THE representative of the Namibian private sector, the NCCI, the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), and the powerful federation of Namibian trade unions (NUNW) are mobilizing against the awarding of mega billion dollar contracts to Chinese companies.
The tripartite call is a rare show of unity in the Namibian political landscape that is besieged by factionalism, The NCCI (Windhoek Branch), NUNW and SPYL and the planned show of force should encourage all Namibians to support efforts in securing tenders for Namibian companies and job opportunities.
Ironically the demonstration against favouring Chinese contractors will take place at the headquarters of the ministry of works where a completed building is still closed as a ‘safety risk’ because of poor workmanship.
It follows a week of accusations and the demands for the head of the Erongo governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua, who in a leaked audio stands accused of colluding with the Chinese owned Husab mine in ‘reorganising’ the workforce, a charge which the mine management denies and launched an investigation into.
The mass demonstration and growing resistance against Chinese involvement in an all-out onslaught against natural resources, sand mining and the culling of the giants of the forests in the north east are signs of growing discontent with the perceived privilege of Chinese interests and blackmail to access Chinese loan facilities.
The organisers of the demonstration want protesters to wear protective and safety uniforms which coincidentally resemble the yellow shirt movement in France and other cities in Europe, demanding change in government policies to favour labour. Informanté publishes the three statements that were uncharacteristically issued late on a Saturday, one after another.
The full statements read as follows:
The Swapo Party Youth League condemned in the strongest terms the awarding of construction and other economic opportunities to foreigners, more especially the Chinese companies by the Government of the Republic of Namibia and its parastatals.
The SPYL leadership has been constantly engaging Ministers on a variety of issues that the Namibian youth and citizens of Namibia face since coming to power. One of the issues that the leadership has been repeatedly discussing is the economic situation and opportunities to benefit all Namibians.
After these deliberations the SPYL was of the opinion that these engagements with the leadership in diplomatic ways and structures established within party guidelines and culture will yield positive results with changes in the current modus operandi of deployed cadres in Government positions in the interest of Namibians.
“We believed that things will normalise after these engagements in terms of tender awards and economic opportunities favourable and done to empower Namibians. We believed implementing of policies and laws to advance the interest of Namibians and Namibian business people will be embarked upon, but we were wrong.”
Daily the SPYL sees the awarding of jobs and tenders to foreigners and more especially the Chinese. The SPYL believes this is a blatant indication that the diplomatic and genuine approach in addressing issues facing Namibians will not change unless the SPYL changes the way they approach these issues.
The SPYL put it on record that they do not support the awarding of construction, health or any tenders or contracts to companies not owned by Namibians. They do not see any Namibian owned companies getting work in foreign countries. Jobs, skills, wealth and investments to Namibians are currently lost by these “unpatriotic way of operations.” Namibia is currently hailed as a country with good policies but there is a lack of implementation because of deployed cadres and hence the country’s economic situation and high unemployment with no pragmatic SME development initiatives and economic stimulation is happening.
In its statement the SPYL reminded all ministers and government agencies that they swore to implement and spearhead the SWAPO manifesto and current agenda of economic emancipation. They will not lie low and watch the Party leaders do the contrary and in the interest of individual benefit to the expense of Namibians. They clearly stated they would defend the Namibian people’s cause.
“The last straw comes when the billion dollar contracts for infrastructure development of Hosea Kutako dual carriage road, the upgrade of the railway project in Walvis Bay were only Chinese companies shortlisted for awarding as far as we are concerned, this will not happen in the Republic of Namibia.”
At its National Executive Meeting on March 1 in Windhoek, the SPYL said “enough is enough.”
The SPYL directed the SWAPO party led Government to stop and restart the bidding processes so that Namibian companies may be allowed to participate in the bidding. The conditions on all Government projects to be relaxed and be tailor made to suit Namibian companies only. That with immediate effect all loan conditions entered between Government and lenders or any development partners to be revised and realigned so that it favours Namibian companies in terms of actual implementation.
The SPYL directed that the SWAPO Party hold Ministers and deployed cadres accountable going forward in terms of economic opportunities and deliberate methods to empower Namibian businesses and workers. The SPYL has directed the establishment of a Committee to be headed by its Secretary of Economic Affairs, Marius Sheya, to revise, evaluate and scrutinise Party Economic Policies and that of Government including the Public Procurement Act of 2015 and present a position paper not later than May of this year.
The SPYL invited all members to join Ephraim Nekongo, Secretary of SPYL and its entire leadership to join the peaceful demonstration to take place on March 5 organised by MANWU and NCCI, in solidarity with Namibian workers and entrepreneurs. They ask all who with attend to wear SWAPO Party attire and join them to stand firm that their resources should benefit Namibians and not foreigners.
SPYL reminded all that they shall advocate and support comrades who are pragmatic and patriotic to the SWAPO Party course of economic emancipation. “We are tired of excuses.”
The SPYL as the transmitting belt of the ruling party policies and programmes anticipates that every SWAPO card carrying member honours and supports its call and the SWAPO Party in the quest of making Namibia a prosperous nation.
The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry statement:
Following our last business consultative meeting in Windhoek – Infrastructure Development and Investment was identiﬁed as a key economic stimulant sector for Namibian business and workers alike amongst other economic drivers and priorities. In fact it went as far as saying It Should be “Mandatory” that all infrastructure projects should have Namibian Participation!
NCCI Attended a Consultative meeting with CFI & MANWU to deliberate on the challenges facing the Construction industry. “We are therefore requesting our Members to release their Employees without victimizing or punishing them for participating in the Planned Peaceful Demonstration.” There will be a joint Press Release with regard to this matter between the three Entities with the aim of ﬁnding a lasting solution to the challenges as highlighted above.
Members are requested to please avail transport and employees should wear their full protective clothes on the said day.
Lastly, if possible sponsorship of water and hotdogs for the day, is an option for members as more than 300 workers are expected to participate. Contact MANWU directly for sponsorship.
The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union statement:
The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) invited all its members to support the construction workers demanding the Road Authority, Ministry of Works and Transport and Ministry of Finance to stop the bidding process of Hosea Kutako duel carriage road and upgrade of the Railway Project in Walvis Bay and restart the process by relaxing the pre-qualifications to accommodate Local Contractors and all other projects that can be done by Namibians, who protect and advance decent jobs for Local construction workers.
The workers plan to march from the MANWU head-office and hand over petitions at the Roads Authority, The Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.