Employees neglect work at Neckartal project

26 Jan 2014 16:00pm
NECKARTAL DAM, 23 JAN (NAMPA) – //Karas regional governor Bernardus Swartbooi’s call for residents of his region not to neglect work on the Neckartal Dam project has fallen on deaf ears as some people have already started absconding from duty.
Swartbooi said during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Neckartal Dam project in September last year that people of his region must not neglect their jobs and later complain that Government does not provide employment, or that people from other regions get jobs in the //Karas Region.
However, three men from Keetmanshoop employed by the Baby Face Company for the construction of employee accommodation at the Neckartal project site did not show up for work on Wednesday morning. By Thursday morning, they still had not turned up.
They form part of 26 men employed at the site earlier this month.
A source informed Nampa on Wednesday that the three men were given money to go to Keetmanshoop to buy food and matrasses as they will now be camping at the site.
“They saved some money after buying food and matrasses, and decided to drink some beers and not return to work. The vehicle came to pick them up but they just handed over their groceries and stayed behind,” said the source.
Operations Manager at Baby Face, Paulus Nahole confirmed to Nampa upon enquiry Wednesday that the three men did not show up for work 'for reasons only known to themselves'.
He explained that on Wednesday morning transport was sent to pick up all employees who stay in Keetmanshoop and those who went shopping,
but the three men did not come to the pick-up point.
“They were called on their mobile phones and said they will come to the pick-up point, but none of them showed up. Later other employees went searching for them at their houses in the informal settlement but they were not at home, so the driver decided to leave them behind as time was not on his side,” Nahole said.
Asked what the consequences of their failure to turn up will be, the operations manager said disciplinary procedures will be followed.
“If a person does not show up for work the company code of conduct will be followed and a decision in line with the labour laws will be taken against them... They are supposed to know what is best, I cannot teach them how to behave or go search for them at their houses,” Nahole told this agency.
He indicated that they would wait and see whether the men turn up for work on Thursday and 'take it from there'. This news agency was however informed that they still had not put in an appearance by Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, another Keetmanshoop resident complained that the Baby Face company brought in 15 labourers from Windhoek instead of employing locals.
He said it is unfair as there are people from the area who applied for jobs at the project, but are still waiting.
“Those people must go back,” he said furiously.
On his part, Nahole said the 15 men brought in are permanent employees of Baby Face.
He explained that they were working at a railway project between Otavi and Otjiwarongo, but that project has slowed down and the company decided to bring them here to help out, but they will return any time soon.
“We have decided to save money and bring them here as they were getting paid for no work done. We know we have to give jobs to the people of //Karas. We did that, as a matter of fact, and will continue to do so,” he responded.
Nahole said four of the 15 men are from //Karas, adding that 11 other employees are from Keetmanshoop, bringing the total number of locals to 26.
“We recruit people through the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry. This means that any employee whom we take has applied through the ministry,” he noted.
Nahole indicated that they are constructing three accommodation buildings for 1 000 Neckartal employees, adding that work is progressing well and it is expected to be completed in four months’ time.