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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Ondangwa praises NTY competitionOndangwa praises NTY competitionLocation of town attracting investors After winning the 2017 Namibia Town of the Year (NTY) northern town's competition, the Ondangwa Town Council says the town has become of interest to investors and visitors. Ondangwa attracted hordes of tourists since winning Town of the Year competition

    Talking to Namibian Sun, Ondangwa CEO Ismael Namugongo said after winning the northern NTY competition division, the town has attracted a number of investors and visitors to the town.

    Namugongo made reference to a number of events that followed after they were voted as the town of the year last year, one of them being the beer festival which attracted thousands to the visitors to the town during the festive season.

    He added that being regarded as the town of the year does not only bring success but also acceptable challenges which assists town councils to provide better service delivery to its residents and investors.

    “Winning the town of the year northern competition proved to us as council that the residents are supporting what we doing,” he said.

    “However it came with challenges as well because every step we take the residents are watching. They are pushing us to the limit which is a good thing… as long as we are united with the residents we will overcome our challenges,” he added.

    Speaking about investors being attracted to Ondangwa, Namugongo said a number of investors have shown interest in starting development projects in the town.

    He said due to the town's central location where it connects all major roads in the northern part of the country, Ondangwa is a town investors consider if they want to set up projects that will reach a large base of clientele.

    In December 2016, Ondangwa Town Council also launched its five-year strategic plan to provide better services to its people.

    According to Namugongo the 2016/21 strategic plan serves as a guideline which provides council with a sense of direction in order to serve the residents of Ondangwa.

    “It is not a document for council but for the residents of Ondangwa,” Namugongo said.

    Meanwhile Ondangwa will compete against Otjiwarongo, Swakopmund and Lüderitz for the ultimate NTY title and the N$200 000 worth of advertising space in Namibian Media Holdings (NMH) publications namely Namibian Sun, Republikein and the Allgemeine Zeitung.

    This competition will take place during the 2017 Namibia Tourism Expo slated to start at the end of May. Ongwediva is the current champion.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Energy sector braces for changeEnergy sector braces for change The renewable energy plan and the national integrated resource plan have recently been updated, the deputy mines and energy minister Kornelia Shilunga announced this week at a stakeholder workshop hosted by her ministry.

    Reading a speech on behalf of mines minister Obeth Kandjoze, she said, “In view of the critical role that energy plays in the country's economy, the Ministry of Mines and Energy has recently finalised the Renewable Energy Policy and the National Integrated Resource Plan. We also continue to develop the Independent Power Producer Policy, and of course the National Energy Policy.

    “The National Energy Policy is well under way towards finalisation, and this has been a significant effort by all,” she added.

    According to Shilunga, the White Paper on energy was also under review, saying, “The ministry initiated a process to commence with the review of the White Paper, followed by the development of a new policy.” The White Paper was first published in 1998 and will come under review for the first time ever.

    Shilunga also announced the establishment of an energy technical committee comprising several ministries, the Namibia Energy Institute, the Electricity Control Board, the Namibia Petroleum Commission and NamPower.

    “We formed the Energy Policy Update Committee, which is chaired by the director of energy in the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The Energy Policy Update Committee is tasked to guide the development of the National Energy Policy, and it will continue to do so until the job has been completed to our satisfaction.”

    According to Shilunga, the Energy Policy Update Committee and the White Paper on energy policy was reviewed, and an Issues and Gaps Paper was completed. “A series of focus group meetings were held across the country, and resulted in fruitful meetings with a variety of stakeholders from all walks of life, discussing the main issues to be included in the policy.”

    Addressing delegates at the Invest in Namibia international conference in 2016, Kandjoze announced a wide range of changes he hoped to introduce to the energy sector. He said at the time, “While the Electricity Bill of 2016 lays the groundwork for an updated market model, the impacts of the proposed model remains uncertain, especially in regard to its economic and institutional implications. The electricity market model therefore requires additional work before it is ready for implementation. The process of reviewing and updating the market model will be finalised by the last quarter of 2017.”

    The single buyer model that allows only NamPower to sell electricity to regional electricity distributors, mines and large transmission users is set to come under review, Kandjoze also said at the time.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    SADC - the good, the bad & the uglySADC - the good, the bad & the uglyIt is a mixed bag of good and bad for the sub-region Good rainfall has led to increase parasites on especially maize and in some areas, livestock pastures have recovered while in others, the rain was late. Good rains have been received in many of the areas in the SADC region that were affected by the severe El Niño induced drought in past years.

    These areas include much of Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, Swaziland and the northern half of South Africa, where normal to above-normal rains were received.

    Further north-west, in much of Angola, Zambia, and southern DRC, rains were generally normal to slightly below normal.

    Although the total rains received in many areas were slightly below normal, they were likely generally sufficient to allow crop development, as suggested by crop models, particularly given the current early stage of the crop.

    The north-eastern parts of the region, in particular, most of Tanzania, and parts of northern Mozambique, have received well below average rainfall so far this season, with negative impacts.

    The severity of the rainfall deficit is such that in many areas the planting rains have been delayed by 40 days or more. In addition, the south-western parts of the region have also received well below average rainfall. These include parts of south-western South Africa, western Namibia and south-western Angola.

    Late November through early January also saw extremely high temperatures in many of the same areas, which resulted in higher water loss through evaporation, as greater potential for heat stress to both crops and livestock.

    The rains to date have provided good potential crop production outcomes in many of the southern parts of the region.

    Water balance models running the water requirements satisfaction index (WRSI) suggest that higher than normal percentage of the water requirements of cereal crops will be met this season, if normal rains fall for the remainder of the season.

    In contrast, below average water-related crop performance is expected in south-eastern South Africa, parts of northern Namibia, and parts of Angola.

    This is primarily due to the nature of the rainfall patterns that have occurred since the beginning of the season.

    Vegetation conditions have improved vastly since November, in response to the moderate to high rains that have been received in many areas. The improved rains this season have helped recovery, but many areas are still showing below average vegetation conditions.

