CORRECTION: Farmworkers owe more than they earn at farms in Otjo

15 Mar 2016 11:30am
CORRECTION: Adds governor’s name to intro

OTJIWARONGO, 15 MAR (NAMPA) - Otjozondjupa Regional Governor Otto Ipinge on Monday expressed concern with the suffering of some farmworkers in his region who owe more money than they earn.
“I always want to cry for them. They are suffering; they are in a minus, owing more money than they earn per month. This pains me a lot and our labour inspectors need to do something,” he urged.
Ipinge was addressing four labour inspectors from Otjiwarongo and Okahandja who accepted his invitation to discuss these concerns.
He said some farmworkers earn N.dollars 1 000 per month and owe N.dollars 2 000 on food they ate on credit from their employer’s shops.
The governor then asked the labour inspectors to tackle all labour concerns head-on without fear or favour.
He proposed that a team comprising himself, Otjozondjupa Regional Council officials and labour inspectors in the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation in April this year visit some of these farmworkers.
Ipinge suggested that a sub-station office for the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation be established at Kalkfeld and Hochfeld areas as the majority of farmworkers there have problems, and have no transport money to travel to Otjiwarongo to report their challenges.
The Chairperson of the Otjozondjupa Regional Council, Julius Neumbo said his office has recorded similar labour concerns from farmworkers, and he allegedly finds it difficult to get hold of a labour inspector in the Otjiwarongo Constituency.
“I have proof that some of the farmworkers have never touched their salaries. Each month they pay credit which does not come to an end, because they earn very little and have accumulated credit on food at their employers’ shops,” he charged.
Neumbo also demanded for an urgent intervention from the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation.
On his part, Henry Ndeunyema from the Okahandja labour office, said he is aware of the suffering of the farmworkers.
He blamed the employers, saying the Namibian Labour Act is clear on the matter as it only allows less than one-third of the salary of any employee to be deducted for credits, not the whole salary.
Ndeunyema then asked Ipinge to always inform him once he comes across such illegal labour practices.
Otjiwarongo labour inspector, Linekela Nghiyaamene also asked the Otjozondjupa governor to inform his office of such malpractices.
(NAMPA)
MS/ND/CT