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No Confidence In Labour Ministry Says NEFF…As Cheetah Cement Is Shut Down Again

Staff writer

Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) deputy leader Kalimbu Iipumbu says they see no confidence in the labour ministry.

This comes as, on Tuesday, the labour, industrial relations and employment creation ministry once again ordered Whale Rock Cement (Cheetah Cement) to stop carrying out operational activities at the mining area at night.

Earlier this year, the company was shut down over employee safety concerns.

“When we say our people are being exploited, we ought to see the practical exercise that is being done, particularly by the Chinese. We visited the Cheetah Cement early this year when the Chinese nationals without documents were arrested and deported. We called on the labour ministry to look into the matter and go down and make sure that all required practices were being met. We see confidence in the ministry, particularly that minister of labour. That minister is useless. The President must even recall that minister,” Iipumbu told The Villager.

The ministry announced that Cheetah Cement’s shut down is to be between 18h00-06h00. The company is also ordered to stop operating a certain forklift.

Iipumbu argued that the company should not have been shut down only between the announced hours but should have been completely shut down.

“We have tried to make programmes so that we can see the management of Cheetah Cement. We are not against the Chinese people. But the Chinese should respect the laws, principles and rights of the Namibian people. We have been trying to make an appointment through the ministry, but the ministry has been refusing,” Iipumbu said.

The ministry’s order to partially shut down the company came into effect from 19 August 2022 until the company installs sufficient light and the forklift is serviced to the satisfaction of a designated labour inspector.

This order is barely issued after three months when Whale Rock Cement PTY LTD was ordered by this ministry to cease its operations at some areas of its mine due to non-compliance with occupational safety and health standards on 10 May.

“This ultimatum was later withdrawn by the ministry on 23 May 2022 after the ministry conducted follow-up inspections and was satisfied with the level of compliance as well as arrangements that were put in place.

“After the order to resume with its operation in May 2022, the ministry has been conducting follow-up inspections

to ensure continued compliance with the OSH Standards at the mine. The ministry, however, identified the afore-mentioned shortcomings that led to the current order,” said the labour ministry’s acting executive director Balbina Dae Pienaar.

During this period, all affected employers are entitled to full


“The issue of occupational safety and health is non-negotiable,” the ministry said.

“Non-compliance with the provisions of OSH put workers at risk, resulting in non-reversible and mostly regrettable consequences which sometimes may even lead to injuries and worse of all fatalities.

“Employers are once again reminded that it remains their legal duty to ensure that their workplaces are safe at all


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