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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 1083 | 1084 | (Page 1085) | 1086 | 1087 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    B1 City fraud accused loses lawyerB1 City fraud accused loses lawyer Hafeni Nghinamwaami, one the three businesspeople implicated in the fraud and corruption case surrounding the B1 City property development project, is without legal representation after his lawyer Kadhila Amoomo withdrew from the case.

    Amoomo parted ways with Nghinamwaami on Tuesday when he made another appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg during a case management review conference.

    The lawyer cited an inability to reach a common understanding on several issues contained in the charge sheet with his client as the reason for his withdrawal.

    Liebenberg subsequently allowed Amoomo to withdraw from the case. Nghinamwaami was ordered to apply to the justice ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid for another State-funded defence lawyer to defend him during future court proceedings and when his trial resumes.

    The case was thereafter postponed to 21 August to allow Legal Aid to appoint another lawyer for Nghinamwaami.

    The three accused in the matter are former Roads Contractor Company (RCC) CEO Kelly Nghixulifwa (58), Nghinamwaami (50), and 49-year-old Anna Ndoroma.

    On 17 October 2018, Liebenberg dismissed an application by Nghixulifwa in which the accused wanted the court to issue an order to compel the State to provide him with further particulars and explain in full detail that the RCC was indeed a public body at the time of the alleged offences.

    The three accused face eight main charges including corruption, fraud, theft and money-laundering.

    These charges stem from the RCC's involvement in the B1 City project opposite the Katutura State Hospital during 2005 and 2006.

    The RCC started this joint-venture with /Ae //Gams Engineering.

    It is alleged that Nghixulifwa was a shareholder in /Ae //Gams Engineering and Cradle Investments, but apparently concealed his stake in the two companies by having his shares held in Ndoroma's name.

    While still RCC CEO, Nghixulifwa allegedly claimed payment from the parastatal and another construction company for the role Cradle Investments supposedly played in the construction of the parastatal's head office.

    The RCC board of directors was allegedly also kept in the dark about Nghixulifwa's involvement in the companies.

    All three are free on bail of N$60 000 each, and their bail was extended until their next court appearance on 21 August.

    State advocate Ezekiel Iipinge is the prosecutor, while defence lawyers Slysken Makando and Silas Kishi-Shakumu are representing Nghixulifwa and Ndoroma, respectively.

    NAMPA

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: 'We are not fighting'
  • 'We are not fighting''We are not fighting'Residents open up to Geingob at town hall meetings Social grants, tax returns and poor road infrastructure were just some of the issues raised by residents. President Hage Geingob held a town hall meeting in Mariental on Monday, and was in Keetmanshoop yesterday, where he assured residents that his administration is committed to good governance.

    He also said where dialogue doesn't exist, people fight, and when diplomacy fails, people go to war.

    “We discuss our problems. We are not fighting,” Geingob said in Mariental. Residents raised the issue of social grants, which they said were not enough to take care of their families.

    The president agreed that the amount is small, but added the reason they are not coping was because pensioners have to take care of their grandchildren.

    The president also said he is aware of the elderly being robbed when they collect their pension, and government is therefore exploring an electronic payment system for pensioners.

    Concerns raised by farmers include the complexities of tax returns and poor road infrastructure in the vicinity of their farms.

    Presidential advisor on constitutional affairs and private sector, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi, provided a progress report on the issues that were raised during the last town hall meeting held in Mariental on 9 October 2015.

    She pointed out that seven issues had arisen at the time, which included the need for a youth multi-purpose centre at Maltahöhe.

    According to her, a number of buildings have been identified and are being rehabilitated for this purpose. Prime Minster Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila informed residents about the drought relief programme.

    She told them the programme is designed in such a way to target those whose harvest and income had been affected by drought.

    According to her government's response to the drought devastation is to give food rations, which consists of maize meal and mahangu, cooking oil and tinned fish.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    NNFU sheds regional functionsNNFU sheds regional functions The Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) has underwent a restructuring exercise that has seen it shed some its regional operations.

    NNFU executive director Mwilima Mushokobanji said they will no longer run regional activities, which will now be done through regional farmers' unions.

    The organisation got rid of seven employees, four of whose contracts came to an end, and three regional coordinators.

    “All NNFU activities will continue and they are not affected by this. We have readjusted the operation and restructured the employment structure. The strategy has changed; we used to have regional offices headed by regional coordinators, administratively. Farmers themselves felt that instead of investing in regional secretariats, we should directly invest in regional farmers' unions,” said Mushokobanji.

    “We survive on levy funding from the Meat Board of Namibia and due to the economic situation in the county, the levy from the Meat Board was reduced. Because of this funding reduction, we reduced the restructure and realigned the operation.”

    The NNFU had regional offices in Oshana, Kavango East and //Karas.

    It was established in June 1992 to serve as a mouthpiece for Namibian communal and emerging farmers. Twelve regional farmers' unions are currently affiliated to it, and nationally, 130 farmers' organisations.

    In total, 35 125 individual farmers are affiliated to the NNFU.

    Mushokobanji said the regional farmers' unions will now be coordinating all regional activities on their own, while implementing programmes and running day-to-day operations.

    “We had to change our structure because the environment outside has also changed. We now want to make sure that we have a farmer-driven approach to development. We want our regional farmers' unions and local farmers associations to be stronger, mature and be able to handle issues on their own.

