Parking marshals strike over ‘illegal’ salary deductions

Photo: Shelleygan Petersen VA HANDUKA … Ovanailonga vomeepakinga dodoolopa yaVenduka ova hala omuyandji woilonga wavo Keyplots Investments (KPI), opo a fute oN$1500 yavo oyo va nanwa, tava ti kashi li paveta.

. . . Workers demand money back from ex-Swapo MP company boss

Parking marshalls of Keyplots Investments (KPI), which manages the Windhoek municipality’s parking collection, have stopped working after the company has deducted at least N$1 500 from their salaries of N$2 500 per month.

Keyplot Investments is fully owned by United Africa Group, which is co-owned by former Swapo member of parliament Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun.

The group of 23 parking marshals have accused the company of unlawfully deducting money from their wages without their consent.

This is not the first money it deducted from their salaries, they say.

Amounts deducted in December ranged from N$200 to N$600, while this increased to between N$1 500 and N$1 700 in January.

The employees say they were notified that the money deducted was to make up for a shortage in money they collected as parking marshals.

“This was done without our consent,” some of them told The Namibian yesterday.

The workers say they were appointed between March and June last year.

Their monthly salary is N$2 500 with no benefits, and they work from 06h30 until 18h30 (12 hours a day) from Monday to Friday.
“We will not give back their machines until they pay back our money,” the group said.

They were referring to the devices used to produce receipts and capture the amounts of money gathered for parking.

The workers blamed the company’s operations manager, David Angula, for the deductions, and claimed he also denies them paid leave.

Angula yesterday confirmed that deductions have been made and said employees have signed an acknowledgement of this.

“We have inspectors on site who ensure everybody gets their breaks. It is unfortunate they can’t all get the 13h00 lunch break at the same time.

“They are divided into shifts, which allow them to get breaks,” Angula said.

He said warnings are issued before an employee is dismissed, according to the company’s policies.

Angula said the amounts deducted depended on how much money went missing during individual workers’ shifts.

“They stole the company’s money and have acknowledged it, that’s why their salaries have been deducted [sic].

“I advise the employees to come to the office so we get into an agreement on the way forward,” he said.

The workers, however, say: “The manager [Angula] fires employees without due process of three warnings or disciplinary hearings, and he forces the workers to go on unpaid leave or refuses paid leave to be taken.”

They say they are insulted by Angula and are reprimanded when taking lunch or toilet breaks.
Shortages in parking fees collected occur due to system migration, they say.

Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun


Labour analyst Sydwill Scholtz says the Labour Act requires that deductions may only be made through a court order or an agreement between employers and employees.

“With that comes the responsibility of employers to produce a written statement of the payment made. This is what is referred to as a payslip.

“In addition to the above, the Labour Act 11 of 2007 requires that not more than one third of the basic wage of an employee may be used for such deductions,” Scholtz says.

N$1 500 is 60% of N$2 500, which is in contravention of the act, he says.

“Employers have the right to investigate and discipline workers who fall foul of the required level of conduct or standard of care, but this should be done with due process and must also be conducted fairly at all times.

“Therefore, an investigation into where shortages may have come from should be conducted, and based on the outcome thereof, if money is lost by employees, disciplinary steps can be taken against them for the losses, and agreements can be reached regarding the repayment of the losses,” he says.

Scholtz says if the employees work 12 hour shifts without being declared as security guards, 15 of their 60 hours for the week would be deemed as overtime.

This should also be indicated as such on employees’ payslips, he says.

“In addition, the Labour Act specifically allows employees an hour lunch break, following five hours of continuous work. These rights are explained under employees’ basic conditions of employment, which each and every employer in the country must comply with – unless exemption on very specific grounds and for specific times are granted as the circumstances may dictate,” Scholtz says.

KPI was appointed by the Windhoek Municipal Council to manage and maintain specific parking areas within Windhoek’s central business district for five years.

On 19 June last year, KPI commenced managing areas, including the city parkade (adjacent to Town Square) and the parking area opposite Windhoek Police Station.

Parking rates are charged according to the location of the parking area at N$8, N$5 or N$3 per hour.

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