The decision by the MTC board chairperson, Elvis Nashilongo, to question why the company continues to enrich South Africans has divided the telecommunications giant.
Documents seen by The Namibian show that the stand-off involves some senior executives at the company and Nashilongo, who is being accused of meddling in the company’s operational matters.
The tug-off war is mainly about MTC’s sponsorship of projects such as the Namibia Annual Music Awards and major sports codes like boxing.
Nashilongo’s supporters said the board, which came into office last year, has in the past few months questioned why 90% of funds invested in the music industry is shipped to South Africa through Rockstar 4000 Music Entertainment, a South Africa-based music events management company.
The debate was intense after this year’s awards that some board members, including Nashilongo, threatened to cancel the funding of the music awards with immediate effect.
The Namibian understands that some executives warned Nashilongo to stop interfering with sponsorship discussions that are the responsibility of management.
Nashilongo was also reportedly warned against talking to managers about company matters such as tenders and employment of workers.
Namibia Media Monitoring (NaMedia) managing director, Natasja Beyleveld, confirmed to The Namibian last month that they were appointed by MTC to compile an independent report regarding the continuation of the awards.
“The recommendations were that MTC should continue this social investment into Namibia,” she said.
One of the primary beneficiaries of the awards is Rockstar 4000 Music Entertainment which pockets most of the sponsorship annually.
This allegedly did not sit too well with the board chair.
The board, sources said, agreed to review the sponsorship deal when the contract ends next year.
Nashilongo denied allegations that he interfered in any operational matters since, according to him, they “border on immature poking and incitement.”
“As a board, we subscribe to the high level of governance, and it will be inappropriate to provide you with directors’ internal discussions on any matter,” he told The Namibian.
The chairperson said that addressing the allegations against him interfering in operational matters will lead to him discussing the business matters of the board.
Sources said Nashilongo questioned why Rockstar was being paid millions to organise music awards locally and ship the money out instead of benefiting the local music industry.
MTC has been funding the NAMAs since 2011 when it took over from insurance dealer Sanlam Holdings.
Since then, the company has been the face of the country’s elite awards ceremony which is co-sponsored by NBC.
According to MTC’s 2016 annual report, the telecommunication company invested N$7,5 million into the event. This amount fluctuates over the years but remains approximately the same.
MTC does not only fund the national music awards but they also sponsor the Namibia Premier League into which they pumped over N$140 million in 10 years, the company’s annual report further said.
That means the company paid around N$15 million per year into the national football competition.
The MTC report indicated that the football sponsorship had been discontinued for some time after negotiations failed following NPL’s increase in their budget.
According to people with direct knowledge of the matter, even though the football sponsorship deal is sorted, other transactions such as the music awards are still being discussed.
The Namibian understands that the board has been asking managers to explain why the company was overspending on the awards as indicated by their auditors.
This did not go down well with some managers who felt that the board was stepping into their territory.
MTC also sponsors boxing through the Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy.
The 2016 annual report indicated that the company pumped N$3,3 million into the sports code that produced world champions last year.