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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 156 | 157 | (Page 158) | 159 | 160 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Firm to build 214 houses for workersFirm to build 214 houses for workersThe company has appointed Oshipe Turnkey Projects to construct over 200 affordable houses for its staff. New affordable housing for staff Walvis Bay-based Elgin Brown and Hamer Namibia (EBHN) say it will construct 214 affordable houses for its workers at the harbour town.

    EBHN yesterday announced the appointment of Oshipe Turnkey Projects as developer of the housing project. Oshipe is currently finalising the design drawings for Walvis Bay municipal approval and will construct 214 houses on 10 hectares of undeveloped land located in the vicinity of Tutaleni suburb in Kuisebmond.

    In terms of the agreement Oshipe will recover the costs from the sale of the houses to EBHN employees exclusively. Employees who qualify for a house via the initiative will receive an equivalent financial benefit due to the fact that EBHN will donate the virgin land free of charge. Those who take the option will be able to purchase houses directly from the developer with assistance of bank-approved loans. An EBHN housing committee was established to facilitate the process.

    The company purchased the land with a commercial value of approximately N$8 million. The construction phase of the N$110 million project will commence early 2017 after the provision of infrastructure and services at a cost of N$21 million.

    It is expected to be completed within the space of 25 months. Approximately 300 local construction workers will be employed. EBHN employees who previously did not enjoy access to affordable housing (first time homeowners) will have first option in the allocation of the one, two and three bedroom residential units which will cost between N$340 000 and N$650 000. The developer will construct a basic house and owners will be able expand and to request add-ons.

    “Economic activity grew rapidly and placed considerable pressure on the availability of housing in Walvis Bay,” said EBHN CEO Hannes Uys. “By providing access to affordable housing EBHN is demonstrating a strong commitment to the empowerment and wellbeing of our employees and their families. We have gone to great lengths to lock in optimal affordability through the purchase and donation of the land and by ensuring the project went out on public interest tender.”

    He pointed out that the company has set the benchmark in Namibia for a robust and rigorous tendering process and expressed the hope that other companies will follow the model and ethos for future housing tenders.

    The final round of evaluations was conducted in August 2015. Four shortlisted candidates presented their proposals to the housing committee in September 2015 and Oshipe Turnkey Projects were subsequently awarded the project.

    Following a period of cost negotiation with the emphasis on ensuring affordability a revised tender process was successfully completed.

    “We are the first company to embark on a project of such nature, will not gain any financial profit from the initiative and will see it through from its beginning to the end. The ability of the contractor to lock the price was a determining factor and required negotiation. Other companies build and own houses they provide. Once completed the houses being constructed will be handed over to employees who will be the owners.”

    More than 214 employees of the 360 workers who do not own their own homes applied for the houses to be constructed.

    The initiative which is an embodiment of the government''s philosophy of fostering public private partnerships has been well received by the Namibian Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen who praised its uniqueness and said he will monitor the project with interest.



    OTIS FINCK

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  • 11/07/16--14:00: Astute Editorial
  • Astute EditorialAstute Editorial On the ‘biggest equalizer’ - Education

    In the mainstream national discourse on how we can address inequality, we are often informed that education is the best possible tool not only to address inequality, particularly income, but that it is the best form of empowerment a society can give to its members. Some point to the fact that once obtained, education cannot be removed, what would happen to political favours for instance? Our self-glorifying politicians place themselves at the center of this understanding with the self-congratulating reality that education is one of the sectors receiving a huge share of the national budget. It is often not mentioned that such is expected for a sector employing more than 20 000 professionals and custodian of more than 700 000 pupils. It is not stated however that more than 80% of this expenditure goes to salaries. Instead, the dominating discourse of basic education is frequently just the boisterous statements of the education minister. It is for this reason that many did not predict an impasse would topple the learners’ examinations for two days. There should be a serious debate about this sector and it should start now. Lucia and Vaino are doing their part.

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  • 11/07/16--14:00: Astute 2
  • Astute 2Astute 2 Could lack of Education be the root cause of poverty? In a developing country like Namibia, we have a lot of people who are based in rural areas. Due to this, the country is still overcrowded by a number of unemployed youths, which are the parents of tomorrow.

    Most Namibians know the word freedom and peace, but the discourse continues. Are we really enjoying this freedom and the peace that we are endlessly preaching about?

    The answers to this question might be more than the verses in the bible. Furthermore, our beautiful country is jam-packed with needy people, so our newsflashes are always packed with striking workers demanding increments, unemployed struggle kids demanding employment and news of the vulnerable and destitute that needs assistance.

    However, poverty and vulnerability are not the only reasons why we might not be a productive Nation.

    The education system can be a contributing factor, directly or indirectly, as the reason why we are so poor and why there are so many graduates without jobs.

    Still one can ask himself/herself – “why do so many drop out in schools? Why so many failures in schools?” This shouldn''t discourage us, because Education is life-long learning, aimed at preparing one for one''s future endeavors.

    Even though not everyone has attended school, the majority had an opportunity to attend school though not everyone has succeeded to go up to grade 12 or to a tertiary institution. However, as per “Education for All (EFA) national plan of action 2002-2015” after independence the government declared education as a first national “priority” among other priorities and the target of 80% was achieved within the first 10 years of independence.

    Meanwhile we have a few individuals who have not even passed through the door of a class room at all, but this does not mean such people do not have the potential to produce development and be fruitful in their lives.

    However for those who have had the chance of being learners, they experienced that life was challenging.

    Even though our education system had curricula and well stipulated policies from independence to date, these policies were and are still not really being adhered to.

    At some of the schools and in some communities teachers have been not been and are not models at all, even cases where teachers have been in intimate relationships with their learners pop up now and again.

    Again, schools in rural areas were viewed as training centres, but not education centres that are preparing people for future survival. It was more like the reason to go to school is only to know how to read and speak English.

