07 Nov 2013 12:10pm
OPUWO, 07 NOV (NAMPA) Many Namibians in the Kunene Region are unhappy that Chinese nationals are doing unskilled work, which they could instead be doing on the Omakange-Ruacana road.
The Chinese Machine Engineering Company (CMEC), an international contractor awarded the road construction work at a cost of N.dollars 419 million, has flown in Chinese nationals to work on this road.
Some community members claimed that the work currently being done by the 45 Chinese workers does not require specialist skills, being tasks such as waving a flag and directing traffic as well as cutting bushes along the road to make way for diversionary roads.
Many locals, especially from the Omakange village, have been camping at the companys office, demanding answers and work.
Approached for comment, CMEC site manager Jianjun Xue told Nampa on Thursday that his company has indeed brought in fellow Chinese nationals to work on the road.
However, he claimed that the company had also employed 60 Namibians, and many more would be employed in future.
Jianjun said the work currently being done - that of cutting bushes - does not require many people.
We have employed 60 local community members to do that work and other work currently, he explained.
Jianjun said the Chinese nationals were brought here for their expertise, and they could not be left idle while there is work to be done, hence they are being used to do small jobs as they are being paid by the company.
We are going to employ more than 200 unemployed locals when the project starts with the construction phase, and that is as soon as the diversionary roadwork has been completed, he noted.
This arrangement was stipulated in an agreement signed on 01 November this year between Jianjun and the chief of the Omakange village, David Tjimuhiva.
The agreement stipulates that all people to be employed on the road project should be sourced from an established recruitment committee of the village, and such workers will include residents of the different villages close to the road as well as some Chinese nationals.
The road has been divided into two sections of 43 kilometres each, and two teams from the CMEC are working on the road - one at Omakange, and the other at the Otjorute village, situated about 45 kilometres from Omakange.