Thursday 17 June 2021
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NWR’s skewed labour practices exposed

The practice of ignoring the labour laws at Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) has landed the country’s tourism parastatal in hot water, with continued irregular dismissals and labour unrests damaging the entity’s image.
The Patriot is in possession of scalding documents narrating malpractices and non-compliances with Labour Acts, Recruitment policy and procedures and performance management policy at NWR on the sides of the bosses.
This publication understands that the deliberate malpractices have stirred furore within management and on record many are either on suspension or have been dismissed without the right procedures having been followed.
This comes after a number of dismissed employees as well as those currently still in the employ of NWR have aired their concerns that the working environment at the parastatal is such that they continue to have their backs against the wall in fear of being fired if they are not part of a favoured faction.
Latest on the receiving end of disciplinary action at NWR is the Chief of Human Capital Julia Mutumbulwa who has been suspended as of 18th March 2019.
The suspension letter seen by The Patriot reads that Mutumbulwa has been suspended with immediate effect and with remuneration, pending the outcome of investigations currently ongoing and possible disciplinary action which might result from the outcome of such investigation.
“The preliminary investigations revealed prima facie irregularities of dishonesty, fraud, forgery, misrepresentation, deliberate falsification of company documents, unlawful instructions to subordinates, refusal to execute lawful work related instructions, gross negligence and carelessness,” reads the suspension letter.
With the case ongoing, The Patriot understands that Mutumbulwa, who used to be the Managing Director’s favourite, allegedly fell out of favour when she started involving the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on HR malpractices at the parastatal.
Documents leaked to The Patriot show how this HR officer laid bare the mishaps at the institution.
One focus is on the leadership style, with the author communicating to the ACC that leaders create a toxic environment where compliance to corporate governance is disregarded.
The documents articulate how the leadership, while in ‘hysteria’ instructed the Chief Human Capital Officer to tender her resignation as she is no longer wanted in the company.
On 7 February, an email is said to have been sent warning certain employees that their time was up at NWR.
Mutumbula was not reachable for comment on the matter.
The documents also capture nepotism claims in the recruitment department. One such fiasco is the Okaukuejo Resort structure change which is said to have bypassed protocol by snubbing the board’s approval of recruitment requirement.
There have also been external recruits employed without either internal or external advertisements, and without the involvement of the Human Resources department’ all incidences blatantly floating NWR Human Capital Policy.
The Patriot has in the past exposed rogue recruitments at the parastatal coupled with various complaints on how the leadership at NWR run the institution with clear instances of nepotism.
It has become an open secret that those close to personalities in power are catapulted into positions for which they are not suitably qualified. In February there was 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.
Sources say 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 those is power.
In another instance, 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 Mutumbulwa has written to the High Commission of South Africa to assist in Visa arrangement to that effect.
Now no longer in the inner circle, Mutumbulwa’s chances of ever returning to office are said to be slim as no employee of the parastatal has ever escaped the wrath of the leadership.
In Mutumbulwa’s suspension letter, it states that Hengari is a potential witness, putting her return even more a doubt.
According to insiders at NWR, so far nine managers at the head office have lost their jobs since Hengari took over.
Four employees at Okaukuejo Resort have been dismissed in 2017 of which three are still waiting their hearing after being suspended a year ago.
A whopping 29 employees including one manager lost their jobs at Gross Barmen Resort while the fire burns the same on employees at other resorts under the NWR flagship.
The Patriot could not establish the exact numbers but sources have it that the company has numerous labour cases to defend at the Labour court relating to unfair suspensions or dismissals.
Disgruntled employees have since last year asked for Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste’s intervention into the company’s status quo and the manner in which the Managing Director conducts herself, but not much has been done to date.
Corporate Communications manager  Mufaro Nesongano responded to these claims saying although it is the desire of every organization and its leaders is to grow together with its employees towards one goal – which not only satisfies itself but also the shareholder – the process of working towards this goal gets bumpy. “In some instances, others do take advantage of the vastness of distance from supervisors to transgress.
Like any organisation each employee is given warnings as per the labour laws of the country before any action is taken,” he said.
Nesongano did not comment on whether the rate at which the parastatal is getting rid of employees was worrisome.
He however maintained that if an employee is ever dismissed, that action should always be linked to the mentioned realities.
“Any action taken is all about doing what’s good for the organisation. To this end, structures to solve these problems exist within NWR.
However, if a team member is not satisfied with the outcome of a dispute, they are welcome to look at alternative ways of resolving such matters before going to the media,” he lamented.
This is however against the realities on the ground this publication learned.
One employee revealed that an existing cabal within NWR is hard at work getting rid of personalities who did not dance to the tune using every petty misconduct committed.
“I was suspended last year and I am still waiting for the hearing.
All I ever did was stand up against wrongs being done at our resort and the next things I see is a suspension letter. If you speak out, you will be suspended. If you complain about your salary, you will see the door.
If you are the type who questions wrong things and not the type that says yes boss, you will be shown the door.
That is the Zelna we have at NWR. No one must speak about it when she employs her family and friends because you might just be replaced by another relative,” said an employee.

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