    This is one of the things that our parents failed to understand and it was once more viewed that education is the teachers duty, which means if learners are failing, it is no one else''s problem, but the teachers'' problem. At those times when it was more like dawn to independence, only few could understand that education starts informally from birth until at its formal stage when one starts attending school.

    Apart from all of those, freedom and peace seems to be news to many and they might still not be enjoyed or practiced by everyone in Namibia.

    According to many scholars, freedom is the right and capacity of people to determine their own actions, in a community which is able to provide for the full development of human beings and peace is defined as a state of harmony characterised by lack of violence, conflict and the freedom from the fear of violence.

    The teacher-centred education system which was transferring knowledge to learners could be one of the issues that prevented some individuals from finishing their studies. The issue of unqualified teachers can also be one of those factors as to why the majority do not make it either to VTC or University.

    Corporal punishment has never created peace or professional relationships between learners and their teachers.

    Learners had the fear of their teachers and this fear resulted in some learners being anxious and hating their school subjects too.

    Furthermore, the fear learners had for teachers resulted in some dropouts at schools, which seem to have had a negative impact on our current education system.

    Learners have never enjoyed their freedoms and practiced their democratic freedom of speech in some Namibian schools.

    Even though we have the MoE Sector Policy on Inclusive Education, a number of learners experienced some form of exclusion in education and some were even bullied by their peers and some of the teachers.

    A very good examples of forms of exclusion in our schools could be; grouping learners in classes according to their performances e.g. all the A and B classes in our times were regarded as only for smart students and in F and G (8F,9F,10F etc.) were the classes where you found a number of passive learners – certain government schools only admitted learners who had passed with certain points.

    Learners who do not have a certain dress code were prevented from attending some educational functions like; Farewell parties, welcoming shows and funny days etc.

    That is why everyone had some distinctive reason, as to why they did not perform well at school, or why they dropped out of school.

    Exclusion and bullying in education are the central teething troubles why we have so many pupils with poor performance, so many dropouts in our schools.

    Not every teacher has time to acknowledge learners, but some teachers believe in competition among learners.



    *Vaino Ndapolifa is 2nd year studying towards a Bachelor''s degree (honours) in Education at the University of Namibia.

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  • 11/07/16--14:00: Astute 1
  • Astute 1Astute 1 A strike is a work shutdown caused by employees'' refusal to work. Strikes are sometimes used to pressure governments into changing policies. Whether a strike is lawful depends on the purpose of the strike. Most of the Government schools in Namibia closed on Thursday the 13th of October 2016, because of a teachers'' strike.

    Thursday morning the 13th of October, teachers throughout Namibia decided to embark on their 8% salary increment strike. This was brought about by a controversy between the Ministry of education and the Namibian teachers union (NANTU). The ministry offered 5% increment earlier this year, but the teachers union had other numbers in mind, which in turn ended up in a dispute.

    As a student at an institution of higher learning, my stance on this issue is seen from a broad perspective. Government knew from the beginning that both learners and teachers have rights, yet the government didn''t consider anything and turned a blind eye to the issue.

    Only now that the subject has been turned into a serious issue by the aggrieved party, has government decided to inform teachers to consider the learners, which, of course, makes sense, but is unfair to the teachers.

    On the 6th October 2016, press release by the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) on the employment of volunteer teachers during the strike, the NUNW outlined that “we should not allow our constitutional rights to strike to be tampered with. All Namibians must respect the rights of workers to strike.

    Teachers through their trade union NANTU have followed the procedures required to strike in terms of the labour laws of our country. These laws give them legal rights to strike and this should not be ignored. At the same time government has no choice, but to abide by the governing laws of the country.

    “The Labour Act 2007 (Act 11 of 2007) for instance under Chapter 7 Section 76 (3a-b) clearly states that “an employer must not hire any individual, for the purpose, in whole or part, [for] performing the work of a striking or locked-out employee.” The law is clear on this matter, therefore it would be illegal for government to try and replace the workers on strike in any way.

    “Namibia is a democratic country where everyone is [subject to] the rule of law, therefore no governing body is above the law,” the press release read.

    The strike is no exception to disadvantages; one of the highlighted disadvantages is that it hinders the economy of the country from progressing due to the fact that government is left with no option, but to lend money from other sources of income. For example, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) state that for governments to be able to sustain and accommodate the needs of its citizens, it should listen to the need of the masses. The tax is an addition to the income tax and is applicable to individuals, sole proprietors and corporate enterprises. Another disadvantage is that, the strike has affected learners, slowly killing their morale. This discourages learners and can lead to high failure rates in the country, leading to a decline in the county''s economy.

    Lastly on the disadvantages, I feel like it''s a waste of time, because the ministry will have to add additional days for the exam period and the exam outcomes may be delayed next year as well, due to the strike. I must admit that the “teachers strike” has affected learners harshly. The government took a risk and waited for the subject to get out of hand, I must say that the wait wasn''t worth it, because it threatened the education of our future leaders.

    This scenario also has its own advantages. For instance, the increment of teachers'' salaries may make them able to afford houses by buying them with their housing allowances, since we all know that houses in Namibia are outrageously priced, meaning not all working government officials [and most other people in fact] can afford to buy them. Teachers will also be able to sustain their needs better than before. The government confidently took the issue to court, but the court''s findings were that the government''s application was frivolous, because it is asking the court to do something impossible, which is to stop a lawful strike. If the court had accepted the government''s plea, then it would basically mean that no public servant will ever be able to go on strike again.

    This shows that teachers are not joking anymore; they want a serious commitment from government. They are serious about getting a salary increment from government.

