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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 12/04/16--14:00: New minimum wage for guards
  • New minimum wage for guardsNew minimum wage for guardsFestive-season strike averted The minimum wage for entry-level and experienced security guards will go up by 25% and 40% respectively next year. A national festive-season strike by security guards was averted at the eleventh hour last week when unions and security companies reached a minimum wage agreement of a 25% increase for short-term and 40% increase for long-term employees.

    Effective 1 January 2017, the minimum wage for security guards across the sector will increase by 25%, from N$7 to N$8.75, marking the first phase of the agreement.

    The second phase of the agreement is applicable only to security guards who have been employed for a year or more on 1 July 2017.

    On that date, the minimum wage for employees who have been employed for more than a year will increase by roughly 15%, from N$8.75 to N$10 per hour.

    The finalised agreement was announced on Friday, at the offices of the labour commissioner, after the relevant parties, including the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau), Namibia Security Guards and Watchman Union (NASGWU), Namibia Independent Security Union (Nisu), announced that consensus had been reached late last week with members of the Security Association of Namibia (SAN).

    John Kwedhi, Natau general secretary, explained that the higher minimum wage rate for security guards was agreed on in order to take account of the experience and loyalty of long-term employees.

    “If you compare the person who has experience and they are put in the same basket as the more non-skilled, you could create an uncomfortable situation,” he explained.

    In regard to the issue of a transport, housing and danger allowance, in addition to pension, Kwedhi explained these issues were deferred to March next year in order to provide time to conduct research on the options available and to assess affordability. Negotiations addressing these demands will take place once an overview has been conducted, he said.

    The newly amended minimum wage will remain applicable until the next round of wage negotiations starts in July 2018, when the wages and other relevant issues will be renegotiated.

    He cautioned employees in the sector that this does not mean a new rate will kick in as from August that year, but will only be implemented once the parties have reached agreement.

    Kwedhi added that according to the terms of the agreement, no back-pay will be applicable next year, as the agreement stipulated the increases will only apply as from January 2017.

    He warned employers in the industry to adhere to the minimum wage increases, adding that the unions and SAN would not tolerate non-compliance.

    Although the process of gazetting the new minimum wages will be started next week, he said that there have been previous cases where employers argued they would only implement the new wages once they are gazetted.

    “It is a national minimum wage that is applicable to the entire sector. We will not hesitate to take any action if we find anyone not wanting to implement this agreement.”

    He also urged labour inspectors to be vigilant and to ensure that the conditions and terms of the agreement will be enforced.

    SAN president Dries Kannemyer, speaking on behalf of the sector''s employers, said the association was pleased an agreement could be reached and that industrial action over the festive season was stopped in its tracks.

    Nevertheless, he said the financial impact of the increases will be “quite harsh for us.” He said that the business owners have to take a lot of aspects into account, including their employees, the viability of operating a business, their clients as well as the current economic situation.

    He urged clients across the country to take note of the increases, as they will partly absorb the cost of pay rises.

    He asked that the unions should ensure that security guards must take note of the steep minimum wage increases and that they security guards in return are expected to perform better in their jobs.

    “So the knife cuts both ways, from our side and from their side, we have to work together to make sure the security industry becomes better than it is now.”

    An issue that both the unions and the employers feel strongly about is the lack of regulations in the security industry, which they say is marred by fly-by-night operators who do not comply with the minimum wages or standards the industry is trying to set.

    Both parties agreed during talks over the past few weeks to strengthen the security labour forum, through which they hope to improve oversight of the industry as a whole, to ensure that companies comply with the rules and regulations and to prevent scrupulous operators from gaining a foothold in the sector.

    The parties on Friday emphasised the need of finalising regulations for the existing Security Act, which would boost the sector''s ability to address issues that plague the industry as well as streamline the industry.

    SAN chairperson Levi Shigwedha added that customers are also responsible for enabling ruthless companies that operate outside of the scope of the industry.

    He cautioned that by accepting very low rates from security companies, which make it clear that a minimum wage cannot be paid, is irresponsible and is “killing the industry.” He said the customers carry a responsibility to ensure the industry, including the security guards, are not “sabotaged” by non-compliant operators.

    “The companies who do not comply, they compete with the compliant companies.”


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  • 12/04/16--14:00: PRIDE OF THE NATION

    WELL DONE: Namibia''s Julius Indongo reacts after winning his light welterweight title fight against Russia''s Eduard Troyanovsky in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday. Indongo won the IBF and IBO light welterweight titles by knocking out the reigning champion Troyanovsky with a left hook 40 seconds into the fight. Read full story on page 1 of Sport Wrap, inside.

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    Governor under fire as water arrears balloonGovernor under fire as water arrears balloon KENYA KAMBOWE

    Court action could be taken against the governor of the Ohangwena Region, Usko Nghaamwa, by the Helao Nafidi town council as part of the group of many defaulters who owe the council money.

    This is according to Helao Nafidi mayor Eliaser Nghipangelwa, who told Namibian Sun upon enquiry that all those who owe the town council would be taken to task, including the influential persons in the region.

    “Legal action can apply and we will take them all to court,” Nghipangelwa said.

    A document seen by this publication shows that the Gift Shopping Centre situated in Ohangwena and owned by Nghaamwa is one of the many businesses that owe the council money for services rendered.

    Gift Shopping Centre as by August was in arrears of N$167 752.75.

    Nghipangelwa confirmed the matter saying that numerous letters were sent to the governor reminding him of his debt and that attempts were previously made to take Nghaamwa to court, which never came to fruition.

    He said usually there has been no response from the governor to reminder letters that were sent but following the last communication that council sent to him and other defaulters this year that they will be taken to court for their debts , Nghaamwa indicated that he is in the process of preparing the payment.

