The Namibia Networks of Aids Service Organisations (Nanaso) chairman, Amon Ngavetene, recently blasted inconsiderate corporates, accusing them of ripping off the local economy, only to ship the proceeds outside our borders.
Well, he is not alone. I fully agree with him. There are some companies in Namibia that are all talk but no action; they do not even give back to the community, be it through sponsorships of Aids projects, supporting of NGOs, sponsoring sports events, or any other community projects.
For the relevance of this column, I will only speak about the companies that do not sponsor or only contribute a little to sports.
The irony is, some companies are big contributors in terms of sports funding in South Africa (SA) but take a back seat when it comes to Namibia, notwithstanding that they have local operations. One such company is Nedbank. It pumps in up to N$20.3m every year into South African football, through the Nedbank Cup while neglecting football activities in Namibia.
Locally, Nedbank is known for its sponsorship of the Nedbank Cycle Challenge, which in my opinion, is welcome compared to other big companies that do not even entertain the idea of sponsoring anything.
One of the reasons why companies do not bother to sponsor sports, I understand, is because of the notion that they do not get anything in return. That’s complete baloney!
Take a look at Bidvest Namibia. People sing its praises now, kids in the locations sing to its Ola fika advert (the advert that signals that the Bidvest Cup matches are about to be played). Some will agree with me they were not aware of Bidvest’s existence in Namibia, let alone what it does until it started sponsoring the Bidvest Cup a year ago. I bet there are other things Bidvest Namibia has benefited from sponsoring the Cup, besides its brand awareness.
Now tell me; do you still believe the previous sentiments that companies don’t get anything out of sports sponsorship? It might not be much but as years go by, it will improve.
In Namibia, there are many companies with parent managements abroad where they ship up to 60% of their earnings, leaving only 40% to the locals.
“Companies that do not plough back to the community become oblivious to the realities affecting our people, as they chase the Namibian dollar at all costs. Enough is enough. Namibia must enact laws that force companies to contribute meaningfully to our people, in terms of health and economic wellbeing,” says Ngavetene.
Namibia Sport Commission (NSC)’s National Sport Conference will take place at the Safari Court Hotel in Windhoek from 24th to 26th April under the theme, ‘Creating A Winning Sporting Nation’. The conference aims to develop a blueprint for sports development over the next 20 years.
Among the topics the conference will focus on, Namibia’s sports development since independence, a review of the sports legal framework and good governance, as well as sports funding will remain valid.
For me, the issue of sports funding will be most critical, as the discussions will allow participating dignitaries to come up with a plan on how to get companies to play their part.
For example, we can adopt the style of Namibia Training Authority (NTA)’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) levy, which requires every eligible employer with an annual payroll of N$1m or more to make a monthly contribution to the NTA’s National Training Fund (NTF).
Lawmakers can also look at the possibility of enacting a law that would force employers with annual payrolls of N$1m or more, to make a monthly contribution to the same and the funds would then be channeled towards sports development in the country.
In short, there needs to be a sports levy. It is a simple case of prejudice that we need to get rid of.
To all the companies that do not sponsor or only part with meaningless sponsorships, way below what they earn; be ashamed of yourselves!