    “This will be more sustainable. They will be given support, not only from the NNFU, but also from the industry itself,” Mushokobanji added.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Oshakati abattoir to reopen soonOshakati abattoir to reopen soon KIAT Investment Holdings, which has been awarded a tender to manage the Oshakati abattoir, says the plant will soon resume operations.

    This will be a relief to farmers in the northern communal areas (NCAs) who have been without a market for their livestock amid a devastating drought.

    In an interview with Namibian Sun this week, KIAT executive director Sikunawa Tshiponga Negumbo said renovations were complete and they would start buying livestock in three weeks' time. Negumbo said engineers from the agriculture and works ministries inspected the abattoir on Monday. “On Monday we were inspecting the whole building and today (Tuesday) we were inspecting the slaughtering process and facilities. We were told that everything is as we were promised it would be after renovation. We are thankful for what the government has done,” said Negumbo.

    “We are now waiting for the contractor to hand the facility back to the ministry of works, which will hand it to the ministry of agriculture, which will hand it to us. This process will take about three weeks from today. From there we will start buying livestock from farmers.” The Oshakati and Katima Mulilo abattoirs were closed in 2016 after Meatco had incurred large losses for several years.

    Negumbo said the Oshakati abattoir is export certified and all livestock must be quarantined before slaughtering. KIAT has started hiring staff, giving preference to former Meatco employees who were retrenched in 2016.

    Since the closure, northern communal farmers have had to rely on a mobile slaughter unit and they are desperate to reduce their herds in the face of drought. “At first we will take up 70% of the employees who were retrenched. Others have to wait because we first have to see the reaction of the farmers before maximising the employment,” Negumbo said.

    “The abattoir has a capacity to slaughter 200 cattle per day. We are appealing to farmers to come on board and start selling their livestock. We will be going out to buy cattle ... and farmers are also welcome to bring their cattle, of which the price will be determined by carcass weight,” Negumbo said.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: State sued for N$3.8 million
  • State sued for N$3.8 millionState sued for N$3.8 millionFive years in prison before acquittal A man who spent five years in prison pending his trial on murder and robbery charges is suing the State for deprivation of freedom. A man who was cleared of murder and robbery charges after he had spent more than five years in jail awaiting the completion of his trial is suing the prosecutor-general and the inspector-general of the Namibian police for close to N$4 million in damages.

    In February 2018, Simeon Shishiveni filed his suit at the Windhoek High Court, asking to be awarded N$3.8 million for deprivation of freedom, discomfort suffered and a deliberate offensive act after he had spent nearly 2 000 days in custody before being found not guilty.

    In his particulars of claim, Shishiveni details that he spent 1 915 days in custody after his arrest in November 2009 on charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

    He pleaded not guilty alongside his co-accused and was acquitted on 31 March 2015.

    Shishiveni told the court that employees of the prosecutor-general's office had “wrongfully and maliciously set the law in motion” in November 2009 by charging him.

    Shishiveni argues that his prosecution was unreasonable and without probable cause, and that prosecutors lacked sufficient information to take legal action against him.

    Both the prosecutor-general and the inspector-general of the Namibian police are defending the action brought by Shishiveni.



    Clues

    Muriel Caroline van Zyl, a witness for the defence, and the control prosecutor at the Windhoek regional court, in her statement submitted to the court argued that although Shishiveni was not convicted of the crimes he had been charged with, it did not mean the prosecutors had acted maliciously or lacked probable cause.

    “There was no reason for the prosecution not to believe the truthfulness of the evidence under oath provided by the Namibian police.”

    She said although the evidence “was at best circumstantial”, a co-accused had implicated Shishiveni and his fingerprints had been found at the scene of the crime.

    She added that the evidence given by the co-accused implicating Shishiveni was not challenged until Shishiveni testified in his own defence.

    Moreover the police had found “certain stolen properties” at Shishiveni's house, although he was not charged with possession of stolen property, Van Zyl explained.

    “It was plausible for the State to draw an inference that [Shishiveni] had committed the offence,” she said.

    She underlined that the State at all times believed he was implicated and stressed there was sufficient cause for the prosecution to conclude that he had committed, or could have committed, the offences.



    Five years

    Van Zyl also argued that the delay in the finalisation of the trial could not solely be blamed on the prosecutor-general's office and that all parties had contributed to the postponements that held up the trial.

    “Had it not been for all this, the matter should have been finalised within a shorter period of time.”

    She pointed out that according to the record most of the postponements were caused by either the absence of an accused or by their legal counsel.



    Van Zyl noted that the prosecutor who handled the case, a certain Mr Gawiseb, “is an impartial person and the record of this matter does not indicated that he harboured any bias”.

    She added that as the control prosecutor, she could confirm that Gawiseb is a “diligent and professional employee who performs his duties with the utmost care and skills.”

    Kadhila Amoomo is acting on behalf of Shishiveni, while Jolanda van der Byl from the Office of the Government Attorney is acting on behalf of the defendants.

    The case was placed on the action floating roll for continuation before Acting Judge Kaijata Kangueehi this week.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: Vendors in despair
  • Vendors in despairVendors in despair Mahangu flour vendors operating at various open markets in Rundu are struggling to pay back loans they took to purchase unprocessed grain from farmers, because their customers have turned to supermarkets that sell at lower prices.