    The document shows the bill increases by N$1 066.91 monthly which means that by end of November the bill is expected to be close to N$171 000.

    According to Nghaamwa who confirmed to Namibian Sun that the shopping centre belongs to him, he did not indicate that he is planning of paying off the debt saying that he will instead visit the council to discuss the matter of the debt.

    Nghaamwa said that water to the centre was cut off about 20 years ago.

    Nghaamwa further said he did not know whether his business had a water meter after he indicated that the Helao Nafidi Town Council has many faults when it comes to carrying out their operations.

    “I am not staying there but the property is still mine. I do not know if there was or is a water meter and that’s why I will go talk to them,” he said.

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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Home is where the heart is
  • Home is where the heart isHome is where the heart is The Namibian Basketball Federation (NBF) will host a German basketball commissioner who is visiting the country for three days to familiarise himself with how the game is run here.

    The president of the Basketball Association of Baden-Wuerttemberg (BBW), Joachim Spägele, has been assigned as a basketball commissioner to Namibia to engage NBF and other stakeholders in basketball development affairs.

    Spägele touched down in Namibia on July 25 and is expected to leave tomorrow. Among other things, he will discuss the way forward with the NBF.

    He will also be paying a courtesy visit to the Sports Commission and the Directorate of Sport to discuss cooperation to develop the game of basketball in Namibia.

    Speaking to Nampa last Thursday, NBF president Andrew Masongo said Spägele’s visit would mean a lot to Namibian basketball, as they expected to learn a lot from him during his three-day visit.

    “We had a memorandum of understanding with the German Basketball Federation (Deutscher Basketball Bund – DBB), which ended last year.

    “They have now assigned someone to come and observe on what never worked between the two organisations and how we can improve on their support in going forward,” he said.

    He added that the BBW would be engaging with the NBF from the grassroots level, which is the most important part of any sport development programme.


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    I didn't know that punch would destroy him – IndongoI didn't know that punch would destroy him – IndongoTobias says plan against Russian worked well for his camp The MTC/Nestor Sunshine Academy is celebrating their new world champion, as fight offers stream in from overseas. The man of the moment in the sporting fraternity, Julius ''Blue Machine'' Indongo, touched down at Hosea Kutako International Airport yesterday morning with the two world titles he had won in Russia.

    Indongo was welcomed at the airport by family members and boxing fans, and then had a media briefing at a restaurant to show his IBF, IBO junior welterweight world belts.

    Indongo thanked his family, fans, sparring partners and trainers for their support.

    Asked about the knockout punch that is now the topic of the moment in boxing circles, Indongo said: “When I prepared for this fight, I was very focused and the commitment was there and aware of the punches I will throw.

    “When I entered this fight and prepared for it I was very focused and the commitment has been there so all the punches that I have thrown I was aware and whatever punch I released I was already aware of it but I never knew that it is going to destroy him but when I threw it I knew it would catch him.”

    Further elaborating on the punch, he said: “I first threw him an uppercut that let him to come and when he came I wanted to give him a hook then I avoided because I saw him coming so that is when I released a stride.”

    His promoter, Nestor Tobias of the MTC/Nestor Sunshine Boxing and Fitness Academy, could not stop praising his new champion.

    Having produced two other world champions before, Tobias stated that Indongo is the only champion that the country now has.

    He said they had a clear plan for the fight but so was Indongo as for them as promoter and trainer was to assist the boxer.

    “He (Indongo) has a plan to remain focused and now he is the champion.

    “That knockout was one of the best knockouts in the world for this year and now he is even rated second in the world,” he said.

    Tobias said he saw some nervousness in the Russian corner, “and I told Blue Machine that we could get him.”

    He further praised his boxer by relating him to football, saying that he is now a “premier league champion”.

    Tobias also indicated that there has been huge interest from all over the world for boxers to fight Indongo.

    “I have already received about 10 offers this far so that just shows that this is a huge achievement and a big title,” he said.

    He mentioned that having entered the boxing arena 17 years ago, his aim has always been to groom boxers and get boxing in the country to a certain level.

    “I had a plan in 2000 that after 10 years I must have a world champion, and it came too early after eight years, and in 2003 we made another world champion and this year we have made another world champion again,” he said.

    He maintained that the achievement by Indongo is the “highest” in the sporting fraternity this year in the country.

    Tobias also pointed out that Namibian boxing is growing and urged boxers to work hard for them to qualify to fight outside the country.

    “This guy worked hard to qualify fighting outside the country, and that is what all the boxers should do,” he said.

    He also urged Indongo to continue working hard and defend his title 10 times before he can retire.

    He also indicated that as a promoter he has to educate people about boxing and not personalise the game, stating that, “let us fight for the right title.”

    Sponsor''s'' words

    The Sunshine Academy''s sponsor MTC also had words of praise for the champion.

    MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo said: “We are willing to invest, but fight for the right title.

    “Guys, do not take shortcuts, fight for the right titles, we are willing to invest and we are now looking forward to who is going to be next as this one is in the pocket.

    “When we studied the fight offer, the one thing that we said we do not want in that fight offer is a rematch.

    “We said we do not want a rematch, so there is no clause in the contract of rematch so he is free to fight anybody and not bound to any rematch,” explained Ekandjo.

    The academy will now discuss what is next for Indongo and also discuss the offers they have received since Saturday.


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    Jones comes with small price tagJones comes with small price tag The CEO of the Namibia Rugby Union, Elizma Theron, has revealed that newly appointed Currie Cup Welwitschias coach Lyn Jones did not demand a high salary when approached by the NRU.

