Ombudsman report received with mixed feelings

Ombudsman report received with mixed feelings

KATRINA GOWASES

A recent report by the Office of the Ombudsman on Transformation and Racism has been received with mixed feelings by some of the sport codes in the spotlight.

In his report the Ombudsman has advised the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service (MSYNS) to instruct the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) to launch an investigation into alleged racism and tribalism in sport.

The report also proposed that the Sport Ministry investigate the Sports Commission's failure to execute its statutory duties with regards to the awarding of national colours and the selection of national teams.

The recommendations were made based on findings from public hearings that were held countrywide by the Ombudsman to establish the level of discrimination in the country.

According to the report, the oral and written submissions at the hearings revealed shocking expressions, opinions and allegations of racism in sports.

During the hearings, the opinion was expressed that there is failure in Rugby to promote diversity in selection of representative teams.

The report also made reference to sports such as Hockey and Cricket, with allegations from the hearings suggesting that athletes of colour selected in these sports to represent the country are often made to feel like they are only there because of their race and not on merit.

The report further posits that school sport does not fare any better in terms of curbing discrimination.

When contacted for comment, the National Co-ordinator for School Sport Solly Duiker said one first needs to have knowledge of what NSSU is about and is for.

He said NSSU consist out of schools and all the schools in the country form part of the NSSU.

"We cannot prescribe or dictate to any schools with the limited resources that they are having to perform certain sporting codes. That's why NSSU has decided on twelve sports which can easily been developed at the schools with limited resources to their disposal," he explained.

NRU ' s acting CEO Elizma Theron said the Rugby Union cannot deny that there is still a problem with the transformation , but it's something that cannot be rectified overnight.

"In Namibian Rugby we have zero tolerance towards racism and everything that goes along with it, so we want to transform the sports to be fully representative of the population. We want to introduce this sport to as many kids as possible to grow the love but a six year old will only play Rugby in a few years’ time in the national team so this process is taking long and we are fully aware of that and are fully committed to make it work," Theron added.

She said the positives in their development programmes such as the Craven Week 13, 16 and 18 are that there is a very good representation of the population of Namibia , while the national academy has a lot of players involved already and exposed to a high level of Rugby

The under 20 national team that competed in the African competition in Madagascar earlier this year as well as the u/20 junior world rugby trophy had more than 56% of players of colour.

Duiker and Theron said their offices had not been consulted nor requested for reports in this regard , while the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Namibia Peter Forster said he needs to study the report and would only be able after that to give his comments.