Zhong Mei repremanded for indecent living conditions for employees

18 Nov 2017 13:10pm
HENTIES BAY, 18 NOV (NAMPA) – About 50 employees of a Chinese company, Zhong Mei Engineering, sleep on wooden beds without matrasses at the employment camp in Henties Bay.
The employees are part of the 300 workers tarring the 90 kilometres gravel road between Swakopmund through Henties Bay to Uis.
The issue came to light on Friday when Works and Transport Minister, Alpheus !Naruseb inspected the project and visited the camp.
When asked why they allow workers to sleep without mattresses, employers responded that they did not think it was not right.
“The labour law did not say anything about how decent the accommodation should be, so we did what we think is best,” said one of the seniors who could not provide his name.
!Naruseb said such accommodation is not acceptable and ordered the employers to rectify the matter immediately
“We will buy mattresses even tomorrow, we just overlooked it but now we know it was wrong,” said the same manager.
The minister said employees deserves decent accommodation for them to work properly.
Apart from beds, the rest of the camp has proper services such as showers and flushing toilets for both men and women.
The minister also questioned why there are few people from Henties Bay employed in the project.
“I asked where these brothers came from and they mention places far from Henties Bay such as Opuwo and Ohangwena, what happen to the locals?” he asked Project Manager, Johannes van Niekerk.
He further stated Government projects aim to empower the locals but do not lock out the rest of the citizens.
!Naruseb said the idea is to employ at least 70 per cent of the people from the area where the project is and the rest can come from anywhere in Namibia, with experts being imported when there are none in the country.
Van Niekerk said he employed from a list provided by regional councillors through the Office of the Governor.
Arandis and Henties Bay Councillor, Benitha Imbamba said she tried to contact the project manager on various occasions but failed because he was never available.
“I am glad the minister is here to assist me, as politicians we promise people jobs and now a project comes but we cannot get them employed.”
Van Niekerk promised that he will ensure more people from the area are employed in the next phase or whenever vacancies occur.
The first phase of the three phase road project is expected to be completed in 2019.