At first sight when you enter chief policy analyst Sakaria Nandjigua’s office at the labour commissioner’s building, piles of documentation neatly stacked all around the edge of his desk greet you, indicating that you have entered the hub of analysis.
The core work of a policy analyst at the Office of the Labour Commissioner (OLC) is to do research on labour-related court judgements. Analysis is done on those legal documents and advice is given to the management and arbitrators.
Being a policy analyst means that one has to be a jack of all trades. Nandjigua’s job has given him a broader understanding and appreciation of the work of the ministry of labour, he says.
He started his journey as a chief policy analyst in December 2019. He is responsible for advising the labour commissioner on applications for registration of trade unions and employers’ organisations, in addition to his analytical duties.
The Labour Act requires an organisation that wants to operate as a registered employers’ organisation and trade union to apply to the Labour Commissioner for registration as per section 57 of the Act.
He explains that firstly, trade unions and employers’ organisations have to adopt a constitution that they have to use as their legal document to guide them or members in conducting their daily day to day activities.
Once the applicant’s constitution meets the requirements of the Labour Act, then the labour commissioner will issue a certificate of registration.
“We also make sure that we record any industrial action taking place like a strike, lockout or demonstration, through our stakeholders – the trade unions or the media,” he said.
The OLC also receives notices for intended dismissals, which is an obligation for an employer to notify the LC of their intention to dismiss employees as obligated by section 34 of the Act.
Nandjigua completed his bachelor’s degree in human resources management in 2008 at the Polytechnic of Namibia (now Namibia University of Science and Technology).
His first job followed shortly after, at the ministry of health and social services at Tsumeb in the Oshikoto Region as an assistant human resource practitioner in 2008. He then joined the ministry of labour as a senior labour inspector in Mariental from 2011 to 2013.
He was transferred from Mariental to Gobabis in the same position till 2016 before being promoted to chief labour relations officer and then chief policy analyst at the OLC.
A policy analyst, Nandjigua says, requires a qualification in HR or law (LLB) with labour, employer and employee-related experience. Additionally, honesty and ethics, discipline, teamwork and interpersonal skills are key qualities that one must have.
“I am someone who is open-minded, an individual who puts himself in other people’s shoes and one who plays many roles in the lives of others from being a mentor, brother and father who loves spending time with my family.
“On the flip side, I am someone who does not like conflict, but likes a conducive environment.”