    Therefore, it''s high time that the governments sets aside its stubborn position on teachers'' lawful strike and grant them their wish for an 8% salary increase. This is because this is more than just an increment to teachers. To them, it''s slashed budgets, unsuitable workloads and oversized classes. They are confronted with larger class sizes, asked to do more with less government input, and then the threat of whether they can even secure a more generous living wage. Therefore, the government should stop praising teachers for their greatness on teachers'' day- they should be rewarded for their greatness with better pay.



    *Lucia Gideon is a fourth year student studying towards a bachelors'' degree in Public Management at the University of Namibia.

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    Security guards' jobs at stakeSecurity guards' jobs at stakeEmployers warn of strike''s consequences An organisation representing security companies says a strike by guards would harm the industry and the workers'' interests. The threat of a December security guard strike will be a gut punch not only to security service customers, but also to security guards and security companies.

    Representatives of the Security Association of Namibia (SAN) say besides the issues of wages and working conditions, other critical issues facing the industry are unregistered operators who abuse workers and the critical issue of finalising industry regulations.

    Dries Kannemeyer, SAN president, warned that a strike would have devastating consequences for guards. They won''t be paid for the duration, and customers might invest in alternative security measures.

    “A strike could lead to end-users of security services to seriously look at alternatives which could lead to a lot of security guards losing their current employment and joining the ranks of the unemployed, which we believe the country''s economy cannot afford.”

    He added that a recent opinion poll found that most customers would be unwilling to pay more for guard services.

    Kannemeyer described the demand of a 78% pay increase “astronomical and unacceptable” and said the fallout could make major job losses a reality.

    He added that SAN members look after their employees by paying at least the minimum wage, registering them for Social Security and making sure that their duty stations “adhere to minimum requirements where possible”.

    The unions were ignoring some of the problems faced by employers, such as guards staying away from work, sleeping on duty, being drunk on duty, and misusing, stealing or damaging customer property, he added.

    On Friday SAN representatives met with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to discuss the industry''s lack of regulations and a possible way forward.

    “Currently the industry is not regulated. Anyone can enter the industry and there are no rules or regulations that anyone has to adhere to,” Kannemeyer said.

    He added that labour inspectors don''t enforce minimum wages, while fly-by-night companies exploit their employees and nothing is done by the inspectorate or the unions.

    Kannemeyer said the unions focus solely on SAN-affiliated companies and “forget about the hundreds of companies not registered, thereby destroying the image of the industry”.

    Kannemeyer further questioned the lack of complaints recorded at the Ministry of Labour by workers alleging dire working conditions at unregistered companies.

    Last week SAN chairperson Levi Shigwedha also said that other industries are regulated, but there is nobody regulating the security industry.

    He said the majority of issues plaguing the industry are because of companies that are not registered by the Ministry of Trade, “pirate companies that operate from a bedroom. They are the ones who treat their employees badly.”

    Shigwedha said SAN encourages security guards to report their working conditions and other issues to the organisation.

    “If they report these issues to us, we will address our members. But I don''t think it is happening with our members, who are fully compliant.” He said no complaints had been reported to SAN.

    Shigwedha further said that the same rate could not be paid to guards performing different levels of security work.

    “The unions do not want to differentiate between a beginner and a long-term employee. They want all on the same entry level, which we believe is unfair,” Kannemeyer added.

    He said SAN was negotiating for an entry-level minimum wage, with a proposed 14% increase for new employees and 28% for those who have worked for a year or longer in the industry.

    “What the community does not know is that security companies make use of different packages and therefore a big number of employees are already remunerated far above the current minimum wage,” he explained.

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    Geingob snubs Damara festivalGeingob snubs Damara festival President Hage Geingob''s no-show at the Damara Traditional and Cultural Festival held at Okombahe over the weekend is water off a duck''s back, says the secretary-general of the Damara Chiefs'' Council, Abner Xoagub.

    Geingob was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at this year''s festival, which attracted a huge crowd, including members of parliament.

    According to Xoagub they had not received a formal apology from State House.

    “We were only called by the press secretary, Albertus Aochamub, who said the president would not be attending. Everything happened over the phone. I have discussed this with Chief Justus Garoëb and we agreed that there is nothing that we could do if he did not come,” said Xoagub.

    The deputy leader of the Damara Chiefs'' Council, Immanuel /Gaseb, said: “I do not believe it is because he does not like us, he is a Damara so that cannot be the reason. He probably had something else to do.”

    He added that the president might have been put off by chieftainship squabbles within the tribe.

    The president was spotted at the Windhoek Jazz Festival at the weekend, where he appeared to be having a good time.

    Aochamub could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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  • 11/07/16--14:00: DTA elects NEC members
  • DTA elects NEC membersDTA elects NEC members The DTA Central Committee on Saturday elected 12 national secretaries to join the National Executive Committee (NEC).

    The party''s old constitution made provision for only two national secretary positions, but the new constitution adopted in July created 10 additional positions.

    The 12 national secretaries will form part of the NEC together with the party''s top six and the heads of different party wings.

    Lascan Sikosi is retains the position of secretary for information and publicity, Vipuakuje Muharukua was elected as secretary for international relations, Valencia Izaaks is the secretary for gender equality and female empowerment, while Elma Dienda was elected as the secretary for education.

    Johannes Martin, Cyprian Muyenga, Agatus Antanga, Diederik Isaak Vries, Christina Isaacks and Duludi Ndjiharine were elected as the national secretaries for sports and culture, health and social welfare, organisation and mobilisation, labour and employment, transport, agriculture and environment respectively.

    Moses Titus was elected as secretary for legal affairs and Esmeralda !Aebes as secretary for economic affairs and trade.

    During the opening of the meeting, DTA president McHenry Venaani said he would hold those voted into positions accountable, as they were expected to serve the electorate.

    Venaani also called for unity among party members, but said that they may disagree on issues because it proved that there was democracy within the party.

    The Central Committee also discussed the issue of rebranding. A nine-member special commission on rebranding was appointed to oversee the process. The commission is headed by Venaani.

