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Unam claims employment of law student is mistake

2018-12-17  Selma Ikela

Unam claims employment of law student is mistake

Onesmus Embula and Selma Ikela

WINHDOEK – The job security of an administrative officer employed at the Language Centre of the University of Namibia (Unam) is under threat after the institution of higher learning told her she was ‘employed by mistake.’ 

Elizabeth Ramakutla, 27, was permanently employed into her position since February this year but the acting deputy director at the centre now claims her contract was given to her by ‘mistake’ because the position was not advertised. 

However, Ramakutla says Unam advertisements, recruitment and selection policy and procedures state that advertising is not obligatory. 
“If there is particular need not to advertise a vacant post, special justification must be submitted to the human resources directorate for approval,” reads a section of the policy.

Ramakutla who is a final year law student at the institution has been employed on a contract basis since 2016, until she was permanently employed this year. She assists the centre with administrative duties including the registration of students and handling students’ inquiries.
Additionally, she took it upon herself to resurrect the Reading Room area located on the second floor of the Language Centre to be operational for students to study during examinations, which the management wants closed.  

She says the university library is in most cases full and the 24 hours reading area is noisy and not safe for students, hence she pitched through the office of dean of students to open a conducive studying unit for students, which was initially in dilapidated state. Things turned worse two months ago, when language centre acting director Jill Izaks, by then, ordered that the area should be closed. To this end, Ramakutla refuses to hand over the keys to the management.

In a letter dated September 14, Ramakutla wrote to Izaks, stating that she met in the office of the director with technical officer, a certain Gotti Katupose to clarify why she does not get paid and to confirm whether she is a recognised employee of the University of Namibia.
“I was asked why I do not claim and I informed them that I cannot claim as this would be me contradicting myself. I will be contradicting myself because I signed a permanent contract of employment with the university and I am thus expecting a monthly salary. I continued to tell the story of how the Human Resource assistant ill-treated me and told me that I will never get a job at the university even while a contract had already been entered into by the university and myself,” stated Ramakutla.

However, contacted for comment, Izaks insisted the institution’s public relations division provide briefing on the matter. 
Unam spokesperson John Haufiku confirmed the incident, saying the misunderstanding is being rectified. 
Ramakutla further plans to take up legal actions with the Office of the Labour Commissioner. 

“My supervisors are in this regard acting illegally, in bad faith and against the Labour Act no 11 of 2007, therefore it is common law that I may not take accountability for their errors,” she stated. 

2018-12-17  Selma Ikela

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