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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    3 African states hold firm against Opec3 African states hold firm against OpecAngola, Libya and Nigeria refuse to cut supply Opec has not been able to successfully restrict fuel supplies, as members and non-members remain indecisive. Opec''s mission to implement last week''s historic deal to curb production for the first time in eight years just got a little bit harder after three of its African members increased output in November.

    Crude production from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) rose to a record 34 million barrels a day in November with gains led by Angola, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data. That''s up from a revised 33 million barrels a day in October.

    Nigeria and Libya, which are not bound by the Opec cuts because their output has suffered from sanctions and oil infrastructure sabotage, also boosted production by a combined 140 000 barrels a day last month.

    Although Opec uses independent estimates known as secondary sources that differ from the estimates of the Bloomberg survey, the resurgence in production from these two exempt African countries shows the other members will have to make deeper cuts to reach the group''s goal of 32.5 million barrels a day.

    Opec will implement those cuts from 1 January 2017 with the help of Russia, which has vowed to slash its own output by 300 000 barrels a day, the same as the combined reduction proposed for other non-Opec nations. Opec is holding talks with non-Opec nations in Vienna on 10 December to ink a deal.

    Angola''s output increased by 170 000 barrels a day, with volumes rebounding following field maintenance in October. Iran''s output stayed relatively steady at 3.67 million barrels a day while Saudi Arabia, Opec''s de-facto leader, lowered its daily production by 50 000 barrels to 10.53 million.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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    Exports necessary to drive economyExports necessary to drive economyCall for broader inclusion of role players Planning minister Tom Alweendo this week called on the government to continue investing in the necessary economic infrastructure to help propel the economy towards industrialisation. NAMPA



    Namibia’s economic sustainability can only be guaranteed through the promotion of an export-led economic development strategy, economic planning minister Tom Alweendo has said.

    Opening a one-day government forum with development partners in the capital on Monday, Alweendo said the economic development strategy is to transform the country’s economy through industrialisation.

    “This strategy requires us to continue investing in the necessary economic infrastructure, both hard and soft,” he said.

    This would also require continued investment in high-level and relevant skills that can enhance competitiveness, said the minister.

    He asked the development partners to join hands with the government in the transformation process, adding that more needed to be done in a number of areas of development.

    Alweendo said Namibia’s economic growth needed to be more inclusive and create more employment opportunities, especially for young people.

    He said the income generated from the economy should be shared on a more equitable basis among members of the society and to have them develop skills relevant to the envisioned growth.

    “We need to pay particular attention to the quality of our human capital development.”

    The forum, he said, aimed to ensure effectiveness of development assistance in support of national development plans, like the Harambee Prosperity Plan, and international goals such as Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

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    Moody’s affirms credit ratingMoody’s affirms credit rating STAFF REPORTER

    Ratings agency Moody’s this week affirmed Namibia’s credit rating to Baa3 while changing its outlook from stable to negative. The agency warned that it would likely downgrade Namibia if its fiscal consolidation plan were to prove ineffective.

    Said Moody’s in a statement: “The decision to affirm the Baa3 rating is informed by Namibia''s robust growth outlook, debt metrics still comparable to those of Baa3 peers, and political stability and an institutional framework that have proven conducive for reaching consensus on key macroeconomic policies and structural reforms.”

    Moody''s also projected that the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product would approach 45% at the end of this fiscal year, an increase of 20 percentage points from financial year 2013/14, with foreign currency debt now accounting for about half of the total public debt.

    “The speed of debt accumulation and the size of the budget deficit point to increased uncertainties with regard to progress on future fiscal consolidation. While government is committed to ambitious fiscal consolidation and has a demonstrated track record of sound fiscal policies in the past, its plans will face challenges from continued upward pressures on public wage bill, uncertainty surrounding future Southern African Customs Union revenues and an external environment characterised by low growth, investment and trade,” it said.

    “An additional driver of the negative outlook is Namibia''s ongoing weak external position, evidenced by the country''s persistent large current account deficits, declining share of foreign direct investment as a source of financing and historically relatively low external reserves.

    “Recognising the pressures on the trade balance from lower for longer commodity prices together with risk of some future fiscal slippages, Moody''s highlights the risks of additional pressure on reserves, which could translate into downward pressure on the rating.

    “Should the trends motivating the negative outlook on Namibia''s Baa3 rating dissipate or reverse over 12-18 months, we would stabilise the outlook. A return to a stable outlook could result from the government''s commitment to fiscal consolidation that would result in a marked slowing and eventual reversal of debt accumulation.

    “A sustainable improvement in the country''s twin balances, a sustained easing of funding conditions on the domestic market and a material increase in forex reserves comfortably above three months of imports would be also positive and lead to upward rating pressure.”

