Articles on this Page
- 01/08/17--14:00: _Cash disappears fro...
- 01/08/17--14:00: _Rundu's crime hotspot
- 01/08/17--14:00: _Namcor tender cance...
- 01/08/17--14:00: _N$3.5 billion sypho...
- 01/08/17--14:00: _Rains to continue
- 01/08/17--14:00: _Genocide lawsuit fi...
- 01/08/17--14:00: _Tractor shortage hi...
- 01/08/17--14:00: _No shoot-to-kill order
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Salute action in March
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Hard PSL window for...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _QSB athletics train...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Tennis tourney exci...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _JSE or offshore?
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Resolutions to kick...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Nokia launches 6 Se...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Detroit car show br...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Qatar lines up spec...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Government looks at...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Poor results rooted...
- 01/09/17--14:00: _Akufo-Addo caught u...
- 01/08/17--14:00: Cash disappears from company safe
- 01/08/17--14:00: Rundu's crime hotspot
- 01/08/17--14:00: Namcor tender cancellation draws criticism
- 01/08/17--14:00: N$3.5 billion syphoned out
- 01/08/17--14:00: Rains to continue
- 01/08/17--14:00: Genocide lawsuit filed in New York
- 01/08/17--14:00: Tractor shortage hits North
- 01/08/17--14:00: No shoot-to-kill order
- 01/09/17--14:00: Salute action in March
- 01/09/17--14:00: Hard PSL window for Nam
- 01/09/17--14:00: QSB athletics training camp success
- 01/09/17--14:00: Tennis tourney excites juniors
- 01/09/17--14:00: JSE or offshore?
- 01/09/17--14:00: Resolutions to kick-start your business
- 01/09/17--14:00: Nokia launches 6 Series
- 01/09/17--14:00: Detroit car show braces for Trump
- 01/09/17--14:00: Qatar lines up specials
- 01/09/17--14:00: Government looks at wool
- 01/09/17--14:00: Poor results rooted in weak foundations
- 01/09/17--14:00: Akufo-Addo caught up in plagiarism row
The two men Samson Uirab, 52, and Deon Savage, 51, were each granted bail of N$5 000 and the case postponed to 16 February for legal representation and further investigation.
According to Chief Inspector Erastus Ikuyu, a group of unknown suspects entered Distell Namibia between 3-5 December and tried to open a big safe mounted into a wall with a cutting torch.
A cash amount of N$157 536 was reported missing from the company safe.
“We suspect the criminals ran out of gas and left without any success. When the manager Hettie Rautenbach arrived at the office on 5 December, she discovered the break-in and also noticed that the safe was damaged but not opened.”
One of the arrested suspects apparently arrived at the police station the following day and reported a break-in and a case of theft.
The investigation officer discovered something was amiss when he called Rautenbach who was surprised that a worker wanted to open a case of theft.
She was adamant that the safe was not opened during the break-in.
Clearing started on 23 December 2016 after yet another rape incident in the area on 16 December last year.
NHE Kings Park has 208 houses and many residents moved there in 2002.
A committee consisting of 12 residents was formed after long deliberations for them to do something in the interest of the community.
One of the committee members, Annalisa Muranda, told Nampa they lobbied residents to assist and many of them donated money towards the initiative.
A total of N$8 400 was collected for the clearing of the area.
Muranda said the money will mainly be used to buy food for those helping in the cleaning activity as well as to pay for services needed in the bush clearing process.
She said the committee was assisted with gloves, black rubbish bags and masks by the Rundu Town Council and the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The committee used their own tools such as axes to cut down trees.
Muranda said the cleaning exercise is not yet done because the rain stopped them from continuing.
Another committee member, Conrad Akwenye, said criminals use the bushy piece of land to plan robbery of houses.
“My house, for example, was broken into three times already and they stole many valuable items, which is the same with many of my neighbours here,” he said.
On several occasions, Akwenye said, they hear cries for help coming from the bush but they are scared to risk their own lives.
“You can really not come out to help because you are too afraid something bad could happen to you, and it is based on this suffering that we realised something drastic had to be done.”
Akwenye noted that the challenge of streetlights in NHE Kings Park not functioning exacerbated the problem.
“We decided to rather group ourselves and fight the crime we are facing by standing together for the sake of our people,” he said.
Approached for comment, Northern Regional Electricity Distribution (Nored) spokesperson Herman Ngasia wanted to know from this reporter if the committee reported the issue to them, saying they can only respond on complaints laid.
During the clearing, residents found drugs, cattle ear tags, and a made-up bed among other items.
Muranda said the area was cleared during Operation Omake here in February last year, but the bush grew back fast due to continuous rain received in the region.
Operation Omake was launched by President Hage Geingob last year with the aim of reducing crime by de-bushing identified crime-prone areas such as bush paths.
Residents said that since they cleared the piece of land, they have been sleeping peacefully as no crime has since been reported in the area, something which has earned them praise across Rundu.
In an effort to avoid dumping of refuse on the freshly cleared land, the committee will now issue fines of N$100 to residents who do so.
However, Rundu Mayor Verna Sinimbo said the committee should rather report cases of illegal dumping to council.
“You can take pictures of a vehicle for example or a person and forward such relevant information to council so that council, the institution empowered to issue fines by law, can then take the necessary steps against the perpetrators,” Sinimbo said.
Section 28 of the Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Regulation no 332 states that any person who is found dumping illegally will be liable to a fine of not exceeding N$2 000.
