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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Nam Para-cyclists leave for SANam Para-cyclists leave for SA The Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) yesterday sent three Para-cyclists to South Africa to compete in the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge at George.

    Cyclists Frans Paulus, Matias Kamenya and Rudly Goaseb will take part in the cycling event starting on 18 February.

    It will not be the first time for Paulus, but Kamenya and Goaseb will make their debut at the event.

    Paulus will participate in the hand-cycling category over 42km, while the debutants compete in the normal wheelchair class over 21km.

    Namibia Paralympic Committee secretary-general Michael Hamukwaya said: “We hope these athletes will achieve better times during the competition.

    “The Paralympic Committee would like to thank NamPower for sponsoring this trip, because it would have not been possible for the cyclists to travel if was not for them.”

    The three cyclists are accompanied by Damian Ndengu, who will be taking care of all the logistics.

    The total cost of the trip is estimated at between N$60 000 and N$70 000, with some of the money used for servicing the cycles.

    Paulus, who had been nursing a back injury since 2013, said he was fine and ready to make the most of the competition.

    Paulus rejected rumours about his illness and cycling career.

    “I have not been training well because I do not have the necessary funds, but I can tell you that I will be using my strength to get a good finish at the competition.

    “I am aware that my fellow compatriots have also not been training that well and I therefore request them to use their strength when competing at the competition,” Paulus said.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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    Pick my opponent, Pacquiao asks fansPick my opponent, Pacquiao asks fansMore than 10 000 votes cast already More than 10 000 fans have responded to a request by Manny Pacquiao to pick an opponent for him. Manny Pacquiao yesterday asked his legions of Twitter followers to choose his opponent after announcing his next world title defence would be in the United Arab Emirates.

    “See you in UAE for my next fight. #TeamPacquiao” the WBO world welterweight champion tweeted, appearing to scupper reports that he would next fight Australia's Jeff Horn in Brisbane in April.

    Pacquiao then posted a poll on his official Twitter feed asking his 108 000 followers to choose either Horn, Terence Crawford, Amir Khan or Kell Brook as his next opponent in the UAE.

    The poll had received more than 10 000 votes by yesterday morning.

    A spokesman for Pacquiao told AFP he was due to meet his manager Michael Koncz later yesterday and a statement about his next fight would be issued.

    Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum had been widely quoted last month in international media as saying that the boxing icon would be getting into the ring with the unbeaten Australian Horn in April and the Queensland tourism minister said they were in negotiations to host the bout.

    But Pacquiao, 38, posted on his social media accounts that he would be fighting instead in the Middle East and seemed to indicate that while his opponent could still be Horn it could also be one of three other world-class boxers — American Crawford or Britons Khan or Brook.

    Reports of a bout between Pacquiao and Horn had begun circulating last month but the Filipino southpaw said contracts had not been signed.

    “We are still negotiating about that. Nothing is really final, the date, who is the opponent. There are a lot of offers from other countries,” Pacquiao said last month.

    Pacquiao announced a brief retirement last year but made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas in November, saying he still felt like a youngster.

    The boxing hero initially said he was retiring to focus on his new role as Philippine senator after winning elections last year on the back of his sporting fame.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Johannes pleased with resultsJohannes pleased with results Elite marathon runner Helalia Johannes was happy with her finishing time in the Rössing Marathon National Championship held over the weekend.

    Johannes was crowned champion in the women's open category when she finished her race in 2:24:20.

    “It feels great to perform well in the marathon again after focusing on the shorter distances during last year's event.

    “I am happy with my recorded time and still had energy left after the race. Thank you Rössing for another great event this year,” she said.

    Paulus Iiyambo of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) sport club won the men's race in 2:19:30.

    After his win, Iiyambo said: “I've been participating here for a number of years so by now I'm almost used to the Rössing Marathon. My race was relaxed and the conditions were great.”

    The defending champion, Reonard Namupala, came in hot on the heels of the winner and managed a respectable second place in a time of 2:22:31. Simon Shipingana finished third in 2:23:17.

    Sofia Nambabi finished second in the women's open marathon with a time of 3:6:48 and Julia Jansen van Rensburg was third in 3:17: 24.

    The fast-paced 10km run was won by Kefas Kondjashii in a time of 30 minutes and 16 seconds, slightly slower than last year's winning time of just under 30 minutes. Kefas was followed by Tomas Rainhold in 30:18 and Jeremia Shaliaxhwe, last year's winner from the Namibia Police (Nampol), with a time of 30:35.

    In the 10km women's race it was Nampol's super fit Lavinia Haitope who triumphed in 33:40, followed by Alina Armas (35:36) and Leena Ekandjo in a time of 37:46.

    The winners of the open categories received prizes worth over N$70 000, which included N$10 000 cash each and an additional N$20 000 development bonus for the men's and women's marathon winners.