    Livestock conditions remain poor in some of the areas that were more severely affected by drought last season, including parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa, and improvement is likely to take several months, if pasture conditions keep improving over the remainder of the season. In parts of South Africa, livestock mortality is still being reported.

    In Zimbabwe, livestock have been washed away by floods in some areas due to excessive rains.

    Crop conditions are mixed across the region. The north-eastern half of South Africa has been receiving good rains for much of the growing season, while the south-western half has received below average rainfall and experienced excessively high temperatures.

    Consequently, crop conditions in the east have been reportedly performing better than those in the western half. Rainfall in Zambia has been generally good, however an infestation of armyworm have affected most districts in the country. Replanting will be required in over 68 000 ha.

    Maize crops planted as late as midJanuary though, generally have lower yield potential and higher risk of cessation of rains before crops reach maturity. Zimbabwe has received large amounts of rainfall this season, good for crop development in most areas, but flooding, collapse of dams, and washing away of crops has been reported in some areas.

    Fertilizer shortages have been reported, which, together with incessant rains that have been falling, have resulted in crops being affected by nitrogen deficiency. The continuing rains have also limited weeding operations. This situation is likely to negatively impact harvests.

    Zambia was affected by a severe outbreak of the Fall Armyworm. This pest is new to the southern African region, differing from the African Armyworm that has often affected the region in the past, and is reportedly more difficult to control.

    Close to 130 000 ha planted to maize had been affected, being approximately 10% of the planted area. With 94% of the country's districts affected in varying degrees, including several districts bordering Zambia's eight neighbours in the SADC region, vigilant region-wide monitoring activities are required.

    The Fall Armyworm was also reported recently as having affected several provinces in Zimbabwe, although information on the number of hectares affected was not yet available. Namibia and South Africa have also reported outbreaks of the Fall Armyworm.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: Lion bones for Asian market
  • Lion bones for Asian marketLion bones for Asian marketThe African lion has joined the rhino, elephant, pangolin and donkey The Asian market continues to drive illegal wildlife trade as lion bones are now the latest export following rhino horn, ivory and pangolin scales from Africa. Wildlife traffickers in a major African park have been offering rewards for a full lion carcass, raising concerns that poachers are increasingly targeting a vulnerable species because of demand in some Asian countries for lion bones used in traditional medicine.

    The report from Mozambique's Niassa National Reserve comes amid debate about whether the legal, annual export of bones from hundreds of captive-bred lions in South Africa to China and Southeast Asia could spur the market, possibly leading to the illegal killing of wild lions for their bones as well. African lion bones are a relatively recent substitute in tonics for the bones of Asian tigers, whose numbers were depleted by poachers.



    Traditional cultures

    There have been “multiplying anecdotal reports of lions harvested for body parts” along with “increasing examples of whole skeletons being taken,” said Paul Funston, senior lion programme director for the Panthera conservation group. He said he believes the phenomenon is linked to increased Chinese demand rather than the longtime use of lion parts in some traditional cultures in Africa.

    “It seems to start with teeth and claws, which probably mainly have trinket value and migrates to bones and carcasses once a market is established,” Funston said.

    Lions face other threats, including human encroachment on habitats and the poaching of antelopes and other animals for food, which deprives the predators of prey. The number of African lions in the wild has dropped by more than 40% to about 20 000 in the past two decades, according to estimates.

    The Niassa wildlife park has at least a third of Mozambique's population of 2 700 lions. Colleen Begg, a leader of a carnivore project there, said the local use of lion parts was not a major concern yet and that lion poachers appear to be catering to the Asian market.

    “We have middlemen coming in and offering a motorbike or $1 500 for a full lion carcass. This started about 18 months ago and is a real worry as, through poison and snares, they are now directly targeting lions. Most of our information comes through informers, but last year a poacher was caught with lion bones,” said Begg.

    “There is no doubt that poaching trade routes for ivory, pangolin scales, lion bones, rhino horn are very similar and the lion bones, teeth and claws are all going out the same way and are found in confiscated shipments that also contain ivory and rhino horn from Mozambique,” Begg said.



    Lion poaching

    Last year, Mozambican police seized a haul of rhino horn as well as 6kg of lion claws and teeth in suitcases at the international airport in the capital, Maputo, according to media reports.

    In January, poachers cut through fences at an animal park in neighbouring South Africa's Limpopo province and decapitated and chopped the paws off three male lions. Similar cases have been reported in recent weeks. Police said on Friday they arrested a Mozambican and four South Africans after receiving information that people were selling lion heads in the province.

    Recent South African cases “have the hallmark of domestic consumption for the local traditional medicine trade,” said Vivienne Williams, a researcher at the University of Witwatersrand and the lead author on a 2015 lion bone study. Sometimes, lion teeth and claws are used as talismans and lion paw bones feature in healers' divination sets, she said.

    Williams said she is aware of cases “where Asian nationals have been arrested at airports with undeclared lion teeth and claws” and that more research is needed to firmly establish any link between an apparent surge in lion poaching and the Asian market.

    South Africa has proposed a 2017 export quota of 800 skeletons of captive-bred lions, many of which are killed by paying clients in a practice described by critics as “canned hunting.”



    Bone trade

    South Africa's environmental affairs department raised a concern that runs counter to that of some conservationists, saying a ban on the trade in captive-bred lion bones could trigger more poaching of wild lions.

    Richard Thomas, spokesman for TRAFFIC, a conservation group, said the legal industry must be closely monitored.

    “We don't fully understand the dynamics of the lion bone trade and while it may not currently be having a perceived impact on wild lions in South Africa, we simply don't know whether that'll be the case there in the future or whether it's presently the case elsewhere in the continent,” he said.



    NAMPA/AP

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: Trump calls Mugabe govt out
  • Trump calls Mugabe govt outTrump calls Mugabe govt out President Donald Trump's administration has raised alarm over the deterioration of Zimbabwe's human rights situation, following the jailing of two prominent clerics critical of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's leadership.

