Articles on this Page
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Loan-to-value ratio...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _MTC to extend coverage
- 12/28/16--14:00: _War-shattered Aleppo
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Shot of the day
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Ryazanovka: Authori...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Miss High School No...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Okatope substation ...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _More Namibians want...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Road safety efforts...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Rössing boosts emer...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Holidaying at the c...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Special schools' re...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Shaningwa lauds Osh...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Hard work earns goo...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Complaints about dr...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Missing boy found, ...
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Brother stabs sister
- 12/28/16--14:00: _Traffic fines top N...
- 12/29/16--00:00: _Two suspected poach...
- 12/29/16--14:00: _The year that was
- 12/28/16--14:00: Loan-to-value ratios introduced
- 12/28/16--14:00: MTC to extend coverage
- 12/28/16--14:00: War-shattered Aleppo
- 12/28/16--14:00: Shot of the day
- 12/28/16--14:00: Ryazanovka: Authorities must speak up
- 12/28/16--14:00: Miss High School North shines
- 12/28/16--14:00: Okatope substation installation complete
- 12/28/16--14:00: More Namibians want to study abroad
- 12/28/16--14:00: Road safety efforts paying off
- 12/28/16--14:00: Rössing boosts emergency response
- 12/28/16--14:00: Holidaying at the coast
- 12/28/16--14:00: Special schools' results raise eyebrows
- 12/28/16--14:00: Shaningwa lauds Oshakati
- 12/28/16--14:00: Hard work earns good grades
- 12/28/16--14:00: Complaints about drought relief
- 12/28/16--14:00: Missing boy found, kidnappers arrested
- 12/28/16--14:00: Brother stabs sister
- 12/28/16--14:00: Traffic fines top N$7 million
- 12/29/16--00:00: Two suspected poachers shot dead
- 12/29/16--14:00: The year that was
Explaining the concept, the central bank's director for strategic communications and financial sector development, Emma Haiyambo, said: “The Bank of Namibia hereby notifies the public of the introduction of loan-to-value ratios (LTVs) applicable to all prospective applicants for a second or subsequent home loan for residential property.”
LTV is the ratio of the amount of money borrowed from a bank to purchase a property in relation to the purchase price of the property or the valuation of the property, whichever is lower. The regulations relating to restriction on LTVs were gazetted on 3 August 2016 and will come into effect on 22 March 2017, she said.
These regulations will reduce banks' risk of exposure to home loans, which constitute 50% of the total loans granted in Namibia.
“This exposure, if left unchecked, could potentially pose a significant risk to financial stability in Namibia,” Haiyambo said.
“After the coming into effect of these regulations on 22 March 2017, prospective home loan applicants for a second or more home loans for non-primary residential properties will be required to pay a percentage of the purchase price or market value of the property as a deposit. The commercial bank providing the loan to the prospective buyer will finance the remaining percentage of the home loan,” she said.
According to Haiyambo, the LTV for a second home loan is set at 80% of the purchase price or market value.
“For example, if the value of the second property the prospective applicant wants to buy is N$1 000 000 the bank will finance N$800 000 and the applicant will be expected to pay a deposit of N$200 000, or 20%, upfront.
“In the event that the home loan for the first residential property has been paid off completely, the prospective home loan applicant will be treated as a first-time buyer and therefore will not be required to pay a deposit when taking a subsequent home loan to buy an additional property. The regulations will give prospective first-time home buyers a better chance of owning a home as they will be exempted from paying any deposit,” Haiyambo said.
MTC will also provide mobile services in 23 previously unserved geographical areas.
MTC earlier this year communicated its intent to extend its network offering, particularly in rural areas. It said it envisaged a N$1 billion investment in telecommunication infrastructure to roll out 3G services in previously unserved rural areas.
Motivating the need for additional spectrum, MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo said earlier this year: “We are very concerned that this project and our investment, which is aimed at rural ICT development, will go to waste if we do not receive the required spectrum soon.”
MTC was allocated 63MHz of spectrum for its mobile services and required 73MHz to successfully implement its intended roll-out, it stressed at the time.
A press release issued by MTC at the time stated: “By the end of December 2017, MTC expects to have added 20 2G sites in rural areas, 331 3G sites with 144 in rural and 187 in urban areas, and 116 4G sites in urban areas. With that the company expects to achieve 98% on 2G coverage of the entire population, and 3G would have grown from 30% to 64%, while 4G would have grown from 15% to 30%. The total resource capacity in 3G will increase to 259% and 4G to 337%.
