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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    The position and role of the stateThe position and role of the state There have been several instances where the members of society bring into question what the role of the state is. The tyranny of political freedom fighters has often led to confusion as to what the role of the state is when certain issues are raised. Consider the case of religion. The constitution defines our republic as secular. What this means is that the state is to maintain neutrality is all matters of religion. We witnessed the former Head of State Hifikepunye Pohamba permitting the utilisation of state funds to host a predominantly Christian gathering at Sam Nujoma Stadium to organise prayers for passion killing and gender-based violence. The other concern is based on the understanding of the principle that the state ought to promote the common good of all citizens. State actors and officials are often seen promoting the interest of the select few as opposed to the interest of the masses of the Namibian people.

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  • 11/21/16--14:00: Education reforms praised
  • Education reforms praisedEducation reforms praisedAll systems go for first phase The Ministry of Education is ready for the phasing in of its revised curriculums starting next year. JANA-MARI SMITH

    Funds have been made available for the revised curriculums of grade 1 to grade 7 that will be implemented next year, the education ministry has confirmed.

    As part of the phasing in of major education reforms, the ministry is also working out the cost of implementing the revised curriculum for the new three-year senior secondary phase that begins in 2019.

    Hertha Pomuti, the director of the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), which is spearheading the reforms, was responding to questions posed by Namibia’s first education minister Nahas Angula, who said while the extensive reforms were positive overall, funding was a major challenge.

    He referred to the already extensive financial demands from the education sector, including salary increases for teachers, the impact of free education and the costs of sourcing funds for various school subjects and activities, in addition to the country’s overall economic challenges which affect the education coffers.

    Pomuti confirmed that funds for the revised curriculum of the junior primary phase had been made available.

    “We also costed the implementation of the revised curricula for the senior primary and junior secondary phase in 2016 and 2017 respectively and the funds were made available.”

    She said the next step would get under way in 2017, when “we will work out the costs for the implementation of the revised curriculum for the senior secondary phase. The ministry has made commitments in this regard.”

    Education expert and veteran politician Andrew Matjila said the reforms were welcome for many reasons and could go a long way to “bring about new focus into an otherwise drab situation”.

    He added that “we have become so used to the high annual grade 10 failure rates that it is now like a culture,” an issue that the reforms are addressing specifically with the extension of the senior secondary grade, and the shift from the first exit point from basic education from grade 10 to grade 11.

    Matjila said it was important to note that the reforms had been extensively investigated, evaluated and found to be sound by experts in the field to “be sure of the consequences of their recommendations.”

    However, he said it was important to bear in mind that education reforms “take a long time to take root and to show signs of success”.

    One major concern for Matjila is the impact of keeping learners in school for longer, which he worries could potentially further increase the dropout rate which the reforms seek to address.

    “Learners cannot be kept willy-nilly in school for long periods of time until they grow old … children must complete their schooling as quickly as is reasonably possible, especially nowadays with all the unholy situations children have to put up with.” He said he would prefer a shorter primary phase to ensure children move on to high school faster.

    Pomuti pointed out that the aim of keeping children in school longer is to reduce the high dropout rate at the end of grade 10, which is 48% currently. “We do not see an explicit relationship between teenage pregnancy and keeping kids in school longer,” she said.

    She said studies on teenage pregnancies in Namibia found that the main causes of teenage pregnancy were a lack of parenting and legal guardianship. She said it was well documented that the majority of learners drop out because of pregnancy.

    She agreed with Matjila’s view that teaching children moral and other values was primarily the responsibility of their parents, but added that basic education puts an emphasis on the holistic development of children.

    “All the aspects of child development, social, moral, intellectual, spiritual etc., are interrelated and critical to the learner’s performance in school,” Pomuti said.

    Last week, Angula told Namibian Sun that although he praised the emphasis on vocational and practical skills, he would not recommend the inclusion of trade subjects such as bricklaying, pipe fitting, and plumbing. He said not all these subjects could be taught at each school.

    He said the reforms should instead focus on modern and soft skills which have high value, including information and communication technology and subjects such as fashion design, which could be more widely implemented.

    Pomuti emphasised that the basic education curriculum does include a wide variety of such subjects, including design and technology, fashion and fabrics and office practice and hospitality, alongside technical trade skills.

    She emphasised that the decision to introduce the technical trade subjects was carefully considered and its implementation planned. “Therefore, the ministry has planned to introduce these subjects in 14 schools, one school in each region, taking into account issues of affordability and effective monitoring of implementation.”

    She added that trade subjects were essential for Namibia.

    “There are a lot of construction companies in Namibia. Some of the owners and workers do not have construction knowledge and skills and this poses health and safety risks to society.”

    Pomuti quoted a study conducted in 41 countries which found that skilled trade workers “are in the shortest supply across the world”.

    Moreover, students who take technical subjects will be encouraged to study complementary subjects “to be able to acquire the necessary soft skills such as decision making, problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills and critical and creative thinking skills”.

    Teachers who spoke to Namibian Sun praised the steps taken by the ministry to review the curriculum and the preparations taken to help teachers adapt to the challenges that lie ahead.

