OTJIWARONGO: Striking teachers at Otjiwarongo on Monday handed a petition outlining a number of demands over to Otjozondjupa Regional Governor Rapama Kamehozu.
The more than 200 secondary and primary school teachers started striking on Monday morning, as about 1 000 Khomas Region teachers marched to the head office of the Ministry of Education (MoE) in the capital.
There they attempted to hand over a petition to Education Minister Dr Abraham Iyambo, but were prevented from doing so by members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol).
Teachers have over the last few days becoming increasingly vocal in their demands for salary adjustments and an increase in benefits such as transport and housing allowances.
The Otjiwarongo started to gather for the strike at the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) regional office on Monday morning, chanting and singing revolutionary songs.
The spokesperson of the striking teachers at Otjiwarongo, Ismael Tjikurame led the teachers in a march from the Nantu offices here to the Otjozondjupa Regional Council, where Kamehozu’s office is situated.
In the petition, teachers wanted to know when the ongoing wage negotiations between Nantu and the Office of the Prime Minister, which is representing Government in the matter, will be concluded.
“We also want our salary scales to be parallel to that of our South African counterparts, since we share the same education systems,” said Tjikurame.
The teachers here say they are hungry and live in dire poverty, and this has forced them to abandon their work and strike so that their voices can be heard.
They are amongst other things demanding that their annual bonuses not be taxed, and that their housing allowances be increased to at least N.dollars 2 000. The teachers said they want satisfactory feedback on their demand within 48 hours.
Kamehozu received the petition and promised to channel it to the relevant Government authority.
Nantu chairperson for the Otjozondjupa Region, Peacock Mbakera was not present during the march or when the petition was handed over to Governor. This news agency attempted to contact him, but to no avail. The teachers have indicated that they will strike until their salaries and benefits are increased.