    The vendors say they are heavily in debt and sales are taking place at a snail's pace.

    The vendors are severely affected by the current drought, which has also affected thousands of subsistence farmers around the country.

    They vendors said a 50-kilogram bag of mahangu grain used to cost them N$350 last year, but this year it is being sold by farmers for N$500.

    Kavango East is described by many as a potential food basket for Namibia, while at the same time it also one of the poorest regions, where the majority of inhabitants are subjected to abject poverty.

    Kavango East governor Samuel Mbambo revealed recently during his State of the Region Address (Sora) that 60% of the youth in the region are unemployed.

    Namibian Sun interviewed 12 women vendors this week, who shared how their mahangu flour businesses are affected by the fact that they have to compete against well-established supermarkets.

    “We are unable to pay back the money we borrowed in order to buy stock and the little we get we have to use it and pay for necessities for our children at boarding schools and tertiary institutions, and also for food at home,” the group of women at the Rundu open market said.

    For some, this has been their means of survival for the past 20 years. The women, who preferred anonymity, explained they charge N$250 for a 10-kilogram bag of mahangu flour, while in certain supermarkets the same product costs around N$160. This was confirmed during visits to supermarkets at the town. “Business is not going well. We hardly sell anything here. Look at the time, its 12:00, and that lady who just bought mahangu was the first one to buy from us for the day. Things are not well, because people are buying from the shops, where it is cheaper,” one of the vendors explained. The vendors said retailers have entered into agreements with farmers in the area, who supply them directly.

    The farmers who sell the mahangu flour to the shops are the same ones selling grain to the vendors, who then have it pounded and sell the end-product.

    They vendors said buying 50kg bag of mahangu grain for N$500 this year is “unacceptable”, but they do not have a choice.

    “The demand for mahangu grain has increased and it is affecting our business, the only thing we could do was to also increase our prices, in order to make a profit,” they said.

    Some young vendors, who are selling on behalf of others, said they are paid based on what they sell, and because of the poor mahangu sales they are not guaranteed a salary at the end of the month.

    There is now scramble for every potential customer who enters the market. There are many mahangu vendors at the Rundu open market, as well as the Sauyemwa and Tandaveka markets. “If you do not sell anything for the month or just a mere N$300, your boss will give you nothing at the end of the day. That is why we have to try by all means to convince customers to buy from us,” the vendors said.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: Respect is a two-way street
  • Respect is a two-way streetRespect is a two-way street The ongoing debate unfolding in the National Assembly, which puts social cohesion in the spotlight, is quite interesting. For far too long we have observed disturbing trends that suggest our collective failure to adopt fundamental principles that all proud citizens of this country should uphold, for the preservation of morals. If one considers the growing number of social ills, including gender-based violence, tribalism, racism, poverty and homelessness, there is no doubt that our nation needs urgent healing, which requires a collective effort from all citizens to tackle this moral paralysis. In her motivation speech last week, Swapo National Assembly chief whip Evelyn !Nawases-Taeyele warned against the dangers of social media, while also pointing out its positive benefits. “A new epidemic has broken out in Namibia where young people use social media to fuel propaganda and insult national leaders. Today people garnering for power have deployed armies of fake accounts to do so (sic). I trust that this bill will make provision to criminalise the distribution of data messages that are harmful to fellow citizens,” she said. !Nawases-Taeyele is not the only one that views social media as the prime culprit. Many politicians, especially from the ruling party, have in the past supported calls to regulate social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It is true that the moral fibre of our society is degrading. It remains a big concern. However, there is a thin line between censorship and robust debate, which is obviously needed for a democratic society to fully embrace its challenges and find solutions. Insults, however, will not help us. Yet respect is a two-way street, and the onus is on leaders to nurture this and lead by example, in order to build the kind of society that all patriotic Namibians want. As much as social media debates have deteriorated over the years, they also represent a microcosm of what ordinary people are going through. Government should take heed and act to build the cohesion it purportedly preaches.

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    Mujoro denies dodging 'independent' prickly pearMujoro denies dodging 'independent' prickly pear Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro has denied dodging the prickly subject of independent candidates standing in elections in the country, following his last-minute withdrawal as the keynote speaker at a recent public discussion forum.

    “I simply had other things to attend to during the suggested timeslot. Tell them I am still waiting for their invitation,” he said.

    The Namibia Institute of Democracy (NID) had organised the forum.

    NID programme manager Panduleni Nghipandulwa said there is a strong interest in the topic of independent candidates amongst youth, who are only getting involved in politics now.

    He added the ECN has done fairly well in overseeing election processes, as evidenced in past polls.

    “On several occasions the ECN has called on the public, including civil society organisations, to support the election process. So it is important for the ECN to take every opportunity it gets to fulfil its mandate, through platforms like public discussion forums,” said Nghipandulwa.

    Social commentator Frederico Links said there is a lot of misunderstanding around the issue of independent candidates.













    He described Mujoro missing the discussion forum as “missed opportunity”.



    Raging debate

    Swapo member Dr Panduleni Itula has announced he will stand as an independent candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

    This seemingly inspired 27-year-old Angelina Immanuel to run as independent candidate during the Ondangwa Urban constituency by-election, which she narrowly lost to Swapo's candidate Leonard Negonga.