    “I think it is necessary to review the curriculum from time to time. I think this is a good intervention on the part of the education ministry, in order to improve on previous standards, which I definitely think is the case here,” said the headmaster of Jan Mohr Secondary School in Windhoek, Clement Kloppers.

    He added that teachers had received training for the first phase of the implementation next year, in Grade 8, and he was sure they would be “able to master the new things to come.”

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  • 11/21/16--14:00: Plots galore at Oshakati
  • Plots galore at OshakatiPlots galore at Oshakati The Oshakati Town Council is making strides towards the allocation of serviced land for its residents.

    As a result of rapid urbanisation, the town council has been forced to tuck in communal lands in order to address the huge demand for housing.

    Town chief executive officer Werner Iita says credit should be given to local traditional authorities who have cooperated and allowed the council to extend its boundaries.

    “We understand that people need land and it is a burden to councils and therefore, Oshakati Town Council has taken the servicing of land very serious,” Iita said.

    “We have a great relationship with the headmen and the traditional authorities and we will never be able to thank them enough for the way they helped us and are continued to help us when it comes to developing the town.”

    Last week, Oshakati Town Council advertised more than 450 serviced erven at Ekuku settlement and Extension 16. Apart from the over new plots, Iita said in Ekuku more than 600 plots still need to be allocated to people and another 900 plots are currently being serviced. Iita also said 1 300 plots are being serviced at Ehenye township while more than 200 serviced plots at Okaku-Kiipupu are ready for allocation. Namibian Sun understands that because of the cuts in expenditure imposed by government, the 1 800 plots at Ompumbu which were supposed to be serviced have been put on hold.

    Oshakati joins Windhoek and Walvis Bay as leaders in the servicing and allocation of residential plots in line with the agreement entered into by the government and the Affirmative Reposition (AR) movement in 2015 obliging councils to avail 200 000 plots around the country to address the acute shortage of affordable and decent houses.

    Iita further said with the continuous assistance from government and the N$50 million loan council acquired from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has made it possible to service the significant number of plots adding that the council has paid back almost half of the borrowed money.

    On informal settlements in Oshakati, Iita said the low income earners such as vendors and security guards will be given the first option to buy plots in the future because the current system of first come first serve does not favour their financial means.

    “As council, we want all the people especially the residents of Oshakati, to be able to own a plot and be able to have their own house one day,” Iita said.


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  • 11/21/16--14:00: Five die in Kunene accident
  • Five die in Kunene accidentFive die in Kunene accident Following the latest mass-casualty accident this weekend a total of 617 people have lost their lives on Namibia''s roads since the beginning of this year.

    The statistics compiled by the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA Fund) until 20 November this year indicate that there has been a decrease of 1% in fatalities compared to the same period last year.

    According to the Fund there have been 3 601 crashes recorded during the recorded period and 6 180 injuries. These figures indicate a downward trend in crashes by 5% while injuries decreased by 9% in comparison with the same period last year.

    The latest mass-casualty accident was reported on Sunday afternoon at Otjerunda, some 25 kilometres south of Opuwo in the Kunene Region and claimed the lives of five people.

    The accident occurred after a sedan and a pick-up collided on the Opuwo-Omakange road.

    Four women and a man were killed in the accident, while five others were critically injured, including the driver of the sedan.

    Three of those involved in the crash died at the scene of the accident while two died while receiving treatment at the Opuwo State Hospital. Those injured in the crash were transported to the Oshakati State Hospital for treatment.

    The MVA Fund yesterday expressed its condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and injured.

    The Fund also requested the families of the deceased to contact the nearest MVA Fund Service Centre for more information on how to claim benefits.


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  • 11/21/16--14:00: Child registration obstacles
  • Child registration obstaclesChild registration obstaclesAbsent fathers make surnames complicated The father’s absence at the registration of a newborn baby causes the child to be registered in the mother’s name, which is not always accepted by the father and his family. ILENI NANDJATO

    Community members of Elavi in the Oshikoto Region have told the deputy minister of home affairs and immigration, Erastus Uutoni, that timely birth registration is not possible as long as the babies’ fathers are not present during birth.

    Elavi women told Uutoni the registration of birth requires both parents to be present during registration, but in most cases fathers are not available during labour and sometimes men do not want to go to Home Affairs offices to register the birth. They said that registering newborn babies is causing children to be fatherless and is also contributing to gender-based violence.

    “We cannot register our newborns on our names. Fathers and their family members will not accept that these children are theirs. Many fathers give us their national documents when we are about to give birth saying we must just register the birth, but officials require that the father is present. To avoid having fatherless children or get into gender-based violence we just wait until the fathers are ready or available to go to the offices,” community members said.

    Uutoni heard this during a dialogue with community members of Elavi in Nehale lyaMpingana constituency in the Oshikoto Region on Friday. He held a meeting with the community while observing the progression of the mobile team registering births and issuing national documents in Nehale lyaMpingana constituency. The team was faced with a challenge of high numbers of mothers intending to get birth certificates for their children, but they were turned away because fathers were not present and they did not want to register these children on their own names.

    “Namibia has a timely birth registration strategy that is aimed at registering every child born in Namibia on time. We issue every child registered with a birth certificate. Registration is done by both parents and if the father is not available at that time, let the mother register the child on her name and the father can add his particulars late,” Uutoni told community members.

