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Miss Namibia organisation responds to fraudulent claims – PRESS RELEASE

Miss Namibia organisation responds to fraudulent claims – PRESS RELEASE

Press Release

Miss Namibia Joint Venture (Pty) Ltd

27/6/2019

Miss Selma Kamanya, released a statement of her “raw and unfiltered” experiences during the year of her reign as Miss Namibia 2018 to a local newspaper. It was published earlier yesterday. In it she referred, almost as if in passing, to some of the highlights of the year in one paragraph and then expanded at length on a number of her grievances. At the core of her complaint is the assertion that she did not benefit from the portion of the “public funds” raised that she was “entitled to” as winner of the Crown. This assertion is untrue.

All sponsorships are raised to meet expenses falling within 4 distinguishable categories: (a) the costs to organize and produce the annual Crowing Event; (b) the costs of international pageant licensing and participation; (c) the prizes of the winner and runners-up and (d) the charitable projects of the winner during the year of her reign. All the sponsorship agreements are in writing and the sponsorships are recognized in the official pageant booklet distributed to the public at the Crowning Event and also in audiovisual inserts flighted on screen during the event and broadcast nationally. The names and logos of every sponsor of the winner’s prize package are specifically recorded in the booklet and audiovisuals and it is noted whether the sponsorship is for cash or in kind. This is done to inform the public and the finalists alike of the prize sponsors’ contributions and for the latter to verify that they have been included and that their respective sponsorships are correctly reflected. A copy of the relevant page of the booklet for the 2018 Event in which she participated is attached.

Main sponsor of Miss Namibia 2018, NDTC gave the organisers a cheque of N$300,000 last year. In the picture is Brent Eiseb, NDTC CEO, Selma Kamaya and Conny Maritz. Photo Contributed

As is evident from the attached extract, only 3 business enterprises sponsored cash prizes for the winner of the 2018 Pageant: The NDTC, Standard Bank of Namibia Ltd and Emanya@Etosha. They were the only cash prize sponsors. There was none other. The NDTC expressly earmarked only N$10,000 of its N$300,000 sponsorship as prize money (the rest were earmarked in terms of its sponsorship agreement to contribute towards the costs anticipated for international participation, production and the joint “Diamond Generation” project amongst the youth). Standard Bank’s prize sponsorship and a portion of Emanya’s production sponsorship (the latter added to the prize package for increased sponsorship exposure) amounted to the sum of N$8,000.00. All of these cash prizes were paid over to the winner in full and Miss Kamanya admits having received them.

In an attempt to be discreet, we elected not to quantify the value of cash sponsorships (or, for that matter, that of the sponsorships in kind) in the booklet. If, however, Miss Kamanya had any doubt that she had been paid the full value of the cash prize sponsorships which she thought that she was entitled to, one would have expected her to make a simple enquiry in that regard and afford the Miss Namibia Organization (Miss Namibia Joint Venture (Pty) Ltd) an opportunity to present her with written proof of the relevant sponsorship agreements concluded with the cash prize sponsors in which the respective cash prizes were quantified and recorded.

She never did. Not once since her crowning did she even suggest that she was entertaining any thoughts that she had not received the full value of her cash prize sponsorships. Instead, she issued a false statement to the printed media without any prior notice to the Miss Namibia Organisation and without according it an opportunity to respond thereto. One must ask oneself (perhaps rhetorically) whether that is the conduct expected of a person who now claims that the purpose of issuing her press statement was to make a meaningful input “to enhance the Miss Namibia experience”. The very first time the management of the Organisation learned of her unfounded and damaging claims was when her statement was published in the media. The regrettable conclusion is that she is not acting in good faith and that she either deliberately selected – or was influenced to select – a public media platform to publish her gripes and slander the Organization. The fact that she repeatedly states that it is not her intention, does not make it any less so and we reserve our legal rights to seek damages in a court of law against her. Moreover, she apparently timed the release of her statement so shortly before this year’s Crowing Event for maximum impact.

To further add insult to injury, she uses these demonstrable falsehoods as a basis to infer and make a number of further damaging assertions, suggesting gross financial mismanagement; the abuse of “public funds”; dishonesty and lack of transparency, etc. These damaging assertions are as false as the basis on which they have been constructed and the Organisation reserves its legal rights also in that regard.

Faced with the grave and damaging reality of her press statement having been published without notice, the Organization is constrained, not by preference but by necessity to curb the damage already caused by her falsehoods, to respond to them on the same platform – unpalatable as it may seem.

