NRU, Concerned Group smoke peace pipe… Union to adopt zero tolerance on racism

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-All the traumas of the last couple of months that have seen the country’s presiding body for rugby, the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) and its core affiliates at each other’s throats, have been finally put on hold, at least for the time being.

Local rugby faced an uncertain future amidst serious allegations of maladministration, and turning a blind eye to blatant racism, discriminatory practices and preferential treatment towards certain NRU members from the elite group, amongst a horde of damning allegations.

The “Concerned Group of Clubs” started instituting proceedings against the union as far back as November 2014.

Amongst some of the pertinent complaints was the deliberate exclusion of Namibian champions Unam from the South African Provincial Club Champions competition, the Gold Cup.

As a result of the dragging stalemate, both the NRU Board and “Concerned Group of Clubs” thought it necessary and in the best interest of rugby to engage each other during a meeting held in Windhoek last Saturday.

The marathon gathering held at the Hage Geingob Stadium, which lasted for almost eight hours, deliberated on ways to resolve the current turmoil, to which both parties agreed as they felt the ongoing saga could result in an escalated adverse impact on the overall growth of the game if not resolved amicably.

It’s believed the national interest and athletes’ future were the two most essential factors that moved representatives to engage each other in good faith seeking to explore solutions to challenging issues during the meeting.

Those in attendance revealed that the discussion displayed great sportsmanship and highlighted the underlying core values of the game of rugby – being integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect.

All parties were in unison that lack of proper communication between stakeholders was the contributing key factor, which resulted in the prolonged stalemate between the parties.

The meeting also adopted various resolutions underlined hereunder:
• It was agreed that the Concerned Group will inform the NSC that the complaints lodged are withdrawn and that no further action is required in respect of the said complaints.
• However, this does not in any manner imply that the Concerned Clubs and board do not view the said complaints as serious under the circumstances, at the time when the complaints were lodged.
• It was further agreed that the Concerned Group of Clubs acknowledge their role and responsibilities within the framework of the constitution and policy manual of the NRU and to abide by same.
• That the appointed board to run rugby on their behalf while acknowledging their collective responsibility and accountability towards the council.
• That the board, together with the council, put corrective measures in place to address all issues of concern and to prevent any circumstances that may give rise to similar unpleasant situations again.
• All parties agreed that the NRU constitution, policy manual, rules and regulations are in dire need of reforms.

In conclusion, the board undertook to attend to the following as a matter of priority:
The establishment and implementation of proper communication protocols in order to ensure that information is communicated to all stakeholders.

This should also include the manner in which union coaches and staff communicate to council regarding players affiliated with the clubs. Council appreciates that circumstances may arise which call for information to be treated in a confidential manner, where such information relates to issues of a sensitive nature. In these instances the board undertakes to appoint a sub-committee comprising of members of the board and council to deliberate issues and the extent to which such information shall be disclosed to council. The sourcing of funds and/or sponsors for the running of the domestic leagues be regarded and treated as a matter of priority.

To continuously ensure that policies relating to financial controls are strictly adhered to and where same is lacking that policies be implemented to ensure good and sound governance of the union’s affairs.

The board to show its commitment to enforce zero tolerance for any form of racism, discrimination, nepotism, victimization and other ill-founded practices and where such instances are reported same to be treated in a more serious manner as other transgressions, clearly signalling that this will not be condoned by Namibia Rugby.
To appoint a joint committee comprising of board and council members to draft a Transformation Policy and to implement same as a matter of urgency.

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