Already struggling to remain financially afloat, the Namibia Football Association (NFA) last week suffered a massive blow at the office of the labour commissioner after arbitrator Liwela Sasele ordered the NFA to reinstate and pay hefty damages to former employee Werner ‘Kapepe’ Shikwambi, who was unfairly dismissed in 2020.
Shikwambi, who was represented by Kahiriri Labour and Sports Consultancy, has been in a protracted tug of war with the NFA following his dismissal as the association’s driver and messenger in 2020 for alleged gross insubordination. He was dismissed by NFA’s former secretary general Franco Cosmos in November 2020.
At the time, Cosmos accused Shikwambi of gross insubordination and undermining his authority.
In his body of evidence submitted to the office of the labour commissioner as part of his arguments, Cosmos said Shikwambi many a time failed to answer and return his calls and equally failed to diligently carry out all tasks as instructed by him.
On his part, through evidence submitted to the labour commissioner, Shikwambi disputed all allegations as put forth by Cosmos, saying Cosmos acted unreasonably and unprocedural in terminating his employment as NFA driver/messenger.
But after carefully studying all available evidence as deposited by both parties, arbitrator Sasele discovered that Shikwambi was dismissed without being given a disciplinary hearing and that altogether resulted in his dismissal being unprocedural and substantively unfair.
Sasele further ruled that Cosmos acted unfairly towards Shikwambi as failure to answer or return calls provides no sufficient grounds for dismissal, coupled with the fact that Cosmos failed to grant Shikwambi a disciplinary hearing before taking action.
In his final verdict delivered on Thursday, 15 September, Sasele ordered the NFA to reinstate Shikwambi on or before 26 September 2022 in his previous position of driver/messenger and to also pay him an amount of N$104,000 in back pay (N$6500 x 16 months), plus interest of 20% per annum reckoned as from 1 October 2022 as compensation for unfair dismissal.
“The amount referred to above is to be paid to the applicant on or before 14 October 2022. The applicant should report for duty at the respondent premises on 26 September 2022 as the respondent starts with its operations. I make no order as to costs and this matter is removed from the roll and considered finalised. This award is final and binding upon both parties and will be made an order of the labour court,” said Sasele.