Transport unions furious at Nabta's recognition by government

17 Oct 2013 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 17 OCT (NAMPA) – The Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association (NPPTA) and the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) are up in arms over Government’s decision to recognise Nabta as the only legally-mandated transport body regulating the local public transport sector.
Works and Transport Minister Erkki Nghimtina announced this in a media statement on Tuesday, saying the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) has fulfilled its obligation as required by law, and the ministry is satisfied with its Constitution and its Certificate of Registration from the Office of the Labour Commissioner.
However, the two rival transport bodies accused Nghimtina of being “brainwashed” and that he is encouraging “the chaos that prevails in the industry”.
NPPTA Secretary-General, Nathan Africa and NTTU president, Werner Januarie, during a media conference on Thursday, called on President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Prime Minister Hage Geingob to call Nghimtina to order, as his statement “has opened a can of worms”.
“If you look at Government spending on public transport and you listen to the minister’s statement, you notice that he is ill-informed of the situation on the ground, and therefore makes decisions which are detrimental to the upliftment of the industry,” said Africa.
Both Africa and Januarie questioned the basis of Nabta’s recognition by government if there is no regulation on the public transport sector in place.
The NAPPTA was set up last year, and only received its Certificate of Registration as an employers’ association on 07 October 2013. It has about 800 members countrywide.
The NTTU was registered as a trade union on 28 March 2006, and has about 2 000 members.
Africa thus requested Government to implement the Public Passenger Transport Bill with immediate effect, whilst calling on NPPTA members to stay calm and continue with business as usual.
At the same occasion, Januarie raised the concern that the decision taken by Nghimtina is tribal and politically-motivated.
He also accused Nabta members of only doing business in the interest of the ruling Swapo Party.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated 08 April 2013 to NPPTA, the Ministry of Works and Transport Permanent Secretary, Peter Mwatile said at the moment, the Road Traffic and Transport Act, 1999 (Act No.2 of 1999) and the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations of 2001 do not make any provision for recognition of associations.
“Nonetheless, the ministry is prepared to work with your association provided your aims, objectives and operations do not contradict with the previous ones of the said Act, pending the publication of the proposed amendments to the Road Traffic and Transport Act and Regulation on recognition of associations.
The publication is subjected to the recommendations from the Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan and the Integrated Transport Master Plan, which are both due for completion in due course,” Mwatile said.
In the meantime, earlier this month, the NTTU threatened to embark on another strike if it does not get a positive answer from the National Assembly (NA) about reducing traffic fines and other issues.
The NTTU had a strike in July this year, which crippled public transport in Windhoek, Eenhana, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
During the strike, the union handed over a petition to NA Secretary Jakes Jacobs, with 24 October 2013 as the deadline for Government's response.