Oceana Group drops disciplinary action against Uumati

Ester Mbathera

South African company Oceana Group which owns the Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) said it will no longer pursue disciplinary charges against the suspended EME managing director Martha Uumati.

This was confirmed by the EME spokesperson Francois van der Merwe on Sunday.

“Oceana has agreed terms with Uumati. She resigned from her position effective 15 April 2024. The company will no longer be pursuing disciplinary action,” he said.

The disciplinary hearing was scheduled for 11 and 12 April but did not take place.

Van der Merwe could not confirm the date when Uumati submitted her resignation.

He also did not respond to other questions sent to him which included when will shareholders appoint Namibian board members to the EME structure as well as how long Cale Jacobs will act in the position of managing director.

Uumati was facing charges of insubordination, using company funds to pay for personnel entertainment, purchasing clothing without providing invoices in 2021, payment of a makeup artist in 2023, contravening the company confidentiality policy and putting the company’s reputation in disrepute by sharing information with the media and other parties.

She was also charged for making xenophobic, racist and sexist remarks about Oceana, BCP and EME shareholders through her lawyer and disclosing legal and confidential correspondence to the Labor Commissioner’s office.

Uumati and EME sales manager Kuda Hartzenberg, the only Namibians on the company’s board, resigned in March.

Hartzenberg has also resigned from the company.

Uumati was suspended from her positions as managing director and board member of EME on 13 February by Oceana’s chief executive officer Neville Brink and the managing director of Blue Continent Product Ina Botha.

The suspension took place days before the company appeared before the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC0 where she was expected to also give testimony.

Oceana is currently being investigated by the NaCC on allegations of price fixing in the fishing industry.

Uumati confirmed that she has reached a mutual separation with Oceana effective 15 April.

“I did not resign, it’s a mutual separation. I cannot comment on the details/terms of the mutual separation agreement,” she said.

Her lawyer Richard Metcalfe also insisted that there was a mutual agreement to part ways and not a resignation.

“The details may not be disclosed due to confidentiality clauses in the agreement to amicably part ways. Uumati is an amazing person who puts principle, her employees and Namibia before her own interests.”

“A true leader who is not afraid to voice her opinion on corporate governance, moral rectitude and ethical business conduct. Young people of her calibre are what Namibia needs to lead us in the right direction to use our natural resources for the benefit of all Namibians and not for the benefit of the select few usual suspects and to avoid foreigners lording it over those same natural resources,” he said.

The separation was also confirmed by one of the Namibian right holders who requested anonymity at this stage.

“There are many things going on but we received a message from Ina Botha that Martha has resigned and that Oceana wants the internal process to be concluded and then start engaging us again,” said the right holder.

The Namibian right holder and Oceana Group are set to negotiate a new proposal to resolve existing conflicts among stakeholders.

Related Posts