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Sport ministry, NSC rebuff unpaid drivers

2021-05-20  Otniel Hembapu

Sport ministry, NSC rebuff unpaid drivers

For almost five months now, six bus drivers who transported athletes and officials to and from last year’s MTC Namibia Youth Games held at Rietfontein, are still unpaid for the services rendered and have been knocking on the doors of the sports ministry and the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC), but to no avail.

The drivers are each owed N$3 000 for extra work done during the youth games, such as undertaking unplanned trips to transport various regions to and from the multi-sports youth competition. In total, the six are owed a combined N$18 000 for extra services rendered.

Upon agreeing to do extra work during the youth games, each driver was on 18 December 2020 served with a commitment letter by the NSC, wherein NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya undertook that the sports ministry, through the sports commission, would facilitate the payments.

Since then, the drivers are yet to receive their outstanding monies and have for months been kicking their heels in sheer frustration with no solution in sight. 

The disgruntled drivers are Hafeni Kaukungwa, Ndara Matheus, Willibard Jason, Muharukua Kavari and Urbans Kazombaue.  

“To some, N$3 000 might sound like peanuts but we are just drivers and that money means a lot to us. We have families to feed, it’s not fair. I mean, we worked and delivered on the assignments they gave us during the youth games, so why is it an issue to pay us now? The sport commission says they are not responsible for paying the outstanding money; we should apparently go to the sport ministry, as they are the ones who are supposed to pay us. It is really a very frustrating process. It is disheartening and disappointing that we have to run around this long just to collect our money. Are you really telling me that the ministry and sports commission don’t have money to pay each driver N$3 000? That can’t be true. Or is it because we are just mere drivers and therefore can’t be taken serious?” asked one of the discontented drivers.

On his part, Mwiya distanced himself from the drivers’ ongoing displeasure, saying the sports commission only facilitated the process of the drivers working extra hours during the youth games at Rietfontein, but the arrangement was that payment would be made by the ministry and not the NSC.

“We don’t owe them anything, the agreement was for the ministry to honour those extra hours they worked. We paid them the amount that the commission had owed them, which was for them to transport athletes and officials to and from Rietfontein where the event took place. For the extra work done by the drivers, the ministry had agreed to pay. They must go to the ministry and ask their money there; we don’t owe them,” Mwiya told New Era Sport.

Questions sent to the sport ministry were not replied to at the time of going to print, despite having been given over two days to respond and state their position.

2021-05-20  Otniel Hembapu

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