CHAOS AT ERINDI
■ 42-year-old woman stripped naked over leftovers
■ Union bemoans racial discrimination, inhuman treatment
■ March to petition Erindi owners set
• By Tracy Tafirenyika
NADIA Tanises, a 42-year-old female worker at Erindi Game Reserve was allegedly stripped naked after being accused by her employers of stealing buffet leftovers, Confidente can exclusively reveal.
Tanises who this week narrated her “embarrassing and demeaning” ordeal to Confidente highlighted that she was subjected to intrusive body searches after being left wearing only her undergarments in front of her colleagues.
“It happened yesterday (Monday) when l took food to the kitchen and my manager (Riandy Banjes) approached me and she started asking me if l had taken food in the lunch box and hid it in my clothes. She asked me to go outside and l was told to remove everything in front of the workers and that was very embarrassing. l had nothing on at all when she searched me.
“Although l was found not guilty of stealing the food, she never apologised, but went on to search seven more workers. I am very disappointed and embarrassed by this treatment. Imagine taking off my clothes in front of everyone and l am very angry with this inhumane behaviour,” Tanises stated.
Witnesses who confirmed the incident to Confidente expressed shock and dismay over the dehumanising behaviour by the employers and subsequent lack of apology.
“Tanises is already an old lady who is trying to survive, therefore she will never steal because she knows how important her job is for her family. What they did is very wrong and they never apologised.
“They started accusing her of stealing food of which she did not do, after calling her outside where most of the workers were standing then they told her to remove her clothes so that they could see if she did not take anything,” expressed a witness who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
Responding to the incident, communiqué seen by Confidente addressed to Erindi management by Martin Mogotsi, the Namibia Commercial Food and Allied Workers Union (NACAFWU) chief legal officer bemoaned human rights abuses by Erindi management.
“This email serves to inform you about the human right abuses that your management is subjecting employees under your watch. Today, (08/11/21) an employee of Erindi was subjected to cruel and degrading treatment. Nadia Tanises was today subjected to intrusive body searches after she was wrongly accused of theft and was made to strip until she was in her underwear by your management,” reads the communiqué adding that the preamble of the constitution recognises the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family which is indispensable for freedom, justice and peace.
“Your management’s draconian manner of disregarding the laws and employee relations has been happening under your watch and you have done nothing to rectify the situation.
“You and your staff are abusing employees and when the union intervenes you cry and claim to be victims but no one is disciplining your management that has no clue in what they are doing. You have stepped a line and should be ready for whatever comes your way and the whole country will know how you are treating your core personnel of your business and your actions shall not be tolerated,” Mogotsi further stated.
Confidente is also privy to a response to this communiqué in which Erindi’s director, Charles Visser stated that they were in the process of obtaining content for the matter.
“We are in the process of obtaining our client’s instructions to the contents of your mail below and will revert to you shortly.”
PETITIONING FOR RELIEF
Confidente understands that Catering Food and Allied Workers Union (NACCAFWU) deputy secretary-general Joseph Garoeb this week delivered a notice of a peaceful demonstration and handing over of a petition to Erindi bosses advocating for the rights of employees.
The notice was addressed to Erindi CEO, Paul Joubert.
“We are intending to march starting at Mungunda Street at NAFAU and march towards the Katutura Magistrates Court on the way to Mercedes Street in Khomasdal and deliver the petition at Ministry of Industrialisation and Employment Creation. At the final point of the march we hope we will deliver the petition to Paul Joubert, the CEO of Erindi or any designated person.
“Not only are you operating the lodge on racial lines, you went as far as to humiliate and degrade an employee by having her stripped naked and be subjected to an intrusive body search in full view of other employees. This shall not be tolerated, because your behaviour is in direct conflict with the Namibian Constitution and what all Namibians are standing for.
“As a trade union, who is the custodian of employee rights and mandated to fight for the rights of the employees, we would like to invite your office to avail yourself and or designate an official from your office to receive. We would however like to inform you that on the next visit of Senores Bailēres, a copy of the petition shall be handed over to the owners, be it at the Hosea Kutako International Airport or at Erindi Ranch,” the notice reads.
Erindi responding to Confidente through its legal representatives, ENSafrica said that after routine inspection of close circuit video material, the lodge noted various incidents of theft committed by certain employees deployed in its kitchen and restaurant operations adding that the CCTV material confirmed the involvement of Tanises in various incidents of theft of food products.
“The video material confirmed Ms Tanises’ modus operandi of, inter alia, hiding food products in the pockets of her clothing. On 08 November 2021, our client’s lodge manager conducted a routine inspection of the kitchen area and requested Ms Tanises to remove and to present her apron to her. She was further requested to empty her pockets.
“Ms Tanises reacted in an aggressive manner and refused to remove and present her apron. She further responded by screaming that she is not a thief and does not steal,” Erindi said.
“Ms Tanises was again requested to remove her apron, to present same and to empty her pockets. Instead of complying with the request, Ms Tanises proceeded to remove her clothes, whilst screaming “I have nothing, I have nothing”. The Lodge Manager made it clear to Ms Tanises that she did not request her to remove her clothing.
“Ms Tanises’ motives for removing her clothing are unclear. In so doing, she not only acted inappropriately but also made herself guilty of possible misconduct,” further stated Erindi.
This is hot on the heels of a case in which a Chinese shop owner was arrested in Windhoek after an incident on Saturday when he allegedly forced an employee to strip naked. This allegedly happened after the employee, Sandra George refused to pay for a piece of fabric she cut for a customer, who left the shop without paying for it.