    Trump has not minced his words on some of the world's dictators, telling them to reform or leave office.

    The US embassy in Harare issued a statement condemning the arrest of evangelical pastors Evan Mawarire and Phillip Patrick Mugadza, saying that freedom of expression was now under attack in Zimbabwe.

    Mawarire was arrested last week at the Harare International Airport on his surprise return to the southern African country after spending six months in self-imposed exile, mostly in the United States. He was subsequently charged with attempting to subvert Mugabe's constitutionally elected government.

    On the other hand, Mugadza continues to be incarcerated following his prophecy that Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.

    Spokesperson of the US embassy in Harare, David Mcguire, described the arrest of Mawarire and Mugadza as “unwarranted”.

    “The US government unequivocally believes in the basic right of freedom of speech and calls on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabweans which are enshrined in the constitution. We believe that the basic right of Zimbabweans to freedom of speech - be it in public, through print media or social media - should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe's borders,” said Mcguire.

    For his part, Mugabe recently lambasted some citizens and top officials of his ruling Zanu-PF party for “abusing social media to further their selfish interests”.

    The government is now planning to introduce a bill that would criminalise the abuse of the internet.

    Information Minister Christopher Mushohwe was not immediately available for comment.



    NEWS24

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: Israel says settlers legal
  • Israel says settlers legalIsrael says settlers legalParliament legalises settler outposts on Palestinian land The Israeli parliament on Monday finalised a controversial law legalising dozens of Jewish outposts built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The new Israeli law finalised by the parliament has approved by 60 members of parliament to 52 against was slammed by the Palestinians as a means to “legalise theft” of land.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who did not participate in the law's final votes since he was returning from a trip to Britain, said he had “updated” the US administration so as not to surprise “our friends”.

    Speaking after the law was finalised, Bezalel Smotrich of the far-right Jewish Home party, who was one of the forces behind the legislation, thanked the American people for electing Donald Trump as president, “without whom the law would have probably not passed”.

    The new law will allow Israel to legally seize Palestinian private land on which Israelis built outposts without knowing it was private property or because the state allowed them to do so.

    Palestinian owners will be compensated financially or with other land.

    The Palestine Liberation Organisation said the law was a means to “legalise theft” and demonstrated “the Israeli government's will to destroy any chances for a political solution”.

    A PLO statement stressed that the “Israeli settlement enterprise negates peace and the possibility of the two-state solution”.

    Ahead of the vote, opposition chief and Labour leader Isaac Herzog lashed out against the “despicable law” that he said would undermine the country's Jewish majority.

    “The vote tonight isn't for or against the settlers, rather Israel's interests,” Herzog said.

    The law would “annex millions of Palestinians into Israel”, he warned, and expose Israeli soldiers and politicians to lawsuits at international criminal courts.

    Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis of Netanyahu's Likud party said the argument was over the right to the Land of Israel.

    “All of the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people,” he told Herzog, using the biblical term that included the West Bank. “This right is eternal and indisputable.”



    Human Rights Watch said the law “reflects Israel's manifest disregard of international law” and deepens the “de facto permanent occupation” of the West Bank, warning that “the Trump administration cannot shield them from the scrutiny of the International Criminal Court”.

    Israeli rights group B'Tselem said the law proved Israel “has no intention of ending its control over the Palestinians or its theft of their land”.

    The bill could still be challenged, with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying last week: “The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100%.”

    Last week, the few hundred residents of the Amona outpost in the West Bank were evicted after the Supreme Court ruled their homes were built on private Palestinian land.

    In parliament on Monday, Shuli Mualem of Jewish Home dedicated the law to those evicted from Amona.

    International law considers all settlements to be illegal, but Israel distinguishes between those it sanctions and those it does not, dubbed outposts.

    The lengthy Amona saga - including the evictions broadcast live on Israeli television - directly inspired the bill.

    Demolitions and removal of the buildings there began on Monday.

    The law applies to 53 other outposts and homes within existing settlements recognised by Israel built on Palestinian land, according to the anti-settlement organisation Peace Now.

    More than 3 800 homes would be “legalised”, the NGO said ahead of the vote.

    UN envoy for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov said he was “concerned” by the law, which could “greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace”.

    Since Trump's inauguration, Israel has announced more than 6 000 new homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, seen as key parts of any future Palestinian state.

    For the first time last week Trump's administration said settlement expansion “may not be helpful” for peace prospects, but also broke with previous administrations by saying settlements were not an obstacle to peace.

    The White House statement was interpreted as a message to Netanyahu and his government that the US administration intended to reserve its options.

    Washington Monday refused to comment on the new law.

    “At this point, indications are that this legislation is likely to be reviewed by the relevant Israeli courts, and the Trump administration will withhold comment on the legislation until the relevant court ruling,” a State Department official told AFP. Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has warned the government that the law could be unconstitutional and risks exposing Israel to international prosecution for war crimes.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: Demonstrators protest outside Downing Street against US President Donald Trump in central London recently. President Trump signed an executive order on 27 January restricting immigration from seven Muslim countries. Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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    Land debate: Enough with egosLand debate: Enough with egos We have said before that land reform in Namibia, which is currently a hot topic, should not be politicised.

    There is a general agreement that land reform has been a failure and needs to be sped up. Swapo leaders, most notably, former president Hifikepunye Pohamba once remarked that the government's policy of acquiring land for the landless has been a spectacular failure and that a new alternative has to be considered. Mind you, these remarks were made in 2013 and almost three years later we are still sitting with the same problem.

    The birth of the Affirmative Repositioning movement in 2014 to fight against elitism and its quest to pressurise the authorities to make available affordable urban land and housing was a sign that we are headed towards a land revolution. We are now witnessing rising frustration over the land question with the emergence of the Landless People's Movement, which considers former land reform deputy minister Bernadus Swartbooi as its land messiah. Just like AR, Swartbooi and Co. are using the land question to fight elitism, while emphasising the enhancement of dignity, well-being and economic empowerment of the previously disadvantaged communities, including those who lost land to the apartheid regime.