An impressed Sinimbo commended NHE residents for sacrificing their time during the festive season to ensure that their environment remains clean and free of criminals.
“People must realise that they are the custodians of their surroundings, which means it is their responsibility to take care of and protect their environment,” she said.
Sinimbo said council will surely back up efforts of this nature and support where it can.
Also asked to comment, Deputy Commissioner Willie Bampton told Nampa that he was not aware of any complaints from NHE residents about the crime-prone area, but did note two cases of housebreaking reported in that area recently.
Over 20 companies tendered to transport and distribute petroleum products for Namcor, but the corporation cancelled the tender in December last year.
Some of the tenderers, who preferred anonymity, alleged that a certain company which was not shortlisted has attempted to bribe the Namcor board with about N$2 million for their company to be considered.
Namcor Board chairperson Patrick Kauta dismissed this allegation as untrue, noting that the board is not aware of any company trying to bribe it.
“We were just appointed last year September and the tender was advertised in August/July,” Kauta told Nampa on Friday.
Kauta, however, acknowledged that the tender was cancelled because about 60% of the companies that applied did not comply with the required specifications. He said another reason is that none of the companies have drivers to carry dangerous products.
The tender is for the transportation of all of the Namcor’s petroleum products ranging from petrol, diesel, and heavy fuel oil to its diverse client-base around the country.
Five companies were reportedly shortlisted for the tender.
Namcor Managing Director Immanuel Mulunga informed the tenderers in writing that the cancellation was done in accordance with the rights under the specific tender.
“We appreciate your interest in this tender and your decision to work with us and we remain interested in doing business together in future ventures,” Mulunga said in a copy of the letter in Nampa’s possession.
Approached for comment on Friday, Namcor spokesperson Utaara Hoveka said the tender was cancelled at the direction and guidance of the company’s board of directors.
Hoveka stressed that the board want to ensure that the process was free of loopholes and in line with international best practices.
“Namcor remains committed to maintaining high standards of professionalism and transparency in all its dealings,” he said.
Hoveka said the tender will be re-advertised within the first quarter of 2017 and interested companies will have the opportunity to participate, including those that already participated in the cancelled exercise.
Taking the stand last week Friday, forensic accountant and KPMG South Africa director Roy Waligori revealed worrying details involving Extreme Customs Clearing Services (XCCS) and Organised Freight both owned by Julius, and possibly 100 Chinese importers who may be in the wrong.
Waligori, together with KPMG South Africa were called in to investigate possible money-laundering by the Bank of Namibia in June 2016 while the apex bank launched an investigation into the matter in February 2016.
Speaking about the investigation, Waligori said: “the purpose of our investigation was to investigate remittances away from Namibia by clearing agents and importers. There are 30 people that we can link to these irregular activities which include the three accused. We have found N$3.5 billion that have been remitted offshore through Nedbank. As it relates to XCCS and Organised Freight, the transaction could go back as far as 2008.”
The investigation further uncovered that US$600 million in total was paid into XCCS' forex account for the period 2008 to 2016.
The investigation stemmed from remittances paid into XCCS's forex account, giving rise to possible money-laundering or capital flight on the part of the Chinese importers.
According to Waligori, there was a difference in the invoices presented to both Nedbank and customs officials in Walvis Bay. “Documentation reflected the exporters invoice was not the document used to issue payment. To our minds that required an explanation. It did not fit well with our understanding. Why is there a discrepancy? It didn't appear to be correct.”
He further revealed that the theme was consistent amongst 100 Chinese importers who had used XCCS as clearing agent.
“We considered two possibilities; one being the abuse of under-declaring, the other possibility is potential money-laundering where foreign currency has left Namibia,” said Waligori.
Waligori and his team have since gone through 1 600 transactions and are still investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, Julius has denied any wrongdoing on his part and explained that he was committed to obeying the law. Responding to questions asked by his lawyer, Louis Botes, Julius told the court that he had already informed the Ministry of Finance about possible fraud on the side of the Chinese importers who had used his customs clearing business in April 2016.
Julius informed the court he picked up irregularities during an audit conducted on his business.
No cash container
Meanwhile, the Bank of Namibia refuted allegations that an amount of N$3.5 billion was found by police in a container.
“The Bank of Namibia would like to respond to concerns emanating from media enquiries and social media posts over the past few weeks regarding the supposed N$3.5 billion found in a container in the North,” the bank said in a statement.
“This information is wrong and not supported by facts. The current court proceedings of three suspects relate to criminal charges of fraud, money-laundering and tax evasion involving trade to the value of the amount cited above. As far as can be established, the Namibian Police did not find any money hoarded by the suspects when they were arrested as is alleged.”
Yesterday, Sieglinde Somses, forecaster at the Namibia Meteorological Service said that a “high pressure system starts to ridge from the East, pushing more tropical moisture over the interior from Tuesday.”
Somses explained that this will improve the chances for rain over most of Namibia except the Northwest and the South for the coming week.
In addition, a “slight drop in temperatures is also expected for the week.”
Rainfall continued over many parts of the country into the weekend, with weather stations reporting 8.8mm at the Katima Mulilo on Friday, 8.9mm at Tsumeb and 7mm at Mariental.
Members of the public further reported rain in Windhoek on Saturday night, measuring up to 15mm in places.
On Thursday last week, Aroab, in the //Karas Region, reported 40.5mm of rainfall, and Rundu close to 20mm.
