By Ndanki Kahiurika
THE chief executive officer of the Namibia Tourism Board, Digu //Naobeb, could be hauled before a disciplinary hearing over findings contained in a recent report compiled by the tourism ministry.
The Namibian reported in late February that the environment and tourism ministry initiated an investigation into the working environment at the NTB following numerous negative media reports.
Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste confirmed last Thursday that his ministry has received a copy of the final report of the investigation, and was reviewing the findings.
Jooste said in view of the findings, //Naobeb could face a disciplinary hearing. “It all depends on the outcome of our evaluation of the report from MET,” he added.
The investigation, which was conducted by a task team consisting of Seimy Christoph-Shidute (tourism deputy permanent secretary) and Theofilus Nghitila (environmental commissioner), conducted interviews with Windhoek-based NTB staff.
The staff interviewed included three senior managers, one middle manager, seven supervisors and seven low-level employees.
According to the report seen by The Namibian, some of the key findings include that staff accused //Naobeb of lacking decision-making and leadership skills.
“There is total discontent and disrespect of the CEO by the junior management and some staff. The CEO is indecisive, leading to tiny issues being referred to the board for decisions,” states the report.
Other findings include unhappy staff due to low salaries, a lack of performance bonuses, which all senior managers and the CEO get, as well as being left out of decision-making processes.
The NTB finance department also complained about being overworked and understaffed due to functioning without a finance manager for about four years.
Just last week, The Namibian reported that labour arbitrator Phillip Mwandingi ruled that the NTB should reinstate former finance manager Ndapewa Kankondi, who was dismissed on 31 March 2015 over alleged insubordination and abuse of subsistence and travel allowances.
Mwandingi ruled Kankondi’s dismissal was unfair, and ordered the NTB to pay her N$1,9 million as compensation for her loss of salary.
During cross-examination on the case, //Naobeb admitted having falsely accused Kankondi of insubordination, and also said he did not know that she had made arrangements to pay back the S&T funds.
Speaking to The Namibian over the weekend, //Naobeb said he has not received a copy of the report yet, adding that an appeal has been lodged against Mwandingi’s arbitration ruling.
“As regarding the investigation by the ministry, I am not privy to the report, and can’t respond to it. But in general, the NTB has been doing well under my leadership. We have up-to-date audited financials with a clean record. The tourism industry is growing positively.
“We should concentrate on the positives, but for some reason only known to them, the proponents of negativism chose to tarnish the image and credibility of the NTB and the leadership to deflect from their own wrongdoings,” said //Naobeb.
He also called on staff to stop feeling entitled to everything, and denied claims that staff were kept in the dark about decision-making, saying there were quarterly information-sharing meetings.
//Naobeb also accused some staff members of protecting those who were looting the organisation through false S&T allowances and excessive sick leave claims.
He also revealed that NTB staff were mostly unhappy because most have to pay back money to the parastatal over higher salaries paid to them following human resources’ errors.
NTB chairperson Paul Brinkmann yesterday said he has also not had an opportunity to view the report as he was travelling.