The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has lashed out at the now defunct Air Namibia’s liquidators for selling off some aircrafts to WestAir while ex-workers of the national airline have bemoaned being kept in the dark about the purchase.
SPYL’s Ephraim Nekongo said that the transaction reinforces the suspicion that Air Namibia was allowed to go under the hammer so as to pave way for a privately run airline.
“The Swapo Party Youth League is saddened to learn that the planes that belonged to our now liquidated national airline – Air Namibia, are now being sold to WestAir. We have always maintained that the liquidation of Air Namibia was a concocted move to pave a way for a private airline, at the expense of our National Airline.”charged Nekongo, the SPYL’s secretry.
“Like the nation at large as well as the Swapo-affiliated NUNW, we relentlessly fought and objected to the liquidation of Air Namibia with the understanding of saving the jobs of our people, and to let the state to continue playing an active role in the economy of our country by owning strategic assets such as an airline, as provided for in the preamble of the SWAPO Party Constitution,” he said.
Nekongo said that they went as far as meeting president Hage Geingob in October 2020.
He said that the matter was then referred to the prime minister, the minister of finance, the minister of public enterprises at the time, the minister of works and transport and the director of the national planning commission, who subsequently resolved to liquidate Air Namibia, a decision that went on to be endorsed by cabinet.
“We have warned government throughout that the private airlines will take over Namibia’s commercial airspace, and monopolise it to amass maximum profits at the expense of our people. Today we are shocked to hear that they are buying assets of Air Namibia such as planes, even though during the liquidation talks, GRN have assured us without any fear of contradiction that all the planes will be reserved, and GRN will do everything in its power to bring back a national airline.
“We will continue to stand firm that the deliberate liquidation of Air Namibia was a willful move to surrender our air space to the private sector, so that they exert monopoly over that sector, and charge our people exorbitant amounts in flight tickets,” he said.
The youthful politician said they have hopes that a resolution to bring back the airline will be taken as per Swapo’s 7th ordinary congress.
“We are also worried by the capitalist approach recently employed by GRN in dealing with our parastatals, contrary to the ideology and elections manifesto of the Swapo Party. We therefore hope that the State will continue to play a role expected of it by the people,” he said.
In the meantime, a representative of more than 500 ex-Air Namibia employers who have been battling to be paid their N$105 million worth of severance packages said they have been kept in the dark about the aircraft purchase.
“We did receive severance packages already, paid in December last year. However, they were reduced amounts that were paid out. So, we are currently having a dispute at the Master of the High Court for the rest of the monies to be paid out because these amounts were reduced without our knowledge.”
“With regards to aircrafts or assets being sold, there is no communication to us as the preferred creditor. The former workers are preferred creditors, which means we need to get paid first before any other creditor. We have not been party to any assets sold or anything like that, so we donot know,” the representative said.
“If an asset is sold undervalued or whatever, that might affect the amount that is due to you. But like I said, we donot know of that, we have not been privy to any of the information.It has not been shared with us. The bottom line is that we are just there to get what is owed to us for the number of years that we worked and nothing more, nothing less. That is what we are fighting now,” he said.