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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Affies triumph over brave Tsumeb in Super League finalAffies triumph over brave Tsumeb in Super League final ANDREW POOLMAN

    A dramatic late try after the hooter handed the first rugby team of KMC/JCC Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool the narrowest of wins over Rubicon Tsumeb Gymnasium on Saturday night, as Affies retained the Momentum U/19 Super League trophy for the second year.

    Windhoek Affies clinched a narrow 37-34 win over Tsumeb Gymnasium after finishing one league point behind the log-leading northern team during the regular season.

    Tsumeb took an early 10-0 lead thanks to a penalty by flyhalf Bothma Keyser, followed by a try by captain and Nr 8 WJ Otto, who broke away from a rolling maul to score in the right-hand corner.

    Affies flyhalf Keanu Engelbrecht showed his accuracy off the kicking tee to close the gap to 10-9 with three medium-range penalties.

    However, Tsumeb took a 15-9 lead into halftime, as a handling error deep in their own half by WAP was played from an offside position. This gave Tsumeb the platform for another impressive rolling maul from the lineout, from which prop Tinus van Wyk scored an unconverted try.

    Spectators were treated to an action-packed second half in which both teams simply refused to back down.

    The Affies’ reply within three minutes of the resumption showed exactly what coach Johan Zaayman’s team are capable of. The team in yellow and blue attacked down the blindside on the left with a sweeping move that saw great support play, before quicksilver fullback Jeandre Cloete linked up and changed the direction of his run to the right-hand side, where he sent over wing André Siepker in the corner.

    Engelbrecht succeeded with the tricky conversion, while his side also gained the numerical advantage as Tsumeb’s influential lock Pieter Daan Kok was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Siepker on the goal line.

    The Tsumeb forwards pack again played to their strength as they worked lock Izak Grobbelaar over for a try, following a determined run by WJ Otto that brought them within close range. Keyser’s missed conversion left his team ahead by 20-16.

    Another Keanu Engelbrecht penalty was followed by a superb Affies attack, led by flank and captain De Wet Oosthuizen, from which scrumhalf Louis Karsten set off on a sniping break to score a vital individual try.

    Engelbrecht’s conversion, followed by another successful penalty, put Affies ahead by 27-20, before the diehard Tsumeb team replied with two converted tries. WJ Otto scores his second of the match from a lineout drive, before flank Frikkie Engelbrecht was on hand to finish off after a great run by left wing Zander du Plessis.

    Centre Benjamin Boshoff took over the kicking duties from Keyser to land the latter two conversions and put Tsumeb ahead 34-27, with time running out.

    With only about a minute left on the clock, Engelbrecht brought Affies closer with his fifth penalty of the night. The Windhoek side put everything into their final attack, which led to Tsumeb replacement Ruan Pienaar being yellow-carded.

    With play only being kept alive by the penalties conceded under pressure by Tsumeb, Affies launched attack after attack from tap-kicks and progressed towards the Tsumeb goal line.

    After a stressful wait, the TV referee confirmed that Windhoek Affies scrumhalf Louis Karsten had scored the winning try to overtake Tsumeb’s lead of 34-30 with the final move of the match. The final pass came off the shoulder of one of the WAP forwards as he was tackled and bounced into Karsten’s hands, who quickly snuck through a gap for the try.

    Engelbrecht also landed the final conversion for Windhoek Affies, who had won the first national U-19 Super League title in the school’s history last year when they beat Windhoek Gymnasium.

    Tsumeb provided their travelling fans with full value as they delivered a stunning onslaught in their quest to win the first U-19 Super League trophy in its history.

    Keanu Engelbrecht was named the best backline player of the U-19 Super League final, and captain De Wet Oosthuizen (flank) was named best forward.

    Engelbrecht also clinched the overall best backline player of the Momentum finals weekend award, with Windhoek Gymnasium first-team flank Ivan Rittmann awarded as the most influential forward of the finals.


    The Super League bronze final was won by Schoemans Group Windhoek Gymnasium, who beat Samsung Windhoek High School 32-24.

    Gymnasium were ahead 17-10 at halftime. The 2018 finalists scored tries by prop Ethan Thiart, hooker Shaun van Wyk, flank Ethan Rittmann, number 8 Zander Bronkhorst and right wing Luan Isaack. Flyhalf Cornez Liebenberg added five kicking points and centre Samuel Poulton one conversion.

    On the WHS side, wing Patrick Karsten, replacement wing Dylan Denyschen and prop Iyambo Tshuuya were the try scorers, while outstanding fullback Geraldo Beukes added three conversions and a penalty.


    The U-19A league trophy went to OK Foods Moria Private School from Outjo, who prevailed in another tough contest against PSG Pro-Ed (35-30).

    Moria flyhalf DJ Holtzhausen, who scored a try, two penalties and three conversions, was awarded the overall best player of the finals weekend. His brother, centre Niel Holtzhausen, as well as wings Louis Burger and Brave Shipanga, scored tries for the Outjo side.

    Pro-Ed’s captain, centre Donell Gonteb, was also outstanding, scoring three tries alongside one by his midfield partner Michael Tjazerua. Flyhalf Godwin Silvanus succeeded with two penalties and two conversions.

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    Cites concerned about poachingCites concerned about poachingInconsistencies in exporting of Namibian rhino trophies The percentage of smuggled rhino horns seized in Africa has almost doubled since the last Cites conference. A report that will be up for discussion at this week's World Wildlife Conference highlights inconsistencies in the exporting of rhino trophies from Namibia and says that 295 rhinos have been poached in Namibia between 2009 and 2018.

    It says the 44 rhinos that were poached in 2017 represented 1.5% of Namibia's rhino population.

    The 183 Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will adopt decisions and resolutions to expand and further strengthen the global wildlife trade regime at to be considered at the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES (CoP18). The conference will take place at Palexpo in Geneva from 17 to 28 August.

    Governments have submitted 56 new proposals to change the levels of protection that CITES provides for species of wild animals and plants that are in international trade.

    The report that will be considered is therefore of importance to Namibia, which has proposed transferring its population of white rhinos from Appendix I to II with an annotation solely for the sale of live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations and for hunting trophies, with all other specimens to remain on Appendix I.

    According to the report a total of 4 757 African rhino horns are estimated to have entered the illegal trade between 2016 and 2017, of which 1 093 horns were reportedly recovered by enforcement agencies within and outside Africa.

    This represents approximately 2 378 rhino horns each year being sourced for illegal markets, weighing some 6.6 tonnes.

    Poaching remains the major source of these horns.

    “Of the total number of horns intended for illegal markets, the percentage of horns seized in Africa has almost doubled since CoP17, from 4.5% to 8.9%, while the percentage of horns seized outside of Africa has remained at a similar level (5.8% and 5.5%, respectively),” says the report.

