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City father’s not happy with vandalism in Independence Avenue by protesting ward cleaners

City father’s not happy with vandalism in Independence Avenue by protesting ward cleaners

Responding to the alleged illegal protest by their fixed-term ward cleaners, who left Independence Avenue vandalised and full of rubbish on 14 February, the City of Windhoek said the ongoing illegal protests are a serious concern, but equally disruptive to the operation and service delivery of the city.

The City said the cleaners abandoned their workplace on 13 February and gathered in front of the Town House building.

“The gathering of employees violates Section 2 of the Public Gatherings Proclamation Act 23 of 1989, which prohibits public gatherings without the permission of the Namibian Police as prescribed,” they added.

The municipal authority further explained that the workers opted to embark on an illegal protest despite the ongoing efforts by the City Council to address their grievances as submitted by their union representatives.

“The workers, through their unions, submitted their grievances to Council regarding the review of their conditions of employment and the matter is before Council to consider the various viable options to find a lasting and sustainable solution on the matter.”

They said Council has therefore committed to twelve months, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, to complete the above exercise, a period that runs parallel to the term of the contract of the current ward cleaners, and this period has not yet lapsed.

The City management  engaged the protesting workers through their representatives on 13 February to advise the protesters of the illegality of their protest and were advised on the correct procedures to follow should they wish to submit a petition to Council.

“The protesters, through their representatives, subsequently submitted a letter of demand to the Council on 14 February, demanding similar issues that have already been submitted and are before Council,” they added.

The municipality further said the letter demanded that the council respond within 24 hours and the acting Chief Executive responded to the letter and provided context, which the Ward Cleaners were advised to consider, including a reminder of their contractual obligations to Council.

“But the workers ignored our efforts and remained adamant that they would not abandon their illegal protest and it should be noted that Council has made significant strides in improving the conditions of the ward cleaners over the years as evident in the pension, medical, and housing allowances afforded them, over and above the basic salary which positions the remuneration package above the minimum wage,” they emphasised.

The City said it should be noted that a matter about the ward cleaners is currently set for arbitration at the Office of the Labour Commission, but it should also be noted that the actions of the Ward Cleaners hurt the City’s operations and thus leave the City with no option but to apply the provision of the law executable by the relevant authorities to bring the situation under control.

“We condemn the disruptive behaviour and vandalism caused to infrastructure as a result of the illegal gathering and investigations into the root cause of the matter shall follow and corrective action shall be taken,” concluded the City.


 

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.