Friday 23 April 2021
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D day for Pilots’ pension pay-up

In an ever-developing story Air Namibia’s pilots continue their battle of words with their bosses.
This publication reported early in August of this year about the continuing woes at the parastatal.
“In two separate letters, one written on 8 July 2019 and another on 22 July 2019, deep concern is expressed due to the fact that Air Namibia has neglected to transfer the monthly pension fund deductions to Alexander Forbes.
In terms of international law, there is a requirement that pilots operating across international borders must be adequately insured.
‘From an EASA, ICAO and European Union (EU) regulatory perspective, pilots may not operate in international airspace if not adequately insured.
This has implications for both the airline and the government under whose bilateral air services agreement its registered aircraft operates,’ revealed a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity at the time. Meanwhile, legal practitioners for the Namibia Airline Pilots Association (NAPA) are said to be alluding to criminal conduct on the part of the executive committee.
‘You will certainly, Honourable Minister, appreciate that the legal implications for an agent who receives money from its principle, for payment to a third party, but then uses that money for its own purposes, has criminal implications for the agent,’ read the Ellis & Partners letter in part.”
NAPA have deemed it necessary to pen another letter on the 8th of August of this year, this time to the newly appointed Chairman of the Board, Escher Luanda.
“This letter is directed at you in your capacity as a director of Air Namibia (PTY) Ltd, which is a Namibian private company, registered as such under the company registration number 97/086.
Your appointment as a director is one in terms of the Companies Act, 2004 (Act 28 of 2004),” the letter reads in part.
The attorneys continue to make their claim, this time to the company, stating their grievances and concerns about monies deducted from them but never paid over to service providers, including, “their respective contributions to their pension fund, which amounts are likewise deducted from our clients salary each month, but then applied by their employer for alternative purposes.”
The gloves are off
The letter reminds Luanda that he as the duly appointed director of their client’s employer, he has for several months failed to make payments, in respect of each of their clients. “It seems that one or more of the actions by Air Namibia, acting through its board of directors and management as eluded to above, constitutes recklessness (at a minimum) but in all likelihood also theft and even fraud. It is against this backdrop that we wish to bring to your attention the stipulations contained in section 430(1) of the Act,” the letter continues.
Further, the pilots will lodge a complaint in the High Court, holding each of the directors personally responsible for the debts of Air Namibia.
“We place on record that this step is necessitated by the fact that despite numerous requests made to your board, the shareholding minister and management, you are incapable of resolving this illegal situation.
Unless you can comply with the demand made in 8 below, it will be clear that you have permanently deprived our clients of these assets as you are not in a position to refund them. The authorities on this matter are clear,” is the ultimatum given by the pilots.
Point 8 reads that “this letter therefore serves as a formal demand  on you, in your personal capacity to take such actions as may be required to terminate the illegalities being perpetrated by the company of which you are a director, on a continuous basis, by paying, as a minimum, the outstanding total pension contributions of our clients by no later than 15th Friday  November 2019, failing which our clients shall move for the order indicated.”

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