    In Namibia a total of 10 seizures involving 55 rhino horns or pieces of horns were recorded between the period of 2014 and 2018. These horns weighed approximately 114 kg.

    “Although recent slight increases in reported poaching in Botswana and Namibia in 2018 are cause for concern, numbers poached across Africa in 2018 are likely to drop below 1 000 rhinos for the first time in six years, unless there is an end-of-year spike in poaching that is larger than predicted,” says the report.

    It points out that in South Africa and Namibia, the two countries with the largest rhino populations in Africa, numbers of both species of rhino have increased considerably since sport hunting of white and black rhino resumed in 1968 and 2005 respectively.

    In 2004, CITES parties approved annual hunting quotas of five black rhino males for both South Africa and Namibia. Between 2005 and 2017 a total of 10 black rhinos were hunted in Namibia (15% of the quota.

    The report further showed some inconsistencies in the number of rhino trophies that Namibia reported to be exported to certain countries and what those countries reported to have imported.

    According to the report between 2013 and 2016 Namibia reported that 14 rhino horn trophies had been exported to the United States, however the United States said it imported only 10 trophies.

    Meanwhile, Russia reported that it had imported six rhino horn trophies, while Namibia said it had exported eight rhino trophies to that country.

    Austria reported that it had imported five rhino horn trophies from Namibia, while Namibia said it had exported six rhino trophies to that country.

    Namibia also exported two rhino trophies to Germany, Hungary Denmark each. This was consistent with the importing countries' reports.

    International rhino horn sales remain banned under CITES while the commercial sale of hunting trophies is also not permitted.

    CoP18 will again consider a number of elephant proposals. The African elephant was moved from CITES Appendix II to CITES Appendix I in 1989 after decades of ivory poaching had greatly reduced many populations.

    In 1997 and 2000, recognising that some southern African elephant populations were healthy and well managed, CITES agreed to downlist the populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to Appendix II.

    In 1999 and again in 2008, sales of registered stocks of government-owned ivory from these countries to China and Japan were authorised.

    Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe would like to enable trade in registered ivory stocks to Secretariat-verified partners as well as some specified non-ivory trade. They propose to do this by amending an annotation that, although their elephant populations are listed in Appendix II, currently disallows trade.


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    Venaani accused of being authoritarianVenaani accused of being authoritarian Suspended Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) councillor Othniel Tjikuua has accused party president McHenry Venaani of running the political party as if it was his property.

    Tjikuua was recently suspended on disciplinary charges of gross insubordination and violation of the PDM Code of Conduct Schedule A(B).

    “Mr Tjikuua has further been given 14 days from receipt of the written letter to show cause as to why he should not be subjected to a disciplinary hearing,” party secretary-general Manuel Ngaringombe said in a statement. Tjikuua was further forbidden to attend any PDM events. When called for comment, Tjikuua accused Venaani of running the party like his personal property and said he was a victim of tribalism because he had backed a traditional faction Venaani did not favour.

    “Venaani is not open to be challenged at all. There is no democracy in the party at all. Venaani is treating PDM like his own house,” said Tjikuua. According to him, party members have to agree with Venaani's views on how the party must be managed.

    “There is no democracy in the party. If you do not agree with Venaani, you will be labelled as a traitor,” Tjikuua said. Asked whether he would oppose his suspension, Tjikuua said he respected the party's decision and would not participate in any of its activities.

    “I love politics. Do not be surprised if I join another political party,” he said. Asked if he would consider running as an independent candidate for the 2020 local authority elections, Tjikuua said no. Tjikuua joins former PDM member Olsen Kahiriri, who is also in the political wilderness. Kahiriri has also accused the party of being undemocratic.

    In a recent statement, Kahiriri said: “I have tried my best to promote democracy, something that I have learned during my tenure with the organisation ... was not welcome.”


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    National pension still in starting blocksNational pension still in starting blocks Local pension fund administrator Marthinuz Fabianus has suggested that the Social Security Commission (SSC) consider a Namibian-based solution as it moves to establish a national pension fund.

    He made the remarks in an industry newsletter recently.

    The SSC, the champion of the envisaged national pension fund, initially came up the idea to establish the fund but has been struggling to get out of the starting blocks with the fund for over 20 years, a situation Fabianus finds perplexing.

    According to Fabianus, the SSC has attempted without success to bring into operation the NPF law, at great cost to the taxpayer.

    “The main reason for the failure has to be the fact that SSC has been using international experts who tried to copy and paste western world social security models to our local environment, which repeatedly proved not to be sensible,” he said.

    Namibia, Fabianus said, had all the makings to ensure that the national pension fund would thrive.

    “Namibia has a thriving and world-class occupational pension fund industry within a dynamic regulatory environment. I therefore submit that a National Pension Fund law should require that say all persons contributing to current Maternity Leave, Sick Leave, and Death Fund (MSD Fund) be required to contribute to a Retirement Fund,” Fabianus said.

    “The rationale for my suggestion is that we should make best use as a country of our already existing infrastructure managing occupational pension funds, to extend retirement funding coverage to the [approximately] 389 000 qualifying and gainfully employed persons of our country, currently without occupational saving arrangement,” he added. Fabianus also dispelled any fears that the suggestions he was raised would benefit him because he manages a local pension fund administrator.

    According to him, there is a lot of merit in using all existing infrastructure such as insurance companies that offer underwriting cover for group arrangements, access to world-class asset management firms, pension fund administrators with underutilised pension fund administration systems, and the current regulator of the occupational pension funds industry (the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority), which he said had already built major capacity.

    The SCC had in January this year told Namibian Sun that the national pension fund would be operational by the middle of 2019.

    Its spokesperson, Unomengi Kauapirura, told Namibian Sun at the time that the pension fund task team was revisiting some of the design recommendations.

    “The revised policy is currently being updated by the national pension fund team for consideration and approval by the minister of labour and the management of the ministry. If all project deadlines are met, the national pension fund should be fully operational by the middle of 2019,” she said.

    According to Kauapirura, the ministry has reviewed the documents and recommended further revisions of the recommended design, following a consultation and briefing session between the labour minister, ministry officials and the SSC board in March 2018.

    “Once the policy is approved, it will require the drafting of a Social Security Pension Scheme Bill to be submitted to parliament,” she said.


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    Basketball festival lives up to expectationsBasketball festival lives up to expectationsPlayers' parents join in the fun Teams from the north travelled to Windhoek to take part in the Namibia Basketball School League's first basketball festival. The Namibia Basketball School League (NBSL) hosted the first-ever basketball festival at the Basketball Artists School (BAS) in Katutura on Saturday.

