15 Oct 2013 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 15 OCT (NAMPA) - The Namibian Farm Workers Union (NAFWU) on Tuesday condemned the accident in which 139 people were injured at Aussenkehr in the Karas Region last week.
The conclusion is that there was gross negligence on the part of the employer, and we regard this accident as criminal. Therefore, justice needs to take its course, said acting NAFWU Secretary-General Rocco Nguvauva in a media statement issued on Tuesday.
The accident happened around 06h00 when a truck belonging to the Namibia Export Grape Company, believed to have been carrying about 200 workers going to work, overturned when the driver allegedly failed to negotiate a curve.
Nguvauva added that the truck was overloaded and also too old to carry so many people.
He said employers need to respect the lives of people, instead of transporting their members in vehicles made to carry goods and other items.
The union is against workers being transported in trucks like animals, overloaded like salt bags that are going to be given to animals, Nguvauva said.
He added that the issue of transportation was raised on several occasions with the employers but has fallen on deaf ears, and the mass injuries sustained is a sign that employers still continue to treat workers as less important than their motor vehicles.
According to Nguvauva, accidents have major consequences, affect lives negatively, contribute to loss of life and maiming, and all these are major costs to the economy of the country.
We are aware that to buy trucks for them (employers) is cheaper because they will use them for transporting people as well as their goods, but these are the consequences of short-term profit thinking that endanger the lives and wellbeing of the employees, he said.
In addition, Nguvauva condemned the killing of a farm worker, Axaro Slinger, who was shot dead and buried in aardvark burrow at a farm in the Otjozondjupa Region last Sunday.
The suspect, 31-year-old Karl Friedrich Eichhof, appeared before Magistrate Khaepriums Swartz in the Okahandja Magistrates Court earlier this week on charges of murder, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, and the ill-treatment of animals.
He is suspected of killing Slinger and his three dogs at a farm in the Hochfeld area.
Eichhof remains in police custody, after his case was postponed to 25 November for further investigations to be carried out by the police.