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    GCR affirms Capricorn’s AA ratingGCR affirms Capricorn’s AA ratingLong-term outlook stable Capricorn Investment Holdings is held in high regard by London-based Global Credit Ratings, which has affirmed its AA credit rating. STAFF REPORTER



    Global Credit Ratings (GCR) this week affirmed Capricorn Investment Holdings an AA and A1 in the long run and short run respectively, while Capricorn’s outlook was accorded as stable.

    The ratings agency also affirmed Bank Windhoek Limited similar ratings to that of its parent, Capricorn, while according it a stable outlook.

    Said GCR: “The ratings of Capricorn Group reflect its strong market position in the Namibian banking industry and significant presence in the insurance and asset management markets, as well as its stable capitalisation and earnings generation, adequate risk management framework and conservative risk appetite.

    “Capricorn’s leading operating subsidiary, Bank Windhoek, is the largest locally owned bank and second largest commercial bank in Namibia. Bank Windhoek contributed 98.2% (Financial Year End 2015: 98.1%) of the Capricorn’s consolidated assets at Financial Year End 2016 and 86.6% (Financial Year End 2015: 88.9%) of pre-tax profits. Other non-banking subsidiaries contributed the balance. As such, the Group’s ratings largely replicate the banking subsidiary’s ratings.

    “The ratings also reflect the high probability of support from the Namibian authorities, if required, based on Bank Windhoek’s high systemic importance, stemming from its substantial market shares,” GCR said.

    “Structural funding concentration and liquidity mismatches reflect the concentration risk in Namibia’s economy. Funding concentration raises liquidity risk, but strong mitigants, including monitoring and strategies to identify [and or] manage liquidity risk are in place. Additional franchise entrenchment, strong liquidity and loss-absorption buffers and steady operating metrics throughout the economic cycle will further strengthen the Group’s financial profile. However, the Group’s significant market position, strong credit profile and high probability of state support limit the likelihood of rating changes over the medium term,” GCR said.

    “While GCR expects Capricorn to remain resilient, the prevailing domestic macroeconomic challenges and an uncertain global economic outlook increase downside risk for Capricorn Group’s asset quality metrics and earnings generation. The South African national scale rating may also be influenced by the relative sovereign ratings of South Africa and Namibia and the Group’s credit quality relative to the South African peer universe,” the ratings agency said.

    However, GCR warned: “A sharp deterioration in the capital position, liquidity, earnings and asset quality, could see the ratings come under pressure.”

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: Agri ministry appoints PS
  • Agri ministry appoints PS Agri ministry appoints PS The newly appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Percy Msika, outlined the challenges that the country is currently faced with in the sector saying that he is ready to assist.

    Although he still had more than a four-year term left to serve at the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) where he was employed, he said he regards it as an honour to serve his country.

    Msika was appointed as the agricultural permanent secretary on 1 December after the position had been vacant for 18 months.

    He was previously employed at the ministry and even served as the undersecretary of the department of agriculture by the time he left the public sector about 13 years ago. He worked at the FAO for more than 11 years serving in countries such as Ghana and China.

    “I decided that charity starts at home and if my country needs me I should regard it as an honour to serve,” he said.

    Msika said that he is taking over at the ministry at a time when at international level Agenda 2030 has been adopted which focuses on eradicating poverty by that year and globally leaders have signed the Paris Climate Change agreement.

    “These protocols focus on inclusive development for all.”

    He said on continental levels the declaration to end hunger by 2025 have also been adopted while on a national level there are only 14 years left to achieve those goals. He also made reference to the Harambee Prosperity Plan and the Fourth National Development Plan.

    “These are noble frameworks the ministry must contribute to,” said Msika.

    He also touched on climate change.

    “We have a problem with drought and almost 700 000 people need drought relief. There is also a water scarcity issue which has been the focus for the past six to seven months. I have been away in Ghana and China but I have followed what is happening in Namibia.”

    He said to achieve the objectives of these protocols, agriculture, water and forestry have a fundamental role to play and this is critical for the sustainability of Namibia.

    “It can be resources of input supplies, employment and income generation.”

    The agricultural minister, John Mutorwa, who welcomed Msika to the ministry also said that permanent secretaries are responsible for providing organisation and leadership, maintaining full control of the day-to-day activities of their ministries, outlining clearly the authority and responsibilities of their subordinates and maintaining regular contact with the various heads of departments.

    “Permanent secretaries are personally answerable to the public accounts committee of the National Assembly. As accounting officers, they are themselves liable to be surcharged for any unauthorised, irregular or wasteful expenditure by their ministries or for loss of revenue resulting from financial irregularity or serious inefficiency,” he said.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Anti-hunting lobby raises concernAnti-hunting lobby raises concern Forms a critical part of wildlife utilisation There is growing local concern over the increased pressure from the anti-hunting lobby, in particular for the well-being of rural communities. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta expressed concern over the increasing anti-trophy hunting pressure and the general international trend that is developing away from trophy hunting.