    A record number of 109 athletes entered the Rössing Marathon this year, with close to 300 entries in the 10km run – also a new record – and around 200 walkers took part in the 5km fun walk.

    The event was sponsored by Rio Tinto Rössing Uranium and hosted by Swakop Striders Athletics Club. It took place in overcast, windless conditions at a new venue, the Vineta North sports fields in Swakopmund.

    Rössing Uranium managing director Werner Duvenhage said: “The main aim of the marathon championship is to spark a long-term interest in healthy habits and proudly associate Rössing Uranium with the promotion of healthy lifestyles in the mine's neighbouring communities.

    “It is with continued investment in the talent and potential of our beautiful country that we support improved living standards for our people, safety, health and wellbeing, and education in our host communities. We congratulate the champions and undertake to host the event for the 27th consecutive time in 2018 again,” he said.

    SPORT REPORTER

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    Rent attracts government attentionRent attracts government attentionGovernment promises to address high rents Trade minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko has been tasked to establish and appoint a rent control board. The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development has promised to find a lasting solution to the high cost of residential rent.

    This comes after the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) Movement on 19 January submitted a letter to Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko to express their displeasure at the rising cost of rent.

    AR said if it did not see progress on the setting up of a rent control board by 19 February, it would conclude that the government was unwilling to implement the legislation. In a response to AR, Ngatjizeko wrote: “We wish to reiterate our commitment to finding a lasting solution to the rental challenges that face our nation. We therefore wish to indicate that your letter is receiving our attention and we will respond in due course.” At a media briefing early last month, AR activist Job Amupanda expressed disappointment with the government for taking so long to address the issue of high rent. AR and government ministers held a meeting in April 2016, where they agreed that Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila should summon the Estate Agents Board to review and address escalating property prices before 1 August 2016.

    Both parties agreed to speed up the implementation of a rent control board, as set out in Rent Ordinance 13/1977.

    Ngatjizeko was tasked to establish and appoint a rent control board. Among other duties, the board will regulate rental rates and resolve any disagreements arising.

    “The government kept zigzagging from 2015 to date. It keeps giving lip service to the matter instead of decisively implementing the provisions available in their rent ordinance,” said Amupanda.

    NAMPA

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    Vehicle sales decline 14.6% in JanuaryVehicle sales decline 14.6% in JanuaryVehicle sales continue downward trend January was a slow month for vehicle sales, the latest report by IJG Securities shows. STAFF REPORTER



    A total of 910 vehicles were sold in January, a 14.6% month-on-month drop from the 1 066 vehicles sold in December, and 34% lower than January 2016 when 1 379 vehicles were sold.

    For the calendar year of 2016, 16 598 new vehicles were sold, down 21.9% from the 21 246 vehicles sold in the previous year

    Said IJG: “Vehicle sales have been contracting on a year-on-year basis since mid-2015. The slowdown has been felt in both passenger and commercial vehicles, with passenger vehicle sales down 26.4% year-on-year and commercial vehicle sales down 39%.

    “Within the commercial vehicle segments the light commercial category, which makes up the bulk of sales, has decreased by 39.4% year-on-year, while medium commercial vehicles sales have decreased by 25% year-on-year and heavy commercial vehicle sales have decreased by 37.5% year-on-year.”

    According to IJG, passenger vehicle sales decreased by 8.6% month-on-month to 402 vehicles in January, while commercial vehicles sales decreased by 18.8% month-on-month to 508.

    Of the 508 commercial vehicles sold, 478 were classified as light, 15 as medium and 15 as heavy commercial.

    “The total number of passenger and commercial vehicles sold in 2016 were 7 006 and 9 592 respectively and we are likely to see even lower numbers this calendar year.”

    Of its expectations, IJG said: “From mid-2015, the new-vehicle market in Namibia has been in a state of decline and this trend seems to be continuing as we enter 2017. The reduction in government spending had a direct and indirect effect on the demand for new vehicles, both direct orders from government and the weaker economic environment have reduced the demand for capital goods and this is clearly visible in the data.”

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    Namibia Institute of Pathology partners with SysmexNamibia Institute of Pathology partners with Sysmex STAFF REPORTER

    The Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) recently partnered with Japanese technology firm Sysmex.

    The public-private-partnership will afford the Institute laboratory quality control support by utilising technology that will be provided by Sysmex.

    The support programme was announced in the presence of Japanese ambassador Hideyuki Sakamoto and NIP’s chief operating officer, Harold Kaura.

    The project aims to improve quality management at clinical laboratories in Namibia, which is essential for accurate disease diagnosis and hence appropriate treatment, in order to support the Namibian government’s efforts to improve the quality of public medical institutions, said Japanese embassy spokesperson Kaoru Yokotani.

    Under the project, Sysmex will provide an on-line monitoring system worth about N$2.4 million. It will also provide on-site training of the staff in charge of clinical laboratory work.