    The land issue is a ticking time bomb and the failure to deal with land reform effectively will have a devastating impact on food production and security in the future.

    Also if not properly managed it can be a source of instability. The tension between Swartbooi and the government has created unnecessary anguish and it is worrisome that egos have prevailed over action in this whole debate. Yes, it is true that there must be a firm fight against any tendency towards elitism when it comes to the resettlement process.

    There must be a way to end the elite capture of resettlement benefits in our country.

    However, we feel that these warring factions must engage one another and find common ground going forward. We need to see action and not egos in the land debate. These deliberate efforts are bound to bear fruits if we really have the interests of the people at grassroots at heart.

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    Fired fishermen waiting for govtFired fishermen waiting for govtVow to keep up the fight for their rights The deadlock between the government and the striking fishermen in Walvis Bay seems to be unending with fishermen saying they will not give up. “We will be here until Jesus comes if that is what it takes,” says fisherman Matheus Lungameni, who lost his job late 2015.

    Lungameni is one of over 1 000 fishermen who lost their jobs after illegal strikes at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz in October that year.

    About 600 of them have since been gathering at an open space next to the Kuisebmond Stadium every morning to demand action from government.

    “We want government to give us our jobs back and we will not go anywhere until that is done,” Lungameni, who is the group's spokesperson, told Nampa on Monday.

    The fishermen downed tools and demanded an increase in their basic salary an increase in the medical aid benefits, an increase in overtime, and an increase in housing allowance.

    However, they were fired when they did not end the strike.

    About 200 others gave up the strike and returned to work early 2016.

    Lungameni said after losing their jobs, they have suffered severely by losing property through repossession such as cars and houses.

    Those renting were evicted because they have no money.

    He said they have no intention of searching for jobs.

    “We will not give up, we know it is not easy but even the liberation struggle of this country which was long and bitter was achieved, so we remain strong.”

    Lungameni said the Office of the Labour Commissioner is taking long on the unfair dismissal case they filed.

    During the strike, government through the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations and the trade unions suggested that they return to work before they lose their jobs.

    They refused and were subsequently replaced by other workers.

    Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation Bro-Matthew Shingwandja on Monday said government told them already to return to work before it is too late.

    “Now they are saying they are waiting for government. To do what?”

    -Nampa



    Paulus Shiku

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: WHS impresses, others not
  • WHS impresses, others notWHS impresses, others not Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has lashed out at individuals who vandalise government property.

    The minister who was speaking during the Windhoek High School centenary celebrations earlier this week, said learners and teachers should jealously guard against vandalism of school facilities.

    “We have a serious challenge right now in Namibia where schools that are far younger compared to this 100-year-old infrastructure are torn apart, broken down, vandalised and people expect the government to continue to renovate and to maintain without doing efforts,” said Hanse-Himarwa. “Schools are property for the communities for which it has been built for and it is upon the responsibility of the community, the society, the parents and the learners to help that infrastructure to remain intact, to look after that infrastructure with pride and to guard jealously against any other person that comes to vandalise it. I am impressed with the legacy of WHS and the way the school has been cared for.” The minister said she was overwhelmed with the maintenance and upkeep of the school's physical appearance. “My impression today as I walked through the gates of your school is, this is an institution of excellence and you can clearly see that something is happening here and there is proper leadership in terms of the maintenance,” said Hanse-Himarwa. She thanked parents from WHS who still pay for the school's maintenance even though her ministry declared free secondary education. “I want to thank all those who have willingly decided that they will support the school even if we have declared free education,” said the minister. Hanse-Himarwa said that she was also impressed at how the school was performing.

    “This school has stood the test of time has never lost its values and norms,” said Hanse-Himarwa.

    Speaking on the legacy of the school the minister highlighted the milestones and achievements of the school as very important factors as to why it is considered one the best schools in Namibia.

    “The achievements and the milestones and evolution of this school have been well documented. This school is built on a solid foundation,” said the minister.



    SHONA NGAVA

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: Biomass gets the nod
  • Biomass gets the nodBiomass gets the nod NamPower is implementing a wood-fired power plant which is envisaged to be fully operational by 2020. Power will be generated using invader bush and wood chips and represents a real opportunity for farmers.

    Danish consulting firm Cowi was recently appointed to do an initial assessment of the envisaged power project by NamPower. Commenting on the development, NamPower managing director, Kahenge Haulofu said: “NamPower undertook a feasibility study to establish the feasibility to use harvested and processed woodchips in steam generation for electricity. COWI was appointed as techno economic advisor to NamPower's biomass to electricity project.

    Cowi is also studying the viability of various biomass plant sizes, ranging from 10 megawatt to 100 megawatt, while at the same time studying suitable terrains from which to extract the invader bush. Five potential sites have been identified at this stage. Representing the Namibia Agricultural Union, Danie van Vuuren indicated that commercial farmers were willing to support the initiative by harvesting invader bush and selling it on a large scale. He however stated that the farmers would only participate if harvesting invader bush would be economically viable for the farmers to do so.

    In 2012, NamPower completed a pre-feasibility study on biomass energy production.

    “NamPower will need to offer power purchase agreements at rates well above 80 cents per kilowatt hour to incentivise independent power producers to enter the market, or the government will need to establish incentives for land clearing, or some combination of both,” the report noted at the time. Biomass was identified as a possible fuel replacement at the 120-megawatt Van Eck power station in Windhoek.

    “There is also potential to use biomass as a replacement for coal at the existing Van Eck power station, particularly when biomass is pre-treated via a torrefaction process in order to transform it into a material with similar characteristics to coal.

    There may be good opportunities for using torrefied material at Van Eck but we do not consider an investment in a production system to be appropriate given the lack of commercial experience internationally,” the report said.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: Green paradise no more
  • Green paradise no moreGreen paradise no moreWater crisis hits Zoo Park hard Zoo Park is clearly a shadow of its former self without the rolling green lawns. What was once a clean and lush green paradise park for relaxation is now a parched and dry grass shoo park.