    Shifeta made these remarks at the 13th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity held in Cancun, Mexico.

    He said that trophy hunting is an integral part of Namibia’s conservation strategy and the broader income of the country.

    “It is also a lifeline for our communities as well as being a sector with huge potential for future expansion.”

    According to him without hunting, wildlife will not remain a viable form of land use in rural Namibia, and may be replaced by other forms of land uses that are more damaging to ecosystems.

    He said a recent study estimated that the number of financially profitable conservancies would be drastically reduced if conservancy income from hunting is eliminated.

    This could trigger the decline of Namibia’s community-based approach to conservation and lead to increased levels of poverty and an increase in illegal wildlife trade and cases of poaching, said Shifeta.

    He said Namibia’s utilization of wildlife is tightly regulated and controlled.

    “Annual game counts and surveys are carried out to inform a strict system of quotas and permits to ensure that all harvesting and use of wildlife is done on a sustainable basis.”

    According to him it is Namibia’s view that it is not enough just to conserve wildlife in isolation in protected areas but that it must be managed and utilized with the full involvement of communities and for the benefit of the people, the economy and the environment.

    “This has given rise to a community-based natural resource management network of communal conservancies and community forests, now covering almost 20% of the country.”

    According to Shifeta within this system of community conservation, particularly trophy hunting is the leading income source for communal conservancies.

    Namibia’s most recent natural wildlife capital accounts indicated that wildlife contributed to almost 4% of the gross domestic product and that there is huge scope for this contribution to be expanded and to contribute to the achievement of a number of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: Wits ups fees by 8%
  • Wits ups fees by 8%Wits ups fees by 8% The University of the Witwatersrand has confirmed its fee increase will be limited to an average of 8% for the 2017 academic year.

    Tuition and residence fees will increase by 8% which also applies to international students, the institution said in a statement.

    “The only exception is for postgraduate programmes run in the Wits School of Governance, where tuition fees will increase by 9.5%. These increases are in line with the recommendations made by the state in September this year,” the statement reads.

    In September, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande announced that university fees may not exceed an 8% increase in response to mass student protests against fees. Nzimande also promised that households earning less than R600 000 per annum would not be exposed to university fee increases. Wits said that it was in a financially constrained position that forced the institution to increase its fees. “The University has no choice but to increase fees if it is to remain financially sustainable as academics and professional and administrative staff need to be remunerated, books and journals need to be purchased (many in foreign currency), utilities need to be paid and infrastructure needs to be maintained. “In addition, the University will accommodate the costs of insourcing and the new ICT renewal project from 2017,” the Wits statement said. Wits said that state support amounted to N$146 million in terms of supporting a 0% increase. “However, we have been recently informed that the 2016 fee increase will now be rolled into the subsidy, the net effect of which is that our subsidy increase for 2017 will be only 2.5%. This equates to a net decline in income of approximately R54m for 2017 from the state.” The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) recently announced that students it supported will no longer have to pay registration fees at universities and colleges at the beginning of 2017. However, Higher Education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana warned that NSFAS not enough students were applying for funding from the institution. “It''s quite discouraging. Why would students not apply when the window is open for them?” he told Parliament''s higher education committee. Wits said that it currently assists 22 000 out of 37 000 students with financial aid, but it faced a deficit of N$56.5 million despite the 8% fee increase.

    NEWS24

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    Father gets life for toddler murderFather gets life for toddler murder Left son in car while sending sex messages in office An American father has been sentenced to life for ''forgetting'' his 22-month son in the car and letting the child ''bake to death'' in the heat. A man from the southern US state of Georgia got life in prison without possibility of parole on Monday for leaving his toddler son to die in a hot car while he sent sexually explicit messages from his office.

    Justin Ross Harris, 36, was given the maximum sentence after lead prosecutor Chuck Boring said 22-month-old Cooper Harris perished in “the most torturous, horrific, unimaginable way possible”.

    Harris has said that he forgot to drop his son off at daycare on 18 June 2014 and didn''t realise he had left the boy strapped into his car seat until after he had driven for a few minutes after leaving work.

    Prosecutors had argued that Harris wanted to be free of family responsibilities.

    An investigation revealed that Harris had made internet searches about life without children and how to survive prison, and watched videos of animals dying in cars in the sun.

    In an unexpected twist to the case, a police detective said Harris had texted sexually explicit messages to six women, one of them as young as 17, while his son was baking to his death.