    The project targets three laboratories in Namibia, namely the Windhoek Central Reference Laboratory in the Khomas Region, Oshakati Laboratory in the Oshana Region and Rundu Laboratory in the Kavango East Region, for the period of two years.

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    Budget exclusion frustrates oppositionBudget exclusion frustrates oppositionGovernment needs to be inclusive and more open With tough times ahead for Namibia's economy and budget cuts already commonplace in many ministries, the opposition says it needs to play a bigger role. Opposition parties are crying foul and have bemoaned their lack of participation in the budget process. NUDO secretary-general Meundju Jahanika and All People's Party (APP) president Ignatius Shixwameni were less than impressed and expressed their dissatisfaction.

    According to Jahanika, his party has called for greater participation in the budget process but they have never been afforded an opportunity.

    “We have been talking since 2015… nothing is happening. We are wasting time unless something is changed. From planning to implementation we are not involved.”

    Jahanika compared the budget process to Kenya's where he said the opposition had greater input in the process. “When I visited Kenya as part of a parliament mission I saw how the opposition is involved.

    They [Swapo] must change the way the budget is being processed. The budget has to be corrected in parliament.” All People's Party president Ignatius Shixwameni echoed Jahanika's sentiments, stating that opposition parties only saw the budget when it was tabled in parliament and had no involvement in the process whatsoever.

    “How can I be happy with the budgetary process? I have been complaining year in and year out but we only see the budget books when they are presented in parliament.

    Last year it was even worse. We only received the budget documents a week after they were presented. There is even a budget committee…. Why all this secrecy?” he asked.

    “The document is supposed to be prepared with the budget committee.

    “When the budget is presented, there is no room for change, there is no way to change the budget figures, the entire process is cumbersome.”

    According to Shixwameni, the fiscal consolidation process was also never brought up for discussion. “It's as if we are operating in the Trump era. If the president is preaching transparency, consultation must be a part of it. Consultation must be the watch-word of government.”

    Commenting on fiscal consolidation measures adopted, Shixwameni said: “I don't think you can slash all the projects in the name of a downgrade, it is like a car that will need to be fixed. You are just parking the car, after six weeks, you still have to fix the car. Let's not park problems.

    “Government must consult with all its stakeholders,” said a frustrated Shixwameni.

    DTA secretary for finance Nico Smit had a different tone to his colleagues.“What can one's expectations be in a time like this?” The president is quiet, he is mum. We don't know what is going on. I would have expected the president to come out and tell us where we stand. We are all hanging here, totally in the dark.”

    Continued Smit: “I truly believe our government is not bankrupt. Times are tough.”

    Of government's austerity measures he said, “When you take a decision, you must stick to it. My big problem is government must stick to its decisions.”

    He also bemoaned the defence budget, calling it unnecessary. “We have this ridiculous defence budget that is hardly touched and that we don't really need. Some of that money should be given to other ministries.

    “We must give to ministries that are sensible. Our defence budget is out of proportion. I don't think we need to spend that money. We can spend on health and education.”

    Smit was optimistic things will improve, saying: “By the second half of 2017, things might change for the better. Let's get ourselves out of this trouble.” He also expressed hope that certain ministries would do their bit to save and help the country avoid a possible downgrade by ratings agencies Fitch and Moody's. Smit also expected government to continue on its path of fiscal consolidation.

    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein announced at a recent press briefing that he would table the budget within the first two weeks of March.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Local authorities implored to service landLocal authorities implored to service land The minister of urban and rural development, Sophia Shaningwa, has called on local authorities to allocate land for affordable housing.

    Shaningwa made the appeal during the handing over of a house made of reusable polymer modular bricks to Windhoek resident Abel Phillip and his family on Friday.

    The house in Otjomuise's Extension 7 was donated to the government by German company Polycare.

    The minister urged local authorities to ensure that houses are affordable for or people in the low- and middle-income brackets.

    “If the land prices remain high, then houses will never be affordable to the target groups,” Shaningwa said.

    The minister further urged employers to help their employees to acquire land and build houses.

    NAMPA

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    N. Korea tests ballistic missileN. Korea tests ballistic missileNew nuclear-capable missile test a success North Korea has confirmed that it “successfully” fired a ballistic missile on Sunday in a test supervised by leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea said yesterday it had successfully tested a new ballistic missile, triggering a US-led call for an urgent UN Security Council meeting after a launch seen as a challenge to President Donald Trump.

    The North's leader Kim Jong-Un “expressed great satisfaction over the possession of another powerful nuclear attack means which adds to the tremendous might of the country”, state news agency KCNA said.

    The missile was launched Sunday near the western city of Kusong and flew east about 500 kilometres before falling into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), South Korea's defence ministry has said.

    Photos released by KCNA showed the missile blasting into the sky with a smiling Kim watching from the command centre, and standing on the launch field surrounded by dozens of cheering soldiers and scientists.

