Articles on this Page
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Realignment bears f...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _No deal for Jammeh ...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Malaria lives here
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Shot of the day
- 12/14/16--14:00: _We need to listen
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Christmas behind ba...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Staff rewarded with...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Von Trotha Street a...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Panduleni's appeal ...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _NSFAF launches onli...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Helao Nafidi counci...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Holiday traffic pic...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _No bail for accused...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Oshakati denies cor...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Warnings of floods ...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Hosea Kutako is bur...
- 12/14/16--14:00: _Swartbooi dares Hag...
- 12/15/16--04:24: _Priscilla Boois rep...
- 12/15/16--14:00: _Mbidi predicts Cosa...
- 12/15/16--14:00: _Chess tourney for S...
- 12/14/16--14:00: Realignment bears fruit
- 12/14/16--14:00: No deal for Jammeh exit
- 12/14/16--14:00: Malaria lives here
- 12/14/16--14:00: Shot of the day
- 12/14/16--14:00: We need to listen
- 12/14/16--14:00: Christmas behind bars for Moussongela
- 12/14/16--14:00: Staff rewarded with their own home
- 12/14/16--14:00: Von Trotha Street angers OvaHerero
- 12/14/16--14:00: Panduleni's appeal on hold
- 12/14/16--14:00: NSFAF launches online application
- 12/14/16--14:00: Helao Nafidi council tussle continues
- 12/14/16--14:00: Holiday traffic picks up
- 12/14/16--14:00: No bail for accused rhino horn smuggler
- 12/14/16--14:00: Oshakati denies corruption claims
- 12/14/16--14:00: Warnings of floods and low rivers
- 12/14/16--14:00: Hosea Kutako is bursting at the seams
- 12/14/16--14:00: Swartbooi dares Hage to fire him
- 12/15/16--04:24: Priscilla Boois replaces Swartbooi
- 12/15/16--14:00: Mbidi predicts Cosafa AGM election win
- 12/15/16--14:00: Chess tourney for Swakop
The steps Namibia has taken to realign funds from non-priority to priority areas are showing positive results, minister of finance Calle Schlettwein said on Tuesday.
“As a responsible government, we used our mid-year budget review to react and realign our availability resources. The consequence was a painful, but responsible one,” he said during the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) year-end performance review by President Hage Geingob at State House.
During the mid-term budget review in October, the minister developed a strategy to increase and decrease certain allocations to meet the financial requirements of the state during the remainder of the 2016/17 financial year that ends in March 2017.
Schlettwein on Tuesday said the government had managed to reduce expenditure by N$4.5 billion and allocated N$1 billion to priority projects to maintain growth in the economy and compensate for loss in income.
“The budget for this year is funded to honour our commitment to maintain macroeconomic stability and maintain investment credit rating. The steps we have taken to cut expenditure are showing positive results as we could maintain our credit rating,” he said.
Fitch Ratings in September revised the outlook on Namibia''s economy from stable to negative. Another credit rating agency, Moody’s, did the same in December based on the country’s poor policies to reduce its deficit and accumulated public debt.
The Fitch rating, Schlettwein said, warned the country to focus more on improving its fiscal and monetary position, and the living standards of all Namibians.
“I am happy that in the negative economic climate that we are living in now, we managed as a small economy to maintain our ratings. We are going through a difficult time now, but we are fully funded and the liquidity situation is under control,” Schlettwein said.
President Hage Geingob on Tuesday delivered a post-mortem on progress made in the HPP between April and September 2016 to cabinet ministers and members of the media.
The HPP is the government’s development plan that focuses on poverty alleviation, wealth redistribution and Namibia’s industrialisation.
Launching the plan of action in April this year, Geingob declared 2016 the year of implementation with inclusivity for all Namibians.
"We come to help Gambians find their way through a transition. That''s not something that can happen in one day. It''s something that one has to work on," said Sirleaf, who was acting as the head of a delegation of four West African heads of state visiting the country.
The Liberian leader said Jammeh had "expressed some concerns" on the same day his party filed a petition with the country''s Supreme Court in an attempt to void a recent election that declared opposition leader Adama Barrow the winner.
"The Ecowas mission was here to meet with him to understand the status quo a bit better," Sirleaf added, referring to a west African regional bloc.
"We met with all the entities concerned and now we go back to our colleagues at a meeting of Ecowas authority on Saturday in Abuja," she said.