“This investment from MTC will however be affected if CRAN does not allocate MTC the required spectrum needed to roll out the 3G network in rural areas. MTC has been in discussions with CRAN for the last two years about the need for additional spectrum, and as a result of these discussions the spectrum was gazetted on October 24, 2015 without any objections from the public.
“Based on these developments, MTC's board of directors committed significant investments to this project. However, MTC has not yet received the spectrum because CRAN has not made a decision to allocate the two additional spectrums,” the statement continued.
CRAN has in the meantime provided MTC additional spectrum for the extension of 3G services. It said following the approval: “The licence is awarded on condition that Mobile Telecommunications Limited rolls out the provision of 3G telecommunications services in the 89 geographical locations as communicated to it by the Authority over a period of three years from the date of the award of this spectrum use licence.”
MTC was also instructed to provide mobile services to 23 previously unserved areas.
Failure on the part of MTC to follow through may see CRAN reverse its decision.
“The spectrum use licence issued to MTC in respect of telecommunications services shall lapse 12 months after date of issuance, if the Authority is satisfied that [MTC] has failed to commence to carry on services in respect of which it is licenced within in the geographical locations communicated to it by the Authority,” CRAN said.
It will take many months and millions of dollars to breathe life back into Aleppo's devastated water, electricity, and transportation networks.
Four years of fighting have transformed it from Syria's industrial and commercial powerhouse to a divided and dysfunctional city.
“We sold our vacuum cleaner - what's the point in having one if we don't have electricity?” asked Umm Fayez, a housewife who lives in the central district of Furqan.
“It's been two years since we used our washing machine. We wash everything by hand, but the water is too cold now and I can't take it anymore,” the mother-of-two told AFP, sitting in the dark amid piles of dirty laundry.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad declared full control over Syria's second city last week, after a landmark evacuation deal ended years of clashes.
Rocket fire, air strikes and shelling partly or totally destroyed more than half Aleppo's infrastructure and buildings, according to a “preliminary, optimistic evaluation” by local authorities.
The main power station at Safirah to the southeast has been off line for two years because of the fighting.
Aleppo's residents are forced to rely on noisy generators that supply electricity through a web of thick cables snaking through scarred streets.
But they are shut down at midnight to save diesel supplies.
Umm Fayez's husband walks home every night from his sweetshop using a small torch to guide the way through pitch-black darkness.
“We have two projects that will re-establish electricity to Aleppo,” an electricity ministry official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He said new power lines would be laid from the neighbouring province of Hama within a year, but that it would cost more than four billion Syrian pounds, or about US$8 million.
Residents are also impatient for water shortages to end, with the main pumping station currently operating at just a third of its capacity.
“We can only pump water to 20 percent of Aleppo. Before the crisis, it was 70 percent,” said Issa Korj, chief mechanic at the Suleiman al-Halabi water plant.
He said it would take “many months” to repair the facility, but even then, water provision was likely to remain a problem for residents.
Most of the water pumped to Aleppo comes from the Euphrates Dam in the adjacent province of Raqa, which is held by the Islamic State jihadist group.
“They regularly cut off the water,” said Fakher Hamdo, who heads Aleppo's water administration. He added that global economic sanctions imposed on Syria since 2011 make spare parts nearly impossible to import.
But before any major rebuilding projects can begin, local authorities must clear away barricades and sand berms that had divided Aleppo between the rebel-controlled east and the government-held west.
Bulldozers can already be seen in the bombed-out streets, clearing rubble and dismantling metal barriers.
“The municipality immediately mobilised to open up the main thoroughfares,” said city administrator Nadim Rahmoun.
“Opening up the roads will allow us to pump life back into the city with economic and social activity and public services,” he added.
Aleppo's Old City - a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site - is at the heart of this effort.
The district witnessed some of the most brutal moments of the battle for Aleppo, and restoring its celebrated buildings will pose major challenges.
Municipal teams are carefully sorting through the rubble, setting aside original centuries-old stonework that will be used in the restoration.
In the nearby district of Aqyul, Abduljawad Najed, 32, had to negotiate heaps of sand to check on his brother's house.
“It took more than an hour and a half,” he said.
After the barricades were cleared, the same journey took Najed 10 minutes.
