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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 1104 | 1105 | (Page 1106) | 1107 | 1108 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Funds shortage sinks //Kharas conferenceFunds shortage sinks //Kharas conference KEETMANSHOOP - The office of the //Kharas governor said its investment conference that was schedule to take place next month will only take place next year due to a lack of money.

    The conference, aimed at creating a platform for the sharing of ideas on promoting the region as an investment location and promoting private and public projects that are ready for investment, is spearheaded by the Office of the Governor.

    Speaking at the Economic Stream Workshop on Wednesday, the governor’s personal assistant, Lukas Shekwaanyena, said the conference will have to take place in June or July 2020.

    Shekwaanyena said the working committee that was established in March this year to organise the event is now looking for funds for the conference.

    “When the conference was set to take place, there was no funds available or direct commitment of funds, so now we have identified possible funders that we need to approach to secure funds for the conference,” he said. - Nampa

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    Dirty money: Nam remains vigilantDirty money: Nam remains vigilantInternational evaluation underway Crimes such as drug trafficking, smuggling of contraband, fraud, theft, money laundering and systemic corruption remains prevalent in Namibia, finance minister Calle Schlettwein says. Such negative ratings may have an adverse effect on the stability of the national economy. – Calle Schlettwein, Finance minister Jo-Maré Duddy



    Namibia's Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in 2018/19 disseminated 338 intelligence products to domestic and international stakeholders, with a total value of potential proceeds of crime amounting to nearly N$6.3 billion.

    The information is contained in the FIC's latest annual report, released yesterday.

    It shows the FIC received 1 328 suspicious transaction reports (STRs) during the period under review, down 2% from 2017/18. The FIC attributes the slight decline to its consistent training, supervision and monitoring activities.

    About 73% of STRs, 972 reports, came from banking institutions.

    The FIC can restrict bank accounts suspected of holding proceeds of crime by directing accountable institutions or reporting entities not to proceed with carrying out transactions in respect of funds under suspicion for a period of 12 working days.

    In 2018/19, 25 intervention cases were recorded. The total value of these interventions was nearly N$471.9 million.



    'Prevalent'

    Socio-economic and transnational organised crimes such as drug trafficking, smuggling of contraband, fraud, theft, money laundering and systemic corruption remains prevalent in Namibia, finance minister Calle Schlettwein says in the foreword of the annual report.

    The issue calls for a coordinated combating approach, he says.

    During the period under review, enhanced cooperation between governmental and non-governmental stakeholders was required to combat crimes “which are tearing down the very moral fibre of society”, Schlettwein said.

    “There is thus a need to enhance our commitment to international, continental, regional and bilateral efforts in this regard.”



    Rating

    Namibia is currently undergoing its second mutual evaluation, conducted by the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The exercise started this month and will be concluded at the end of February next year.

    The main purpose of the evaluation will be to assess Namibia's overall compliance with applicable Anti-money Laundering, Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation (AML/CFT/ CPF) UN Conventions and mandatory UN Security Council resolutions, Schlettwein says.

    A national focal committee was established to thoroughly prepare Namibia for the evaluation, he says. The FIC plays a pivotal role in the committee.

    Schlettwein says the committee needs the full cooperation of all stakeholders “to ensure that Namibia does not attain negative ratings during the evaluation”. “Such negative ratings may have an adverse effect on the stability of the national economy,” he warns.

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  • 08/08/19--16:00: China copper imports rebound
  • China copper imports reboundChina copper imports rebound China's unwrought copper imports bounced back in July after two months of declines, jumping nearly 29% from June to the highest since January, while copper concentrate imports hit a record high, customs data showed yesterday. Factory activity in China, whose trade war with the United States has escalated over the past week, shrank for a third consecutive month in July, according to an official survey, in a bearish sign for the manufacturing sector that is a key source of copper demand. Benchmark London copper prices hit a two-year low of US$5 640 a tonne on Monday. Namibia exported about N$5.5 billion worth of copper in the first quarter of 2019, around N$3.3 billion to China. Photo Nampa/Reuters

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    Mercedes-Benz V-Class faceliftMercedes-Benz V-Class faceliftNow even more attractive The 2019 facelift makes for a refreshing feel to the already dominant model. It will be easy for the V-Class facelift to take over from where its predecessor left off. - Nadia Trimmel, VP: Mercedes-Benz Vans SA In South Africa, 2015 was the year the Mercedes-Benz V-Class celebrated its debut with a completely new approach to design, value appeal, comfort and safety in the Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) segment.

    What would end up being known as “the Mercedes of MPVs” went on to be a true success. This is confirmed by more than 209 000 units being sold globally, and additionally, the V-Class achieving a sales record in 2018 with approximately 64 000 units sold for the year.

    The 2019 facelift makes for a refreshing feel to the already dominant model. Focal points include a restyled and striking front-end design, a sporty and streamlined cockpit as well as a new range of alloy wheels and interior trim options.

    "It will be easy for the V-Class facelift to take over from where its predecessor left off, as it was such a stylish and dynamic offering. In its latest guise, the V-Class continues to convince families, various leisure adventurers and business customers alike, that the V-Class is the perfect fit for any purpose,” said Nadia Trimmel, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa.

    “We are continuing a success story that builds on the strengths of our versatile, functional and luxurious V-Class in a targeted manner. We know that the V-Class is the envy of all other multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) in South Africa, and the facelift will ensure this remains the case,” she added.

    Greater comfort

    The style and value appeal of the V-Class facelift is poised to be the segment leader, once again. The designers used a series of targeted measures to give the MPV a new look which follows the design language of the current Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.

    The V-Class facelift has a broader appearance and an even stronger visual presence thanks to its new front-end. This comes courtesy of a new bumper design with striking cooling air inlets and a new diamond structure in the radiator grille.