    The rugby union announced last week that it had secured the services of a high-profile Welshman following the resignation of former coach John Williams.

    “We were surprised that he accepted such an inexpensive offer given that we could not pay even more than a N$50 000 a month for anyone who was to take the position.

    “It shows that he is just willing to help Namibian rugby and not in it for the money like many top coaches would have wanted.

    “It is important to bring in such a coach because many of the local guys will learn from him, given the amount of expertise and experience he has,” Theron said.

    The CEO added that no Namibian candidate applied for the job even though the position was advertised locally and internationally.

    She said among the candidates were South Africans, a Kenyan and the Welshman.

    “The other thing is that the offer was going to be the same for anyone who was willing to take the job.

    “I will not be able to tell you how much he will be getting because that is confidential, but he will be getting the same salary as the former coach.

    “Namibia Breweries Limited and FNB will be contributing some percentage of his salary while the NRU will pay the rest,” she said.

    The 52-year-old has previously coached the New Port Gwen Dragons and three other clubs since he started coaching in 1994.

    Jones will be the second Welshman to hold a position in the NRU, with the other being his former teammate Phil Davies. The coach is expected to be at the helm of the Currie Cup team for eight months.


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    Otjiwarongo's amateur boxing bonanza a successOtjiwarongo's amateur boxing bonanza a success NAMPA

    Twenty-four boxers exchanged blows at the first-ever Otjiwarongo amateur boxing bonanza on Saturday.

    Close to 300 people attended the event staged at the Namibian Development Corporation complex.

    The boxers were from the Otjiwarongo Amateur Boxing Academy, Outjo Amateur Boxing Club in the Kunene Region and Kilimanjaro Boxing Club from Oshakati in the Oshana Region.

    The 12 fights in different categories took place over three rounds each.

    Johannes Vilho, 14, and 16-year-old Absalom Vilho, both from Outjo, won the junior categories against Petrus Mandume and Simon Jacobus.

    In the 52kg to 54kg weight category, Paulus Ileka from Oshakati defeated Simson Frans from Otjiwarongo, while Paulus Hango beat Fillemon Nangolo, both from Otjiwarongo.

    Tilenge Shipuleni defeated Kubukeis Simon (both from Otjiwarongo) on points, while Abraham Shalukeni from Otjiwarongo beat Jason Immanuel from Oshakati on points.

    In the 64 to 69kg weight category, David Haufiku defeated Rasarus Kapunda (both from Otjiwarongo); Fellep Fellep from Oshakati beat Sofef Mutesia from Outjo; Ukalela Mureko defeated Wewill Fresianu (both from Otjiwarongo); and Likius Israel beat Eino Sem (both from Otjiwarongo).

    Tomas Mundumbo of Outjo beat Johannes Kafidi from Otjiwarongo in the 69kg to 75kg category.

    Pavo Braipack of Oshakati won his fight on a technical knockout in the second round against Frarruko Kakololo from Otjiwarongo in the 81kg weight category.

    Meanwhile, Otjozondjupa Boxing Chairperson, Onesmus Kalipi said the event was a success when looking at the number of people who attended.

    Kalipi said the purpose of the bonanza was to promote boxing and entice young boxers to take the sport seriously.

    He called on businesspeople in the region to support boxing and other sports codes.

    Local boxing supporter, Maria Gaweses said boxing referees and coaches need to improve on the next tournament, with a plan to attract sponsors.

    Boxing fan, Simson Shilongo, said there is need to promote boxing at each town and allow these boxers to compete against each other to improve on their fitness.

    “These young upcoming boxers have fighting skills but lack stamina to throw strong punches,” said Shilongo.

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    Doping increases Olympic threatDoping increases Olympic threatWeightlifting at high risk of doping – WADA Doping cases by weightlifters have been on the increase, with Russia''s test results described as "shocking". NAMPA/AFP

    Weightlifting is buckling under the burden of a drug-taking culture that has made it one of the most notorious Olympic events.

    The sport that first appeared at the Olympics in 1896 accounted for 48 of the 104 positive tests detected in new analyses on samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 in London.

    It could get worse as not all the results of the 1 243 samples have been revealed.

    Top of the sorry list was Kazakhstan''s Ilya Ilyin, a four-time weightlifter of the year who was stripped of his Beijing and London 94kg titles.

    The London 94kg podium has been devastated by doping. Russia''s Alexandr Ivanov has had to hand in his silver medal and Anatoly Ciricu of Moldova his bronze.

    The doping merry-go-round is now so farcical that Saeid Mohammadpour of Iran, who came fifth, is now in line for gold. The bronze medal could go to Tomasz Zielinksi of Poland who came ninth on the day.

    "Weightlifting is clearly a sport at high risk of doping," said Olivier Niggli, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

    "This was clearly proved by the number of cases detected by the International Weightlifting Federation with WADA at the 2015 world championships in Houston and by the retesting of analyses by the International Olympic Committee."

    The IWF barred serial performance-enhancing offenders Russia and Bulgaria from competing at the Rio Games. The IWF said that Russia''s test results were "shocking".

    It adopted a resolution in June that said any country which returns three or more positive drugs tests from the reanalysis of samples from the last two Olympics would be suspended for a year.

    But the IOC is keeping a close eye on the sport, according to experts close to the Olympic movement.

    "Weightlifting''s problems are nothing new," said Jean-Loup Chappelet, a professor at the IDHEAP Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration at the University of Lausanne.

    He said Richard Pound, first president of WADA, had spoken of excluding weightlifting from the Olympics before the agency was created in 1999.

    Chappelet, a specialist on the Olympic movement, said it would be possible if the IOC wanted to send a "strong signal" against doping. But it would be difficult as weightlifting is so popular in Eastern Europe.

