NUNW guns for Jooste

Maria Hamutenya and Kandjemuni Kamuiiri

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is demanding the immediate dismissal of Public Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste.

According to a petition handed over to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, and SWAPO Secretary-General, Sophia Shaningwa, yesterday, on Wednesday, NUNW Secretary-General Job Muniaro, among others, is accusing the minister of violating his oath of office.

In the petition, Muniaro alleged that Jooste had carried himself “in a dishonest manner, by under representing and deliberately misdirecting the Cabinet to take a decision that is tantamount to violation of Article 95 of the Namibian Constitution on state policy. Maintaining that Jooste made himself not trustable, and therefore, unfit to hold public office. On this instance he has betrayed the mandate bestowed upon him to oversee the profitability of State-owned commercial enterprises, which he is now busy ridding off instead.”

Muniaro further alleged that Jooste’s decision to go and negotiate issues relating to Air Namibia alone in the United States of America, “serves as a clear testimony that he has vested interest in the liquidation of Air Namibia.”

“NUNW is aware that there are viable proposals presented to him in order to turn air Namibia into a profitable entity, which he chose not to present to Cabinet for consideration, including professional reports by experts which were procured at a cost.” The NUNW also called on government to immediately reverse its decision to liquidate the airline

Air Namibia’s deadline to pay the first instalment of €4 million, a portion of a larger €9,867,053 (N$182 million), owed to Belgian company Challenge Air, is due for payment tomorrow, 18 February.

Jooste, and Finance Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi, announced last week Cabinet’s decision for the voluntary liquidation of Air Namibia.

Quizzed on what is next with regards to Air Namibia, Muniaro added that if the first option is not taken under consideration, then the union will be forced to seek other options ,”until something is done.”

“If they can create a platform, where they can sit around people and discuss the best way forward and remedies, and look at what is the best for us to keep our airline inorder to save jobs and save our pride.”

He further added that the union would never withdraw its support from SWAPO, despite differences emerging over the ruling party dominated Cabinet having approved the plan to liquidate Air Namibia. “We will never do that because if SWAPO says we don’t need your support, its fine then we are not needed. As long as we need each other we will keep the marriage,” he said.

Shaningwa when accepting the union petition, said, “We will study the petition and we will definitely get back to you but the relevant authorities have to scrutinise the petition and respond accordingly. I should also indicate that in you petition you have mentioned that there were some proposals that are workable and you are thinking that those workable proposals could at least help out the airline not to be liquidated.”

Shaningwa continued that whoever has copies of the proposal should deliver them to the office of the SG for handing over to the relevant authorities together with the petition.

The same petition was later handed over to the office of the Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

“I receive the petition as per your request and I am going to convey it to the government, the Head of State, as the Head of our Government and I have no doubt that the Government, as it always does, will give serious consideration to the issues that are raised In this petition,” she said adding that the Government is concerned about the anxiety that the demonstrators, and the rest of the nation feels due to what is happening, and that Cabinet will do everything in its power to ensure that the best interest of the country and the people are protected.

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