“Things were much easier and I was able to come by car,” he said, loading some household effects into his small pick-up.
Najed's enthusiasm was shared by furniture store owner Zakariya, 42.
“Thank God, all the roads are now linked together. Aleppo is one again,” he said.
In light of recent photos taken by eagle-eyed Namibians of crew aboard the now infamous fishing trawler Ryazanovka working on massive industrial fishing gear while the vessel was moving around the shores of Walvis Bay (with or without authorisation has not been established yet), has once again raised the alarm bells.
And the deep distrust and an overpowering sense of frustration grows among those opposing the devastating plundering of Namibian wildlife by foreign nationals seemingly intent on ignoring local environmental laws, progress and values grows.
It would not be difficult to soothe the rising tensions felt against Chinese nationals and immigrants, if government would adopt a transparent attitude in line with its Harambee promises and its duty as a democratically elected leadership overall.
The application should have been binned the moment it landed on the desk of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, without question. The dishonest content of the application has not been questioned by a single scientist or environmental expert.
So, what is government's stance on the application? No one really knows and this is deeply troubling and adds fuel to the growing distrust and frustration around this issue and against the Chinese active in Namibia.
In the face of relentless efforts to point out the rather blatant attempts to misdirect and lure government into issuing the permits to capture wild animals and stick them into ill-reputable Chinese aquariums in return for questionable amounts of money, the silence from authorities can only lead to more distrust.
The sponsors pf this year’s edition of Miss High School North were the John and Penny Group, Letu Investment and Spar (Ondangwa), who showered Shali with various prizes.
Shali walked away with N$1 500, a Spar shopping voucher worth N$600, movie tickets valid for 12 months at Epic Cinema, airtime worth N$150 and a free photo shoot with Racio Media group.
The pageant is aimed at giving girls in high school a platform to take part in modelling activities to boost their confidence and empower other girls. Miss High School North further gives the community the opportunity to see the potential of local girls and their ability to make significant contributions to the community.
Mappz Kapofi and Linda Ruben were the hosts of this year’s event while Kalux, Danger Boys and Filly-zo wowed the crowd with their electrifying performances.
Said Kambangula: “the damaged transformer has since been replaced with a new one. The new transformer was commissioned at 11:49 on 23 December 2016. Power supply to the affected customers was restored at 17:55.” She explained that after the installation, the transformer has to be soaked for six hours hence the time period between commissioning and restoring of power.
Nampa reported last week that damage to the Okatope and Okongo substations resulted in a power outage and water supply shortages in some parts of the Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions.
“Alternatives were made and we managed to reconnect places that offer essential services, especially at Omuthiya and Okongo,” said the NamPower area superintendent for transmission network operations, Hendrik Espang.
He said his team provided the Okongo substation with a generator to supply electricity to the Okongo settlement while the transformer there was being repaired.
The Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (Nored) has managed to reconnect places affected by the disruption.
“We are hoping to finish the installation of the new transformer this evening or tomorrow morning to start testing it before the station can resume its normal power supply,” said Espang.
NamWater’s chief operating officer for business in northern Namibia, Kaliki Kambanda, on Wednesday commended Nored for supplying power to pump stations in the affected areas.
“Our water supply resumed Wednesday morning after Nored made alternative arrangements by getting power from Omuthiya substation to our pump stations, which were affected from Monday to Tuesday,” Kambanda said.
The Okatope substation transformer was about 20 years old. It was damaged when the technical team was busy repairing the Okongo substation, which was also struck by lightning on Saturday.
The Okatope substation was recently struck by lightning, leaving residents of Okatope and surrounding areas without electricity.
-Additional reporting by NAMPA
The ministry urges students to apply for visas at the embassies of the countries where they want to study and not at Home Affairs.
Ministry spokesperson Salome Kambala says the majority of students are applying to South Africa, Britain, China, Ukraine, Germany, Russia, the United States of America and, for the first time, France and Portugal.
Kambala says the ministry first noticed the increase when the students applied for passports and indicated that they wanted to further their studies abroad.
According to her some of the main reasons for the increase are that Namibian students want exposure to other countries and that companies want to invest in Namibians who did exceptionally well in grade 12.
She says the students abroad have bursaries from private companies, government funding or their parents pay for their studies.
She emphasises that people studying abroad should make sure that they won't find themselves without money.