    The festival was aimed at bringing together the local basketball community, inclusive of players from all age groups as well as their parents.

    The day's festivities started off with a parent-player Basketball For Life fun day. Parents joined in team-based activities that were setup to teach inclusion and teamwork.

    A set of Sport2Life life skills activities started off the morning and ended with a small tournament in which the parents and players were mixed.

    The day continued with a 3X3 tournament for under-15 boys and girls who battled it out for prizes.

    Teams from the northern part of the country also came through to take part in the competition. These players, from the Oshana Basketball School (OBS), were accompanied by programme coordinator Pondo Nailenge.Nailenge said it was a great opportunity for the children to not only visit the capital, but to take part in competitive play with the payers at the tournament.

    “This exposure served them well as this showed the other players that the northern region produces competition-worthy players when it comes to the sport. We hope to take part in more competitions such as this and thus are happy that the federation is really working towards its goal of uniting all the various basketball bodies under one footprint,” he said.

    A very clear final in the girls' division was played between Deutsche Höhere Privatschule (DHPS) and the girls from the BAS. Team DHPS proved stronger and took home the N$1 000 voucher by winning the game 12 - 1.

    In the final BAS they took on OBS in a game which ended 11 – 0.

    On board to make the event a success was the Deutsche Basketball Bund (DBB), Bokomo Namibia, OTB Sport, Pako Children's Magazine, Jinels Models Namibia and the Namibian Basketball Federation.

    NBSL is an initiative run under the NBF.


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    High winds cause stand collapse at Dutch stadiumHigh winds cause stand collapse at Dutch stadium High winds caused part of Dutch club AZ Alkmaar's stadium to collapse on Saturday with officials relieved that the ground was empty at the time.

    Dramatic pictures emerged of the damage to the 17 000-capacity AFAS stadium in the northern Dutch city which was built 13 years ago.

    “This surprised us all. We are very shocked but happy that was no-one was hurt,” said general manager Robert Eenhoorn.

    “We will now conduct a study with experts in this field. Only when that investigation has been completed will we be able to elaborate on the matter. It is much too early for that at the moment.” He added: “No matches will be played in the stadium if it is not safe.” The collapsed roof and shattered terracing at Alkmaar means that the club's scheduled Europa League match at home to Mariupol of Ukraine on Thursday will be in doubt.

    AZ play a Dutch league game away at RKC Waalwijk on Sunday.


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    Stars break local transfer record with Katjimune dealStars break local transfer record with Katjimune deal African Stars Football Club recently broke the long-standing local football transfer record when they agreed a deal to buy Tura Magic midfielder Tjipeta 'Koko' Katjimune for N$100 000.

    Katjimune, who has been with Magic for the past three seasons after breaking through the club's development team Namib Colts, moves to Stars on a five-year contract.

    Civics FC, who bought Congo Hindjou from Black Leopards of South Africa for N$75 000 almost 20 years ago, held the previous transfer record.

    This was confirmed by African Stars chairperson Patrick Kauta, who said his team is a trendsetter and is on a serious mission to professionalise football in the country.

    “Football is big business and must be treated as such. At Stars, this is in line with our vision of making the club professional. We have spent a lot of money this time as we strengthen our team because we have set our eyes on making it to the group stages of the African Champions League (ACL),” he said.

    He added that they had acquired the services of another midfielder Marcel Papama for N$60 000, while refusing to divulge the amount of money they spent on their two foreign-based players whom they bought from Comoros.

    Papama moves from the University of Namibia to Stars on a three-year deal.

    Confirming Katjimune's transfer, Tura Magic chairman Peter Nakurua said they were happy with the deal, as it was conducted in a professional manner.

    “We must pay tribute to the two teams on how they conducted themselves during negotiations. Stars approached us, we spoke to the player and he showed interest in the move. We agreed on a fee and payment plan and as Magic, we have cleared the boy and wish him all the best,” he said.

    He added that the deal shows that his team will continue to develop players, as they are encouraged and motivated to produce more players.

    He added that more players are likely to leave his club as two or three players are likely to move outside the country and as a team, they will never stand in the way of players who want to play for other teams.

    “Players grow, and if they want to move forward, we do not have a problem. Teams just have to respect us and follow the procedure. We do not have a problem releasing these players,” he emphasised.


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    Poverty, inequality and jobs crisis Poverty, inequality and jobs crisis Joblessness is a national disaster. For a country that is already grappling with high levels of inequality, it is safe to say that we are sitting with a major crisis on our hands. For many years job creation in this country has been woefully off target and actually, more and more Namibians are losing jobs than never before. Companies have been forced to unexpectedly shed jobs because of a poorly performing economy slipping into a technical recession. The tough times are not yet over and the authorities need to step in and build up a strong base for the upliftment of the economy. Pumping money into the economy must be done in a responsible manner to avoid unnecessary wastage. However, the focus on solving this pertinent issue is overlooked by critical role players, including politicians and to some extent business. We find it extremely perplexing that there is no adequate public discourse highlighting the unemployment crisis befalling our nation. And, mind you, Namibia has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Almost every second young person in this country is without a job. Thousands graduating from tertiary institutions are not guaranteed work in this trying economy. Although millions were pledged in investments during the three-day Economic Summit, which focused on getting the Namibian economy growing again, there is still no position paper on how jobs would be created in the long run. In the meantime, the disparity in education, skill and income continues as senseless programmes are being implemented and only benefiting a selected few elite. The bottom line is that we have not declared war on unemployment, judging by the lackadaisical approach we are going about it. The approach to job creation must change for the better if we are really serious about pushing for more reforms to improve our economy.

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    AN hopes for better results at African Games Top selection ahead of gamesAN hopes for better results at African Games Top selection ahead of games Athletics Namibia (AN) vice-president Xenia Pieterse says they have selected a group of athletes who they believe will do well for the country in Morocco. NAMPA

    The 12th edition of the African Games (AG) will be held in Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco from 16 to 31 August 2019.

    Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, Pieterse said the athletes selected to represent the country are currently busy in training and AN is hopeful that those who are going to wear the national colours will do well for themselves as well as the country.

    “We have athletes from the Namibian Police who are busy with preparation in Angola and some other athletes are in Europe using whatever means at their disposal to prepare themselves well for the competition,” she noted.

    She added that the only athlete she is a bit worried about is Beatrice Masilingi who is currently busy with school and might not have enough time to prepare sufficiently for the competition, but expressed confidence that the athletics team will surprise everyone with their performance at the championships.

    “We are hoping for medals because the athletes are on the ball and with Roger Haitengi who is based in Johannesburg due to studies, I believe Haitengi can win a medal in long jump as he has really been doing well this year,” said Pieterse.