    The eye-catching Mercedes star is positioned centrally in the radiator grille and framed by two slats in silver. The personalisation concept with the attractive AVANTGARDE and STANDARD lines and various design packages is retained, while the AMG line becomes visually more striking with the facelift. It features a new diamond radiator grille with chrome pins, and thus delivers a particularly sporty note. With its updated design cues, the V-Class facelift makes an especially emotive statement.

    At the same time, new light-alloy wheel designs ensure a striking appearance. The 17 and 18-inch light-alloy wheels in tremolite grey or black, come with a 5-twin-spoke design and a high sheen finish. At the upper end of the new wheels portfolio are the black-painted 19-inch 10-spoke light-alloy wheels with a high-sheen finish.

    The interior of the V-Class follows the trend of modernity and clarity.

    The V-Class facelift presents itself with new air vents in a sportier turbine and the refreshed upholstery and equipment colours make a modern and elegant statement. “Modern” and “elegant” can also be used to describe the new trim element in twin-stripe look, which is used on the instrument side paneling. The trim elements in the piano lacquer, ebony wood, carbon fibre and brushed aluminium looks remain.

    As part of the facelift, rear passengers can enjoy a special comfort feature. Optionally available luxury seats pamper occupants with reclining and back massage functions as well as air conditioning. A journey in the V-Class facelift – for instance if used as a VIP shuttle - thus turns into a spa like treatment.

    Trusted engine variants

    With the facelift, the Mercedes-Benz V-Class retains the trusted and proven four-cylinder OM 651 diesel engine in three output variants. The V 200d develops 100 kW of power and a maximum torque of 330 Nm. The V 220d generates 120 kW of power and 380 Nm.

    With an impressive output of 140 kW and powerful peak torque of 440 Nm, the top-of-the-line V 250d is as powerful as it is agile. The V 250d accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in an unmatched 9.1 seconds. At the same time, the top model provides an extremely smooth ride.

    All engine variants of the V-Class facelift are rear-wheel driven, enabling the class-leading MPV to negotiate a wide range of surfaces with ease. The vehicle height remains under the two-metre mark ensuring the V-Class loses none of its day-to-day usability and can still fit in regular garages as well as multi-storey and underground car parks without any challenges.

    Safer drive

    With Crosswind Assist, which helps the driver to keep the vehicle on track even in the case of gusting crosswinds, and the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, the V-Class redefined the safety standards in its segment when in it was launched internationally in 2014. The facelift continues to build on this position.

    Active Brake Assist, which is available for the first time, can detect the risk of a collision with a vehicle ahead, and initially initiates a visual and acoustic warning. If the driver responds, it builds up brake pressure appropriate to the situation. If there is no response, the system actively assists with evasive and braking manoeuvres. In urban traffic, Active Brake Assist also reacts to stationary obstacles or crossing pedestrians.

    Highbeam Assist Plus is another new safety feature. When in high beam mode, it supports the driver with a consistently optimised illumination of the road. In the event of vehicles in front or oncoming traffic, the LEDs of the main-beam module are partially deactivated, creating a U-shaped cut-out in the cone of light. The remaining areas of the roadway continue to be illuminated with the main-beam headlamps (partial main beam).

    “We are thoroughly convinced that families who place value on an active family life, leisure time and a good work-life balance and leisure activity enthusiasts who have the need for a vehicle to transport the most varied types of sports and outdoor equipment, will continue making the V-Class their vehicle of choice.

    Other customer segments who stand to benefit include providers of luxurious VIP and hotel shuttle services and business owners who need their vehicle both for private use and for work purposes. The V-Class is proof that you can have it all,” concluded Trimmel. - MotorPress

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  • 08/11/19--16:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Standard Bank to look at W. Africa expansion

    Africa's largest bank by assets, Standard Bank, is considering entering new markets - possibly via acquisitions - as its strategy to focus its resources on the continent continues to pay off.

    In recent years, Standard Bank has been working to unwind a failed bid to become a global emerging markets lender, and has ruled out further cross-border expansion even in Africa.

    However, CEO Sim Tshabalala said as that process nears completion it is well-positioned for expansion and was particularly interested in countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

    He declined to give a time frame for the potential move, which he had said earlier would have an emphasis on digital expansion.

    The bank said on Thursday it would exercise an option to dispose of its 20% stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank from its abandoned foray into global emerging markets. – Nampa/Reuters

    MTN says divestment plan on track

    MTN Group Ltd is on track to meet a divestment target set in March after raising US$140 million from asset sales that will slim down Africa's largest mobile phone operator and refocus it on high-growth markets.

    MTN is reviewing a raft of investments under a three-year, R15 billion (US$996 million) divestment plan that includes shedding loss-making e-commerce assets and exiting countries where it has no prospect of reaching first or second place by market share.

    In the first half through June it sold its shareholder loan in ATC Ghana to American Tower Corp for R900 million and its interests in investment fund Amadeus and booking website Travelstart for R1.2 billion.

    It has cut its stake in newly-listed Jumia Technologies to 18.9% from 29.7% after the listing and is in the process of redeeming MTN Nigeria preference shares for US$315 million.

    The South African firm's plan to dispose of its minority stake in Mascom Wireless Botswana for US$300 million should be concluded in the second half. – Nampa/Reuters

    Glencore Zambian unit closes two mine shafts

    Glencore's Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia has closed two shafts at its Nkana mine, the company said on Thursday, a move that an opposition leader said had led to 1 400 job losses.

    A Mopani spokesman would not specify the number of workers affected, saying they were not employees of the company.

    "The closure of the two uneconomic shafts was always part of our plans," Mopani said in a statement, adding that the move would allow it to channel funds towards the completion of other expansion projects.

    Mopani said it had served notices of non-renewal of all contracts for development support services at the Mindola north and central shafts.

    The president of the opposition Democratic Party, Harry Kalaba, said 1 400 mine contractors from the two shafts had been sent home on Thursday when they reported for work. – Nampa/Reuters

    Barrick Gold plans to sell Tongon in Ivory Coast

    Barrick Gold Corp is looking to sell its Tongon gold mine in the Ivory Coast and is working with Bank of Nova Scotia to identify buyers, Bloomberg said.

