SPYL defiant despite exit from anti-Chinese demonstration

05 Mar 2019 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 05 MAR (NAMPA) – The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) is standing firm in its demand that State contracts and tenders must not be given to Chinese-owned or other foreign companies at the expense of Namibians, its Secretary General, Ephraim Nekongo has said.
Nekongo made these remarks in an interview with Nampa at State House on Monday, following a meeting with President Hage Geingob and presidential advisors.
The SPYL resolved after the meeting to withdraw from participating in a protest against alleged flawed State procurement.
“We immediately withdraw our participation at that level because we have spoken to people who are going to solve the problem,” he said before describing the meeting as very tough.
“We told them that the conditions attached to tenders need to be relooked so that at the end of the day, it benefits our people,” Nekongo said.
During the meeting, the SPYL leadership was also briefed on how Namibia secured loans from different countries.
“What we have been made to understand is that the Chinese were more flexible in terms of their loan,” he said.
SPYL also is of the opinion that the mere fact that Namibia received a loan or loans from China and then giving State tenders to Chinese companies, was a self-defeating exercise.
“It cannot be correct that we are getting the loans from them and at the end of the day, they come and do the work for us and the money goes out (of the country),” Nekongo reasoned.
The youth league also told the Swapo leadership that the “unscrupulous and continued exploitation” of timber in Zambezi and the two Kavango regions cannot proceed unabated.
“It cannot be correct that the wood is taken out of the country when we can immediately ask those colleagues to set up a factory in Rundu, create employment and add value,” he vented.
Nekongo went on to say the government must look at modalities that would enable Namibian businesses to benefit from their country’s resources as opposed to the current trend.
He, however, downplayed the assertion that their 11th hour meeting with Geingob was a mere window-dressing exercise.
Meanwhile, the demonstration planned by the Namibia Chambers of Commerce and Industry, National Union of Namibian Workers, Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union and Swapo Labour Federation proceeded on Tuesday as planned.
In his statement, Geingob clarified that this was a consultative meeting where Swapo members were sharing information.
“Then we Harambee (pull together in the same direction),” he said.