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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Rehoboth 'sewerage squad' in courtRehoboth 'sewerage squad' in court A former Rehoboth mayor and a senior manager at the Rehoboth Town Council (RTC) and two others have appeared in the town's magistrate court on charges of fraud.

    George Dax and RTC public relations officer Jeffrey Kasupi, along with former building inspector and acting technical chief, Sands Witbeen and Marko Rittmann, a contractor who was responsible for the rehabilitation of the Block E sewerage system were arrested by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on charges of corruption late on Thursday.

    The foursome is charged for corruptly using their office or position for self-gratification while Kasupi, Witbeen and Rittmann face an additional charge for corruptly using a false document by an agent.

    According to an ACC statement investigations into allegations of corruption started in 2010 in respect of the appointment of Radoruu Civil Works on a capital project to construct sewerage reticulation at Oanob Park and MK Gertze Extension 3 in Rehoboth to the tune of N$1 162 966.25.

    Allegations included that the then mayor Dax and Kasupi allegedly used their positions and office to ensure that the tender was awarded on a single proposal of Radoruu, flouting the local tender board regulations, Local Authorities Act and RTC procurement policy, in order to favour Radoruu.

    It was further alleged that Witbeen allegedly recommended a payment of N$105 000 for site establishment to Rittmann of Radoruu while he was allegedly aware that the site wasn't yet established at the time when the payment was made.

    Meanwhile, Rittman is accused of allegedly only submitting a formal tender document with pricing a month after the work was allocated to him for a tender amount of N$2 766 960 while his initial proposal was projected on an amount of N$1 162 966.25. In addition, he allegedly presented a payment certificate that contained a falsification stating that he had established the site whilst this was in fact not done when the certificate was presented for payment.

    The case has been postponed to 12 to 14 June 2017 for plea and trial while bail was set at N$20 000.


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  • 02/26/17--14:00: Congo fever under control
  • Congo fever under controlCongo fever under controlNo new cases reported over the weekend While colleagues of the farmworker who died last week from Congo fever are under quarantine, the disease seems to be under control and no new cases have been reported. The health ministry is appealing to farmworkers and people working closely with animals to urgently report tick bites at their nearest health centre.

    This follows the death of a 26-year-old male farmworker at the Gobabis State Hospital who was diagnosed with Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (Congo fever) last week.

    Farmworkers at the farm where the virus originated have since been brought to the Windhoek Central Hospital and are being quarantined and held under close surveillance.

    During a press briefing on Friday, the permanent secretary of the health ministry Andreas Mwoombola said the farmworker tested negative for malaria and was then treated with diarrhoea before he was sent home.

    The patient was however re-admitted a few days later as he started vomiting blood and was haemorrhaging.

    “It was only at this time that relatives mentioned that he was bitten by a tick and the clinic then suspected tick-borne haemorrhagic fever. It is important to note that it is not easy to pick up Congo fever on the first consultation,” he said.

    The deceased's body was treated has since been buried by an environmental health practitioner.

    Mwoombola also pointed out that medical personnel can only treat the symptoms of the disease as there is no specific treatment or vaccination for Congo fever.

    Meanwhile, the situation is being closely monitored, while the deceased's relatives as well as four nurses and the doctor that were in close contact with him without protective equipment have been quarantined and are being monitored.

    “A community investigation team was set up. Active case searches were done at one of the three farms whereby a close contact suffering from jaundice, headache and cough was identified and brought in to the hospital for isolation and investigation,” said Mwoombola.

    Mwoombola has further said the situation is under control and therefore urged the public not to panic, but to report all tick bites to their closest medical facilities.

    According to Mwoombola, a nurse treated a patient with Congo fever a few years ago and this latest incident is the fourth case reported in Namibia in 26 years. The owner of Harnas Wildlife Foundation east of Gobabis, Nick van der Merwe, died of Congo fever in 2001, also after working his cattle and being bitten by a tick.

    Congo fever

    Congo fever which is formally known as the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has a 40% fatality rate with death occuring in the second week of illness and is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and livestock.

    Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons. There is no vaccine available for both people and animals. CCHF is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia.

    According to information from the health ministry, the majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry such as agriculture workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.

    According to Mwoombola, the incubation period of the virus is five to six days when symptoms show that a person has been infected.

    Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache and sore eyes. They may have nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and a sore throat early on. After two to four days the agitation may be replaced with sleepiness, depression and exhaustion.


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  • 02/26/17--14:00: Bokomo drops prices
  • Bokomo drops pricesBokomo drops prices Bokomo Namibia has announced a price decrease on its products which includes a 13% decrease on maize meal and a 7% decrease on wheat products including pasta.

    The price decrease will be effective 6 March and includes Bokomo wheat flour, bakery flour and complete mix, as well as pasta which will all decrease with 7% while the price of Bokomo maize meal will go down by 13%.

