Foreign engineers’ fate sealed

22 September 2017 Author  
Fifty-seven foreign engineers, who were in the country under an expired bilateral agreement between Namibia and Zimbabwe, have been given until the end of December,
2017 to leave the country after Cabinet decided against extending their contracts.
The engineers, who had been given a three-month extension on their contracts while Government was deliberating on their future in the country, were informed last week that they have until the end of this year to put their houses in order and leave the country.
Their contracts expired in May this year.
The move by Government comes after pressure from civic groups and general public outcry led by the Namibian Society of Engineers, whose members recently protested in front of the Ministry of Works and Transport offices against the continued employment of the Zimbabwean engineers at the expense of qualified Namibian engineers.
 The young engineers read out a letter to works Permanent Secretary, Willem Goeiemann, before leaving about 300 CVs for employment consideration though the PS stated that there were no jobs available for them.
The demonstration was triggered by the decision of Works and Transport Minister  Alpheus !Naruseb, who had written to the Namibia Architects and Quantity Surveyors’ Council, instructing it to  exempt at least 29 Zimbabwean architects and quantity surveyors from registering with the regulatory body.
Last month, the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, wrote in a statement that Cabinet was reviewing the expired five year MoU.
In the statement, Tweya said Cabinet had instructed the Ministry of Works and Transport to consult with relevant authorities to determine whether there was still a need for the expatriates.
Speaking in an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, Goeiemann refused to comment on the issue, referring the matter to the Attorney General, Sackeus Shangala who was not available for comment by the time of going to print.

However, some of the Zimbabwean engineers, who are set to leave the country in December, confirmed the reports.
One of the foreign engineers, who came to Namibia in 2012 with his family, said that they had been told in a meeting on Thursday last week that their contracts will not be renewed.
He said that he knew it was inevitable that they would at some point have to leave. The engineer, who did not want to be named, said he was, however, grateful for the opportunity that had been availed to him in the past five years.
“The Namibian Government has been very kind to us and we are very grateful. It is a pity that we now have to leave, we will definitely miss this country,” the engineer said.
Others said they had already started looking for other opportunities in other countries such as Australia and Canada.
About 19 engineers will remain in Namibia, as per the bi-lateral treaty terms, until their contracts expire in 2019.
The engineers that will be leaving in December 2017 are qualified in civil/structural, electrical, mechanical, quantity surveying and architecture. 
The Zimbabwean Embassy in Windhoek was also not available for comment at the time of going to print.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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