    The Zoo Park in the heart of Windhoek has been reduced to an eye sore park by its residents and climate.

    Photographers who usually eke out a living by taking photos at the Zoo Park are complaining about the state of the park and how the filthy condition has affected their business.

    “Everyone likes to take photos here, but although we get people who want to have photos taken here, the environment at the park does not render it useful anymore,” said a photographer who did not want to be identified.

    He said some of his customers no longer want to have photos taken at the park.

    Due to the water crisis, the City of Windhoek was forced to prohibit the use of water for lawns and gardens.

    The lawn-watering ban has also led to the closure of many soccer fields who fall under the jurisdiction of the municipality.

    Chairperson of Green Space Namibia, a non-governmental organisation that manages open urban spaces in Windhoek, Ulla von Holtz, highlighted the importance of areas like Zoo Park to residents.

    “The moment anyone gets into nature your whole being gets affected. As human beings we need nature and we need space where we can go and feel safe,” she said.

    Von Holtz said green spaces are important for many reasons.

    “It makes people feel alive and in tune with the environment and green places give living space for animals such as birds, beetles, insects and mongoose that have a right to co-habitate with us,” she said.

    Von Holtz also added that areas like Zoo Park would be an ideal place for children to play.

    “Such areas assist in creativity and they assist in physical activity. It is important to create places where people can exercise in a safe environment and Zoo Park could be such an environment.”

    Thomas Kaura, who says he regularly visits the park, says he is not bothered by the deteriorating condition. “There is nothing that we can do, that’s just how it looks and it is fine the way it is, I love coming here as bad as it is,” said Kaura.

    The park is littered with plastic bags, broken bottles, dead plant leaves and several packets of condoms.

    The brown patches of dead grass are also common sight.

    Zoo Park is managed by the parks and reaction department of the City of Windhoek municipality. Uakazuwaka Kazombiaze, the parks and recreation acting manager said the city is well aware of the condition of the park adding that plans are underway to improve its look in the near future.

    “We are all aware of the natural disaster that happened during the past year and there was not enough water,” said Kazombiaze.

    Pure water

    Kazombiaze said that Zoo Park does not have a semi-purified water connection system for irrigation stating that the park uses pure water.

    “Due to the water shortage, our dams were half empty and we cut off pure water supply to the Zoo Park so that we could make water available for our citizens.” Kazombiaze said the city is working on rehabilitating Zoo Park with the assistance of horticulture experts. “The whole of Zoo Park needs horticultural therapy and it needs to be resurfaced and to be redone,” said Kazombiaze.

    He further called on all residents to ensure that the park is taken care of and to avoid littering the park. “The facilities have been constructed for the public and the community. What we expect is for the public to take ownership and responsibility in terms of avoiding vandalism and we need to keep the facilities tidy,” said Kazombiaze.

    Kazombiaze said the sorry state of the park has affected self- employed photographers who earn a living by taking photographs.

    He said because of the poor state of the park at the moment, people do not go there anymore to have photos taken.

    “We are aware and we are trying our level best to restore Zoo Park in terms of greenery,” said Kazombiaze.

    SHONA NGAVA

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    Govt officials arrested for fraudGovt officials arrested for fraud Several government officials have been charged and arrested with 71 counts of corruption, fraud and money-laundering committed about four years ago.

    Those arrested include officials from the agriculture ministry as well as the Office of the Prime Minister. A deputy director from the ministry of agriculture is apparently still on the run, while junior staff in the procurement and IT departments have been arrested.

    In a statement, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday said investigations were initiated and completed into activities involving the two government ministries and two private companies namely New Africa Dimensions and Wenrod CC in 2012.

    According to the ACC, agriculture employees knowingly and corruptly misrepresented to the ministry that certain goods had to be purchased.

    According to court documents, an acting deputy director in the ministry, Bernadictus Fryer, apparently misrepresented that regions required engines and equipment related to water supply, which was in fact not needed.

    The ministry paid more than N$8 000 per engine and in excess N$693 622 for the transport and delivery of the items.

    The prices of these goods were then inflated, bought without exemption, short delivered or not delivered at all.

    The goods not delivered were certified as received and additional work and cost was charged and given to family members of employees of the agriculture ministry for transport while it was included in the purchase price.

    They said family members from Wenrod CC then in turn allegedly made misrepresentations to the ministry as to their costs for transporting the goods.

    The suppliers New Africa Dimensions represented by Gerhard Shilongo and Eliaser Shikage, who were both employed at the Office of the Prime Minister, issued invoices to the ministry while the goods were not yet delivered.

    According to the ACC, on completion of the investigation the case file was submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor-General, who decided to arraign eight individuals on 71 charges in the Windhoek Regional Court.

    The accused, with the exception of Freyer, who is still on the run, were arrested between 1-6 February and appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court.

    They were granted bail of N$30 000 to N$ 80 000.

    The accused persons are Freyer, a former clerk in the ministry, Sadiek Lorenz Meintjies, and an IT systems administrator Sylvia Hoeses.

    From the Office of the Prime Minister, Shilongo and Shikage were arrested.

    Shilongo also represents New Africa Dimensions.

    From Wenrod CC, Rothny Stanley Hoeseb, Wentzer Jonathan Gomeb and Jeffrey Johnson-Wenrod were arrested.



    Theft charges

    Meanwhile, the ACC also finalised an investigation in respect of allegations levelled against an employee of the Office of the President, Immanuel Shivute, who has now been charged with multiple counts of theft.

    Shivute was transferred from the Omusati Regional Council's education directorate to the Office of the President during 2013.

    He, however, continued to receive salaries from both the ministry and the Office of the President and allegedly, utilised such additional salary, knowing that he was not entitled to such.

    On completion of the investigation, the case file was submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor-General who decided to arraign Shivute in a special court in Windhoek on 31 counts of theft.

    According to the ACC the State suffered a loss of N$798 370.

    Shivute was arrested on 31 January and appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on 1 February where he was granted bail of N$50 000.

