By Ndapewoshali Shapwanale
Namibian architects and quantity surveyors have given works minister Alfeus !Naruseb until the end of today to commit to revoking the exemption he granted Zimbabwean expatriates within the next 10 days.
The two countries signed an agreement in 2012, under which 85 Zimbabwean engineers are to work on capital projects in Namibia and to allow for skills transfer.
!Naruseb exempted 29 of the Zimbabweans - 11 architects and 18 quantity surveyors - from fulfilling certain registration procedures. The decision has not been well-received by the Namibians, who said !Naruseb should not give the expatriates special treatment.
The Namibian professionals have, through a letter written by their lawyer Sisa Namandje, asked !Naruseb to withdraw the exemption.
They said if the minister refused to withdraw, they would file an urgent application with the High Court to compel him to review his decision, or declare it invalid.
They said the decision is unlawful, irrational, and taken for ulterior motives. They also accused the minister of not doing due diligence before deciding to exempt the expatriates.
"The decision is unreasonable, particularly given the non-exemption of Namibians who have to go through the requisite training processes," the letter reads.
The minister's decision does not satisfy the provisions of the Architects' and Quantity Surveyors' Act with regards to giving the exemption, the group stated.
Namandje challenged the validity of the agreement, saying it expired on 16 May 2017, and that there was no action by the two states to extend the agreement, as provided for in the agreement. Works spokesperson Julius Ngweda told The Namibian yesterday afternoon that they had not received Namandje's letter, which was sent by fax.
Earlier this week, the ministry's permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann defended the exemption, saying it was to fulfil the agreement.