    Barrick Gold plans to start a formal sale process in the near term for all or a part of its stake, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

    The Tongon mine, located north of the Ivory Coast's port city of Abidjan, is expected to produce 250 000 ounces to 270 000 ounces of gold in 2019.

    The company is also working with Scotiabank to sell its Massawa gold project in Senegal and plans to divest its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, according to the report.

    Lumwana is expected to produce 210 million pounds to 240 million pounds of copper in 2019, while Massawa feasibility project is being progressed toward a final development decision. – Nampa/Reuters

    Uber loses US$5 billion, misses Wall Street targets

    Uber Technologies Inc reported a record US$5.2 billion loss and revenue that fell short of Wall Street targets on Thursday as growth in its core ride-hailing business slowed, sending its shares down 6%.

    The company said a price war in the United States was easing and that an important measure of profitability topped its target, but slowing revenue growth raised questions about Uber's ability to expand and fend off competition.

    Uber's second-quarter net loss, widening from a loss of US$878 million a year earlier, included US$3.9 billion of stock-based compensation expenses related to its IPO earlier this year and nearly US$300 million in "driver appreciation" related to the stock sale.

    Uber reported that revenue growth slowed to 14% to US$3.2 billion and fell short of the average analyst estimate of US$3.36 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. The company's core business, ride-hailing, grew revenue only 2% to US$2.3 billion. Food delivery Uber Eats grew 72% to US$595 million.

    Uber said its monthly active users rose to 99 million globally, from 93 million at the end of the first quarter and 76 million a year earlier. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Trump flirts with currency war Trump flirts with currency war Escalating conflict with China The US president seems to have called for a weaker US dollar to help American companies compete. Heather Scott - President Donald Trump on Thursday took a step closer to sparking a currency war in the escalating conflict with China, saying he is not happy with the strong US dollar.

    Trump has pursued a policy of maximum pressure, including subjecting all Chinese goods to punitive tariffs as of 1 September, and accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency to gain a competitive edge.

    In a move that breaks with decades of US policy, Trump on Thursday seemed to call for a weaker dollar to help American companies compete.

    "As your president, one would think that I would be thrilled with our very strong dollar. I am not!" he said on Twitter.

    "The Fed's high interest rate level, in comparison to other countries, is keeping the dollar high, making it more difficult for our great manufacturers like Caterpillar, Boeing, ... John Deere, our car companies, & others, to compete on a level playing field."

    The latest outburst comes days after the US Treasury labelled Beijing a currency manipulator for allowing the yuan to depreciate slightly in the face of new US tariffs.

    Reaction

    Economists roundly criticised the move, saying Beijing if anything has been intervening in currency markets to keep the yuan from falling further in the face of an economic slowdown and the uncertainty created by Trump's trade war.

    "Labelling China as a manipulator is totally fallacious. They are not manipulating," said C. Fred Bergsten, founder of the Peterson Institute of International Economics.

    "It's fake news, as Trump would say," Bergsten told AFP.

    But while he said the move stops short of a full-blown currency war, the risks are real.

    If the administration tries to sell US dollars to weaken the exchange rate and Beijing fights back with its own intervention, that could trigger a war, he said.

    "Getting into a currency war would be very risky business. Particularly with this administration, which nobody trusts anyway," Bergsten said.

    William Reinsch, a trade expert and former congressional advisor, warned of the risks of weaponising currencies, something done in the early 1930s, that exacerbated the Depression.

    "The worst thing that can happen is we get into one of these cycles of competitive devaluation," he told AFP.

    Exports

    For decades, US administrations of both parties have steadfastly advocated keeping the US dollar strong since that provides stability and can hold down inflation by making imported goods less expensive.

    But a strong currency also makes US exports more expensive. Construction and farm machinery manufacturer Caterpillar recently lowered earnings targets for this year, given declining sales in China amid the tariff battle.

    Reinsch, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said Trump has painted himself into a corner and his hardline tactics with China make a deal less likely.

    "He really is in a kind of a box, because they're not going to do what he wants and there's not an easy way out," he told AFP.

    Trump also has been relentlessly pressuring the Fed, demanding it cut interest rates in almost daily tweets.

    "With substantial Fed Cuts (there is no inflation) ... the dollar will make it possible for our companies to win against any competition," he said on Twitter.

    US central bankers "have called it wrong at every step of the way," Trump said.

    But economists strongly refute this notion and say it is the strength of the US economy compared to others like the slowing eurozone, that has pushed up the value of the US dollar.

    And Trump's own trade war adds to uncertainty that has caused businesses to hold off on investment, and for investors to seek safe havens, including buying US dollars, they say. – Nampa/AFP

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    Nigeria's new oil czar wants to open booksNigeria's new oil czar wants to open booksTurn into fuel exporter Openness will spur investment that has been throttled by uncertainty and opacity, the NNPC’s new chief says. We are going to do everything possible to make that open … so that people can actually predict what we're going to do next. - Mele Kolo Kyari, MD: NNPC Libby George - Nigeria's state oil company plans to partner with a private refinery under construction on the shores of Lagos to turn the oil-producing country into a fuel supplier for the region, the new boss said in an interview with Reuters.

    The aim to ink a contract with the Dangote refinery, with a capacity of 650 000 barrels per day (bpd), is part of new managing director Mele Kolo Kyari's blueprint for transforming the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into a world-class state oil company.

    The refinery, being built by billionaire Aliko Dangote, is set to be Africa's largest.

    Kyari, who also intends to push for more transparency, said NNPC wants to be a "supplier of first resort" for the Dangote refinery.

    "Ultimately, it will be a contract to supply crude," he said.

    In his first interview with the international media since taking office last month, Kyari said he would publish the full list of those holding the nation's crude oil contracts and the firms who won deals to swap Nigeria's crude oil for products, along with audited accounts of NNPC's books.

