NIP workers want N$100 000 bonus each

The Institute of Pathology (NIP) headquarters. Photo: Henry van Rooi

Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) employees are demanding bonuses of between N$50 000 and N$100 000, with a police-monitored demonstration set to take place at the public entity today.

These details are contained in a letter addressed to NIP board chairperson Bryan Eiseb by the Namibian Public Workers Union (Napwu).

The workers are demanding N$100 000 bonuses for A- to C-grade workers (including support staff such as drivers, cleaners and laboratory workers), and N$50 000 bonuses for D-grade workers (senior managers).

“Despite exceptional performances, the employees have not received any bonuses in the last five years. We demand bonuses, not hampers or bags that are meaningless to the workers,” the letter reads.

The workers claim that the NIP has not only bought its executives new vehicles, but that they have also been given petrol cards worth N$20 000 per month per individual.

“We, the employees of the NIP, are astounded beyond belief at how the NIP board of directors under your chairmanship has allowed the NIP executive committee to conveniently squander public money on high-end cars and personal financing for their personal vehicles, totalling about N$8 million for the seven exco members,” the workers say.

The Namibian on Tuesday reported that the NIP spent N$5,3 million on its top five executives, amid claims that the parastatal is navigating financial turbulence.

Documents in possession of The Namibian show that the institute has paid N$1,1 million as a settlement for chief executive officer Kapena Tjombonde’s Mercedes Benz, Nabot Uushona (chief technical officer) received a Ford Ranger which the parastatal paid N$1 million for, while Vincent Nowaseb (chief operations officer) received a Nissan worth N$987 000.

The NIP further purchased Oaitse van Staden (chief human capital officer) a Toyota Fortuner worth N$1,1 million, and Scholastika Mwetulundila (chief financial officer) an Amarok worth N$1 million.

Documents show that these payments were made on 17 November and 28 November, respectively.

“It is additionally alleged that the exco members are given petrol cards worth N$20 000 per month per individual. You continue to get your entire total costs to the company pay [sic], which includes car allowances,” the workers say.

They say the company has been operating under difficult conditions.

“The exco members were recruited to turn around the NIP’s fortunes and to ensure that the NIP functions efficiently, but undoubtedly this practice has proven that the exco has no regard for your employees’ cries during the last two years,” they say.

They add: “It is well known that the company has been functioning under difficult conditions, such as a shortage of reagents, instrument breakdown, and a shortage of staff in the department, to mention a few.

‘THOUGHT OF THEMSELVES ONLY’

“Despite these challenges, the exco only thought of themselves and splashed such hefty amounts on luxurious vehicles.”

The workers are also demanding to see the policy and procurement process the parastatal has used in buying the vehicles.

“We have never heard or witnessed NIP exco members purchase vehicles in the past. We demand to see the policy and procurement procedures that were used for the purchase of new high-end vehicles, such as the Amarok, Fortuner and others,” the workers say.

NIP chief executive Kapena Tjombonde confirmed the purchase of the vehicles on Monday, describing it as an “extension of the fringe benefit”.

“As part of the remuneration package for its executive team, the NIP granted a fringe benefit in the form of a vehicle scheme for private and official use.

“This fringe benefit is subject to the Namibian Income Tax Act at the applicable tax rates,” he said.

Tjombonde yesterday directed all media queries to Eiseb.

Eiseb, who told The Namibian this week that the board has given the purchase of executive vehicles its blessing, did not respond to questions about workers’ demand for bonuses.

“I can confirm that we have approved a vehicle scheme for executives. It is management that is required to consider the scheme and implement it,” he said on Monday.

The Namibian has seen another letter by Napwu addressed to police inspector general Joseph Shikongo, asking for the deployment of police officers at all NIP offices in the country.

The letter is dated 5 December.

Napwu deputy secretary general Mathew Ndeshikeya says he is aware of the planned demonstration.

“Yes, I have knowledge of the NIP demonstration. It is being organised by the regional offices, but I am still waiting for them to confirm with us feedback from the police,” he says.

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