TransNamib averts job loses

By Michael Uugwanga

TRANSNAMIB has managed to avert jobless, despite the company having been on the verge of retrenching some of its employees last year, TransNamib Chief Executive Officer, Johny Smith has said.

The plan to retrench was hatched when the parastatal wanted to reduce its huge wage bill of around N$150 million.

Smith highlighted that to date therefore; the rail parastatal has 1,381 employees countrywide.

Despite this however, Smith noted that the entity faced a number of challenges inclusive of misplaced public perception, inadequate locomotive capacity, procurement process (external) challenges, limited number of locomotives and backlog in maintenance .

Smith was appointed CEO last year in February.

Addressing the media during a tour on one of TransNamib’s luxury trains, the Desert Express last week Friday in Windhoek which toured journalists from the main railway station to Omeya Golf course, some few km outside the city, Smith reaffirmed that the entity has achieved lots of success in the last 18 months.

“We have managed to re-employ back about 300 employees and many others are placed in different departments as we are still busy looking where we can deploy them. We had a turnover of N$486 million. We also had locomotives km per annum of 2,4m km, annual tonnage of 1, 59 million and asset valued at N$3 billion (underdeveloped and old).  We have managed to reduce our monthly operational loss, introduced a night train to Ondangwa, re-opened the line between Aus and Luderitz after 18 years, employed 150 staff in Southern Namibia and also managed to employ some casual workers in the north to do maintenance work. We have also managed to take 330 trucks off the road per month in the past 18 months and of course the Desert Express that is now backing in service,” said Smith.

The main idea of the tour was to familiarise the media with the progress TransNamib has made and to have the media experience the adventure of the Desert Express train that is lavished with on-board accommodation and full meals while operating tour inclusive of a game drive, cheetah feeding, dune excursion and many more.

The Desert Express train so far has routes to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay respectively; however Smith said that they are working on creating routes to other parts of the country in the near future.