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Close to 700 unemployed fishermen at Walvis Bay have secured permanent and full-time jobs at four fishing companies.

This follows an agreement signed by the Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister with the companies recently.

The fishermen were part of the mass resignations witnessed at Walvis Bay in August last year.

Over 600 resigned because they were not happy with being paid the N$4,000 monthly allowance while they had no active jobs.

The fishermen were employed under the Cavema joint venture in 2020 after the government signed an agreement with the fishing companies under the venture to employ them in exchange for quotas.

According to Minister Derek Klazen, the new agreement signed at Walvis Bay last week differs from the previous one.

"The agreement allows for full-time employment, full-time permanent employment of the fishermen, against a fishing quota in the hake and horse mackerel fisheries, and this is renewable annually."

For transparency, Klazen stressed that the Cabinet had instructed the ministry to go on a bidding process for hake and horse mackerel quotas so that interested companies could present plans on how the active jobs for fishermen would be created.

"The companies are busy giving presentations to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Windhoek; not the ministry alone; there is a designated committee that is working on these matters. So the committee is comprised of the Ministry of Labor as well as the Ministry of Fisheries, and they are busy evaluating and consulting these companies."

The Erongo Regional Governor, Neville Andre, was commended for playing a vital role in the re-employment process, while the Deputy Minister of Labour, Hafeni Ndemula, promised to monitor the implementation of the agreement.

"We are very happy that finally, we are seeing some finalization and some stability in the labor environment, and surely this also means that the job security of our people is secured and ensured," said Andre.

"I have to applaud you as a company and the Ministry of Labor, Cabinet, and the whole government on this. They must really be applauded for making it possible to employ our people because there is an outcry over unemployment in our country," added Ndemula.

Klazen says the employment of close to 700 fishermen is the first phase of the government's plans to employ 1,700 fishermen.

The four companies that are part of the first agreement are Tunacor, Seaworks, Merlus, and Hangana.

They will receive eight metric tons of hake for each fisherman they employ in the first phase.

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Photo Credits
Windhoek Observer

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Author
Renate Rengura