    The home affairs ministry introduced the timely birth registration in 2008 when birth registration centres were established in hospitals, but Uutoni said late birth registration remains a challenge. Parents only attempt to register their children when they are about to enrol school.

    Simeon Nghipandwa, civil registration deputy director for the northern and western regions, told community members that child registration needs both parents and their documents for the child to be registered on their names. He also told them that it is a long process for them to issue a birth certificate to a child over the age of 12 months which he said ends up frustrating many parents desperate to get birth certificates for their children to enrol for school.

    “We only registered children on both parents’ names if they are all available during registration. Once you wait until your child is over 12 months old, the ministry will require you to have many support documents and witnesses to prove that that child is really Namibian. This takes time as we have to investigate all the people involved in the application first before we issue the document. The better option is for a mother to register the child on her name. Then father can add his particulars any time they wish and it is very easy. They only make declarations at police and sign,” Nghipandwa said.

    Uutoni advised women to discuss the issue of birth registration with the father or father’s family first to avoid conflict. The mobile birth registration and national documents issuing unit will be in Nehale LyaMpingana until 30 November, after an assessment was conducted from in October and the findings were that many community members of Elavi do not have national documents.

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  • 11/21/16--14:00: Young women remain at risk
  • Young women remain at riskYoung women remain at riskLate teens the most dangerous years Girls between 15 and 19 years of age account for 90% of all new HIV infections in southern Africa, a new report shows. The alarming rate of HIV infection among young women aged 15 to 24 is driven by rebellion and denial, which makes treating them extremely difficult, health minister Bernard Haufiku said yesterday.

    He also said that some health facilities lack youth-friendly services and these young women are “scolded” by older nurses instead of being provided health services.

    “That adolescent stage is the most difficult in their lives. They are learning new things and most of it from their peers. Thus they are not really faced with true scientific facts. And it is at precisely this stage that they rebel and do not listen to adults,” he said.

    During the Aids Day commemoration in 2015, Rachel Coomer of the Legal Assistance Centre said because of lack of access to health services, as well as economic difficulties, “young girls are driven into the arms of sugar daddies.”

    At the time, UNAIDS figures indicated that the age group between 15 and 24 was at the forefront of new infections. According to UNAIDS, “The most recent figures indicate that the youth, aged between 15 and 24, make up 43% of all new infections in the country.”

    The 2016 report titled ''UNAIDS Get on the Fast-Track: The life cycle approach to HIV'' launched by UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe in Windhoek yesterday showed that this age group is a dangerous time for women.

    According to the report, data from six locations in eastern and southern Africa revealed that in southern Africa girls aged between 15 and 19 accounted for 90% of all new infections, and they accounted for more than 74% in East Africa.

    “It therefore makes a lot of sense to focus on and invest our resources into these sub-populations. Eastern and southern African ministers have recommitted to reinvigorate efforts to empower adolescent girls and young women and to give them the necessary knowledge about sexual and reproductive health, keeping them in school and strengthening school health programmes,” said Haufiku.

    Sidibe also expressed concern about the infection rate among young women aged 15 to 24, who according to him face a triple threat of a high infection rate, low rates of HIV testing, and poor adherence to treatment.

    “The world is failing young women and we urgently need to do more. We need to really pay attention. We need a new approach,” he said.

    Namibian success

    Sidibe commended Namibia for its efforts to fight HIV and Aids, saying it is a success story for the world.

    According to him Namibia''s performance is among the best in the world, especially the fact that the country has managed to put more than 90% of HIV-positive pregnant women on ARV treatment.

    He also commended the country for digging into its own pockets to sustain the fight against HIV and Aids and not entirely relying on foreign aid.

    “Namibia has been able to demonstrate that it is important to take from its budget, which is a sign of commitment,” he said.

    Meanwhile, President Hage Geingob has pointed out that there is need for Namibia to redouble its prevention and treatment efforts.

    “We cannot accept that while new infections are in general decline, we see an increase in new infections in young people between the ages of 15 to 29, particularly in adolescent girls and young women. We also cannot accept social behaviour which drives HIV statistics,” he said.

    The president called on the private sector to join the government on the frontlines of the battle against HIV and Aids.

    “While Namibia is proud of the achievements it has made in collaboration with partners like the Global Fund and PEPFAR, we are also proud that the bulk of Namibia''s HIV response is funded by our domestic resources,” he said.

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  • 11/21/16--14:00: No more happy people
  • No more happy peopleNo more happy people The organisers of the much-hyped R Kelly concert, which was to take place in Windhoek this Friday, were at pains yesterday to explain the sudden cancellation of the event.

    The 2016 annual Windhoek Draught Live Music Festival had been well publicised in recent weeks and was to take place at the Hage Geingob Stadium.

    After news broke that the Grammy award-winning singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was no longer travelling to Namibia this week, fans took to social media to complain about the sudden postponement and demanded that they be refunded for tickets bought well in advance.

    The tickets were selling at N$1 000 for Golden Circle and N$600 for general tickets.

