By John Tuerijama
THE government, through the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, is spearheading a process that will seek to merge the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC). This will eventually give birth to one solid national sports body. Speaking to Confidente this week, Director of Sport in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Sivute Edelberth Katamba, indicated that a stakeholders’ meeting held at Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM) in July this year looked at how best to merge the two national sports bodies because of duplication of functions. Katamba said that government can no longer fund the two bodies as separate entities but instead advocates for one national sports body that will holistically look after the welfare of athletes. The envisaged body will take care of athletes’ preparations for sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games, All African Games and World Championships. “All we want is to have dialogues with all stakeholders including those from the NNOC and NSC on how best we can fund our athletes through one national body,” said Katamba. The Director of Sport said that they understand that the NNOC’s operation is based on the Olympic Charter and that they do not want to violate the charter. He further explained that the functions of the National School Sports Union (NSSU) needed to be clarified. “South Africa has successfully merged their two national bodies and funds are channelled to one body instead of the two,” “We will be better off in terms of organisation and budgeting. I do not know where the fear from some quarter comes from but we are determined. This is a proposition being solely driven by the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni and senior officials in the directorate of sport,” Katamba added. He warned that sport codes should not see the proposition as a way of government taking over the running of sport but that all government wants is to have a transparent and efficient way of funding sport through one national body. “We must all have one vision and the promotion of sport and not think that government wants to take over everything,” he stressed. The whole process, the sport boss said, will be conducted in accordance with the Sport Act that is the reason why the Minister organised a meeting between the NSC and NNOC last month to chart a way forward. He said all government wants is to improve the system and avoid duplications of functions. “We cannot fund athletes from the NSC and same athletes from the NNOC,” he said. Katamba gave an example of the situation of veteran sprinter Tjipekapora Herunga’s 2016’s Olympic qualification debacle which saw two national sport bodies at loggerhead with each other. “Some attitudes from certain sport codes cannot be condoned. All that we want is a dialogue to have sport administrators listen to our views and vision,” emphasized Katamba. He said the Sports Minister, Permanent Secretary Emma Kantema-Gaomas and the Director of Sport have one vision to have one national sport body. He further said that the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s Region 5 has ordered member countries to establish one national sport body. “As officials, let us put athletes first instead of thinking about ourselves. The Ministry does not want to overrun anything but instead want to better its policies,” he said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015