Sirleaf said all the entities concerned have assured her of their commitment to peace and stability in The Gambia, but the news will come as a blow to the opposition who had hoped Jammeh would leave power within a month under international pressure.
"We are definitely seeing progress," said Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, in a news release on the World Malaria Report 2016. "But the world is still struggling to achieve the high levels of programme coverage that are needed to beat this disease," he added.
The report reveals that children and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa have greater access to effective malaria control. Across the region, a steep increase in diagnostic testing for children and preventive treatment for pregnant women has been reported over the last five years. Among all populations at risk of malaria, the use of insecticide-treated nets has expanded rapidly. The report said there were 212 million new cases of malaria and 429 000 deaths worldwide in 2015. Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden.
In 2015, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths. Children under five years of age are particularly vulnerable, accounting for an estimated 70% of all malaria deaths. In many countries, health systems are under-resourced and poorly accessible to those most at risk of malaria. In 2015, 36% of children with a fever were not taken to a health facility for care in 23 African countries. In 2015, an estimated 43% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa was not protected by treated nets or indoor spraying with insecticides, the primary methods of malaria vector control.
At the 2015 World Health Assembly, member states adopted the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030, which set ambitious targets for 2030 with milestones every five years to track progress. Eliminating malaria in at least ten countries is a goal for 2020. The report shows that prospects for reaching this target are bright: In 2015, ten countries and territories reported fewer than 150 indigenous cases of malaria, and a further nine countries reported between 150 and 1 000 cases. World Health Organisation (WHO) Malaria Report reveals that across the sub-Saharan African region, a steep increase in diagnostic testing for children and preventive treatment for pregnant women has been reported over the last five years. Countries that have achieved at least three consecutive years of zero indigenous cases of malaria can apply for the WHO certification of malaria elimination. Last month, WHO announced that the world''s first malaria vaccine would be rolled out through pilot projects in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Vaccinations will begin 2018.
All throughout the country there clearly is a general feeling of divide, of disappointment and of a desire to be part of the Namibian house. The latter offers hope; it''s indication that all is not lost, and that we can again be the nation we were at the dawn of independence.
Following the first elections, the country was engulfed by a sense of jubilation, a sense of nationhood and a sense of belonging. The people had their first government. We were looking at the prospects of sending our children to school, where each of them will have an equal shot at the Namibian dream. Labourers hoped they will have better working conditions, and Namibians from all walks of life were ready to build a new Namibia. Sadly, somewhere along the way things went horribly wrong. From corruption, to unfair distribution of wealth, to the creation of seemingly filthy rich black elites while most Namibians struggle to get through.
Recent remarks by deputy minister of lands Bernadus Swartbooi have left the nation divided, on both tribal and moral conviction lines.
This shows just how deep our divide has gone. Swartbooi highlighted what is felt in southern Namibia and just because you don''t agree, doesn''t mean that you get to reduce and downplay the feeling of being hard-done.
Over the weekend, Eunice Ipinge was elected SPWC Secretary. Ipinge is a former secretary of the council, her election itself should serve as a reminder about how we have been unable or unwilling to nurture the Namibian youth, especially young women, to rise to the occasion in this country that will once be theirs to inherit. We need to stop speaking for people, stop telling them what they should be feeling and start listening. We need to listen to minority groups, we need to listen to the girl child, we need to listen to the youth, we need to ask them what we can do differently to ensure that they feel and be part of the Namibian house. We have work to do. We need to do better.
Magistrate Jurina Hochobes on Tuesday postponed the bail hearing for the fifth time to 9 January next year. This means that his two private schools in in the north, Ongenga and Omafo, will start their 2017 academic year without him.
The 56-year-old Pedro Marcelino Moussongela, founder of the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church, Mennonite Brethren Community School Namibia and Ongenga English Private School, launched his bail application in the Ondangwa Magistrate''s Court on 3 October, but his case was postponed due to matters beyond the court''s control.
Moussongela was arrested on 23 June at his Omafo school following new charges laid against him by a complainant who reported him to NamRights. He appeared in the Ondangwa Magistrate''s Court where he was denied bail and the case was postponed to 31 August for a formal bail application. On 31 August, the bail hearing was postponed to 3 October by Magistrate Peter Nangula due to unavailability of presiding magistrate, Hochobes.
At the time of his arrest in the north, he was out on bail after a first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate''s Court where he appeared accused of having trafficked five of his own children to England after he allegedly delegated someone to drop off three of these children, who are all under the age of 12, in London.
