A pressure group under the banner Kaoko Civil Society Organisation (Kaciso), established two years ago to promote the interests of indigenous communities in Kaoko [present day northern Kunene], has issued a stern warning to Kunene Regional Council over what they call unfair practices in tender and job opportunities.
According to its interim spokesperson Monica Tjizembisa said Kaciso is concerned with how the Regional Council has been awarding bids to particular firms at the detriment of others.
In an interview with The Villager, Tjizembisa expressed the organisation’s discontent with many anomalies uncovered at regional chambers, including the granting of bids to foreigners and the employment of outsiders at the expense of locals.
She claims that the majority of the region’s senior posts are held by persons who are not from Kunene, and that skilled locals are being purposely excluded for reasons unknown to them.
“Most high-level positions, if not all, are occupied by people who are not originally from this region; sometimes they are transferred from other regions to come work here; or they apply for positions and are hired at the expense of the residents. Regional tenders are not in our hands; and if you look at regional tenders, they have been awarded to one company since 2020,” she explained.
Among the tenders making a stir is the Septic tank, which was one of the main tenders in the region that lasted three years and attracted more than 20 local companies, but none of these companies were selected.
She said they [Kaciso]had ended up writing a complaint letter to the Chief Regional Officer, who referred their demands to the review panel, where they were subsequently informed that they did not qualify.
Tjizembisa also addressed the education sector, stating that lower schools have been employing people who do neither write nor speak most of the local vernaculars, which is a prerequisite at lower primary level.
“A person who cannot say good morning in Otjiherero is in charge of that school, so we don’t know if this is just being done here in Kaoko. So the region ends up employing the wrong people who are even not benefiting the learners,”she charged.
Tjizembisa said while her organisation is not opposed to recruiting outsiders, it is important to prioritise hiring from within the region unless the needed talents are not available.
“Where we do not have expertise in the region, we could source from other regions or even internationally,” she said. “However, where we have our own local people who are able to do the job, why can’t we employ them and see if they can do the jobs or not,” she added.
Tjizembisa stated that this will give residents control over their areas.
Opuwo Urban Constituency Councillor, Ueutjerevi Ngunaihe said Kaciso’s outcry is not the first from the community of Kunene North. He too believes that there have been discrepancies in the tendering processes where only a few companies are benefiting leaving others without getting a even a piece of the regional cake.
Ngunaihe also said that even though towns such as Opuwo are now growing where everyone has the right to settle regardless of tribe and origin, awarding of tenders should be practised impartially to avoid such outcries in future.
Attempts to get response from the office of the Chief Regional Officer proved futile as his phone went answered.