Namibia
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No water, medical aid for TransNamib employees

TransNamib’s financial troubles continue as the company has failed to keep up with medical aid contributions, water supply at its head office has been cut off and refuse has not been collected.

TransNamib’s water supply was suspended two weeks ago due to its N$8-million debt, while it has allegedly failed to pay employees’ medical aid contributions for the past three months.

The company spends between N$3 million and N$4 million on roughly 700 employees.

Renaissance Health Medical Aid Fund on Monday in a letter informed TransNamib’s workers of the suspension of their medical aid memberships, stating it was a critical matter.

“It is with a sense of urgency, yet with the utmost respect and sensitivity for your situation, that we approach you regarding a crucial matter concerning your membership with Renaissance Health Medical Aid Fund,” the letter reads.

“Your employer, TransNamib, has not been paying your medical aid premiums as per fund rules.”

The fund told the employees of the consequences of the failure to pay contributions.

“The fund rules clearly stipulate that unpaid contributions by members or employer groups for more than 90 days will result in the suspension and ultimate termination of membership,” the letter reads.

Therefore the medical aid fund told the employees that they are “left with no choice but to suspend your membership effective 24 July 2023”.

The letter ends with the fund telling the workers they are busy working on the matter with TransNamib’s executive team.

“Rest assured, we will continue to explore all possible avenues with TransNamib’s management,” the letter states.

TransNamib was one of the Windhoek municipality’s victims of water cuts due to outstanding accounts.

The company’s refuse has also not been removed.

According to a well placed source at the municipality, rubbish removal services were suspended over two weeks ago.

The company, which owes N$8 million, has allegedly failed to meet a settlement obligation of N$3,5 million. City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye said they could not confirm or deny this due to the municipality’s non-disclosure policy. An employee of TransNamib, however, said the municipal services have been discontinued.

This comes as analysts earlier this year warned that TransNamib is going down the same road as the liquidated Air Namibia.

TransNamib spokesperson Abigail Raubenheimer said the company is aware of the letter from the medical aid company.

“We are aware of the communication circulating to TransNamib employees with regards to the medical aid and the company is busy addressing the issue,” she responded yesterday.

Raubenheimer said they will give a detailed response on the company’s financial position and the water and refuse situation today.

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) researcher Frederico Links in May said over the last decade or so the various boards and management teams implicated in poorly and wastefully governing and managing TransNamib have largely escaped accountability.

To Links this displays the same timeline of events which led to Air Namibia’s demise.

Raubenheimer has in the past said the parastatal and the government have developed a strategy to transform the company.

“Having secured funding, TransNamib is working towards increasing its capacity, which will enable the company to move more freight and provide a reliable service that will move it towards sustainability,” she told IPPR.

Last August, the company’s board chairperson, Lionel Matthews, wanted N$175 million for the parastatal to carry out some of its short-term activities.

He said in the long term, the government plans to invest N$2,2 billion in the provision and upgrade of rail infrastructure for the 2022/23 to 2024/25 period, following on the N$1,3 billion for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 period.

In the 2018/19 financial year, TransNamib made a loss of N$80,3 million on revenue of N$517,8 million.

Minister of finance and public enterprises Iipumbu Shiimi last September said TransNamib’s assets were valued at N$2 billion.