• June 17th, 2019
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NWR MD Hengari challenges contract non-renewal

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa & Selma Ikela
WINDHOEK – Lawyers representing Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Managing Director Zelna Hengari have sought answers on the manner the company’s has resolved not to renew her contract.

Sisa Namandje, her legal representative, accused the board of having not applied its mind on the matter and also did so without a fair and comprehensive review and assessment of her work. The board  is further not entitled to take such kind of decision on a round-robin resolution and acted irrationally and in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution, Namandje argued.  Hengari earlier this year received a letter from the NWR board that her contract will not be renewed when it ends on 15th July this year.

But Namandje in the letter advised the board not to take any action in pursuance of its notice to Hengari, as she was still consulting counsel for final advice on the legality of the notice and remedies that she might have.   
NWR board chairperson Leonard Iipumbu in the letter said: “In terms of clause 3.3 of your contract of employment, the employers should give the employee six months’ written notice in the event that the employer elects not to renew the contract employment.” 

“Advertisement for the position of managing director shall take place in accordance with applicable laws and policies of the company, should you elect to apply for the position, it is within your discretion to do so,”Iipumbu said.
NWR last year announced that, under Hengari’s leadership, it has increased its revenue to N$361 million in the 2017/18 financial year, up from N$339 million in prior year.

The company also said at the time that since 2015, it did take any new loans loan or received any subsidy or bailout from government. Hengari became MD in mid-2014. The company has also started paying N$1 million a month to the ministry of finance, to settle debts owed to the Receiver of Revenue.

Having received the corporate leader of the year award in 2016 and steering the company to receiving a customer satisfactory award last year from the Office of the Prime Minister, Hengari and her lawyers believe there is a case for renewal.

When contacted for comment yesterday, Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste said: “I have not seen this [non-renewal notice] but this is the prerogative of the board. If they have informed the MD that the contract will not be renewed, it doesn’t translate into a dismissal but simply a notice to inform the MD of their intentions to not renew”. 
“I’m sure that the board will have good reasons for exercising this right and that they are convinced that this is in the best interest of the company,” he added.

Hengari’s line minister Pohamba Shifeta – of the environment and tourism portfolio - yesterday said the matter of managing the company is a baby of the board of directors. 

“The board appoints the managing director or CEO. In terms of the NWR Act, the minister only endorses that decision or varies it. The notice is given by the board not by the ministry,’ he said.

He continued: “The minister appoints the board and the board appoints the management. As a minister my duty is to review the process undertaken by the board of director that it is fair to the concerned MD or CEO. If it is found that the process is flawed or not fair that is where the minister or shareholder intervene to rectify,” he added. 

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2019-02-08 09:55:54 4 months ago

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