Standard Bank Namibia (SBN) has been accused of having no intention to fulfil its promise to build a house for Rio 2016 Paralympic Gold medallist, Ananias Shikongo.
SBN announced in November last year, during the Namibia Sports Awards programme, that it would donate half a million dollars to assist Shikongo in acquiring a decent house, but nine months later, that pledge remains unfulfilled.
The Windhoek Observer is reliably informed that the bank has not done any ground work towards fulfilling its promise despite Shikongo having already agreed to be an ambassador for the lender’s Buy-a-Brick initiative over a one year period.
The bank publicly pledged to assist Shikongo N$500,000 towards acquiring a house as a reward for his achievements at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he won three medals – a gold medal in the men’s T11 200m race and two bronze medals in the T11 100m events.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, Shikongo’s manager, Paul Gschwender, said he has not heard anything from the bank regarding the issue.
“At this moment, we have not heard anything from them. It is good that you are asking, maybe they will tell you journalists how far they are with their plans,” Gschwender said.
The world-famous Shikongo still lives in a shack in the Havana informal settlement.
Contacted for comment, Standard Bank’s Head of Corporate Social Investment, Sigrid Tjijorokisa, said the funds for Shikongo’s house donation have already been allocated and are ready for deployment once they acquire an erf from the City of Windhoek.
Tjijorokisa said they are engaging with the relevant stakeholders (City of Windhoek) to find a solution.
“We take cognisance of and respect the fact that the stakeholders concerned have their own internal processes, priorities and constraints and we will not interfere with institutional decision-making,” Tjijorokisa said.
“Our commitment to Mr Shikongo still stands and we are comfortable that, given the above, we are doing everything in our power to realise this dream for Mr Shikongo which has also become our own.”
The office of the Mayor of City of Windhoek did not respond to questions regarding the erf needed by Shikongo before going to print.