KEETMANSHOOP - Residents of Tses village locked the gates to Nowak Primary School out of frustration after a ‘struggle kid’ was apparently hired as a cleaner by the school while the vacancy was allegedly not advertised to also give locals a chance to apply.
The community members locked the gates in the early hours of Thursday morning, and teachers and learners were unable to enter when they turned up at the school, as they were greeted by angry and frustrated residents who held a peaceful demonstration to express their dissatisfaction that a cleaner’s job was given to ‘an outsider’ while there are many unemployed people at the village.
A concerned resident, Niklaas Hanse, told New Era the community cannot understand why and how the education ministry can hire someone from nowhere to come and do work that so many local residents can do, and that this was even done without the vacancy being advertised to give the locals a fair chance to apply, saying the woman was handpicked simply because she is a so-called ‘struggle kid’.
“You want to tell me there are no people here capable of taking a mop or broom to sweep? Now you bring someone because they were born in Angola to come and water plants and sweep the floors, while we have so many young unemployed people here that can do that,” he stated.
He said the community will not rest until such injustices are fixed, demanding that the ministry put the vacancy on hold as the community will not allow the hired cleaner to work while she was hired in a dubious way.
“We do not have a problem with the woman, she can work but only until the end of this year, because we will not allow her to come back here next year,” he said. Two of the protesters were arrested by the police during the demonstration, but were later released with a stern warning after a meeting between community members, police and education ministry officials.
//Kharas Regional Director of Education, /Awebahe //Hoeseb, in an interview with New Era said he was on the ground and received the protesters’ petition, and that the situation has gone back to normal and teaching and learning is expected to resume today, adding that he will forward the petition to the relevant authorities.
“The situation was diffused, we received a petition from the youth and I am going to forward it to the relevant authorities to deal with that – they have agreed to open the gates and their demand is that the person that was appointed only work until the end of the year, and then we have to appoint someone from Tses or within the constituency,” he said.
He said he had explained to the protesters that the vacancies were not advertised because they were filled after a cabinet resolution to identify positions that can be filled by ‘struggle kids’, and that the ministry was simply implementing a cabinet resolution and he does not have the power to change any directive from Cabinet.
“These positions were made in terms of section 5 of the public service act which gives the PM a mandate to appoint in the public service – it was a directive that they be placed, and it is a countrywide effort, and in the interest of the state, we all know the ‘struggle kids’ are demanding to be given jobs,” he said.