    A jury three weeks ago found him guilty of charges including malice murder, cruelty to children and sexual exploitation of children - in reference to the teenage woman he texted.

    In addition to the life term for the murder charge, Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark tacked on 32 years for the other crimes.

    “The evidence that was presented at trial and the jury''s verdict basically says it all,” Boring said.

    “The evidence showed that this defendant was driven by selfishness and committed an unspeakable act against his own flesh and blood.”

    Harris, who was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit with his hands and ankles shackled, declined to speak at the sentencing.

    He frowned throughout the proceeding but did not show any emotion as the sentence was read out.



    New trial

    His attorney, Maddox Kilgore, said he planned to file a motion for a new trial. Kilgore told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that there had been “breakdowns” throughout the judicial process. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, saying there weren''t enough “aggravating factors”, such as additional victims, in the unusual case.

    Staley Clark said she recalled Harris had told police and his ex-wife that he hoped to be “an advocate so that people would never do this again to their children”.

    “I would say that, perhaps not in the way that you intended, you have in fact accomplished that goal,” she said.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Striking Kenyan doctors teargassedStriking Kenyan doctors teargassed At least 87 patients escaped from Kenya''s only psychiatric hospital after they were left unattended when medical workers at public hospitals went on strike nationwide, officials said Monday.

    “They scaled up the walls surrounding the wards and ... they just wandered away,” said Dr Julius Odago, medical superintendent at Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital. Seventeen patients had been brought back to the hospital by Monday evening, he said, “and I am very optimistic they''ll be gotten before long, all of them will be back.” Meanwhile, police fired tear gas in the capital, Nairobi, to disperse dozens of doctors protesting that they have not received salary increases promised three years ago. Around 5 000 doctors from public hospitals nationwide did not report to work, said Ouma Olunga, secretary-general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union. Medical workers are demanding better pay and working conditions. Entry-level doctors with six years of training are paid less than police officers who are trained for only six months, Olunga said. Seth Panyako, secretary-general of the nurses'' union, said his organisation wants the government to sign a collective bargaining agreement that would bring equitable salaries for nurses.

    Panyako expressed frustration that the government was losing billions of shillings to corruption in the health ministry but it was unwilling to pay staff.







    NAMPA/AP

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: No statues, no tributes
  • No statues, no tributesNo statues, no tributes Pauper''s burial for Fidel Castro Aligned with his wishes, Fidel Castro was laid to rest in a small, private ceremony. A wooden box containing Fidel Castro''s ashes was placed by his brother and successor into the side of a granite boulder that has become Cuba''s only official monument to Castro.

    The private, early-morning ceremony was attended by members of Fidel Castro''s family, the ruling Politburo of the single-party system he founded, and Latin American leaders who installed closely allied leftist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Brazil.

    After nine days of fervent national mourning and wall-to-wall homages to Castro, the government barred independent coverage of the funeral, releasing a handful of photos and brief descriptions of the ceremony later in the day.

    The ceremony began at 06:39 when the military caravan bearing Castro''s remains in a flag-draped cedar coffin left the Plaza of the Revolution in the eastern city of Santiago. Thousands of people lined the 3km route to Santa Ifigenia cemetery, waving Cuban flags and shouting “Long live Fidel!”

    The ashes were delivered to Castro''s younger brother and successor, President Raul Castro, who wore his olive general''s uniform as he placed the remains into a niche in the enormous grey boulder that will serve as his tomb. The niche was sealed with a green marble plaque emblazoned with the name “Fidel” in gold letters.



    ''No statues, tributes''

    The tomb stands to the side of a memorial to the rebel soldiers killed in an attack that Castro led on Santiago''s Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953, and in front of the mausoleum of Cuban national hero Jose Marti.

    As the funeral ended, martial music could be heard outside the cemetery, where Ines de la Rosa was among the mourners gathered. She said she would have liked to watch the interment on television, but “we understand how they as a family also need a bit of privacy”.

    The decision to keep the final farewell private came the morning after Raul Castro announced that Cuba would prohibit the naming of streets and monuments after his brother, and bar the construction of statues of the former leader and revolutionary icon, in keeping with his desire to avoid a cult of personality.

    “The leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality and was consistent in that through the last hours of his life, insisting that, once dead, his name and likeness would never be used on institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, and that busts, statues or other forms of tribute would never be erected,” Raul Castro told a massive crowd gathered in the eastern city of Santiago.

    He said that Cuba''s National Assembly would vote in its next session on the law fulfilling the wishes of his brother, who died last week at 90. The legislature generally holds a meeting in December and under Cuba''s single-party system, parliament unanimously or near-unanimously approves every government proposal.