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    Rain too much for protesters Rain too much for protesters PHOTO: KENYA KAMBOWE

    COMPLAINING: About 80 struggle kids camping at the entrance of the Ruben Danger Ashipala police training centre at Ondangwa say the last few days’ rain has made their lives difficult. They want the police to allow them to enter the facility and join their counterparts who were let in after their march to the Zambezi Region from the Berg Aukas training centre in Grootfontein. Some of the struggle kids went to collect plastic bags in town to cover their tents and keep the rain out.

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  • 11/07/16--14:00: State media 'preferred'
  • State media 'preferred'State media 'preferred'New Era, NBC to enjoy advertising priority Concerns are expressed over a cabinet decision that suggests New Era and NBC will get the lion''s share of government information and advertising. A leaked internal memorandum to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) about a cabinet decision presumably taken in September has media practitioners worried that there is a secretive attempt by government to curtail information and advertising to private outlets.

    The memo, dated 26 September, sent by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Gabriel Sinimbo, indicated that a cabinet decision (decision number 16th/20.09.16/007) directed all government offices, ministries and agencies, including regional council and local authorities “to prioritise the dissemination of information and advertisement” through New Era and the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

    The minister of information and communication technology, Tjekera Tweya, confirmed the adoption of the resolution on 20 September but downplayed concerns.

    “The rationale is to give preference to the public media, but not exclusivity (regarding government information and advertisement),” said Tweya.

    Tweya further explained: “It is straightforward, like a woman with disability would get preference. The preference is given because the public media have the prime mandate to disseminate all government information which others might not deem necessary. If you live in an unequal society you must apply certain measures to disseminate information equally. Information is not for sale, but it is there to keep everyone informed.

    “Do not read what is not there [in the resolution]. What it means is for the public media to execute its mandate.”

    The chairperson of the Editors'' Forum of Namibia, Joseph Ailonga, said the resolution appears to be a “soft ban”, or an indirect advertising ban against the private media.

    He said it would disadvantage many Namibians who get their information from the private media, adding that private media assist the government in job creation.

    Ailonga also said this resolution went against the grain of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).

    “Government seems to be confused about what HPP is supposed to be doing. It does not know if it should go right or left. Transparency is a huge pillar of HPP,” Ailonga said.

    The chairperson of the Namibia Media Trust (MNT), Gwen Lister, expressed worry that the resolution was not communicated to the media.

    “I always complain that cabinet resolutions communicated to the media have the stamp of secrecy all over it,” she commented.

    Though information on the resolution is still sketchy, Lister cautiously ventured to say that it reminded her of the government advertising ban on The Namibian that was lifted some years ago.

    Alternatively, she said, it smacked of an indirect way to prop up state media.

    “This is not levelling the playing field,” Lister said.

    Zoe Titus of the NMT added that the resolution was not in the spirit of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration promoting independent and pluralistic media, which the Namibian government is a signatory to.

    “I think the resolution is very short-sighted and the authors thereof clearly did not consider the full implications thereof because it is not in the interest of pluralism in the media. Public funds should be distributed fairly across all media.”



    Bail out?

    Tweya dismissed sentiments that the resolution is to bolster financially strapped state media, saying it was purely to make sure that they delivered on their “prime mandate”, which is to disseminate information to all corners of the country.

    The resolution would, however, significantly boost the financial situation of New Era and the NBC.

    The mid-year budget review in 2016/17 for printing and advertising is almost N$126.13 million. This figure is nearly 4.4% less than finance minister Calle Schlettwein''s main budget of February.

    The biggest cut is for the Ministry of Home Affairs. In February just over N$13 million was allocated, now cut by 38% to N$4.9 million.

    The biggest print and advertising budget is for the Ministry of Health and Social Services, which was allocated N$26.17 million, followed by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (N$15.7 million) and the Electoral Commission of Namibia (N$10.4 million).

    CATHERINE SASMAN, JO-MARE DUDDY BOOYSEN

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    Cabinet phosphate meeting called offCabinet phosphate meeting called off A special cabinet meeting that was to take place yesterday to discuss the environmental clearance for marine phosphate mining was cancelled.

    Cabinet secretary George Simataa told Namibian Sun that the meeting called by President Hage Geingob was cancelled because of environment minister Pohamba Shifeta''s decision last week to withdraw the environmental clearance.

    “It was not necessary to hold the meeting because of this decision,” Simataa said.

    The environmental commissioner, Teofilus Nghitila, issued an environmental clearance certificate to Namibian Marine Phosphate for its Sandpiper Project on 5 September.





    That only came to light about a month later and sparked an uproar.

    After the news broke, conflicting statements were made by the environment ministry and the fisheries ministry about the granting of the environmental clearance, while negative reports surfaced about offshore phosphate mining and the impact it may have on the environment, on marine life and the fishing sector.

    Therefore it was decided to hold a special cabinet meeting to discuss the matter in detail.

    However, last week Shifeta announced that the environmental clearance certificate would be withdrawn even though he felt that the correct procedures had been followed. He agreed that more consultation was needed.

    Since then more allegations have been made that Nghitila had not followed the proper procedures, which he denied.

    The fishing sector has filed a court application against the environmental clearance and also wants NMP''s mining licence illegal.

    NMP, on the other hand, has threatened unspecified steps “to protect is investment and reputation”.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Public demands answer on sea animalsPublic demands answer on sea animalsFisheries ministry mum on Chinese application As public resistance grows, the minister of fisheries has not yet said a word about a Chinese company''s plan to catch endangered Namibian sea animals for export to Chinese zoos. As the marine phosphate issue rages on, the fisheries minister is yet to announce his decision on an application by a fishy Chinese company to capture hundreds of Namibian sea animals for Chinese zoos.