    It said Kim “personally guided” preparations for Sunday's test, which it described as a surface-to-surface medium long-range Pukguksong-2, a “Korean-style new type strategic weapon system”.

    KCNA said the missile was powered by a solid-fuel engine -- which requires a far shorter refuelling time than conventional liquid fuel-powered missiles, according to Yun Duk-Min of the state-run Institute for Foreign Affairs and Security in Seoul.

    “They leave little warning time and therefore pose greater threat to opponents,” he said, adding that such missiles are harder to detect before launch by satellite surveillance.

    The North has previously made claims for its weapons capabilities that analysts consider unconvincing. But Seoul's military confirmed the North's claim on the solid-fuel engine, suggesting progress in its capabilities.

    Pyongyang's latest announcement was the first time a Pukguksong-2 has been mentioned, although last August it test-fired what it said was a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) marked as a Pukguksong-1, a name which translates as “North Star”.

    Kim said at the time that the missile, which was launched towards Japan, put the US mainland and the Pacific within striking range.

    An official with the South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters the Pukguksong-2 appeared to have been fired based on the same “cold launch” technology used in last year's SLBM test.

    The method - in which a missile is initially propelled by compressed gas before its engine ignites mid-air -- is considered safer and easier to hide its original launch location.

    North Korea claims it has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the US mainland but it has not tested one as yet.

    The longest-range missile it has tested is the intermediate Musudan which is theoretically capable of reaching US bases on Guam, but most have ended in failure including one last October which exploded shortly after launch.

    The South has said that Sunday's launch was designed as a test for Trump, who responded to the provocation by pledging “100 percent” support for Washington's key regional ally Japan.

    “Today's missile launch... is aimed at drawing global attention to the North by boasting its nuclear and missile capabilities”, Seoul's defence ministry said Sunday.

    “It is also believed that it was an armed provocation to test the response from the new US administration under President Trump,” it added.

    The United States, Japan and South Korea responded to the North's confirmation by requesting an urgent UN Security Council meeting to discuss the launch.

    The council was due to hold consultations yesterday.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country would be in range of a hostile North Korean missile launch, called the test “absolutely intolerable” during an impromptu press conference with Trump in Florida on Sunday.

    North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology. But six sets of UN sanctions since Pyongyang's first nuclear test in 2006 have failed to halt its drive for what it insists are defensive weapons.

    Last year the country conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.



    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 02/13/17--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day DISPLACED: A boy stands in front of his house door at Misan Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, on Monday. The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the number of people in need of assistance in Somalia has increased to 6.2 million, roughly half of the population. Nearly three million people are classified as facing crisis and urgent food insecurity. Photo: NAMPA/XINHUA

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  • 02/13/17--14:00: Over to you MPs
  • Over to you MPsOver to you MPs The fifth session of the sixth parliament will officially be opened today by President Hage Geingob.

    The opening ceremony marks the start of the legislative year in which the Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi has promised that about 40 bills would be tabled.

    These include the contentious Land Bill, Customary Law Marriages Bill, Education Bill, Lotteries Bill, Divorce Bill and the long-awaited Health Professions Council Bill, among many others.

    With Geingob having declared 2017 as a year of rededication, it will be interesting to see how our parliamentarians fare as far as their contribution on the floor is concerned. For quite some time now we have seen how the National Assembly has been reduced to a sleeping corner for some MPs instead of making a meaningful contribution during debates.

    You still find MPs who still contribute little to debates. Although ministers are also expected to explain government policies and positions, it is important that they also give direction and contribute to debates.

    The problems and challenges besetting our nation are massive and our politicians know very well that they will need to turn political commitment into action. Our parliamentarians should walk the talk and must return to serving the public and the constituencies they represent.

    Our leaders must also make time and occasionally organise meetings to better understand the plight of those who elected them into office.

    There is surely no place for arrogant and self-serving individuals who have become increasingly isolated from those who pay their salaries and even vote for them. The responsibility on building and improving this Namibian house should squarely lie on the shoulders of politicians.

    Ordinary citizens, especially the young people, must also be proactive and engage the leadership at all levels for the betterment of our society.

    The time has now come for us as a nation to align our efforts and tackle the myriad issues facing our people. In 2017 stimulating sessions and lively debates should be the order of the day.

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  • 02/13/17--14:00: Life's tough on the street
  • Life's tough on the streetLife's tough on the streetGobabis street children a unique problem Exposed to high levels of violence and substance abuse, the influx of homeless street children remain a great concern. Efforts to help a group of street children from Gobabis continue to backfire because handouts from sympathetic members of the public keep them motivated to stay on the streets.

    In an interview with Namibian Sun recently, social workers from the ministry of gender and social welfare explained that while the ministry has made numerous attempts to provide shelter or to return them home, handouts, especially money, is a strong incentive to stay on the street.

    The Gobabis group have become a well-known sight, and for many, a nuisance, to motorists and pedestrians alike in the high-income eastern suburbs of Windhoek.