    He said the openness, and a plan to improve commercial terms for oil companies, would spur investment that has been throttled by uncertainty and opacity.

    The contract lists have not been published for years, and NNPC has been dogged for decades by a reputation for corruption.

    Beneficiaries

    "We are going to do everything possible to make that open, the businesses open, so that people can actually predict what we're going to do next," Kyari said, adding that this would help to attract investment.

    He said the contracts for swapping fuel would be published by the end of this week, though "clarifications" were needed before the crude oil contracts could be published. Industry sources told Reuters that those two-year contracts, awarded earlier this year, included close to 100 names.

    NNPC is also pressing ahead with plans to revamp its own ailing refineries despite a nameplate capacity at Dangote refinery that is well above Nigeria's consumption.

    "It's worth it," Kyari said of NNPC's refinery overhauls, adding that Nigeria could become a fuel supplier to the entire region. "Africa needs refining capacity," he said.

    While he said they are considering both government and private funding, after the revamps, third parties would maintain and operate the state-owned refineries to ensure reliable production.

    Italy's Maire Tecnimont is already working on the Port Harcourt plant, and Italian refiner ENI is an adviser. The refineries have processed oil only sporadically for years, leaving the nation to import virtually all its own fuel needs.

    Legislation

    Kyari said that some ambitious proposals, including selling down government stakes in upstream oil and gas joint-venture agreements and changing the way it pays NNPC's portion of the bills owed under those deals, were on hold for now.

    The government still intends to sell its stakes to less than 40%, Kyari said, but he noted that there was currently no framework in place for the sales.

    NNPC is in talks with all operating partners to improve commercial terms, but he said the long-delayed legislation to overhaul the oil sector, known as the petroleum industries bill, needed to pass quickly to spur investment.

    "There are investment decisions that cannot be made now because the investors are wary of the fiscal environment," he said.

    The mammoth bill, covering everything from fiscal terms to Niger Delta community engagement, has been in the works for over a decade. But Kyari said the current government, with the legislature controlled by the party of president Muhammadu Buhari, could pass it.

    "This time around, you have the best alignment," he said. "And I'm sure getting it passed will not be difficult."– Nampa/Reuters

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    Ramaphosa wins court case against anti-graft watchdogRamaphosa wins court case against anti-graft watchdogProsecutor denies playing politics By targeting Ramaphosa and Gordhan, the president's supporters say, the prosecutore is acting as a proxy for a faction in the ruling ANC that is aligned with former president Jacob Zuma. Johannesburg - South African president Cyril Ramaphosa won a court case against the anti-corruption watchdog on Thursday over a matter concerning ally Pravin Gordhan, ahead of a fresh battle over findings against the president himself.

    A high court judge found that Ramaphosa had acted reasonably in not immediately disciplining Gordhan, the public enterprises minister, over a decision regarding the retirement of a tax official.

    Thursday's ruling was the third high-profile court defeat for public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in as many weeks, and she has come under public scrutiny for her investigations, including one into Ramaphosa.

    Ramaphosa secured an "interdict" from the court, meaning he does not have to implement disciplinary action against Gordhan while Gordhan appeals against the finding by Mkhwebane.

    By targeting Ramaphosa and Gordhan, the president's supporters say, Mkhwebane is acting as a proxy for a faction in the ruling African National Congress party that is aligned with former president Jacob Zuma and opposes Ramaphosa's agenda.

    Mkhwebane denies playing politics, saying she is simply holding senior officials to account.

    ‘Mind-boggling’

    The judge criticised Mkhwebane for pushing for the disciplinary action against Gordhan to be implemented before his appeal of the public protector's findings could be heard.

    "It is mind-boggling why, in this matter, the public protector did not even consent to at least ... have the remedial action stayed, pending finalisation of the review application," judge Letty Molopa-Sethosa said in delivering her ruling.

    Mkhwebane has also found in a separate investigation that Ramaphosa deliberately misled parliament over a 2017 donation to his campaign for the governing African National Congress party.

    Ramaphosa has said he will urgently challenge the finding, which he says is flawed yet is still a headache for a president who has staked his reputation on cleaning up deep-rooted corruption and reviving Africa's most developed economy. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Fringe benefits earned under employmentFringe benefits earned under employment Fringe benefits are specifically included in the definition of remuneration and are therefore subject to PAYE.

    The definition of fringe benefit is very wide and it includes any benefit that is granted in respect of employment (under paragraph g of the definition of gross income). It usually relates to benefits that an employee enjoys as a result of his/her employment.

    Examples:

    1. If your company pays for your gym membership, it is considered to be a fringe benefit even though no money is paid to you. You will nevertheless be taxed on this.

    2. Instead of giving you a performance bonus in cash at year end, your employer gives you a mountain bike to the value of N$50 000. This is a fringe benefit and is subject to tax.

    3. You are allowed to use the company’s beach house at Langstrand one weekend every month at no cost. This is a fringe benefit.

    4. Vouchers given to staff for good performance during the month is a fringe benefit and should be taxed.

    5. If your company pays your children’s school fees on your behalf, this is considered to be a fringe benefit and the costs that they incur in paying is taxable in your hands.

    6. If your employer sells an asset to you for an amount which is less than its market value, then the market value less the amount paid by you will become taxable in the your hands.

    7. Using the company vehicle for private purposes (i.e. driving it on holidays/weekends or having the right to drive it from work to your home each day) will be subject to tax.



    All of these are subject to taxation in your hands.

    Your employer should deduct the relevant employees’ taxes on this and the value of the benefits should be disclosed on your annual PAYE5 certificate.

    This is an important matter that often goes undetected in practice unless the correct questions are being asked. It is therefore crucial that you ensure that all your fringe benefits are taxed.

    Johan Nel is a partner and director at PwC Namibia. This bi-monthly tax column is published on a Monday in Market Watch.

