Thursday 15 April 2021
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NWR denies nepotism allegations

…as parastatal drags on with labour unrest


Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) is at it again, this time with allegations of recruitment irregularities where those close to personalities in power are catapulted into positions, for which they are not suitably qualified amidst ongoing labour unrest.
As allegations of nepotism make its rounds again at the tourism parastatal, NWR has denied any such practices, saying such allegations have been reported before but that they are simply not true.
The Patriot is informed that there has been an appointment of a certain Himeezembi Ngupandjara as an Assistant Manager at NWR’s Okaukuejo Resort. According to those in the know, the assistant manager vacancy which Ngupandjara now occupies was never publically advertised. The source says occurrences of this nature have become a daily practice at the parastatal where both contract (mostly) and permanent employment is handed to those in cahoots with or persons related to the powers that be.
In a separate event, a certain Latoya Ngavetene, who is said to be related to the Managing Director Zelna Hengari is allegedly being favourably handed employment from Namibia to the Cape Town Sales office. The Patriot has seen documents in which the Chief Human Capital Officer has written the High Commission of South Africa to assist in Visa arrangement to that effect.
“Everyone knows that Latoya is related to the boss and because they know employing her would stir a lot of questions, they are now pushing her to go work outside the country. These types of questionable employment tactics are common here and the bosses are doing all they want because they feel they are untouchable,” said the source.
When put to the parastatal through its Corporate Communications department, the company denied these allegations, saying it has a database from which it shops for candidates to fill posts hence they sometimes float advertising.
“As a practice, we recruit our staff through advertisement, but there are instances where we source staff, especially casual or urgent contractual staff, from a database that we maintain,” said Mufaro Nesongano.
He added that staff recruitment, transfers and promotions are handled at the level of resorts and departments who then scale it up to the Human Capital Department.
“That department ascertains the availability of posts and suitability of proposed candidates and makes a final submission for the Managing Director (MD) to sign off in her capacity as the Accounting Officer.
This is an open meritorious process with no room for nepotism, and indeed not on the part of the MD whatever the unfounded allegations may be made,” he said.
Nesongano said such allegations have been made over the years and investigated on different instances including the Anti-Corruption Commission, but no foundation has ever been found.
“What has been established is the fact that in the conduct of her responsibility towards staff, the MD is clear that she favours nor disfavours family, friend or foe. She always acts consistent with our Industrial Relations Policies, the Labour Law and all other relevant laws of our country.”
As for the recruitment and transfers of staff members, Nesongano said NWR is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of personnel matters and do not discuss specific staff matters in the media saying they will not deviate from that principle in this instance.
While the company brushes off an array of allegations mostly directed to its high office bearers and the operations thereof, it still has to solve the ongoing labour unrest with employees demanding salary raises and a regrading of their positions.
The NWR board met last week to deliberate on a petition submitted by the employees last month demanding a regrading and an answer to their long overdue salary demands. Nesongano told The Patriot that the company is still engaged in negotiations with NAPWU through the mediation of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, saying “it will be inappropriate for us to provide you with a running commentary of the process.
However, we are committed to addressing all the valid concerns raised by the staff in a fair and balanced manner.”

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