    "There are always people who would like to see weightlifting and some other sports expelled," IWF director general Attila Adamfi told AFP.

    "Yes weightlifting is in danger but I believe that weightlifting is in danger just like every other sport."

    But Adamfi said every sport is in danger because the IOC''s Agenda 2020 recommends a bigger rotation of the sports, disciplines or events.

    "We know some sports where manipulation and corruption is an issue, so I think there are many issues in many sports federations."

    The IOC is to carry out a review from 2017 of sports that will be included in the 2024 Games. Events at the Rio Games this year, as well as previous Olympics, will be considered.

    The IWF anti-doping policies are bound to be studied.

    Marc Andrieux, head of the French weightlifting federation, said several national chiefs had been worried about the sport''s Olympic status four years ago when Tamas Ayan was elected IWF president.

    Andrieux says that the Hungarian Ayan took many of the criticisms on board. "A lot of work has been done over the past four years.

    "At every world or European championships, busloads of cheaters are kicked out."

    Niggli said that the IWF has a "solid" anti-doping programme. "But it still has lessons to learn from the many recent doping cases," he added.

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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Good governance in banking
  • Good governance in bankingGood governance in bankingThe governance and compliance environment of banks in Namibia Good corporate governance and compliance structures create value and provide accountability and control systems through which risks can be monitored and managed. Vistorina Ilonga (VI) is the Head: Governance and Compliance at Nedbank Namibia and says that banking is surrounded by more laws, regulations and outside supervision than any other... STAFF REPORTER

    Nedbank: As the Head: Governance and Compliance, what are you responsible for?

    VI: I am responsible for governance and compliance which is a function that is integral to the culture and sustainability of Nedbank. As the head, my duty is to ensure that key compliance functions such as compliance with relevant legislation; the creation of a formal and structured compliance system and the creation, establishment, implementation and continued development of a compliance culture, are in place. I am also tasked with the coordination of all compliance functions within the NedNamibia Holdings Group, to give specific focus to regulatory and reputational risk within a broader risk management framework and to align Nedbank Namibia with international benchmarks and trends. On the ethics side of my role, I provide guidance and clarity on the code of ethics and the organisational policies and procedures. I also provide advice and guiding resolution in the case of a potential ethical dilemma or breach by any employee.

    Nedbank: How is the governance and compliance landscape in Namibia as it relates to banking?

    VI: The fact that the funds used by banks belong to depositors makes the bank responsible to a wide array of stakeholders which includes clients, suppliers, regulators and the community. The banking industry sits at the heart of the economic system and it has a special duty to ensure that its own governance and compliance is unimpeachable. Banking is surrounded by more laws, regulations and outside supervision than any other corporate sector.

    Nedbank: What are some of the differences between our governance and compliance space here in Namibia, as compared to Africa and the rest of the world?

    VI: Governance and compliance in the banking industry is extremely demanding due to the myriad laws and regulations which constitute our regulatory environment. Staying on top of your game requires an element of creativity by seeking innovative ways of communicating and implementing new regulatory developments and a lot research and reading to keep abreast with new developments. Failure to be effective could result in regulatory fines and sanctions which have an adverse effect on the profits, reputation, share price and value of the bank.

    Nedbank: What do you think the face of governance and compliance within the banking industry will look like five to 10 years from now?

    VI: Banks play an important role in building stakeholder trust across society, and as a result regulators globally have increasingly identified poor compliance and governance standards as a significant factor in banking failures. Consequently, increased laws and regulations are surrounding banks. Such will require greater emphasis on compliance and thus I believe that the governance and compliance function will become even more significant in banking. The compliance teams will need to be even more versatile, courageous and tech-savvy together with a Nostradamus type ability to predict trends and regulatory tendency.

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    Turning invader bush into animal fodderTurning invader bush into animal fodder NAMPA

    The University of Namibia has received approximately N$1.5 million from the government of Finland for a project that aims to process encroaching bush into fodder for livestock.

    The project will develop cheaper fodder that is in high demand and generally imported at higher cost.

    Unam and the Finnish embassy in Namibia signed the funding agreement in Windhoek on 30 November.

    Signing of behalf of the university, vice-chancellor Lazarus Hangula said the project was geared towards ensuring food security, using encroacher bush that has over the years cost the economy in excess of N$1.3 billion per year.

    “The success of this project will mean success of the livestock sector which will improve the livelihood and the economy as new markets for our beef are being secured in countries such as China, Malaysia, USA and Russia,” said Hangula.

    The Finnish ambassador to Namibia, Anne Saloranta, said her government’s Fund for Local Cooperation (FLC) plays a central role in its development aid in Namibia.

    “FLC enables local non-governmental organisations, institutions and companies who might have a solid project plan but lack financial support to implement and take action in addressing barriers to development that are considered contextually relevant and timely,” Saloranta said.

    Supplementary feeds are usually imported into Namibia and are expensive, making them unaffordable for many rural settlements and emerging livestock farmers.

    This project is in line with Namibia’s development plan of developing a sustainable agricultural sector and creating local production.

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    Onyx develops 1st African AndroidOnyx develops 1st African AndroidRevving to go at N$600 Onyx is set to build the continent''s first smartphones in South Africa. The devices will run on Google''s Android platform. A Johannesburg start-up is set to become the first company ever to manufacture smartphones in Africa, taking advantage of low costs and growing local demand to build handsets, tablets and other devices based on Google Inc.''s Android system.

    Onyx Connect, a privately backed company that''s raised N$150 million from investors, will begin production in the first quarter, according to Andre van der Merwe, its sales director.

