Teachers being evicted from government hostels- Nantu

The Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) has claimed that regional directors of education are mistreating teachers staying at government hostels while some are being evicted.

Speaking at a press conference held at their union offices, Nantu Secretary General, Basilius Haingura, said, “Teacher accommodation has been a stumbling block in our quest for equitable deployment of teachers, hence lack of the provision of equitable quality education for all in the Namibian education system.”

The union also said this situation is being supported by the permanent secretary in the education ministry.

When The Villager contacted Sanet Steenkamp, she could not comment as she was on leave and questions sent to the acting PS went unanswered by the time of publication.

The union said it was not in support of teachers that resided for free at such abodes and expects that each non-essential boarder living in the hostel should pay the required rental amount as determined by government.

Nantu said these evictions are ongoing in spite of the availability of accommodation space.

Haingura could not provide this publication with the number of teachers that have been kicked off premises so far, neither could he provide information on in which areas these cases have been reported.

“We have the number but that may cause a national issue,” he said over the phone.

He said Nantu only established upon inquiries that regional directors of education and school managements were responsible for the eviction of staff members.

Haingura also said that such evictions have received the support of unnamed ministry officials who claim that the decision was made by the ministerial policy coordinating committee to cut costs.

“Nantu will not support any cost saving measures that undermine the provision of equitable quality education, and non-adherence to procedures, as provided for in the hostel guide. Therefore, the union will not support any malpractices aimed at frustrating teachers not to focus on the core duties. We further demand that the ministry defends its policies when someone follows the correct procedures and not the contrary,” he said.

The union also expressed dismay at the office of the prime minister for allegedly allowing unfair labour practices where certain teachers were not receiving benefits.

“The issue is that staff members in the same Job Grade do not receive similar fringe benefits such as a car and allowances. Nantu has engaged the office of the prime minister through its representatives in an attempt to resolve the situation of staff members in Job Grade 5,” said Haingura.

“This attitude might result in a declaration of a dispute as the union cannot and will not tolerate unfair labour practice,” he said.