Another allegation was that he fathered one of these children with his own daughter. According to NamRights, the new complainant is a former learner at one of Moussongela''s schools and was allegedly trafficked to Turkey under the impression that she was going to further her education there, only to find out that she was allegedly taken for prostitution.
The victim also alleges she was sexually exploited in Namibia, fell pregnant and had an abortion.
During the 3 October hearing, Hochobes postponed the matter to 24 October and set it down for three days to 26 October because the prosecutor Dollen Gowases was not available on that day. When the bail hearing started in 24 October it ended at cross-examination before it was postponed to continue from 12 to 14 December, when Moussongela''s lawyer Tuwilika Shailemo informed the court that he could not continue with the cross examination as she wanted to see her doctor.
When it resumed this week, the court only heard the testimony of one witness on Monday. During the Tuesday session, Magistrate Hochobes informed the court that prosecutor Gowases had taken ill and was admitted to hospital. She postponed the case to 9 January and set it down for five days for continuation.
In October Moussongela told the court that his schools are collapsing as parents are taking their children away and government has withdrawn its subsidy. He said that the Mennonite Brethren Community School at Omafo has 600 learners and 64 staff members. He pleaded not guilty to all charges he is facing saying they are just a duplicate of the case he already faces in Windhoek and for which he is out on bail. He asked the court to grant him bail so that he can fix his schools and offer quality education to Namibian children.
Moussongela''s detention is being served at Oluno prison following a request made by Gowases that he be transferred from the police cells after he was caught using a cell phone while in the holding cells. Gowases was concerned that he may interfere with ongoing police investigation.
What makes it so special is not the fact that this neat and beautiful development has been completed but, that the complex was developed for the benefit of long-serving staff members of the Rock Lodge, the true heroes.
The Rock Lodge is a conference and accommodation facility just outside Okahandja, a dream God gave to serve the Namibian nation.
Dawie and Chrisna Fourie are the carriers of this dream and over the past ten years, have sharpened the tip of the spear into leadership development which has been embodied by the African Leadership Institute (“ALI”).
The core of ALI is to inspire and equip Africans to lead transformation which is in line with the legacy President Hage Geingob has committed himself to - peace and stability is not enough, we have to become a land of prosperity. ALI is thus committed to training leaders to change their mindsets regarding productivity and the power to transform.
The impact of training thousands of government, church, education and business leaders has been felt all over Namibia. This transformation and influence would not have been possible without the committed and focused effort of the Rock Lodge staff. They serve this nation and the dream of prosperity in an amazing way. This begged the question, how can they truly be rewarded for the integral part they play in transforming mindsets, what can give them a sense of achievement and belonging? The answer – a property of their own. Through smart financing and substantial additional grants this dream was made into a reality. All staff members with more than seven years of service were given the opportunity to receive a home registered in their own name.
The keys of 21 homes were handed to the proud new homeowners by the Speaker himself. He clearly understood the significance. Housing and residential/land ownership are social justice issues that burn to the core of the African continent.
“This is an example of true transformation being put into practice. In order to truly bring about prosperity we should be innovative in empowering those around us who serve the nation,” Dawie Fourie said.
“What beter way to lift human dignity than to help people to acquire and own their own home? This goes a long way into bridging the economic disparity of our citizens and to the alleviation of poverty.”
According to Katjavivi, he hoped “that other companies will follow the example of the Rock Lodge and African Leadership Institute.
“It is also my hope that a true community should be formed within the Rock Village and ownership should stretch further than the deed of the house. As residents we have the responsibility to further uplift our communities,” he said.
Von Trotha was a German army commander during the 1904-1908 Herero-Nama Genocide that saw the execution of thousands of people from the Nama and Ovaherero tribes in Namibia.
On 2 October 1904, he commanded his heavily armed German forces to kill all OvaHerero by poisoning their main sources of water and by means of gunfire.
The street named after him in Otjiwarongo is situated in the affluent residential area of Extension 5.
Spokesperson of the Otjiwarongo Municipality, Adelheid Shilongo told Nampa the street stretches for approximately 800 metres and was recently upgraded to bitumen standard when the sign bearing the name was erected.
Shilongo said the street was named after Von Trotha long before Namibia gained independence and the municipality, at the moment, has no committee responsible for the naming and re-naming of streets at the town.
She said OvaHerero people have a valid concern.
