MUN hits back at Warmbad community activist

10 Sep 2018 16:40pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 10 SEP (NAMPA) – The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) has condemned what it called ill-conceived comments reportedly made by a senior traditional member and community activist of Warmbad, Matthew Veldskoen recently.
In a statement issued on Monday, MUN assistant general secretary Paulus Situmba said the union has learnt with disappointment about comments made by Veldskoen on behalf of the Warmbad community in The Villager newspaper of 07 September 2018.
In the article under the headline ‘Mineworkers Union told to go to hell’, the community activist was quoted as saying it was unreasonable to gun for the closure of Namibia Tantalite Mine at Warmbad without providing the community with another option.
It said disgruntled members of the Warmbad community said the Mine Workers Union should “go to hell” for suggesting that the tantalite mining licence should be revoked because the mine was retrenching employees.
“Let the union back off, let the union go to hell and get out of this and let us, the Warmbad community, negotiate on behalf of our people,” Veldskoen is quoted as saying.
The mine retrenched 94 out of a total 105 employees at the end of August 2018, citing lack of water for mining activities and low productivity.
Veldskoen said further: “The MUN is getting to that conclusion and taking that decision on whose behalf? Who are they to come and decide that the licence of the mine must be revoked? On which grounds? How can they conclude that it is unfair dismissal?”
Situmba said it is evident that through their engagement with the mine, the employer does not have the Namibian people and the Warmbad community at heart, as regardless of several alternatives proposed by the union to minimise and avoid unemployment, it resorted to retrenchment.
“It is very clear that this employer is a bad investor on Namibian soil and his intention is purely to get rid of the workers and therefore promote poverty and unemployment, which the union is strongly fighting against and condemning.”
Situmba also said: “We strongly condemn Veldskoen sending us to hell.”
He further said MUN and patriotic Namibians should collectively fight for the revoking of the licence of the mine to improve the living standard of the workers and the Warmbad community.
“We want to remind you that as workers representative we operate on a mandate and do not necessarily bring forth proposals without consulting our mandate givers, in this case the workers and not necessarily the Warmbad community,” Situmba added.
The union said the mine has high potential in the market and is viable to recruit up to 180 workers or more if the right investor comes into play.