    The organisers and sponsors yesterday dodged media enquiries about the cancellation. Instead event promoter Namconcerts issued a statement saying that the R Kelly management was experiencing internal problems and that ticket sales were put on hold.

    “The promoter, Namconcerts, is in negotiations with R Kelly management and a full statement will be released once discussions have been concluded,” the statement read.

    The press release also stated that in the event of the concert being cancelled all ticket holders would be fully refunded.

    R Kelly''s official website and other ticket sales online pages showed yesterday that the musician does not have an event scheduled on 25 November.

    Namibian Sun understands that the artist has already been paid “lots of money” to perform in Windhoek, while about N$2 million has been spent to promote the show. The organisers refused to comment on this yesterday.

    Namibia Breweries Limited, through its Windhoek Draught brand, and Standard Bank Namibia are the main sponsors of the event, which would have seen local acts like PDK, Gazza and Oteya, among others, performing on the night.

    Not many people were thrilled with the R&B superstar coming to Namibia, though. A pressure group led by Misa Namibia director Natasha Tibinyane protested against the artist''s coming to Namibia owing to his controversial past.

    In 2008, R. Kelly was acquitted by an American court after he was found not guilty of all charges of video-taping himself having sex with a minor.

    Tibinyane yesterday said those who were financing the R Kelly concert are all “rapologists”. “I still won''t attend that concert and I hope it gets cancelled,” she said.

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    Geingob meets with ex-SWATF/KoevoetGeingob meets with ex-SWATF/Koevoet CATHERINE SASMAN

    President Hage Geingob and a small ministerial entourage on Thursday met former SWATF/Koevoet members for close to two hours in what is considered the first fruitful meeting between a properly constituted government delegation and the former soldiers.

    Geingob was accompanied by the minister of presidential affairs, Frans Kapofi, the director-general of the Namibian Central Intelligence Agency, Philemon Malima, the minister of safety and security, Charles Namoloh, and the attorney-general, Sacky Shanghala.

    The chairperson of the Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet), Jabulani Ndeunyema, said they were warmly received at State House and a determination was made to put aside the war of words waged against the ex-soldiers by cabinet ministers and other senior leaders of the ruling party.

    Namvet claimed that high-ranking government and ruling party officials have “persistently” engaged in acts of “overt hostility or vengeance” against former SWATF/Koevoet members, which included “propaganda for war” and other forms of hate speech.

    They requested that Geingob intervene immediately and demonstrate to the nation that he is the president of all Namibians.

    Ndeunyema said Geingob asked the ex-soldiers to put their demand to be recognised as war veterans on the backburner and instead consider projects the government can assist them with.

    One of the things the ex-soldiers did ask for in their meeting with Geingob was counselling and treatment for battle-related injuries.

    They also asked for medical aid, pension payouts and compensation, education, training and skills development.

    The ex-soldiers said they reserved the right to enlist the services, guidance and advice of international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice if their concerns were not tackled expeditiously. The alternative, they said, was to continue with their protest sit-ins.

    They added that the one-off demobilisation payout they had received shortly after independence was not enough to live on.

    Namvet claims to be representing 3 885 “limbless, mentally troubled, blind, disabled and paralysed” former soldiers and says more than 10 000 former SWATF/Koevoet members are “rotting away in poverty”.

    Namvet undertook to invite all former SWATF/Koevoet soldiers to a meeting on 26 November to talk about the outcome of the meeting with Geingob and to consider possible government-assisted projects.

    Ndeunyema said he would also engage with Amabutho to stop the regular visits to South Africa, which is a pretext of ongoing talks with authorities there.


    According to Ndeunyema President Geingob has asked that the ex-soldiers in future desist from going to South Africa in search of monetary compensation. Geingob reportedly proposed that they instead engage with the Namibian government.

    Geingob reportedly also said that this first engagement would be the start of a continued dialogue between the ex-soldiers and the government.


    Geingob asked the ex-soldiers why they wanted to engage with the government now. In response they said they had been approached by “extremist fundamentalist groups” in the SADC region desirous to establishing destabilising “terrorist” groups.

    Ndeunyema also informed President Geingob of clandestine visits by some elements in the ruling party that had allegedly offered the ex-soldiers money to “cause chaos” for the Geingob presidency.

    “I told the president that Swapo is more divided since he became the president. Namibia is not at peace,” said Ndeunyema.

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     MUN president dies in crash MUN president dies in crash President of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), Risto Raimo Sikongo Hausiku has died.
    The 35-year-old Hausiku was killed in a car accident on Monday evening after a Toyota Corolla he was travelling in hit a kudu at approximately 73km south of Otjiwarongo on the B1 road.
    The kudu was also found dead on the spot.
    Otjozondjupa police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha said the accident occurred at approximately 19:50 Monday.
    “He died on impact as his vehicle did not overturn,” Mbeha said, adding that the close relatives of the deceased have been informed.
    Two passengers were treated for injuries at the Otjiwarongo State Hospital and are now in stable condition.
    It is alleged Hausiku and his colleagues were on their way from Tsumeb to Windhoek on official duty.


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    Boxing federation postpones championshipBoxing federation postpones championship Financial constraints have forced the Namibia Boxing Federation (NBF) to postpone its championship that was scheduled for this weekend.