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  • 08/11/19--16:00: Africa Briefs
  • Africa BriefsAfrica Briefs eSwatini ministers must tighten belts

    The Kingdom of eSwatini is looking at cutting cabinet ministers' housing, travel and entertainment allowances as part of attempts to revive the economy of the country formerly known as Swaziland.

    A Royal Commission tasked with investigating how politicians are remunerated in the landlocked country submitted recommendations on Friday, including ending first-class travel for ministers except for prime minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini and his deputy.

    The recommendations, tabled before cabinet and awaiting royal approval, also call for housing allowances to be cut to 12.5% of annual salaries from 25%, so cabinet ministers would get 7 719 emalangeni per month for this purpose instead of 15 349 emalangeni.

    Entertainment allowances would be cut 7% to 1 852 emalangeni, and in addition the prime minister and his deputy would contribute 33% towards their medical cover.

    eSwatini finance minister Neal Rijkenberg said in February the kingdom was facing an "unprecedented economic crisis" and was set to continue faltering as it faces slowing rates of foreign investment and a fast-growing wage bill. – Nampa/Reuters

    Egypt's headline inflation slows to four-year low

    Egypt's headline inflation rate fell to its lowest in nearly four years, dropping to 8.7% in July from 9.4% in June, official figures from the CAPMAS statistics agency showed on Thursday.

    Egypt is nearing the end of a three-year International Monetary Fund economic reform programme that saw inflation rise to a high of 33% in 2017.

    July's rate defied analysts' expectations. It followed a fresh round of fuel subsidy cuts that pushed domestic fuel prices up by 16% to 30%.

    Scaling back fuel subsidies that strained Egyptian budgets for decades was a key plank of the US$12 billion IMF reform package signed in 2016, when Egypt's economy was struggling to recover from the turmoil that followed its 2011 uprising.

    Recent CAPMAS data showed that the number of Egyptians living below the poverty line rose to 32.5% in the 2017/18 financial year from 27.8% in 2015/16. The statistics agency set the poverty line at an annual income of 8 827 Egyptian pounds (US$535) per person. – Nampa/Reuters

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  • 08/11/19--16:00: Branding tussle in court
  • Branding tussle in courtBranding tussle in courtVetkoek flour at heart of matter A case testing a provision of the Industrial Property Act will be heard in the High Court this week. Customers are likely to be confused into purchasing [Bokomo’s] vetkoek flour. – Namib Mills YANNA SMITH - A landmark case will be heard before Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula in the Windhoek High Court this week. Namib Mills has sued Bokomo Foods Namibia for what they term “dishonest practises in industrial or commercial matters”.

    Namib Mills is asking the court to interdict Bokomo from selling its wheat flour vetkoek mix, and all its rebranded products, in their current packaging.

    It is the first time that this section, 194 (1) of the Industrial Property Act of 2012 will be tested. The section, ‘acts of unfair competition’ reads that “any act of competition contrary to honest practices in industrial or commercial matters is unlawful”.

    As Namibia develops its manufacturing sector with a drive for value addition at home, the outcome of this case will be pivotal to future locally produced shelf products.

    At the heart of the issue is the packaging of the Bokomo vetkoek flour. Namib Mills says that it was Bokomo’s “intention to take advantage of the reputation” of their packaging. Namib Mills launched its vetkoek mix in January 2018 and Bokomo, its product, in August of the same year. Both feature the mustard-yellow design.

    ‘Stalingrad tactics’

    In its heads of argument, Namib Mills accuses Bokomo of using “Stalingrad tactics”, describing these as “wearing the plaintiff down by tenaciously fighting anything the plaintiff presents by whatever means possible, and appealing every ruling favourable to the plaintiff”.

    Namib Mills says that its decision to focus on pasta sales caused Bokomo’s white bread flour to become “the market leader to vetkoek, especially in the north where most consumers are based”.

    “Market research conducted in 2017 revealed the need for an affordable vetkoek flour and research indicated that consumers prefer vetkoek with a golden yellow outside once fried, but which is light and fluffy on the inside, and that does not absorb a lot of oil.”

    The company says that by the time Bokomo launched its vetkoek flour, with the same mustard-yellow slash in August 2018, sales for Namib Mills stood around 3.7 tons, “almost 400 000 bags”.

    Bokomo’s packaging, Namib Mills says, “imitates the essential elements” of its product, saying the colour scheme chosen is that of Namib Mills.

    “This adoption was not accidental.”

    ‘Vetkoek ladies’

    Bokomo’s market research, Namib Mills says, indicated that the colour purple was preferred by the so-called ‘vetkoek ladies’ following a focus group investigation.

    Communications between Hubertus Hamm, CEO of Bokomo and his marketing team, discovered during the pre-trial period, indicate that Hamm preferred the yellow colour and an image of the vetkoek on a wooden board. Namib Mills indicates that the emails show that colleagues had warned Hamm that if the vetkoek was depicted on a wooden board “it would be identical to the competitors”.

    The Bokomo focus group team had reported back indicated that the majority of consumers had preferred the purple pack but that Hamm had responded he preferred the yellow colour.

    Bokomo’s “executives overruled the consumer’s preference”, Namib Mills says.

    A branding expert reported that Bokomo had “simply imitated” Namib Mills’ packaging.

    Tom Schilperoort writes that both packs are rectangular and divide the print design area into three equal horizontal zones. “Both packs align all their design elements on a central vertical line, using the image at the same angle and ratio on a white background and both packs colour the bottom third yellow.” He adds that both packs use the same wording in roughly the same size and font, reversed out of the yellow background. “Even the weightage is recorded on the same area.” He made mention of the wooden board used on the picture.

    Imitation

    “What is clear is that [Bokomo] set out to imitate the get up of [Namib Mills’] packs to the extent of being one small change short of – in its own designer’s words – ‘identical’,” Namib Mills says.

    Research by both itself and Bokomo, Namib Mills says, has shown that colour is an integral part of a brand’s identity and moreover, it is “an important feature relied upon”.

