Namib Mills closes Katima mill, retrench workers

12 Aug 2015 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 12 AUG (NAMPA) – Non-profitable operations at a Namib Mills facility has forced the company to retrench 15 employees at its Katima Mulilo mill with effect from 31 September 2015.
The milling facility in Katima Mulilo generates 2.5 tonnes of maize per hour and also functions as a depot, according to a media statement issued by the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ian Collard on Tuesday.
“The mill’s production volume has dropped significantly and consistently over the years and this drop in volume does unfortunately not justify the expense of keeping the mill operational. This decision is based on the well-being of the business and the other employees and unfortunately, could not be avoided.
“The process had already been postponed for two years in anticipation of better volumes and to upgrade the mill to facilitate the milling of super maize meal, such as Top Score, would be enormous,” he stressed.
Collard explained that due to technological limitations, the Katima Maize mill is only capable of producing special sifted and unsifted maize meal, whereas the maize meal market in the Zambezi Region consists of 89 per cent super maize meal and only 11 per cent focuses on special and unsifted maize meal.
About the retrenchments, Collard emphasised that the employees will all be fairly compensated and given excellent referrals to assist them in securing subsequent employment alternatives as per legislation, and those who can possibly be absorbed in other positions or other branches of Namib Mills, will be so accommodated.
Meanwhile, the Zambezi depot will stay operational, according to Collard.
He said the company will continue to support the region’s small-scale farmers through the purchasing of local maize and mahangu grain.
“The maize and mahangu will be taken in at Otavi mill door prices. Namib Mills will also be transporting the maize for these farmers without any cost to them,” he said.
The functions of the Katima Mulilo depot will still include servicing of clients, allowing for local product to remain readily available and to supply the market.
In 2013, the Katima Mulilo mill produced 5 017 tonnes of maize meal compared to 1 460 tonnes in 2014 and 343 tonnes in 2015 respectively.