    The case was remanded to 17 February.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Ancestral land claims guaranteedAncestral land claims guaranteedResolutions not written in stone says Walters Namibian Ombudsman Advocate John Walters says that ancestral land claims are guaranteed by the constitution. Ombudsman John Walters says resolutions taken at the first land conference in 1991 are not cast in stone and that ancestral land claims are guaranteed by the constitution.

    Walters added that government must engage in dialogue with indigenous groups who feel they have valid claims to their ancestral land.

    “When people cry, government must listen. Anybody can make a claim that is why we have freedom of expression. When I say people have a right to express themselves those calls must be heeded and we should have a conversation on that,” he told Namibian Sun in an interview yesterday.

    Walters has also appealed to government to consider holding the second land conference before the promulgation of the land bill.

    The bill was withdrawn following a barrage of complaints that it was riddled with shortcomings, while the government is expected to hold the second land conference in September.

    “We should not just put it aside and counter it with counter-accusations. It will not take us forward. Let us listen and decide, we cannot solve anything when we stand on public platforms and make accusations and claims, we must stand together and have a conversation,” he said.

    There has been increasing frustration over the land question of late, with opposition parties as well as minority groups organising meetings in the south last weekend under the banner of the 'Landless People's Movement'.

    Former deputy lands minister Bernadus Swartbooi addressed these meetings where he reiterated his call for the restoration of ancestral land.

    Swartbooi also accused the land reform minister Utoni Nujoma of conveniently ignoring the plight of minority groups.

    He labelled the land bill as a 'notorious and ridiculous' working document. Recently Nujoma said government will not entertain any talk about ancestral land, because that would promote Bantustans and tribalism. “Don't forget we had been fighting for the independence for this country and ancestral land claims are based on Bantustans which we fought against persistently and consistently. So let it be very clear to you who think this government will succumb to reintroduce tribalism and Bantustans,” Nujoma said. The minister is expected to address a media conference on the land question today in Windhoek.



    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Namibia hits back at Botswana paperNamibia hits back at Botswana paper The government has taken issue with a Botswana newspaper, which accused Namibia and other SADC countries of sabotaging the country's chances to land the plum African Union Commission chair position.

    Chad's Moussa Faki Mahamat was elected as the new AU chairperson, replacing South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

    Botswana's foreign affairs minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi could only amass 10 votes in the first round and secured eight votes in the second round. However, only two candidates were eligible in the third round and latter stages, which saw Mahamat prevailing over Kenya's Amina Mohamed. Namibia has backed the Botswana minister since day one.

    However, an article by Mmegionline claimed that sources in Addis Ababa said suspicions were swirling around South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia as being among possible saboteurs.

    The ministry of international relations rubbished this yesterday in a statement, saying the report was based on hearsay.

    “Following the postponement of the elections, Namibia was selected by the SADC campaign team on SADC's candidate to form part of an outreach committee to solicit support from other AU member states. During this period, Namibia actively reached out to AU member states entrusted to the committee.

    Although Dr Venson-Moitoi's campaign did not win her the victory, the support from SADC member states was a sure demonstration of the unity and bond in the SADC family,” the statement read.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    Officials arrested for illegal land allocationOfficials arrested for illegal land allocationOut on bail of N$10 000 each Officials from the Oshikoto Regional Council allegedly illegally allocated plots to themselves in 2014. Five Oshikoto Regional Council staff members were arrested on charges of corruption after they allegedly allocated residential plots to themselves and their friends at the Oshivelo settlement, without following procedure.

    They were granted bail of N$10 000 each after appearing in the Oshakati Regional Court.

    The five accused are Oshikoto Regional Council senior administrative officer Rosalia Ndipwashimwe, accounts assistant Kornelia Amutenya, assistant administrative officers Julia Hauwanga and Elise Hango as well as development planner Matatias Moses.

    They made their first appearance before Magistrate Leopold Hangolo and the case was remanded to 3 April for legal representation.

    The Anti-Corruption Commission had launched an investigation into the alleged allocation of plots.

    After the probe was completed the prosecutor-general elected that they be charged with 16 counts of corruption.

    The five stand accused of contravening Sections 35(3) and 43(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act no. 8 of 2003 to approve the allocation of plots in Oshivelo settlement for their own benefit and that of their friends by using their statuses by virtue of their offices and positions in the Oshikoto Regional Council for gratification. The five accused are said to have masterminded the allocation of 17 plots just days before the establishment of a Settlement Development Committee (SDC) in the Guinas Constituency.

    The SDC was elected on 15 October 2014 at a Constituency Development Committee (CDC) meeting but the applications of the 17 plots in question were already submitted to the Oshikoto Regional Council for approval on 11 September.

    At the 15 October meeting Ndipwashimwe told those in attendance that the 17 plots were already allocated and they were just waiting for approval.

    At the time the Oshivelo settlement office had 24 applications on the waiting list which did not include the names of some of the 17 beneficiaries, including that of Hango who is said to have applied for the plot on 15 September 2014, three days after it was said that she is a recipient-in-waiting, pending approval.

    According to the charges, the majority of the 17 plot beneficiaries applied for the pieces of land after their names were announced at the meeting which took place on 11 September, however, their applications are said to have not been scrutinised before they were approved by council. The 17 plots were approved by council on 14 November 2014.

    The accused Ndipwashimwe, Amutenya, Hauwanga, Hango and Moses received plots measuring 600, 520, 600, 600 and 600 square metres respectively at a lease fee of N$35.

    The residential plots received by the five accused are the largest of the 17 allocated plots when compared to others allocated.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: End of Ryazanovka
  • End of RyazanovkaEnd of Ryazanovka'Killer vessel' bound for the scrapyard Namibians have heaved a sigh of relief with the news that the Ryazanovka vessel is being cut up for scrap but, the threat to our marine animals is still there. The fishing vessel, Ryazanovka, dubbed the 'killer vessel' for its link to a Chinese application to capture endangered and rare marine species off the coast of Namibia, has been sold to a Walvis Bay scrap company and was decommissioned yesterday. It was confirmed that a salvage company, based in Walvis Bay, finalised a deal with the owners of the vessel yesterday afternoon, and will begin to dismantle the 26-year-old vessel today, five months after she arrived at the Walvis Bay harbour from Lüderitz.

