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Volunteers demand payments for Netball World Youth Cup

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BONA adamant that volunteers are not owed money

THABANG REGOENG

A new can of worms has burst open with reports of unpaid fees for tournament volunteers, small remuneration fees for the Botswana Under 21 netball national team squad and the transport tendering for teams in the recent Netball World Youth Cup.
In a leaked confidential volunteers audio recording, a senior NWYC Local Organising Committee member, lashed out at volunteers to sign the proposed code of conduct after threatening to ditch the competition’s closing ceremony rehearsals.
“I have been instructed to tell volunteers to sign the code of conduct which I believe we will all do. I want you to understand as much as International Netball Federation is a brand owner for this tournament, however the Botswana Netball Association has been given the rights to host the event so the event is based  on how Botswana runs its affairs in sports. If there are issues let us finish the games and deal with them or else people who are not patient should gives us our accreditations as you leave,” the LOC member vented out in the audio.
It is alleged that since the start of the tournament volunteers had threatened to boycott the games after disagreements which led to factions among participants.
Gazette Sport is reliably informed that a list has been released by top officials from the LOC to withdraw awarding certificates to volunteers who threatened to boycott the games in between the tournament.
“What happened after the tournament is really sad because the NWYC LOC members are refusing to hand over certificate of appreciation to volunteers who refused to sign their proposed code of conduct document. Since the start of the tournament volunteers and stewards have only been given transport fees besides that we have not handed our tournament appreciation fees,” said a source who requested anonymity citing the sensitivity of the matter.
According to the source, unending skirmishes between the tournament’s organizing committee and volunteers also lingered when security officers used brutal force to take volunteer tags from people who went on strike in the middle of the tournament. The reports are yet to be confirmed.
“There were incidents when security or police guys would take tags from volunteers who were not helping with proceedings because they were told we were on strike,” the source added.
Meanwhile in an interview with this reporter, Sports Volunteer Movement Botswana (SVM) chairperson, Ntebo Maplanka refused to divulge much information on the matter stating it is an NWYC issue.
“I cannot comment much on issues of the Netball World Youth Cup but our appreciation fee at the movement is P50 compulsory a day for each member. Before the start of the tournament the NWYC LOC told us they do not have enough finances to reward volunteers and could only cover  transport fees and accommodation that is all I can say,” she explained.
To butter her hard line stance, Maplanka revealed SVM give different sports codes volunteers to help out  during events and both parties negotiate on appreciation fees without the aid of the association.
Contrary to the LOC’s financial outlook before the tournament,purse strings were loosened by tournament sponsors Mascom with P500 000, Debswana’s P1,2 million, Spar Botswana’s P600 000 and Brand Botswana’s P500,000 worth of sponsorship deals.
Moreover Gabz  Link tendering deal to transport the participating teams at the tournament has also come under scrutiny with reports that tendering post was not made public for other companies.
Additional yet unconfirmed reports state that prior to Dinaletsana’s final game against Zimbabwe, each squad member received P750 as their appearance fee which somehow hampered preparations for Botswana’s final game.
“Before the start of the tournament the team went to Australia for a friendly, when they came back they were given P200 to go their homes and return to camp. Also before Botswana’s final game the girls were demoralized after declining the P750 appearance fee that they were given, ” the source claimed.
For their part Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego rebuffed reports of unpaid appreciation fees to stating the initial agreement was not to pay anyone who was volunteering in the games.
“The NWYC did not pay any of the volunteers. Our approach to volunteerism is that we would ensure that we provide for transport, accommodation and meals during the event to ensure that volunteers are well equipped to deliver the games. Even with the SVM we were very clear that the volunteers we would get from them which were less than 5 percent would not be paid. We duly provided accommodation, meals, merchandise and transport refunds as we did for the netball specific volunteers, ”Sebogo explained.
Sebego further added that SVM needs to reorganize and be more aligned to the needs of sports.
“Sports requires specific volunteers with expertise from the onset of their activities. Netball has been preparing for these games since 2014 so it was unrealistic for SVM to bring volunteers with no netball training expertise in 2017 to deliver a World Cup to the International Netball standards,” she stated.
The BONA President also admitted that the association has blacklisted volunteers who did not adhere to the terms and policies of their code of conduct.
“Yes we have volunteers from the NWYC who we have blacklisted and we will share their names with future events hosts to be cautious when engaging them. We are of the opinion that they do not have the interest of sports at heart. Sport needs genuine people who want to do good and bring positive change, ”she concluded.

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