“We take note of their concerns and as soon as we return in 2017 we will introduce a group of people who will deal with the naming and re-naming of streets in Otjiwarongo,” she said.
Okakarara constituency councillor, Vetaruhe Kandorozu spoke to Nampa on behalf of the concerned group, saying streets are usually named after people who played a significant role in society for the development of communities.
“Von Trotha, however, was the man who issued an extermination order of all Hereros in Namibia because he wanted their land,” Kandorozu said.
Shilongo said community members will next year be required to submit proposals of the names of people they want streets to be named after.
In September, he was found guilty of murder. On 9 February 2013 he killed Tobias Abisai at the People''s Inn, in Ondoto Street, Okuryangava by shooting him with a firearm in the chest. Abisai''s body was found by authorities lying at the entrance of the bar.
According to the Correctional Services Act, Panduleni will only be eligible for parole after serving at least two-thirds of his 17-year sentence. Good behaviour can also play a role in reducing the sentence.
During the murder trial, Magistrate Sarel Jacobs stated that a sentence that corresponds to the gravity of the offence was imposed to emphasise the disapproval of society and to serve as a warning to others.
He had then said: “No doubt that the crime of murder in any form remains a serious crime, which usually calls for severe punishment. A person lost his life due to the conduct of the accused. The sanctity of human life must be emphasised whenever a person is unlawfully killed.”
Jacobs had emphasised that a firearm was used in the commissioning of the crime and it is unfortunate that in recent times crimes of violence committed by the use of firearms increased.
According to him a clear message must be sent to the community at large that to resort to violence, particularly with firearms, would not be tolerated.
The appellant is the father of two minor children, whom he maintains together with members of his extended family. At the time of sentencing he had said he should be sentenced to a short period of imprisonment as his family would not be able to survive without him.
The magistrate replied that the accused, who is the breadwinner, should have known that he was placing the well-being of his family in jeopardy by resorting to crime.
Jacobs concluded that Panduleni had showed no respect for human life and committed a brutal murder.
Applicants can now expect to get a response within 48 hours after applying. Speaking at the launch the fund''s chief corporate affairs officer Olavi Hamwele pointed out that proof of results, proof of registration at an institution of higher learning and Namibian citizenship among others, were the NSFAF eligibility conditions. He further disclosed that the manual application process made room for those not eligible for funding to also apply which resulted in forms piling up and prolonged the process of awarding loans to eligible students. With the online system non-eligible applicants are discarded at the beginning of the process. The new online application process commences today for Namibian undergraduate SADC/international students and postgraduate SADC/international students studying abroad whilst local undergraduate eligible students can start applying on 12 January 2017. The application period for all study categories will end on 31 March next year.
Also speaking at the launch was NSFAF acting CEO Sven von Blottnitz who shared the benefits of the online application system. The system will reduce the reliance on paper which was costly and time-consuming and will reduce the burden for staff as it will result in less administrative efforts. “The online system will benefit both applicants and the fund itself, and we are happy we have reached this stage,” said Blottnitz. The system is available on the NSFAF website and is also user-friendly on mobile devices. The fund has engaged with the regional and constituency offices to make sure that no one is left out. Those looking for help with the new system can approach regional offices and help will be offered. There will also be a roadshow countrywide with the mobile team to help applicants.
The Ohangwena Swapo regional coordinator, Hafeni Hatutale, says nothing could have been done to prevent the once-axed councillor from being sworn in to serve on the council although she has a pending court matter against the party.
Nghidimbwa''s swearing in two weeks ago has irked Lucia Nghililewanga, who was legitimately elected during the 2015 local authority elections and lost her position to Nghidimbwa.
Last year on 4 December, much to her surprise, she was not sworn in and instead the party chose to replace her with Nghidimbwa who did not feature on the candidate list as she was a candidate for the regional council election for the Oshikango district.
Swapo had won six seats in the council. Three of the councillors were supposed to be from the Ohangwena district, including Nghililewanga, while two are from Engela and one is from Oshikango.
The Ohangwena Swapo office however chose to replace Nghililewanga with Nghidimbwa in order to “balance the scales” because she hails from Oshikango. This was in order for each of the three districts to have two representatives.
This move was rejected outright by Nghililewanga, who asked Swapo''s top officials why she was replaced after she was voted into office by the electorate.