There were incidents this year where students studying in the Ukraine and in China with government funding were caught short when payments were delayed.
She says this gives Namibia a bad name and students and parents should take responsibility and ensure that this does not happen.
She urges students relying on bursaries and loans to make sure of what the contract stipulates and what they should do in case there is a delay in payment.
Kambala further says that students should be aware that they must apply for visas to other countries at the appropriate embassies.
According to her the ministry has been inundated with requests from students for visas.
“Home Affairs issues visas to people who want to travel to Namibia,” she points out.
Students should note that the embassies of some countries are not located in Namibia, but in South Africa.
Kambala also urges those who will be studying abroad for a number of years to remember to renew their passports in time.
“When you see that your passport will expire soon, go to a Namibian embassy and apply for renewal. We have picked up these problems in the past and if your passport expires you will not be able to return home.”
Giving an overview of the festive season road safety campaign, which started on 22 November and will end on 16 January, MVA Fund spokesperson Kapena Tjombonde said the campaign was yielding favourable results.
Statistics recorded between 22 November and 26 December indicate that crashes have declined by 14%, injuries decreased by 23% and fatalities dropped by 23% compared to last year.
According to Tjombonde crash statistics recorded at the MVA Fund Call Centre from 1 January until 26 December 2016 indicate that 693 people died while 7 034 sustained varying degrees of injuries in 4 025 crashes. This means that crashes have reduced by 5%, injuries by 10% and fatalities by 3% compared to the same period in 2015.
The Fund says even though the statistics were looking better, road users must remain vigilant in order to achieve the 2016/17 road safety campaign's goal of stopping the loss of life. MVA Fund statistics confirm that roll-over crashes accounted for 34% of total motor vehicle crashes recorded during the festive season to date.
“This is a worrisome trend, as speed and driver behaviour contribute to such crashes. Motorists are therefore urged to remain alert and focused at all times in order to safely respond to any hazardous road condition or a sudden emergency on the road,” says Tjombonde.
Between 22 November and 26 December most of the crashes recorded (33%) were in the Khomas Region, followed by Otjozondjupa with 13% and Erongo with 12%.
Tjombonde says roadblocks have been set up around the country since the beginning of the road-safety campaign. Emphasis at roadblocks is placed on the roadworthiness of the vehicle, screening of driving licences, random alcohol testing, passenger safety and road-safety awareness.
He says the Omuthiya Emergency Medical Response Services (EMRS) base has been activated in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Omuthiya town council. The Arandis EMRS base has also been activated in conjunction with Eagle Ambulance Services, the Arandis town council and the business community.
Health service providers were trained in basic life support, and paramedics were deployed to eight state hospitals at Outapi, Oshakati, Keetmanshoop, Rundu, Tsumeb, Onandjokwe, Usakos and Eenhana to assist with trauma management.
Additionally, the Omuthiya and Arandis communities and the police received first responder's training. As part of their pledge to the road-safety campaign, M&Z Motors and Auas Motors donated 15 child seats, which have been distributed at roadblocks as a means of promoting child safety.
“The Fund reminds road users of their responsibility of saving lives. The festive season is a time when family and friends come together to celebrate, thus let us not tarnish this beautiful time with sorrow. The Fund further urges road users to exercise patience and vigilance when using the road, especially now when the roads are wet,” Tjombonde says.
Rössing's acting manager for safety, health, environment, communities and protection services, Johannes Silvanus, handed over the donation to representatives of Eagle Ambulance and Rescue Services, who are the coordinators of the project together with the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and the Arandis town council.
“Our hope is that this donation will assist the important effort of effectively responding to road accident emergencies as well as spreading road-safety awareness and extending this attitude to road users visiting the central, coastal areas this festive season,” Silvanus said.
Terence Ward, coordinator of the EMRS, accepted the donation on behalf of the MVA Fund and said the money would be used for ambulance maintenance.
“Our aim is to respond within 10 minutes of being notified of an accident to give accident victims the best possible chance of survival.
“We need our equipment to be in excellent running condition to realise this aim and Rössing's assistance makes this possible. Thank you for helping us to make a difference through providing quality emergency response services to road accident victims.”
Calls to the EMRS are directed through the MVA call centre on 081 9682.
Erastus Nakathila, acting chief executive officer of the Arandis council, said the council took the initiative to improve the area's emergency response effort during peak holiday periods.