Nkurenkuru, in the Kavango West Region, reported 106mm on Wednesday last week.
The 6 January Hydrological Service Namibia flood bulletin reported continued good rains over the north east and eastern parts of the country, but noted that the water level for the Zambezi River at Katima Mulilo was at 0.78m on 4 January, which remains below normal for this time of the year.
Nevertheless, the bulletin stated that levels are expected to rise within the next weeks due to good rains received in the catchment areas over the past week.
Okavango River levels are increasing as a result of good rains in the catchment areas, and by Friday they remained above normal for the time of the year, measuring 5.22 at Rundu, having increased by 12 cm since Thursday.
The river level at Nkurenkuru increased by 17cm and was measured as 2.99m on Friday.
The complainants filed the federal class action lawsuit at a Manhattan Federal Court in New York on Thursday demanding that the lawful representatives of the OvaHerero and Nama people are given a central role in negotiations “in order to assure that their minority, indigenous and human rights are properly protected.”
The complainants further ask that the court grant the request in order to ensure that the “claims against Germany relating to the 1904-1908 Genocide not be compromised or settled without their participation or permission.”
OvaHerero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro and Chief David Frederick, Chairman of the Nama Traditional Authorities Association are listed as the primary complainants, against the Federal Republic of Germany.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Nama and OvaHerero people of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, the United States and elsewhere, a statement issued last week noted.
The lawsuit was made necessary as a result of “having repeatedly petitioned the German government to include them in the ongoing discussions, without success,” the statement explained.
The complainants sued under the Alien Tort Statue, a 1789 United States law that is often invoked in human rights cases and lawyers representing the complainants at McCallion & Associates, LLP, said the particular law leaves the door open for US courts to assert jurisdiction in genocide cases.
The suit chiefly asks that the court demand and restrain Germany from continuing to exclude the complainants from participation in discussions and negotiations regarding the Herero and Nama genocide.
Filed court papers show that the lawsuit is centred on the actions of Germans in Namibia between 1885 and 1908, during which the complainants say more than 100 000 died as a result of German policies and actions, and led to the colonial authorities seizing over 130 000 square kilometres of land without consent.
“The OvaHerero and Nama indigenous people were robbed, during the German colonial occupation period, of virtually all of the rich grazing lands that provided the economic basis for their communities and cultural heritage.”
As a result, the groups were “condemned for generations to perpetual and institutionalised poverty”, a statement issued by the legal representatives from McCallion & Associates, LLP, stated.
Uprisings against German colonial policies and authority eventually led to thousands more casualties, based on the sanctioning of policies aimed at annihilating the OvaHerero and Nama, including the creation of numerous concentration camps and forced labour around the country, the court summary states.
Nevertheless, after “decades of denying that the near destruction and eradication” of the two groups took place, Germany has “refused to include representatives of the OvaHerero and Nama peoples” in the joint-negotiations which began last year.
In July 2016, the Namibian Sun reported that OvaHerero and Nama leaders said government's role in the reparation talks should be restricted to mediator, but that the affected communities should have direct representation during the talks.
In the court documents, the complainants argue that a resolution to the negotiations cannot take place effectively if the relevant people affected by the events are excluded.
Reports published last month in an international newspaper noted that Germany was negotiating according to strict guidelines and that personal reparations would not be considered. Instead, German negotiations had reportedly proposed various funding projects, a proposal that has been slammed by representatives in the OvaHerero and Nama groups who questioned whether such aid would reach the relevant people.
Last week, Namibia's special envoy on German reparations, Zed Ngavirue, told Namibian Sun that he was not aware of such guidelines and that a final agreement would depend on both Namibia and Germany agreeing to the terms of the final agreement.
The farmers are complaining that there are not enough tractors to meet every farmer's ploughing needs following good rains in recent weeks.
The ministry of agriculture has set aside about N$32 million to be used for the 2017 dry-land crop production programme in Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Zambezi, Oshana, Kunene and the two Kavango regions. The programme aims to encourage subsistence farmers within the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) to produce enough food to feed their families and to sell the surplus to the Agro-Marketing and Trading Agency (AMTA) to enable them to earn some money.
However, various stakeholders are saying there are a number of challenges for this to become a reality. Agricultural extension offices were opened at various constituencies, with workers roped in to help distribute seeds and fertilisers, as well as to monitor, supervise ploughing and advise farmers. Information obtained from some extension officers, indicate that during the last crop season, a large amount of money was returned to treasury, unused due to a shortage of tractors. Some farmers are claiming that they received vouchers to make use of government-subsidised tractors, but most of them have not used them yet, as only one tractor is allocated to each constituency. “Waiting for the government tractor or government-subsidised tractor is time wasting,” said Elina Kashima from Oshinyadhila village in Oshana Region.
“Beneficiaries are a lot with only one tractor serving the whole constituency. Sometimes owners of government-subsidised tractors do not want to help us saying that government takes long to pay their money. You just have to use private tractors, which are very expensive; otherwise you will run out of time.” Namibian Sun understands that private tractor owners charge different prices.
In high demand areas, they charge around N$450 per hectare, while charging around N$700 per hectare in areas with a lower demand. When it comes to government-subsidised tractors, the ministry of agriculture pays N$250 per hectare, while the farmer settles the difference.
The Chairperson of Oshana Regional Council Management, Hanu Kapenda, said many farmers are visiting extension offices to benefit from the scheme. “Since extension offices were introduced in 2014, crop producers flocked there to get ploughing vouchers, seeds and fertilisers. This is an indication that crop producers welcome the programme.