    Fidel Castro, who stepped down in 2006 after falling ill, kept his name off public sites during his near half-century in power because he said he wanted to avoid the development of a personality cult. In contrast, the images of his fellow revolutionary fighters Camilo Cienfuegos and Ernesto “Che” Guevara became common across Cuba in the decades since their deaths.



    ''Fidel is all of Cuba''

    Mourning for Castro has been fervent and intense across the country since his death, particularly in rural eastern Cuba, where huge crowds have been shouting Castro''s name and lining the roads to salute the funeral procession carrying his ashes.

    “All of us would like to put Fidel''s name on everything but in the end, Fidel is all of Cuba,” said Juan Antonio Gonzalez, a 70-year-old retired economist. “It was a decision of Fidel''s, not Raul''s, and I think he has to be respected.”

    Castro, who outlasted a crippling US trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died ten years after a life-threatening illness led him to turn over power to his brother.

    Castro overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America.

    For decades, his defiance of the US and dedication to social equality, free healthcare and universal education was a source of inspiration and support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: EFF to Mugabe: Step down
  • EFF to Mugabe: Step downEFF to Mugabe: Step down Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should step down and allow other Zimbabweans to take over from him, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said on Monday.

    The EFF said this in statement, as it congratulated the people of Gambia for holding a peaceful and democratic election that saw President Yahya Jammeh conceding defeat to his opponent Adama Barrow.

    Jammeh, who ruled the west African country for 22 years, accepted his defeat on Friday, following an election in which over 800 00 people voted.

    “We believe that the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, should take a lesson and accept that other Zimbabweans can also lead whilst maintaining and sustaining his great legacy.

    “He must give way and not set an example that if one does the things he did for Zimbabwean people, like land expropriation, then one must stay in power until death,” read part of the statement.

    Mugabe, who is turning 93 in February, has been in power since the southern African country attained its independence in 1980.

    “Political power should not have to be taken to the grave. Great political leadership in the continent ought to live to see others lead the country to demonstrate to the whole world that theirs is an immovable legacy as Fidel Castro of Cuba did. In addition, this allows them to also give guidance and counsel,” said the EFF.

    The EFF said that President Jammeh was “a great example” to many African leaders who wanted to stay in power to death.

    “Staying in power to death does not help you see to it that the country can indeed go forward without you. It is inevitable that we all die, thus, great leadership is one that allows to hand over so they can die knowing the country and their legacy is safe,” the EFF said.

    Last week the EFF leader Julius Malema made headlines after he called on Mugabe to step down, saying it was time for the Zimbabwean leader “to go”.

    “We love Robert Mugabe for who he is, although we accept it''s time for him to step down,” Malema said during a memorial service in hour of Castro, who died a week ago at the age of 90.

    “Like Castro did, handing over power to his brother, President Mugabe must do the same,” the red berets'' commander-in-chief said.

    Malema''s remarks, however, infuriated the opposition Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) party, which claimed in a statement that his attack on Mugabe exposed him “of being the agent of the West as he is carrying their mandate very well”.

    “He (Malema) was instructed to destabilise not only the governing party but the entire country. He is again entrusted with a mammoth task of dethroning the African hero of our liberation, uncle Bob,” PAC said.



    NEWS24

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day FESTIVITIES: Thousands of lights decorate moose statues in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm has lit over 700,000 Christmas lights around the city where many streets, squares and marketplaces glisten and glimmer with Santas, moose, stars and other decorations that make the dark season brighter for the festive season. Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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    Where are the nation's mothers?Where are the nation's mothers? The Swapo Party Women''s Council will hold its elective congress this week in Keetmanshoop, which will see incumbent leader Petrina Haingura, her deputy Eunice Iipinge and Sylvia Kandanga vying for the secretary position. The congress comes at a time when the women''s body is being criticised for lacking relevance in the face of contemporary problems and is now labelled as a shadow of its former self. The current SPWC led by Haingura has failed to stand up for women in this country and there has been little focus on the need to address the challenges faced by mothers and girls. The pathetic state of affairs at the SPWC is further demonstrated by poor campaigning for the top positions, which will be filled this weekend. There has been absolutely nothing to write home about as far this elective congress is concerned. Most of those running for office have shied away from media interviews and we can''t even recall a single media briefing called to promote the Keetmanshoop gathering. The media has clearly lost out on a chance to grill the prospective candidates on their policies, aspirations and what exactly they can offer to ordinary citizens. The league has been silent on women''s rights and one wonders if the status quo will change after this weekend''s elections. Will the women''s wing ultimately transform and change the way it deals with issues or will we see another useless leadership emerging? The feminisation of poverty, unemployment and crime remain some of the issues facing women in this country. Where are the solidarity marches against institutionalised gender subjugation? The SPWC has the power and therefore massive influence to propagate the agendas of women in this country. Gender activists, however, don''t have the political clout to advance and sustain the women''s agenda. The deafening silence of the SPWC on a number of national issues raise questions about its relevance and whether it still has a role to play in transforming the lives of Namibian women.