An important component of the programme involves creating a community first responder hub at Arandis.
Twenty Arandis volunteers have been trained to assist the response teams. Eventually the plan is to train 200 volunteers, including police officers and fire teams.
In 2015 Rössing committed over N$18 million to community initiatives.
“There were fewer day visitors to Dolphin Park on Family Day but we expect the number of visitors to increase significantly on New Year's Day, which is usually our busiest time of the year.
“Most locals return from holidays and opt to spend the day with us. We also recorded no incidents and can confidently say that this year's festive season was one of the most peaceful ones we have experienced. People adhered to the rules and we did not record any casualties. Six life guards from the navy stationed at the pool keep a close watch on the swimmers.”
Holiday accommodation at Walvis Bay is well occupied for the festive season this year. The 27 bungalows at Dolphin Park, which can accommodate 70 people, are fully booked.
The 120 camping sites were 90% occupied while the 27 bungalows at the Esplanda Park facility were fully occupied by visitors from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
Walvis Bay traffic chief Eben Platt confirmed that no car accidents were reported on Christmas and Boxing Day on the B2 route between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
“Everything went quite well despite huge traffic volumes and we did not experience any major problems. Eight cases of inconsiderate driving were recorded.
“I must also thank the truckers for adhering to the call to make use of the Dune 7 road. We expect traffic to increase considerably once again after the December holidays when people return home from the coast. Please adhere to the rules of the road, do not speed or drink and drive,” Platt said.
The West Coast Safety Initiative reported 416 vehicles per hour travelling towards Walvis Bay and 668 vehicles per hour travelling towards Swakopmund on the B2 route on Christmas Day at 17:00. Numerous reckless driving complaints on the B2 route between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund were reported.
On 26 December, 214 vehicles per hour were counted travelling towards Swakopmund and 674 vehicles per hour travelled towards Henties Bay on the C34 route at 12:30.
The annual Touch Rugby and Angling Bonanza competitions took place at Henties Bay on the day.
Traffic volumes recorded at the Swakopmund road block at the same time indicated that 160 vehicles per hour were travelling to the coast and 674 vehicles per hour were travelling from the coast.
That is despite a decision by the National Examination, Assessment and Certification Board to lower their pass rate to 19 points.
There are only three schools for visually and hearing-impaired children in Namibia, and they all performed poorly. In the Khomas Region there are the School for the Visually Impaired and the School for the Hearing Impaired, and the Oshana Region has the Eluwa Special School.
The School for the Visually Impaired had eight grade 10 candidates, the School for the Hearing Impaired 14, and Eluwa 33.
At the two Windhoek schools five learners were promoted to grade 11. At Eluwa only one learner passed. Twenty-four of these learners obtained zero points.
Oshana is ranked second in the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) results for a third consecutive year
According to the deputy director for program quality assurance in the Oshana Region, Gerhard Ndafenongo, Eluwa's performance is a source of concern.
“Eluwa's results are a call for concern for our directorate, especially given that our aim is to ensure that not only do children attend school, but also that they complete formal schooling and are equipped with necessary knowledge and skills,” Ndafenongo said.
Ndafenongo attributed the school's poor performance to its lack of a principal. “The school has been without a principal for the past two years, but we have found a new principal set to assume duties in the 2017 school year. In the meantime, to address challenges with respect to curriculum education, the ministry has developed the curriculum framework for inclusive education.”
These results are a disappointment following the regional education symposium that was held in June. Regional education director Hileni Amukana said during the symposium that school principals would sign performance agreements and enhance interaction on performance standards. Amukana also called on all education staff to scrutinise their work and rededicate themselves to their core functions. She said school principals need to take school leadership seriously. They should monitor teaching and focus on academic performance, while inspectors should regularly visit the worst performing schools.
According to Shaningwa, this would help to solve the national housing backlog, which currently stands at 300 000 units.
Shaningwa praised the Oshakati council, saying its distribution of serviced land and affordable housing was the best in the country.
The minister yesterday handed over 141 houses at Ekuku constructed under a public-private partnership.
She also used the occasion to launch the construction of 600 low-cost houses at Ekuku.
“I am delighted to note that the Oshakati town council is one of the leading local authorities which provide serviced urban land and affordable houses for the people,” she said.
“I wish to congratulate the town council on a job well done. In the same vein, I call upon other local authorities to emulate the good example of Oshakati town council to increase the supply of serviced urban land at an affordable price.”
