Namibians protest over Zimbabwean engineers

Namibians protest over Zimbabwean engineers
Published: 24 August 2017
AT least 29 Zimbabwean architects and quantity surveyors were exempted from registering with the Namibia Architects and Quantity Surveyors' Council, courting the ire of Namibians who felt the Zimbabweans received preferential treatment.

A cross section of Namibians are blaming their government for giving special treatment to Zimbabwean engineers while disregarding unemployed local engineers, quantity surveyors and architects.

Last week, the Engineering Professional Association submitted over 300 resumes of Namibian architects and quantity surveyors, who are unemployed, retrenched or misemployed, to the Ministry of Works and Transport.

The Namibian Society of Engineers argued that the expired memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Namibia and Zimbabwe should not be renewed because it had failed in its primary objective of skills transfer from seconded professionals to locals without even producing a single success story of the intended goals.

Zimbabwe and Namibia signed MoU in 2012 aimed at boosting local technical capacity through in-service training and mentorship recognisable by local professional bodies such that the trainees are eligible for registration as full professionals in future.

However, Namibia's Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya on Tuesday called for peace and urged his countrymen to desist from exhibiting xenophobic tendencies.

"We urge calm and trust that when the ministry, in conjunction with the Namibia Council of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (perhaps with the Engineering Council of Namibia), calls for a dialogue, there will be a date set aside, that those aggrieved can come out and contribute to the resolution of the matter for the long run," he said in a statement.

"As the economy mends, the truth is that many public contracts are put on hold until the authorities advise us otherwise. This cannot be cured by reliance on xenophobic mantra. We must train ourselves to do what others in other economies do  multi-skilling, and doing more with less," he added.

Tweya said Namibia is a product of international solidarity, and that many people from across the world would like to come to live in Namibia and build and expand the country.

"Namibians have their homes and careers all over the world. Others too should feel at home in Namibia, whilst we ensure that Namibians themselves feel at home in their own country side by side," he said.

According to the Namibia Council of Architects and Quantity Surveyors' records, 123 architects, 61 quantity surveyors, 63 architects and 85 quantity surveyors were in-training, bringing the total to 332.

Tweya indicated that of the 332, 199 were Namibian, 58 South African and 56 Zimbabwean  of whom nine are registered professionals while the others are all in-training, while 19 were Batswana, Zambian or Kenyan.

He also stated that there were 32 Namibians in training in the Ministry of Works and Transport.

A total of 22 Namibians are in Cyprus and 23 in Brazil undergoing qualifying training in architecture, quantity surveying or engineering.
- fingaz


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