Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – The government is seeking a new partner who will be able to provide active employment to the 612 Okapare fishermen. This follows after the fisheries ministry opted not to renew the current employment contract with the Cavema joint venture that was paying the fishermen an allowance of N$4 000 for the past two years.
The ministry last week requested proposals from the fishing industry players that would be able to provide active employment for the fishermen.
The fishermen have been employed for the past two years by the joint venture, following a Cabinet directive to re-employ the over 1 100 fishermen as government’s intervention after they lost their jobs through an illegal strike.
The government allocated a horse mackerel and hake quota for their re-employment; however, both contracts will come to an end on 31 December. However, the relationship turned sour, resulting in the fishermen resigning from the joint venture in October this year, saying they are being paid a mere N$4 000 and they are not doing any actual job.
Fisheries minister Derek Klazen during his annual address for the industry earlier said the government is doing everything possible to get the group of fishermen employed.
“Unfortunately, the companies have been struggling to find active employment for the fishermen since the deal was struck. As a ministry, we need to see how many people are not going to be gainfully employed when we sit with the companies; the ministry does not have work for those people; the only people who possibly have work for them are the industries themselves,” he said.
According to the expression of interest, the fisheries ministry is seeking a partner that can offer benefits, salaries and permanent employment to the fishermen either on vessels, in processing factories or within the fisheries supply chain.
“The interested companies should be able to prove they are right holders, proof they have vacant positions, provide evidence of ownership as well as plans to acquire more vessels,” the notice reads.
The closing date for submissions is 9 December 2022.