The manager of Engen Service Stations at Ondangwa and Oshakati, Deon Nagel, says he is a victim of a personal vendetta being waged by former business partners, some disgruntled employees and members of the police force.
Nagel (46), who was recently arrested over what he considers to be trumped up charges of alleged racism (crimen injuria) against ex-president Sam Nujoma, and current president Hifikepunye Pohamba, says his former business partner laid the charges out of hatred.
“We were arrested and thrown at the back of the police van without due consideration of our rights and dignity. Then we were kept in solitary confinement in the holding cells before our bail was granted. This is for something which allegedly happened six to seven years ago. No serious minded person would ever accept that one can hear racist remarks and keeps it for such a long time without reporting it. Besides, the remarks are purportedly made in the presence of other workers but none of them can testify having heard such things. I really feel humiliated and degraded but I still have faith in the legal system of this country,” he noted.
The case against Nagel (CR233/7/2011) was thrown out of court this Monday.
Nagel said some vengeful former employees, namely Eveline Kandali Indongo and Diina Nghipangelwa who were arrested for defrauding the company close to N$481,000.00, are part of the conspiracy against him. The duo is out on bail of N$5,000.00 each. Other suspected plotters against him are a former business partner, his sister, and a police officer.
Some disgruntled employees at Oneshila Service station accused Nagel of unbecoming behavior, such as not allowing the workers to become union members, not paying overtime for Sundays and public holidays and for dishing out collective punishment whenever any incident of theft or fraud is detected at the work place. Apparently, when money is found to be missing all the workers would be made to pay, including petrol attendants who are not administrators.
On these allegations, Nagels, a South African citizen who has been in the Oshana region for nine years, said that anyone who has proof of such unfounded accusations should come forward and present their case. On trade union membership he said, although none of the unions have the majority support at both services at Ondangwa and Oshakati, he is currently negotiating a recognition agreement with the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU). Nagel explained that his company has never failed any inspection of the Labour and Health ministries when it comes to safety and labour requirements, since their activities are up to date, transparent and fair.
“I am very surprised that my detractors are only making negative statements against me but they are not acknowledging my positive contribution towards the well-being of my workers. I am providing them with incentives such as performance bonuses and interest free loans to solve their personal problems. I am also grooming them through in-service training to become future managers of the company,” Nagel said.