    The company is licensed to load Google software like Android and Chrome onto devices sold under its own brand or products it makes for others.

    “We are talking to companies to manufacture handsets, laptops and possibly Android TV boxes,” Van der Merwe said in an interview. Those talks include Google itself and Johannesburg-based Vodacom Group Ltd, the South African unit of Vodafone Group Plc, he said.

    Vodacom would “welcome the opportunity” to offer high-quality devices made in South Africa, Jorge Mendes, a Vodacom consumer sales and distribution executive, said in an e-mail, declining to comment on Onyx specifically.

    For Google, local production would stoke a sales push in Africa, one of the few regions where it isn''t the outright browser leader. The company is setting up a distribution centre in Ethiopia within the next 12 to 18 months, Van der Merwe said. He said the project will create 600 jobs.

    A drop of about 40 percent in the value of South Africa''s rand against the dollar in the past five years has helped open the door.

    It is made labour less expensive in Africa''s most industrialised economy, while making phones imported from China or elsewhere in Asia harder to afford. Manufacturer subsidies have largely fallen away, limiting the availability of devices in the more-accessible price range of N$600 and below, according to Arthur Goldstuck, director of researcher World Wide Worx in Johannesburg.

    “The risk with such investments is that the company is entering an industry where your marketing budget will have to be massive and you are competing with companies that have the biggest research and development spending in the world,” Goldstuck said.

    “It can also be difficult to compete with economies of scale made possible by vast volumes of devices assembled in massive factories in China.”


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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Agri census nears completion
  • Agri census nears completionAgri census nears completionFirst commercial farm census in over 20 years The Namibia Statistics Agency will soon release the results of the first agricultural census since 1993. The Namibia Statistics Agency will release a completed agricultural census in March 2017, according to communication official Esther Simasiku. The agency has completed the communal census in the meantime.

    Simasiku said: “After consultation, the report is expected to be released by end of March 2017.”

    Namibia Statistics Agency director of communication Ndamona Kali was previously quoted as saying: “The communal agriculture census report is under preparation and will be released in due course. The data collection for the resettled and emerging farmers is in progress, the data will form part of the commercial sector analysis.”

    The communal census, which was released in November 2015, had established that an estimated agricultural household population of 907 715 was made up of 490 149 female- and 417 566 male-headed households. The results further revealed that about 8 040 agricultural households received extension services in the selection of crops, followed by 7 899 that received services in farm management and 7 621 that received extension services in livestock husbandry.

    Minister of agriculture, water and forestry John Mutorwa said of the agricultural census: “The importance of a census of agriculture cannot be over-emphasised, especially in the context of the contribution of the agricultural sector to the national economy in terms of gross domestic product.”

    Praising the agency for the work it had carried out, Food and Agricultural Organisation country head Babagana Ahmadu said of the agency''s work at the time: “The results mark an important milestone in the Food and Agricultural Association mandate, but more important for Namibia in successfully establishing a long-term agriculture household framework as a basis for planning, monitoring and measuring livelihoods of farming communities in Namibia.”


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    Devils's claw harvesting bears fruitDevils's claw harvesting bears fruit Devil''s claw harvesters in the Zambezi Region this year managed to harvest approximately 34 tons of the plant, or just over N$1 million in revenue terms.

    This is according to IRDNC Namibia field officer Eben Ueepu who spoke to Namibian Sun recently.

    The figure could however rise significantly because data collection is still ongoing, he explained. “We are still battling to get all the figures,” said Ueepu who briefly responded to a query telephonically.

    Conservancies in the Zambezi Region harvest devil''s claw to sell to suppliers who either make medicinal products or sell them on internationally.

    In 2015, it was reported that the Sachona conservancy in the Zambezi Region alone had managed to harvest about 55 tons of devil''s claw, showing the plant''s income-generating potential for rural communities. In the same year, the Sachona conservancy collected N$700 000 in revenue solely from devil''s claw harvesting.

    Explaining how the revenue was divided, Ueepu said: “The money goes to the people who did the harvesting under their conservancies. At the beginning of the year, two prices are set. One goes straight to the harvester, the other goes towards the conservancy''s management.”

    According to him, harvesters may earn anything between N$29 and N$35 per kilogram.

    The other portion, which amounts to between N$3 and N$4 per kilogram, goes to the participating conservancies.

    “We had 1 387 harvesters for this year. Well, by September there were 373 actual harvesters.”

    With regard to whether attempts were being made for local value addition, Ueepu explained that because devil''s claw was a medicinal product, efforts to add value locally would prove difficult. He did however say that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry was still reviewing value addition as a possibility. “That has been a discussion for many years. Nothing really has been done.”

    According to Ueepu, a final report will be ready by the end of the week. The report would give an indication of how much was collected in revenue terms and how much was harvested by each conservancy.

    Following the close of the harvesting period between 1 November 2016 and February 2017, Ueepu said that resource monitors would use the period to assess the state of the plants to assess whether the resource was not being put under strain as a result of the harvesting.

    According to the IRDNC, devil''s claw harvesters earned about N$2 600 in 2014 while the Zambezi Region alone accounted for 17% of the total supply of devil''s claw of about 600 tons.


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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Disabled, but not different
  • Disabled, but not   differentDisabled, but not different Refuses to be held back by anything Even though she is disabled Asteria Frans still remains confident in her abilities. She was born with kyphosis scoliosis but she does not feel pity or sorry for herself. Asteria Frans has plans of becoming an event hostess and also of shooting her own movie in the future.