The head office in Windhoek responded to her complaints and after several attempts to rectify the situation a decision was taken to remove Nghidimbwa from office with immediate effect in August for Nghililewanga to claim her rightful position.
Instead, Nghidimbwa dragged the party to the High Court where the case will resume in February 2017. Nghidimbwa won the first round of the case. She asked the court to stop the reinstatement of Ngililewanga and she was granted the order.
Yesterday Hatutale told Namibian Sun that Nghidimbwa''s court case was ongoing, therefore nothing could be done to stop her from being sworn in.
“The Helao Nafidi case is in the court and there is nothing anyone can do at this time,” Hatutale said.
Swapo spokesperson Helmut Angula said the reason why the party allowed Nghidimbwa to be sworn in was because it was the normal procedure that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
However, sources within the council told Namibian Sun that Nghidimbwa was absent from monthly council meetings for three consecutive months since August, when she was presented with the dismissal letter from Swapo''s secretary-general, Nangolo Mbumba.
The source said only at the November council meeting did she show up and attend as a councillor.
Helao Nafidi mayor Eliaser Nghipangelwa said Nghidimbwa was absent from council meetings because she was always busy and informed the council of that fact. He added that Nghidimbwa was not the only councillor absent from council meetings this year.
While there has been a decrease in fatalities and car accidents during the first few weeks of the national road-safety campaign in comparison to last year''s statistics, motorists are urged to remain vigilant and alert.
In the past three weeks 32 people have died on Namibia''s roads while 210 crashes have been recorded and 388 people have been injured in accidents.
The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund released these latest statistics with regard to the 2016/17 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign which kicked off on 22 November.
According to the MVA Fund spokesman Sidney Boois, these statistics indicate a significant improvement in road safety compared to the same period last year.
He said crashes have declined by 23%, injuries by 36% and fatalities by 34%.
Last year during the same period there were 259 crashes, accounting for 43 fatalities and 526 people injured.
Boois said that although there is an improvement in the statistical data the MVA Fund encourages all road users to remain vigilant as the exodus to the coast and the northern regions starts in all earnest.
“Keep to prescribed speed limits, avoid risky overtaking, mind stray animals, watch out for pedestrians, adjust to road conditions such as heavy rains which can cause slippery roads and keep a safe following distance,” he warned.
Ye Zhiwei, 28, appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate''s Court in South Africa on Tuesday on a charge of dealing in rhino horn under the Endangered Spices Act.
South African Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu confirmed to Namibian Sun that Ye was denied bail and that his case was postponed to 17 January for disclosure of evidence and for further investigation.
Ye was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport after he had departed from Hosea Kutako International Airport on 23 November at 06:40.
He was travelling in transit from Namibia on board a South African Airways flight to Hong Kong when the Hawks received an anonymous tip-off and discovered the rhino horns hidden in his luggage. The rhino horns were tightly wrapped in industrial cling wrap.
It is still unclear whether the rhino horns are from Namibia and DNA tests will first have to be conducted to determine the country of origin.
The rhino horns weighed 43 kilograms and were valued at around N$6.6 million.
Only a few days after Ye''s arrest a full-scale investigation was launched into activities at Hosea Kutako International Airport.
The probe was ordered after it was discovered that the 18 rhino horns found in Ye''s possession had in fact been detected by scanners at Hosea Kutako.
This resulted in the arrest of a Namibian police sergeant, Pendapala Abraham Iitula, 42, who was stationed at the scanners on the day and time that Ye was allowed to board the flight to Johannesburg.
Iitula has appeared before the Katutura Magistrate''s Court on a charge of defeating and obstructing the course of justice.
He was granted bail of N$2 000 and the case was postponed to 3 February next year.
In response to corruption claims over the manner in which prominent people acquire plots at Oshakati, the town’s acting CEO, Kornelius Kapolo, said there was no law stipulating who should get a plot.
Kapolo was speaking at media briefing on Tuesday where he told reporters that there was no corruption in the allocation of residential and business plots in Oshakati.
The briefing was called after council documents were leaked and circulated on social media platforms. According to the documents, the council’s management committee chairperson, Gabriel Kamwanka, finance manager Damian Hamunyela, infrastructure and technical services director Lucas Amushembe and Oshana governor Clemens Kashuupulwa were granted plots.
The four in question, save the governor, were all present at meetings where their plots were discussed.
According to the claims, the four acquired the plots because of their social standing and influence over those who have decision-making powers in the council.
