13 Jun 2013 10:00
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) - A rift between Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa and the Meatco Board of Directors about the future of the corporation could leave the nomination of new Board members hanging in the balance.
In a recent move, Mutorwa requested that 24 nominations be made during Meatco?s annual general meeting next week, and that nominations be equally divided between males and females.
In addition, the Minister advised that farmers and agricultural unions, the Abattoir Association of Namibia, auctioneers? organisations and the Livestock Producers? Forum be consulted first. All such nominated names must be received not later than 24 July 2013.
The current Meatco Board?s term expires on 31 August 2013.
However, Meatco Manager for Communications and Marketing Mario Poolman claimed in a media statement issued on Tuesday that some of the recommendations in the minister?s letter infringe on the rights of Meatco members, and would constitute illegal action by the Meatco Board if they were implemented.
He said Meatco members are free to nominate candidates for the Board regardless of gender, race or any other form of discrimination.
The Meatco Act stipulates that four of the six positions on the Board can only be filled, and be nominated by Meatco members. The fifth position on the Board is nominated by Meatco employees, and the last position is appointed from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
The only condition for an individual to serve as a member of the Meatco Board - in those four positions mentioned above - is that the individual is a registered Meatco member.
Members are, however, encouraged to consider fair balance and representation when making their nominations for the Board, Poolman stated.
?The implementation of these recommendations is not authorised by the Meatco Act, and infringes on the rights of Meatco?s members to freely make nominations without interference or having to discriminate against potential candidates.
If the Meatco Board were to impose these requirements on its members, it would constitute illegal action by the Board,? Poolman charged.
Meatco Board chairperson Clara Bohitile also expressed concern in a letter addressed to Mutorwa about his requests on the nomination of new Board members.
?On the basis of advice sought, the Board is unable in the absence of statutory authority permitting this, and in the light of Article 10 of the Namibian Constitution, to impose the proposed discrimination on the basis you sought to inform the nomination process.
I must, therefore, draw your attention to the fact that the Board lacks the required authority to ensure that the Meatco members act in accordance with your decision,? Bohitile stated.
Meanwhile, at a media conference a year ago on the final recommendations made by Cabinet about the future of Meatco, Mutorwa questioned who the owners of the corporation are.
Cabinet approved that the ownership of Meatco be vested in the sui generis co-operative with a majority shareholding of 70 per cent, and Government with a golden share of the remaining 30 per cent.