    The championship to be held in the Kunene Region.

    NBF spokesman Robert Haihambo said: “The decision to postpone the championship comes against the backdrop of a national financial tightening as the government shifts its expenditure priorities.

    “As the federation''s main stakeholder, the government has supported the federation throughout the implementation of most of its calendar programmes.

    “In efforts to avoid over-dependence on state funding and to create alternative sources of funding the federation has engaged the corporate world and business community to fund the championship, this did not yield the expected results,” he said, adding that the federation had built crucial relationships in the process.

    A new date for the championship has not been announced.


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  • 11/22/16--14:00: NFA Cup returns
  • NFA Cup returnsNFA Cup returnsSponsor details pending NFA president Frans Mbidi says the football association is likely to launch the NFA Cup before the end of the year. Namibia Football Association president Frans Mbidi has hinted at the return of the NFA Cup after disclosing that the association finally has a sponsor for the tournament.

    The competition, which has in the past seen Namibia Premier League and division clubs challenge for the trophy, did not take place during the 2015/16 football season after NFA failed to secure a sponsor.

    This was after the competition''s main sponsor, Bidvest Namibia, pulled out of its three-year, N$20 million sponsorship deal in 2015.

    In an interview this week Mbidi said: “We have finally got a sponsor for the tournament.

    “This is a Christmas present for football lovers and we are going to officially announce it at the beginning of December.

    “As president of the association, I can now prematurely confirm that the NFA Cup will be back.

    “It has been a difficult period for Namibian football due to all the financial problems, but there is finally good news to share with football lovers.”

    The president would not disclose the name of their new partners or details of the sponsorship, saying they are yet to finalise legal documents.

    The NFA Cup competition usually occurs during the premier league season.

    However, the topflight league currently does not have a sponsor and it is only expected to start in February 2017.

    “Yes, we do know the situation about the league and this could probably change the format of the NFA Cup,” Mbidi said.

    “We might be forced to start the competition earlier than we usually do because of the situation the premier league is in.

    “This will all be announced at the launch of the competition during December.

    “There will be plenty of administration work to be done and I believe the staff are ready to do that.”

    The NFA Cup has been in existence since 1990, but was not held in 1997, 2001, and 2012 and during the 2015/16 season because of sponsorship problems.

    Tigers FC are the defending champions of the competition, while African Stars and Chief Santos are record holders, having won the competition on four occasions each.

    Mbidi further announced that negotiations for the Standard Bank Super Cup have been put on hold until the league secures a sponsor.

    The competition was played as a pre-season tournament between the NFA cup champions and the league champions.

    However, the bank announced that it would not continue as the main sponsor of the competition after its three-year contract ended.

    “We are also confident that the negotiations will resume between us and Standard Bank. But that will only take place when the league finally gets a sponsor.

    “The positive we can draw from this is that we have enough time on our hands to actually plan and have better structures in place for that tournament,” Mbidi said.


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  • 11/22/16--14:00: Wilson is the new acting CA
  • Wilson is the new acting CAWilson is the new acting CA The Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) on Monday appointed Peter Wilson as acting chief administrator.

    He will act in the position for the next two months.

    NSC chairperson Joel Mathews said Wilson would assume his duties with effect from Monday.

    He succeeds Walter Haseb, who will take up his old position as head of finance and administration.

    Mathews said the decision to return Haseb to his old position came about as a result of recent problems reported in the media.

    “We have decided to take this action as a way of trying to sort out the financial situation of the organisation. Water was recently cut off at our offices and pension funds are in disarray, so Haseb has to go back to his position to sort out these issues,” he said.

    Wilson has been part of the commission''s team since 1 June, when he was sworn in as a sports commissioner, having been a sport administrator for the last 20 years.

    “He possesses skills in business administration which will contribute positively to the growth of the sporting fraternity in Namibia,” said Mathews.

    Mathews said the process to appoint a chief administrator was at an advanced stage, as three candidates had been shortlisted.

    “The offers will be made soon to the selected candidate, whose mandate will be to run the commission and drive its strategic objectives,” he added.

    The position of chief administrator has been vacant since 2013, when Rusten Mogane left unceremoniously.

    Initially, the NSC said a chief administrator would be appointed by August or September this year.

    Three people have since acted in the position – Haseb, Harald Fülle and Sivhute Katamba.


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    Paralympic Committee to launch new sportParalympic Committee to launch new sportAthletes excited about boccia The Namibia Paralympic Committee is introducing a new competitive sport for wheelchair athletes. The Namibia National Paralympic Committee (NNPC) will launch a new sport in Namibia on 2 December.

    Boccia, which means “ball” in Latin, is a sport for people with cerebral palsy or related neurological conditions requiring the use of a wheelchair.

    Memory Kahlari of the NNPC told Nampa that boccia is a competitive sport that is played in over 50 countries.

    “The sport is played on a hard surface indoors and the goal is to throw the game balls so that they land as close as possible to a special target ball, which is called the jack,” she said.

    Players must be at least 12 years old to play in singles, doubles or teams of three or four players.

    One of the six athletes in Namibia who have shown interest in the sport is Lihandra van der Smit. She has been playing the game for the past five years.