    Negonga garnered 1 936 of the 3 792 votes cast, while Immanuel tallied 1 402, and was followed home by other established party candidates.

    Swapo has condemned independent candidates coming out of its ranks and has repeatedly threatened to suspend members who go this route or who associate themselves with these candidates.

    In 2015, Katjanaa Kaurivi, who has been a Swapo members since 1984, contested as independent candidate for the Otjombinde constituency councillor position.

    Kaurivi decided to run as an independent after he lost a disputed Swapo primary against Karii Marenga.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: Geingob stirs pot
  • Geingob stirs potGeingob stirs potPresidential visits include meetings with Swapo leaders The timing of President Hage Geingob's town hall and regional visits has set tongues wagging, given that he is also meeting with regional Swapo leaders ahead of the ruling party's electoral college in early September. President Hage Geingob is meeting Swapo regional leaders across the country in the afternoons, after his ongoing town hall and regional meetings with the public.

    In a letter addressed to Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa, dated 3 July, Geingob tells his party's chief administrator about his plan to visit all 14 regions to engage citizens.





    “Most importantly, I wish to meet with all of the leadership structures of the Swapo Party in all 14 regions (covering all constituencies - at district and regional level), in the afternoons for deliberations,” Geingob informed Shaningwa.

    “In this regard, Comrade Secretary-General, please ensure that all regional coordinators are well-informed to take charge of the logistics for the Swapo Party meetings, in collaboration with the Swapo head office. And to invite the national chairpersons and leaders assigned to the different regions to be part of the proposed meetings.”

    Geingob also mentions that the purpose of the town hall and regional visits, which are clearly separate from his afternoon Swapo meetings, “will be to directly engage with all inhabitants of the various regions at grassroots level to listen to their concerns and challenges, in particular the drought situation and well-being (sic); collectively seek solutions; and provide feedback on the issues raised since the last town hall meetings in the regions”, which took place in 2015.

    When approached for comment yesterday, presidential press secretary Alfredo Hengari asked for the letter to be forwarded to him, which was done. He did not respond at the time of going to print.

    However, he has previously said the president's meetings and missions to regions are not a political manoeuvre.

    According to Hengari, the president has a two sets of duties, one as head of state and another as Swapo president, and critics must differentiate amongst the two.

    “Right now, it's the time for the president to go back to the regions, as he usually does, and speak to Namibians and hear what has been done so far, what has been implemented in terms of drought relief and hear from them first-hand, instead of just relying on reports coming from offices,” Hengari said earlier this month.

    According to the presidency, Geingob is touring the regions in order to identify bottlenecks, and if there are any, provide direct solutions.

    When asked to verify the letter, Shaningwa said: “The president is not limited to meet with whoever he wants to meet.”

    She would, however, not comment any further, saying the media has an “agenda”.



    'Hot' factional battles

    The Landless People's Movement (LPM) said government will be wasting much-needed public resources during Geingob's town hall meetings.

    LPM deputy leader Henny Seibeb said since this is a government mission, Geingob must meet with all other political parties, and not only Swapo.

    “But we conclude that these are tours he has undertaken to calm hot factional battles being experienced in Swapo in all the regions,” he said.

    Seibeb also questioned the itinerary of the accompanying ministers and staff.

    “LPM views the current town hall meetings as a mere Swapo political campaign, whereby state machinery is used. What's the need for whole cabinet travelling with Geingob? For example, Nangolo Mbumba's role is merely to introduce Geingob.

    “This is laughable. And if you claim the objective of town hall meetings is to ascertain the situation of drought, why hold such meetings in urban centres? Why not visit resettlement farms, communal farms, and stay there for a week and observe suffering of the ordinary unwashed and unperfumed people,” he said.

    Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah said the president, whose office rejected claims that he is using state machinery to campaign for Swapo, has been contradicting himself.

    “What is he going to talk about with the regional leadership of Swapo? Certainly they are not going to talk about development but about politics,” he said.

    Constitutional expert Nico Horn said people may have a rightful suspicion, but it would however be difficult to prove that his town hall meetings are not a genuine effort to acquaint himself with the drought.

    “We do not know that is going on in his head. He can say I have done my work and I have free time on my hands, which I can use as I see fit,” he said.

    Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani says what the president is doing is unethical, but not wrong.

    He likened it to someone travelling with an official company vehicle, but visiting his family during a work trip.

    “But I have said it before, the president is out of touch and he wants to rekindle his relations with the grassroots. But we must separate matters and put it in context. Hage is a political being,” he said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: Giant load turns heads
  • Giant load turns headsGiant load turns heads At an average speed of 25 kilometres per hour, a super-abnormal freight operation transporting a 175-tonne transformer from Johannesburg to a NamPower substation just outside of Otjiwarongo will be completed after an estimated six-week journey.

    Over the weekend, the 14-member crew in charge of transporting the transformer began the last leg of a journey through South Africa and Botswana when they arrived at the Buitepos border post.

    Yesterday morning, the convoy began to carefully make its way into Windhoek, first down Sam Nujoma Drive, then Nelson Mandela Avenue and finally Robert Mugabe Avenue on the last few legs of the journey.

    Traffic authorities in Windhoek had prepared to ensure the operation could proceed smoothly.