Council documents show that Kashuupulwa applied for a residential plot for the construction of flats on 9 April 2014. He was allocated plot 861, measuring 4 167 square metres, at Ekuku Extension 2 at a price of N$375 030 on 30 November this year.
Kamwanka applied for a business plot on 10 February 2014 and was allocated plot 107, measuring 8 703 square metres, at Ehenye North at a price of N$957 330.
Hamunyela, who previously sold a plot he had received from the council, was allocated another plot, Erf 1630, measuring 870 square metresm at Oshakati Extension 3 at a price of N$69 600.
Amushembe was allocated Erf 1 272, measuring 2 663 square metres, at Ekuku Extention 4 for the construction of a shopping complex at a price of N$292 930.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Kapolo dismissed claims of corruption in the council, saying that the four had followed procedure in applying for plots.
When pushed further, he became evasive and told the media that he did “not have the answers at the moment”.
He questioned why people were targeting the four, saying that they deserved plots just like any other Namibian.
“They are also Namibians and there is no law that says they cannot apply for land,” Kapolo said.
“The procedure Oshakati uses is not unique. Applications are available at the front office and you should just fill them in and attach the necessary documents,” Kapolo added.
Questions are being asked as to why Kamwanka, Hamunyela and Amushembe were present when their plots were discussed.
Kapolo said when those matters were discussed the three had to excuse themselves from the meeting.
However, the documents and minutes show otherwise.
“Council strictly works with the declaration of a conflict of interest whereby in all meetings, any person who is on point of discussion is asked to excuse themselves from the meeting to avoid any conflicts,” Kapolo said.
Documents seen by this newspaper show that by late last year and this year, Kamwanka was the chairperson of the land committee, but Kapolo insisted that CEO Werner Iita chaired the committee in question for the period 2016 to 2019.
When asked when Kamwanka’s term as chairperson had ended, Kapolo - who is part of the new land committee - said he did not know. All he could say was that Iita was elected as the new chairperson.
The duties of the land committee are to address all matters concerning land, the allocation of plots, both business and residential, and recommend them to the management committee.
Tourists have been urged to make other arrangements if they plan on making use of the Sendelingsdrift pontoon border crossing between Namibia and South Africa due to a significant drop in the water level.
The pontoon is located within the Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Park between Namibia and South Africa and is currently struggling to stay operational due to the low water level of the river.
South African National Parks (SANParks) says the operations of the pontoon are being monitored daily and it will be closed immediately if needs be.
“The situation is not looking good as only a single vehicle can be ferried across at a time.”
According to SANParks visitors planning to cross the border by means of the ferry should make use of alternative routes such as Alexander Bay or Vioolsdrift.
Meanwhile the Windhoek weather bureau has warned that heavy rainfall in excess of 50 mm is expected daily in the Kavango and Zambezi regions for the next few days, and flash floods are likely.
According to forecaster Sieglinde Somses, over the next few days tropical moisture will stay in circulation in the interior of the country, resulting in rainy conditions. She says this will continue until Friday in the Keetmanshoop and Karasburg area and then clear up from the south to the central and central northern areas.
Persistent rain is expected in the Zambezi and Kavango regions, which can cause waterlogging, says Somses.
She says the interior will remain hot, with minimum temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius and the maximum at more than 35 degrees.
Over the last few days good rainfall has been recorded in some parts of the country. Last week Friday Oshikango had 55mm, Geduld 50mm and Goedemoed 33mm.
On Monday 120.8mm of rain was recorded at Mpacha Airport in Katima Mulilo and 72mm at Omaruru.
On Tuesday Nukurenkuru received 52.8mm, Rundu airport 31.4mm and Mpacha Airport 31mm. Rundu received 25.5mm while Gobabis had 24.6mm.
According to the daily river bulletin the Zambezi River at Katima Mulilo is below the lowest recording level and remains lower than last year
Water levels in the Kavango River are rising slightly and at Rundu station (4.35m) the level is above normal for this time of the year.
While the arrival of smorgasbord of international airlines has been hailed as good for the economy, the Namibian Airports Company (NAC) flagship airport, Hosea Kutako International, is congested and overburdened.
Social media have been abuzz with complaints. Some people posted photos and videos about the general congestion and long queues at the airport, while tour operators have expressed concern over the hours their clients spent waiting at the airport.
The grievances have escalated since the recent entry of new airlines, which resulted in a significant increase of passengers. During the month of October the number grew to 90 277, from 69 086 in October last year.