    “If they get money or food they will stay on the street. Even though we have a shelter specifically designed for them, it stands there empty because they would rather be on the street to make money than come here,” Amelia Musukubili, the control social worker at the directorate of child welfare said.

    Her plea to the public is to stop giving money and food.

    “They are not helping the situation, they make our work very challenging and difficult because whatever we try, they just run away and go back to the streets.”

    Unique

    The after-school shelter provides daily education and play activities, food, beds, baths and other basic necessities, which most of the street children from Gobabis, apart from a handful of success stories, have resisted.

    “The after-school centre is like a house setting. There are three meals a day and still the children run. It shows you it’s not so much about the food. It’s about other incentives, it’s about the money,” Magdalena Katimba, the chief superintendent of the ministry’s after-school centre, explained.

    Moreover, many of the group of Gobabis kids, described as a “unique” subset of street children by case workers, are over the age of 15, with very little exposure to formal education.

    This makes the task of reintegrating them into schools a major challenge.

    “Some dropped out of school at a very young age and they have now outgrown the primary and secondary school systems and we have to find an alternative option for them. Even vocational schools have certain minimum requirements to admit the children,” Musukubili said.

    Many lack basic documents, including birth certificates, which complicates the task further.

    The issue of how to help them once they are off the street is one of the core focus areas on the child welfare’s directorate’s agenda.

    Help us help them

    The ministry hopes to identify willing stakeholders who could help fund, and or, design vocational programmes targeted specifically at young people with little or no school background.

    But another issue is whether the children want to be helped.

    “Many of the elderly children do not want to stay at the shelter. Their behaviour when we bring them there is such that they cause havoc. They steal and they jump the fence. They prefer to be on the streets. And when they are making up to N$200 a day from begging or other activities, when they are used to get money in their hands that they can spend as they see fit, that’s not surprising,” Katimba said.

    A preliminary study by the University of Namibia and regular contact with the children has also identified a strong streak of independence and close personal bonds between the street children.

    The relationship forged on the streets become superior to any secondary relationships with families at home or with authority figures trying to help.

    Preference

    “The older children hike back and forth between Gobabis and Windhoek. It’s a preference for them. When they run out of money or get bored and then they return to Windhoek,” Katimba said.

    The problem, according to social workers, who have worked closely with the children, is that they often attract younger children to join them in the capital.

    These kids are first in line for intervention measures by ministry workers, as it is critical to help the children as early as possible.

    “Early intervention is important. If we catch them early it can help, instead of finding them very late in their life and by then the problem is chronic,” Musukubili said.

    The social workers said that there is no doubt the majority of children on the street are driven by poverty or food insecurity at home. But most are not traditionally homeless street children, rather children who live on the street in order to earn money or other basic goods.

    Exodus

    The arrival of the Gobabis group was triggered after the majority of income on the streets there dried up following an intense public awareness campaign.

    “The whole of last year we were overwhelmed with children coming from Gobabis. They came because the Gobabis community was sensitised to issues around street children, and they stopped giving money because that is what perpetuates the problem,” said Musukubili.

    The street youths realised they could swop Gobabis street corners with Windhoek street corners, and began pouring in.

    “The community in Gobabis stopped to give them money. Now they come to Windhoek, and they target places like Klein Windhoek, which is a posh area. It’s because of the money that they can access alcohol, drugs and petrol. They don’t save the money, but if you calculate the money they can make in a day, that is a lot of money for just being on the street,” Katimba said.

    Addiction is a major problem for many of the children, and a lack of rehabilitation centres catering for children is another challenge the ministry hopes to address.

    Bait

    Social workers from the ministry are in close touch with the street children gangs on a weekly basis. They gangs are mostly made up of elderly kids who survive more permanently on the streets, with younger kids roped in to help create empathy in passers-by.

    “What you see on the streets are basically the same group of older kids, but a new group of younger kids integrated. Because we remove them every time, and they just recruit again. They do this to attract the compassion of the community,” Musukubili explained.

    The children’s survival on the streets is underpinned by “street smarts”, the social workers explained.

    “They know how to play on your emotions. They will say they are an orphan, but it is not always like that when you start to investigate,” they explained.

    But life on the streets is tough, and many of the street kids face a bleak future if they are not helped or refuse help.

    Health

    “When you live on the streets you become susceptible to crime and you could end up in jail,” Katimba said.

    Also, street children become street adults whose own kids are born on the streets, and the vicious circle begins again.

    Musukubili added that life on the street is dangerous for a number of reasons. Many children are abused either by other street children or adults, or suffer abuse at the hands of the public.

    Health issues are ignored and can lead to serious long term problems or death.

    “It is a very hard life.”

    And yet, the social workers say there are stories of hope that keep them going.

    “Eventually a person can change. It’s an individual decision that person has to make. And for that to happen, we need a lot of stakeholders to get involved, psychologists, health workers and churches. We have seen that the spiritual side becomes very important.”

