Shoprite workers protest against store manager's 'mistreatment and abuse'

Workplace bullying
Workers of the Shoprite branch in Walvis Bay, held a peaceful protest and expressed their dissatisfaction with the manager of the store.
Nikanor Nangolo
Workers at the Shoprite branch in Walvis Bay accused the store manager Riana Harases of "mistreatment, abuse, bullying and microaggressions" in a petition handed over to Shoprite Namibia's Divisional Loss Prevention manager Jose Da Silva.

The protest was staged after Shoprite failed to comply with a request from the workers to demote Harases before 17:00, yesterday. The workers, under the guidance of Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters' Commissar Saddam Amushelelo, marched through Sam Nujoma avenue in honour of the late and a former Shoprite employee Fabiola Zondjembo who according to them, after her dismissal from work, allegedly took her own life.

In the petition, the family of Zondjembo and the workers strongly condemned what they termed "mistreatment, abuse, bullying, and microaggression" at Shoprite stores. According to them the prevailing conditions leads to employees suffering from depression and can result in possible death, as in the case of the late Fabiola Zondjembo. "Zondjembo said that she will be an example to others who are suffering from mistreatment, abuse, bullying and unethical practices at the hands of management at the workplace. There are a lot of other employees working for Shoprite stores in Namibia who experience discrimination, harassment, and other forms of mistreatment at the workplace. Workers are being belittled and demeaned in a manner that inflicts emotional distress and psychological abuse," said Travo Tjiriange, a cousin of the late Zondjembo.

According to him a culture of fear and intimidation appears to be the new mode of operation at the Walvis Bay Shoprite branch in particular.


Tjiriange added that the mistreatment of Shoprite workers shows that the management has no internal complaint mechanism in place. He urged the management of the retailer to take complains of bullying and intimidation seriously from the moment an internal complaint is received. "Why should a worker who reports mistreatment orchestrated by a supr visor or management be dismissed from work? In many cases, Shoprite workers who raise complaints of human rights and labour law violations in the workplace are negatively impacted at their work, in their personal life and health on top of the problem of the discrimination or harassment they have to endure at the workplace."

Speaking at the protest, Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters' Commissar Saddam Amushelelo said that there are "too many" workers in Namibia who are suffering in silence and are scared to speak out due to fear of being victimized and verbal abuse at various workplaces in Namibia. "The abuse and blatant exploitation of workers in Namibia has been allowed for a very long time and we as Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters will no longer tolerate the emotional, and physical abuse of workers in our country, workers are still being treated like the old days of slavery and apartheid.'


The aggrieved family members and workers called on the management of Shoprite Namibia to address issues and implement a healthy workplace policy in order to avoid abusive conduct in the form of verbal abuse in the workplace. "Those in management positions at Shoprite should stop threatening, intimidating and humiliating the workers verbally and physically. This is unconstitutional. Those in management positions also sabotages and undermines employees’ work performance with low remuneration packages, wages and other benefits."

Da Silva who received the petition promsied that it will be forwarded to the relevant authorities for the necessary attention.

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