Chairman of the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) Joel Matheus is not impressed with the deafening silence from the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) over the widely reported racial scandal that erupted during last Saturday’s Gold Cup match between hosts FNB Wanderers and Northam Platinum Rhinos.
The racial skirmish involved Patrick Malumba, a dark-skinned player of the visiting Platinum Rhinos, and Wanderers’ hooker Theo Coetzee. Coetzee reportedly called Malumba a “swart bobbejaan” in Afrikaans (meaning you black baboon).
Speaking to New Era Sport yesterday, Matheus expressed disappointment with the NRU’s unexplained silence over the disconcerting incident. Intimating that the NRU’s silence on the issue beggars belief, he said it is beyond conventional wisdom that a union, such as the NRU, that presides over rugby in the country has not yet come out yet to pronounce themselves on the matter.
“It’s quite worrying and equally shocking to note that the NRU has not yet come out to condemn this incident, or at least pronounce themselves on the matter. I mean they are the body that presides over Namibian rugby and thus it was expected. The Commission has, however, taken note of the above and we will definitely engage them in due course, because such a serious racial incident just can’t go unattended to,” said Matheus.
“As a responsible organisation, obviously we don’t want to just jump and react to media reports without doing our homework. That’s why I’m demanding that the NRU come out and clarify their position, because they can’t just remain quiet after such serious reports. Do they tolerate such things in rugby, or what is their position and attitude as far as the reported matter is concerned? They just can’t be silent.”
Matheus added that it is common practice and expected of any professional organisation to immediately come out and pronounce themselves whenever incidents of such nature and sensitivity are reported – saying it has been almost an entire week since the scandalous incident and the NRU has still not come forth to pronounce itself on the issue.