TUN accuses Hardap Education Director of intimidation

20 Sep 2016 20:20pm
MARIENTAL, 20 SEP (NAMPA) – The Teachers' Union of Namibia (TUN) on Monday threatened to take the Director of Education in the Hardap Region Mzingisi Gqwede to court for “intimidation of the highest order”.
This threat came after Gqwede wrote a letter to the school principals on Monday, requesting the names of teachers who will not be part of the looming strike.
Teachers in the Hardap Region last week voted in favour of a strike in solidarity with other regions for government to increase their salaries with eight per cent and not five per cent.
Citing the upcoming Grade 10 and Grade 12 examinations as reasons, Gqwede requested for the names of teachers who will not be part of the strike, to fill the gaps of teachers who might be striking.
In his letter, Gqwede said he understood that there might be teachers who might not go on strike and the decision on the matter itself is an individual one, and praised those teachers for having the interest of learners at heart.
The principals were to submit the names not later than Tuesday.
In the letter seen by this reporter, TUN Vice-President Matheus Haakuria said Gqwede's request is in violation of Section 76 (3) (a-b) of the Labour Act, Act 11 of 2007.
Haakuria said requiring non-striking teachers to perform duties or hiring individuals to do so will be illegal and will expose the Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture in Hardap Region, Hardap Regional Council, and the government to serious litigation.
Haakuria, on behalf of the TUN, asked Gqwede to withdraw his communication to the schools in Hardap Region within 24 hours.
Failure to do so will result in a legal recourse to seek relieve in the courts, said the union.
Contacted for comment, Gqwede said he did not receive the letter from TUN and it is not in their mandate to tell him what to do.
“I believe it's not in their mandate to tell me what I communicate to my schools and when. I feel that they are intimidating those teachers who opt not to go on strike and that's not acceptable,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the TUN said in a media statement issued Tuesday that teachers were awaiting President Hage Geingob to pronounce himself on the stalemate, however “instead of extinguishing the fires, the president toed the line of his subordinates by promoting the culture of indifference towards the teachers’ demand”.
It asked parents and learners to join teachers and pressure Government to give them an eight per cent salary hike.