    Public responsibility

    While the ministry is working on public outreach programmes, and public awareness programmes, the public can play a significant role in helping children stay of the streets.

    “We cannot only look at the children for a solution. We also have to look at the community at large. What can they do to help? These children have no future if they remain on the street, and if they don’t go to school,” Lydia Shikongo, the deputy director of the child welfare directorate said.

    “If we all take part, and we all look at them as our own children, it will make a difference to these children’s lives.”

    Katimba added that the task of helping street children is up to the entire community and starts with the parents.

    “Everybody in the community needs to take hands and try and work with the kids so we can prevent this early one.”

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Eskom, CEC eyed as Kudu off-takersEskom, CEC eyed as Kudu off-takers With an anticipated 800 megawatts (mW) of power to be produced at the envisaged Kudu power station, NamPower is in discussions with Zambia's CEC and South Africa's Eskom about exporting surplus electricity.

    “NamPower is the sole off-taker of the power to be generated from the Kudu power station. NamPower will sell any surplus power that is not sold in Namibia, to secondary off-takers, which in this case are CEC of Zambia, and potentially Eskom in South Africa.

    “Power export agreement negotiations with CEC have been ongoing. The unfortunate delays in the project have an impact on advancing and finalising the power export agreement negotiations. NamPower anticipates concluding the negotiations this year,” said its managing director, Simson Haulofu.

    According to NamPower, the planned 800-megawatt power plant will be developed through KuduPower, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that was established in 2005. “The Kudu power station will be located 25km north of Oranjemund. It will be the first combined-cycle gas-turbine power station of this size in Southern Africa,” NamPower has said of the project.

    The Namibia Petroleum Commission (Namcor) is expected to make a final investment decision on the Kudu power project in the third quarter of 2017, according to its spokesperson, Utaara Hoveka.

    Construction on the ambitious project is anticipated to start late in 2020. Namcor recently announced the entry of new investor, BW Offshore, which will hold a 56% stake in the envisaged power project.

    Hoveka this week said the construction was expected to take 36 months.

    “Kudu represents another opportunity for BW Offshore to take a proactive development role in a project that will produce for 15-25 years.

    “Falling development costs after the 2014 drop in oil prices has helped in making the project economically feasible.

    “The electricity generated by the power station will reshape electricity supply in south-western Africa, providing a secure long-term supply to support the development of Namibia and potentially neighbouring countries,” added BW Offshore chief executive officer Carl Arnet.



    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Defence must use resources sparinglyDefence must use resources sparingly The minister of defence, Penda Ya Ndakolo, says resources allocated to the defence sector must be used sparingly in view of the strain that the national economy is under.

    Ya Ndakolo was speaking yesterday during his annual address welcoming staff back after the December holidays.

    Ya Ndakolo said the ministry was operating in a resource-constrained environment, which could mean that some of its planned activities and projects might not be implemented.

    He said efficiency and prioritisation should therefore be the guiding principles in all the ministry's operations this year.

    According to him it is general knowledge that the national economy is not performing to expectations at the moment, which means that the resources available for allocation to the different competing national needs and sectors could be overstretched.

    “As a result, we need to use sparingly the resources allocated to the defence sector.”

    Ya Ndakolo expressed the hope that the national economy will pick up in especially the agriculture and construction sectors following the good rains that have been experienced recently.

    He said the ministry and the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) would prioritise human resource development this year to ensure that it retained students attending courses in Namibia and abroad.

    They would also focus on the health and welfare of staff members and the rehabilitation of accommodation and other facilities.

    Other focus areas would be to equip the NDF by utilising available funds, proper preparations for training exercises, finalisation of the Defence Review for better service delivery and finalisation of the ministry's strategic and annual plans. “The task of defending Namibia and its people requires us to be always conscious of the military and political situation in our neighbourhood and at the international level,” said Ya Ndakolo.

    According to him today's military and political events are difficult to estimate with precision.

    He said the world was becoming more polarised, with nations tending to protect their own interests as opposed to the promotion of the common good of all nations, including international peace and security.

    According to Ya Ndakolo there has been an escalation in competition for natural resources and the race for the occupation of advantageous global positions of power. “As things stand, we are likely to witness changing military and political environments in many parts of the world, resulting in the formation and realignment of new alliances in the coming five to ten years.”

    He said this meant the ministry and the NDF must be ready.

    “Otherwise, we will find ourselves lagging behind and losing the ability to defend our country and its people.”



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Ombudsman fights for detaineesOmbudsman fights for detaineesUrgent application on behalf of aliens The ombudsman has filed an urgent High Court application on behalf of 47 citizens of other African countries arrested on immigration charges. Ombudsman John Walters yesterday submitted an urgent application on behalf of 47 citizens of other African countries in the Windhoek High Court.