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    Otjozondjupa prays for accident-free B1Otjozondjupa prays for accident-free B1 The Otjozondjupa regional governor, regional and local authority councillors and pastors on Monday held a prayer day in Otjiwarongo for an accident-free B1 road during the upcoming festive season.

    The prayer session was organised by the governor, Otto Ipinge.

    Several pastors prayed that road users on the B1 road passing through the region arrive safely at their destinations.

    The stretches of road between Okahandja and Otjiwarongo as well as Otjiwarongo and Otavi record high volumes of vehicles during December holidays.

    Ipinge said they do not want to lose any lives during this festive season due to road accidents.

    “That is the main reason why we are gathered here to humble ourselves before God and ask for his divine intervention,” he said.

    Ipinge urged members of the Namibian police and traffic officers to take their operations seriously and to conduct random alcohol tests on vehicle drivers.

    He said any driver found to be operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol must be arrested immediately and released only after the festive season.

    In a speech delivered on his behalf, Otjozondjupa regional police commander, Commissioner Armas Shivute said the region rates amongst the top three with the highest fatalities and injuries in the country as a result of motor vehicle accidents.

    He said a total of 125 people were injured and six others died on the B1 during the period 15 November 2014 to 15 January 2015.

    During the period 15 November 2015 to 15 January 2016, about 70 people were injured on the same road and 17 lives were lost.

    Shivute said several permanent police roadblocks are already mounted on public roads, while traffic officers were dispatched on highway patrols to detect speeding vehicles.

    In November 2015, a similar mass prayer day was held at Otjiwarongo to pray for an accident-free B1 road.

    NAMPA

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    Gammams refurbishment ongoingGammams refurbishment ongoing Negotiations with financiers planned for 2017 A feasibility study will be commissioned next year and if all goes well, the full work will begin in 2018. The City of Windhoek will in 2017 enter into negotiations to secure financing for the planned N$450-million refurbishment of the Gammams Water Works in the capital. Commissioned in 1961, attempts to refurbish the plant were only extensively carried out in 2001 while various improvements and modifications were carried out throughout the plant''s 55-year lifespan.

    City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya recently updated Namibian Sun on the work done to kick-start the planned refurbishment.

    “The project is currently in the process of conducting a financial feasibility study.

    Pending the outcome of this, negotiations regarding external financing will commence in the middle of 2017 and if successful, is anticipated to be concluded at the end of next year.

    This will see procurement starting only in the beginning of 2018. The aforementioned is a projected timeframe and is subject to the successful conclusion of numerous interim milestones, hence there is no certainty at this point in time.”

    Senior spokesperson at the City Joshua Amukugo previously said that the refurbishment of the plant would take three years.

    “The entire upgrade is expected to take approximately three years up to commissioning.”

    The estimated N$450-million provisional budget for the project would be inclusive of professional fees, actual construction costs and the procurement of new equipment. The project would be refurbished in different phases until its completion

    The refurbishment would include a new odour control facility, a newly built secondary treatment facility, new waste piping from the secondary treatment facility to a new, third facility where sludge will be activated, a new primary treatment area such as inlet channels, screens and grit removal as well as a primary sedimentation tank and a new pump station.

    The City has in the past also toyed with the idea of privatising the plant. Local media reported that the City was looking at creating a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to attract funding for the project, thus removing the need for the City to finance the refurbishment of the plant.

    The SPV would make provision for private sector partners to take up fixed minority ownership in the water treatment plant.

    “Granted that approval is obtained from council, financing agencies will be approached for formal discussions with existing and other private sector partners for further development and refinement of the proposed structure.”

    The city council sees the establishment of a majority council-owned SPV which allows for a fixed minority ownership from selected private sector partners, as the means to improve existing infrastructure and to improve and accelerate future capacity.

    It motivated that funding through the SPV would provide value through access to technology, foreign funding and expert skills.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: Exclusion is German tactic
  • Exclusion is German tacticExclusion is German tactic Rukoro says puppets installed by Namibian government OvaHerero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro has warned the Namibian government to include them in talks. The paramount chief of the OvaHerero has laid the blame for the exclusion of the OvaHerero and Nama from the genocide talks squarely at the door of the former colonial power.

    “The exclusion strategy was crafted and masterminded by Germany and then imposed on our government. The creator of this strategy is the German government,” Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, paramount chief of the OvaHerero said during his address at the Kai//Khau traditional festival over the weekend at Hoachanas.