    According to Bokomo Namibia, the price decrease is due to the strengthening of the Namibian dollar and improved raw material prices.

    In a statement issued by Bokomo, the global wheat and maize prices have declined in US dollar terms and the appreciation of the Namibian dollar against all major currencies has resulted in a decrease in the landed Namibian dollar price of raw materials. The improved harvest forecasts for maize in South Africa are also putting downward pressure on raw material pricing.

    “If the good rains continue in the summer planting areas of South Africa, we expect further decreases in maize pricing towards the middle of this year.”

    Since the start of the rainy season, average maize prices have already fallen from N$3.789 per ton in November to N$3.388 per ton in January.

    CEO of Bokomo Namibia Hubertus Hamm says that consumers have already benefited from lower promotional pricing on Bokomo products during the past holiday period and the upcoming price decrease will provide further relief to consumers.

    Namib Mills also recently announced a price decrease on all of its products, except sugar. It is anticipated that towards the end of the year maize prices can drop further.

    It is expected that Namibia will produce between 50 000 to 60 000 tons of maize this year which is at least double the 30 000 tons of maize that was harvested last year.

    However, concerns have been expressed that the expected harvest may be impacted by outbreak of the armyworms in the north of the country at some green schemes and it is likely that the harvest will be affected.


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    Accident on Reho-Whk road claims fiveAccident on Reho-Whk road claims five Five people including a child died in a horrific car crash involving a tractor on Friday evening just north of Rehoboth.

    Nampol spokesperson Warrant Officer Immanuel Lazarus confirmed the crash saying a Mercedes Benz collided with a Tractor.

    According to him the passenger of the Mercedes Benz was trapped in the vehicle and died at the scene while its driver walked off in a daze into the nearby bushes and is yet to be found. The child, 6, was sitting on the passenger's lap.

    He added that the driver of the tractor sustained serious injuries and was admitted at the St Mary's Hospital in Rehoboth. While information is still scanty, it appears as though a few minutes later at the same scene a Volkswagen Jetta rolled over a few meters before it came to a standstill on its wheels.

    At the time of going to press, it was still unclear as to what caused the Jetta to overturn.

    “Three adults and a child died on the spot, but the driver sustained serious injuries and was taken to the Windhoek Central Hospital,” he said. According to Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund the accident took place around 21:31 on Friday evening roughly 10 kilometres outside Rehoboth en-route to Windhoek. In a statement, the MVA Fund expressed its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, friends, colleagues and community members of the deceased. In a statement by the MVA Fund CEO Rosalia Martins-Hausiku the fund encouraged the families to contact the nearest MVA Fund Service Centre for assistance with relevant claims such as funeral grant and loss of support for the dependents of the deceased, as well as loss of income, injury grant, and medical expenses for the injured. “We assure the families of our highest regard during the claims process,” she said.


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  • 02/26/17--14:00: A.I. Steenkamp board resigns
  • A.I. Steenkamp board resignsA.I. Steenkamp board resignsEducation ministry blamed for inaction The chairman of the A.I. Steenkamp school board Helster Gawanab told Namibian Sun it has taken 17 months for the education ministry to respond. The board of A.I. Steenkamp Primary School has resigned en masse citing a non-committal attitude by the Ministry of Education to investigate alleged malpractices at the school.

    The board chairman Helster Gawanab told Namibian Sun that it has taken the ministry, “17 months” to intervene. The teachers have also demanded that the principal Rudolphine Kamahene be removed.

    According to the Gawanab he has resigned for the sake of the “Namibian child” and can no longer stand the state of affairs at the school.

    “I do not want to be judged for what is happening at the school. I will not tolerate unlawfulness,” he said.

    He added that the board has not received concrete feedback despite several meetings with education officials as well as the ministry's promise that a decision would be taken by Friday last week.

    Two weeks ago, the disgruntled teachers boycotted teaching claiming the school is mismanaged under the leadership of Kamahene.

    Although the Khomas education director Gerard Vries told Namibian Sun that a statement would be issued by Friday regarding the fate of the school management, this however, did not materialise.

    Efforts to get a comment from Vries and the ministry's public relations officer Johanna Absalom were fruitless and both did not answer calls. Both telephone numbers for education permanent secretary, Sanet Steenkamp were also not reachable.

    Meanwhile the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) president Kahongoro Kavihuha has accused the Khomas education directorate of bullying aggrieved teachers instead of addressing their problems.

    According to Kavihuha, the situation at the A.I. Steenkamp Primary School is a manifestation of how the ministry treats grievances throughout the country.

    “The rules are clear; it must take only five days for the ministry to start dealing with a reported grievance. But what we see now is that the investigator tends to target the initiator of the grievance instead of dealing with the problem,” he said.


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  • 02/26/17--14:00: Security guard wage chaos
  • Security guard wage chaosSecurity guard wage chaos The majority of security guard firms in Namibia have yet to adjust salaries to the new minimum wage that was set at the beginning of January this year.

    According to sources, at least more than 50% of security firms are not yet paying the new minimum wage of N$8.75, claiming that clients, including government, want to first see that the changes are gazetted.

    It is unclear how many security guards are not yet earning the new minimum wage.

    Nevertheless, a last minute agreement between the unions and the Security Association of Namibia (SAN) in December, which warded off a Christmas season strike, stipulated that the new minimum wage must be implemented by 1 January, despite it not being gazetted yet.

    Moreover, a member of SAN this week warned that companies and clients refusing to adhere to the new wages were not acting in line with the labour law.

    “There is no exemption to any company or employer for not adhering and the critical fact is that it became effective on the first of January. The government gazette is no excuse.”

    He explained that a labour case could and should be opened at the Ministry of Labour by any employee who was not being paid the new minimum wage of N$8.75 per hour.

    He added that security guards in general should be approached by labour officials during the first week of March to see if they are being paid in accordance with the agreement.

    “Furthermore, they should be invited to report it to SAN and the unions,” the SAN member said.

    John Kwedhi, Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) general-secretary warned at the signing of the agreement in December that the agreement is applicable to the entire security guard sector. He said the unions would not hesitate to take action against anyone refusing to implement the new wages at the start of January.

    He particularly warned employers and clients of security firms not to wait for the agreement to be gazetted.

    Numerous attempts to contact the representatives from the three unions last week who acted on behalf of the security guards failed.

    Earlier this year, a security firm owner and a member of SAN explained that many security companies were struggling to motivate the increased service fees to clients, without proof that the increases have been gazetted.

    “Many companies are finding it difficult to bring any adjustments as per the agreement. The reason stated by clients is that the agreement has not yet been gazetted, so it has not been legally recognised yet.”

    Clients include government offices, including the Khomas Regional Council.

    Yesterday, Clement Mafwila, chief regional officer for Khomas confirmed that the council had received a letter explaining that fees would be raised in return for services at Groot Aub by Shilimela Security Services, a long-time service provider to the council.

    However, Mafwila told Namibian Sun that the council could not approve higher service fees, because the new wages have not yet been gazetted.

    He said unless that happens, a request from the tender board for additional funds to cover costs for the Groot Aub security services would more than likely not be approved.

    “If it is gazetted, then it will not be a problem,” he said. He added that the payments would be calculated as from the implementation dates and would be made as soon as fee increases are formally approved through the required channels.

    Security guards employed by Shilimela Security Services at Groot Aub this week complained that their salaries had not been adjusted over the past five years. They claimed that the Ministry of Labour has not stepped in to help and urged the labour commissioner to investigate.

    Banda Shilimela, founder and owner of the security firm, yesterday denied these claims.

    He said that the majority of his employees stationed across the country, including at the University of Namibia, had received the salary hike in line with the new minimum wage. He said this was done after clients had agreed to pay higher service fees and he was able to accommodate the new minimum wages.

    He said the Groot Aub employees were still paid the N$7 minimum wage and no less. He confirmed that their salaries would be increased as soon as the clients agreed to pay the higher fees which he would need in order to cover the costs of salary increases.

    Shilimela told Namibian Sun yesterday that the company is “committed to the agreement” between the unions and SAN and that he has “no objection whatsoever” to pay the higher fees.

    He put it on record that the company would increase the salary to the new minimum wage of all Groot Aub security guards and pay back-pay from 1 January, as soon as his clients, the Khomas Regional Council, agreed to pay higher service fees.

    “We don't get money from anywhere else except from our clients for the work we are doing. Government is currently still paying us on the rate that is now out-dated. So we can't pay more, because we don't have it.”

    Emails and phone calls to the permanent secretary of the labour ministry, Bro-Matthew Shinguadja, went unanswered.



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    Kobi will come back after releaseKobi will come back after release The Kobi Alexander saga which has dragged on for more than a decade after he fled to Namibia to avoid multiple charges for masterminding a multimillion-dollar stock option fraud scheme, has finally come to an end after he was sentenced to a prison term of two and a half years.

    The American-Israeli was sentenced last week in the US to 30 months in prison after having pleaded guilty to securities fraud for his role in a stock option backdating scheme involving Comverse Technologies Inc.

    Alexander who fled the US and spent a decade in Namibia just as he was about to be charged for the multimillion-dollar stock option fraud, had begged for leniency before the US court.

    However, his sentence represents the longest term of incarceration imposed by a US court in connection with a stock option backdating scheme.

    Alexander was sentenced by US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, who said the former executive could not be trusted when he pleaded guilty in August last year.

    Lawyers for Alexander, 64, had sought a prison term of no more than two years for Alexander, who has already spent six months in custody after Garaufis rejected his request for release on bail of US$25 million.

    Alexander is likely to be credited for the time he was held.

    Meanwhile local lawyer Louis du Pisani who represents Alexander's interests in Namibia told Namibian Sun that Alexander is planning to return to Namibia after serving his sentence. His view is to continue his development in Walvis Bay.

    However, du Pisani informed that offers to purchase the Shalom Park property in Walvis Bay owned by Alexander have been received since he returned to the US.

    The development at Shalom Park is for low-cost housing.

    “Now that Alexander's legal problems in the US have been resolved, he will consider the offers and decide whether to sell or to develop the property.”

    Alexander returned to New York from Namibia in August last year after fleeing the US in 2006.

    Alexander faced 35 criminal counts in 2006, however, upon his return to the US he pleaded guilty to a single offence: backdating stock options.

    “Today's sentence should send a powerful message to high ranking executives that a corporate rank is no shield against criminal liability. CEOs and other members of the C-suite who commit crimes will be held to account to the full extent of the law. For more than ten years, law enforcement pursued Kobi Alexander, and now he has finally been punished for his role in a securities fraud scheme,” stated United States Attorney Robert Capers on Thursday last week. “We will continue to follow the evidence in all of our cases, wherever it may lead and protect the investing public,” said a press release issued by the court.

    According to documents filed in this case, Comverse was a communications software company with offices in Woodbury, New York, between 1998 and 2006.

    In backdating, a company retroactively grants stock options on dates when stock prices were lower, making them more valuable. Concealing the practice through improper accounting is illegal and can inflate earnings.

    Prosecutors said that from 1998 to 2001, Alexander participated in a scheme to use hindsight to select the effective dates for granting options for employees, resulting in misleading statements to investors. Alexander fled to Namibia with his family in July 2006 during the investigation. Charges were announced that August against him, William Sorin, Comverse's general counsel and David Kreinberg, its finance chief.

    Sorin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison. Kreinberg was spared prison after pleading guilty.

    While abroad, Alexander agreed in 2009 to pay $60 million to Comverse in connection with shareholder litigation and to waive over US$72 million in claims he had against Comverse.



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  • 02/26/17--14:00: Row over Ondonga throne
  • Row over Ondonga throneRow over Ondonga throneTraditional authority maintains Shuumbwa Nangolo is heir apparent The Ondonga Traditional Authority introduced Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the king-in-waiting despite rumblings from within the royal family. The first 2017 all Aandonga annual meeting has for the first time introduced Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo to the Ondonga community as King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas's appointed successor and representative.

    The Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) announced to the community that King Elifas has appointed Nangolo as his representative wherever he is needed to prepare him for a smooth succession.

    The meeting was held over the weekend at OTA's hall in Ondangwa and was chaired by the OTA council's chairperson, Peter Kauluma. It was attended by OTA secretary Joseph Asino, OTA council members, senior headmen for all ten OTA districts, village headmen and Ondonga community members. The meeting also afforded Nangolo his first chance to talk to his subjects.

    “I am inviting the one who is appointed by King Elifas as his successor and representative to welcome us to this meeting on behalf of the king,” director Joseph Akawa announced.

    Nangolo welcomed those in attendance and informed them that Ondonga belongs to everybody who lives within its boundaries and therefore, everybody is welcome to give advice or ask questions.

    “I am hereby welcoming you to this gathering on behalf of King Elifas who is not in our midst. This meeting is aimed at advising and educating each other on pertinent issues that the OTA council may not be aware of.

    “Let us all feel free to ask questions or give our advice to the OTA leadership and let us also listen very carefully to what we are told here. Thank you very much for coming in big numbers,” said Nangolo.

    According to a member of the council who spoke to Namibian Sun after the meeting, the OTA decided to introduce Nangolo in spite of the public meeting that was held at Onamungundo village about three weeks ago and the current public debate that is currently on about the succession issue.

    “OTA would like to make the succession issue clear. Nangolo has been appointed by the king as his successor and representative. The Ondonga community and the nation at large needs to know that Nangolo's presence at whatever occasion, is too represent the king, as a king in-waiting,” the member said.

    There are challenges to the smooth passing of the baton in the Ondonga royal household. King Elifas's daughter, Katrina, has made it clear that Nangolo may act as her father's representative, but that he cannot ascend to the throne.

    “Nangolo was only appointed by my father as his representative and not his successor. Succession will be done by members of the royal family and not by my father's appointment. OTA is just using Nangolo at the expense of my father and what they are doing is wrong,” she told Namibian Sun.

    Earlier, on her social media account, she posted that Nangolo is not her father's successor.

    “Shuumbwa is NOT by father's successor… PERIOD! Agencies and newspapers, stop being used to mislead the nation by cowards that are failures who now want to become kings overnight… my mom is home, whoever is mandated go there and don't forget your weapon (newspapers). Or are you scared of her?”

    It is alleged that her mother Cecilia, supports her point of view on the matter of succession.

    Nampa reported that OTA issued a statement last week that King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas nominated Nangolo as his successor on 20 September 2002 and confirmed the nomination to government on 2 June 2012.

    The letter signed by Elifas was addressed to Jerry Ekandjo, the then minister of regional, local government, housing and rural development.

    The OTA stated that the 38-year-old Nangolo's nomination was done within the Ondonga traditional norm and had received the blessing of the elders of the royal family and advisors to the king.

    It said Nangolo's nomination was done with the purpose of preparing him for the throne and his responsibilities as the future head of the Ondonga tribe.



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     Rundu to host independence celebrations Rundu to host independence celebrations
    The main 27th independence celebrations event will be held in Rundu on 21 March, the Ministry of Information and Communication announced today.
    “As we celebrate 27 years of independence, we should rededicate ourselves to the spirit of unity and patriotism for the love of our motherland.
    We therefore call upon all Namibians to come in numbers and celebrate Namibia’s 27th independence anniversary in style and in the spirit of national pride and Harambee,” read a statement by information permanent secretary Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana.


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    Mouton matter postponed againMouton matter postponed again The police have still not completed their investigations into the matter where Morné Mouton, now 22, is charged with killing a City Police officer and two others after ploughing into them with his car, allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Two years ago in July, Mouton was arrested for the death of Constable Manfred Gaoseb, 35, Werner Simon, 22 and Joshua Ngenokesho, age unknown, in Sam Nujoma Avenue in Hochland Park. It is also alleged that he was speeding.
    Windhoek Magistrate Celma Amadhila, this afternoon had to postpone the matter again after she was informed that the police investigations into the matter are not yet completed after almost two years.
    The case was postponed to 20 April and Mouton’s bail of N$6 000 extended.

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     No infighting in Swapo - Geingob No infighting in Swapo - Geingob There is no crisis or infighting within the Swapo Party, President Hage Geingob said today at a meeting with the Swapo leadership in the Khomas Region.
    He also addressed the issue of ancestral land.
    Speaking about allegations that the party is in crisis, the acting Swapo president warned that anyone “looking for trouble in Swapo will be disappointed, as they are always disappointed.”
    Geingob said Swapo was a democratic party and people had a right to challenge anyone, and those who were defeated must accept that.
    He said there were people who wanted division and infighting, but they would be disappointed to know that the party remained united.
    The president warned that Swapo being the ruling party, it should be remembered that infighting within the party would spill over into the country in general.
    “Thankfully Swapo is not in trouble, therefore the country is not in trouble,” he said.
    He said disagreements within the party were to be expected, but that the party continued to “hold hands” with the aim of achieving its goals.

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    Ndaendapo promises a win in RussiaNdaendapo promises a win in Russia Professional boxer Abraham 'Energy' Ndaendapo is well prepared to challenge Russian champion Roman Andreev for the WBO lightweight intercontinental title this weekend.

    Speaking to Namibian Sun yesterday, Ndaendapo said although it was his first fight abroad, he had fought tough boxers before and would not be deterred.

    “I got the news three weeks ago that I got a fight in Russia. Because I had asked international matchmaker Immanuel Moses to get me a fight abroad, I have been in the gym and hard at work, as I have been expecting a fight any time. So I am ready for this fight and even if it is my first fight abroad, that will not bother me as I have fought tough guys before,” he said.

    Ndaendapo will depart for Moscow tomorrow and will be in the ring on Saturday. He said after watching a couple of videos of Andreev he believed that he could win the fight. “After watching his videos, I have the morale that I am going to win because he is not such a strong fighter. He is not so good and we have trained a lot and have also trained according to his weak points that we saw while watching his video so we are really ready for him and I want to tell Namibians to believe in me and have faith that I will bring the title home,” he said. Ndaendapo, who holds a record of 19 fights, said he trained for a 12-round fight.

    “I will use every opportunity that I will get, and whether it is by knockout or 12 rounds, I am going to win. “This fight just gives me the courage to really go out there and give it all because it is also getting me closer to a world title so this is an opportunity that I cannot lose. Namibians should believe in me, as I am going to win,” he promised.

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    HopSol league excites parents HopSol league excites parents Goal bonanza at league opening The 2017 HopSol Youth Soccer League started in Windhoek at the weekend. JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

    Parents watching their sons at the HopSol Youth Soccer League expressed joy over the new youth football season.

    The league started at the weekend, with more than 50 teams in action at the Sam Nujoma Stadium and DTS sports field.

    The football displayed was a bit patchy, but HopSol organisers believe that the quality will improve as the matches continue.

    Immanuel Ferreira, who came to watch his son play for the Windhoek International School, said he was proud to see his son in action.

    “I am very happy with the organisation of the league because everything is in place.

    “I am proud of my son since he is doing what he loves and I am therefore going to support him throughout the season.

    “I do believe that this tournament will keep many children away from the streets,” Ferreira said.

    Michael Katenga also shared his feelings about his son playing in the league.

    He believes that the competition will get better with time, given the potential of the young players and also the organisational structures.

    “It is absolutely amazing to watch our children play because this is what they love to do.

    “I am so proud of my son at this moment and I just hope he continues doing what he loves the most.

    “I would also like to encourage those parents with kids playing to come and support their children,” Katenga said.

    Local coaches shared the same views as the parents, saying that it is important to have leagues of such nature.

    A teacher at the Windhoek International School and a coach for the under-11 football team, Fernando Beukes, praised founder Collin Benjamin and his team for creating the HopSol League.

    “It is an opportunity to be able to participate in sports because we have noticed that school sports has been disorganised over the years.

    “We are happy for this opportunity to get here because it will actually help the young players develop their skills,” he said.

    Ernest Kahona, who teaches at Khomasdal Primary School, was also impressed with the organisation of the league.

    He feels there will be greater things to come from the HopSol league.

    “This league is very important for the youth because it will prepare future football players.

    “It was tough to select the players, but I am happy for the way they have been playing.

    “I think some schools and parents are hesitating to use money for this league, but I actually see it as something very useful,” Kahona said.

    SKW started the under-9 category with an empathic victory after thrashing MPS 13-1 in their opening match of the season.

    KPA embarrassed WIS with a 15-1 victory in the under-11 league. KPA are leading the log in that category.

    RFA defeated MHG 9-0 to take pole position in the under-13 league table.

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    Mourinho demands United trophy chargeMourinho demands United trophy chargePuel tells Saints to make up for Wembley pain Zlatan Ibrahimovic has become the latest star of Manchester United with his goal-scoring skills. Jose Mourinho has challenged his Manchester United stars to use their dramatic League Cup final win against Southampton as a springboard to bigger prizes.

    Mourinho lifted the first major trophy of his United reign on Sunday after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late header clinched a 3-2 victory at Wembley.

    The 54-year-old is the first United manager to win a major competition in his maiden season at Old Trafford and the 19th trophy of his glittering career made him only the third boss, after Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough, to enjoy four League Cup triumphs.

    Now Mourinho wants his players to learn from the winning feeling as they chase FA Cup and Europa League titles this term, and ideally Premier League and Champions League glory next season.

    “The reality is that we want more: my contract is long, I have two more years with this one, so hopefully I can win more,” Mourinho said.

    “This season I know it's difficult, but the reality is we have to try to fight for more.”

    Despite the landmark occasion Mourinho wore a stern expression during the trophy presentation.

    But he insisted he was merely hiding his pride because he wanted his players to soak up the adulation.

    “I am very happy. I always try to put myself in the secondary position - it's important for the fans, the club, the players - but it's also important for me,” he said.

    “I put a lot of pressure on myself; you (the media) put a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted very much to win a major trophy at every club. By doing that with Manchester United it's quite the sense of relief because it was a big target for me.

    “I feel very happy with the victory and the fact I did it four times, the same as the biggest one (Ferguson) and Mr Clough.”

    After watching United blow a two-goal lead as Manolo Gabbiadini struck twice for the Saints before Ibrahimovic's winner, Mourinho conceded his team had been fortunate.

    “You could feel in the game the difference in freshness. Southampton were in Spain, relaxing and preparing, and we were playing Europa League and FA Cup,” he said.

    “We coped because we are humble, we stuck together and fought together, then we had a bit of luck because the 3-2 came at a moment when they couldn't react.”

    Although more silverware this year would be nice, Mourinho knows the main target is to guarantee Champions League action next season by securing a top-four Premier League finish.

    The key to achieving that will be keeping Ibrahimovic fit and firing on all cylinders.

    The Swedish veteran, who also scored United's opener with a fine free-kick, was written off by many when Mourinho signed him on a free transfer last year.

    Yet he has defied the critics with 26 goals in all competitions, and Mourinho said he never doubted the forward.

    “I was his manager, I know his potential,” said Mourinho of their previous spell together at Inter Milan.

    “Only a silly player comes to England at 35 years old, and with the successful career that Zlatan has, if he doesn't feel he can do it (he wouldn't have come).

    “Who better to know? Him. Not me, not you. Him.”

    Ibrahimovic's future remains uncertain as his contract expires at the end of the season but, while Mourinho won't plead with him, he expects the star to stay.

    “I never beg for a player to sign a contract. I never beg for a player to play for me,” Mourinho said.

    “But if needed, maybe United fans can go to the door of his house, and stay there all night if needed!

    “We all want, and believe, that he is going to stay another season.”


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    Five more progress in Debmarine CupFive more progress in Debmarine Cup King Fischer, Ohangwena Nampol and Touch & Go FC have confirmed their places among the 32 teams of the Debmarine Namibia Cup ahead of the draw on Thursday.

    Try Again from the Southern Stream beat Windhoek United 3-0 to qualify for the round of 32, while United Stars from Rundu were crowned champions of the North East First division after beating Cuca Tops 2-0.

    The Debmarine Namibia Cup tournament started on 10 February with more than 200 clubs at regional level and this weekend saw the conclusion of the preliminaries as King Fischer and Onathinge United had one little feud to settle and determine who makes it to the next round.

    King Fischer - the Zambezi regional winners, and Onathinge United - the Oshikoto winners, were drawn to face off in a playoff match at the Katima Mulilo Sports Complex on Saturday. Fischer won 4-2 to reach the round of 32 in the Debmarine Namibia Cup.

    The North West First Division playoffs continued on Saturday at the Oscar Norich Stadium in Tsumeb. In the final match between Touch & Go and Unam Ogongo FC, it was the Otavi-based Touch that earned an emphatic 7-1 victory.

    Ohangwena Region too finalised their Debmarine Namibia Cup assignment at Ohangwena Stadium as Namundjembo FC and Nampol tussled out the final which the latter won 1-0.

    The Debmarine Namibia Cup round of 32 draw will be conducted in Windhoek on Thursday, with the 16 Namibia Premier League clubs joining the fray.

    In the elimination round, winners walked away with N$20 000, while the losing finalists took home N$10 000 and the losing semi-finalists received N$5 000 for their part in the football extravaganza.

    From here on, each club will receive N$18 000 all the way to the final for preparations while the overall winners will walk away with N$500 000.

    The regional winners thus far: Eleven Warriors, Eastern Chiefs, Bee Bob Brothers, Khuse FC, Gendev FC, Outjo Football Academy, Ohangwena NAMPOL, King Fischer, Rhino FC, Young Beauties, Ogongo United, Otjiwarongo FC, Touch & Go FC and Kantema Bullets.


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    Sasol strikes oil off MozambiqueSasol strikes oil off Mozambique Petrochemicals group Sasol has found promising signs of oil and gas in wells drilled off Mozambique, raising the hydrocarbon profile of the impoverished country.

    Mozambique has vast untapped offshore gas reserves and inland coal deposits but is one of the world's poorest countries and is in the throes of a financial and debt crisis.

    Sasol, which announced first-half results yesterday, said it remained committed to its projects in Mozambique despite the financial challenges the country is facing.

    The company said four of 12 planned wells had been drilled and the results had been surprising. “We always expected to see both oil and gas. We have drilled four wells, two of them gas, two of them oil, all showing positive results. In one of the areas where we expected mostly gas we found gas and oil,” joint chief executive Stephen Cornell said on a conference call with journalists.

    The company has issued a “notice of discovery” to the Mozambican authorities. Sasol also said it was scaling back planned capital expenditure this year in the face of a strengthening rand as it posted a fall in interim earnings partly rooted in the currency's gains.

    Its capital expenditure estimate for the full year was cut to R66 billion from R75 billion “largely due to the impact of the stronger rand/US dollar exchange rate coupled with our cash conservation initiatives and active management of our capital portfolio.”

    Sasol's products are priced in dollars but much of its costs are rand based. Forex movements also have valuation implications for the company's balance sheet.

    Half-year headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell 38% to R15.12, in line with what the company previously flagged to the market. Sasol attributed the decline to rand gains and to a strike at its Secunda mining operations.


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    SA banks in currency rigging scandalSA banks in currency rigging scandalSA banks in rand rigging scandal South Africa's Competition Commission said last week that it had found more than a dozen local and foreign banks had colluded to coordinate trading in the rand and the US dollar. South Africa's central bank wants commercial lenders involved in the rand currency rigging scandal to be held accountable, deputy governor Daniel Mminele said on Friday.

    South Africa's Competition Commission said last week that it had found more than a dozen local and foreign banks had colluded to coordinate trading in the rand and the US dollar using an instant chat room called 'ZAR Domination'.

    The central bank saw the allegations in a serious light, Mminele said in a speech posted on the bank's website.

    “The South African Reserve Bank is of the view that those found to have violated the law should accept full responsibility for their actions and be held accountable, and corrective measures should be implemented,” Mminele said.

    He said a resolution of the matter, without undue delay or prolonged uncertainty, was in the interests of South Africa's financial markets and the banking system.

    “It is also important, however, that we do not jump to conclusions and allow the steps now initiated to be completed following due process,” Mminele said.

    The commission began its investigation in April 2015, joining an international probe into the manipulation of foreign exchange rates that has led to big banks paying more than $10 billion in settlements.

    Barclays Africa, a regional unit of Britain's Barclays Plc, has already been granted conditional immunity from prosecution in return for supplying information that would lead to the successful prosecution of the other cartel members.