    In the application, the ombudsman says the 47 were arbitrarily arrested and continue to be unlawfully detained at the Katutura, Seeis, Wanaheda and Windhoek police stations. The detainees hail from countries such as Angola, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.

    Two of the detainees are juveniles, 17 years old, who were arrested on 4 January and 13 January.

    The station commanders of the said police stations, the home affairs and safety and security ministers, the chief of immigration and the Immigration Tribunal, as well as the inspector-general of the Namibian Police, are the respondents in the matter. The ombudsman seeks an order from the court that the respondents must produce the 47 persons currently detained by them to the court on 20 February for an inquiry into the lawfulness of their continued detention.

    They must also show cause on 17 February why the 47 persons should not be released from custody with immediate effect.

    “I am mandated and duty-bound by the Namibian Constitution to investigate complaints concerning alleged or apparent instances of violation of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Walters said in explaining the purpose of his application.

    Judge Shafimana Ueitele said immigration officials involved in the arrests and detentions must come to court and show in person why a part of the costs of the application cannot be granted against them“If the inquiry is resolved they do not have to answer,” he added.

    The judge further remarked that none of the alleged illegal immigrants had been brought before the court or the Immigration Tribunal.

    The 47 persons allegedly have been detained since December 2016, January 2017 and February 2017 without a warrant of further detention, purportedly under the Immigration Control Act.

    “Their arrest and continued detention are in flagrant disregard for their right to liberty as enshrined ion Article 7 of the Namibian Constitution, which rights continue to be infringed upon in the most arbitrary and unlawful manner,” Walters argued in his sworn statement.

    He added that it appeared that the reason for their arrest and detention was that they were illegal immigrants.

    “To the best of my knowledge all the detainees are impecunious persons that have come to Namibia looking for opportunities.

    The possibility that some of the detainees are victims of human trafficking cannot be excluded,” the ombudsman said.

    He further argued that the detainees cannot afford legal representation and that it is doubtful that any of them have been informed of their right to consult a lawyer.

    “I thus bring this application in an effort to bring these persons before a competent court so that the legality of their continued detention can be considered,” Walters stated. Ueitele postponed the matter to 20 February. Yoleta Campbell appeared on the instructions of Norman Tjombe.





    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    No room for the public at parliament openingNo room for the public at parliament opening Members of the public will not be able to attend the official opening of the parliament this afternoon because of space constraints.

    As a result of the constitutional amendments of 2014, the number of seats in the National Assembly increased from 72 to 106.

    The parliament building cannot accommodate the members of both houses of parliament who are expected to turn up for the joint session this afternoon.

    Last year's ceremony was held in a tent erected in the parliament gardens, while this year's opening ceremony will take place in the National Assembly chambers.

    According to National Assembly spokesperson David Nahogandja, the space in the National Assembly will be sufficient for everyone who has been invited plus members of the media.

    “This year, parliament administration has manoeuvred around the National Assembly's chamber,” he explained.

    Members of the Namibian Defence Force yesterday prepared for the official march during this afternoon's proceedings.

    A group of schoolchildren is also expected to be part of the ceremony, as well as service chiefs, the chief justice, the former presidents and the vice-president.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Education explains late paymentsEducation explains late payments The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture says 3 463 teachers' salaries were not paid on 25 January because of a migration to a new integrated financial management system (IFMS) that was offline for two weeks.

    “The transfer/promotion/reinstatement function was inactive for a while after the migration to the new server. This contributed to the delay as we were unable to transfer teachers who got positions in other regions and the receiving regions were unable to request payments on time as the teachers were not appearing on their payroll,” says the ministry's permanent secretary, Sanet Steenkamp.

    However, she said by the end of January 2 041 of these teachers were “thought to have been paid” because money was distributed to their respective regions.

    Steenkamp said supplementary cheques would be issued to the remaining 1 422 teachers who did not get their salaries in January.

    “With that said, the ministry is working very closely with the Ministry of Finance to not only rectify the matter but to also ensure that the affected teachers are paid,” Steenkamp said.

    All temporary teachers' contracts had to be renewed for 2017 and they had to be added to the payroll.

    “The delays in efficiently adding these newly appointed or the extended contracts depend on the assumptions at school level,” Steenkamp said.

    She said temporary teachers' contracts were not extended automatically on the payroll and a verification process was required for teachers changing duty stations.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Loans aimed at public servantsLoans aimed at public servantsAgribank eyes weekend farmers Agricultural loans will be offered to salaried workers who farm part-time. AgriBank will offer non-collateral loans to emerging communal farmers from the end of March.

    According to Agribank chief executive officer Sakarai Nghikembua the loans will vary between N$5 000 and N$500 000. People between 21 and 55 years of age will be eligible to apply for a loan.

    He emphasised that the scheme was meant to encourage emerging farmers and to ensure food security at household level.

