The sports ministry on Friday clarified the role and functions of the task force that was created to help coordinate and record all pledges and gifts donated by various companies towards Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, saying the intentions and mandate of the task force remain sincere.
The ministry has over the past few days faced growing public backlash over the establishment of the task force, with many saying the donated gifts and pledges will be misappropriated and might never reach the intended beneficiaries.
Many feel that government should stay away and allow the various companies to facilitate the handover of their donations themselves, and not the task force.
But the ministry on Friday explained that tons of companies have made financial pledges, and many others have promised to gift the two athletes and their coach Henk Botha with numerous services. Given the growing number of pledgers, the ministry thus saw it wise to establish a task force that would help coordinate and record all pledges made in a much more orderly manner.
Another reason for the task force, the ministry claimed, is to minimise the risk of impostors profiting from the pledges and gifts of the athletes as the donation process will now be more centralised.
“The task force was created to organise the reception upon their arrival. At the same time, the ministry was inundated with requests to pledge donations or sponsorships for Christine and Beatrice as well as Henk Botha. For that reason, a decision was taken to constitute a team that would record all pledges for handover to the rightful beneficiaries through the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC). This decision was taken to safeguard the legitimacy of pledges, gifts or donations against ill-intentions,” they continued.
“The task force was created as a reception committee for the returning Tokyo 2020 participants. The NNOC was invited to these meetings, but chose not to attend. The ministry never said it will receive the donations. The ministry seeks to ensure that the accountability and acknowledgements of benefactors are observed in a coordinated and transparent manner. The ministry wholeheartedly appreciates and welcomes the support in the form of pledges, gifts and donations being accorded to the athletes.”