    Frustration is mounting as the fisheries ministry continues to delay a decision on the matter, despite the fact that the application was filed several months ago.

    In early October, a ministry spokesperson confirmed that the application had been reviewed by ministry experts and advisors and their recommendation was put on minister Bernhardt Esau''s desk.

    An answer was expected about two weeks ago but to date the minister has remained mum on the issue, a spokesperson confirmed yesterday.

    A personal assistant of Esau''s told Namibian Sun that the decision was still pending because the minister had not had a chance to attend to the matter amid the ongoing phosphate mining saga.

    “He is quite busy at the moment with a lot of other things, so he hasn''t really attended to it yet,” she said. She added that his office had received the recommendations but claimed the minister had “yet to see the presentation so that he can announce on it”.





    Yesterday, Namibia Chamber of Environment CEO Chris Brown said the delay in making public the final decision was not justified, because the decision was “a very simple one.”

    “It''s not like the phosphate issue, which is a little more complicated,” he said.

    He added that the application by the Chinese company to export marine mammals was an attempted “rip-off” and any consent would be “the wrong thing to do.”

    Brown said the application did not merit a yes and similar applications should never be considered again.

    He added that once the decision was made the Namibian public needed to be informed.

    A marine biologist yesterday pointed out that the issue had gained widespread national and international attention and the ministry had been inundated with letters listing the various issues at play.

    An online petition has garnered close to 11 500 signatures and Hollywood celebrities have tweeted their shock at the request.



    “So clearly this is not just a silly issue that might go away by itself, it is one of international concern. People want answers and have every right to get those,” the biologist said.

    She added that the presence of the Russian whaling ship Ryazanovka in Walvis Bay harbour since mid-May raised questions as to why the decision was taking so long.

    Multiple sources have raised concerns about the lack of transparency on the issue.

    Scientists, conservationists and the public have forwarded hundreds of letters to the fisheries ministry in recent months, containing a long list of issues identified in the Chinese proposal, including a lack of scientific accuracy and blatant falsehoods, as well as an attempt to damage Namibia''s global reputation as a conservation stronghold.

    The Chinese proposal, riddled with scientific inaccuracies, requested to capture endangered species in numbers that exceed the actual population sizes along the Namibian coast.

    A letter addressed to the ministry by a reputable international conservation organisation advised the ministry that the Chinese conpany''s claim that capturing the endangered animals would benefit fish resources had been discredited by many independent studies.

    Besides the dolphins, whales and other species on the wish list of the Chinese, the conservation organisation points out that the African penguin is listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened species because of its rapid, ongoing population decline.

    Any attempt to capture these penguins could potentially wipe out the Namibian population.

    The organisation offered technical support in scrutinising any such proposals now and in future.

    The fact that the Chinese application is riddled with unscientific and false information appears to be a ploy to boost their “indefensible proposal”, the Namibia Chamber of Environment said last month.

    In a letter sent to the fisheries minister last month, the Chamber of Environment pointed out that the issues at stake included conservation, misrepresentation of facts, ethics, reputation damage and local beneficiation.

    The chamber said globally it is considered unethical and morally questionable to remove such species from the wild and place them in captivity.

    The letter also noted the important role the marine species play, not only in maintaining ecosystems but also in the economy.

    “Every effort should be taken to protect and conserve these animals and there should be a totally closed-door policy to any exploitation other than through carefully managed tourism,” the Chamber said.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 11/07/16--14:00: FlyAfrica saga continues
  • FlyAfrica saga continuesFlyAfrica saga continues Nearly a year after the budget airline FlyAfrica was grounded in Namibia passengers are still fighting to be refunded for flights that were cancelled after the airline stopped its operations.

    More than 60 people have joined a Facebook group in an effort to get their money back.

    The organiser of the group, Naville Geiriseb, says they want to hold a meeting to decide what action needs to be taken.

    He says the aim of this group is to form a united front, because individual efforts have been in vain.

    Geiriseb says the biggest challenge is that they do not know who to approach or what to do in these circumstances.

    “Should we go to the ombudsman or to the Directorate of Civil Aviation, make a case at the police or should we go demonstrate at the office of the prime minister or should we take legal action?”





    He says he paid about N$4 300 for his ticket, but there are others who spent much more.



    “The problem is that the Namibian consumer is not protected and in this case nobody is being held accountable.



    “Nobody cares that this airline came in here and defrauded passengers. We are at a loss and where should we go to report this?”

    Geiriseb feels that Nomad Aviation should be held accountable as it was the formal partner of FlyAfrica in Namibia.

    “But as soon as there was trouble with the airline they distanced themselves from the situation, but they were still convincing people to buy tickets even though they knew that they were not flying,” he says.

    “It is not enough for Nomad Aviation to distance themselves from this. Imagine if the airline was a huge success, then they would be blowing their own horns.”

    Nomad Aviation has made it clear that it did not sell tickets on behalf of FlyAfrica and that ticket sales were exclusively conducted by FlyAfrica.

    According to Geiriseb there were a few customers who managed to get refunds through their banks. These individuals had booked tickets using their credit cards and went to their banks to lodge complaints of services not rendered.

    Some of the affected people say FlyAfrica''s email address has been disabled. Although Flyafrica Namibia still has a Facebook page, the last status update was in November last year. The website of FlyAfrica Ltd no longer exists.

    Some passengers were advised to submit refund claims to FlyAfrica''s South African operation, but that is in liquidation.

    In Zimbabwe, local Fly Africa shareholder NU AERO has filed a lawsuit to recover an estimated $350 000 in online bookings.

    Approached for comment on what Namibian passengers stand to do, the Legal Assistance Centre said it is not a matter for them as it is really a contractual breach between FlyAfrica and the public.

    The LAC pointed out that Fly Africa had already acknowledged the breach and offered to refund those who had bought tickets but could not use them.