“However, rain is a challenge. It has not been enough and tractors could not attend to all beneficiaries within the short period,” he said. Kapenda says that Oshana Region consists of eleven constituencies and on average each constituency has one government tractor.
“These tractors are complemented by private tractors which are also registered to operate under the same programme where the ministry gives vouchers to farmers for tractors to help them with subsidised prices,” he said.
Following the death of three suspected poachers in December in a poaching hotspot in north-eastern Namibia and the accidental shooting of a man mistaken for a poacher near Outjo last week, Nampol issued a statement noting that these actions were in line with the provisions of the country's constitutional and legal frameworks.
Major-General James Tjivikua said the police at all times operate in line with the constitutional right to life which shall be protected, but also underlined the fact that police often have to make lightning quick decisions in the course of their duties which often take place under pressure and unpredictable circumstances.
“We are not infallible and therefore bound to make mistakes under the circumstances,” he said.
Nevertheless, he pointed out that law enforcement officers continue to work within the legal framework of the Criminal Procedure Act, often in environments that are not ideal or controlled.
“The reality on the ground is however far different … no criminal will ever inform you that he is about to go and commit whatever offence. Even in the event that the police detected a person had engaged in criminal conduct, in more cases than not will that person try and evade capture. Such is the reality of the situation.”
He said law enforcement officers work in “precarious and difficult circumstances and within a blink of an eye, an officer is expected to make a critical decision.”
He said that according to Act No. 51 of 1977, as amended under section 49, the Criminal Procedure Act makes provision for an arresting officer to use force if a reasonable need arises.
The section states that an authorised person when making an arrest, where force cannot be avoided, such as when a suspect flees, or resists arrest, may use “such force as may in the circumstances be reasonably necessary to overcome the resistance or to prevent the person concerned from fleeing.”
If a suspect, who is reasonably suspected of having committed an offence, cannot be arrested or prevented from fleeing by “other means than by killing him, the killing shall be deemed to be justifiable homicide,” the section reads.
Tjivikua further emphasised that the functions of the Namibian police force as set down by the law, is the protection of life and property, the prevention of crime, the maintenance of law and order, the preservation of the internal security of the country and the investigation of offences.
As such, the question of how far should law enforcement should go in order to exercise their duties should be asked, Tjivikua said.
He added that in light of recent events linked to anti-poaching operations, “where a matter is under police investigation, it must be understood that, the due process of the law must be allowed to take its course and whoever has a special interest in the matter, without making an attempt to restrain anyone's freedom of speech, avoid to prejudice the matter.”
He said ultimately the courts are the only competent authorities entitled to judge on such matters.
Tjivikua on Friday said Nampol had taken note of the public response to the recent death of three poachers in the Bwabwata National Park following armed skirmishes with local anti-poaching units there in December. Another poacher was critically wounded.
In addition, the shooting of Johannes Haneb by members of an anti-poaching unit near Outjo last week, a farmworker who was on his way to a cattle post on instructions from his employer, who was allegedly mistaken for one of three suspected rhino poachers in the area, increased public concern around the alleged shoot to kill policy by anti-poaching units since December.
Tjivikua noted, however, that the escalating incidences of poaching in the Bwabwata National Park combined with the struggle to “deal with the scourge of poaching in the Etosha National Park and other places, including commercial farms is a cause for grave concern.”
In December, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said anti-poaching units had been reinforced by members of the Namibian Defence Force and the units were given the green light to act in self-defence when attacked by poachers.
Moreover, Shifeta explained that the anti-poaching units were instructed to take necessary measures aimed at preventing poachers from fleeing a scene of crime, especially when armed with illegal and deadly weapons.
The Salute Boxing Academy will host its first boxing bonanza for the year in March, spokesperson Fredrich Nghiyolwa has announced.
Nghiyolwa said the boxing stable promised more fireworks this year as it eyed world titles.
“We opened our gym today (yesterday) and we expect all the boxers to start preparing for the year,” he said in an interview.
“We have enough time to March to polish our boxers so that they can be ready to entertain the boxing lovers.
“We expect WBF champion Tyson Uushona to defend his world tile during that time too.
“Guys like Lukas Ndafoluma are likely to be in action on the same day too, because we want to start the year with a bang.”
Nghiyolwa could not confirm the date and the venue for their first boxing event, stating that the leaders were still to decide.
He called for patience from boxing fans and assured the public that everything would be communicated to them as soon as all the logistics had been arranged.
“We hope and believe that the title will remain in Namibia when Tyson returns to the ring to defend it.
“There are also many more titles to be won by our boxers this year in view of the fact that we want to take boxing to another level,” he said.
Football officials have expressed concern that it will be difficult for any local players to sign with clubs in South Africa this month given the current situation in Namibia.
The South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) transfer window opened on 3 January and will close on 31 January at midnight.
However, there has been no news of Namibian players signing with clubs in the South African league.
Namibian coaches and football officials have blamed the situation on the fact that the players have not been active due to the absence of the NPL, caused by a lack of sponsors.
Well-known football guru Jakes Amaning believes that it will be almost impossible for any local player to make a move to SA this January, unless he has been on the radar of a specific club.
Speaking in an interview with Namibian Sun yesterday Amaning said: “The fact that our local players have not been active will make it difficult for the South African clubs to sign any.