    Asteria Frans is 19 and was born and raised in Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region. She is a student at the University of Science and Technology (Nust) and is studying towards a degree in English. She credits fear and prosperity as some of the sources of motivation in life. On fear she says: “This may sound ominous and black but right now fear is the only thing that drives me. The idea that where I am currently might be where I''ll see myself in another year scares me so much. The fear of failing myself after having worked so many sleepless countless nights… this is a motivation worth my all.” On prosperity Frans shares: “I am quietly motivated by just prosperity, when I see someone prosper in their life, I am motivated to move the ladder up one more time.” She further says her biggest motivation in life is her mom because she urges her to “push harder” in life.

    Kyphosis scoliosis is a spinal deformity that occurs in a single plane and is usually in three dimensions. It is often described as a three-dimensional torsional deformity of the spine and trunk. It is a condition and disability Frans says does not define who she is. “I could complain about it or blame things that happen to me because of it, but I don''t. I don''t let people get to me because I know I am a child of God and that He loves me,” said Frans.

    She says growing up with her disability, she never felt any different from everyone else and she was treated equally. “To be honest, I enjoyed growing up with this because it got me so much attention and yes, you guessed right, I love attention,” said Frans. She says her hunchback is not an embarrassment but a badge of honour. “I enjoyed always having gotten special attention all the time, I remember once; I got to sit on a couch at a career fair while the rest of the people were standing. It is people that treat us special, like the way we are, that make the world a better place,” said Frans. She said she never worried about the attention that her disability brought but rather enjoyed getting noticed by people.

    Frans revealed she has never felt sorry or guilty for herself because of her disability. “I never allow myself to pity how I am because I feel special that God chose me out of all the others to give me this disability. God knew I could handle it better than you, so why should I pity myself over a gift greater than diamonds?” shared Frans. She says it is wrong for people like her and those with disabilities to be labelled as “disabled” because it is incorrect. “I don''t even feel ''disabled'' is the right word to describe special people like me. I feel when we are called disabled, we are being limited. It''s all in the mind, I choose to call myself special because my mindset says I am able,” said Frans

    Asteria says because she is “outspoken” she would never allow anyone to discriminate againist her because of her disability. “Being the outspoken person I am, I can never allow myself to be discriminated against, at least not just by anybody. But I must say I feel discriminated rather against the benefits of the disabled people in Namibia because countless times they have denied me the disability pension,” said Asteria. She believes her confidence and the fact that she has a positive outlook on life is the reason why she has not been able to get a disability fund. “I feel when I go apply for it, my confidence intimidates them that they always send me back with excuses not worth mentioning. I feel like our nation thinks just because one is disabled, they must be miserable and suffering in order to get this pension, and from my point of view, I think it shouldn''t be like that,” says Frans.

    Frans has many hobbies. She enjoys going out and making new friends, and says she enjoys eating a lot. Amongst her list of hobbies her favourite one is reading novels. “I enjoy doing many things, but to name a few, I enjoy reading novels very much because I like how novels take me to places I''ve never been to,” said Frans.

    Frans says the only challenge for her thus far as a disabled person is the fact that able-bodied people treat her with pity something she does not approve of. “So far, the only problem I have encountered is the way the ''abled bodies'' treat us as if we are useless. If there''s anything everyone must know about us, the disabled, we don''t like pity, and pity shrinks us and is very bad for our self-esteem,” shared Frans. She says the one thing that lets her overcome her challenges as a disabled person is her confidence. “My confidence helps overcome all that is thrown at me. My confidence is my biggest weapon. One should be able to stand up for who they are, what they like and so forth,” said Frans.

    She advises able-bodied people to get to know disabled people and to never make fun of them. “Get to know the person first before you joke around with them, because your kind of fun might be what I consider an insult,” said Frans. She continued with her advice: “I advise you, first ask if the person is okay to talk about his/her disability and then discuss it with him/her and throughout make mental notes on their weakest points and make sure to never press those buttons,” said Frans.

    Frans says the disabled should not feel limited or belittled based on what people say about them. “Don''t limit yourself from whatever you like, if it is music, go make music, if it''s dancing, please dance. It''s your choice to live a happy life or to let life live you. And keep in mind that where there is life, there is ability, so you are able,” said Frans.

    Shona Ngava

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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Telling her own story
  • Telling her own storyTelling her own story Through helping others, she fills up When she lost her mother at a young age Ndapandula learned a lot about life and how she treats others. She is a law graduate and youth activist who believes in fighting for the youth. She also has a women''s empowerment project she is working on currently. Natalia Ndapandula Isak is a law graduate, a nail technician and a youth activist.

    She lives by three principles - humility, compassion and understanding.

    Isak takes pride in assisting others and says it''s something that is fulfilling for her.

    “For me, helping people is something I want to grow old doing, it''s a great part of who I am and the type of story I''d like to leave behind someday when I''m gone.

    “I''m also very much of an unapologetic feminist,” said Isak.

    The law graduate says she puts her career and personal growth above any other worldly thing because that is how she has managed to “empower, inspire and motivate youth”.

    Isak grew up in Walvis Bay and Windhoek and credits the places she was raised at as moulding her strong character.

    “It''s not about the place, it''s more about the challenges I faced and circumstances around which I grew up.

    “My experience growing up will always carry the same, single message: Irrespective of what you have or don''t have, the norms around you or the hardships you go through, you are not in any way disadvantaged when it comes to deciding how your story develops and how it ends,” said Isak.

    Isak decided to study law in 2012 after failing to meet a few requirements needed for her to study accounting on a scholarship she got to study in Scotland.

    She tried to apply for late registration for accounting at the University of Namibia (Unam) but there was no place for her.

    “Unfortunately or fortunately, the accounting field at Unam was full by then so I decided to try this law thing because it was my second choice anyways.