    Crew were seen disembarking, ready to return to their home countries while the ship's equipment, including nets, rubber ducks, and other goods that are not for sale, were offloaded.

    According to the Russian embassy in Windhoek last week, all crew members aboard were Russian citizens, except for two.

    New operator

    In late January, the Russian embassy in Windhoek confirmed to Namibian Sun that the Ryazanovka had been sold by its Russian owners to a new operator in July 2016.

    Yury Tsvetkov, spokesperson at the embassy, explained that since 2013 the vessel had been “under long-term freight by a foreign (non-Russian) operator.”

    He said in July 2016 “this operator and a Russian owner signed a sales contract for transfer of ownership for the vessel.”

    The Russian embassy could not confirm the name of the company that purchased the vessel and had been leasing it since 2013.

    However, in December, a public statement signed by Ilya Sharapov, a representative of Beijing Ruier Animal Breeding and Promoting Company, blasted the Namibian public and media, as well as the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, for the way in which their application had been handled and treated publicly.

    Sharapov signed off the letter by listing himself as the “Master of STR Ryazanovka, Beijing Ruier Animal Breeding and Promoting Company.”

    In the letter he confirmed that Beijing Ruier “owns the vessel Ryazanovka.”







    Ryazanovka

    He also confirmed the company's local partners are Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Company, the local company that has been linked to Chinese millionaire Jack Huang's Sun Investment Group in Windhoek.

    In an official response to Namibian Sun last month, the Russian embassy explained that according to maritime practice and the Russian maritime code, in cases of long-term freight, such as with the Ryazanovka since 2013, the “actual user, but not the owner, bears all the responsibility for the actions made by the crew and the vessel.”

    Tsvetkov added that as such, all the actions made by the trawler over the course of its presence along the Namibian coast “were made on the instructions of the new owner and all responsibility is to be claimed by the new owner.”

    The confirmation of the scrapping by a local salvage company has diminished widespread fears that the vessel would be used to catch a large number of marine species, including dolphins, whales, African penguins and seals, should a permit be approved.

    The application, widely criticised by scientists for its inaccurate and false content on the state of Namibia's marine population, was submitted in March 2016 to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

    The proposal was submitted locally by Jeff Huang, a close relative of fraud and money-laundering accused Jack Huang and a lawyer, Flora Gaes, in March or April 2016.

    Documents seen by Namibian Sun show that both Jeff Huang and Gaes are listed as directors of Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research, on the applications submitted to the fisheries ministry.

    The offices of Welwitschia are based at the same address as Jack Huang's Sun Investment Group in Windhoek.

    During a telephone conversation with Namibian Sun last month, Gaes claimed she was only the legal advisor to Jeff Huang.

    Gaes could not be reached for comment yesterday.

    Despite the recent news on the scrapping, activists yesterday urged concerned members of the public to remain vigilant.

    “The suspicion prevails that there is a replacement vessel out there,” members of the group 'Namibians against Plundering our Seas', a group that has been at the forefront of opposing the application, stated yesterday.

    Moreover, the group highlighted the fact that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, in particular minister Bernhardt Esau, has not yet commented on whether the proposal has been denied or approved.

    “There has been no official response or notice from the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhardt Esau, regarding the license application. This alone remains a huge and critical concern,” a post on the group's social media platform stated.

    Fisheries permanent secretary Moses Maurihungirire yesterday said he was not aware on the latest status of the application and the minister, on whose desk the application still remains, has not provided feedback to date.



    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 02/07/17--14:00: NamPower to pull plug today
  • NamPower to pull plug todayNamPower to pull plug today Power utility NamPower says it is still owed over N$40 million by village councils and settlements in the South, further confirming it will go ahead with its decision to cut power supply from 10:00 this morning.

    NamPower managing director Simson Haulofu told Namibian Sun that some councils have managed to settle their accounts, while others have made the necessary arrangements to settle their outstanding debts.

    The energy minister, Obeth Kandjoze, yesterday said that although the ministry is deeply concerned about the situation there have been several attempts to address it through both the ministries of urban and rural development and energy as well as other stakeholders.

    According to him, NamPower has been consistently in contact with the energy ministry on how to resolve the matter.

    A resolution between the ministry and NamPower was therefore taken to discontinue services to those towns and villages with outstanding debts, because the clients were not forthcoming.

    “It is unbecoming and unacceptable that local authorities have allowed electricity bills to reach these amounts,” he said.

    Kandjoze said that as a ministry they have done what they could, but the lack of forthright assistance from the urban and rural development ministry as well as regional authorities was concerning.

    He added that revenue collected through the Electricity Control Board will be directed to regional and local councils for other needs.









    Initially, NamPower announced last week that it will cut the power supply to at least eight towns and villages, and a further 40 smaller settlements by 10:00 today.

    The towns and villages are Maltahöhe, Bethanie, Koës, Gibeon, Kalkrand, Berseba, Tses, Mariental and Rehoboth.

    The settlements include Noordoewer, Blouwes, Kosis, Vaalgras, Gainachas, Driehoek/Gabis, Ubib, Aubgaus, Bloedvlei, Wortel, Nomexas, Constantia, Warmbad, Aus, Satco, Ariamsvlei, Ganigobus and Khomnarib, as well as settlements in the Khomas Region, namely Bloukrans, Hatsamas, Kanubeb and Groot Aub.

    Haulofu yesterday said that the affected towns and settlements initially owed NamPower a combined amount of N$46.5 million for the bulk supply of electricity.

    He, however, said with many towns and settlements settling their debts the outstanding amount by yesterday afternoon the debt stood at N$40.6 million.