    Wiseman Musekiwa, the HoD of Eskom Multi-axles, yesterday praised Namibian authorities for their “exceptionally excellent” cooperation in terms of logistical support, police escorts and other assistance.

    He said their help had enabled the crew to reduce their travel time by an estimated two to three days as a result of being able to travel further on average each day with the help of Namibian traffic support.

    The crew averaged around 60 kilometres per day in South Africa and Botswana, but say things have picked up in Namibia where they have been able to increase daily distances.

    The transformer was transported to Eskom-Rotek Industries in September 2018 for repairs.

    The transformer is being transported on a wide 'Nicolas' Monoblock Beam wagon-trailer combination with two Western Star truck-tractors attached to the front of the trailer via drawbars and one Western Star truck-tractor attached to the rear of the trailer via a drawbar.

    The cargo is being accompanied by vehicle escorts, including private and police vehicles.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Strategy for safe, competent night drivingStrategy for safe, competent night drivingExpert gives tips Night driving presents many challenges that requires more effort to stay safe than what you might exert during the day. All the daytime rules apply but the reduced visibility requires even more awareness and preparedness. – Eugene Herbert, MD: MasterDrive If you are at a night-time function and are about to go home, you can just hop in the car and leave, right?

    Not quite.

    The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says every driver should develop their own strategy for safe and competent night driving. “This strategy should include a plan about how to ensure your physical safety, how to ensure there are no impairments to your vision and how to avoid a run in with dangerous drivers.”

    While you can be hijacked anywhere anytime, statistics reveal that dawn, dusk and after dark are the highest risk periods.

    “Hijackings peak between 04:00 and 08:00 and again between 16:00 and 20:00. Drivers should put extra effort into anticipating traffic light changes and to their surroundings when arriving home. This, however, doesn’t justify disobeying road rules. No one is permitted to skip a red light, irrespective of who you are or the time of day.”

    Additionally, be sure there are no impairments to your vision, especially as visibility is reduced.

    “This includes going for an annual eye test to ensure there are no problems that need rectification. Even with 20/20 vision, certain techniques can better equip you for night driving. The glare from lights on bright will blind anyone, yet, flashing the oncoming driver is not the safest reaction. Educate yourself on night driving to improve your skills.”

    Another point in your night driving strategy should be the increased likelihood of encountering reckless drivers.

    “Nights are when you are the most likely to encounter drunk or fatigued drivers, those avoiding the law or drivers willing to take more risks.

    “For this reason, you need to pay careful attention to your surroundings on the road. Never cross an intersection, even if it is your right of way, until you are 100% sure oncoming cars are stopping. If you spot someone driving erratically, get some space between them and yourselves. Never take risks yourself by driving recklessly.”

    Driving at night is more complex than during the day.

    “All the daytime rules apply but the reduced visibility requires even more awareness and preparedness. MasterDrive has developed a night driving MasterClass that can help drivers prepare for the challenges they are likely to encounter and ensure they are proactive rather than reactive to these,” says Herbert. - MotorPress

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Acacia's mine ordered to stop using tailings storage facility

    Acacia Mining said yesterday that Tanzania has ordered it to stop using tailing storage facility at its North Mara mine due to failure to contain and prevent seepage.

    Acacia said it will request copies from National Environment Management Council of any investigation reports or data on which the notice was based on.

    The company's North Mara mine was previously fined for breaching environmental regulations. – Nampa/Reuters

    BHP quarterly iron ore output down slightly

    BHP Group Ltd, the world's biggest miner, yesterday flagged US$1 billion in productivity losses for fiscal 2019 as unplanned outages and bad weather hurt its iron ore production.

    The Anglo-Australian miner's iron ore output fell to 71 million tonnes during the fourth-quarter ended June 30, compared with 72 million tonnes a year earlier.

    BHP forecast fiscal 2020 iron ore production at 273 million to 286 million tonnes.

    Full-year iron ore production came in at 270 million tonnes, compared with 275 million last year, and in line with the company's forecast range of 265 million to 270 million tonnes.

    Cyclone Veronica tore down the coast of Western Australia in March, hitting several iron ore export hubs, in a return of more turbulent weather after several moderate years. That had prompted BHP to lower its fiscal 2019 iron ore production outlook. – Nampa/Reuters

    Renault-Nissan alliance priority for France

    Renault's alliance with Japanese partner Nissan remains the priority for France ahead of any further consolidation such as a merger with Fiat-Chrysler, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said yesterday.

    "The priority today is to develop an industrial strategy for the Renault-Nissan alliance, Le Maire said in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

    "After that, we will have to look at how to consolidate this alliance and it is only on this basis that we will be able to explore future developments," he said.

    Le Maire denied the French government had caused the collapse of merger negotiations between the Italian and French automobile giants last month. – Nampa/Reuters

    Swatch points to uptick in main markets

    Swatch Group shares surged 5% after mid-year results yesterday in which the watchmaker issued a positive outlook regarding its biggest markets and reported progress in curbing grey market sales.

    The maker of Longines, Omega and Tissot watches said it expected to reverse a first-half sales fall to post positive sales growth for the year.

    The news was a tonic for shareholders who have been gloomy about the prospects for the watchmaker amid concern the US-China trade war could hurt demand for luxury products.

    During the first six months Swatch said it had seen growth in major markets which include mainland China, Japan and the United States, and all price segments which run from plastic Swatch watches to the high-end Breguet brand.