    A group of 18 athletes and three officials will represent Namibia at the AG this year. They are Ernst Narib, Sydney Kamuruuma, Roger Haitengi, Chenoult Coetzee, Mahmad Böck, Jeremia Shaliaxwe, Beatrice Masilingi, Tjipekapora Herunga, Beata Naigambo, Jolene Jacobs, Even Tjiviju, Thasiso Aochamub, Warren Goreseb, Globine Mayova, Gilbert Hainuca, Dantago Gurirab, Ryan Williams and Lavinia Haitope.

    The officials are Hendrik Botha and Tobias Hiskia (coaches) while Bethold Karumendu will be the team leader.

    Twenty-nine sport codes have been announced for the 2019 AG and Namibia will participate in 12 codes - athletics, archery, boxing, chess, cycling (road and mountain bike), fencing, karate, shooting, swimming, tennis, beach volleyball and wrestling.

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    Football and alcohol – a complex relationshipFootball and alcohol – a complex relationship Football and alcohol have a very deep relationship. Both are addictions. One is very beneficial when practised in correct circumstances and the other tends to be an inevitable consequence enjoyed by many modern players.

    As much as this might sound strange, there is a more complex relationship between football and alcohol than is usually acknowledged.

    These two worlds collide, with some of the finest players having fallen victim to the 'glass too many syndrome'.

    Which brings me to the question – do players need a glass to relax before a match? Or should they consume as much as they can before a match so long as they are on the pitch?

    I ask this because during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, England manager Fabio Capello famously abandoned the dictatorial regime he'd imposed on the players during their two lacklustre draws against the US and Algeria.

    Instead, before their crucial match against Slovenia he allowed the team a beer to calm their nerves.

    Capello was quoted in The Guardian as saying, “they were allowed to drink beer before the game, you can ask them. It's true. I changed something and used my imagination.”

    The result was a 1-0 English victory that saw them advance past the group stages - each with a beer in hand.

    Should coaches then implement the drink before a match rule to relax players or scrap it all together?

    I'm not totally sure of this but I have seen footballers, both male and female, and their drinking patterns before and after matches.

    This I have seen in the local leagues, as well as local social leagues, or boozer leagues rather.

    It seems as though the social leagues and weekend football matches are used as a benchmark to take in a lot of alcoholic drinks.

    It has become a drinking spree. To each their own, but there are many consequences associated with excessive drinking, especially if you are involved in a game like football.

    Prior alcohol consumption appears to increase the risk of sports-related injury; concussions or even death on the field. Drinking before playing a match can result in muscle cramps, dehydration, reduced stamina, decreased absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.

    Even worse, you can collide with another player on the field and injure yourself badly.

    Many social leagues do not have medics at hand. It is therefore advised to at least consume after the match, and not use beer as a hydrating agent.

    There are those who genuinely participate in these football rendezvous in order to get fit or improve on their skills, but the rest are a serious hazard.

    It is true that binge drinking is commonly found in football, and the culture of the game is such that many players will abstain from alcohol in training but will drink copious amounts after a game. How safe is this – and how conducive is it?

    Brazil had a player by the name of Garrincha. He was a brilliant goal scoring winger for Rio's Botafogo team, easily the most skilled dribbler the game has ever seen.

    On the debit side he was a heavy drinker, evidently downing a bottle each day of his adult life. In retirement his drinking adversely affected his health, and he died from alcoholic cirrhosis in 1983 aged just 49.

    So, based on all the evidence should alcohol be banished from every player's diet and treated like a performance decaying tonic? Or is it a secret elixir that can be used to encourage team bonding, reduce nerves and allow players to play with the utmost freedom?

    You decide.


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  • 08/11/19--16:00: Plastic bag levy gazetted
  • Plastic bag levy gazetted Plastic bag levy gazetted ELLANIE SMIT

    An environmental levy on plastic shopping bags has finally been gazetted and will amount to 50c per bag.

    The new levy was published in the Government Gazette of 2 August, but according to the spokesperson of the finance ministry, Tonateni Shidhudhu, it must still be tabled in the National Assembly.

    “It is gazetted, but not yet operational,” he said.

    Shidhudhu further said that the 50c levy per bag is what retailers and shops are expected to pay to the government.

    The proceeds will be channelled to the Environmental Investment Fund for investment in improved waste management.

    The implementation of this levy will be done under the Customs and Excise Act of 1998, which is administered by the finance ministry.

    “If they (retailers) want to charge more we have no control over that, as long as they pay the 50 cents per bag that they give to customers.”

    Shidhudhu said the law does not restrict retailers from charging beyond the prescribed levy.

    “The law is not aimed at generating money but to discourage the use of plastic bags,” he emphasised.

    The finance ministry has said that recent charges on shopping bags introduced by Namibian retailers were their own initiative and did not form part of the environmental levy the government intended to introduce.

    Some retailers are now charging up to N$1 per plastic bag.

    The ministry said two outlets, namely Pupkewitz Megabuild and its subsidiary, Kaap Agri Namibia, voluntarily introduced the Break Free from Plastic Campaign, charging 50 cents per plastic carrier bag as of December 2018.

    The Pupkewitz Group committed to this arrangement until Schedule 1 of the Customs and Excise Act is amended. The quarterly proceeds have been handed over to the government's Environment Investment Fund (EIF) since then, totalling N$60 000 to date.

    The new levy will come in operation after it is approved by the National Assembly.

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  • 08/11/19--16:00: Geingob, Diescho slugfest
  • Geingob, Diescho slugfestGeingob, Diescho slugfestHelmut Angula says ‘leave me out of it’ Friday’s town hall meeting at Rundu turned into a heated argument about the firing of Professor Joseph Diescho as head of the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management. KENYA KAMBOWE

    President Hage Geingob has used a town hall meeting to lay into one of his fiercest critics, Professor Joseph Diescho, while claiming that he had brought Diescho back from “the wilderness”.

    Geingob also appeared to have confirmed that Diescho was indeed fired as Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) director because of his so-called “dictums” which he had written for New Era.

    Diescho served as head of Nipam for two years and was dismissed in December 2015.

    “I am the only one who was doing things for Diescho and the only person he singles out in Swapo is me,” Geingob said during the Kavango East Region town hall meeting which took place at Rundu on Friday.

    “At Nipam where the professor was supposed to shine, there were dictums written but you will not see any dictum about Nipam, on how to lead Nipam, none. The rest (Frans) Kapofi will tell you.

    “So that is the person I brought back from the wilderness because I was told he does not have a house here (Rundu). He cares for Kavango and still does not have a house, he stays in the Catholic church whatsoever.

    “I don’t waste my time on Professor Diescho, I see his writings but I have more important things to do. Don’t let Diescho mislead you because he failed on his own.”