“Clubs often like to sign players who have at least been active for the past five months rather than acquiring the signature of a player who has been out of action.
“The guys would be lucky if they maybe were in the plans of a specific club before.”
Tura Magic FC coach Paulus Shipanga confirmed that none of his players had attracted any South African clubs during the transfer window.
He also said that he was worried whether he even had a team anymore.
“Well, I do not even know if I have a team anymore because it has been so quiet.
“I can however confirm that none of the players we had have given any indication that they could possibly be lucky and cross the border to SA for greener pastures.
“I do believe that there is seriously almost no chance that any of our local guys will secure deals in South Africa during January.
“I am still waiting on the club to actually call me in because we have been in the dark for some time now,” Shipanga said.
In the past several Namibian players moved to South African clubs during the transfer window.
Some of the transfers in recent years included the likes of Wangu Gome, Maximilian Mbaeva, Deon Hotto, Da Costa Angula, Chris Katjiukua, Ronald Ketjijere and Peter Shalulile.
Orlando Pirates coach Woody Jacobs also does not expect any of his players to move to South Africa this month.
“I do not think that any of Orlando Pirates players will have a chance to move to SA this season since they have not been active for so many months.
“There is nothing happening in Namibian football, making things tougher for the players to actually search for any team in SA.
“It will be extremely difficult for any of our local players to make any breakthrough transfer to the PSL,” Jacobs said.
Premier League-winning coach Brian Isaacs, who had a very strong squad with players who could have made potential moves, also said he was unaware of any interest in his players from SA clubs.
Tigers were one of the clubs that were jam-packed with young, emerging talent last season.
“To be honest with you, I do not know what is going on at the moment because we have not been in contact with many of the players.
“However, no player has actually given me any indication that they have received calls from South African league clubs,” Isaacs said.
Citizens FC coach Christy Guruseb also said that there had been no transfer talks about his players.
He said he would start with training in preparation for the Namibia Football Association Cup, despite the fact that the league still had no sponsor.
Speaking to Nampa on Saturday, Van Rensburg said this year was one of the best since the QSB training camp and clinic started 24 years ago.
“We have a record entry of 215 learners from across Namibia,” she said.
Coaches from South Africa assisted participants with the finer techniques of athletics.
Jonathan Greyvenstein (jumps) and Linley de Beer (throws) spent time with local athletes during the four-day camp at the Independence Stadium and according to Van Rensburg, both coaches reported interest from athletes in the track and field codes.
Former local trainees Roger Haitenge and Charmaine Smit also ploughed back their knowledge and skills as trainers.
Giving Nampa a preview of what could be expected in 2017; Van Rensburg said the plan was to host several athletics events in Swakopmund, Oshakati and Windhoek.
“We plan to have a mini grand-prix event in either Swakopmund or Oshakati, while we also plan to have a national athletics event in Oshakati,” she said, adding that it would probably be towards the end of April.
Another major event in the pipeline is a two-hour night league scheduled to take place in Otjomuise. The date of the event would be announced in due course, she said.
The idea behind the QSB Athletics Coaching and Training Camp is for participating learners and coaches to return to their schools and prepare for the school athletics season that starts this week.
It was the brainchild of the late Quinton-Steele Botes. He passed away in June 2013 after losing a battle against cancer.
Speaking to Namibian Sun just after his match was one of the country's top under-14 players, Connor van Schalkwyk.
“I am excited about this tournament, because it is an opportunity for me to qualify for the Africa Junior Championships, which is not easy because you have to be in the top eight to make it,” he said, describing his first match, which he won.
Another Namibian U-14 player, Hendrina Appollus, could also not hide her excitement about the championships, stating that it is a “great” tournament for the junior tennis players.
“It will be a great experience for some of the kids who have not played in such tournaments before,” she said.
Although Appollus was yet to play she said she was ready for her matches. “It will be even greater if I qualify for the AJC because I have never been there, as I will play against players from other countries and also just learning from them.”
Codie van Schalkwyk is Namibia's top U-16 player and was also excited about the tournament.
“I am very happy that Namibia is hosting it and I hope that we can do our best and try to win,” he said.
He described it as a tough competition as it a qualifier for the AJC. “It is tough as you have even more experienced players but I have prepared well and hopefully I can qualify.”
Thabo Ncube from Zimbabwe was over the moon that he made it into the team to Namibia, as it was his first visit to the country.
“I am quite excited to be here as conditions are also tough but I am prepared and really excited to take part in this competition,” he said.
He added that was an opportunity that all junior tennis players had to embrace and give their best shot.
Namibian coach Samuel Pretorius van Wyk described the tournament as a good opportunity, as the host country was allowed to enter more players.
“This gives the children a good idea of where they are in terms of their tennis skills because when they play here they are the best but when they go out they realise what they are so, these tournaments are really good for the children and they need to play in such tournaments,” he said.
Coach Kagiso Kelebeile from Botswana shared the same sentiments as his Namibian counterpart and said his team stood a chance of winning the competition.
The tournament is organised by the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Namibia Tennis Association (NTA), with the support of the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF).
Top U-14 and U-16 players from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are competing in the tournament.
A major discussion point for us as we look forward into 2017 is a focus on the 'risk-appropriate' side of the equation. To illustrate this point, here is a statistic for consideration:
“If you invested in the JSE All Share Index from September 2014, your portfolio has returned just 4.7% including dividends”.
