Bulk of MUN money spent on staff salariesBy: DENVER KISTING
THE highest percentage – 30% – of the money the Mineworkers’ Union of Namibia (MUN) gets from its members is spent on salaries.
The union employs 15 people and their salary bill amounts to N$230 000 per month – meaning an average monthly salary of N$15 000 per employee.
Furthermore, 11% is spent on legal costs – just one percent short of the 10% which goes into the coffers of the umbrella union, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW).
This information is revealed in a letter written by MUN president John Ndeutepo to all MUN branches on Wednesday.
The letter came after the Rössing branch of the union had demanded answers on how their membership fees were spent.
This branch alone contributes N$2,2 million to the MUN’s budget annually.
It is not known what the total budget of the MUN is.
MUN boasts a membership of around 9 100 members of which the majority is employed by Namdeb at its operations at Oranjemund. This means that the union’s membership dues derived from Namdeb workers are more than that contributed by Rössing employees.
Each MUN member surrenders one per cent of his or her basic pay in membership fees to the union. Some of its members want to know what benefits they reap from their dues apart from collective bargaining and questioned how MUN investments are used to benefit them.
Rössing is the first branch in the union, which has come out openly demanding for accountability from its leaders.
Earlier this week, the branch wanted to know from Ndeutepo, its president what had happened to two MUN vehicles. Ndeutepo responded that the union was ordered to pay the legal costs of the Navachab mine after an illegal strike by MUN members, and to sell the vehicles to cover the cost.
The Rössing branch also wanted the president to make the financial position of the union known. To this, Ndeutepo said: “The MUN is not a public organisation, hence its financial position is not for public knowledge.”
According to him, the information should be made known to the members through the structures of the union.
Ndeutepo further admits that, under his leadership, the now suspended general secretary, Jonas Lumbu, had no authority “to invest union monies without an expressed resolution of the National Executive Committee”. Lumbu invested the money with Old Mutual – allegedly without the mandate to do so.
Ndeutepo said he had reprimanded Lumbu. Lumbu has in the meantime also been suspended.
The Rössing branch also wanted to know why Lumbu and the assistant general secretary, Eben Zarondo, use union vehicles while they receive car allowances.
To this, Ndeutepo said: “As per union policy, they may do so upon request for a period not exceeding five days if their vehicles are under repair or broke down.”
The branch wrote to Ndeutepo yesterday, saying that he had no right to suspend nine NEC members on Monday. Lumbu was suspended by the NEC on Saturday.
Ndeutepo on Tuesday refused to elaborate on why the nine NEC members were suspended, only saying that “clandestine activities” had led to it. “We cannot be specific – that would be prejudiced to the investigation.”
In their letters of suspension, it is also stated: “The president has decided to launch an official investigation into these [clandestine] activities aimed at destroying the very fibre and standing of the union.”
The NEC members were told to hand in whatever MUN property was in their possession and to be available “at all times when required for the purposes of the investigating committee”.
The suspension came after the NEC at their meeting on Saturday allegedly asked Ndeutepo to recuse himself from a meeting to discipline Lumbu over the changes Lumbu had implemented.
This was because Ndeutepo “authorised the illegitimate amendments”.
Ndeutepo allegedly refused to recuse himself. On Tuesday, he said he was not at liberty to say what happens at their meetings.