Chinese road builder accommodates workers illegally at construction camp

The Swakopmund Town Council has ordered that Unik Construction Engineering Namibia (UNIK), the joint venture contractor constructing a new road east of the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, has to evacuate their employees from the construction camp within 30 days.
The employees affected are Chinese nationals and has once more placed Chinese companies under the negative spotlight for cutting corners and flouting Namibian laws, regulations and policies.
The decision was made during the recent Council meeting, after it was established during a site inspection at the construction camp that various workers are residing at the camp located in the vicinity of the Swakop river. This is contrary to stipulations of a Council Resolution passed on 30 June 2016. It explicitly states that no workers are allowed to reside at the camp.
The site inspection was conducted during December 2016 by the Engineering Services Department.
According to the Council meeting agenda, after the inspection a meeting took place between the Acting CEO of the Swakopmund municipality, Marco Swarts, UNIK as well as Zhong Mei Engineering Group (ZMEG). The issue was discussed and ZMEG subsequently complied. UNIK to date have not complied.
After the meeting UNIK sent a letter to Council, explaining they comply with the project specifications of staff accommodation in terms of their contract with the Roads Authority (RA).
“Although the requirements also provide for rented accommodation in the nearest town or elsewhere (in the contract with the RA), UNIK opted to provide on-site accommodation,” it states.
UNIK has been using the site, measuring 15 000 square meters, as a temporary camp site since the road building project commenced.
In the agenda, it also states Council will not consider amending the original resolution which would then allow UNIK to accommodate live-in workers on site. It was even suggested that the rental tariff be increased accordingly and that strict guidelines be put in place, amongst others that no pets or any alcohol is allowed.
Council opted against this and at the recent meeting decided to stand by its original decision passed in June 2016, that no worker be allowed to stay on site. Council gave UNIK 30 days (from the time the resolution was passed) to evacuate the affected employees from the site camp.

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