Put another way: if you are the average local investor, diligently trying to save through a retirement annuity, perhaps using an index-tracking product for the lowest possible cost, you have effectively gone backward after 16 months of contributions. Only dividends have dragged you over the line and into the black over the period.
Industry heavyweights such as Deutsche Bank are making some encouraging noises about South Africa once again, but this needs to be seen in the context of the Eurasia Group seeing us as one of the top ten political risks across the globe in the coming year.
For us, it makes little sense to encourage clients to keep pushing their capital into South African assets, when there is such a high degree of uncertainty. South Africa definitely has its place in your portfolio, but 2016 has illustrated the overhang of bad political decisions on our economy and your investment portfolio.
Ok, but what about the Trump factor? Without a doubt, we are entering a fascinating investment period. When the president-elect of the United States can knock millions of dollars off the market capitalisation of automotive and aerospace firms with a single tweet, then the word 'volatility' is redefined.
Let's again weigh up risk and reward. Recently a Donald Trump tweet knocked off 3% from Ford and nearly 2% off of General Motors in a single day. The major US indices however were down 0.21% (Dow Jones Industrial) and 0.08% in the case of the S&P.
What if the ratings agencies decide that the political and economic risk justifies downgrading South Africa to 'junk' status? This is a very real risk for 2017 and with Standard Bank (3.49% of the Top 40), FirstRand (3.17%), Barclays Africa (1.37%), Investec (1.1%) and Nedbank (0.97%), the whiff of a downgrade will immediately drag down the index. On top of this, the likes of Remgro and Old Mutual will also be punished with their bank exposure.
If we stick to our mantra of protecting client capital, then we feel investors would be better served by building a portfolio of offshore ETFs and equities. In this way we can reduce concentration and event-related risks for clients.
The global investment environment is highly fractured and is likely to stay this way for much of 2017. This implies that the overarching theme will be balancing risk and reward.
Anton van Heerden, executive vice-president, Africa & Middle East at Sage, suggests some financial resolutions to kick-start your small business in 2017.
Use a quiet week or two at the beginning of the year to set out your goals and strategies for 2017 before the hustle really begins. You can ask yourself the following questions:
Do we want to target new customer segments? Should we replace our outdated tech with new software and computers? Is it to time to strengthen the team by hiring new people? Are we happy with our product and service lines? Are we pricing appropriately? Should we be looking at new business partnerships? Should we consider digital/e-commerce solutions to take my business to the next level?
Forecasting your cash flow
You should have a cash-flow forecast for at least the next 12 months, so that you can determine how your company is likely to grow. This will also make it easier to identify weak areas that may be losing money. You can do a comprehensive cash-flow forecast with nearly any good accounting software package.
Consider going paperless
The two most popular benefits to switch to a paperless office are the environment and saving costs. While these two are important, there are many hidden positives that tossing paper can do to help small businesses reinvent and simplify their endeavour - leading to increased profitability.
It isn't simply cutting the spend on paper that is a benefit, but also saving on the purchasing cost of filing cabinets, paper and folders, the cost of the office space to store the filing cabinets and paying staff to maintain the often cumbersome system.
This also includes no longer needing to purchase as many copiers, fax machines, printers and time wasted looking for paperwork that has been misfiled.
Get automated: Find a good software accounting tool
Good accounting software that can grow with a business, preferably from a supplier that also started small and understands the challenges of this market, helps a business owner keep a finger on the financial pulse of the entity.
The introduction of cloud-based accounting software has also made the costs of this service more financially viable. Technology has the ability to automate and speed up the calculations of business expenses such as tax and payroll and ensure that these are accurate. By automating accounting processes, this will free up time for staff to focus on other activities.
The beginning of the year is a great time to get in touch with clients, suppliers and other stakeholders.
A personal phone call or email to wish them well for the New Year is a good way to get on their radar early in the year.
Even the best-run businesses have occasional months where they experience an unexpected gap between the money they need to pay their bills and the money that comes into their bank accounts.
Unforeseen events such as productivity lost because of strikes and power outages, expensive machines that break, or a big customer missing a payment date can cause a temporary cash crunch for healthy business.
Finland-based company HMD Global announced on Sunday its first Nokia-branded mobile phone. Based on the Android system, the Nokia 6 is intended for the Chinese market.
Available in early 2017, the price of the new gadget will be 1 699 Chinese yuan, the company announced in its press release. It also said it will be available in China through JD.com only.
Arto Nummela, CEO of HMD Global, said: "We intend to move with speed to establish a position as a player in the smartphone category."
HMD Global is based in Espoo, Finland. It has obtained the Nokia trademark through exclusive licensing valid for ten years.
Nummela previously worked with Nokia and Microsoft. HMD Global's main office is located in Espoo, close to the current Nokia main office.
HMD Global in Finland designs and markets the phones, but actual production takes place in Asia. Besides smartphones, the company also plans to produce tablets.
The Nokia 6 display has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor with X6 LTE modem. It has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage with which to run the latest version of Android Nougat.
The return of Nokia as a mobile phone brand got an early start in December as the Nokia website resumed its mobile phones section. HMD operates the mobile phone pages of the website.
Once the flagship of the Finnish IT industry, Nokia handsets began losing markets in late 2000s. Nokia sold its original mobile phone operations to Microsoft and the U.S. conglomerate later replaced Nokia with "MS Phones" brands, albeit the Nokia-launched Lumia name survived.