    “We are targeting salaried people, those working for government ministries or state-owned enterprises. We will be lending on a payroll deduction and instead of the annual deduction, deductions will now be on a monthly basis,” he said.

    The bank also intends to extend funding to agro-industries, to decentralise lending to the regions, and to expand training and mentoring of emerging farmers to improve their production output, through an in-house division.

    “We are also looking at improving stakeholder engagement and granting bursaries in agriculture related fields, as some of the initiatives to support the socio-economic transformation focus area of the new strategic plan,” said Nghikembua.

    He added that the bank is in the process of revising its policies to authorise branch managers to approve loans above a certain amount.

    “These policies have the effect of enhancing decision-making and positioning the bank for competition in the marketplace,” he said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/13/17--14:00: Damn good rain
  • Damn good rainDamn good rainDam levels on the rise Dams in southern Namibia have received significant inflows in the last week, while more rain is forecast for certain regions. Widespread rainfall throughout the country this past week has resulted in welcome inflows into several of Namibia's dams and heavy rainfall is still expected in the northwest, the Omaheke and the Otjozondjupa regions.

    According to the latest dam bulletin issued by NamWater yesterday inflows of more than 100 million cubic metres of water were recorded in some of Namibia's dams during the past week.

    Dams such as Von Bach, Hardap, Naute and Oanob have already surpassed the levels at which they were at the same time last year.

    The largest inflow of 79.3 million cubic metres was recorded at the Hardap Dam. That pushed the level of the dam up from the 38.2% that it held last week to 65.1%. Last year this time the level of the Hardap Dam was only 46.3%.

    By yesterday afternoon the indication was that the sluices would not yet be opened. Water is released from the Hardap Dam when it reaches 70% of capacity. However, rain forecasts for its catchment area do not indicate any imminent risk of flooding.

    Construction crews at the Neckartal Dam, also located in the Fish River downstream of Hardap, have started moving machinery to higher ground in anticipation of possible flooding.

    The level of the Naute Dam at Keetmanshoop currently stands at 92% after an inflow of 12.9 million cubic metres. Last week the level was at 76.7%. The level of the Naute Dam last year stood at 76.7%. The sluices are usually opened when the dam reaches about 96% or more.

    The Oanob Dam has received 11.7 million cubic metres of water and that increased its level from 27.6% to 61.5%.





    The storage dams supplying the water-stressed central area have also received some inflows after good rains in their catchment areas.

    The Von Bach Dam had an inflow of 8.19 million cubic metres. That increased its level from 15.8% last week to 32.7%. Last year at this time the level of Von Bach stood at 21.8%.

    The level of the Swakoppoort Dam has increased slightly from 5.7% to 9.8% after receiving an inflow of 2.58 million cubic metres.

    The Omatako Dam received 1.6 million cubic metres, which pushed its level from 2.9% to 6.8%.

    The Friedenau Dam near Windhoek recorded an inflow of 0.534 million cubic metres, increasing its level from 2.9% to 6.8%.

    The Meteorological Service has warned that heavy rainfall is expected in the northwest, the Omaheke and the Otjozondjupa regions today.

    The interior will be partly cloudy and hot to very hot in the //Karas Region; elsewhere partly cloudy and warm to hot with isolated thundershowers.





    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/13/17--14:00: 1 768 Oshikoto dropouts
  • 1 768 Oshikoto dropouts1 768 Oshikoto dropouts A total number of 1 768 learners dropped out of school in the Oshikoto Region last year.

    This was announced at the launch of the Oshikoto Region's 2017 academic year which took place on Friday at Onguti Senior Secondary School.

    In the first term, 459 learners dropped out, 694 in the second term and 615 in the third term of 2016.

    The governor of the Oshikoto Region, Henock Kankoshi, expressed shock and dismay, saying: “The dropout figure is a serious concern to my office.” Although no reasons were given for the high dropout rate, Kankoshi said parents could do something about it. He added that the nation could not afford to lose future leaders in such manner. “We cannot afford to lose these future leaders. But they are coming to your houses when they leave school and it is you, dear parents, who can do something about them,” he said. Other issues raised at the meeting included the region's good performance in last year's national examination, bad behaviour by teachers and school leadership issues.

    Regional educational director Lameck Kafidi gave a brief review of the region's 2016 academic performance. He praised the region's schools for ensuring that they were placed first in the national ranking of the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) examinations for the past nine years.

    Kafidi said 11 schools achieved a 100% pass rate in the grade 10 JSC examination last year, which was an increase from seven schools in 2015.

    Twelve schools did not manage to achieve a 50% pass rate.

    Strategies were being developed to address that.

    Regarding the grade 12 results in which the region slipped from number two to number six, Kafidi said other regions worked harder.

    “The number of learners who made it to university is slightly higher than those of last year even though in terms of rankings we went down,” Kafidi said. He said the region was determined to ensure the Namibian child received quality education.

    “We are here to educate them with quality education,” Kafidi said.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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