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Mineworkers in Namibia Elect New Leaders

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4 October, 2010

A new slate of officers won election at the Congress of ICEM-affiliated Mineworkers’ Union of Namibia (MUN), held 17-19 September in Swakopmund, Namibia. The Congress met under the banner of stronger enforcement of safety and health regulations in all workplaces.

Elected to the position of General Secretary was Jonas Lumbu, who replaces Joseph Hengari. Elected President was John Ndawedapo, replacing Andres Eiseb. The Congress elected Michael Heita as Vice President, Eben Zarondo as Assistant General Secretary, Eliphas Iita as National Secretary, Gerson Max as Vice National Secretary, Paul Rooi as Treasurer, and Phillip Muninguni as Vice Treasurer.

The theme of the Congress comes at a time when the Namibian mining sector is experiencing its worst fatal and serious injury accident rate in ten years. The MUN has witnessed mass retrenchments due to the financial crisis, but delegates to the Congress said a recovery is underway. The MUN has been frustrated by an American company that holds uranium mining rights because the company hinders union representation rights.

Debate at the Congress also took place over a recurring issue inside Namibia’s trade unions, that of union leaders holding decision-making positions inside enterprises or on boards. This issue has spawned conflict-of-interest charges inside many unions affiliated to the National Unions of Namibian Workers (NUNW).