Namibia: Gymnastics Federation Suspends President for Alleged Misconduct

18 November 2019

Windhoek — The Namibia Gymnastics Federation (NGF) has suspended its president Sonja Olivier with immediate effect, with the federation saying the suspension was triggered by Olivier's continuous alleged misconduct.

In a statement issued by NGF and distributed to the media through the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), the gymnastics federation cited a resolution taken at their 7 November executive meeting in Windhoek, as well as Articles 13.1 and 13.15 of their constitution, as providing the NGF with sufficient legal grounds to immediately suspend Olivier.

Her suspension will remain intact pending investigations and a disciplinary hearing into the alleged misconduct, the NGF said.

"In accordance with Article 13 of the NGF constitution, the executive council has appointed an independent disciplinary committee which will investigate the allegations and convene a disciplinary hearing to determine the outcome. Effective immediately, Olivier does not have the authority to communicate on behalf of the NGF. Pending the outcome of this hearing, all instructions from her should be thus disregarded. The NGF deputy president Neville Andre will be acting president until this matter has been resolved," the NGF further clarified.

The NGF, through its executive council as elected in February this year and reinstated by the sports minister a few months ago, will continue, with the assistance and guidance of the NSC and other stakeholders, to take every step to ensure that the sport is governed for the benefit of the gymnasts in the spirit of the Sports Act," further reads the NGF statement.

The NGF has since the beginning of this year been swarmed by endless infightings which have seen the federation being divided into factions, one of which is in good standing with the line ministry and the NSC, while the other has reportedly sided with Olivier.

The continuous chaos at the NGF also saw the NSC slapping the federation with a caution that eventually saw their entire top brass being suspended by the NSC, but the suspension was later lifted by the line minister after marathon deliberations.

But the group that is apparently siding with Olivier has since been on a fightback as they are not happy with the way the NSC is handling the situation, especially the treatment being meted out to Olivier.

Also in yesterday's statement, the NGF maintained that their executive council members are as follows: Neville Andre (deputy president/acting president), Sharifa Wentworth-Fernandes (vice-president finances), Wiesta Snyman (vice-president liaison), Meagan Bierbach (vice-president public relations), Djamel Meziane (men artistic gymnastics section president), Leonie Botes (rhythmic gymnastics section president), Vaughn Ahrens (tumbling & trampoline gymnastics section president), Selene Williams (secretary-general), Vesselin Kostin (national technical director), Nicolene Labuschagne (national medical director) and Velareis Gledenhuys Venter (honorary president).

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