By Jeoffrey Mukubi
The Namibian Arts Association (NAA) AGM which was held on 11 November 2020 did not bear fruits that some of the members expected. This came after the NAA seemingly decided to start changing their modus operandi from being a member-based association to a Section 21 Not for Profit Company.
The decision to transfer from an association to a Section 21 Not for Profit Company was taken a long time ago already with the official registration taking place on 1 July 2020. Some NAA members, however, expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision as the association did not share the information with its members before the AGM. “They failed to let us know what was going on which shows a lack of transparency and in turn shows the lack of accountability as well,” said one member.
Nonetheless, the NAA is currently in a transition phase in terms of its legal company status, the main purpose of being able to retrieve funding from international donors. “International donors and government-based organization like embassies, for example, have certain conditions that need to be adhered to when supporting organizations that are not for profit,” read the statement.
Other benefits include improving the credibility of the sector because NPOs can account to a public office. It will also be able to bring organizations into a formal system and help the sector to get organized as well as help in finding ways of getting benefits like tax incentives and funding opportunities. Another issue that came up was the fact that a new board had not been elected.
“As the Namibian Arts Association is about to become a Section 21 Not for Profit Company, we felt that it would serve no point in having a new board elected, as they would not have a function and possibly would only serve in that position for a short point of time,”
This also did not sit well with members, but the NAA insisted that the board, therefore, suggested that the nominees automatically be taken on as observers of the board of the sec 21 company until such time that the company has their first AGM where the new board would officially be voted in by 1 July 2021.
“Unfortunately, it is impossible at the AGM of the Namibian Arts Association (as an association) to determine the board members of the sec 21 company. It must be kept in mind that at this moment they are still separate and distinct organisations,”
Furthermore, the AGM members of the association required the board to provide more information as to the Section 21 Not for Profit Company and that members would then require sufficient time and a Q&A Session to familiarize themselves with the new company form, thereafter a meeting will be held for members to vote for or against endorsing the Section 21 Not for Profit Company.