Under the licence agreement, Nokia - today mainly in telecommunications and internet development, receives royalty payments from HMD for sales of every Nokia-branded mobile phone and tablet, covering both brand and intellectual property rights. Nokia is not an investor or shareholder in HMD.
The global car industry was bracing for more confrontational tweets from President-elect Donald Trump yesterday, with the festive Detroit car show due to kick off.
As he prepares to take office later this month, Trump has used his Twitter account to take aim at car makers, warning that they may face stiff import tariffs for selling cars made with foreign labour on the US market.
As recently as Thursday, Trump trained his sights on Toyota for building cars in Mexico, after having similarly spotlighted Ford and General Motors.
In what appeared to be a pre-emptive manoeuvre, Fiat Chrysler announced late Sunday that it was returning manufacture of the Ram heavy-duty truck to the United States from Mexico, while investing $1 billion in Michigan and Ohio factories and creating 2 000 jobs.
After having taken on several car makers in succession, the annual celebration of the global car industry in a state which narrowly voted for Trump in November seems like a very inviting target for the president-elect.
Scott Houldieson, a regional executive with the United Automobile Workers in Chicago, told AFP that Mexican car workers earned between $5 and $8 an hour, versus an average of $20 for newly hired Ford workers in the United States.
At corporate headquarters and in the halls of Detroit hotels where executives have gathered, a pressing question has been whom the president-elect would target next. Have Ford, Toyota and GM weathered the storm?
A representative for one car maker who declined to be named told AFP that keeping close watch on Trump's Twitter account, his favoured means of public address, had become a priority for the company's social media team.
Other manufacturers said they followed a broad spectrum of media.
"We monitor the entire media landscape, including social media, for all news," Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginnivan told AFP.
AFP got a similar reply from a representative for Audi, a Volkswagen AG brand which began producing the new Q5 model in Puebla, Mexico in September. Volkswagen-branded cars are also produced in the country.
The Audi plant, the first for the brand in North America, has a production capacity of 150 000 cars a year and employs as many as 4 200 people.
Fiat Chrysler, which took a US taxpayer bailout in 2009 following the global financial crisis, emphasises its presence in the United States.
"Since June 2009, we have announced $8.4 billion in US-based investments and have added almost 25 000 new US jobs," said Jodi Tinson, a spokeswoman.
Trump has harshly criticised the trade policies of previous US presidents, claiming they resulted in millions of job losses in the United States. He has also threatened to withdraw from or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which involves Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Under the treaty, if at least 65 percent of a car's parts have a North American origin, it can be sold duty free in the region.
Car manufacturers in the United States have seized on this provision to invest in Mexico. Between 1999 and 2013, foreign investments in that country have exceeded $30 billion, according to the Mexican trade promotion body ProMexico.
The United States in the first quarter of 2015 also became the largest importer of Mexican-made cars, according to the Mexican automotive association AMIA.
The largest US car makers have production facilities in Mexico, including companies like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which will begin producing cars there in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Extraordinary deals can be found in Business Class and Economy Class, along with special companion fares, and a 'kids fly free' offer on sale between 9 and 16 January 2017.
The Qatar Airways Travel Festival online treasure hunt will once again offer Qatar Airways' millions of social media followers the opportunity of searching for a zero fare Golden Ticket to one of the airline's exciting global destinations, with clues being released via the airline's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages throughout the sale period.
Qatar Airways passengers can choose from even more exciting places to explore, starting in 2017 with the launch of new services to Auckland, New Zealand; Canberra, Australia; Dublin, Ireland; Las Vegas in the United States, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Santiago, Chile, to name a few.
Offers available throughout the Travel Festival are applicable on Economy and Business Class return airfares, with a travel period between 11 January and 15 December 2017 to the more than 150 destinations worldwide, including the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, East Asia, Asia Pacific, and Africa.
Passengers can explore Frankfurt from N$6 503 per person, chase an endless summer in Spain with flights to Barcelona and Madrid from N$6 520 per person, or experience culture like no other in Thailand with flights to Bangkok from N$11 076 per person. Travellers can take advantage of the exceptional promotional offers by booking at qatarairways.com or by contacting their nearest Qatar Airways sales agent.
For the first time since starting the travel festival, Qatar Airways has partnered with leading payment technology company Visa, providing Visa card holders with additional discounts of up to 15% on flight bookings. Travellers can also take advantage of the airline's partnership with AccorHotels, receiving a 10% discount when booking accommodation via the airline's website
Qatar Airways chief commercial officer Hugh Dunleavy said: “The Qatar Airways Travel Festival has fast become an exciting global event that offers great value and encourages our travellers to keep exploring; and I'm thrilled to be able to bring it back for its third instalment. The New Year is the perfect time to start thinking about travel plans for the year ahead and the travel festival allows travellers to take advantage of a number of fantastic deals and promotions across our entire network at exceptional prices.
“Our guests also have the opportunity to enjoy benefit from further discounts on group bookings, our travel festival is designed to encourage our valued guests to go places together and create memories with those who they cherish the most.”
The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development's acting permanent secretary, Calicious Tutalife, told Nampa last week that the government was looking at increasing the price paid to farmers for raw karakul wool.
He said farmers were sometimes paid as little as N$2 per kilogram of raw black wool and the government was looking at upping the value to at least N$20 per kilogram.
The price of one kilogram of brown or light coloured raw wool is between N$10 and N$20 and can be dyed at an affordable cost, unlike black wool.
