Following a meeting over the alleged abuse of Rundu Service Station employees by their boss, a decision was taken by the Kavango East regional leadership to temporarily shut down the station, pending an investigation.
The meeting was held on Monday at the Rundu Regional Council to resolve matters on the whipping of workers at the Rundu Service Station.
The service station has since reopened.
Rundu Rural Constituency Councillor Paulus Mbangu said the behaviour of the manager is unacceptable, and characterised it as “inhumane” and “unfair” labour practices.
According to Mbangu, Total Service Station evokes powerful and painful memories of the abusive contract labour system which was part of practices inspired by policies of racial discrimination.
“It constitutes one of the deeply disturbing and shameful chapters in the book of injustices, indignities and inhumanities suffered by Namibians before independence.”
Mbangu said the current labour situation in the region is stressful, following the issue of Cash and Carry workers who were made to repackage expired food items into new packages.
“Democracy is not established by the announcement of fine words, but democracy is painstakingly rebuilt by working together in a constructive manner going forward. We will not allow leaders to mistreat workers. If this continues we will mobilise masses to close down this type of business.”
When approached on Saturday by representatives of the Metal and Allied Namibian Union, the workers claimed that it was all just a misunderstanding as they were taking part in a game. The Union has further requested for the service station to be investigated.
Mike Du Preez, the owner and manager of the Rundu Service Station, has since apologised for the inconvenience caused by the video that circulated on social media.
“First of all, I want to apologise to the leaders of the Kavango, then I want to apologise to my people, and then I want to apologise to Namibians and the nation for the thing I was doing wrong. Sometimes I wish I could talk about how my heart feels, but for the stupid mistake we were making, I apologise for that,” he said.
During the meeting that was held on Monday, Chairperson of the Kavango East Region Council, Damian Maghambayiurged the business community to collaborate with their employees.
“On behalf of all the leaders of the region, we are not happy about what has happened. That was a disgrace to the region and a disgrace to the country. It is also a violation of Article 8 of the Namibian Constitution,”Maghambayi said.
The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma has since given instructions to dispatch a team to Rundu to investigate the alleged beating of employees in exchange for loans.