    Geingob made the remarks after various speakers, including the chairperson of the Muzokumwe Volunteers Organisation (MVO), Paulus Mbangu, asked why Diescho had been removed from Nipam and treated as an outcast.

    During the meeting, Geingob further claimed that the late Theo-Ben Gurirab, during his time as Swapo's representative at the United Nations, whom Diescho had praised when criticising the Geingob administration, was in fact one of those who did not trust Diescho.

    According to Geingob, Gurirab’s distrust of Diescho was because he had reportedly been approached on a number of occasions to spy against Swapo.

    He further revealed that former Swapo Politburo member Helmut Angula, who also served as chief representative to the UN before independence, did not trust Diescho.

    When contacted for comment, Angula flatly denied Geingob’s allegation, saying he could not recall anything of that nature and asked to be left alone.

    Angula also questioned why Geingob had to draw the name of the late Gurirab into the saga, as he cannot defend himself.

    “I have no recollection of anything like that; I have been on good terms with Professor Diescho,” Angula said.

    “Why did he have to talk about someone who is dead and who cannot defend himself? Why can’t he not just answer why the people are not there, it is a straightforward question. Theo is not here to defend himself and let them leave my name out of this.”


    Meanwhile, Diescho at the weekend also responded to Geingob, while confirming that he was the author of a series of posts circulating on social media.

    Diescho pointed out that Geingob had finally admitted that his newspaper column is what cost him his job at Nipam. However, he denied that he never wrote a column about Nipam.

    “Finally you admit to the world that it is my dictum that led to my dismissal. And you lie with a straight face that I did not write a single dictum about Nipam. There was more than one,” Diescho said.

    On the issue of Gurirab not trusting him, Diescho refuted the claims, saying Geingob was not happy that he opted to praise the late Gurirab and not him.

    “I take great exception that you cast aspersions on the good name of the late Theo-Ben Gurirab, with whom I had an extraordinarily filial relationship such that just before he passed he described me as the voice of the Namibian nation. You had a problem that I praised him and not you. This is pathetic that you wish to be praised instead of the dead,” Diescho said.

    “Your rush to name people because you had no answer to citizens’ questions is a very dangerous sign of political immaturity and lack of sophistication for a person of your position,” Diescho hit back.

    Town hall drama

    At the Rundu town hall meeting, Geingob was asked to explain a submission he had made as prime minister in parliament back in 1991, in which he reportedly raised issues concerning the poor representation of the Kavango people in top government positions.

    Mbangu said it was hypocritical for Geingob to be against those who now expressed the same sentiments.

    “It cannot be right for you, Mr President, to accuse us of trying to push Namibia back into Bantustans when we are raising the same issues that you raised in parliament 28 years ago. If representation is not needed, why should people vote?” Mbangu asked.

    Geingob responded by saying that he stood by what he said as quoted by Mbangu. He said the infighting among people of the various Kavango tribes was one of the key factors as to why they felt left out.

    Geingob furthermore questioned why some people from Kavango East Region are allowing themselves to be used by Diescho, whom he repeatedly called a failure.

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  • 08/11/19--16:00: Sniper silences Danny Boy
  • Sniper silences Danny BoySniper silences Danny Boy LIMBA MUPETAMI It was a bad day at the office for Namibia’s lightweight boxer Albinius ‘Danny Boy’ Felesiano when he was beaten fair and square by Zimbabwe’s Peter ‘Sniper’ Pambeni at Ramatex in Windhoek in the early hours of yesterday morning.

    The two boxers were vying for the WBO Africa title over 12 rounds in the MTC Salute Boxing Academy’s Clash of the Titans boxing bonanza.

    Before the fight the Namibian had promised to punish the Zimbabwean, saying that he would feel the pain when they stepped into the ring.

    However, it was the Zimbabwean Pambeni who ended up punishing Felesiano on home turf.

    Pambeni looked much more convincing and hungrier for the title, landing most of the punches throughout the fight.

    Pambeni left Felesiano clueless and frustrated as he didn’t know which trick to use to floor the visiting Zimbabwean.

    The Zimbabwean now has a record of 14 fights, 13 wins and one loss, whereas Felesiano has a tally of 22 fights, 18 wins, three losses and one draw.

    At the same event local boxer Anthony Jarmann defeated Simeon Tcheta of Malawi in an entertaining six-rounder. Jarmann showed that he still has more surprises up his sleeve as he put on a great display.

    Also in the mix of fights was Igor Shevadzutkyi of Ukraine, who stopped Alick Gogoda of Malawi seven seconds into the six-round heavyweight fight with a strong punch to the body. Gogoda could not continue the fight after that.

    In other bouts, Marten Mukungu won his super bantamweight fight against Gustav Petrus.

    In the light flyweight division Erastus Jonas defeated Leonard Gawanab. The flyweight fight went to Festus Simon against Ruben Kandimba.

    In another thriller in the super bantamweight division, Lazarus Namalambo proved to be the better fighter as he defeated Immanuel Andeleki.

    Lukas Ndafoluma ended up winning his fight against Enock Msambudzi of Zimbabwe.

    Natanael Kakololo was in a tough fight against Toto Helebe of South Africa but managed to pull a win.

    The light heavyweight bout went to Mejandjae Kasuto against Limbani Lano of Malawi.

    Lazarus Shaningwa put up an entertaining fight against David Shinuna. The two exchanged blows from the word go, but it was Shaningwa who impressed in the end.

    Nigerian heavyweight boxer Akeem Tijani was floored four minutes into the fight by Taras Neadachyn of Ukraine.

    The third heavyweight fight ended with Kasera Sirongo defeating Johannes Nekongo.\

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    We will cause more problems in Kampala - GargoWe will cause more problems in Kampala - GargoKCCA falter to Stars Newly appointed coach of African Stars Mohammed Gargo says his team will cause more problems for KCCA in the Caf second-leg qualifier match to be played on 23 August. LIMBA MUPETAMI

    The Ghanaian Mohammed Gargo led his side to victory in the first leg at Sam Nujoma 3-2 and is confident that they can emulate the score in Uganda.

    The Namibians conceded an own goal through Ivan Kamberipa but came back to score three goals in the match.

    Stars’ goals came from Ambrosius Amseb and Youssouf Ibroihim, who scored a brace. Patrick Kaddu scored for KCCA.

    “I’m impressed with the way the players performed. We didn’t have enough preparation time but I’m surprised by the chances we created.

    “We will now build on the two weeks of training we have had and work on finishing and stamina,” said Gargo.

    “There was a lot of hope going into the match. We conceded silly goals because of carelessness not that the opposition duress us. They played well. They are on form. I believe we will change for the second match,” said Mike Mutebi, KCCA’s coach.

    He added that it was a great match as the Namibians played attacking football.