The airport recently welcomed international carriers like Condor Airlines, Qatar Airways, Dutch carrier KLM and Ethiopian Airways, while Dubai-based Emirates, Kenyan Airways and Turkish Airlines are also planning to fly the Namibian route.
NAC spokesperson Dan Kamati says the terminal building at Hosea Kutako is designed to cater for 400 passengers per hour and it has surpassed its capacity.
He says the company has introduced slot allocations for arrivals and departures in order to maximise usage of the current infrastructure.
However, tour operators have complained about long queues at the airport and say it takes several hours for their clients to move through Customs to get a rental vehicle.
Kamati says people should keep in mind that higher passenger numbers inevitably increase the waiting time.
He says Hosea Kutako is a very small airport and therefore the process in Namibia is not that long compared to the queues experienced at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and other, much bigger international airports.
Asked whether cleaning and catering companies are experiencing any problems with providing services, Kamati says the in-flight catering companies and cleaning services had to increase their personnel on the ground to meet the demand.
“This is beneficial to the country as a result of new employment opportunities generated.”
He says NAC is not aware of any difficulties experienced with the provision of services due to increased flights.
The CEO of NAC, Tamer El-Kallawi, admits that the airport is under pressure to comply with international requirements and maintain service levels.
On the company’s website El-Kallawi says that is why NAC had submitted a request to the government for the expansion of the airport.
The tender is still tied up in legal action.
Initial government plans to push ahead with the construction of a new airport terminal were suspended following an uproar over the costs, which had been pegged at N$7 billion at the time, amid allegations of tender irregularities in the awarding process.
Government has filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court regarding the cancellation of the tender.
The appeal followed September''s High Court judgment, which set aside an instruction by the works ministry to the NAC to discontinue all activities relating to the upgrading and expansion of the airport.
El-Kallawi further says that the aircraft apron and passenger terminal are often congested.
According to him the limited space in the terminal limits the level of service the NAC can offer passengers and airlines.
“More specifically on departure, there are regularly long queues at check-in, immigration and security control, due to the limited space available for check-in desks, immigration desks and screening points.”
He says this is particularly severe when there is more than one flight checking in at the same time.
El-Kallawi adds that limited space in the luggage collection area does not permit the installation of an adequate number of conveyor belts.
Limited space in the passenger terminal does not allow the terminal operator and the airlines to offer some of the services expected from airports.
NAC is aiming to increase its passenger traffic and according to El-Kallawi the capacity of the airport is inadequate for processing the envisaged number of airlines and passengers.
Tub-thumping deputy lands minister Bernadus Swartbooi says there is no way President Hage Geingob will receive a resignation letter from him.
Sitting behind his desk in his office in the lands ministry yesterday morning, Swartbooi vehemently denied a statement made by the presidency that he had offered to resign as deputy minister. In fact, he insisted he had done nothing wrong.
According to him, the president told him, “If you don’t apologise, you leave that office,” but is yet to formally dismiss him.
“I have little trust in them, I am now worried that they will fake my signature to tell the world that I have resigned. The point is the president will not get a resignation from me, he will have to get the guts from somewhere to fire me,” said Swartbooi.
Swartbooi is especially aggrieved that President Geingob made no attempt to listen to his concerns over land distribution, but was only interested in an apology.
“He told me that when Sam Nujoma fired him he left for America and that if I do not agree that I should do the honourable thing and resign. He said, ‘don’t stay in a system, break all the rules and you think you will still be here’,” related Swartbooi.
Swartbooi said he patiently and respectfully tried to work with his senior, Utoni Nujoma, and even tried to adjust his pace to Nujoma’s - who is much older than him - but nothing worked.
“I realised that he does not listen to me, the Land Bill was tabled and it was withdrawn, the land conference was announced and it was cancelled… both are failures and these are the circumstances I find myself under,” he said. 00
Swartbooi insisted that his responsibility was to promote the interests of the Namibian people and that the current land reform system was not doing them justice.
“Land should unite us, not divide us. The land programme must be organised so that young Namibians have access to land in order to make meaningful contributions to the economy,” he said.
Leader in crisis
The Swartbooi saga has caused uproar in Namibia and while the public is openly debating the issue, very few political analysts and social commentators would talk about the matter on record.
The events of the past few days indicate a step-by-step process followed by the president in response to Swartbooi’s comments at Hoachanas two weeks ago.
