Friday 14 May 2021
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TransNamib bypasses !Naruseb

The Paul Smit-led Board of Directors at TransNamib Holdings stands accused of having flouted corporate governance policies when it failed to notify the line minister before abruptly announcing the appointment of a new acting Chief Executive Officer.
The Ministry of Works and Transport confirmed that !Naruseb was indeed never consulted regarding the changes.
The appointment has since raised eyebrows at the perennial loss-making railway entity less than two weeks after it was effected.
TransNamib Board in an urgent Board resolution appointed its Manager for Operations, Michael Feldmann, to serve in an acting capacity as CEO, effectively removing Hippy Tjivikua from the position.
Tjivikua, The Patriot understands, was well tipped to take over the railway parastatal on a full time basis.
Talks have now emerged that the move was not cleared by Minister of Works and Transport Minister Alpheus !Naruseb who is said to have been informed about Feldmann’s appointment via a text message.
“These guys[board] just made their resolution but never bothered to follow the laid down procedures, they should have informed the line minister before announcing the move. Some of us were caught off guard when the announcement was made despite being part of the top leadership.
What is even more worrisome is that the newly appointed CEO is very close to the board chairperson, a relationship which could have culminated in his elevation,” a source within the company’s top echelons of power said while speaking under anonymity.
The source also claims that there was no board resolution to sanction the move.
Smit did not respond to questions sent to him to confirm or deny the allegations while !Naruseb referred this paper to the ministry’s spokesperson Julius Ngweda.
!Naruseb was asked to deny or confirm claims that he was unaware of the decision to replace Tjivikua.
“Good morning to you Journalist of The Patriot, I advise that you liase with my Personal Assistant.
She will link your good self with the public relations functionary of the ministry enabling you to raise your queries for the benefit of the public,” Naruseb said in a short message when approached to comment on the matter.
Julius Ngweda confirmed that !Naruseb had no knowledge about plans to appoint Feldmann.
“The minister was never told about any of the developments at TransNamib nor was he formally engaged, he only got the notifications through the news. This is something we are looking into,” said Ngweda.
The board’s last communication does not provide clear reasons for the acting CEO switch apart from indicating that Feldmann will act for a period of three months with the possibility of extension.
There are claims making rounds within the TransNamib corridors about favouritism extended towards some sections of the company.
It is understood that most of the managers who hail from previously disadvantaged backgrounds were told that their contracts will not be renewed because of a restructuring exercise while their white counterparts will be untouched.
This, however, comes despite the board having assured its TransNamib employees and the public at large that the decision to change guard at the company was necessitated by the need to drive a succession plan and also improve efficiency but revelations are that the move has done more harm than good.
Some of the top management members are now sitting in uncertainty, unsure whether they will have a future in the long term at the company.
The fact that the railway company has been making losses because of an obsolete railway network in some parts of the country-mainly due to the fact that it has been on autopilot after operating with an Acting CEO for over a year-does not seem to be reason enough for the board to intensify the search for a substantive head.
The removal of Tjivikua has seemingly created a web of deceit and lack of trust among the senior management some of whom are facing subsequent sacking as the board is not keen on renewing their contracts upon expiry this year.
Smit could not respond to enquiries sent to him by this newspaper since Wednesday afternoon.
The Patriot understands that following the appointment of the new acting Chief Executive Officer, suspicion has been rife that the institution could undergo a total leadership overhaul.
The reason for the non-renewal of contracts for some managers as well as the reshuffling of positions at TransNamib, the Board claims, is meant to drive a turnaround strategy and also institute cost cutting measures.

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