The cost of hand shearing is about N$14 per sheep while electrical shearing costs N$17.
Tutalife said the ministry was looking at establishing a plant where wool could be cleaned and combed to create another stream of income for farmers and add value to the product.
“We still need to undertake a feasibility study to determine whether a first-stage processing factory for scouring (cleaning) and carding (combing) is possible, because that is what our farmers need the most,” he said.
He explained that wool produced in Namibia was costly and not suitable for clothing, but acceptable for carpets.
Key issues in the manual production of carpets are the cost of acquiring the raw product, training weavers and having access to cleaned and combed wool.
“The current practice is that the person doing the final product of the carpet is the same person who has to go out and collect the wool, sort it, bundle it together at the farm, and shave the sheep twice a year.”
Wool is hand woven in Namibia, unlike in other parts of the world where machinery is used and production costs are lower.
He said out of about 360 tons of wool produced annually in Namibia, only 60 tons end up on the market, while the remaining 300 tons are thrown away or burned due to poor quality.
“Not all of the 60 tons on the market end up with our weavers. Some of it goes to South Africa for cleaning, before it is imported back into the country,” Tutalife said.
The government's intervention to increase the value of the wool industry will be done through its growth strategies to create a more profitable, diversified and sustainable environment.
“Every year there is a big song and dance about the matric exams and if the pass rate went up or down, which province came out on top, etc.,” said Stellenbosch University's Nic Spaull on his website.
However, he suggested, “the root issue is the weak foundations students get in primary schooling”.
“There is ample evidence of this in maths and reading as the foundational bell-weather subjects that pretty much everything else is built on.”
He said that rather than assessing the traditional matric pass rate according to the number of students passing matric, the focus should be on what this rate is relative to the number of students who were in Grade 10, two years ago, and those who were in Grade 2, ten years ago.
“This gives us an idea of how many kids are dropping out along the way and if this is increasing or decreasing over time.”
If this measure was used, there would be a positive indication that indeed this “throughput pass rate” has been steadily increasing.
Standardisation and adjustment
However, it would also show that of the whole cohort, either compared to those who were in Grade 2 or 10 – fewer than half actually pass matric.
“In our system about 60% of South African youth leave the schooling system without any proof of their educational status.”
Spaull said that another issue with the matric pass rate was the processes of standardisation and adjustment.
If the exams are more difficult/easy then quality-assurance body Umalusi is allowed to adjust the marks upwards or downwards by as much as 10%.
“I am quite anxious about the very large adjustments that Umalusi is making, assuming that the tests are getting much more difficult when the most plausible explanation is the inclusion of many more weaker students that typically would have dropped out in the past.”
A possible consequence of this kind of alleged “grade-inflation” was that universities would increase their NSC points entrance criteria, suggested Spaull.
“Universities are likely to feel the brunt of this [mark adjustments] when their first years are not as well-equipped to succeed as their grades seem to indicate.”
The academic also weighed in on the debate about culling – the practice of holding back weaker students from taking their matriculation exams.
“At least part of the reason why the Free State, the Northern Cape and KZN did better in 2016 than in 2015 is that they held back a higher proportion of their Grade 10 and Grade 11 students than the other provinces.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Department of Basic Education hit out at the DA's claim that weaker pupils were deliberately removed from the schooling system to keep the overall matric pass rate up.
“What makes this claim... disappointing, is that the department has in fact done the exact opposite by progressing learners who have failed the Further Education and Training phase more than once,” it said in a statement.
“So in essence we have pushed an additional 65 673 learners through the system who sat for the November examinations, this at the risk of a drop in the percentage.”
DA MP Gavin Davis said on Friday that “close analysis of the 2016 matric results reveals a very high 'drop-out rate', leading to speculation that some learners may have been 'culled' to inflate the matric pass rate”.
He said the “true” matric pass rate could be only 40.2% if weaker pupils who may have been removed from the system are counted.
According to the department's figures, 1 100 877 pupils enrolled for Grade 10 in 2014, but only 610 178 wrote Grade 12 in 2016, he said in a statement.
Not long after his swearing-in ceremony on Saturday in the capital Accra, social media users started pointing out similarities between Akufo-Addo's speech and those delivered by the two ex-US presidents.
“Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. Ghanaians have been a restless, questing, hopeful people. And we must bring to our task today the vision and will of those who came before us,” Akufo-Addo said.
It echoed Clinton's 1993 inauguration speech: “Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. And Americans have ever been a restless, questing, hopeful people. We must bring to our task today the vision and will of those who come before us.”
In another instance, Akufo-Addo said: “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building your communities and our nation.”
In his 2001 inaugural speech, Bush said: “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character.”
The presidency's communication director acknowledged the plagiarism and offered an apology.
“I unreservedly apologise for the non-acknowledgement of this quote to the original author. It was a complete oversight, and never deliberate,” Eugene Arhin said, according to DPA news agency.
Akufo-Addo, a 72-year-old former human rights lawyer, defeated incumbent John Dramani Mahama in elections last month.
In September, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also issued an apology for plagiarising quotes from US President Barack Obama in a speech promising change in the West African country.
Buhari's office said at the time a paragraph in the speech urging Nigerians not to fall back “on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country so long” was copied from Obama's victory speech after his election in November 2008.
“It was observed that the similarities between a paragraph in President Obama's 2008 victory speech and what President Buhari read in paragraph nine of the 16-paragraph address ... are too close to be passed as coincidence,” Buhari's office said in a statement.