Lobbying the traditional leaders failed. Following this, the Politburo could not come to a decision about Swartbooi’s future. Insiders say that doors were “shut in his face”.
Namibian Sun understands that the president has lost the political support of many traditional leaders and one political commentator is of the view that he again failed when he turned to the party.
There are reports that the Politburo was hung on Monday night.
Namibian Sun has been reliably informed that this is what prompted Geingob to convene an urgent meeting at State House on Tuesday where he tried to convince Swartbooi to apologise for his remarks. Swartbooi refused to budge, which is said to have angered Geingob even more.
However, according to Swapo deputy secretary-general Laura McLeod-Katjirua, the Politburo meeting never discussed Swartbooi and was not convened to do so.
During a media briefing yesterday, the party explained that the Politburo meeting on Monday night was not a special or urgent meeting but a scheduled one.
“The political bureau congratulated the newly elected secretary Eunice Iipinge and deputy secretary Fransina Kahungu of the Swapo Party Women’s Council and also congratulated the leadership and entire rank and file membership of SPWC for successfully holding their seventh congress,” stated McLeod-Katjirua.
She reiterated that only the matters listed in the media statement were discussed.
There are also unconfirmed rumours that mass marches are to be organised in solidarity with Swartbooi in Windhoek and Keetmanshoop this weekend.
In a media release, the Namibian Presidency announced that President Hage Geingob formally accepted a verbal resignation from Bernadus Swartbooi, described in the document as the former deputy minister of and reform. At the same time the President also announced the appointment of Priscilla Boois as the new deputy minister in the lands ministry. Boois is presently the deputy minister of poverty eradication and social welfare.
The appointment is with immediate effect.
The election will take place at the Cosafa annual general meeting at Sun City, South Africa, on Saturday.
Mbidi will contest the position with current Cosafa vice-president Salemane Phafane of Lesotho, who is tipped to have the backing of many senior officials.
However, the NFA president remains positive that he will replace his Lesotho counterpart after the election.
Speaking in a telephonic interview from South Africa, Mbidi said: “I do believe my time to become the vice-president of Cosafa has come.
“I am very confident that I will be voted into the position because the officials have shown trust in me and that is a positive sign.
“I do believe that my opponent has done a great job and I am willing to do more in order to improve Cosafa if elected.
“We have been learning so much here during our stay in South Africa given that we have attended different meetings and workshops.”
The former Oshana regional chairman was elected Namibia Football Association president in 2014 at the association’s 23rd AGM with 19 votes out of a possible 25.
The football association under Mbidi’s helm held a successful Cosafa Cup tournament were the senior national team won the plate final.
Prior to hosting the tournament on Namibian soil, the national team had won the competition in South Africa the previous year.
“There are also three candidates contesting for the presidency position which is currently held by Suketu Patel of the Seychelles.
“The election is not the only important thing on the agenda in view of the fact that financial reports will be presented at the meeting too.
“The meeting will also weigh the failures and successes of the organisation for the year 2016,” Mbidi said.
The Southern African football body was established by the Supreme Council of Sports in Africa – Zone 6.
It has 14 member nations under a single umbrella, with the goal of developing football. The 14 member countries are Angola, Botswana, the Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and associate member Reunion.
JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA
The tournament stretches back to 1994 and is one of the longest-running competitions in Namibia in any sport.
The vice-president of the Namibia Chess Federation, Charles Eichab, said: “The intent of creating a light and fun yet competitive tournament was achieved with the institution of this tournament. It’s the oldest chess tournament and sort of a heritage event.
“We plan to return the tournament to its historic stronghold of Swakopmund as per its founding mission to engage the travelling masses in a holiday chess event.
“Last year we also hosted the tournament at your conference centre which was well attended by many players from around the country and abroad.”
The founder of the tournament was the late Kehat Beukes, who was the first black specialist in Namibia and also the president of the Namibia Chess Federation from 1994 until his death in 1999.
The tournament will be played over nine rounds and the focus will be on advancing junior chess.
Earlier this year, the chess federation hosted the Junior Open in Walvis Bay, where over 350 children from more than 50 schools participated under the same roof.
The organisers expect 45 to 65 players. Registrations close today.
Five rounds will be played on Saturday, while four rounds are scheduled for Sunday. Bank Windhoek sponsored the competition to the tune of N$15 000.
1. N$2 000
2. N$1 500
3. N$1 200
5. N$ 600