    “It is a tactical sport just like chess and from what I have seen in Namibia, there is a potential to win medals at the Paralympic Games. I have already spotted one player that I would like to be paired with when we play, so that come Tokyo 2020, we can go there and win some medals.”

    Van der Smit is a Namibian who has competed in South Africa and won a gold medal during her schooldays.

    The 29-year-old initially struggled to find opponents and partners in Namibia until early this year, when she met 12-year-old boccia player Andreas Shoombe.

    Shoombe has taken to the sport so quickly that his trainers are already predicting medals very soon.

    “I like the sport as it challenges me. I enjoy playing it and I am calling all parents with children or relatives with cerebral palsy to bring them over so they can try it. Who knows, we may have a lot of champions like Ananias Shikongo,” Shoombe said enthusiastically.

    Boccia players are assigned to one of four sport classes, depending on their functional ability.

    Classification of players in Namibia will take place in Windhoek at a venue to be announced at the launch in December.


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    Children learn basketball skillsChildren learn basketball skills Learners from Paulus Hamutenya Primary School and 16 junior coaches have received their first basketball training on the new basketball court at the Eenhana Youth Centre.

    The new court was built by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), mandated by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development as part of the initiative ''1000 Chances for Africa''.

    The basketball fun day that was held was part of the project Free Throw Basketball Artists against HIV and AIDS by the German Olympic Sports Confederation and GIZ.

    The participating junior coaches were trained last year and led the sessions of the fun day, assisted by project coordinator Ramah Mumba and German expert Frank Albin.

    Mumba, who is the Namibia Basketball Federation (NBF) secretary-general, said the children learned the fundamentals of basketball and did life skills in a fun way and learned about HIV and AIDS as well as alcohol and drug abuse.

    “We had eager young players and coaches that made the whole experience fun. The approach of using basketball to develop young people through life skills is our objective in the Ohangwena Region. Through this we will develop young basketball players and coaches and at the same time make them role models in the community,” he said.


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    Giroud makes his case after spell in exileGiroud makes his case after spell in exileArsenal to face PSG today Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes his players will put up a memorable match against Paris Saint Germain today, while some players are hoping to make it into the squad. NAMPA/AFP

    Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud faces an anxious wait to see if his last-gasp equaliser against Manchester United was enough to get him back in Arsene Wenger''s plans on a permanent basis.

    Giroud is a polarising figure in north London after a lengthy spell of erratic displays, but he is hoping to be given a chance to silence the critics in Wednesday''s Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain.

    Many Arsenal supporters have called for Giroud to be sold and Gunners boss Wenger appeared to lose faith in him after starting Alexis Sanchez as his central striker for much of the season.

    The 30-year-old has yet to start a Premier League game this term and must have feared his days at the Emirates Stadium were numbered.

    That may still prove the case eventually, but Giroud is making a last-ditch effort to show he is worthy of more regular involvement.

    He has scored four times in his last four appearances, including the powerful header that salvaged a 1-1 draw in the final moments at Old Trafford on Saturday.

    Giroud''s timely intervention against United came after he scored twice, with his first two touches, as a substitute to inspire a 4-1 win at Sunderland after his team had conceded an equaliser.

    He also netted Arsenal''s leveller in a Champions League victory at Ludogorets after they had fallen 2-0 down to the minnows.

    Ironically, one of his lowest moments this season came back home in France when he was sent off in the last minute of a 1-1 draw at Paris Saint Germain.

    Now the French giants arrive at the Emirates just as Giroud looks capable of finally arresting his decline.

    While he might have lost the support of many among Arsenal''s fan-base, he retains the backing of his team-mates.

    Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is well aware of Giroud''s qualities and believes he can still prove an impact player.

    "Sometimes, I think people don''t realise Olivier''s qualities, because he works for the team," Cech said.

    "He''s useful when he starts games, but he''s also useful coming off the bench. He can make the difference.

    "He''s a very important player for us. He showed again against United that even though he didn''t start the game, he''s ready."

    Arsenal have spluttered of late in the Premier League, drawing three of their last four matches.

    But in Europe they are already through to the knockout stages with two matches to spare.

    That means they can focus on their shoot-out with PSG to decide the group winners.

    Currently level on points with the Parisians, Arsenal would dearly love to top the group and improve their chances of avoiding a difficult last 16 opponent.

    Wenger underlined the importance of getting back in the winning habit on Wednesday to boost their hopes both domestically and in Europe.

    "I think getting back to winning games again, that is very important," he said.

    "We can accept a point against United, but we are getting too many draws at the moment and with three points for a win you cannot afford that too many times.

    "It''s important for us to get back to winning habits.

    "When you are 1-0 down, you come back to 1-1 with a minute to go, it feels more than a draw, that''s for sure.

    "But as well I hope it strengthens the belief inside the squad, no matter what happens we can always come back."

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    Australia chase World Cup titlesAustralia chase World Cup titles NAMPA/AFP

    Australia go in search of back-to-back World Cup golf wins in Melbourne this week at an event tinged with controversy over team picks by England and Scotland.

    The last time it was held in 2013 the World Cup was primarily an individual tournament, with a 60-strong field featuring two players from each country participating in 72 holes of stroke play.