    But Hong Kong, the world's biggest export market for Swiss watches, had been badly hit by political protests in recent weeks. – Nampa/Reuters

    Bills targeting Huawei introduced in US Congress

    Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives introduced bills on Tuesday to keep tight restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, amid concern about president Donald Trump's easing of curbs on the Chinese firm.

    The legislation would among other things bar the removal of the massive telecommunications equipment firm from a Commerce Department trade blacklist without House and Senate approval, and let Congress disallow waivers granted to US companies doing business with the company.

    The United States has accused Huawei of stealing American intellectual property and violating Iran sanctions. The Republicans and Democrats backing the measures said they viewed the company as a security threat.

    The United States placed Huawei on the Commerce Department's so-called Entity List in May over national security concerns. US parts and components generally cannot be sold to those on the list without special licenses.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing in Beijing yesterday that the United States should immediately cease its "suppression" of Huawei. – Nampa/Reuters

    Amazon says it will cooperate with EU probe

    US online retailer Amazon said yesterday that it would cooperate fully with EU antitrust regulators investigating its use of merchants' data.

    The European Commission said the investigation would look into two issues - Amazon's standard contracts with marketplace sellers and the role of data in selecting winners of the "buy box" which allows buyers to add items from a specific retailer into their shopping carts. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Everybody needed in fight against GBV: GeingosEverybody needed in fight against GBV: Geingos The fight against gender-based violence (GBV) will not end until all stakeholders are involved and make the issue a community or country problem by assisting all the victims, First Lady Monica Geingos says.

    She made the remarks at the 50th anniversary celebration of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development in May this year.

    Geingos said when people are talking about GBV and sexual reproductive health, they should include everyone if they are to address the issue from the bottom, and make everyone aware that violence against women and children is a big crime because some people seem oblivious to it.

    “When we bring up this issue of GBV and sexual reproduction, we should involve everyone in the conversation because if you only talk to the girl that fell pregnant, then you are leaving out the boy that impregnated the girl and you are not solving the problem because this boy will go on and impregnate another girl and it is a cycle,” said Geingos.

    Criminalised

    UNFPA country representative, Dennia Gayle, at the same occasion said most countries, especially in Southern Africa, have criminalised GBV. However, legal systems still struggle to convict perpetrators because many are intimate partners of the victims, and as such, some victims rely on human rights organisations to help them open cases against the perpetrators.

    “From our side, we will fight against inequality, social injustices and discrimination. I know they will challenge us. We will remain committed and fired up, we will mobilise every dollar, forge new alliances and partnerships, identify and search for new innovative solutions, reach the very last mile and secure a new set of ambitious commitments essential to accelerate rights and choices for all,” Gayle said. - Nampa

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: About the artist
  • About the artistAbout the artist Taylor Jaye is an exciting award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and actress both in Namibia and South Africa, under her own label company Jaye’s World Entertainment (Pty) Ltd.

    Jaleesa !Gaoses is a philanthropist and entrepreneur, better known by her professional name Taylor Jaye.

    Born and raised in Otjomuise, Windhoek, she spent a large part of her growing up between the United States and Namibia. She is now largely based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    She graduated as an engineer in 2014 and eventually launched her music career full time in 2015.

    Her electric genre of music, featuring house and afro pop, is sung in one of the oldest most unique African languages, Damara (Khoi San). This eclectic mix of beats, rhythms and rhymes, also sung in English, resonates across households and the entertainment scenes of Africa to the world.

    Her debut EP called 780 - a tribute to her late grandma Agnes Suko !Gaoses - features her hit single "Supa Chikita”. Further successful singles followed such as Ma /Hao, !Khotere and Satsa, each with chart topping, creatively crafted music videos.

    They’ve been nominated and won awards at platforms in Namibia, including Best Honourary Single Award for the Unsigned Reverbnation Competition 2016. The singles also made it to the top ten charts list of Channel O, MTV Base and Trace Africa.

    Taylor Jaye has worked with groundbreaking producers such as Uhuru & DJ Clap (Kalawa Jazmee) and Mr Kamera. She was nominated for Female Artist of the Year and Best House category at the NAMAS in 2018.

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    Namibia committed to curbing abuse by 2022: ImalwaNamibia committed to curbing abuse by 2022: Imalwa Prosecutor-general Martha Imalwa said the Namibian justice system is taking gender-based violence (GBV) cases seriously and aims to make huge progress against it by 2022.

    “By 2022, if we have not cleared Namibia from GBV through existing initiatives, then all those GBV culprits should be behind bars, properly convicted and sentenced. Let us take this challenge as Namibians, because if not, our population will be reduced due to GBV, which is terrifying,” she said in May this year.

    Imalwa was speaking at the official opening of a workshop aimed at preparing vulnerable GBV adult witnesses for court.

    The five-day workshop was attended by different stakeholders including prosecutors, social workers and psychologists from the 14 regions.

    Support

    It was hosted by the Office of the PG in conjunction with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to address issues which have been observed to curb successful prosecution of GBV crimes. Lack of support for witnesses in these crimes is one such issue.

    The PG also called on more men to get involved in the fight against GBV as well as similar workshops, in order to share information from men’s points of view.

    “Let us also change all these GBV organisations supposedly meant for women only and make them inclusive of everyone including men,” she added.