    Namib Mills says Bokomo’s research, according to its discovered documents, shows that 22% of people sent to buy flour were instructed what to get on the basis of the colour of pack; 24% of those interviewed referred to Namib Mills’ packaging based on colour, 23% referred to Bokomo’s pack based on colour and Bokomo’s clients (‘vetkoek ladies’) responded that colour was most important, the least important being the brand – Bokomo, Snowflake or Bakpro.

    Thus, Namib Mills says, “customers are likely to be confused into purchasing [Bokomo’s] vetkoek flour”.

    But, Namib Mills has taken exception to the rebranding of Bokomo’s full range of products. It tells the court that “the entire range mimics its corresponding pack”.

    “This new packaging appropriates benefit from the substantial reputation subsisting in the get-up of [Namib Mills]. We submit that all of the packaging is unlawful.”

    ‘Lifeblood of competition’

    In its answering heads of argument, Bokomo relies on “passing off” in its arguments.

    Bokomo writes that “imitation is the lifeblood of competition” and quotes a legal matter stating: “For these reasons and with these limitations the bare imitation of another’s product, without more, is permissible. And it is true regardless of the fact that the courts have little sympathy of a wilful imitator.”

    In terms of passing off, Bokomo defines it a “representation by one person that his business or mechandise, or both, are connected with those of another. Thus, in the context of this case, Namib Mills must present proof that Bokomo made a representation that the Bokomo vetkoek pack is the vetkoek pack of Namib Mills”.

    Bokomo also states that the heart of the matter is the likelihood that members of the public, or a substantial portion thereof, may be confused or deceived”.

    In terms of the colouring of the pack, Bokomo writes: “Appropriated? What colour? With respect Namib Mills does not own the yellow portion of the rainbow, or its different shades. With respect, purple is more associated with cake flour. But purple vetkoek? Who eats purple vetkoek? That sounds revolting.”

    It moreover, asks for evidence of confusion, deception and dishonesty. It also disputes that colour was the predominant choice in product choice saying that 82% of its research respondents mentioned the logo, and the words vetkoek and cake. In terms of colour, Bokomo says yellow had the least amount of mentions behind white, blue and red.

    “When looking for Bokomo products, respondents look for the distinctive red colour of the Bokomo logo and then the category. Namib Mills knows it has no evidence of confusion, deceit or dishonesty.”

    The matter is set down for trial for the week. Engling, Stritter and Partners appears for Bokomo while Theunissen, Louw and Partners appears for Namib Mills.

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      Sleep soundly, Operation Kalahari Desert is back Sleep soundly, Operation Kalahari Desert is back
    Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said people who feared for their safety after Operation Kalahari Desert went on a break, can now sleep soundly as the operation is back.
    Speaking today at the launch of phase two of the operation, Ndeitunga said there are people in the community who slept with weapons out of fear of being attacked by criminals.
    “I have seen a photo of someone sleeping with a knobkierie and machete. Sleep free, we are here now together with you,” he said.
    He said maintenance of law and order is an issue of national importance and it can be achieved through joint crime prevention efforts such as Operation Kalahari Desert, adding that it requires identifying hideouts, hot spots and houses of criminals, and the community should report them to the police.
    “I am pleased to address you today as we join hands to participate in a crime prevention effort in our quest to make Namibia a safer place to live in at all times,” he said.
    Ndeitunga further said the commission of criminal deeds is a major cause for concern for everyone, therefore crime prevention initiatives are important to create a sense of security and safety in communities which will undoubtedly impact positively on investment and socio-economic development in the society.
    “The police therefore cannot allow crime to escalate unavoidably, but fight it by all means. We need to foster and nurture the gains of independence at all times,” the police chief said.
    In the face of gender-based violence and other crimes of concern, Ndeitunga urged all Namibians to stand together to confront these and find means to minimise their commission.
    “I should emphasise that effective crime prevention can be achieved when leaders, communities and individual citizens join hands and efforts to ensure the safety and security of all people,” he said.
    He said phase one of Operation Kalahari Desert was a success as it recorded 1 996 arrests, 1 711 weapons were confiscated, N$683 072 worth of drugs confiscated, 284 livestock recovered and 4 454 summons issued.
    Ndeitunga said most of the arrested people are still in custody.
    He reiterated that the community should refrain from acts that are unlawful and obstructing the work of law enforcement agents and the officers should act according to the Constitution and be fair in executing their duties.
    The second phase of Operation Kalahari Desert ends on 9 September.

    NAMPA







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    We came here with a mission - Refiloe JaneWe came here with a mission - Refiloe Jane Without injured captain Janine van Wyk, Banyana vice-captain Refiloe Jane said it was 'mission accomplished' as she led the team to gold in the Cosafa Women's Championship against Zambia in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

    “We came here with a mission to defend the title, and ensure the Cosafa Cup stays in South Africa,” said Jane.

    “It was difficult to play Zambia in the final, and we had to change our strategy because they came hard at us. It was good for us that we got the goal in the first half, which helped us keep the upper hand. “Banyana were under a lot of pressure since we haven't won a game in a long time. We applied the lessons we learnt at the World Cup,”

    Jane has had a good year, also chipping in with five goals in the tournament and a woman of the match accolade in the clash against the Comoros Islands.

    Jane said the victory augured well for the future of Banyana Banyana.

    NAMPA/ANA

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  • 08/12/19--16:00: Khomas vows to defend title
  • Khomas vows to defend titleKhomas vows to defend titleRegions in tight spot to win The Khomas Region netball team is looking to scoop this year's Debmarine Netball championship for the third year running. The upcoming 2019 Debmarine Namibia senior regional netball championship is going to be a tough affair, with Khomas Region vowing to defend the title successfully for the third time.

    Fourteen regions with a hot pot of talented players are expected to descend on the capital with the aim of dethroning Khomas.

    The championship was started in 2017 and was played in Windhoek that year.

    Last year it took place in Swakopmund and will now return to the capital. On both previous occasions Khomas Region managed to kick dust in the face of the opposition.

