Windhoek-Almost a decade has lapsed since the Namibia National Sports Council (NNSC) was disbanded and yet the council’s assets are yet to be transferred to its successor, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC).
It has in the meantime emerged that the council took a unilateral decision to donate a sizeable piece of open land, where the old State Native Hospital (for blacks) was previously stationed, to the Sam Nujoma Foundation (SNF) without approval from its affiliates.
The spacious piece of land, situated in the marathon-stretched Hosea Kutako Avenue, was acquired by the council from the City of Windhoek (CoW) for developmental purposes but lack of funds hamstrung the envisaged construction.
“The NNSC executive acted wrongfully and totally outside the boundaries of their authority, simply because the congress is the only legally constituted organ to effect such a crucial decision.”
“They have absolutely no mandate to dispose of the council’s property without the necessary approval from the congress, in this case the federations and associations including umbrella sports bodies,” says an experienced sports administrator, requesting his identity to be withheld for fear of reprisals.
“We were obliged by circumstances beyond our control to abandon our plans to develop the piece of land because of insufficient funds at our disposal,” says Oupapa Shipanga, former executive member of the now defunct NNSC.
NNSC entered into a barter agreement with the Sam Nujoma Foundation to donate the land on the proviso that the foundation would construct sports facilities on the donated erven.
It’s claimed the verbal agreement was not honoured as the land was subsequently sold to the works ministry for the construction of a new headquarters (HQ) for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.
However, John Nauta from the SNF laughed off the suggestion, challenging the NNSC to provide concrete proof of the said agreement.
“There was no joint venture whatsoever – let them show you the signed contractual agreement between the two parties,” charges Nauta.
“What actually transpired is they (then NNSC) failed to comply with certain requirements in the lease agreement with the City of Windhoek – leading to the agreement being revoked.
“There was no discussion about any form of donation – we stepped in and acquired the unoccupied piece of land legally following the NNSC failure to develop the premises within the stipulated period,” concludes Nauta.
NNSC was dissolved following the unavoidable establishment of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) in 2003.
Serious questions are thrown around on the whereabouts of the NNSC’s array of assets that includes a healthy bank balance, vehicle and an assortment of immovable properties.
It has been established that the NNSC’s movable assets are stored somewhere in the capital at private premises for which the now defunct council still coughs up substantial amounts in storage fees.
“It was resolved to establish a trust fund, primarily aimed at assisting financially crippled athletes and needy sports codes,” adds Shipanga.
Chief beneficiaries amongst the recipients from the questionable trust were the Namibia Football Association (NFA) – N$1.5 million (for floodlights); Namibia Hockey Union (NHU) – N$1.5 million (laying of astro turf); Netball Namibia (NN) – N$1.3 million.
Windhoek High School (WHS) also received N$1 million for the construction of sports facilities while the much hyped yet to be completed Omaruru Olympic Sports Complex also received a hefty grant of N$1 million.
The choice of WHS has been met with disdain with furious sports officials labelling the “gesture” pure preferential treatment since the school does not resort under the now defunct Sports Council.
The following members were part of the mysterious NNSC Trust Fund: Elliot Hiskia, Leon Hemmes, Eliphas Shipanga, Piet du Plooy (late), Johan Knoetze and Nico Tromp.
Approached to shed light on the unfolding saga, NSC chief administrator Fred Mwiya expressed shock and dismay over the handling of the fund.
“As the designated presiding body of sport in the country, whoever administers a fund of such magnitude should promptly liaise with us to correctly identify deserving candidates as potential beneficiaries for funding.”
In the meantime, New Era Sport has also established that the portfolio ministry was never informed, let alone consulted about the establishment of the NNSC Trust Fund.