    “They were attacking. We won’t be careless in the second leg. In the first half we could have scored three goals but we missed and they got confidence. They gave us a big challenge which we couldn’t answer the way we like.

    “They don’t have weaknesses; they have a lot of belief. A team which concedes but comes up and reacts shows that they have a lot of belief.

    “There are no small teams. As long as you do your work home and away to receive the results,” Mutebi added.

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  • 08/08/19--16:00: RFA’s go-getter
  • RFA’s go-getterRFA’s go-getterChanging perceptions regarding accounting Mercia believes that despite Namibia’s current economic situation, accountants will always have relevance. Evany van Wyk

    Mercia Maurihungirire is a full-time financial accountant at Road Fund Administration (RFA), married to a wonderful husband and busy raising two sons and a daughter. It is clear that there is no stopping this driven career woman as she tells Careers more about her job, beliefs and what she thinks the future has in store for accounting graduates in Namibia.

    In grade 11, Maurihungirire was left standing at a crossroads. She had As in all her subjects, but a B in accounting, her favourite subject. “I always had a passion for accounting since high school to the point where I had a hard time choosing between the science field and the commerce field,” she said. Deciding to follow her heart and choosing what she loved, today she is a qualified accountant with a successful career ahead.

    She boasts with a Bachelor’s degree from the Namibian University of Science and Technology (Nust) as well as pursuing her post-graduate diploma in business administration at the University of Namibia (Unam) business school. “My current job entails me ensuring that the Fund’s financial records are accurate and in line with the applicable reporting frameworks,” said Maurihungirire.

    She further added that as an accountant one is faced with new issues to resolve on a daily basis and one is never at a know-it-all point as in this profession, one needs continuous professional development. “In a nutshell, this job keeps your brain awake,” she said. On the topic of misconceptions, Maurihungirire says she hates that people think accounting is boring. “I would definitely condemn the perception, being an accountant is not a boring job because it is a very challenging profession,” she said.

    According to Maurihungirire accounting lies at the heart of any organisation as proper accounting records would be the only way that the owners of the organisation will have a picture of the performance of their respective entity. “I definitely encourage those currently studying in the accounting field to continue pursuing their career goals as the demand for accountants will always be there,” she said.

    She said that the high standards of the Namibia Institute for Professional Accountants to which she is accredited, have definitely sharpened her to become the great professional she is today. “Through those challenges I faced, having achieved my certification remains my greatest accomplishment,” she added. One of the ideologies which she lives is by is knowing that nothing is impossible because prayer changes everything.

    Maurihungirire is not only a go-getter in her professional life, but also looks to overcome her biggest fear. She mentioned that drowning had been something she was terrified of, but she decided to do something about it and joined a swimming club. “I must say my trainer is doing an excellent job, so watch out for Namibia’s next best swimmer,” she joked.

    Her future plans include completing her Master’s degree, specialising in finance, to reach her goal of becoming one of the biggest accounting and finance experts in the corporate world. “When I put my mind to something I will do it regardless of what’s in my way,” Maurihungirire concluded.

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  • 08/08/19--16:00: Jack of all trades
  • Jack of all tradesJack of all trades Remigius Angula is a quality assurance manager at Plastic Packaging. Pull quote: “I plan on taking the Plastic Packaging Group's standards compliance to the next level.,” – Remigius Angula Michelline Nawatises

    Remigius Angula was born in Oshakati in the Oshana Region. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours degree in microbiology which he obtained at the University of Stellenbosch and a BSc degree in chemistry and molecular physiology from the University of Namibia. He is currently involved in quality management systems (QMS) and food safety system implementation.

    Angula was a laboratory technician at Unam from 2003 to 2007. He took up position as microbiologist at the Namibia Standards Institution (NSI) between 2008 and 2013. He was promoted to section head of microbiology at the NSI, a position he held until 2015. He relocated to Walvis Bay and was a quality and food safety coordinator at Walvis Bay Salt Refiners until 2018.

    The fierce Angula joined the Plastic Packaging family mid-September of 2018 and is a quality assurance manager for the entire Plastic Packaging group; this includes Angola and South Africa. His job entails establishing, documenting, implementing, monitoring and evaluating and continually improving the effectiveness of the quality management system of Plastic Packaging in accordance with ISO standards other applicable statutory and regulatory requirements to enhance customer satisfaction.

    His day includes ensuring that in-house quality checks, procedures, standards and specifications are met. He conducts root-cause analyses on customer complaints and quality alerts, provides feedback on these and conducts training on quality and food safety-related issued to the employees. He further drafts standard operating procedures, work instructions and coordinates the health and safety related matters of Plastic Packaging. Angula is also responsible for the implementation of lean manufacturing principles at the workplace (eliminating all sorts of waste). Everything revolves around the plan-to-do-check-act cycle for continuous improvements.

    The father of three children has accomplished being part of the NSI microbiology team that got the lab in Walvis Bay accredited to ISO 17025:2005 as well as being a technical signatory for all accredited microbiological methods. Furthermore, he was selected from Africa to attend a six-month training course on quality for the World Market Leadership Training in Germany and is certified as a lead auditor (ISO 9001:2008)

    The soccer fanatic is inspired by seeing progress in performing a certain task and knowing that he made an impact. “It gives me satisfaction to see an immense progression in tasks I perform and see a positive outcome after the final product,” he says. When asked by Careers what advice he would give to his young self, knowing what he knows now, he had this to say: “You are the creator of your destiny. Don't procrastinate your duties always stay focused,” he said.

    The jack of all trades wants to see himself as an integrated systems auditor (ISO 9001, 14001, 45001) in the future and he strongly believes that Plastic Packaging is the correct platform for him to succeed in his talents and to make this dream a reality.

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    Beautifully tenacious in a male-dominated fieldBeautifully tenacious in a male-dominated field Paulina Iyambo is a senior manager in energy trading at NamPower who strongly believes that hard work, education and passion can create endless opportunities if you have the will to succeed. Mariselle Stofberg

    A jaguar is perceived as intimidating, tenacious, beautiful, elegant, energetic and driven, and this is why the strong and determined Paulina Iyambo resonates so much with this feline species.

    Iyambo is the senior manager of the energy trading department of NamPower in Windhoek who strongly believes in the importance of working hard to achieve your goals, educating yourself, and striving to make the most of every moment that you are given.

    Not only is she a qualified electrical engineer, she has various other qualifications under her belt.

    Iyambo grew up in Oniipa, a village near Ondangwa with her parents and eight siblings. She completed her high school at Mweshipandeka High School and then pursued a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust).

    Iyambo then began her journey towards attaining her Master’s degree in electrical engineering in Cape Town which she completed in 2007. Thereafter she completed her B-Juris (Law) at the University of Namibia and afterwards, completed her Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Stellenbosch.

