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MD applicant shocked by NWR snub
A Namibian woman, who came out tops in interviews for the position of Managing Director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) last year, believes politics played a role in why she was not appointed into the position.
This conclusion by Jacky Heath, 34, contradicts that of Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah who said at the time that the process was tainted by technical flaws.
Nandi-Ndaitwah turned down the recommendation made by the board at the time and declined to take the matter to Cabinet for final approval.
It is not clear who the board recommended at the time, but it is widely believed that the recommended person was not the young Heath.
She cruised ahead of Capricorn Capital’s Ingo Schneider, NWR’s Senior Manager of Operations Sebulon Chicalu, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) CEO Tarah Shaanika and Harold Kisting, an executive manager at the Oranjemund Town Management Company, amongst the 24 applicants.
The NWR top position became vacant after the resignation of former managing director Tobie Aupindi, who left the tourism flagship company in December 2010 to venture into private business.
Documents in possession of Namibian Sun reveal that Heath scored four out of the total five points and was described as a “reasonably good candidate” by a consultant who led the process.
“Good relevant background, particularly on financial side. Worked in the industry for a number of years,” reads an evaluation on Heath.
Heath, a Rand Afrikaans University graduate who worked at Wilderness Safaris, DHL, Deloitte & Touche and RCI Southern Africa, amongst other entities, was not appointed into the position.
When Namibian Sun approached her for comment last week, Heath confirmed that she was interviewed for the NWR post but was told that she did not make the cut.
“I went through the first round but I was told later that I did not make the final three,” she said.
“Days later, the consultant called me to say that I made it to round two but I was demoralised at the time after I was initially told I am not among the top three.”
Heath believes it is because of politics that she lost out on the job the way she did.
“It was a highly politicised process,” she concluded.
“The NWR is a commercial entity that needs strong guidance. Bringing politics into a commercial entity is a recipe for failure.”
The NWR, on the instructions of Nandi-Ndaitwah, has started re-advertising the MD position again after several of its senior managers acted in that position on a rotational basis.
A demoralised Heath did not show any willingness to give the job another shot when contacted for comment last week.
“I could have added a lot of value to the NWR. I was also going to learn a lot from the company if I had been given a chance.”