The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) on Tuesday stated that it is disappointing that the Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN), with whom NHE is still in the process of signing a recognition agreement, opted not to follow proper procedures in addressing member concerns. This comes after the PSUN, during a media briefing on Sunday, levelled allegations of discrimination against NHE employees by the enterprise’s executive committee (Exco).
“The issues raised were dealt with internally at the staff meeting convened by the chief executive officer and Exco, on 9 February 2022. The staff members understood that the current financial position cannot carry any salary increases or bonuses and consequently came up with initiatives to boost the revenue and cash flow for NHE at the supra meeting,” responded NHE spokesperson Tuafi Shafombabi.
She added that it is understood there are few NHE employees instigating the matter which she said is not a true representation of the workforce.
“NHE implemented cost cutting measures, of which the 50% salary cut on basic salary for all acting positions was agreed upon with staff members prior to the PSUN press conference. Staff members were informed that the cost cutting measures on the acting allowance and other benefits were lifted and the acting policy will be in full compliance. The decision of PSUN to conduct a press conference without informing the employer, is premature and disappointing as this inhibits the fostering of stakeholders’ relationships,” Shafombabi stated.
During PSUN’s media briefing, secretary general Matheus Haakuria asserted that the NHE Exco submitted a budget to the board of directors late last year where N$2.3 million was set aside to improve the conditions of employees.
“This translated into a once off payment of 60% of basic salary, something which our members accepted due to the precarious financial situation of the company. The board approved this proposal. However, this year, it turned around and rejected the proposal before payment could be executed. This proposal was submitted by Exco to the board, today the same Exco is tasked to demotivate its own proposal. The decision effectively left our members with no salary increase or improvement of other conditions of service for the past three years,” said Haakuria.
The union leader also took NHE to task for its financial reports which it said were last audited in 2016. “To date, no audited financial statement has been produced by the corporation since 2017. The situation has developed under the watchful eye of the board of directors and the shareholder minister despite the legal requirements as enshrined in the Public Enterprises Governance Act and its predecessor, the SOE Governance Act.
“PSUN wonders how the Board managed to exercise its responsibilities without these reports and why there have been no consequences for these levels of ineptitude,” Haakuria questioned.
“PSUN believes NHE suffers from poor performance and is struggling to fulfil its mandate due to poor accountability measures and continuously fails to align its activities to its vision and mission. The NHE is supposed to build 1 250 houses per year, it has built 600 houses since 2016. Despite this poor performance, no action has been taken and those responsible for this abysmal performance are still warming the chairs at 7 General Murtala Mohammed Road Eros, comfortably reappointed,” Haakuria stated.
She said PSUN, therefore, believes that NHE does not have a performance management system that detects the inability of either the board or management to run the institution.
“This has a domino effect on the whole corporation and endangers the jobs of our members. Currently, the environment is toxic as our members fear for the future of the company. PSUN demands that the State must ensure that the fate of Air Namibia does not befall NHE,” Haakuria concluded.