    “The question is, when will this compensation be made? Be that as it may, it should also be considered whether the other company had or has any shares in FlyAfrica at the time that they were ''operating'' in Namibia, in order to determine their degree of liability for the failure on behalf of FlyAfrica.



    “Other than that, one should get the advice of a contract lawyer as to whether FlyAfrica can be sued and whether it is viable to sue them, if they have standing in the Namibian courts and whether there are funds to compensate the people,” the LAC said.

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  • 11/08/16--02:51: Geingob woos investors
  •  Geingob woos investors Geingob woos investors
    President Hage Geingob has told potential investors that Namibia has a conducive environment for doing business.
    Officially addressing over 800 delegates during the first day of the Invest in Namibia International Conference in Windhoek, Geingob said the country was supportive and open to foreign direct investment.
    “To entice private investment, we have decided to open our economy by actively embracing public-private partnerships that meet the expectation of both parties. After all, one of the key tenets of the Harambee Prosperity Plan is partnership. It must, however, be partnerships that are mutually beneficial and grounded in the spirit of mutual trust and transparency,” he said. The president further said serious strides have been made to addressing the past imbalances, especially the skewed economy inherited at independence.
    “Over the years we have implemented policies aimed at redressing these inequalities, with the knowledge that our peace and stability would be jeopardised if we don’t ensure inclusive economic growth.”
    He also added that the country relatively boasts good infrastructure, which is on par with the developed world.
    “Africa has become one of the fastest growing regions of the world. The genesis of the African growth story was partially due to increased demand for commodities, but fundamentally due to improved macroeconomic management systems. Africa’s narrative is no longer a narrative of mismanagement of economies, but an Africa that is rising, and an Africa that is on the move.”

    STAFF REPORTER


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    Paralympic Committee reaches out to little peopleParalympic Committee reaches out to little people The Namibian Paralympic Committee has started inviting people living with dwarfism to get involved in sport following a directive from deputy minister Agnes Tjongarero last week.

    NPC president Johannes Lwitayi told Namibian Sun that although the committee has not yet started writing letters to governors and councillors as directed, they have started approaching dwarves in their areas.

    He said one man at Rundu has expressed interest in shot-put, javelin and powerlifting. Chiumba Izaakhiel (24) has started training with Lwitayi.

    “We have started spotting them and talking to them, but I have also communicated to the councillor in Kavango West, he is arranging to call all the people living with disabilities to a meeting so that I can speak to them about sports and then register them,” he said.

    Lwitayi said after the Disability Sport Namibia (DSN) recognition event last week, he directed all the board members to contact people with disabilities in their regions who are interested in sport and get them registered.

    “I asked all the board members to go and get people with disabilities in their regions registered, including dwarves, so each one has to give feedback from their regions to our head office,” he said.

    He said the deputy minister also wants to see more wheelchair racers, swimmers and wheelchair basketball players.

    “We do not have enough wheelchairs but we have two in the office and have given some to the regions, so we are now trying to identify other athletes who are interested in wheelchair racing to join as we aim to have a team of at least three to four athletes,” he said.

    He added that three aspiring swimmers in Rundu will soon join the team.

    “I have about three of them here in Rundu that I will take to the river to test them how they can swim then I will send the names to Windhoek and get a date when they can also be tested there,” he stated.

    Lwitayi further mentioned that a group of wheelchair basketball players will be sent to South Africa for classification soon.

    Last week Tjongarero said, “When I was at the Paralympic Games, I saw a lot of these ''Kamatis'' (dwarves) and I asked myself, we have so many of them at home so how about we also get them into sports.

    “Now I want us to write to all the governors and councillors and ask them how many Kamatis are in their regions and how many of them are interested in sports and let us get them involved,” she said.

    KAINO NGHITONGO

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    Hijarunguru must fall - promotersHijarunguru must fall - promotersBoxing Control Board chairperson is ''an angry man'' Three boxing promoters have joined forces to push for the resignation of Elison Hiarunguru from his position as chairman of the Professional Wrestling and Boxing Control Board. Three Namibian boxing promoters yesterday demanded the immediate resignation of Namibia Professional Wrestling and Boxing Control Board chairperson Ellison Hijarunguru.

    Nestor ''Sunshine'' Tobias, Anita Tjombe and Kinda Nangolo accused Hijarunguru of leading the boxing board into the doldrums since his appointment three months ago.

    At a joint press conference in Windhoek, the promoters alleged that Hijarunguru was trying to settle old scores with officials.

    They also accused him of favouring certain boxing promotions while dragging his feet on others.

    The three promoters charged that the chairperson is creating his own rules and introducing new rules that are not in line with the Boxing Act of 1980. Iron Lady Promotions owner Anita Tjombe said: “We know of instances where promoters went ahead with their fights even when sanctioning money had not been paid. However, some of us are not getting those privileges.

    “He also claimed not to have witnessed an incident where WBF president Howard Goldberg was physically assaulted even when there was clear evidence in video footage.”

    Tjombe expressed disappointment that her boxing bonanza scheduled for last month was cancelled after the boxing board refused to sanction it.

    The ''Iron lady'' had received a sponsorship from Namibia Breweries Limited to stage the event.

    NBL withdrew the sponsorship yesterday following her technical hitches with the boxing board.

    Kinda Nangolo of the Kinda Promotions claimed that Hijarunguruhad changed the system in a negative way. The promoter said Hijarunguru allegedly wrote a letter to the control board office administrator in which he questioned why Nangolo had held a press conference at the board''s offices.

    Nangolo claimed that the former board never had a problem with them holding press conferences at the board''s offices.

    “The board is also refusing to sanction my next boxing event and threatening to suspend my licence because I apparently owe them N$25 000.

    “The pervious board under which Hijarunguru served as an official owes me over N$75 000 and now they want to suspend me because of N$25 000.