    This year they plan on repeating their success by keeping the same team and making only a few changes according to their coach, Mornay Pienaar.

    “We are starting afresh this year as we don't know what the other regions have planned. We will take every match as it comes. We will however also plan on a strong defence line from the word go and to maintain tactical discipline,” said Pienaar.

    Omusati came close to causing an upset last year as they matched Khomas in the final. This year they want to repeat their performance but take it a notch higher by winning the cup.

    “We are planning on taking first place this year. We will do our level best even though we always struggle with training facilities,” said Lazarus Mungolo.

    The games will be played at the Khomasdal netball courts. The winner of the championship will receive N$30 000, gold medals and a floating trophy, while the second- and third-placed teams will walk away with N$15 000 and N$9 000, respectively.

    The regional teams have been placed in two pools. Pool A consists of the Hardap, Kavango East, Oshana, Kunene, Ohangwena, Zambezi and //Karas regions, while pool B is comprised of the Omusati, Khomas, Erongo, Otjozondjupa, Kavango West, Oshikoto and Omaheke regions.

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  • 08/12/19--16:00: Namibia lose opener to Kenya
  • Namibia lose opener to KenyaNamibia lose opener to Kenya The Namibia senior women's inline hockey team lost their first match 1-0 against Kenya in the 2019 African Hockey Road to Tokyo competition in Stellenbosch, South Africa, yesterday.

    The competition serves as a 2020 Tokyo Olympic as well as Commonwealth Games qualifier, meaning that the Namibians need to pull out an epic performance in their remaining matches.

    “We dominated the match, but our finishing let us down in the end. We made poor decisions in corners and in the circle,” said head coach Erwin Haindura.

    In their second match in the competition, the Namibians will face South Africa on Thursday, followed by Ghana on Saturday and then Zimbabwe on Sunday.

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    Knights win coastal cricket leagueKnights win coastal cricket league The Coastal T20 cricket league finished on Sunday with PPS Knights defeating Spur by 70 runs.

    Knights claimed the first position with an average overall score of 174 and qualified automatically for the final, while Spur defeated the defending champions, Fuel Pump Repair Warriors (FPRW), in a playoff match.

    In Sunday's final, Knights won the toss, elected to bat first and scored 191 runs for the loss of four wickets in their allotted 20 runs at the Walvis Bay Oval.

    Gerhard Lottering was the top run scorer. He retired after sustaining an injury and having scored 51 runs, including three and three fours, off 39 balls.

    Mathew de Gouveia added 39 runs, including three sixes and two fours off 27 balls.

    Gideon Kock was the best Spur bowler with two wickets for 21 runs in three overs.

    Spur replied with 121 runs for the loss of eight wickets. Esau Heynes was the best performing batsman with 21 runs, including one six and one four, off 26 balls.

    John-Eric Thiearauch (four overs for 14 runs) and Gerhard Lottering (three overs for 31 runs) each took two wickets for Knights.

    Junior Coastal Cricket Academy (JCCA) administrator and head of the tournament organising committee Noleen Windborn expressed her satisfaction with this year's event.

    The tournament produced 6763 runs, including 346 sixes and 402 fours, with 230 wickets taken.

    OTIS FINCK

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  • 08/12/19--16:00: One world, many cultures
  • One world, many culturesOne world, many culturesThe more variety, the better the society Since its inception in 1995, cultural festivals at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) continue to embrace cultural differences amongst its students. Justicia Shipena





    This year, under the theme ‘Preserving cultural wealth for future generations’, Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) hosted its 24th cultural festival from 5 to 9 August. The festivities showcased events such as a flea market, official opening, cultural performances including the Etanda Oniyondo (a traditional circumcision ritual of the Ovazemba), International Cuisine Day, music shows and potjiekos.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Morné du Toit, acting vice-chancellor of Nust said the institution values the preservation of culture within and beyond campus.

    He added that currently, through the faculty of human sciences, Nust researchers are involved in a European Union-funded project referred to as Protect, Preserve and Promote Indigenous Cultures and Languages (P3ICL).

    “Through this three-year initiative, Nust researchers have been gathering data from various indigenous groups countrywide, such as the San and the Ovambadja with the aim of contributing to the preservation of indigenous cultures and languages,” he said.

    Du Toit further said the researchers have begun digitising the collected cultural expressions and creating data for a repository and will further co-design contemporary cultural products, raise cultural awareness, and advocate for the integration of the three indigenous cultures under study in national policy documents and development plans.

    “There will be a theatrical performance by students during this festival to showcase some of the traditional practices that have been witnessed by the team involved in this project,” he said.

    He also encouraged students to develop an interest to learn about the different cultures around them.

    Reading a speech on behalf of minister of sports, youth and national services, Erastus Uutoni, deputy minister Agnes Tjongarero said Namibians have a fundamental role to play in ensuring that future generations not only know, but also respect and accept, their cultural heritage.

    She continued by saying that one’s culture is their wealth and if they do not preserve it, they lose their identity and without an identity, you cannot claim to have a sense of direction.



    She added that there is a need to incorporate culture as a strategic element of intervention for poverty reduction and a springboard for sustainable development as highlighted by the United Nations and Africa Union instruments dealing with culture.

    “The safeguarding of both our tangible and intangible cultural heritage is fundamental to our identity, however, we should be mindful that culture has the potential to reap economic benefits for our people,” she said.

    She urged all Namibians to take part in their cultural activities and to uphold traditional values and customs.

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  • 08/12/19--16:00: Umpire training at its best
  • Umpire training at its bestUmpire training at its bestCreating opportunities It’s almost time for APS cricket and actively empowering youth is their mission. Evany van Wyk

    Africa Personnel Services (APS) has always been involved in cricket and this time they have invested in training 80+ learners from different club teams in Namibia to obtain their level 1 umpire certificates.