    “The plan was to just keep busy for 2012 and then move to accounting in 2013 but I fell in love with law. So for me law wasn''t a choice, it was a blessing in disguise and God''s plan for me,” shared Isak.

    She owes most of the confidence she has to her career choice.

    “When you pursue law studies, the one thing that will keep you going is your own ambition and determination.

    “You won''t make it if you doubt yourself, because this is a field that requires much confidence,” said Isak.

    She advises graduates to firstly aim to grow and enhance their experience at work and not let money cloud their goals in life.

    “When you finally get the degree, don''t make it about the money just yet.

    “First establish a credible profile and allow yourself time to practically learn in a highly professional environment,” shares Isak.

    The law graduate says although the legal practice is mainly male dominated in Namibia she believes that female lawyers can thrive and be successful as legal practitioners if they put their minds to it.

    “Female-owned law firms in Namibia are very rare so there is an opportunity for young female lawyers in Namibia to team up and change the game or bring to the market whatever it is that they feel is still lacking,” said Isak.

    Isak shares that she is inspired by people who are caught up in difficult situations in life but still manage to overcome their challenges.

    “I''m inspired by people that do their best under their specific circumstances.

    “There is nothing like overall best for me, I would want to know how a student residing in Havana with no electricity, food or cab money to attend classes everyday managed to get that D symbol,” said Isak.

    Isak says she is very conventional and is delighted by her cultural heritage.

    “I love traditional food, traditional attire and prefer to live by some traditional principles,” said Isak.

    After she lost her mother in 2001 a lot fell into place for her and that is when she realised that life would be altered for her.

    “I just began to eventually understand that my life would be a little different, family life will be a little different and I would have to work a little differently compared to others. So with that understanding, I told myself that my story is going to end a little differently from what people thought back then and that''s how I ended up taking the direction I did,” said Isak.

    The youth activist feels strongly about the lack of employment amongst graduates in Namibia and feels something needs to done about it.

    “This worries me a lot because I feel like we are going back to square one, all the problems that we once resolved we might have to face again,” said Isak.

    Isak believes that in order for unemployment and other issues that the youth face to be eliminated the mechanisms should be put in place to solve youth related issues.

    Isak revealed that she is currently working on a women empowerment project that she wishes to launch early next year.

    The project aims to address the economic challenges that women are facing by encouraging them to live physically and spiritually healthy lifestyles, strengthening their confidence and equipping them with various skills as may be relevant to the current economy.

    Isak says she is nail technician and she loves her job and is thinking of venturing into events management to broaden her horizon.

    Isak has hopes in the near future to work on more youth empowerment projects and to take her bar exams for admission as a legal practitioner, to pursue more business opportunities and continue her postgraduate studies.

    Shona Ngava

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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Home is where the heart is
  • Home is where the heart isHome is where the heart is Mbwiti is a term used to refer to people who leave their places of origin in search of greener pastures in the city or urban areas. They then get too comfortable and do not go back home. This has become a common phenomenon in Namibia where the youth especially, are reluctant to go back home for holidays. There are various reasons as to why people choose to not go home. Some reasons are justifiable whilst some are really just not defensible. There are those who have to work during the holidays because the nature of their job requires them to, but there are others who do not go home because they have now become accustomed with the lifestyle in the city and no longer feel like they can cope with the village life.

    People have learned to be on their own and are okay with it. The reality is we need company more often. Our spirits have been on a low and we are flirting with darkness and its ambiences. We must seek light and not be caught up in being comforted by the family we have created on social media. We must make time and spend quality time with our families this festive season. We spend the whole year working hard it is only right that we take some time off and spend this with our loved ones. Our society is going through moral decay because people no longer go home to strengthen their relationships with their folks. It is believed that families who spend quality time together are strong families. They communicate better and share a sense of belonging.

    One of the strongest aspects of Namibians, or just Africans in general, is the concept that everyone has a village. Despite the fact that many people do not live in their village, and maybe have never lived there, almost every one of us has one. Our relatives live there. We speak the same mother tongue as our fellow village people. No matter what happens to you in the city you can always return to the village empty-handed and start from scratch.

    We have become so comfortable with how things are done in the city - which is not wrong at all - but we should not lose our roots, and we can help preserve our cultures and traditions by going home from time to time, especially during the December holidays. It just dawned on me the other day that we never really run from anything but ourselves. Little do we know wherever we go we take ourselves with. Because we do not go back home to remind ourselves who we are we make it easy to be put under the illusion that even the music that the mainstream media feeds us with defines who we are. We rarely listen to music that narrates stories about who we are. I am guilty of this too. We need to spend time home and learn about our different histories and preserve that culture, from the food, music, language and even dress code. We should embrace who we are and take pride in that.

    We cannot know all the above-mentioned elements about ourselves if we are not reminded. Not a lot is documented about the Namibian culture. Thus it leaves us with oral history as one of the most effective ways we can get to know our backgrounds. So let us go home this festive season and have those lengthy dialogues with our elders and learn as much as we can. Let us go and help out our parents. Namibia is growing but the villages are being left behind because we are not going back to the rural areas to cultivate the same growth that the urban masses are experiencing.

    Awkwardly, urbanisation has started to create a stigma around the Namibian villages as being backward or not advanced. The term village is even starting to be regarded as derogatory to the people who consider themselves “cool” and are huge consumers of the western cultures. It is difficult in the villages because not a lot of homesteads have running water and electricity. This might be the reason why people are reluctant to go back home because they do not want to go through these hardships. We should develop the routine of going back home not to show off but to rather inspire the ones we have left behind. The future of culture, language and Namibian villages is bleak. Let us acknowledge that tradition carries an important cultural identification and can be used to unite us as Namibians. So let us go back to our roots and preserve our culture.