    Being a bursary student of NamPower, she started working as a trader for the company in 2008. “This is the lowest technical position in this department. I continued to work hard and then moved up in the ranks to become a senior trader, then a commercial analyst and eventually the senior manager of energy trading.”

    Iyambo manages traders, commercial analysts and account custodians, and is responsible for short-, medium- and long-term electricity demand forecasts and makes sure the electricity demand of Namibia is met at all times. This comes with immense responsibility as Iyambo’s duties can have a ripple effect on the economy. “My work is visible and what I do can be manifested and seen. When I do not deliver on my duties, others are affected. My work is an enabler for others to complete theirs.”

    The drought the country is currently experiencing has created some challenges for Iyambo in her career, seeing that NamPower’s Ruacana hydro power station is reliant on the run of the river, which forces the company to make use of alternative energy sources to meet the demand. “At times you need to work extended hours to make sure you meet your mandate. My career was tested during the drought to make sure we still meet our energy demands, and when power is received from other countries we need to make sure all our agreements are watertight, and that the country’s interests are protected at all times.”

    Not only is Iyambo devoted to providing quality work, but, as a single mother, she is also devoted to her three children. “It is rare to have a mother of three studying and working simultaneously, but I believe that where there is a will you can create a way.”

    This motivated and hard worker strives to not only complete her duties, but to always make sure she takes care of the people she works with. “I believe in knowing the people you work with and the importance of understanding who they are outside the scope of their work as it fosters a conducive working environment.”

    Iyambo encourages the youth to never take anything for granted and to do as much as possible for your career while you are still young. “Nothing is too difficult and one never stops learning. You need to find something that will differentiate you from others and by studying further you can master content and information and that will set you apart from the rest.”

    Being a female in a management position in an industry that historically has been male-dominated, Iyambo believes in empowering and encouraging females to be whoever they want and to pursue their dreams.

    “Women are perceived as being on a lower scale than their male counterparts, however this is definitely not the case. Over the years there has been a mass shift in empowering women to partake in industries of their choice and NamPower is no exception. Women can be anything and do anything. I specifically wanted to venture into the electrical engineering field as it is my passion but additionally to challenge the social norms of it being perceived as a male-dominated field. It is the combination of set goals and visions that build upon the success of individual women around the world that become the basis of inspiration for young girls. It is important that young women know their value and power as we are equal and we should treat each other as such in all avenues of life.”

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    Congo's bread basket struggles to recover from conflictCongo's bread basket struggles to recover from conflictPool War still taking casualties More than two years after a brutal civil conflict in Pool, the second in 20 years, was settled, Congo's key agricultural region remains deeply depressed. When I arrived in Congo in 2009, a tonne of cement sold for 200 000 CFA francs. Today, it's 40 000. - Clement Mawuli Ahialey, Manager: Diamond Cement Laudes Martial Mbon and Samir Tounsi - "The trains are running again. We have peace," says Didier, the station master at Mindouli, in the Republic of Congo's southern region of Pool.

    But a glance at the weeds growing on the line connecting the capital Brazzaville and the port city of Pointe-Noire shows that traffic - to put it gently - is not huge.

    Outside the station, a war-battered relic of French colonial times, a few plucky hawkers have set up stalls in the hope of snaring a little cash.

    More than two years after a brutal civil conflict in Pool, the second in 20 years, was settled, Congo's key agricultural region remains deeply depressed.

    The so-called Pool War erupted in April 2016, pitting the forces of president Denis Sassou Nguesso against the troops of Frederic Bintsamou, a Protestant clergyman and leader of a rebel group called the Ninjas.

    A ceasefire ended the conflict in December 2017 - but it took until November 2018 for traffic to resume on the Congo-Ocean Railway.

    Even today, there are no passenger trains and a new Chinese-built highway siphons off much of the meagre trade.

    "On average, we have five trains a day," says Didier. "Before, we used to have three times as many."

    The track is old, the rolling stock decrepit and out of the first seven months of this year, workers went unpaid for four, employees say.


    The state's coffers are empty.

    The government, run by Sassou Nguesso for 35 years, has debts of US$9.5 billion, nearly a third of which is owed to state enterprises and private firms.

    In July, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave Congo a three-year loan of nearly US$450 million after revenues from oil, the country's main currency earner, crashed.

    Congo, with a population of 4.6 million, has a poverty rate of 43%, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

    The country ranks a lowly 135th out of 188 nations rated in terms of human development, and life expectancy is a mere 62.9 years, compared to 80.9 years in the EU.

    The name of the Pool department derives from Stanley Pool, which the 19th-century European colonialist Henry Stanley named after himself.

    It comes from a lake-like broadening of the mighty Congo River in its lower reaches.

    The region controls the corridor to the Atlantic coast from the capital Brazzaville, which sits on the opposite bank of the Congo from Kinshasa, the capital of the vast Democratic Republic of Congo.

    ‘Garden of Congo’

    Pool's nickname is the "Garden of Congo" - for decades, its rich soil, plentiful rainful and tropical warmth brought forth cheap and plentiful corn, manioc, millet, peanuts, pork and farmed fish.

    Today, though, the region of plenty bears the imprint of want in a country burdened by debt.

    A cement factory which opened on the outskirts of Mindouli in January 2018 and provides several hundred jobs, seems to be one of the rare causes for optimism.

    But, says Diamond Cement manager Clement Mawuli Ahialey, a Togolese, times are hard. The plant has a capacity of 700 000 tonnes a year, but produces just 4 000 tonnes a month.

    The plant's opening was delayed by several years as a result of the Pool War - by which time the price of cement had crashed.

    "When I arrived in Congo in 2009, a tonne of cement sold for 200 000 CFA francs (US$341). Today, it's 40 000. We're selling at a loss," he said.


    The Congo government, the UN and 16 humanitarian organisations last month put out the begging bowl for US$23.7 million to help 138 000 distressed people in Pool for the next six months.

    A June 2017 survey found that more than half of families in Pool were living in food insecurity - among children in displaced families, more than one in six is acutely malnourished.

    In Mindouli, the World Food Programme is working with a Congolese partner to restore fish farms.

    Three ponds, each measuring about 50x50 metres, are already filled with water and awaiting their fish.

    At a fourth pond, dozens of workers, hired on a basis of 1 500 CFA francs (US$2.5) per day, clear out weeds from the dried-up bed. – Nampa/AFP

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    Gys, trash guru of Rent-A-DrumGys, trash guru of Rent-A-Drum Michelline Nawatises

    Gys Louw is the CEO of Rent-A-Drum (Pty) Ltd, the leader in waste management and recycling in Namibia. Louw has over 30 years of experience in the waste industry and provides strategic and operational leadership in uniquely challenging situations. His company maintains comprehensive waste management contracts with government institutions, industrial and commercial enterprises, mines, as well as residential clientele.