    He said the Namibian government, in implementing the German strategy, has put up puppet structures. “Puppet chiefs were appointed as technical advisors but they are not in the government’s negotiating team in a participating capacity,” he claimed.

    According to him, the German envoy Ruprecht Polenz has made it clear that they are not going to pay any reparations to the Namibian government to hand over to the descendants of the genocide victims. He said the Germans are only prepared to put up hospitals and clinics and fund other projects.

    “These are the results of 12 months of negotiations between the two governments. This is where we are today. The traditional leaders and the genocide groups will reject this with the contempt it deserves.”

    He cautioned that whatever agreement is going to be reached between them will not be worth the paper it is written on.

    “Ordinary toilet paper is worth more than that agreement,” he said.

    Rukoro believes that two governments do not have a clue of the real needs of the descendants of the genocide victims and that is why the question of the return of land is not on the table in the talks.

    “We insist on sitting at the negotiating table ourselves. Nothing about us without us,” he emphasised.

    He cautioned that the longer the Germans delayed direct talks with the descendants of the genocide victims the more expensive the terms of settlement are going to become for successive German governments.

    According to him Namibia has been peaceful and stable for 26 years but its current ‘ostrich-type’ of political approach will help create a situation that will unleash political and social instability in the country between the government and the affected communities.

    “I hope the Namibian government is alert to the danger of Germany’s geopolitical ambitions and will not be used as agents against its nationals and allies in the region,” the paramount chief cautioned.

    He stated that the Nama and OvaHerero have no other choice but to resist and repel German neo-colonialism with all their means.

    “We know that we can count on the support of traditional leaders in this country. In February next year we will move into a more action-oriented mold unless our core demand for inclusion and meaningful participation is met,” he said.

    He requested various members of the traditional communities that attended the Kai//Khau traditional festival to go back to their villages and be prepared and ready for ‘business unusual’.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Sinimbo gets another term as Rundu mayorSinimbo gets another term as Rundu mayor Rundu Mayor Verna Sinimbo was elected for a second term. Her deputy Ralph Ihemba was also re-elected, while Anastasia Shinduvi-Foya, Isak Kandingu and Toini Hausiku remain members of the management committee.

    Mathew Wakudumo and Regie Ndara are ordinary council members.

    The council consists of five Swapo members and two from the All People’s Party (APP).

    Speaking at their swearing-in ceremony, Sinimbo said her term as mayor has been both a rewarding and challenging experience.

    “I am honoured that you have once again placed your trust and confidence in me to serve the inhabitants of Rundu,” she said.

    Sinimbo said during their first term, the council made notable strides in the development of the town’s public infrastructure in line with the fourth National Development Plan.

    She said the council addressed constraints of access to basic services such as potable water, reliable electricity and descent sanitation.

    The town council recorded more than 260 new water connections that have benefited the residential, business and industrial sectors.

    Provision was also made to extend the electricity network to settlements in Rundu such as Ndama, Kehemu, Sauyemwa, Kaisosi and Kasote, which resulted in 1 270 households being electrified.

    “In terms of sanitation, a new sewer pump station was completed and commissioned in Ndama with bulk sewer services to connect 300 households and institutions,” she added.

    Sinimbo said council also prioritised road infrastructure and in 2016, entered into an agreement with the Roads Contractor Company to assist with the rehabilitation of all severely damaged gravel roads to be done at a cost of N$4 million. This project will commence in 2017 in the Sauyemwa, Kehemu and Kaisosi settlements.

    Furthermore, council acquired N$11 million from the Office of the Prime Minister for emergency work on the storm water network, Rundu Beach Road and Ngandu Lodge Street.

    Sinimbo said she and her team will work tirelessly to see Rundu reach its potential and to help improve the living standard of residents.

    NAMPA

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: N$400m EU boost for kids
  • N$400m EU boost for kidsN$400m EU boost for kidsPre-primary education is crucial The European Union will pump N$400 million into an ambitious project to boost early-childhood development and pre-primary education in Namibia. On Monday Namibia and the European Union signed a N$400 million agreement in support of early-childhood development and pre-primary education in Namibia.

    Support of children in early childhood and in pre-primary classes has been found to play a crucial role in their subsequent school performance and could lower dropout rates.

    “It has now become a priority, in order to reduce the high dropout rate during primary education, to increase retention in grade 1 and to improve learners'' overall academic performance,” reads a joint-statement issued at the signing on Monday.

    The programme is aimed at launching a number of projects in line with the government''s goals over the next four years, and the grant will be made available in portions in line with specific aims and objectives and performance indicators both parties agreed to.

    The non-refundable grant will contribute towards the improvement of children''s access to early-childhood development facilities and services by constructing strategically located centres.

    The programme will also expand the number of pre-primary classes across the country and provide technical support and help improve the quality of care and teaching at the early stages of education.

