Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Namibia: NBC Strike, Rural Communities Suffer Most

Windhoek — The NBC nationwide strike, which is now in its sixth day, has become a cause for serious concern, especially for rural communities across the country who depend on its services.

By the time of going to print there was no confirmation that the NBC strike would be on the agenda of today's Cabinet meeting.

The NBC's Director General (DG), Albertus Aochamub, said he hoped the strike would be tabled in the Cabinet meeting and said it ought to be treated as a matter of "urgency". Minister of Information and Communication Technology,  Joël Kaapanda, did not want to comment on the issue yesterday, asking New Era to call back today.

The DG said the issue has also been brought to the urgent attention of the Office of the President, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General's office.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Nahas Angula said he had no information about the NBC strike and had received only conflicting reports from the Ministry of Information and Ministry of Finance, and stopped short of elaborating. He said he had no instructions to intervene in the matter.

Angula said that the problem with State-Owned Enterprises (SOE's) was that their boards sometimes think that they are powers unto themselves and often sign agreements with trade unions without consulting the ministers.

"They can't deal like that, they are supposed to engage all parties involved," said the PM. He said that some people were sending SMSes to media houses saying that they do not want the NBC, but fail to think about those in rural areas.

People living in rural areas say that their lives have come to a standstill since NBC employees went on strike last Wednesday, leaving listeners and viewers high and dry.

Many rural communities have been hard hit by the strike, since they can no longer access information on community meetings, death or funeral announcements and other pertinent information that they used to receive through radio.

"We have had a lot of complaints coming in since NBC went dead," said Vetaruhe Kandorozu, Okakarara Regional Councillor.

He said many pensioners are in the dark about where to go for their monthly pension payouts, while those who want to buy or sell cattle at auctions have no idea where the next auction is taking place.

(Source : New Era via allAfrica.com)


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