Chairperson of the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB), Dr Bernard Haufiku, said amending or either repealing the current Boxing Act of 1980 is top of his priorities, as the act is outdated and discriminatory.
The boxing Act of 1980, which currently governs all operations and functions of the local boxing board, was established in 1980 and came into force during apartheid South West Africa, which is modern-day independent Namibia.
The act was specifically established for the then South West African boxing control board and the South West African wrestling control board, but the act has since become obsolete to the needs and aspirations of boxing in independent Namibia, as it for instance prohibits women from partaking in boxing.
Many local boxing pundits for years had been calling for the amendment of the act, with many expressing their frustrations with the banning of female fighters from the sport in a country that has been independent for 30 years now.
Speaking to New Era Sport, Haufiku admitted that the outdated act remains a huge obstacle for the smooth development of local boxing, especially for the country’s aspiring female fighters who want to compete as amateurs and as professionals.
He assured that the obsolete act is top of their priorities and continues to enjoy the board’s attention as the review process has already begun before the widespread Covid-19 pandemic struck the country bringing all activities to a total halt.
“We had hoped that before the end of this month (June) or maybe even earlier, the final review process and the full amendment as well as the actual implementation of the new boxing act would have been done. This is because the remaining work on the Draft Boxing Act is, by far, less as more of the things have been already covered. And we have to thank the previous board members in this regard. Unfortunately, like anything else in life, the global outbreak of Covid-19 too turned things upside down and halted much of what the board had planned to do in the first half of 2020,” said Haufiku, who was appointed head of the boxing board last year.
He continued to say: “Some board members were even locked down in places where they had no access to internet connection or power for virtual communications. We tried to set up a virtual board meeting twice but did not succeed as only one or two board members seemed to be having access to the internet at the time of the lockdown… ”
“… This development made the work of the board rather difficult and resulted in us reaching this far in 2020 without meeting our set targets such as the finalisation of the Boxing Act and others. But I remain hopeful that we will still finalise the Act this year, provided, of course, that the pandemic remains under control [and this requires high-level discipline by all of us] so that Namibia does not reverse to early stages of the lockdown.”
Haufiku also shared that the board is also busy drafting a strategic plan and that too is planned to be finalised in the second half of 2020.
“Apart from finalising the Act, we also have a draft strategic plan that we had planned to finalise in the first half of 2020 as well as a complete transformation of the administration at the office. This is not just a matter of being over ambitious, we planned this and had worked out that all of this objectives were feasible in six months or even less.”