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MPs want labour hire system abolished

Written by on April 26, 2024

Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) deputy leader Kalimbo Iipumbu and Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) lawmaker Hidipo Hamata are pushing for the parliament to discuss labour hire practices and to abolish them.

This comes after Iipumbu recently submitted a motion in the parliament, asking that the National Assembly discuss and find solutions to these practices.

Speaking in the parliament on Wednesday, Iipumbu said the country finds itself in an unfortunate predicament where politically connected individuals have established corporations in the sale of labour to multinational giants.

“But before I get deeper into the core of this motion, it is imperative to recognise the historical context of this issue: In the pre-colonial era, labour for hire resembled nothing short of slavery,” he said.

Iipumbu said the government allowing foreign companies, as well as a few politically connected Namibians, to engage in unfair contracts with the masses is unacceptable.

Kalimbo Iipumbu

“The rejection of this practice must come from all of us, despite our political affiliation. It should not be a matter of cheap political goal scoring.

“It is evident that these ‘contracts from hell’ strip workers of their rightful dues, leaving them without essential benefits such as pension, medical aid, housing and transport allowances,” he said.

Iipimbu said it is incumbent upon lawmakers and as representatives of the people, to address the “injustice” collectively, and to call upon the National Assembly to support the motion without political prejudice.

“It is our duty as lawmakers to judiciously examine how we can shield our people from exploitative labour for hire contracts, and to hold giant corporations accountable for the well-being of our workers,” he said.

He said the contractual clauses between workers and labour brokers have created the reality of “owning human beings as resources and goods” to not only be exploited, but to be told when and when not to exercise their rights.

Iipumbu called on the parliament to provide direction on what constitutes a fair contract.

“The fact is that the majority of workers who are suffering in retail outlets are those who have been forced out of desperation to enter slavish contracts with labour hire companies,” he said.

Hidipo Hamata


Supporting Iipumbu’s motion, Hamata said he is concerned about the deteriorating labour conditions and collective bargaining rights in Namibia.

“Our hard-working citizens continue to face mistreatment, poor working conditions, and meager wages, while the minister of labour, industrial relations and employment creation remains notably silent on these pressing issues,” he said.

Hamata said labour conditions in Namibia have worsened in recent years, with reports of employers exacerbating working conditions to save on severance payouts, forcing many workers to lack security and decent pay.

“In light of these challenges, I propose urgent measures to address the plight of Namibian workers. To begin with, every major business in our country should be mandated to pay workers a minimum of N$6 800 per month, plus medical aid, with contractual terms limited to one year,” he said.

Hamata added: “Additionally, a thorough investigation should be conducted into potential ministerial conflicts of interest, with severe consequences for those found guilty.

“Furthermore, I emphasise the need for comprehensive support for workers who have lost their jobs due to unfair treatment, including proper compensation and counselling.”


Employee Placement Services of Namibia, which is owned by Swapo member Gotty Ndjendjela, in March suspended 84 of its employees who took part in a protest organised by NEFF against unfair labour practices.

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