Black Africa default on payment

……owes Marco van Wyk N$ 42 000

By John Tuerijama 

NAMIBIA’S Premier League (NPL) champions Black Africa Football Club has reportedly failed to hon- 

our an arbitration ruling by the Office of the Labour Commissioner wherein they were ordered to compensate former mid- field player Marco van Wyk for unfair dis- missal. 

Details of the hearing, in documents seen by Confidente, show that the arbitration award was made in the matter be- tween Marco van Wyk (the applicant) and Black Africa FC (respondent) after van Wyk filed a case of unfair dismissal with the Labour Commissioner, in accordance with the Labour Act of 2007. 

The arbitration hearing at the Office of the Labour Commissioner on 6 June saw the applicant and his representative present, but the respondent did not appear at the hearing, although they acknowledged receipt of the notice of the hearing on 28 February through email correspondence. 

It was further noted that the arbitrator, Nondumiso Mbidi, had called Franco Cosmos, the representative of the respondent, on 6 May to remind him of the proceedings and inform him that the application was present and that the Com- missioner’s Office was ready to proceed with arbitration. 

However, the report of the hearing indicates that Cosmos stated that he was not aware of an arbitration matter scheduled for that date and as he was not informed. 

During the proceedings, van Wyk stated that he signed a two-year contract to work as a football player. That contract commenced on 10 October 2017 and would until 31 May 2019. However, his contract was unilaterally terminated on 13 July 2018. 

“The applicant further stated that on the said date, Precious (on behalf of the re- spondent) called him into the office where he was handed the termination of the con- tract letter by Precious.” 

Van Wyk told the hearing that the agreed salary was N$6,500 until the end of June 2018, and that it was supposed to be N$7,000 as from 1 July until 31 May 2019. 

According to records reviewed, the player did not receive any salary at the end of July 2018, the month his contract was unilaterally terminated. He subsequent- ly found new employment and has been working since November 2018 for a salary of N$5,000, which is N$2,000 less than he would have earned if his contract had not been terminated. 

Van Wyk claimed compensation for the loss of income from the date of dismiss- al until 31 May 2019 that the contract would have expired. 

For the foregoing reasons, Mbidi said he had no doubt that the applicant’s version was true and that his contract was unilaterally terminated. “Moreover, I believe that it is just and equitable to award eleven months’ compensation, being the equivalent of the remaining months of the two-year fixed term.” 

Mbidi ordered Black Africa to pay the applicant’s full salary from July 2018 to October 2018 totalling N$28,000 (N$7,000 X 4) and additionally to pay him N$2,000 from November 2018 until May 2019 – equal to the shortfall in the applicant’s full salary of N$7,000 at the time he was employed by Black Africa, which van Wyk would have earned if his contract of employment was not unilaterally terminated. 

The total amount owed to van Wyk is thus N$42,000. The amount attracts interest from the date of the award. Mbidi ordered the full amount to be paid on or before 14 June at the Office of the Labour Commissioner, or alternatively into the bank account of the applicant. 

Asked to comment on Black Africa’s failure to honour the 5 June ruling, van Wyk referred this reporter to his representative, Olsen Kahiriri of Kahiriri Consultancy, who said he wrote to Black Africa and the Namibia Premier League management regarding the club’s failure to honour the ruling by the arbitrator. 

Kahiriri said he was instructed by his client, van Wyk, to also write to the league champions following the Labour Commissioner’s ruling. He said they were in the process of enforcing the ar- bitration ruling, which has now become an order of the Labour Court in a bid to get Black Africa to pay the N$42,000 into the bank account of his client by the 14 June deadline, “which the club has failed to honour.” 

He said proof of payment must be provided to Kahiriri Consultancy and the Office of the Labour Commissioner, as failure to comply would amount to con- tempt of court. 

Regarding Black Africa’s apparent failure to pay their worker, Kahiriri opined that unprofessional conduct by clubs that do not abide by contractual agreements with players does nothing but bring the reputation of football and that of the NPL – and by extension the image of sponsors – into disrepute.