Striking NHE workers claim victimisation – The Namibian

SOME of the 110 employees from the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) who have been on a nationwide strike since Friday claim their employer is harassing them.

One of the workers, Virginia Tjitemisa, yesterday said the strike is not only about a salary increment, but also corporate governance.

“Employees are being victimised and positions are being given to people who do not have qualifications.

“Overtime is being paid to non-performers, and requirements for positions are being relaxed to fit individuals. The house is rotten,” she said.

The workers are demanding a salary increase of 7%, and that the board be guided by the laws of corporate governance.

This comes after 90% of employees on Friday voted in favour of a strike.

A shop steward at NHE, Thani Seb from Windhoek, said they started negotiations and demands in February last year, which have been rejected by the company.

“We asked for a 7% increase, and they came up with a N$2 500 once-off, which we rejected. They then came up with a 60% once-off basic, which we accepted, but it was retracted. Then we came up with N$15 000 once-off, and N$10 000, but all our demands have been rejected,” he said.

Seb said they did not have the option to negotiate further and tried to go to the Ministry of Labour, Employment Creation and Industrial Relations, but there is no common ground between the employees and the company.

“Our strike is currently legal. We last had a salary increment in 2018 – five years ago,” he said.

One of the employees, who asked to remain anonymous, said the institution has only managed to build 600 houses in the last five years, instead of 1 250 houses per year.

Secretary general of the Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN) Mathew Haakuria said the management does not have the mandate to speak to employers.

“They should come out of their offices and talk to the employees,” he said.

“We are calling the minister to bring the people together and save this organisation,” he said.

NHE spokesperson Tuafi Shafombabi said the PSUN served the company with a notice of industrial action last week.

“Both parties have agreed and signed the ground rules regulating the conduct of the industrial action. The NHE will invoke a no-work, no-pay principle during the strike in terms of Section 76 (1) of the Labour Act, Act No. 11 of 2007,” she said.

Shafombabi said the nationwide strike will disrupt and negatively affect the institution.


Minister of urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni announced the names of new NHE board members on Friday.

The board consists of Ritta Khiba, Tjipueja Hasting (deputy chairperson), Adda Angula, (board chairperson), Toska Sem, Erickson Mwanyekange and Socrates Dias.

“A national target to build 20 000 houses over four years was set, and the NHE was mandated to build 5 000 houses of the target,” he said.

Uutoni said as part of the Vision 2023 strategy, the government has tasked the NHE to build 47 622 houses by 2030.

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