Namibia boxing must win back the trust of the public if the sport is to flourish, sports minister Erastus Uutoni said on Wednesday.
This was his first instruction to the new Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board members who assume their roles on 5 November.
Uutoni installed Bernard Haufiku as chairperson, with youthful lawyer Saima Nghihalwa, businessman Trevor Mills, director of commerce at the industrialisation ministry Maria Pogisho, and veteran former boxer and trainer Josef ‘Joe Archer’ Shikongo completing the team.
Haufiku is the only one of the quintet with experience in boxing administration, having quit the board in 2014 following infighting within the body.
The board’s primary task is to restore public faith in an institution dogged by infighting and maladministration under outgoing chairperson Ellison Hijarunguru, stressed the minister.
“I was becoming very worried over the past months about the negative reports and the infighting that has been going on within the boxing sector. Because of that, the control board has lost credibility from the Namibian people,” Uutoni remarked.
“Hearing all those reports has made me feel uneasy because I unfortunately found myself at the helm of the organisation as the appointing authority.
“It is important to note that the organisations we are entrusted with are not our own but for many others to come and build on the foundation we are laying today.
“Therefore, if we fail to build or play our part future generations will suffer because of our ignorance,” he noted.
That ignorance extends to the deplorable use of public office for self-enrichment, he noted.
Uutoni said the new members should not accept such a responsibility for “the love of positions” if they are unable to account for their actions.
“Please colleagues, don’t try to enrich yourselves through the boxing board. Be poor and satisfied with the little that you have.
Don’t take money which does not belong to you. You’ll never get rich when you steal. You are just destroying your reputation,” Uutoni warned.
The board’s three-year term is in line with the Boxing Act of 1980 Section (4) section (I) sub section (ii), which the minister said requires urgent revision.
“For many years, the task of reviewing the Act is still dragging and currently is in a blueprint format which is still at the technical level of development. I want to seriously look into the relationship between boxer, promoter and the board in order create a good environment,” Uutoni said.
“Time has come that we aggressively push to complete all the consultations and take the Act to Cabinet for approval.
“It is very disappointing that we are operating under an Act that still talks of South West Africa in reference to Namibia and refers to the administrator general which we assume is the minister. We need to get this Act reviewed as a matter of urgency,” he said.