    Imalwa alluded to how public prosecutors should never cease to serve the Namibian people, especially when it comes to GBV cases, even though they are not often praised.

    “We are here to scrutinise dockets from the beginning the crime has been committed as this is the only way you will be able to know what services you or your stakeholders need to give, before your victim is further traumatised,” she stressed. - Nampa

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    Taylor Jaye tackles gender-based violenceTaylor Jaye tackles gender-based violenceMusic, arts, comedy, poetry and dialogue Jayes World Entertainment on behalf of Taylor Jaye is excited to announce the 2nd Annual First Ladies First (#FLFMovement) against gender-based violence to take place on 31 August 2019, in honour of Women’s Month. #FLFMovement advocates for and encourages the government of Namibia to place GBV and violence against children and women high on the national agenda. Sponsored content - The continuing high rates of incidences of gender-based violence (GBV) in Namibia, further highlighted by rapidly increasing cases reported daily from victims who are between the ages of zero to fifty years, has given rise to significant public support to end GBV.

    Laws and policies addressing GBV and violence against women and children have been enacted in Namibia, under the ministry of gender equality and child welfare by ensuring that there is age appropriate justice system response when dealing with the most vulnerable victims.

    However, government needs private sector support to adequately resource the cause, especially financially to spend towards prevention and support services, to both victims and perpetrators.

    First Ladies First (#FLFMovement) is a flagship initiative dedicated to celebrating the strong sisters and brothers of Africa, who are fighting against GBV to break free and stay free from all violence plaguing the Namibian society.

    Brought to you by artist, philanthropist and entrepreneur Taylor Jaye, #FLFMovement supports women, children and men who have experienced or have been exposed to any form of domestic violence and encourages the culture of reporting violence, self-care, talking responsibility and educating themselves, to stop GBV’s vicious cycle in society.

    In celebration of Women’s Month in August, a variety of local and continental first ladies - comedians, poets, singers and rappers – as well as male entertainers will join forces with Taylor Jaye to bring awareness, promote communication, honesty, and respectfulness in the effort to raise awareness on GBV and its related avenues of interventions available in Namibia.

    The #FLFMovement is equally joined by strong technical and corporate partners such as the ministry of gender equality and child welfare, Namibia correctional services and Mike Ezuruonye, the celebrity master of ceremonies at this stellar event.

    #FLFMovement advocates for and encourages the government of Namibia to place GBV and violence against children and women high on the national agenda.

    In support of government and other stakeholders efforts, the proceeds of the #FLFMovement event will be donated to #BeFree & #BreakFree Initiative for the benefit of specific beneficiaries managed by them.

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    Lagarde resigns, IMF hunt beginsLagarde resigns, IMF hunt begins Washington - Christine Lagarde will resign from the International Monetary Fund on September 12 as she awaits final word on her nomination to the presidency of the European Central Bank, she announced Tuesday.

    Her departure allows the IMF board to begin the search for her replacement.

    "With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB president and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the fund, as it will expedite the selection process for my successor," Lagarde said.

    EU leaders early this month picked Lagarde to succeed ECB chief Mario Draghi, whose single, eight-year term ends in November.

    Lagarde stepped away from the IMF leadership post she has held since 2011, sparking a wave of speculation about who would replace her.

    The IMF board tapped her number two, American David Lipton, to serve as interim managing director, but by tradition a European always leads the fund while an American runs its sister institution, the World Bank.

    "With this decision by managing director Lagarde, the IMF Executive Board will initiate promptly the process of selecting the next managing director and will communicate in a timely fashion," the IMF board said in a statement.

    Early candidates mentioned as possible successors to Lagarde include Mark Carney, a Canadian who also holds British and Irish citizenship and whose term as leader of the Bank of England is up in January; French politician Pierre Moscovici, who is the EU finance commissioner, and former British finance minister George Osborne. – Nampa/AFP

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    Lipton: Capitalism needs 'course correction'Lipton: Capitalism needs 'course correction'‘Imperfect system’ The changes from trade, globalisation and technology are fuelling rising anger, political polarisation and populism, according to the acting chief of the IMF. The top tenth of the top 1% worldwide has garnered roughly the same economic benefits that have accrued to the bottom 50%. – David Lipton, Acting MD: IMF Paris - Rising anger at the increasing inequality blamed on globalisation calls for a change of directions, acting IMF chief David Lipton said Tuesday.

    But he said, that does not mean there is an "inherent flaw in capitalism," Lipton said in a speech celebrating the 75th anniversary of the creation of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

    While capitalism "has been the engine behind so much of the success we have experienced," Lipton said "it is an imperfect system in need of a course correction."

    He noted that much of the anger is because of concerns about the fairness of the system.

    "Part of the problem is the rise of excessive inequality," he said. "Although poverty rates have declined worldwide since 1980, the top tenth of the top one percent worldwide has garnered roughly the same economic benefits that have accrued to the bottom 50%."

    Governments should respond by increasing spending to address inequalities, and close corporate tax loopholes and work to prevent corporations from shopping for countries with lower taxes, he said.

    The changes from trade, globalisation and technology are fuelling "rising anger, political polarisation and populism", Lipton warned.

