New attempt to hijack Meatco
Meatco wrote a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry on 14 May 2013, informing the Minister that the term of the current Meatco Board of Directors expires on 31 August 2013 as per the Meatco Act, 2001 (Act 1 of 2001). The letter also requested the number of nominations the Minister requires so the process of electing a new Meatco Board can begin.
The Minister responded in a letter to the Chairperson of the Meatco Board, where he “informed” the Board of the end of their term and made strong recommendations for the appointment process of the new Meatco Board. In his response the Minister chose to place his letter to the Meatco Chairperson in the public domain by copying in various organisations and the media. 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. This has led to confusion amongst Meatco members. As a result, the Meatco Board has a responsibility to set the record straight for the benefit of its members and other stakeholders involved.
It is important to note that a Meatco member is any individual who has delivered at least one head of livestock to Meatco within the last two years and is registered as a Meatco member.
The Meatco Act stipulates that four of the six positions on the Meatco 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.
In his letter to the Meatco Board and as required by the Meatco Act, the Minister advised the number of nominations he requires for each position on the Board, which has significantly increased from the previous Board election.
In his letter, the Minister advised members that these positions be comprised of 50% males and 50% females. He also says that the nominations should be made in consultation with, and with approval from, various organisations including NAFAU, NNFU, NAU, the Abattoirs’ Association of Namibia, Livestock Producers’ Forum, Auctioneers’ Organisations, etc.The implementation of these recommendations are not authorized by the Meatco Act and infringe 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.
It is with this in mind, and after careful consideration and after obtaining legal advice, that the Meatco Board has respectfully declined these requests by the Minister.
The Board would like to remind Meatco members that they are free to nominate candidates for the Meatco Board regardless of gender, race or any other form of discrimination. The only condition for an individual to serve as a member of the Meatco Board, in the four positions mentioned above, are that the individual is a registered Meatco member. Members are however encouraged to consider fair balance and representation when making their nominations for the Meatco Board.The Board would also like to point out that even though members are free to consult other relevant organisations on appropriate candidates for nomination for the Meatco Board, the approval by these organisations is not required to nominate a candidate nor may these organisations impede the nomination of a candidate for the Meatco Board.
Meat Corporation of Namibia, (MEATCO)
(Statement shortened – Ed.)