby compromising Namibia’s sovereignty and security.

“SPYL is urging all relevant authorities to intervene swiftly, rectify the situation, and ensure that the operations at HKIA proceed without further disruption. We are calling for a united front to protect Namibia’s interests,” he said.

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