    And while allies at the end of World War II gathered at the Bretton Woods conference to create the institutions that would use economic cooperation to prevent future conflicts, "We are at risk of what one could call a reverse Bretton Woods moment."– Nampa/AFP

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  • 07/17/19--16:00: Africa Briefs
  • Africa BriefsAfrica Briefs Morocco urged to press ahead with dirham float

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reiterated on Tuesday its call on Morocco to move towards a greater exchange rate flexibility with a view to strengthening the economy’s resilience to external shocks and boosting competitiveness.

    In January 2018, Morocco widened the band in which the dirham trades against hard currencies to 2.5% either side of a reference price from the previous 0.3%.

    Authorities told the IMF the next phase in the dirham float will be launched when economic conditions permit.

    The central bank has not intervened in the foreign exchange market since March 2018.

    “The banking sector system is sound and resilient,” said the IMF, while stressing the need to remain vigilant given the increasing complexity and cross-border expansion of Moroccan banks, which combined with further exchange rate flexibility, could introduce new risk factors. – Nampa/Reuters

    Egypt says its economy on right track

    Egypt's economy grew 5.6% in the 2018/19 fiscal year and is "on the right track" as it completes IMF-backed reforms, prime minister Mustafa Madbouli said yesterday.

    The budget deficit came in at 8.2% of GDP, he said, which was slightly below an official forecast of 8.4%.

    Egypt is emerging from a three-year economic reform programme tied to a US$12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

    Egypt has been praised by international lenders for swift reforms implemented since 2016, though austerity measures and inflation have left many Egyptians struggling to get by.

    The reforms included a sharp devaluation of the currency, the introduction of value-added tax and the elimination of subsidies on most fuel products. – Nampa/Reuters

    Kenya deports foreign directors of betting firms

    Kenya has ordered the deportation of 17 foreign directors of betting firms operating in Kenya, the interior ministry said yesterday, almost a week after ordering telecoms firm Safaricom to stop processing payments for sports betting firms.

    Online sports betting companies such as SportPesa have grown rapidly in the East African nation in recent years, riding a wave of enthusiasm for sports, with the government putting their combined revenue at 200 billion shillings (US$2 billion) last year, up from 2 billion shillings five years earlier.

    However, that has raised government concern about the social impact of betting. In May, the country introduced new gambling regulations, including banning advertising outdoors and on social media.

    The interior ministry said on 1 July that regulator Betting Control and Licensing Board had declined to renew licences of 19 firms while it reviewed their operations and shareholding structures.

    Reuters could not immediately ascertain those targeted but Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper, citing unnamed sources, reported that they included nationals of Bulgaria, Italy, Russia and Poland. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Zim public workers threaten strike over wagesZim public workers threaten strike over wagesPay down from US$475 to US$47 Unions say the government's austerity plans had left workers mired in poverty. As workers, we refuse to be sacrificed. - Cecilia Alexander, Chairperson: Apex Council Nelson Banya - Zimbabwe's public workers on Tuesday said they would go on strike if the government failed to increase their wages to at least US$475 per month for the lowest paid employee, as resurgent inflation returned.

    Official figures published on Monday showed annual inflation almost doubled to 175.66% in June, piling pressure on a population struggling with shortages and stirring memories of the economic chaos of a decade ago.

    Hope that the economy would quickly rebound under president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced the long-ruling Robert Mugabe after a November 2017 coup, has turned to frustration as the country struggles with shortages of US dollars, fuel and medicines.

    Leaders of government workers' unions marched on the ministries of finance and labour in Harare on Tuesday to present their wage demands.

    "Civil servants are not asking for a salary increment, but rather restoration of the value of their earnings, which fell from at least US$475 to a mere US$47 currently for the lowest paid civil servant," read part of the workers' petition.

    The government abruptly banned the use of foreign currencies on 24 June and decreed that domestic transactions would now be in the local RTGS currency, which was renamed Zimbabwe dollar.

    The local unit has depreciated by 28% since then and was at 8.8 against the greenback on the official interbank market on Tuesday, and around 10 to the US dollar on the black market.

    The lowest-paid government worker earns 430 Zimbabwe dollars a month, enough to buy a vehicle tyre. The government hiked the price of fuel at the weekend and is looking to raise the tariff for electricity in the coming weeks.

    Austerity

    Cecilia Alexander, chairperson of the Apex Council, a grouping of government workers' unions, said the government's austerity plans had left workers mired in poverty.

    "As workers, we refuse to be sacrificed. We have come today as the leadership, if our petition is not received favourably, we will bring the entire civil service out to protest," Alexander said, addressing a group of workers outside the building housing the ministry of finance.

    The last strike called by another union over a sharp rise in fuel prices in January turned deadly after an army crackdown on protesters left more than a dozen people dead.

    Workers were set to meet government for wage talks later on Tuesday.

    ‘Heard you’

    The deputy minister of labour, Lovemore Matuke, who received the unions' petition, promised to take it up with government.

    "We have heard you, we have received your petition. We've heard that your incomes have been eroded. It's a serious issue, which has to be discussed. I know negotiations are in progress and I will hand the petition to the relevant authorities," Matuke said.

    The unions have grown frustrated by the pace of wage talks and accuse the government of not showing urgency.

    Last week, public sector workers rejected the government's offer of 180 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$20.41 million) in additional pay for the next six months, saying it was too little. – Nampa/Reuters

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