By: Kelvin Chiringa
Menzies Aviation, which has been doing ground handling services at the Hosea Kutako International Airport, has until Thursday, the end of business day, to vacate the airport premises or face forced eviction, according to a High Court ruling delivered this Wednesday.
The United Kingdom-based company whose contract ends this Thursday has lost out on the airport deal to a Namibian company, Paragon Investment Holdings, co-owned by Desmond Amunyela.
Paragon has partnered with Ethiopian Airlines. Menzies says on its website that it started operating in Edinburgh way back in 1833.
However, Paragon’s arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport has divided public opinion, with a section of the Windhoek business community expressing that they do not have aviation experience.
Another section expressed relief with the fact that the tender has now been passed on to a company run by locals and partnering with an African top-of-range brand, Ethiopian Airlines.
The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) gave Paragon the tender last year in a process in which Menzies Aviation came out complaining, alleging that the tender itself was irregularly and unlawfully processed.
The company then brought an application before the High Court for the tender to be set aside, which is now dead in the water.
High Court Judge Orben Sibeya ruled that the company must vacate the airport premises, failure of which may see the deputy sheriff marching them out.
In the meantime, Amunyela has expressed that those questioning why and how Paragon has got the tender are clouded by “self-doubt which is what has kept us where we are”.
He said, “apartheid in nature was designed to be in perpetuation. It was designed to doubt yourself.”
He has asked those criticising the deal to come to his office so they can observe how Paragon is working.
“The Nuyomas and the Ya Toivos must be smiling broadly because this is exactly the exemplification of what it means when we say the economic struggle is now. It’s pointless for us to continue believing in others if we fought to self-determine in every regard.”
“Paragon is committed to bringing about a fundamental change so that Namibia belongs to Namibia and Namibians are responsible for all and sundry. We are 32 years old; we cannot be having excuses on why we are not capable of handling aircraft, landing and departing. It’s laughable for a country that is 32 years old that you still have to depend on other people for these services,” Amunyela said.
He added, “If you look at all these foreign (companies) that have operated here, in most cases their staff complement will be 95 per cent if not more Namibians and they will have one person from outside doing the coordination or in most cases leading, and then they take all the money out, lost to Namibia”.