Speaker of Parliament, Peter Katjavivi has calmed down sections of society that felt let down by the decision to nock out the 25% compulsory shares requirement from companies to previously disadvantaged Namibians saying that after all it was just a draft prone to changes.
The call for ceding of shares for companies owned by those that benefited from the now dismantled old-order who are widely from the White section of society, caused mayhem but resonated well with a majority of the blacks in poverty.
This however irked ratings agencies who reacted by punishing the economy with a downgrade while the ambassador of Germany to Namibia Matthias Schlaga went on record saying “no one should be forced to share their wealth” calling rather for the building of vast wealth for all.
Commenting to The Villager this week on whether the flip-flop on NEEEF would cost the ruling party politically, Katjavivi said, “A proposal is always a proposal so nothing had been taken from anybody because this was a working document going through the process of refinement, negotiation.”
He said whenever there are negotiations there is always a give and take and that those that had their hopes on this clause should rather not feel deprived of anything.
“What the government is planning to do is to produce a framework that will be much more polished and sustainable,” said the Swapo big-wig.
Some people who had seen a niche in the proposal within the ruling party will remain disappointed, says independent political scientist Vitalio Angula.
Although he cautions against regarding the change as flip-flopping given that it’s a document still in making, Angula asserts that this will nevertheless not divorce a major part of the party-faithful from the party.
“It is a part of the framework that not been agreed to by a majority of the people because it has to be broad-based. People had questions on how they would get those shares in the first place,” he submits.
Meanwhile, broad-based empowerment stemming from employee share schemes, provision of decent housing through housing schemes, introduction of a national pension fund and introduction of pension schemes to empower the economically disadvantaged.
“It might sound like again the previously disadvantaged groups are unfairly treated in that manner but come one, let’s be realistic, if we can do a wealth audit, you will realise that the scenario will change. Yes, majority of previously disadvantaged people are still poor but there are better ways to implement what seems to be an unfair clause,” says analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah.