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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 254 | 255 | (Page 256) | 257 | 258 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Commodity bubble hits BotswanaCommodity bubble hits Botswana Botswana's US$14-billion economy contracted by 1.7% in 2015, weighed down by persistent power and water cuts that disrupted factory production.

    It will struggle to achieve 3% growth in 2016.

    Mining has been the driving force of Botswana's economy, helping the GDP grow at an average of 7% a year for most of the 1990s. But price volatility, fuelled by the cooling of the Chinese economy, and the growing haemorrhage of mining revenues to corrupt officials and businessmen have weakened the sector.

    Diamond sales, which contribute a third of the country's GDP, have lost their sparkle, declining by up to 30% in market value over two years, according to S&P report published in December 2015.

    Last year, Debswana, a 50/50 venture between Botswana government and De Beers, closed its Damtshaa diamond mine, adding woes to an industry that has shed up to 30 000 jobs according to the Business Weekly and Review newspaper.

    At least six mines and “sightholders”, companies that turn rough stones into finished gemstones before selling them directly to jewellers such as Forevermark and Tiffany & Co, have gone out of business since 2011.

    They include operations that closed in 2011 and 2016, and leaving 600 workers without jobs. Australian copper junior miner Discovery Metals Limited filed for bankruptcy last year, leaving 450 workers near the Okavango Delta out in the cold, while African Copper closed its operations at Mowana and Thakadu in central Botswana.

    On August 31 last year the state-owned BCL – Botswana's biggest copper and nickel mine – collapsed into bankruptcy after enduring three decades of losses, throwing 5 000 miners out of work and dealing a heavy blow to the Francistown/Selibe-Phikwe regional economy.

    BCL was holed by a combination of ills; a global slump in commodity prices; clumsy, incompetent management; and political inertia. With losses of P1.2-billion 2015 alone, it had P7-billion in debts and liabilities.

    The company's woes had a knock-on effect: BCL subsidiary Tati Nickel – in which Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel has a stake – also closed, while the Morupule colliery, a major supplier to the nickel mines, faced major downscaling.

    With untapped reserves exceeding 200 billion tons, the country could become the world's largest coal exporter to economies such as China. Yet red tape has stalled the construction of a 1 500km railway link to Walvis Bay, which exporters would require.

    Moatlhodi Sebabole, economic researcher at First National Bank of Botswana, believes that job losses have accelerated financial pressures on ordinary households, which has in turn had a trickle-down effect on the economy.

    “Loss of jobs has resulted in pressure on the property market,” said Sebabole. But the real challenges may well be political. The Botswana Democratic Party's popularity has been on the decline, hitting a new low of 47% in the 2014 election.

    Khama will be succeeded by an altogether duller figure, current BDP chair Mokgweetsi Masisi.

    He faces the UDC, an increasingly energetic opposition bloc, under lawyer and human rights activist Duma Boko.

    If Boko defeats Masisi at the polls in in 2019, he will take the helm of a ship of state that seems to be drifting towards for the rocks.

    DAILY MAVERICK

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    Mining sector reaps the benefitsMining sector reaps the benefitsN$25 billion generated in revenue terms The mining sector provides employment to approximately 9 000 permanent employees, of whom 95.5% are Namibians, and helps sustain more than 100 000 individuals. Namibia is the envy of other countries when it comes to its mining sector, says Chamber of Mines of Namibia chief executive officer Veston Malango, who attended the Mining Indaba in Cape Town a week ago.

    He made the remarks on account of the good performance of the sector combined with the commissioning of three new mines in turbulent times exacerbated by soft commodity prices.

    Said Malango: “We are the only country on the continent where the mining sector has gone up; we are very unique.

    “We have been reaping the benefits. We think the worst of the commodity slump is behind us.”

    In light of the good performance of the sector he said this year's mining expo theme would be 'Reaping the Benefits of Investment in the Mining Sector' to recognise the good fortunes observed in the sector.

    “The mining industry provides jobs to about 9 000 permanent employees of whom 95.5% are Namibians.

    “Together with contractors, the industry provides livelihoods to over 100 000 individuals,” said Malango.

    He said the industry paid N$3 billion in net salaries during 2015 and channelled 44% of its procurement spend locally, while paying N$5 billion in taxes and royalties to the government and generating a combined revenue of N$25 billion.

    “All indications suggest that commodity prices will increase. We are bottoming up and we could be seeing the [start of] a super-cycle.”

    Of new and potential projects he said: “Namib Lead had resolved issues around its mining licence and an announcement is to be expected soon, the Lofdal project is also being pursued hard. When we get into that league [rare earths], it is big.

    “Otjihase and Matchless are moving into development; we are very excited about the Husab uranium mine.

    “We expect full production next year and that is great. Husab is now the biggest open-pit uranium mine in the world. Namibia is thus ready to exploit a growth in commodity demand.”

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 02/16/17--14:00: Trump rallies with Israel
  • Trump rallies with IsraelTrump rallies with IsraelSupports Israeli military control west of Jordan River Trump comments described as a “big day for Israelis and reasonable Arabs”. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday halted Washington's quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying he would back a single state if it led to peace.

    The new president warmly welcomed Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House and hailed the “unbreakable” bond between their countries.

    And - while he urged Netanyahu to “hold back” from building Jewish settlements for a “little bit” - Trump broke with the international consensus insisting on a two-state future.

    “So I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one,” he said.

    “I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but, honestly, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best.”

    This change in the US stance was calculated to please Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition, and Trump's views on the shortcomings of the Palestinian position will delight them.

    “I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they're taught from a very young age,” he said, echoing Netanyahu's argument that the Palestinians are not ready for peace.

    Netanyahu had warm words for the Israeli-US alliance, and hammered home his own prerequisites for peace.

    “First, the Palestinians must recognise the Jewish state. They have to stop calling for Israel's destruction,” he said.

    “Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River,” he added.

    This region contains the entire West Bank area that would represent the heart of any Palestinian state as conceived in all previous international agreements.

    Arab capitals

    The previous US administration of Barack Obama had warned Israel that if it did not reach a two-state deal with the Palestinians, it would never reach an accommodation with the Arab world.

    But Netanyahu insisted he was already developing closer security ties with his Sunni neighbours, who share Israel's concerns about Iranian subversion and “radical Islam.”

    And he urged Trump's administration to get on board.

    “For the first time in the life of my country, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy, but increasingly as an ally,” he told Trump.

    “I believe that under your leadership, this change in our region creates an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen security and advance peace.”

    But whatever the view in Cairo and in Riyadh, the change in the US position, which was revealed overnight by a White House official, triggered Palestinian despair and consternation in international capitals.

    The second-ranking official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Saeb Erekat, denounced it as an attempt to “bury the two-state solution and eliminate the state of Palestine.”

    And he implicitly warned Israelis that any single state that emerged would not be a specifically Jewish nation.

    “There's only one alternative,” he told a news conference. “A single democratic state that guarantees the rights of all: Jews, Muslims and Christians.”

    The new US message deliberately echoed the long-standing Israeli position: No peace deal can be imposed from outside and the agenda for talks must reflect the reality on the ground.

    Naftali Bennett, the right-wing leader of the hardline Jewish Home party and an opponent of any Palestinian state, cried victory.

    “A new era. New ideas. No need for third Palestinian state beyond Jordan and Gaza. Big day for Israelis and reasonable Arabs. Congrats,” he tweeted.

    But Trump's decision flew in the face of an international consensus that any final status agreement must be based on a return to Israel's 1967 border - albeit with land swaps.

    Just five days before Trump's 20 January inauguration, Obama's outgoing US administration was among 70 countries to endorse this vision at a peace conference in Paris.

    And just a month before that, Obama's ambassador to the United Nations allowed a Security Council motion that criticised Israeli settlement building to pass without the usual US veto.

    Addressing a US-Israeli conference in December, the then secretary of state John Kerry called settlements a “barrier” to progress.

    Under Trump, that vision appears dead, and Washington has aligned itself with Netanyahu's government and its supporters in the right-wing settler movement.

    Speaking in Cairo after talks with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that “everything must be done” to preserve the two-state solution.

    France, which organised the January peace conference, was also unimpressed.

    Its ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, told reporters “our commitment to the two-state solution is stronger than ever.”

    Trump has tapped son-in-law Jared Kushner and lawyer Jason Greenblatt to lead peace efforts.

    Kushner had dinner with Netanyahu - a long-time family friend - and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday night and attended the White House news conference with his wife Ivanka Trump.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Namibians have their own compassNamibians have their own compass If you follow directions to a certain place given to you by a Namibian, chances are you will end up somewhere between Timbuktu and Lake Tanganyika – when all you wanted was directions to get to Otjiwarongo from the Okahandja parking lot in Swakopmund!

    I tell you, its like we have our own compass - one which never points to the True North!

    Imagine landing at a remote village along the equator only to be greeted by some strange fellows dressed only in their birth suit, jumping up and down and speaking in a language similar to that used during medieval times!

    Let’s say you decided to sneak away for the weekend with your better half to the wilderness where no one will recognise you. Halfway there you discover that you are on the wrong route, so you stop to ask for directions.

    At the nearest service station you ask the young fella there for directions to Kamanjab.

    “Kamanjab is not so far etse… ju yust drive this way and you will find a big mountain next to the road. The mountain is round and made up of rocks, you won’t miss it. So when you arrive at that mountain….ignore it and keep going up…”

    A person standing next to your ‘tour guide’ would intervene and offer to direct you himself. Taking a stick and drawing large lines, probably a map of the area, he would attempt to direct you to your promise land.

    “You see, you are here now. This is where you are. Just turn around – but not a whole turn, just a little turn to the right and go down that direction until you reach three big trees. From there just go and go and go…when you get tired, that is where Kamanjab is!”

    My people from Omaheke are no worse. A typical direction would start off with “…do you know where Mr. Katjimune stays? The road passes right next to his house”

    If you answer in the negative to the question, the informant will continue “…what about Mr. Tjatindi’s house? Surely you must know that one…”

    He keeps on asking you of the different residences, and by the fifth try he gives up and deems you a failure. “You are useless….how come you do not know all these people? How on earth am I supposed to help you then?”

    What is worse is when a passenger in a taxi attempts to direct a taxi to her destination. Mind you, my best friend Tjeripo was in a similar situation recently. The jack-of-all-trades as we know him tried his hand at driving a taxi for his friend.

    A passenger in his car gave him the following directions “…you see that big lamp post…it is not there, just keep going…”

    As they eventually approached her destination after a lot of dead-end turns, the passenger said: “Ok Mr. Shelipo, you can start stopping now…”

    My good friend stopped the car, much to the dissatisfaction of the passenger.

    “Why did you stop here? You taxi guys always want to lop the people. I will sue you and the taxi owner!

    “But you said I must stop,” Tjeripo protested.

    “You foolish boy…I said start stopping – not stop. You do not listen good you people.”

    She probably meant ‘slow down’, but that is Namibia for you!

    Yeah, those are my people from the hood – always full of drama.

    Ever dialled a wrong number at 02:00 and it ends up in a house of a man from the hood?

    When he eventually picks up the phone, he will give you an earful as to what time of the night it is, and whether you are out of your mind calling his house that time.

    “I am sorry sir, I was looking for Charlie…”

    “Dude, there is no God-damn Charlie staying here and I do not care if he is the King of England…this is my private time. Don’t call here again…”

    But the situation is different when you call a man in the suburbs.

    “I am sorry but is this the residence of Charlie?”

    “I am afraid you have a wrong number sir…,” comes the voice on the other end.

    “Ok…sorry to bother you, good night.”

    “Noooo problem. Look it up in the directory and call again if you don’t find it hey.”

    Until then…

    tjatindi@gmail.com

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    Ondonga kingdom's deafening silenceOndonga kingdom's deafening silence Serious allegations have been levelled against some powerful people within the Ondonga Traditional Authority who are accused of grabbing land and allocating it to their rich friends and associates.

    The situation at Onethindi, Onamungudo and Ondonga villages is tense to the extent that a meeting recently held to discuss the issue ended on a raucous note with threatening remarks made against community members by one of the accused.

    Those implicated in the alleged land grabbing activity include the king's wife Cecilia, her son Toteya Elifas, daughter Katrina Elifas, Ondonga headman Oscar Sheehama as well as a certain Thomas Amuthenu. Although the accused have defended themselves in the matter by claiming that that those who are coming up with such allegations were simply envious of the royal family, the traditional authority is yet to pronounce itself on this matter.

    Allegations of this nature against those with close links to the Ondonga king are nothing new and it is completely baffling that the traditional authority is showing little interest in solving the issue.

    Why is it so difficult for the traditional authority to carry out an independent investigation to determine whether these allegations of land grabbing were well-founded? We are sitting with a situation here whereby irate community members are demanding justice for allegedly having been robbed in huge illegitimate land grabs.

    Where is the urgency on the side of the traditional authority in dealing with this matter?

    If it is true that some people are illegally grabbing land for the purpose of self-enrichment and maintaining power at all costs, why are they not held accountable?

    Furthermore, we take cognisance of the deep-seated and irreconcilable differences among some traditional leaders despite the usual calls for unity.

    But that should not be used to confuse and detract attention from this important issue, which affects powerless members of the community.

    These members have nothing to do with the succession battles of the Ondonga kingdom. They simply want answers and for justice to prevail.

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  • 02/16/17--14:00: Who owns the land?
  • Who owns the land?Who owns the land?Ancestral land debate deepens The quest by many communities to claim ancestral land has been made clear but the jury is still out on whether government will entertain such claims. The only way to address the land issue diligently is to acknowledge ancestral land, said All People's Party President, Ignatius Shixwameni.

    Speaking after President Hage Geingob opened the Fifth Session of the Sixth Parliament this week Tuesday, Shixwameni said ancestral land cannot be ignored when allocating certain farms and deciding who benefits from land reform and resettlement programmes.

    Opening parliament later on Tuesday, Geingob said the land issue must be dealt with with diligence, sincerity and clarity to avoid igniting an explosion of chaos in the country.

    The 2017 theme is 'Parliament working towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals'.

    Shixwameni added that the First National Land Conference made a historic mistake in 1991, which was to wipe out and not entertain all claims of ancestral land.

    “History is there and documented. It has a list of who was there and who was evicted from their ancestral land and how those lands were unproductive,” he stated.

    Also commenting on the issue, Swanu President, Usutuaije Maamberua said the first thing investors will ask when they come to Namibia is whether the land issue has been resolved.

    “As long as the answer is land in Namibia is still under dispute, then we can forget about investment, industrialisation, peace and harmony,” Maamberua said.

    He added that government had 27 years to resolve the land issue. However, failure to do so has resulted in frustration of the people, said Maamberua.

    He noted that government is now calling people who are frustrated and those who are fairly and constitutionally demanding their resources, troublemakers, unpatriotic and tribalist.

    “But if we continue on that path, we are not going to see peace and stability in the country,” he stated.

    When President Hage Geingob opened the first Cabinet meeting of the year he said the land issue is being used by discontented individuals as a fuse they hope will ignite an explosion of chaos in Namibia.

    “Come and tell us who is the ancestral owner of this country. Nobody is mentioning the San people when talking about ancestral land, so who are we referring to?” Geingob asked.

    He said those who are holding gatherings on the premise of ancestral land, should come with proposals, which are acceptable within the context of a united, free and reconciled Namibia.

    Geingob explained he has engaged the land reform minister, the vice-president and prime minister before announcing the postponement of the tabling of the Land Bill during the opening of the 2017 legal year last week.

    The postponement follows an outcry from the public for the land reform ministry to consult the nation and for the minister to not re-table the Land Bill before the second national land conference scheduled for September.

    The president said it is pertinent that everybody approach the land issue with utmost sincerity and clarity, adding that there is nothing wrong with belonging to tribes, but “let us avoid placing 'ism' at the end of the word tribal”.

    He explained there is no separatism in the Namibian House. “It is a house where all areas are open to all inhabitants.

    “It is strange that certain people are displaying a great determination to ridicule the concepts which we have put in place in order to accelerate our development, let us disappoint them by succeeding,” Geingob requested.

    NAMPA

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    Areva quenches coastal thirstAreva quenches coastal thirst Despite the fact that Areva was dragged to the Namibia Competition Commission in 2016, NamWater and the Erongo Region have found an unlikely saviour in its desalination plant following the signing of an agreement in December 2016 for the supply of water in the region.

    This is despite the “excessive” fee Areva charged the thirsty coastal clients of N$35 per cubic metre of water supplied and the reason why Areva and NamWater squared off at the commission. Expressing his displeasure at the time, NamWater CEO Vaino Shivute said: “We are convinced that the tariff is on the high side and can be better. We are currently considering our options in taking this issue forward,” he said speaking to the media.

    Areva through its plant, now supplies 1 million cubic metres of water per month to the Erongo Region, thus securing water for the towns of Arandis, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund as well as the three uranium mines.

    In response, Areva Namibia spokesperson Sugnet Smit said: “We supply water to NamWater, who distributes desalinated water to its customers. We currently produce about 1 million cubic metres per month and deliver it to NamWater as from December 2016.”

    Namibian Sun reported in April last year that no significant inflows were recorded from the Omaruru River flowing into the underground Omdel Dam. Over the past two years, demand for water from the Omdel aquifer rose by 10% and 6%, compared to an average annual increase of roughly 3%, a reliable source said at the time. “One has to accept that demand at the coast is increasing. Especially household demand is growing. They use more than the groundwater resources can supply,” the source said. The desalinated water is mixed with groundwater, making up for the shortfall.

    Meanwhile, Areva was positive it could start mining operations on its Trejkoppe mine as soon as the price recovers to a level sufficient to resume activities. “It is difficult for us to give any prediction when the uranium price will recover, but our care and maintenance plan is working well and will allow us to start up efficiently when required.

    The desalination plant has the ability to expand capacity from its current 20 million cubic metres per year to 45 million cubic metres per year to meet the demand.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    MUN accuses Rosh Pinah of victimisationMUN accuses Rosh Pinah of victimisation The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) has accused the Rosh Pinah Zinc Mine of appointing an employer relations (ER) specialist to get rid of workers that went on strike in 2016.

    In a statement issued Wednesday, Elvis Bekele, MUN southern regional organiser expressed “shock” with the conduct of ER specialist Angeline Hagen-Barnard, who according to him is appointed solely to exercise constructive dismissals at the mine.

    According to him, Hagen-Barnard “doubles or triples any charge reported to her office in order to ensure that the employee does not survive the hearing and as a result people are dismissed left and right.”

    “Miss Angeline was not employed to come to Rosh Pinah to build positive labour relations with employees, but to come and destroy the relationship between the company and employees who are union members, and they are victimised based on their status as union members. There are no sound labour relations, harmony and peace between the company and employees since she was appointed as ER specialist. She has an autocratic leadership style and does not see employees as human beings,” said Bekele.

    He added that workers now as a result of this alleged treatment live in fear and are uncertain about their future at the company as they are “terrified” at work.

    “We cannot understand how she was appointed as ER specialist; she must refrain from her philosophy from treating employees like pigs. She must recognise differences and respond to those differences in ways that will ensure employee retention and greater productivity,” Bekele urged.

    Meanwhile Rosh Pinah spokesperson Kondja Kaulinge said he is not aware of these complaints but insisted Hagen-Barnard was employed with no ill-intention in mind.

    “There were people charged during the strike last year but we have agreed with the ministry to withdraw all those charges. I am not aware of these allegations,” he said.



    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/16/17--14:00: 46 foreigners released
  • 46 foreigners released46 foreigners releasedOmbudsman succeeds in bid for protection The state has conceded that the 46 foreigners currently in detention in various facilities around Windhoek are unlawfully detained. The 46 foreign nationals detained in the capital for alleged contravention of immigration regulations are to be released with immediate effect after the state conceded their detention is unlawful. The home affairs ministry undertook to have them all released by 17:00 yesterday afternoon.

    The two minors, both aged 17, will also be released and place in the care of gender equality and child welfare ministry.

    The state made the concession after the Ombudsman, Advocate John Walters took on the Namibian police and immigration officials for unlawful arrest and detention of 46 citizens of other African countries, including Angola, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya in the Windhoek High Court.

    Judge Shafimana Ueitele further ordered that individual immigration officials explain to the court why they should not pay the legal costs for the urgent application.

    Wlaters had on Wednesday submitted an urgent application on behalf of the immigrants seeking to protect their human rights. They were allegedly arbitrarily arrested and continue to be unlawfully detained at Katutura, Seeis, Wanaheda and Windhoek police stations.

    The station commanders, the ministers of home affairs and safety and security, the immigration chief, the Immigration Tribunal, and the inspector-general of the Namibian police are the respondents in the matter.

    The Ombudsman sought an order that the respondents must produce the 46 persons currently detained by them to the court a date and time to be fixed by the court for inquiry into the lawfulness of continued detention.

    He also asked the respondents show cause why the 46 persons should not be released from custody with immediate effect.

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

    The 46 people were allegedly 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 continues to be infringed upon in the most arbitrary and unlawful manner,” Walters argued in his sworn statement.

    He added that it appears that the reason for their arrest and detention is that they are 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 maintained.

    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 legal representation.

    Sylvia Kahengombe appeared on behalf of the state while Advocate Yoleta Campbell appeared on the instructions of Norman Tjombe from Tjombe-Elago Inc.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    27 more suspects face arrest in N$3.5b fraud27 more suspects face arrest in N$3.5b fraud The investigation into a N$3.5 billion tax evasion, fraud and money-laundering case involving a prominent Chinese businessman, three of his countrymen and a Namibian is still incomplete.

    The State prosecution led by Rowan G van Wyk informed the Windhoek Magistrate's Court that there were 27 more persons of interest to be traced and added to the case.

    Magistrate Vanessa Stanley extended the bail granted to the five accused and postponed the hearing to 1 August 2017 for further investigation.

    Tao Huizhong, Jinrong Huang, and Julius Laurentius were each granted N$1.5 million bail and Zhu Honggang N$500 000, while the millionaire businessman Yuigua Haung, also known as Jack Huang, is free on N$1 million bail.

    The five men are accused of tax evasion, fraud and money-laundering involving N$3.5 billion.

    Huang was arrested at Hosea Kutako International Airport before he could board a plane for Angola, where he allegedly has numerous business interests.

    He is out on N$1 million bail on condition that he report once a week at the Windhoek police station or the nearest police station.

    He was further ordered to hand over all his travel documents to the investigating officer in the case. He must ask permission from the investigating officer if he wishes to travel abroad.

    Huang was further ordered not to interfere with the State witnesses or the investigation.

    Zhu is the owner of Glory Building Material Supply in Ondangwa and is said to be a Namibian national.

    He is accused of fraud and of contravening section 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which deals with the acquisition, possession or use of the proceeds of crime.

    Laurentius is a customs official at Walvis Bay.

    Lawyer Sisa Namandje appeared on behalf of the Chinese accused while Dirk Conradie appeared for Laurentius.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Oniipa council enters Ondonga frayOniipa council enters Ondonga fray Influential members of the Ondonga Traditional Authority who have been accused of confiscating land are reportedly also grabbing municipal land.

    The Oniipa town council this week announced that town land at Onethindi and Oniipa had been seized by Ondonga King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, his wife Cecilia, as well as village headman Oscar Sheehama.

    It was reported that Onethindi, Onamungudo and Ondonga villagers wrote letters to the Ondonga Traditional Authority alleging that they were losing their land to a group of powerful people from the palace led by the king's wife Cecilia, her son Toteya Elifas, daughter Katrina Elifas, Sheehama as well as a certain Thomas Amuthenu.

    The traditional authority directed senior headman John Walenga to meet with the community members and hear what their complaints were. He was informed at the meeting that their land deeds were confiscated and that their land was sold without their consent using the king's name.

    The town council's CEO, Junias Jakob, said the council had observed similar cases and they had advised the culprits to cease such illegal activities immediately as it might have dire legal consequences for them.

    “As per the Local Authorities Act, Act 23 of 1992, we wish to state that the land in question is the property of the council from the time it was so proclaimed. The communal land rights that existed before the proclamation were terminated when the land was so proclaimed and it became Oniipa town council land,” Jakob said.

    “The communal land rights holders are however entitled to be compensated for the loss of usage of such state land and the improvements, and that is the process the council is busy with.”

    Following reports on this matter in Namibian Sun, a group of people who had received land from the traditional authority approached the town council to ask what would happen to their money.

    Jakob said they were not going to favour any one person because the law was very clear and the council would obviously apply the law where it is applicable.

    “Communities are aware and were well informed not to get involved in illegal dealings of selling land, but it seems like some of them are ignoring the authority.

    “These people that have purchased the land in question and those that are still buying land from other people who claim to be the owners of the land, the council cannot help them.

    “The land that they have bought belongs to the council and they do not have ownership (title deeds) for it. Therefore, they may lose their land without being compensated,” he said.

    Oniipa was proclaimed a town in 2015.

    Jakob said the traditional authority and community members were fully informed of what that entailed.

    However, the council continues to see illegal land sales and development without approved building plans. Some members of the community are even building without plans at sites that they proclaim as theirs.

    The secretary of the traditional authority, Joseph Asino, told Namibian Sun they were not yet prepared to comment on the matter.

    “Yes, we have received all the complaints and we have directed John Walenga to host a meeting with the community and the town council. Once this is completed, we will make a statement,” he said.

    Jakob added that the council was servicing the township of Onethindi proper, which is comprised of 251 erven of which 195 are zoned for residential and 43 for business.





    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Nine killed in animal attacksNine killed in animal attacksConference to discuss conflict Human encroachment on formerly wild areas is leading to more frequent cases of conflict with wildlife. It is not even two months into the year and already six people have been killed by wild animals. The number is staggeringly high as in 2016 a total of nine were killed in conflict with animals in Namibia.

    Four of those killed this year were in hippo attacks while the other two people were killed by crocodiles.

    Last year, four people were injured in human-wildlife conflict incidents including two staff members of the environment ministry.

    As for livestock, 545 cattle, 79 sheep, 291 goats and 15 donkeys were taken by wild animals in 2016 while this year 46 cattle and nine goats have been killed so far.

    With regard to crops, there were 71 incidents of damage reported in 2016 and 94 hectares were destroyed by wild animals. This year 21 incidents were reported and 57 hectares have been destroyed.

    These figures were released by environment minister Pohamba Shifeta at the announcement of a conference on human-wildlife conflict management.

    The conference will be held on 1 and 2 March at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek, while World Wildlife Day will be celebrated on 3 March.

    Shifeta said people were risking their lives crossing and swimming in rivers because they believe that crocodiles will not attack them unless they are bewitched.

    He said this ignorance was why so many people were being killed by hippos and crocodiles.

    The minister said there are designated areas where people can cross rivers.

    “But because they do not want to get a permit they cross the river at night even with babies that become victims.”

    Shifeta said human-wildlife conflict in Namibia had become more frequent and severe in recent decades as a result of population growth, unplanned agricultural activities and the expansion of agricultural and industrial activities, which have led to increased human encroachment on previously wild and uninhabited areas.

    According to Shifeta the ministry recognises that living with wildlife often carries a cost, with increased wildlife populations and expanded ranges into communal and freehold farming areas resulting in more frequent conflicts between people and wild animals, particularly elephants and predators.

    He said that resulted in livestock and crop losses, damage to water installations and in some instances loss of human lives. The impact of livestock losses and crop damage on rural farmers is compounded by the effects of unemployment, lack of cash and the impact of HIV/Aids.

    According to him these conflicts have always existed where people and wildlife live together and will continue to do so in the future. “This means that it will not be possible to eradicate all conflicts but that conflict has to be managed in the most effective and efficient way possible.”

    He said it was also evident that the widespread drought in Namibia was aggravating the situation.

    Shifeta added that many wild animals are destroyed in retaliation of human-wildlife conflict even when the identification of the real culprit is not possible especially with predators. “This may eliminate the species and affect the ecosystem and home ranges.”

    The conference will discuss measures and strategies to be put in place in order to address the issue of wildlife conflict and finalise the revised national policy on human-wildlife conflict management.





    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Namibia on military watch-listNamibia on military watch-listEighth highest increase in military spending Namibia is one of 14 countries that spend more than 4% of their GDP on the military. Namibia's military spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product will come under the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's (Sipri) watchful eye when finance minister Calle Schlettwein tables the budget for the 2017-18 financial year.

    Namibia has found itself on Sipri's blacklist of countries with abnormally high military spending relative to their needs. Sipri monitors 172 countries' military expenditure.

    In its latest assessment, released at the end of 2016, Namibia is one of 14 countries with a military spending equal to 4% of its GDP.

    According to the assessment, Namibia's military spending amounted to 4.4% of its GDP in 2015 and 4.1% in 2014. The latest budget documents prepared by the Ministry of Finance indicate that military spending was higher: 4.7% in 2015-16 and 4.6% in 2014-15.

    Sifri uses military spending as a percentage of GDP not exceeding 4% as a comparison tool.

    According to them, Namibia featured on Sipri's blacklist in 2014 and 2015, which was the first time the country had appeared on the list since 1991 and 1992. Then, military spending as a percentage of GDP amounted to 5.6% and 4.3% respectively.

    In its report, Namibia was highlighted as the country with the eighth highest increase in spending geared towards its military.

    “Namibia's military expenditure spiked by 200%,” Sipri said in its report titled 'Trends in World Military Expenditure 2015'. Sifri uses the American dollar in its analysis and uses an averaged exchange rate for the specific year being measured. In its estimations, 2014 was selected as the base year.

    Sipri also highlighted Namibia as one of 20 countries that had a big military relative to its size. Namibia is also unique to Sipri because it is not involved in any wars.

    “One country, Namibia, functions as a democracy and has since 1990 never been involved in an armed conflict, but has a military expenditure of 4.6% of GDP,” the peace watchdog said.

    Pruning shears

    Provisional indications suggest that Schlettwein will try to keep military spending below 4% when he tables the budget. Fiscal consolidation measures may even see military spending drop to 3.3% of GDP.

    The defence budget will get the fourth biggest budget allocation, eclipsed only by education, finance and health.

    Figures in the medium-term expenditure framework for the period 2016 to 2019 indicate that military spending will amount to N$6.89 billion in the 2017-18 financial year – or 10% of GDP.

    Of the estimated figure, N$6.23 billion is to be allocated to the military, and N$657.9 million to research and development.



    Secret

    Almost N$349.9 million of the military's expenditure, which amounts to 53% of its 2017-18 budget allocation, amounts to 'research and development'. Whatever the money will be used for, the taxpayer is in the dark as it is deemed to be classified information.

    According to budget documents, the money will be geared towards “plant, machinery and equipment”.

    “The intention is to build a modern, well-trained and well-resourced military force,” the defence ministry said in its argument for the budget

    allocation.

    The total cost of the project amounts to approximately N$6.7 billion. N$2.35 billion has already been spent on the military since the 2014-15 financial year, while it is estimated that a further N$1.3 million will be spent on the military until 2018/19.

    An amount of N$16 million was deemed secret spending in the operational budget for the 2017-18 financial year, the defence ministry argued.



    Military crowd

    The military is the country's second biggest employer. With the tabling of the budget in February 2016, it provided employment to approximately 19 052 individuals. This amounts to 18.9% of the country's workforce which is estimated at 100 719. It is only with education that more jobs were provided which amounts to 37 874 individuals

    It is also estimated that the total military budget for the 2017-18 financial year will exceed N$4.18 billion. This is approximately 16.3% of the total budget for the coming financial year, which begins 1 April 2017.





    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 02/16/17--14:00: Miserable, hopeless life
  • Miserable, hopeless lifeMiserable, hopeless lifeUnimaginable horror as elderly endure squalor Our roving journalist Ileni Nandjato has uncovered conditions of unimaginable domestic squalor and neglect in the Ohangwena Region. About ten destitute elders and 12 ailing young people are living among other San people in a small community close to Oshipala village near Omundaungilo in the Ohangwena Region.

    Some of these people do not leave their makeshift rag tents, which they call home, for months due to old age, blindness or chronic illness.

    The hidden community, which is home to about 900 people, faces social exclusion. It is now the rainy season and they are exposed to the full force of the elements.

    Many of the elders and the school-age children do not receive pensions or social grants from the government and the community lives in total isolation from the rest of the world.

    Not one member of the community knew their age and Namibian Sun could only determine this from those who have documents.

    Speaking from her rag tent, providing only partial shelter and covered with a tattered blanket, Shaambeni Mushati, 94, told Namibian Sun that she had been blind for many years now.

    She spends all her days and nights in her little room and says she cannot tell the difference.

    “The only time I get out of my house is when people are repairing it for rain. I am old and blind and I cannot go anywhere.

    I was not born here, but we came to this place many years ago. I get pension through my children,” Mushati said. Next to Mushati's structure is that of the completely hapless 97-year-old Namatembu Haixuxua. According to Mushati, Haixuxua is very old and doesn't talk.

    “I am better off than her. She doesn't talk and she only spends all the days and night sleeping.

    Her children and grandchildren feed her,” Mushati said.

    Rusia Hamukanda, 97, told Namibian Sun about her 26-year-old grandchild and namesake's condition. The young Rusia cannot walk and she spends most of her time in her little structure.

    According to Hamukanda senior, she fell sick eight years ago while she was pregnant.

    “She was taken to Eenhana hospital, where she was diagnosed with polio. Due to that, doctors helped her to give birth through an operation. After giving birth, both she and her child, Aily Kamati, were diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) and they became disabled,” Hamukanda said.

    Kamati is now a learner at Okahenge Combined School, but Hamukanda said the child has some kind of diaphragm deformity.



    'Nothing we can do'

    Approached for comment, the Ohangwena regional councillor for Omundaungilo, Festus Ikanda, said this San group was one of many living in his constituency.

    He acknowledged that they live in very harsh conditions, but said there was not much his office could do for them.

    “We feed these people through a special food relief programme through the office of the vice-president,” he said.

    “Each person living in those communities receives an allocation of food individually and not per household as other people get under the drought-relief programme. We take care of their health, including transporting them to hospitals.”

    Ikanda said he was aware of their need for shelter, but his office had no means to help them.

    “We have no place to take the ailing and elderly. That is why last year we supported the bill that proposed construction of old-age homes in all the regions. We could take them there,” Ikanda said. Community leader Casada Amupolo acknowledged that they get food aid, and that a few elders receive pension payouts, while some receive vulnerable children grants. However, she said, this was not enough for them. Most members of the community were issued with identity documents stating incorrect or estimated ages, as they were unable to provide their dates of birth.

    Those who have no documents cannot receive any assistance. He said when the government food runs out, they depend on hunting and wild fruits for survival, but people who fence off land prevent them from going onto their land to look for wild fruits.

    “There are few people who care for us. They come here and offer us a little domestic work to do, and then they give us money, food or clothes. That is how we survive,” Amupolo said.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Dineo to hit Namibia this weekendDineo to hit Namibia this weekend Namibia will feel the impact of tropical storm Dineo this weekend. Certain parts of the country can expect heavy rainfall of more than 50 mm, and flash floods are also likely.

    The tropical storm hit the Mozambican coast yesterday morning after being downgraded from cyclone status to a tropical depression.

    The South African government warned communities to be on alert for the knock-on effects of the storm.

    In Namibia the meteorological service warned that heavy rain of more than 50mm and gusty winds are expected in the Omaheke Region and the eastern parts of Otjozondjupa, Hardap and Khomas this weekend.

    Northern Namibia can also expect heavy rainfall this weekend because of a low-pressure system that has developed over Angola.

    In the north sporadic flooding has already occurred in some areas.

    Dineo was positioned over the Mozambique Channel and after making landfall it weakened to a tropical depression or low-pressure system.

    Dineo stormed into Mozambique this week with strong winds which were expected to reach over 200km per hour. Trees were uprooted, roofs torn off and extensive damage was caused to infrastructure.

    By yesterday morning the winds had died down to 80 km/hour. The tropical depression is expected to bring torrential rains and strong winds as it moves south-westwards, as can already be seen in South Africa where between 100mm and 200mm in 24 hours was expected in some parts of the country. Tropical storms and cyclones‚ which originate over open water‚ weaken significantly as they pass over land. This is because they depended on the open ocean as a source of latent heat energy to sustain their growth and intensification.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/16/17--20:43: Welcome relief for Namibia
  • Welcome relief for NamibiaWelcome relief for Namibia
    After a few days of heavy and intense rainfalls over vast areas of Namibia, many of the country’s larger rivers have been flowing quite strongly, as far as the Kuiseb and Hoanib rivers in the Namib Desert. Most of the major dams have taken large volumes of water and their levels have increased quite markedly. The Von Bach Dam now stands are just over 40% compared to 16% on Saturday of last week and if Naute Dam continues to take water, currently at 93%, her sluices will be opened for a second time this season. Hardap Dam has taken almost 200 million cubic metres of water and now holds around 66%. Predictions for rain over the next two weeks, until at least 2 March, remain very positive with falls over the central and northern areas of the country to average from 5 to 50mm and higher. Following that, the tropical storm which is just off the South African coastline in the Mozambique Channel may have an impact on the rainfall in the coming weeks. While it is yet unsure how it will develop, it may take up moisture over the sub-continent for around two weeks after which, it generally returns it in the form of massive falls over the entire region, as far north as Zimbabwe and northern Angola. So while it may ‘dry up’ for a short while, it will appear as though La Niňa has a firm grip on Namibia.



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  • 02/17/17--01:42: Africa is rising
  •  Africa is rising Africa is rising Africa’s narrative is rising and things are steadily improving according to Galileo Capital chief executive officer Theo Vorster who spoke at a Business 7 breakfast hosted by Namibia Media Holdings (NMH) this morning.
    According to Vorster, there are two factors that are going to propel Africa’s economy forward and include an increased urbanisation rate and changing demographics.
    “The narrative of Africa and what we see is not the case. There is no way you can tell me there is no future for Africa, forget about the old Africa,” he said.
    Revealing growth figures, Vorster revealed that Africa’s Gross Domestic Product had shown a steep improvement from US$587 billion to US$2 trillion over a 13-year period. On rising population, Africa’s GDP/per capita also painted a positive picture, closing at US$1 866 in 2013 against US$720 observed in 2000.

    According to Vorster, the Sub-Saharan African economy is expected to double in the next 15 years and compared the sub-region to India in the 70s.
    “That must be wonderful if you work in Africa. All the indicators are there that it will double. If we get a few things right, the size of the economy will double,” Vorster said with surety.

    OGONE TLHAGE


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    Dineo weakens, moderate winds expectedDineo weakens, moderate winds expected Tropical cyclone Dineo weakened considerably over the weekend and was downgraded to a normal low-pressure system that was expected to cause moderate rainfall, says Meteorological Service deputy director Franz Uirab.
    Uirab said Dineo entered Namibia in a north-westerly trajectory, passing over the northern parts of the Omaheke, Kavango, Zambezi and Otjozondjupa regions.
    “It was situated over the Oshikoto, Oshana, Kavango East and West and the north of the Otjozondjupa regions. As pressures are expected to fall and deepen over the Namibian west coast, the low-pressure system that originated from the tropical depression moved southwards, covering the central and southern parts.”
    Heavy rains, accompanied by fresh winds, are expected this week.
    “As a result, partly cloudy and warm to hot weather with isolated thunderstorms are expected in the Kunene Region.
    “It will be cloudy to overcast with scattered thundershowers and thundershowers over the Khomas, //Karas, Hardap, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Otjozondjupa, Kavango East and West, Omaheke and Kunene regions, while winds are expected to be moderate to fresh,” Uirab said of the forecast for today.
    STAFF REPORTER

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    South Africa sneaks home against NZSouth Africa sneaks home against NZ A polished Quinton de Kock half-century laid the foundation for South Africa's four wicket win over New Zealand (NZ) in a tense finish to a rain-shortened opening one-day international in Hamilton yesterday.

    In a clash that went down to the wire, it was a man-of-the-match performance from De Kock on a wicket that took an exceptional amount of spin in New Zealand conditions.

    The departure of De Kock for 69 sparked a middle-order collapse as even the New Zealand quicks turned to bowling cutters on the responsive pitch before an AB de Villiers rescue mission saw his side home with a ball to spare.

    “We never expected it to turn like that in Hamilton,” De Villiers said.

    “From past experience this becomes a really good batting track in the evening but that was far from it.”

    With the fixture reduced to 34 overs a side following heavy rain early in the day, New Zealand posted 207 for seven, boosted by a whirlwind 51 off 23 balls at the end by unbeaten pair Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee.

    But any thoughts New Zealand had that they were in a strong performance were soon dashed by the way De Kock launched into South Africa's reply.

    “At the halfway stage we felt we were right in the game,” captain Kane Williamson said.

    “We knew needing five and a half on that surface was going to be difficult and they got off to a very good start which made chasing down that total a lot easier.”

    “South Africa showed their class with the bat, batted very well and their composure towards the end was very important on a tough surface”

    South Africa went into the final over of their reply requiring 12 to win, and de Villiers ended the game with a four off the fifth ball of Tim Southee's over.

    With de Kock in sublime form, assisted by Hashim Amla, South Africa started their run chase strongly with an 88-run stand.

    Williamson used five bowling changes in the first 15 overs in an attempt to break up the pair but only succeeded when he put himself, a part-time spinner, on and had Amla caught and bowled for 35.

    Faf du Plessis (14) joined de Kock to get the score to 117 when the South African innings suffered a collapse with five wickets falling in the space of 39 runs.

    Trent Boult had de Kock caught in a sharp piece of fielding by Ross Taylor at short midwicket and Tim Southee removed JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardein with consecutive deliveries.

    Chris Morris survived the hat-trick ball and made 16 before his dismissal had South Africa at 156-6 with 44 balls remaining.

    De Villiers with 37 off 34 balls and Andile Phehulkwayo (29 off 23) combined efforts to get the tourists home.

    De Grandhomme and Southee's whirlwind partnership gave the New Zealand innings a respectable look after they too suffered a middle order collapse.

    De Grandhomme was unbeaten on 34 off 19 balls while Southee faced 13 balls to be 24 not out.

    They were particularly harsh on the most successful of the South African bowlers, Morris, smacking the all-rounder for 25 in the final over.

    It saw Morris's figures balloon out to four for 62 off his seven overs, after he had four for 24 off five.

    Morris had left the New Zealand top order in tatters with only Kane Williamson (59) and Dean Brownlie (31) offering any resistance.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Galz and Goals expands to ZambeziGalz and Goals expands to ZambeziOshana will also benefit from expansion Interest in women's football is growing and the NFA women's desk is now reaching out to regions such as Zambezi and Oshana. The NFA Galz and Goals national coordinator, Jackie Gertze, will visit the Zambezi and Oshana regions to launch the girls' football programme there.

    Gertze will be on a familiarisation visit and meetings have been set up with stakeholders from local government, the NFA leadership, as well as a visit to schools before the official launch of the Galz and Goals football, healthy lifestyle and HIV/Aids education programme.

    Oshana regional Galz and Goals coordinator Agnus Ilimu expressed joy that the programme is finally being launched in his region.

    “I am personally very happy that the girls in this region will have such an inclusive football programme that not only allows girls to play football, but will be a learning and interacting platform during leagues, festivals and training sessions,” he said, adding that girls and their coaches will pick up valuable tips on prevention of HIV and AIDS, healthy lifestyle, best practices and sport for development through participation in football leagues.

    He said a lot of schools are interested and will register their girls' teams in the categories of U-13, U-15, U-17 and even U-20, depending on which age group the school has highest interest in.

    Galz and Goals coordinator Boston Likando from Zambezi said in the years that he had been involved in women's football there had always been high interest from girls willing to play.

    “The interest from women and girls has always been there to play football, so it is even much better to introduce the programme where UNICEF puts emphasis on HIV and AIDS education and using football to do that successfully,” he said.

    He maintained that his group members were ready to receive the delegation from NFA and UNICEF to Katima to discuss the details of the launch.

    “We will continue to encourage the schools to register their girls' teams and we also encourage clubs and community-based teams to register for the colourful event,” he said.

    The Galz and Goals programme is currently running in eight regions and the launch in the two regions will include seven-a-side football.

    KAINO NGHITONGO

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