    World number one Jason Day won the individual title for Australia, while Day and Adam Scott clinched the team portion for the best aggregate score.

    This year it returns to 28 two-man teams playing 72 holes of stroke play. The first and third days will be the foursomes and the second and final days the fourball play.

    Day is a no-show due to a back injury, leaving Scott to defend the title with Marc Leishman at Melbourne''s Kingston Heath Golf Club.

    "I''m extremely excited about playing in the World Cup of Golf with Adam," said Leishman of his unexpected call-up.

    The event has enticed many of the top 50 with US$8 million in prize money, including number seven Scott and two of the sport''s hottest golfers - Japan''s sixth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama and Sweden''s number nine Alex Noren.

    Matsuyama has won three of his last four events while Noren has been a winner four times this season.

    The United States are expected to be in the hunt on Sunday, with Ryder Cup hero Rickie Fowler and reigning US PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker.

    The build-up has seen controversy with England''s Chris Wood and Scotland''s Russell Knox both drawing criticism for their choice of playing partners.

    Former world number one Lee Westwood had his flight for Melbourne booked after being picked to be the England teammate of US Masters champion Danny Willett.

    But when Willett withdrew because of a back injury two weeks ago, the chance to fly the flag for England went to the next-highest player on the world rankings in Wood. He chose Andy Sullivan, leaving Westwood reportedly fuming.

    Wood said he could understand Westwood''s frustration to a point. "But it was Dan (Willett) who pulled out that affected him. It had nothing to do with me," Wood said Tuesday.

    "Dan had the choice to pick a few months ago and he looked past the likes of myself, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick to pick Lee. And I''m sure all of us were a little bit frustrated by that, but nothing was made of it.

    "I''ve gone down the rankings and Sulli was the guy behind me and that was the right way to do it, I believe."

    The same is true for Knox, whose choice of close friend Duncan Stewart as partner also raised some eyebrows on the European scene.

    "I could pick anyone in the top 500 in the world and I did," said Knox, who has won twice on the PGA Tour in the past 12 months. "I don''t really care what other people think."

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    Ditch Super teams to bolster Boks – StranskyDitch Super teams to bolster Boks – StranskySA''s weekend defeat described as catastrophic South Africa''s World Cup winner Joel Stransky says the most pressing issue with the Springboks is the diluted player pool caused by having six Super Rugby teams. South Africa must dump two of its six Super Rugby teams to revive the ailing Springboks, World Cup winner Joel Stransky said Tuesday, arguing weak provincial sides were fostering a losing mentality.

    Stransky said South Africa''s 20-18 loss to Italy in Florence at the weekend was “catastrophic to say the least” and was scathing about the Boks'' attitude.

    “I don''t think we ever imagined in our worst nightmare that it would be this bad, to be quite frank,” he told New Zealand''s Radio Sport.

    “It''s not a good team and there''s no burning desire to work hard and get through this. There''s something missing in that culture at the moment.”

    The 49-year-old, who potted the drop goal that secured South Africa the 1995 World Cup, blamed “amateur” administrators and an exodus of young talent to overseas clubs.

    But he said the most pressing issue was the diluted player pool caused by having six Super Rugby teams.

    No South African team has won the competition since 2010 and Stransky said their failure was preventing the development of a winning culture that could be transferred to the Test arena.

    “We need to understand that we can''t compete with six Super Rugby franchises,” he said.

    “We''d probably be at our best with four... if we want to be strong in the future we need strong domestic (Super) rugby.”

    Stransky said the surviving Super teams would have better player rosters and increased financial clout, making it easier for them to lure young talent back from overseas.

    He nominated the country''s worst-performing Super teams - the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs and Port Elizabeth''s Southern Kings - as the ones that should go.

    “With all due respect to Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, there''s not the crowd support and financial support to sustain the teams,” he said.

    “We''ve got to make the right decisions for the Springboks, not the individual (administrators) running the game.”

    The Springboks take on Wales in Cardiff this weekend in the final match of a miserable European tour.

    They have lost seven of 11 Tests this year, equalling their record for the most defeats in a season since returning to international rugby in 1992 from apartheid-induced isolation.


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    ‘Young' Pacquiao eager for Mayweather‘Young' Pacquiao eager for Mayweather NAMPA/AFP

    WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao says he feels like a young man in his twenties and would relish another crack at Floyd Mayweather.

    The Filipino icon, 37, made a winning comeback from his brief retirement earlier this month and said he was in great shape to try to avenge his defeat to Mayweather last year in the richest fight in boxing history.

    "I feel young. I feel like I''m just 25, or that I''m just 28 years old," Pacquiao told ABS-CBN television yestereday.

    Asked if he wanted to fight Mayweather again, Pacquiao said: "Of course, if he wants to come back (to) boxing".

    Pacquiao fuelled talk of ‘Pacquiao-Mayweather 2’ when he invited the undefeated American, who retired in September 2015, to attend his successful comeback against Jesse Vargas in Las Vegas on November 5.

    Last week, Pacquiao teased fans about a possible rematch by posting pictures on social media wearing a suit bearing photos of him and Mayweather in the lining.

    But Mayweather, 39, said days later he had no plans to come out of retirement.

