WALVIS BAY- Parliamentarian Elma Dienda says society has lost respect for local fishermen because they cannot provide for their families as husbands should, due to their retainer salaries.
Dienda was addressing over 300 fishermen on Tuesday at Walvis Bay who are currently receiving N$4 000 despite not doing any actual work.
Some of the fishermen lost their jobs after the Fishrot scandal while others were dismissed after taking part in an illegal strike in 2015. However, the government in 2020 issued a directive that allowed the fishermen to be re-employed in the fishing sector.
Government allocates quotas to some of the companies that took in the fishermen, which enables them to receive the retainer fee.
However, Dienda said the N$4 000 retainers are degrading and strip the fishermen of their self-worth. As a result, she said, they are not respected by their families.
“It’s money given to them to shut up. How does one take care of a family with such an amount which is equivalent to some people’s medical aid contribution? No wife wants a man that stays at home while she works,” Dienda claimed.
She added that the plight of the fishermen has not been debated in parliament to this date, hence, a lasting solution is needed as productive men cannot be held hostage by a retainer.
“We need to find a lasting solution for you. There is no way that you can support your families with N$4 000. That is why your families have lost respect for you because you cannot take care of them,” Dienda told the fishermen.
According to her, she wants to table a motion in parliament so that the fishermen’s situation can be debated instead of “mini-meetings being held in the offices of ministers”.
“Let the public know about your concerns and let us get over it and solve it once and of all. Let parliament decide on your fate,” Dienda said.
Some fishermen also claim they are not receiving the N$4 000 anymore and their names have been removed from the master list.
According to Dansie Mohoka, some of them did not even receive the retainer and the jobs that were promised to them were not
“We were on the master list but were removed about three months ago. We have been sent from one office to another for months now but nobody can help us. We are literally on the street with our families,” he said.