We do not propose to respond to the litany of Miss Kamanya’s other complaints (mostly bearing on the lack of financial and other support accorded to her) in any length except to state the following:

We find it difficult to understand her assertion that she received “little or no support” during her preparation for the Miss Universe pageant. The Miss Namibia Organisation brought a specialist pageant trainer, Mr Renee Ferreira, to Windhoek to train her for a week on a full-time one-on-one basis and, shortly before the Miss Universe pageant, send her to Johannesburg to receive a further week’s training from the same trainer. In addition, she received training on pageantry and ramp modelling as a finalist from one of the most experienced and renowned persons in that area from South Africa, Mrs Mary Reynolds. All the costs associated with the training were borne by the Organisation and its sponsors. In addition, I had numerous conversations with her in my capacity as the National Director of the Pageant and executive director of the Organisation during which a wide area of her upcoming participation at the Miss Universe pageant was traversed, including her demeanour and conduct at the Miss universe pageant to make the most favourable impression. We are not certain how much more training she had expected.

As regards her claim that she only received “an occasional appearance fee”, we must point out that she received a fee of N$3,000 for out-of-Khomas appearances and N$1,500 for numerous local appearances (less a 20% administrative handling fee) except in instances where we had agreed with her to the contrary (such as appearances for sponsors, charitable organisations and the like). We should add that, if she had to attend on appearances outside of Windhoek, she was either flown there or she was compensated for the fuel used by the vehicle that was availed to her for official duties and personal use. Her accommodation
was also paid by the Organization in those instances. It is only the costs of her fuel for appearances in Windhoek that was not refunded because she also used the official vehicle for private purposes and it was impossible to differentiate between the two.

We find it difficult to entertain her complaint that she suffered emotional abuse or that her reputation was tainted in instances where she “had done something wrong”, such as, “missing an appointment”. She has never complained to the Organisation about it and, had she done so, it would have been investigated and, if justified, acted on. That said, we must emphasise that it is an express term of her agreement with the Organization that she would have to “keep punctionally all appointments and appearances which require (her) presence”. If she fails to honour that obligation, it will inevitably cause embarrassment to the Organisation and prejudice the attendees who had awaited her appearance. We cannot pretend that it simply did not happen and apologies to the organisers and attendees will have to be extended.

Miss Kamanya’s dissatisfaction that she had not received enough money from the Organisation to purchase 35 – 39 outfits for the Miss Universe Pageant (only enough for 10 outfits, she claims – and we must add, in addition to the evening gown rented from a well-known designer by the Organisation) is not new – a previous contestant thought that the Organisation should pay N$150,000 to a South African designer for her Miss Universe wardrobe! The Organization provides only what it consider as reasonable and necessary for Namibia’s delegate to proudly represent Namibia as a goodwill ambassador at international pageants. It has made it clear to all contestants from Namibia at international pageants that if they wish to acquire dresses, jewellery and accessories beyond that provided, they will have to raise or obtain funds to finance it themselves. It is expressly provided in the contract that she and her parents had signed.

Extravagant expectations and “poor little rich girl” – attitudes run counter to the ethos of the Miss Namibia Organisation. The Organisation’s slogan is “Beauty for Charitable Purposes” – and for us charity, first and foremost, starts at our Namibian home. We expect of those who bear the Crown that they will primarily focus to utilize their status, beauty, talents and personality in constructive processes of to engage the youth, the elderly, the infirm and the disadvantaged in society in progammes of social upliftment, poverty alleviation, continued education and, in addition, promote the constitutional values of democracy, social justice and respect for fundamental rights.

We have said it before and say again that if anyone enters the Miss Namibia competition in the expectation that it will only be a life of glitter and glamour and that she will be cuddled in adulation, extravagant luxury or riches and use her title to seek personal wealth, she is sadly mistaken and should not bother at all. Such an attitude flies in the face of our charitable objectives. If she is willing to use the blessings of health and beauty received and the honour of the Crown bestowed upon her to be a leader amongst her peers and to make a real, passionate and positive social impact on nation building, the Miss Namibia Organisation may just be the place to create such a life-changing opportunity for her.

Dated at Windhoek this 27th day of June 2019

__________________________
Conny Maritz
Managing Director: Miss Namibia Joint Venture (Pty) Ltd.

Miss Namibia Joint Venture (Pty) Ltd (Reg. No. 2017/1299)
JDG Maritz (Chairperson) CY Maritz, U Karuaihe-Upi (Directors)
8 Sinclair Street, Windhoek, Namibia | PO Box 91513, Klein Windhoek, 9000
Tel. +264 81 128 3388 | namibia@nawa.co.na

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