    On 12 August, The Zone paid a visit to the Wanderers sport fields in Windhoek where Wynand Louw, a cricket umpire, mentor and trainer, is spearheading a two-day umpire training course. With vast experience in umpiring and cricket laws, Louw wishes to expose the younger generation and help them access more opportunities in future. The training course, for cricket players between the ages of 15 and 17, aims to encourage them to venture into umpiring. Louw is currently responsible for the sport ground’s maintenance and also the pitch preparation at Wanderers.

    APS gave young cricket players the opportunity to enter and register for a training course which would give them the opportunity to act as umpires in some of the club matches that are to take place. The training mainly focuses on giving the players sufficient knowledge on the laws of cricket in order for them to be able to better understand the game. “At this moment the International Cricket Council Associates and Affiliates Umpire Panel has a shortage of umpires so this will give these young lads an advantage,” said Louw. According to him this will ensure that more umpires will get into the system. Not only will it help them in the future but will also help them as current cricket players.

    An umpire is an official who watches the cricket game closely in order to enforce the rules. It is really ‘cricket’ for referee. “This will really help to improve our game and to see why umpires make certain decisions. Since I got here, I’ve learnt so much already,” said Michael Feely (15), one of the players who attended the training. He says that it’s important to encourage people to start playing cricket. “It’s a great team sport and most importantly, it’s not confined to one gender. Girls can also join,” said Feely.

    “The one challenge experienced is getting the players to ask more questions and engage with me. The more questions they ask, the more they will learn,” said Louw. He further added that he had people come to him after training and tell him that they hadn’t known something before he had told them. “It just shows that they are truly learning something,” said Louw.

    The training isn’t just for show so Louw constantly reminds the players to listen tentatively. After the training on the second day, they will be writing a test where they can choose to either write the introduction of the level one question paper. “After the test is evaluated they will then receive certificates which will enable them to umpire for some of the club matches,” said Louw.

    Photos Evany van Wyk

    P1- Wynand Louw, the umpire trainer explaining something to one of the attendees.

    P2- Every attendee seemed to be enjoying the training session

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    Biles soars to sixth title at national championshipsBiles soars to sixth title at national championships American Simone Biles reasserted her position as the world's unrivalled number one gymnast with an amazing winning performance at the US Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City on Sunday.

    Biles became the first woman in nearly 70 years to capture six US senior women's all-around gymnastics titles, matching Clara Schroth Lomady, who won her sixth in 1952.

    Biles marked the occasion by becoming the first woman to attempt and land a triple-twisting, double back manoeuvre during her floor routine.

    Bile was, however, not quite content even with that unprecedented move.

    “It was a lot better. It wasn't as good as in some of the trainings,” Biles told reporters.

    “I'm just happy that I landed it because I feel like after night one my confidence got shot down. So I was really worried about it going into today, that's all I could worry about. So I was really happy.”

    Four-time Olympic gold medallist Biles, who will head to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the prohibitive favourite, finished with a total score of 118.500 to beat Sunisa Lee (113.550) and Grace McCallum (111.850).

    “I feel like each title gets better and better,” she said. “Because it's like the fifth and, then, the sixth, so it just keeps getting more exciting.”

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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    Dream Team training squad announcedDream Team training squad announcedPlayers are expected to bring their best The players who will form part of the Copa Coca-Cola Dream Team in Tanzania around December have been announced. With the Copa Coca-Cola Under-15 national schools' competition having ended, a group of 45 players have been identified for training camp to prepare for competing against other African nations.

    The training sessions will start in September, right after the school holidays. A coach for the team will also be announced around that time.

    From the 45 players, the team will be cut to the final 20 after the players have competed in the DebMarine-sponsored 'Bridging the Gap' U-15 championship.

    The president of Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU), Solly Duiker, says the aim of the competition is to identify football talent in Namibia and it has done that.

    Duiker says they will be able to keep a record of the players through a designed database which will eliminate age cheating.

    The database will only be accessible to the NSSU for the time being but there is collaboration with the Namibia Sports Commission in order to make information available to various regions of the country.

    The selected players will compete in Tanzania at the annual Copa Coca-Cola International Championship against other African countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Rwanda, Congo, Swaziland, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mauritius and Burundi.



    The names of players selected for the team are as follows:

    Mariental High School (Hardap)

    Gilbertho Kharigub

    Denilson Kandovazu

    Marius April

    Romeo Routh

    Daniel Hikuam

    Etoshapoort Combined School (Kunene)

    Thiery Henry Uirab

    Rudolf Haneb

    Brendon So Oabeb

    Wennie du Plessis Senior Secondary School (Omaheke)

    Muundja Ngozu

    Kehirivi Kamburona

    Tjimbinaye Tjitunga

    Ngatangwe Tjombe

    Variovaua Katuuo

    A Shipena Secondary School (Khomas)

    Rikarer Mumbango

    Dilu Willem

    Andrias Henry

    Linyando Christof

    John Pandeni SS (Omusati)

    Gosberth Ausiku

    Julius Ndjembele

    Elton Iipinge

    Lordsville Junior Secondary School (//Karas)

    BendictusThikusho

    Marco Afrikaner

    James Barends

    Albertho Basson

    Tutaleni High (Erongo)

    Leevi Kamwanga

    Shifidi Immanuel

    Ismael Ndjene

    Marc Vivien Haraseb

    Neyuva Combined School (Kavango)

    Rudolf Makanga

    Johannes Mahongo

    Ongwediva Combined School (Oshana)

    James Homupelile

    Eliaser Temus

    Efraim Mbango

    Petrus Sheya

    Tsumeb Secondary School (Oshikoto)

    Elia Markus

    Tangi Kanguku

    Tashwell Isaak

    Donatus Combined School (Otjozondjupa)

    Muhupwa Urika

    Yogine Awaseb

    Giovanni Gaingob

    John Araeb

    Roberth Haihuna

    Mupini Combined School (Kavango West)

    Andreas Sandoke

    Batabaja Combined School (Zambezi)

    Johanni Sazita

    Matengu Namayabona



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