Qualified Namibians substituted with foreign labourers

NT 20-03-15

Reporter: Marshallino Beukes

Furious and very frustrated mineworkers contacted the newspaper and expressed their dissatisfaction, concerning the fact that foreigners get preference when applying for jobs, at the expense of qualified Namibian workers.

This is an ongoing scenario at most of the mines, countrywide, and Namibian employees are at the edge of taking matters in their own hands, one complainant noted. “Chinese, Ghanaians, Philippines, South Africans and Indians, to name a few, are taking our bread out of our mouths and our Government does nothing about it. Or maybe high placed government officials have a hand in the pie. We will not tolerate this any longer,” another unemployed, qualified mineworker fumed. Objections that these foreign employees receive way better benefit packages than their Namibian co-workers also surfaced. According to the disgruntled mineworkers these foreign employees get to go visit their families in their home countries, all expenses paid. The salary scales of foreigners, apparently are higher than locals’, although they have the same qualifications. Another grievance is the fact that these non-nationals is provided with free accommodation, while locals have to pay rent for the homes they live in. The excuse of Namibian labourers not being qualified to do certain jobs, which is frequently used by foreign contractors at mining companies, was laughed off. “The country has qualified labourers and contractors to do the job, and maybe even better, but they prefer to use their countrymen. Why not train the Namibian labourers to do those trades and send the foreigners home?” the newspaper was asked. It is no secret that foreign companies prefer to employ their own experts, but the question remains, what happens to unemployed Namibian nationals with the same qualifications? With the high unemployment rate, under which Namibia is suffering, this set-up is not only discriminating against Namibians in their own country, but also unmerited. Foreign companies obtain multi-million dollar contracts from the Government, under the pretext that they will supply jobs to locals, but after the tender is awarded that promise(s) is not kept. Although not all the foreign companies are guilty of excluding locals, regarding employment provision, it is a very serious situation which should be conducted as such.

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