    “I think it is time that Hijarunguru resigns before he puts the boxing control board into further disrepute,” Nangolo said at the conference.

    Nestor Tobias of the MTC Nestor ''Sunshine'' Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy expressed concern about the way things have changed since the appointment of the board chairperson. “We all know that boxing is an expensive sport and promoters in most instances struggle till the last month to make things happen.

    “Now we are being asked to pay for sanction money two weeks before the bout, which is proving very difficult.

    “If this is a new rule of the board, we will not be able to stage professional fights in Namibia anymore and without promoters the board will not exist either.

    “Hijarunguru is a very angry man for whatever reason, which makes it difficult for us to communicate,” Tobias said. Tobias further blasted the board for operating under an outdated Boxing Act of 1980.

    He believes that the Act has no relevance to boxing today, and therefore the board is forced to implement things outside the Act.

    “The Act prohibits women from boxing, and promoters are not paying the actual 6% we are required to pay from the money we make at events, but we end up paying over that percentage,” Tobias added.

    Three weeks ago, a weekly newspaper quoted Hijarunguru as saying that there were “forces combining to bring him down”.

    Hijarunguru could not be reached for comment yesterday.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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    Lindemeier recovers from lung infection  Lindemeier recovers from lung infection Top swimmer to take a break One of the country’s top swimmers, Daniela Lindemeier, has recovered from a recurring lung infection and will now decide on her swimming future. JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA



    Namibia’s swimming sensation Daniela Lindemeier has fully recovered from a lung infection, her mother Sonja Lindemeier confirmed yesterday.

    The 24-year old swimmer has had a rough year after twice being diagnosed with lung infection.

    She first became ill in October 2015 after the All-Africa Games, and a second time in March this year.

    The illness was one of the reasons why she failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

    Her mother says Daniela is now recuperating at home.

    Speaking in a telephonic interview she said, “My daughter is well now following tough moments she had to endure in her career.

    “She decided to take a rest from all swimming pool activities for the remainder of the year.

    “I do not know what she has planned for next year at the moment, but I will support her in whatever decision she takes.

    “She is a very talented swimmer and we all know that she has a great future ahead of her.”

    The swimmer was last seen competing in the Bank Windhoek swimming gala back in February.

    She has been Namibia’s only Olympic swimming hope since the era of Jorg Lindemeier (1992, 1996, 2000 Olympics) and Monica Dahl (1992 and 1996 Olympics).

    Her coach, Rian Skinner, believes that a rest will be good for the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke 2015 All-Africa Games bronze medallist.

    The coach added that it will be up to Lindemeier to decide whether she would try qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

    “She has had a rough year and that is why we decided she needed to recover from all the disappointments.

    “Lindemeier is one of the best swimmers to come out of this country which makes me a happy coach.

    “I have not been in contact with her for a while now, seeing that it was best she cleared her mind from all swimming activities,” Skinner said in an interview.

    The coach said it is doubtful that he will continue coaching her next year, since she might be studying abroad.

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    PTA Tennis Series finishes in stylePTA Tennis Series finishes in style SPORT REPORTER

    This year’s PTA Tennis Series came to an epic conclusion last weekend with some of the playing categories finishing in dramatic fashion.

    PTA head coach and tournament director Romeo van Wyk said it was a praiseworthy last tournament after an exciting season.

    “We have definitely improved the series and we look to ahead to an even better future,” he said.

    In the midi category Arnaud Marais secured his second overall win in a row after a tough season which saw Eila Kambonde and Samuel Mayinoti push the champion all the way.

    Marais, who won his third tournament of the season, entered last weekend’s event as the log leader and kept his cool to stay on top.

    Mayinoti was second to end the year behind Marais while Kambonde missed out on the action but remained third in the overall ranking.

    Delicia Dirkse defended her title despite having to settle for third place over the weekend. Hendrina Appolus returned to her winning ways after a lengthy absence but it wasn’t enough to claim the title.

    The second place went to Faith Kahuure, who battled with Dirkse most of the year, ending a mere 500 points behind the champion.

    The most intense action came in the boys’ intermediate division, where Mike Kambonde and Randel Kavandje set up a mouth-watering finale.

    Kavandje had consistently accumulated points to get himself to the top of the log going into the season finale, but Kambonde had been the more successful player recently, winning four tournaments in a row.

    He was successful again this time, but two tournament misses cost him dearly as Kavandje’s second spot secured him the championship.

    Cleet Farmer, on the other hand, had already defended his title before going into the tournament after winning seven of the eight series events. Godwin Husselmann took his second win of the season now but it wasn’t enough to catch up to Farmer. Third place went to Dudley Minnie.

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    Jones suspended for doping violationJones suspended for doping violation The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has suspended interim UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for one year after he tested positive for prohibited substances clomiphene and letrozole.

    Jones, who tested positive in an out-of-competition sample provided on 16 June and was pulled from a title fight against Daniel Cormier days before UFC 200, had claimed he mistakenly took a contaminated sexual-performance pill.

    In a statement released on Monday, USADA said a three-member independent panel had found Jones'' “degree of fault was at the very top end of the scale”.

    USADA slapped him with the standard one-year ban for the violation, and backdated it to 6 July, the date of his provisional suspension.

    Jones contended he had a taken pill called Tadalafil, which contained the prohibited substances and had been given to him by a teammate, believing it to be a pill called Cialis, which does not contain any banned substances.

    The panel said Jones “is not a drug cheat” but his actions “verged on the reckless” as he simply relied on his teammate''s word on what the pill was.

    Jones was stripped of the light heavyweight title he had held since 2011 and suspended for several months after being charged in a hit-and-run case in April 2015, an incident for which he was later sentenced to 18 months'' probation.