    “Yes, the decision still stands. However, some of the village councils have come in to pay their accounts and to make the necessary arrangements to settle their outstanding debts. Those that have not still have until Wednesday morning [today] to do so,” said Haulofu.

    NamPower refused to divulge which towns or villages did make arrangements or settled their debts.

    “The affected customers are busy paying their accounts and making the necessary arrangements to settle their outstanding debts. We do not want to leave out any of the village councils or municipalities that would have paid later today [Tuesday] or early tomorrow morning [Wednesday] from the list of those that have paid,” he said.

    Mariental Town Council CEO Paul Nghiwilepo said that they agreed to pay an amount of about N$5.3 million to NamPower for debts outstanding.

    According to him, there is still a small amount owed to NamPower.

    Nghiwilepo explained that the problem why the town council cannot settle the full amount is because government institutions only pay part of their bills to the municipality due to financial pressure.

    “Therefore payments are coming in slowly, but we will not allow our electricity to be cut off.”

    Gibeon Village Council CEO Desire Theunissen said that they are busy making arrangements with NamPower to avoid the shutdown of power supply.

    According to her, it has been agreed that they will make payments to NamPower but by yesterday afternoon they had not yet received feedback on whether this will be enough to prevent a cut off.

    The town owes N$1.15 million.

    “As funds are coming in we are paying.”

    CEO of Koës Willie Humphries also said that they have managed to pay N$400 000 of the N$1.5 million that they owe to NamPower.

    He added NamPower required 50% of the outstanding amount to be paid and that they are still scrambling to get the money together.

    At Maltahöhe, the acting village secretary, Marianna Pieters said the council owes NamPower N$4 million.

    According to her, the former acting village secretary Otto Richards allegedly failed to settle electricity bills for nearly a year, resulting in the huge debt.

    Pieters said this money was apparently used for other purposes.

    She said that they agreed with NamPower to settle half of the N$4 million bill, but the village council was only able to pay N$300 000 at the moment.

    Tses owes N$1.6 million to NamPower.

    Its CEO Fritz Christiaan was out of office until today and could not give feedback on the matter.

    Electricity bills of settlements in the //Karas Region listed as defaulters were cleared after the regional council paid N$800 000 to the power utility, clearing debt that accumulated over about three months at the settlements.

    The settlements include Noordoewer, Ariamsvlei, Vaalgras, Kosis, Blouwes, Wortel, Warmbad, Gainachas and Aus.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    NamPower will not pull the plugNamPower will not pull the plug The NamPower board of directors today resolved not to suspend power supply to a number of village, local and regional authorities with long outstanding accounts, as was initially planned and communicated by the utility in a media release last week.
    NamPower had planned on disconnecting the said customers at 10:00 today.
    The NamPower Board decided not to suspend power supply to the affected villages, municipalities and regional councils after most of them responded positively by paying their accounts and making the necessary arrangements to settle them.
    The affected villages, municipalities and regional councils owed NamPower a combined amount of N$46.5 million. The amount outstanding now stands at N$29.7 million. NamPower will continue to engage the customers to settle their outstanding balances in due course or to make alternative payment arrangements.
    Staff Reporter

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    The future looks tough – NaimwakaThe future looks tough – NaimwakaSport codes to find it tough hosting events Sport codes will have to adjust heavily on hosting of their planned events as the sports commission has halted funding them until the end of March, a situation foreseen to persist. The recent decision by the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) to halt funding for sport codes until the end of this financial year will have a major impact on the codes.

    Namibian Sun spoke to Athletics Namibia (AN) as one of the sport codes that receive a bigger chunk of the commission’s budget and archery as one that receives little from the commission’s cake about the decision and how their planned activities will be affected.

    According to AN president Erwin Naimwaka, although the funding situation has not been well all along, the future now looks “tough”.

    The Sports Commission last week informed all sport federations to no longer seek assistance from its office as it faces financial constraints due to the national budget cuts and that no annual grants, financial support and transport assistance will be rendered to sport federations and umbrella bodies for the rest of the current financial year, which ends on 31 March.

    Naimwaka said they have tried their best for the situation not to affect their programmes, but they rely heavily on the NSC for transport in order for the regions to be able to bring athletes to competitions.

    He mentioned that the decision will affect some of the planned events, such as the marathon championship set to take place this weekend in Swakopmund as well as competitions planned for 18 February in Otjiwarongo and 8 March in Oshakati.

    He however mentioned that events that are planned prior to April 2017 will still go ahead where AN will have to cover the fuel and drivers’ costs for the transport of athletes to the competitions.

    “The future looks tough, but that is how the situation has been all along and we understand the economic challenges and other priorities that compete for resources.

    “It is also an important lesson that AN, regions and clubs have to become innovative to find ways of raising funds and become more independent of government resources,” he said, adding that potential for resource raising is there, but it requires better planning, professionalism and accountability from the AN, regions and clubs.

    Naimwaka said AN is now busy developing its strategic plan, which outlines their vision for athletics and the actions and activities that will be required to realise such objectives.

    Meanwhile, the Archery Association of Namibia’s president Heidi Reddig said although they do not have big international events up to end March 2017 the decision will still have an impact on them.

    She said as of April, June, July and October their top-ranked archers and development leg team have various international competitions they will attend and host.

    “This will have a huge negative impact on our sport, as we have to rely on individual sponsorships and donations.

    “We have already submitted budgets for these events last year, but as archery has received little funding from Sports Commission for our international archers in the past, our archers have to foot the bill themselves,” she said.

    She mentioned that it is unfortunate the perception of big companies in Namibia is that archery is a dangerous sport, “therefore not eligible for sponsorship, but this is not the case.”

    Reddig added that their hope was that after last year’s success of the Federation of African Archery (FAA) in Windhoek, Namibia would take note that they produce world-class archers, “so it’s an uphill battle keeping our archers exposed to international competition due to the lack of funding, but we will persist because we have never encountered an obstacle that we have not found a solution for.”

    Individuals recently had to fund transport for the U-17 girls to travel to South Africa for the Diamond Development League.

    KAINO NGHITONGO

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