By: Kelvin Chiringa
Outrage has hit the struggling Roads Contractor Company (RCC) after it emerged that the interim Chief Executive Officer, Maria Nakale, has two jobs, pocketing two salaries from the state entity and the Retirement Funds Institute of Namibia (RFIN).
Employees have asked Nakale to step down amidst concerns that she executed an unfair board decision to cut employee benefits while her salary remained untouched.
The interim CEO reportedly comes to week sometimes in the afternoon hours and leaves at night-time, having spent the first part of the day at (RFIN).
When contacted for comment, Nakale said she was not in a position to discuss the terms of her contract.
“With regards to the contracts between the two entities, it’s really not for public discussion. I am a professional. And if you want to know anything about the working engagement, you can engage the clients that I am engaging with. In fact, I do not know why you want to discuss my contractual arrangement as a professional.”
With RCC currently in dire financial straits and having escaped the grim possibility of liquidation at the back of intense lobbying that the company was no longer financially sound, there is a strong feeling that her divided attention to the entity will further drive it into the abyss.
Founded in 1990, the RFIN on its website recognises itself as a non-political body that represents and promotes the interest of the retirement industry.
While Nakale could not justify why she was working at two companies at one go, a call to RFIN by The Villager established that indeed she holds an executive role there.
“Maria Nakale is not in office. Yes, she does work here. Can you call tomorrow morning at least before 10 O’clock?” an RFIN employee said telephonically.
Pressed on why she was not in the office at 3:49 pm, she said Nakale could be on another business.
In the meantime, Nakale has distanced herself from the decision to keep her salary intact while cutting employee benefits, saying that the instruction came from the board of directors.
“Issues of employee benefits are not decided by a CEO. Issues of policies are board prerogatives. I was requested to implement board decisions, and that is exactly what I have done.
Two weeks ago, employees staged a demonstration against Nakale, calling for her to step down and accusing her of making decisions without consulting their union, the Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN).
“That protest was about cutting employees’ benefits, and the feeling is that this was made to supplement her salary and that of the Chief Finance Officer. These decisions were taken two months of her coming in. She has indicated to the union that the company is not sustainable. Yet, she never touched her salary,” a source who declined to be named for fear of retribution commented.
Other RCC employees expressed that they last got a raise in 2016.
The current RCC CFO, Matti Kaapangelwa, has also been accused of continuing to work without a contract, but he came out to refute this.
“There is no truth to that. You know we have had difficulties at RCC, but for someone to escalate and say that. Ok, who said that? Because I am at work right now, you are calling me. I am in RCC right now. Those allegations are purely unsubstantiated,” he said.
Pressed on how he was working with an interim CEO that was jumping between two-day jobs, he said, “I can’t comment on that.”
Pressed on whether Nakale was coming to work in the afternoon and missing in the mornings, he said, “We work on flexible hours. She also attends to work as and when her duties allow her, but for someone to say…that is not correct, people need to get their facts right.”