    Jana Hybaskova, head of the EU delegation to Namibia, said the funding of early-childhood development will have many benefits.

    She said the support to the education sector is about more than education.

    “It is a vital tool to target one of the most serious challenges Namibia faces, namely the high income inequality and social disparity that exists in the country.”

    Global studies have found that early-childhood development increases social mobility and can close social gaps.

    These development activities can assist and empower previous disadvantaged groups and lead to improved social inclusion and stability.

    Moreover, children who are not exposed to early-childhood development projects or pre-primary education stand a much higher chance of dropping out of school.

    Between 1992 and 2012, the net enrolment rate in primary education rose from 89% to 99.7% and a consistent increase in school access and retention was observed.

    Nevertheless, research has also found that repetition rates have been showing an upward trend in recent years at the primary education levels. According to an EU briefing summary, it was found that more than 20% of enrolled learners were repeaters.

    As such, the Namibian government intends to focus on early-childhood development and pre-primary education, which can lay the foundations for acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills.

    “When well managed, they generate a predisposition for successful school attendance and lifelong learning,” the joint statement explains.

    Ninety percent of the funds, amounting to more than N$351 million, will be spent as budget support where annual payments are made by the EU to the Namibian government, based on the achievement of a set number of mutually agreed and verifiable indicators that demonstrate progress and success of the programme.

    The remaining 10%, or more than N$38 million, is earmarked for capacity development within the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.

    The programme was designed in partnership between the Namibian government and the EU and it is funded under the 11th European Development Fund.



    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 12/06/16--14:00: Kahimise is new City CEO
  • Kahimise is new City CEOKahimise is new City CEO The two-year search for a new City of Windhoek CEO ended this week with the announcement that Robert Kahimise had accepted the job offer.

    Kahimise is currently employed as the Erongo RED CEO and will assume his new position on 1 February 2017.

    City spokesperson Joshua Amukugo confirmed the new appointment at a media briefing earlier this week.

    Former CEO Niilo Taapopi served the municipality for two five-year terms and stepped down in December 2014. A drawn-out process to replace him started, culminating in a shortlist of potential candidates this year, including Kahimise.

    Last month, Namdeb general manager Riaan Burger declined the offer to take over the position after the City was unable to match his current salary package.

    In late November it was confirmed that Kahimise, the next potential candidate, had been made an offer.

    According to his LinkedIn profile, Kahimise has been at Erongo RED since 2010, preceded by a six-year position at the Electricity Control Board and a one-year stint at Alexander Forbes.

    He holds a MBA from the University of Stellenbosch, as well as a national diploma from the former Polytechnic of Namibia and a one-year certification from the University of Loughborough in the United Kingdom.

    Last month, Sven Thieme, chairperson of the panel that had interviewed Kahimise, said the panel was hopeful he would accept and that they had full confidence in his ability to do the job.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Woman's body found on police premisesWoman's body found on police premises A shock discovery was made when the body of a San woman, Regina Kasxi Muhoka (age unknown), was found on the premises of the Omega 1 police station in the Bwabwata National Park on 30 November, nearly seven days after she had gone missing.

    Relatives of Muhoka, who preferred anonymity, said on 5 December that Muhoka was taken to the police station on the evening of 23 November after a drunken altercation with her brother-in-law, Mike Kambati.

    They said Kambati was discharged but Muhoka was kept in custody, presumably for her to sober up.

    The next morning her brother went to look for her at the police station because she had not returned home the previous evening.

    The police reportedly told the brother that Muhoka had been released, but by then she was nowhere to be found. Her body was discovered 14 days later near a disused helicopter landing pad behind the police station. This spot is reportedly close to the adjacent highway.

    “Her body was found inside the fence [on the police premises],” said one family member. “When the police found her they did not call her parents; they just called her younger brother.”

    This family member went on to say: “We are suffering here. The police did not want to give us any real answers. She was in the hands of the police. Why didn''t anyone see what happened? How can it be that her body was right there and was not detected for so long?”

    It is not yet clear what happened to Muhoka. The family was informed by the Omega police that Muhoka''s body was sent to the Rundu State Hospital for an autopsy.

    This gruesome incident was not reported in the weekly police crime updates.

    When contacted for comment, Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi of the police''s public relations department said she was completely unaware of the case and undertook to contact the Omega police station to find out what had happened.

    Shikwambi on Monday afternoon confirmed the incident but said Muhoka was not incarcerated on the evening of 23 November because the police could not extract a statement from her.

    She said Muhoka, as she was leaving the police station, got involved in another argument with an unnamed assailant who had chased her over the police fence and assaulted her.

    Shikwambi said the assailant was caught and confessed that he had assaulted Muhoka.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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