Shaningwa singled out the City of Windhoek, complaining that the demand for housing in the capital was very high, but the municipality was not delivering.
“I must therefore express my disappointment that the City of Windhoek is not doing the same. Windhoek is the capital city, where the demand for residential land and affordable housing is high. Come 2017, I want to see dust in the air in Windhoek,” she said.
Shaningwa challenged Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua to emulate Oshakati's land distribution model.
The Oshakati council entered into a public-private partnership arrangement with three local property developers in 2015 to construct 141 affordable houses. According to the mayor, Angelus Iiyambo, they are satisfied with the services provided by KA Developers, Fysal Development Company Pty Ltd and Oshana Econo Blocks.
The houses were built between June 2015 and June this year. Most of the beneficiaries are already occupying their houses.
“The population is increasing each and every year and due to urbanisation it requires urgent strategies to keep up with service and land delivery to residents,” Iiyambo said.
The houses are valued between N$360 000 and N$700 000.
One of the beneficiaries, 39-year-old Simson Taapopi, said he applied for land in 2004 and was very happy when he received a call from the town council informing him that his application was successful.
“Before I used to stay at a village in Omusati Region and now I am happy that I own a house in town where I can house my family,” said Taapopi, who is police officer.
The 16-year-old learner of Mvula Secondary School at Omaalala village in the Oshana Region scored 37 points in the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) examinations of 2016.
The pass mark for the JSC is 23 points. Immanuel is one of 19 out of 52 learners who sat for the examinations at their school this year and passed.
Immanuel has the highest points amongst those who passed, and he said it was not easy to achieve.
In a telephonic interview with Nampa last week, Immanuel said he studied beyond memorising information.
“I studied to understand and not to memorise,” he said confidently.
Immanuel, who has two younger sisters, wants to become a chartered accountant.
He lives with his aunt at the village, while his mother works in Rundu and his father near Otavi.
“My mother is a bar lady in Rundu and my dad works as a foreman at B2Gold mine; he does not really earn that much.”
He said he is grateful for everything his parents are doing and is motivated by his living conditions to achieve something great.
“Sometimes my teacher will say you can be born poor but if you die poor, that is entirely on you.”
Immanuel also expressed gratitude towards his teachers who made an effort to create an environment conducive for learners to study, including allowing them to camp at school before the exams.
He said camping at the school meant he could study at night.
A head of department at Mvula Secondary School, Olivia Nghidilepo, told Nampa that before and during the examinations, the grade 10 learners camped at the school to avoid having to walk long distances. Their homes do not have electricity, which is needed for studying at night.
Nghidilepo said the school lacks proper teaching facilities such as a laboratory and library.
“This situation had led to some learners not coming to school often, which interfered with teachers' work.”
She said the school's pass rate in the JSC had dropped from 38% in 2015 to 36.5% in 2016.
Immanuel encouraged other learners who are experiencing similar hardship to not give up, and to work hard for a brighter future.
According to the Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Monitoring Assessment that has just been released by the agriculture ministry, food security continues to weaken. Many households have depleted the last season's poor harvest and are now dependent on the market and the drought relief programme.
The assessment was conducted in the seven northern communal crop-producing regions from 31 October to 25 November.
According to the report over 70% of the Namibian population derives a livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture, which is mostly rain-fed agriculture.
For the past three seasons the country has experienced the worst drought in its history, the report says.
According to the report, last season's harvest, which was supplemented with market purchases, only lasted until August this year, leaving households completely dependent on the market and drought relief.
“In contrast, last season's drought was very severe when compared with the current season's drought, which showed a slight improvement in agricultural production. Generally, the problem facing the country continues to be lack of food reserves or carryover stock at household level, thereby exposing the majority of households to the vast impacts of food insecurity.”
According to the report households in the northern communal crop-producing regions say the food aid sometimes takes more than three months to reach them. Some households claim to have received food only once this year.
Households interviewed argued that drought relief was supposed to cover all households affected by drought, but was only provided to households considered to be in desperate need.
The government's drought-relief intervention assists more than 700 000 (about 32% of the population) people affected by the drought. The programme includes the provision of food, water, seed and the incentives for farmers to sell their livestock in order to relieve pressure on grazing.
Food assistance started in the 2012/2013 agricultural season and was recently extended to March next year. Food aid is distributed to the most vulnerable households. About 595 839 people continue to receive food assistance, according to the report.