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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Be the change
  • Be the changeBe the change Ruan De Waldt is a 24-year-old dancer who is popular online withr his dance videos. Find out inside what inspires him to dance and what it took for him to be where he is today.

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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Hungry Zim
  • Hungry ZimHungry Zim Emergency imports secured Eleventh hour maize imports will stave off starvation in Zimbabwe, for now. Zimbabwe has reportedly secured at least 100 000 tons of maize grain from Mexico to help avert the hunger crisis that has affected more than four million people in the southern African country.

    Zimbabwe and a number of other sub-Saharan countries have been hit hard by El-Nino induced drought, forcing the country to import maize from other countries.

    Early this year Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted as saying that the government was busy sourcing maize.

    Mnangagwa said at the time that Zimbabwe was ready to accept international help to curb food shortages.

    A report by New Zimbabwe said that the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) recently managed to negotiate with Mexico on behalf of government in South Africa.

    "At the high-level meeting we progressively held with Mexico, we agreed that GMAZ will sign up to 100 000 tonnes of white maize to be supplied by Terra Wealth (Mexican milling company) to supplement our local grain reserves," GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara was quoted as saying.

    Last month the country sourced the same amount of maize from Tanzania, the report said.

    Musarara also said that Mexico would be granted some contract farming deals in Zimbabwe.

    Zimbabwe is a food-deficit country, ranked at 156 out of 187 on the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index. Currently, 72% of the population live below the national poverty line (living on less than US$1.25 per day). Thirty percent of the rural poor are considered to be ‘food poor’, or ‘extremely poor’. Food and nutrition security remain fragile and subject to natural and economic shocks in Zimbabwe, chronic undernutrition remains relatively high, despite some improvements. Dietary diversity is generally poor and consumption of protein is insufficient. Only 11% of Zimbabwean children aged six to 23 months receive a minimum acceptable diet. One-third of Zimbabwe’s children are stunted, or short for their age.

    In recent years, food production in Zimbabwe has been devastated by a number of factors including natural disasters and economic and political instability. Recurrent drought ( due to increasingly erratic rainfall patterns), a series of poor harvests, high unemployment, restructuring of the agriculture sector and a high HIV/Aids prevalence rate – at 14.7%, the fifth highest in the world - have all contributed to increasing levels of vulnerability and acute food insecurity since 2001. This situation has necessitated large-scale humanitarian food relief operations in the country.

    Rural poverty has increased from 63% in 2003 to 76% in 2014. Most households in the rural areas are net food buyers: They do not produce enough food to meet their needs through to the next harvest season and as a consequence, have to rely on markets and other non-farm sources such as casual labour to bridge the food gap to the next season. As such, a number of people in rural areas will struggle to meet their daily food needs.

    Zimbabwe’s 2014/15 agricultural season registered a 51% decline in maize production compared to the 2013/14 season due to drought which was particularly severe in the south of the country. According to a report published in July 2015 by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), some 1.5 million people – 16% of the rural population - will have insufficient means to meet their minimum food needs during the 2015-16 lean season, that period prior to the next harvest when domestic food stocks tend to become depleted. This represents a 164% increase on the numbers of food insecure people during 2013-14 though it is only a little above the five-year average for Zimbabwe. In response to this, WFP is due to launch its relief operation end of September 2015 that will be based on a combination of food distributions and cash-based transfers where possible.

    The country continues to face economic stress which has implications on food security, especially for vulnerable groups in rural areas. Due to deflation/ disinflation, household incomes remain low and liquidity challenges affect the demand for goods and services, especially for poor households. Barter is a common form of exchange during lean periods. Where grain is used for such transactions, household food stocks tend to get exhausted at a faster rate.


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  • 12/05/16--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day NOTHING LEFT: Amina Hamawy cries after returning to her looted home in the Hanano district of eastern Aleppo, Syria on Sunday. It''s a painful homecoming shared by hundreds of Syrians who are returning to areas devastated by years of war and retaken from the city''s embattled rebels in a recent government offensive. Photo: NAMPA/AP

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    Road safety is our responsibilityRoad safety is our responsibility It is that time of the year again when many travel long distances to enjoy the holiday festivities with their loved ones.

    The festive season has seemingly already started for some, while many other holidaymakers are still packing in anticipation of taking a well-deserved rest and time off from work.

    Unfortunately this is also the time when our roads are congested with traffic.

    Typically during the festive season, lots of accidents are reported by the authorities, despite new and existing road safety campaigns.

    Obviously, the importance of road safety cannot be overemphasised and it is the responsibility of every road user to ensure that they are conforming to the traffic laws.

    The law enforcement agencies as well as other role-players like the National Road Safety Council of Namibia, the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, among others, have rightly so, placed road safety at the forefront of the transport agenda.

    The police have specifically cautioned road users to be extra vigilant at blind spots and be on the lookout for animals, especially when travelling at night. According to the Namibian Police traffic boss Deputy Commissioner Ralph Ludwig, there are about 33 units consisting of a total of 300 traffic officers that will be patrolling the national roads this festive season.

    The B1 and B2 roads are considered to be the most dangerous, owing to the high volume of accidents on these roads.

    However, enough is enough now and every Namibian, especially motorists, must help end this highly disturbing trend and appalling road accident toll.

    A significant change of mindset will certainly go a long way in making our roads safer.

    We may have hundreds of police officers manning roadblocks, but if motorists don''t take the responsibility of driving more cautiously and adhering to the law, we are in no way going to succeed in our efforts to ensure road safety.

    This issue calls for a multi-sectoral approach, which should be everyone''s responsibility.

    At the end of the day, drivers must take responsibility for their actions.

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