A dark cloud hangs over the immediate future of domestic rugby as a result of an unresolved dispute between the country’s rugby presiding body, the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU), and the majority of its affiliates.
The dissident clubs who go by the assumed name of the ‘Concerned Group’, recently filed a complaint with the Namibia Sports Commission, citing a number of grievances, ranging from serious allegations of maladministration, financial mismanagement, unfair labour practices and deliberate preferential treatment towards certain clubs.
Windhoek-based Western Suburbs leads the protest filed by predominantly non-white clubs and are supported by the undisputed Namibian rugby champions, Unam Rugby Club, as well as Reho Falcons, Kudus, Rehoboth Rugby Club, Dolphins, Keetmanshoop Rugby Club and Pandas Rugby Club.
The aggrieved clubs have reportedly taken a unanimous resolution to withdraw their participation from all rugby activities under the banner of the NRU and to boycott the NRU with immediate effect until such time as the dispute is amicably resolved.
“We further wish to inform you that we reserve all our rights as bona fide members of the Namibia Rugby Union,” reads the letter of complaint in part.
The abrupt decision taken by the aggrieved clubs means their players will not be eligible for selection to any representative teams under the jurisdiction of the beleaguered NRU.
To rub salt into the wound, this seemingly unending debacle has now reached the office of the Standing Committee of Human Resources and Community Development of the National Assembly for prompt intervention from the National Sports Commission (NSC).
New Era Sport is in possession of a letter from the NSC, dated March 8, 2016, headed ‘Re: Complaints: Namibia Rugby Union vs Concerned Clubs’.
“The Commission at its 3rd board meeting… took a resolution to the effect that leading local labour lawyer Norman Tjombe be instructed as a matter of urgency to start investigations into the complaints advanced by the Concerned Group against the NRU,” the letter states.
It further states that upon completion of its investigation the NSC would forward the final outcome and subsequent recommendations of its report to the National Assembly.
Several attempts to obtain comment from the NRU drew blanks, as the powers that be at Lichtenstein Strasse appear to have put a systematic and blanket ban on New Era Sport for its uncompromising stance against racism in sport and its unrelenting reporting on the union’s tortoise-paced transformation of Namibian rugby.