Labour analyst Herbert Jauch says Namibian labour law clearly states that if someone is employed for a short-term contract they should be paid on the last day on which they provided services.
Jauch said this in an interview with The Namibian, following the recent complaints by enumerators who threatened to demonstrate if the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) does not pay them.
“Just like other companies in the country, they are guided by the Namibian Labour Act. The delay in payment of the enumerators is completely illegal and socially unacceptable. On the last day when the enumerators performed their work, they had to be paid, according to the law,” Jauch said.
The impact of the payment delays are severe as the majority of those contracted were unemployed graduates.
A group of frustrated Census enumerators who were at the NSA head office on Wednesday morning said enumerators from three regions are yet to be paid, after the NSA recruited about 11 500 enumerators for the National Population and Housing Census, concluded on 9 November.
One of the enumerators, Fransina David, a student and mother of four, said all they want to do is get the money they worked hard for.
“I have run into serious debt after waiting for this money, we don’t want to be forced to do horrible things but we don’t know what we will do if they do not give us our money within two weeks,” David said.
She accused the NSA of making “fake” promises.
Another enumerator, Harry Kafita, said he was happy he got the job but he wants the NSA to honour its promises to pay on time.
He said the NSA should communicate with them about the causes of the payment delays.
“We are grateful for the opportunity because many of us are unemployed graduates but it hurts. They promised to pay us 30 days after completion but until today we still have not been paid. We have rent to pay and so many other things to pay for.”
Kafita said there are a few enumerators who have been paid but were disappointed in the amount, which was not as agreed.
Unemployed psychology graduate Louisa Shimbode said she is frustrated and highly disappointed after three months of delayed payment.
NSA spokesperson Iipumbu Sakaria said the cause of the payment delay is the verification process.
“NSA took in approximately 13 000 contract staff and they need to ensure that it pays the correct people the correct amounts.”
He said they have added additional manpower to assist in the administration and verification processes.
“As for all NSA projects, enumerators are paid what is due to them and that will not change,” Sakaria said.
NSA statistician general Alex Shimuafeni said the payments are being processed and will not take up to two weeks as they have been paying over the last two weeks.
The 2023 Population and Housing Census officially started on 24 September.
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