March 20, 2002

Unionists disagree on AirNam deal

National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) President Risto Kapenda and his Secretary General Ranga Haikali appear to be set on a collision course. Kapenda has vowed to fight the recent privatisation of Air Namibia of which Haikali has been drafted into management. Kapenda said on March 19 that as head of the trade union federation he was not aware of the deal. The NUNW's investment arm, Labour Investment Holdings (LIH), is said to hold a 10 per cent stake in the new airline. He also said he was not aware of Haikali's appointment to a three-person management team which will take over the running of Air Namibia from April 1 2002 until the completion of the privatisation process on July 1.

"We have not approved for any parastatal to be privatised. We are going to fight it ... privatisation of Government entities will definitely not be allowed. It is a big no to privatisation," Kapenda said. He said "only the state should remain the sole owner of Air Namibia". Kapenda said the privatisation of State-owned enterprises only meant the further enrichment of a few individuals who were already rich.

In terms of the privatisation deal announced by Air Namibia Chairman Vekuii Rukoro, effective July 1, Government will slash its shareholding in the airline from 100 per cent to 25 per cent, South African Airlink will be the new majority shareholder with a 40 per cent stake. A local private airline, Comav, will have a 15 per cent stake and LIH 10 per cent. In addition, airline employees will have a 10 per cent stake. (THE NAMIBIAN)

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