    He returned to competition in April this year with a victory over Ovince Saint Preux to take the division''s interim belt.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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  • 11/08/16--14:00: England get ready for Spain
  • England get ready for SpainEngland get ready for SpainEngland get ready for Spain Manchester United''s manager Jose Mourinho has lashed out at two of his players who missed out in their Sunday win, but England interim manager Gareth Southgate has backed them. England interim manager Gareth Southgate is satisfied Manchester United''s Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw are genuinely injured, he said on Monday, despite reservations voiced by their club manager, Jose Mourinho.

    Mourinho hit out after Smalling and Shaw missed United''s 3-1 win at Swansea City on Sunday, making a distinction between “the brave” and “the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference”.

    But Southgate, who left both players out of his squad for England''s games against Scotland and Spain, said the defenders would not have missed the United game unless they felt unable to play.

    “They didn''t play, so there''s a medical issue,” he said. “Chris hasn''t played for the last four games.

    “We have really good relationships, medical-to-medical, with all clubs. I''ve got great trust in our medical team that they''ll make the right calls.

    “Obviously it''s a difficult one because I don''t know the reason for the comments Jose''s made.”

    Smalling has missed United''s last four games with a foot problem, while Shaw has endured niggling injuries since making his comeback from a double leg fracture sustained in September 2015.

    On Shaw, Southgate said: “If he wasn''t fit to play yesterday (Sunday) - and he was with us in September under (former England manager) Sam (Allardyce) and was feeling problems with the leg - there''s clearly something.

    “After an injury as severe as that, we''ve got to handle that with care as well. It''s a difficult balance to find. But that''s where we have to trust our medical teams.

    “I think it''s so difficult with any player. Every injury is different, every individual is different.

    “I''ve not known players not play unless there''s something. Having been a player, that would be my view on it.”

    England tackle old rivals Scotland in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Friday before bringing the curtain down on 2016 with a home friendly against Spain the following Tuesday.

    Southgate, placed in temporary charge after Allardyce was brought down by a newspaper sting, was a member of the England team that overcame Scotland 2-0 in a group-stage match at Euro 96.

    The game at Wembley was illuminated by a famous goal from Paul ''Gazza'' Gascoigne, who lifted the ball over Scotland centre-back Colin Hendry''s head before volleying home.

    Gascoigne, England''s midfield talisman at the time, was a bundle of nervous energy and Southgate revealed the lengths that were taken to calm him down before kickoff.

    “(England coach) Bryan Robson made him a fishing rod and he was pretend fishing in the bath at Wembley,” Southgate told journalists at England''s St George''s Park base in Burton-on-Trent, central England.

    “Because that was the only time he ever relaxed. Make of that what you will!

    “They created (a fishing rod) out of the medical skip. To calm him down, basically.

    “He used to go with (goalkeeper) David Seaman during the week in the afternoon just to get himself out of everybody''s hair for a couple of hours. He found that the most relaxing thing.”

    While the England-Scotland fixture no longer resonates as widely as it once did, Southgate is eager to impress the historical significance of the rivalry upon his players.

    “It''s the oldest international fixture. The rivalry is obvious, the history between the two countries is obvious,” he said.

    “We could build it up to be as big as we want. For us it''s a game of football that is going to help us qualify for a World Cup. That is the key.

    “But we should embrace the emotion of the occasion. That''s what sport is about.

    “Because every time you play for England, you have a chance to make some history, or to play in a game that people will remember forever, and that''s incredibly powerful.”

    NAMPA/AFP

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    England and South Africa unite to praise IrelandEngland and South Africa unite to praise IrelandBoks prepare for physical England South Africa''s Allister Coetzee has promised that the Springboks will relish the “physical battle” when they face an England side coached by his former colleague Eddie Jones at Twickenham on Saturday. England and South Africa may be in opposition this weekend but both camps were united in lauding Ireland''s stunning victory over world champions New Zealand.

    Ireland''s 40-29 win in Chicago on Saturday was their first victory over the All Blacks in 111 years of trying and also ended New Zealand''s record-breaking run of 18 straight Test wins by a top-tier nation.

    “The biggest thing that Ireland did was they came out of the blocks,” said England scrumhalf Ben Youngs, whose side start their end-of-year international campaign against the Springboks this coming Saturday.

    “They were very clear, it looked like everyone was on the same page in terms of what they were doing.”

    The Leicester No 9 said Ireland''s success proved the so-called difference in the quality of northern and southern hemisphere rugby union, a matter of concern ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand next year, was smaller than often suggested.

    “It shows the gap isn''t as big as people think. Fair play to Ireland - 111 years they hadn''t won (against New Zealand). Incredible.”

    After such a long drought, the Irish could beat New Zealand twice in a matter of weeks should they defeat the All Blacks in Dublin on November 19.

    “I am sure they are looking forward to two weeks'' time and doing it again,” said Youngs.

    “The Aviva (Stadium) will be rocking; it''ll be mad.”

    Meanwhile, South Africa coach Allister Coetzee said the match at Chicago''s Soldier Field helped underline the worth of his side''s hard-fought 2-1 series win at home to Ireland in June.

    “One must give credit to Ireland,” he said.

    “They showed great character on defence with their line-speed and gave New Zealand no space.

    “It puts things in perspective. We learnt a hell of a lot of lessons against Ireland,” added the Springbok supremo, whose team suffered a record 57-15 defeat by New Zealand in Durban last month.

    There was an English link to Saturday''s upset, with former England assistant coach Andy Farrell now in charge of Ireland''s defence under Kiwi boss Joe Schmidt.

    “I''m pleased for Andy, he''s a friend of mine,” said England defence coach Paul Gustard, who worked with Farrell and England head coach Eddie Jones when they were all at reigning English and European champions Saracens.

    “But, it''s not our cherry and it''s not our cake,” he added, with England not playing the All Blacks again until 2018.

    “Our cake is on Saturday against South Africa.”

    NAMPA/AFP

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