    Pacquiao originally retired in May after beating American Timothy Bradley in a non-title fight before standing for and winning a seat in the Philippines Senate.

    But he said he would not be stepping away from the ring again anytime soon.

    "I still believe in my skills. You just need discipline, how you discipline yourself and work hard," Pacquiao said, adding he would only walk away once he no longer wanted to put in the long hours of training.

    "Because once you get lazy, that''s the start of the decline of your performance and your body."

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  • 11/22/16--14:00: OPEC nears deal
  • OPEC nears dealOPEC nears deal Controlling output to push up prices Crude appears to be rebounding as OPEC nears a deal on output for oil-producing countries. Oil surged for a third day on signs the members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have made progress toward finalising a deal to cut output.

    January futures rose as much as 1.5% in New York after the December contract expired 3.9% higher on Monday.

    Talks on assigning quotas to individual countries went well, Libyan OPEC Governor Mohamed Oun said after preliminary meetings at the group''s headquarters in Vienna.

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it''s now “tactically bullish” on the likelihood of an agreement. US government data on Wednesday is forecast to show the smallest expansion of crude stockpiles since January, according to a Bloomberg survey.

    Oil has rebounded from an eight-week low on 14 November as OPEC make renewed diplomatic efforts before their 30 November meeting to finalise the supply deal they agreed to informally in September.

    The group''s plan to trim output for the first time in eight years is complicated by Iran''s commitment to boost production and Iraq''s request for an exemption to help fund its war with Islamic militants.

    “An OPEC deal would push oil through US$50,” said Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG in Melbourne. “If it''s a verbal agreement with all non-binding overlays, the market will get positive very quickly. It could then fall back to a band of US$45 to US$46 a barrel.”


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  • 11/22/16--14:00: 'Ramaphosa has it wrong'
  • 'Ramaphosa has it wrong''Ramaphosa has it wrong' New minimum wage is lower than current wage A new proposed minimum wage of R3 500 for South Africa actually calculates to lower than the current minimum wage rate. A national minimum wage proposal of R3 500 – if divided by the average number of people in a typical South African household – is below the current poverty wage.

    This is according to the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) – non-profit organisation which campaigns for social justice and human rights.

    Julie Smith, researcher at Pacsa, told Fin24 that among black households in South Africa a wage typically supports four people per household.

    “So when you talk about a national minimum wage you have to look at how that income is dispersed within a household. The average number of people per household in South Africa that one wage supports is 3.9 people.

    “A minimum wage of R3 500 divided by four people is therefore R875, while the current poverty line is R1 077.”

    Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced that an advisory panel on a national minimum wage recommended that it be set at R3 500. The panel suggested that the amount be phased in over a period of two or three years.

    According to the panel the amount was higher than what 50% of South Africans are currently earning.

    Smith, however, points out that although Ramaphosa acknowledged the mooted amount of R3 500 is not a living wage, but it is also not above the poverty line.

    “He made it sound like it''s above the poverty wage and it''s actually not.”

    Pacsa tracks to figures, Smith said – the amount households need to buy essentials each month and the amount households need to buy basic, but proper nutritional items.

    In October 2016, the cost of the Pacsa minimum nutritional food basked for a family of four is R2 394.32

    “The low proposed National Minimum Wage of R3 500 per month is not enough for workers to support their families, nor does it address our historical racial wage structure. We have analysed the proposed figure from two angles: South Africa''s latest statistical data disaggregated along racial lines and through the cost of goods and services required for a worker to support his/her family. In both cases, we find that R3 500 is far too low,” Smith said.

    “Basically food is expensive,” Smith said, “but so are transport and electricity. So if you look at R3 500 – when you disperse it through the household – it''s below the poverty wage and the principle of a national minimum wage is to try and lift people out of poverty,” Smith said.

    Pacsa argued that a national minimum wage for South Africans should be set at R8 000 at least if households are to have the possibility of leading a basic, dignified lifestyle.

    “When you start adding up all of the expenses a household incurs the cost of living is R6 522 and that excludes debt repayments and other things. We don''t necessarily say the income needs to be at R8 000. We can look at other things, such as free basic services. But households should have that amount at their disposal – either in rand value or in more affordable services,” Smith opined.

    “Wages are typically increased per the Consumer Price Index - the headline inflation figure. Low-income households tend to experience inflation at a higher level than reflected in headline inflation and this will continue to trap working families in poverty. Unless the national minimum wage is set at a level which takes us out of this low-wage trajectory, it might be better not to have a national minimum wage of R3 500 because it will put back the struggle of workers for decades,” Smith added.

    Meanwhile Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been challenged to live on R3 500 per month to see how little the new proposed National Minimum Wage (NMW) is.

    The Gauteng Province branch of the Young Communist League of SA “rejects outright the proposed minimum wage”, Gauteng provincial secretary Alex Mdakane said in a statement on Sunday.

    “This is in fact an insult to the more than 47% of South Africans who wake up every morning to be exploited for a pittance of just below R3 500,” said Mdakane.

    Mdakane challenged Ramaphosa in his role at Nedlac “to live on R3 500 at least for a week to actually experience the ''impact'' a R3 500 wage per month has on an average employee.”


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