WAD and De Klerk Admit Mistakes

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK The NGO – Women’s Action for Development – is trying to defuse the crisis it faces in the wake of widespread condemnation of the organization and its controversial director, Veronica de Klerk. In a statement released yesterday through its lawyers, Metcalfe Legal Practitioners, WAD noted “with disdain the vitriolic attack” launched against it and De Klerk by various instances. “Such attacks appear to have been motivated by incorrect perceptions which have been contorted in what appears to have been a self-seeking political agenda by certain persons,” WAD states. Other parts of the statement are, however, more conciliatory, acknowledging that the organization has made mistakes and even apologising for some of De Klerk’s actions. The NGO said it wanted to state categorically that WAD is a non-governmental organization without any party-political affiliation whose main objective is to empower disadvantaged women in Namibia. Veronica de Klerk, WAD says, is herself a previously disadvantaged Namibian woman who strives to ensure that previously disadvantaged women in Namibia become empowered in order to fulfil their rightful role in society. “No attempt has been – or ever will be – made to usurp the proper and just role of any political organization. WAD has no party-political interest or aspirations whatsoever, contrary to any assertions to such effect,” it explains. WAD acknowledges that De Klerk used “unfortunate and inappropriate phraseology” in dealing with employees of WAD. “An unreserved apology is tendered by Ms De Klerk for any opprobrium and/or perceived (maligning) which may have been experienced by any WAD employee and/or any other member of the Namibian society. No malice was ever intended by Ms De Klerk and/or WAD,” the NGO said. It added that it was certainly not a policy of WAD, nor did WAD condone penalising unmarried pregnant employees, as alleged, and it therefore never considered implementing such a proposal. WAD said De Klerk was advised that such a policy would be contrary to the Constitution of Namibia, as well as the labour laws. “Ms De Klerk apologises unreservedly for such ill-conceived ideas, but respectfully wishes to point out and to emphasize that the policy was never implemented,” it said. WAD also attempted to extend an olive branch to the National Union of Namibian Workers, which was the first body to attack alleged abuses of employees at WAD. It said that, in the spirit of rapprochement, WAD wished to engage the NUNW in positive discussion on any issues that may have upset employees of WAD. According to WAD, it serves no purpose for the two organizations to attempt to malign each other when they both aim to serve the nation positively. “WAD is sure that such positive dialogue will serve to solve the present impasse which exists between WAD and NUNW,” the statement concluded.