The report says poor rainfall was observed at the beginning of the 2016/2017 rainy season (October to mid-November), and farmers did not start planting then.
By early December, however, the northern and north-eastern parts of the country had received moderate to good rains and planting could start.
Grazing continues to deteriorate in large parts of the country. However, with good showers received in December, the situation is reported to be improving in the north and north-east.
The police yesterday arrested a man and a woman at Outapi for allegedly having abducted a two-year-old boy in the Erongo Region more than a week ago.
Miguel Ndakula Hinaunye Aluvilu (1 year and 11 months old) was found unharmed with them and was placed in police care until he can be reunited with his mother today.
The suspects, 20-year-old mother of three Eline Nangula and her boyfriend, allegedly kidnapped the toddler shortly after Nangula had fetched him for a regular outing from his mother’s house in Mondesa at around 11:00 last Wednesday morning.
Chief Inspector Erastus Iikuyu of the Erongo police confirmed the arrest yesterday, and said the boy and his mother would be reunited today in Swakopmund.
He said the reasons for the abduction and further details about the tracing of the kidnappers and missing child could not be made public yet.
On Monday, Aluvilu’s mother, Ndahafa Namweya (25), said she had given a friend permission to take the child for a pizza, something that they did regularly.
The police say when Namweya realised that her friend and her son had gone missing she immediately contacted the police.
“The mother gave permission to her friend to take the child so that they could spend some time together. Nangula never returned with the boy and although his mother tried to call several times, she never picked up,” Iikuyu said.
An immediate manhunt was launched, with police following leads that pointed to Angola and the Omusati Region, areas with close family links to Nangula.
Namweya earlier told reporters: “I can’t sleep, I am a nervous wreck. How can someone you view as a good friend since 2013 do something like this? She already has three children, so I cannot understand why she would take my only child.”
She added that she had been at the clinic when Nangula fetched the boy.
“It wasn’t unusual. She regularly fetched him to spend time with him,” she said.
The suspects will be transferred to the Erongo Region where they will be charged and stand trial.
Police say the suspects are expected to make their first court appearance in Swakopmund on Friday.
Anyone who has information that can be helpful to the police investigation is urged to contact Chief Inspector Iikuyu at 081 246 4757.
“She died in Swakopmund state hospital due to a stab wound inflicted by her brother Gilbert Andrew Louw (20) on 24 December. He stabbed her in her back. We arrested the suspect and the investigation continues,” said Chief Inspector Erastus Ikuyu.
Gilbert appeared in court yesterday on a charge of murder. He was remanded in custody and the case was postponed to 8 February for further investigation.
The incident happened at Erf no. 309, Khomas Street in the Omdel residential area of Henties Bay at about 00:01. The victim was rushed to the Henties Bay clinic by family members and later transferred to Swakopmund State Hospital where she died at around 06:00 the following day.
The mother of the deceased, Marianna Louw, said the family was devastated by what had happened.
“People are quick to judge and do so without knowing what happened. We are finalising funeral arrangements and my daughter will hopefully be buried next week Saturday here in Henties Bay.”
This was the fourth murder case reported in the Erongo in the week before Christmas.
Aletha Swartbooi (27) died after she was stabbed in the chest at Omaruru at 23:00 on 23 December.
Passers-by discovered the body of Prince Gowaseb (18) in
Brendon Keramin (27) was shot dead in Tulinawa, Mondesa, on 20 December. Dawid Oubas Goa-Eiseb (31) was arrested in connection with Keramin's death and appeared on a murder charge on 22 December. The case was postponed to 4 January and the accused remains in custody.
More than 85 600 vehicles were stopped and inspected during this period and police tested 19 545 drivers for drunk driving. Close to 12 500 vehicles were stopped for roadworthiness inspections and to check if they were licensed, the head of NamPol's traffic division, Deputy Commissioner Ralph Ludwig, confirmed yesterday. He said 198 traffic-related arrests were made countrywide during this period, including 105 for drunk driving.
The Karas Region was in the lead with 25 arrests for drunk driving, followed by 21 in Kavango East, 13 in the Khomas Region and 10 in Oshana. Eight people were arrested for drunk driving in the Erongo, Hardap and Omusati regions. In Okavango West six drunk drivers were arrested, five in the Ohangwena Region and one in the Omaheke Region.
The Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund yesterday confirmed that 30 people had lost their lives on Namibian roads since the start of December, and 65 deaths had been recorded since 22 November.
Most crashes were recorded in the Khomas Region, which also had the most road fatalities at 13 since November.
There were ten fatalities in the Otjozondjupa Region, eight in the Kunene Region, seven in the Ohangwena Region and seven in the Omusati Region, according to NamPol.
In total, the MVA fund has recorded 398 crashes since 22November, with 336 taking place in December. A total of 741 people were injured in crashes, 692 of them in December.
The highest number of crashes, 97, was recorded in the week before Christmas. That week also had the most casualties – with 208 people injured and 17 killed.
Roll-overs were the most common type of crash (36%), followed by collisions (27%) and collisions with pedestrians (17%).
The MVA Fund says the year-to-date statistics indicate a slight reduction in crashes (down by 5%), injuries (down 10%) and fatalities (down 3%) compared to last year.
Since the first of January this year, 4 025 crashes have been recorded, which injured 7 034 people and killed 693.
A fourth man was arrested and police confiscated three AK47 rifles and large amounts of ammunition following the shoot-out.
Everyone looked forward to how many Namibian athletes would qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro but that did not turn out so well, as the country ended up not being represented in track-and-field events.
The confusion around the qualification of Jamaica-based sprinter Tjipee Herunga frustrated a lot, while no one even focused on the rest of the athletes in the Caribbean country who did not get close to qualifying.
Namibians who qualified for Rio failed to bring any medal home, and the arrest of the country's medal hope and Commonwealth silver medallist Jonas Junias Jonas saddened many.
The Paralympic team stepped up their game by increasing the number of qualifiers, although all eyes were on golden girl Johanna Benson who failed to scoop a medal at this year's event.
Namibia's top performer was sprinter Ananias Shikongo and his guide, Even Tjiviju, who scooped the country's only gold medal plus two bronze medals at the Paralympic Games, with Johannes Nambala adding to the medal tally with two silvers.
Being the Cosafa Cup defending champions and host country, the nation looked forward to the tournament and although not much hype was built around it the attendance during the quarterfinal match between Namibia and Botswana will be marked in football history.
Although the team lost on penalties, it bounced back to win the plate final as South Africa took the cup back home.
The U-17 football team followed in the seniors' footsteps by being crowned Cosafa U-17 champions, while the U-20s missed out on the competition due to the financial crisis that has hit sport.
The year also saw the Brave Warriors falling out of the AFCON 2017 qualifiers as well as the World Cup qualifiers.
The main highlight in the football fraternity was the divorce between MTC and the Namibia Premier League, which led to the league administrators having to find a new sponsor. So far they have secured only N$3 million for the season and that is not close to the amount needed for the league to kick off. The plan is for the league to kick off in February.
The absence of the NFA Cup was another setback for football, but the association has managed to secure a sponsor for the next three years and football players and fans will be in for a treat as from February next year.
In rugby circles, the senior national rugby team was crowned African champions, but the Currie Cup delivered disappointing results.
The U-19 cricket team delivered an impressive performance in Bangladesh earlier this year when they ended seventh at the cricket world cup and automatically qualified for the 2018 world.
Ending the year in style was Julius 'Blue Machine' Indongo who knocked out the knockout specialist Eduard Troyanovsky in his backyard to claim the IBF and IBO light welterweight world titles.
In this month, Namibia bagged three world titles, the third being that of Bethuel 'Tyson' Uushona when he won the WBF welterweight world title against Rafal Jackiewicz of Poland.
Despite some positive results from the sportsmen and women, associations have been finding it hard as their budgets saw major cuts.
The financial crisis in sports has been hampering sport activities and forced the Directorate of Sport to cut the number of teams that participated at the Zone Five Games in Angola earlier this month.
Despite promises of rewarding the Paralympic medal winners, the Sport Directorate has not yet done so.
The sport fraternity pinned their hopes on President Hage Geingob to rescue sport, as he is the football and rugby patron. But Geingob made it clear that the government would not get involved in football, as it is against FIFA rules.
The usual infighting within sport codes continued, as concerned people demanded a new football leadership while boxing promoters criticised the new members of the boxing control board.
There is faint hope for the future of Namibian sport, as the sport ministry is hoping for a bigger budget allocation in the next financial year.