    The company assists developers, engineers and architects with the planning of waste management and waste areas at new property developments. Under his innovative leadership, the first Material Recovery Facility (MRF) was launched and established. After partnering with Molok Finland in 2012, he also made the deep collection system – Molok - a reality in Namibia. More than 200 Moloks have already been installed for clients, serviced by Rent-A-Drum.

    Louw is passionate about preserving the environment and the natural resources of Namibia, hence his company’s strong environmental focus aimed at reducing and controlling pollution to the absolute minimum. He was also the driver with the collaboration with Ohorongo Cement in establishing the Refuse-Derived Fuel project, (RDF) also a first for Namibia.

    The company’s vision is encapsulated in two powerful words, zero waste. The company undertakes to make it its mission to stay the leading organisation in waste management and recycling in Namibia. Rent-A-Drum continually strives to improve its methods of proper, effective and innovative waste removal and containment management

    Louw ensures that his team stays well motivated. He always encourages training to develop his team to achieve the mission and objectives of the company. He also prepares a business plan and monitors progress against this so as to ensure that the company achieves its objectives as cost-effectively and competently as possible. He provides strategic advice and guidance to the executive committee (Exco) members and keeps them abreast of developments within the waste industry. He also ensures that the appropriate policies are developed to meet the company’s objectives and to comply with all relevant statutory regulations.

    Louw also has a well-established client basis which he maintains under Rent-A-Drum, whether formal or informal business relations. These are all major customers which include relevant government departments and organisations, local authorities, key decision-makers and other stakeholders. This is generally to exchange information and views and to ensure that the company is providing the appropriate range and quality of service to each client’s specific needs. Rent-A-Drum always tries to stay ahead of new development programmes and products to ensure that the company remains ahead in the industry, and that they apply the most cost-effective methods and approaches.

    He monitors the application of the annual budget to ensure targets are met. He developed and maintains an effective marketing and public relations strategy to promote the products and services of the company as well as the image of the company in the wider community. He represents the company in discussions with customers, suppliers, government departments and other key contacts to secure the most effective contract terms for the company. Quality management is also one of his key roles within the company and he ensures that this is maintained throughout by ensuring the best possible products and services are provided to clients.

    He implements policies in all aspects of the company’s work. Implementation of policies is crucial as this ensures that the company complies with all health and safety regulations.


    Louw has strong leadership skills and is an innovative thinker who has high moral values. He has excellent interpersonal skills. He is dynamic and result-driven and utilises all his resources, insights and the correct approach to his team to drive organisational improvements and the implementation of best practices. He capable of resolving multiple and complex (sales, human resources, and legal, financial, operational) issues and motivates staff to peak performance.

    Other roles

    Louw was appointed by the environment ministry as a member of the National Solid Waste Management Advisory Panel and is one of the founding members of the RNF Forum (Recycle Namibia Forum). He is also an active member of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), Namibia Manufacturers Association (NMA), Namibia Logistics Association (NLA), and a member of Namibia Employers Federation (NEF).


    Rent-A-Drum received PMR awards for 12 consecutive years. The Most Environmental Sustainable Company in Namibia for 2017 award was also awarded to Rent-A-Drum as well as the Most Environmental Manufacturing Company in Namibia for 2017. Louw has been a speaker and presenter at various environmental conferences in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

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    The importance of employee relations in a formal establishmentThe importance of employee relations in a formal establishment Happy Amadhila

    Employee relations is a field used to be known as industrial relations. As a field of study it is the study of the laws, conventions and institutions that regulate the workplace. However, as it’s a practice, it was concerned with conflict management as well as wielding the different agendas of employers and employees. Presently, employee relations takes the role of identifying ways in which both the employer and employee can address workforce conflicts as well as benefit from their own policies and procedures. Overall, the concept serves four perspectives: those of the workers, employers, society and government.

    As an ER specialist, one deals with workplace issues that range from employee complaints about working conditions to allegations of discriminatory employment practices. In environments where trade unions are involved, it is the duty of the employee relations specialist to handle labour management issues, collective bargaining agreements, policy interpretations and group grievances. Moreover, what is most important is to provide support and assist in bettering the morale of the staff members because the success of any business depends heavily on an engaged workforce.

    An occupation in the practice of ER is neither for the fainthearted nor for emotional people. It is a field that requires a high level of integrity, good interpersonal skills, patience, as well as the ability to steer people's attitudes and beliefs in one direction when necessary. ER specialists have the responsibility to assist parties internally to find common ground even in situations where they agreed to disagree.

    Employee relations is an important specialised organ of the business that deals with conflict handling and legal elements, as well as collective aspects of very different interests with the aim of suggesting common ground that both employer and employee can agree on. Furthermore, an ER department ensures that the company policies and agreements are followed fairly and consistently. Equally, it saves money and time that an organisation would have spent on a consultant

    The ER department’s main task is to manage relationships between employers and employees to create an environment that will allow employees to be committed and loyal to the company. In the absence of such a department, organisations tend to experience meaningless conflicts and disputes as well as unnecessary work stoppages that hamper production and customer delivery negatively. In fact, poorly managed relationships spill over to personal relationships where employees do not feel safe nor trust the colleague sitting next to them.

    The most rewarding thing about being in this department is that we are given a chance to learn new things. The field is constantly changing - from the introduction of new laws and the amendment of workplace legislation, and aligning those to employee expectations, which is thrilling and rewarding. ER is a department that has a strong understanding of an organisation’s priorities and challenges. It also has the ability to influence the future of the company based on the business decisions made.

    Most of the time, this department deals with managing very adversarial relationships, and the goal is always to get to a win-win situation without the matter becoming personal or biased. Getting the one party to compromise on a matter over the other can thus be quite a challenge. Another challenge is when the ER practitioners are expected to compromise on clear existing rules and regulations.

    The ER department is not to merely protect employees nor is it there to see that management gets the upper hand. An ER department task is to protect the company and its employees. Ensuring that the two parties and relevant stakeholders are constantly engaged in a positive manner and in a way that encourages trust amongst the role players. What makes it easier is that there are statutes and parameters within which the department operate and when abided to, there should be nothing to worry about.

    Spotting and addressing a problem area drives me. It’s really gratifying to see employees go from being frustrated because they’re having a problem with their manager to feeling productive and appreciated.

    Dealing with people is not frustrating; it is when we compromise our integrity that makes it difficult to deal with people. ER is not for the fainthearted, good interpersonal skills, patience and a lot of reading goes a long way in making handling people's issues easier.

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