    Local lender Standard Bank, which is also among the banks named in the investigation, said on Thursday it is in talks with the watchdog.

    The local arm of Citigroup agreed to pay a reduced $5 million penalty for cooperating in the investigation while Investec has said it will seek further information from the regulator to continue to co-operate.

    The other banks and brokerages named in the case were Citigroup, Nomura, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse Group, Commerzbank AG , Standard New York Securities Inc, Macquarie Bank , Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), ANZ Banking Group Ltd and Standard Chartered Plc.


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    Gordhan positive about good growthGordhan positive about good growthGrowth estimates may not be too realistic In seven of the last eight years, South Africa's treasury has overestimated growth. Come budget time, government habitually overestimates growth. That throws out budgeting forecasts and would help explain the N$30.4 billion shortfall in revenue collection last year.

    Finance minister Pravin Gordhan said last week that the growth forecast of 1.3% for 2017 might be optimistic, but at least Treasury is transparent about it. The problem is that government growth forecasts are so invariably optimistic that they have become more PR than reality. That said, forecasts are notoriously difficult, and Treasury allows for a margin of error in its budgeting process.

    The gap between actual and budgeted growth rates has narrowed in recent years, suggesting more realism in the forecasting process. Global events over which the government has no control can throw out the best of forecasts, as they did in 2009.

    Could it be that SA is hitting the upper ceiling of what has become known as the Laffer curve, a theory by US economist Arthur Laffer that increasing taxes beyond a certain point ends up yielding lower collections as income earners resent working for the government? This theory expands on an earlier theory proposed by John Maynard Keynes, and others.

    Gordhan seemed to place blame for last year's revenue shortfall on the South African Revenue Services (Sars). “Sars is the revenue administrator and it must do its work in a manner to support government's fiscal objectives. I'm only doing my job and hopefully they'll begin to do their jobs as well,” the minister is reported to have said.

    But not everyone sees the revenue shortfall as a failure in tax collection. “Now that government has moved the top marginal tax bracket to 45% for high income earners, this is going to drive these people away, or at the very least force them to look at any possible means of reducing their tax liabilities,” says Ian Cruickshanks, economist at the Institute of Race Relations.

    He questioned whether government has any further scope for increasing taxes. “Any further increases in taxes will be like getting blood out of a stone. It won't work.”

    Economic growth has been declining for years without interruption, though most economists expect a small turnaround this year, helped in part by good rains that will lift agriculture from its slump, adding between 0.5% and 1% to economic growth. The Department of Agriculture estimates a maize crop of 7.8 million tons for 2017, which is 3.2% more than last year. The size of the crop is already settled, and it is too late to increase plantings.

    “The only other factor which could lift economic growth is a sustained recovery in commodity prices such as we saw in the 2000s,” said Cruickshanks.

    Gordhan's budget was generally well received by business, in particular his emphasis on public-private sector partnerships.

    But very little mention was made of another promised engine of growth, infrastructure spending. In previous budgets, Treasury promised N$900 billion for infrastructure spending, very little of which has materialised.

    In the latest budget, Gordhan promised N$85 billion for transport, housing, broadband and bulk water and sewage services. This is well short of the N$900 billion promised some years ago, and also well short of the R240 billion the government will spend on basic education in the coming year.

    “The money for infrastructure spending is just not there,” says Cruickshanks.

    Government will likely face an uphill battle increasing tax collections in an economic climate of low growth or economic stagnation. His focus has shifted to the wealthy. A higher top marginal tax rate for personal income earners, coupled with limited allowance for bracket creep will net an extra N$16.5 billion in the coming fiscal year.

    The danger is that Treasury will encounter the limits of the Laffer curve, where raising taxes produces no extra revenue. Government may find it harder to reach its budgeted tax revenues if taxes are raised any higher. The question is: have we reached that limit?


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  • 02/27/17--14:00: Budget tabling draws closer
  • Budget tabling draws closerBudget tabling draws closerLabour leaders share budget expectations March 8 is slated as the possible date for the tabling of the national budget for the next financial year. Job security and job creation featured highly on the expectations of labour unionists Job Muniaro and Mahongora Kavihuha when asked what they would like to see addressed when finance minister Calle Schlettwein tables the budget for the new financial year.

    Speaking to Namibian Sun recently National Union of Namibian Workers secretary-general Muniaro said: “We have a lot of things to do. We are looking into issues that will sustain and create jobs, like agriculture for one. Education should also be an area to be concentrated on.”

    In contrast, he had a different expectation for the defence budget. “I want to speak about the security of the country. The security of the Southern African Customs Union is not under threat,” suggesting that military spending was perhaps too much.

    “If they are borrowing, I don't think there is a problem, [however] if it is a bailout, I think they must answer. If government borrows to pay back, it is fine for the good of the country,” Muniaro said of the recently undertaken asset swaps between the Bank of Namibia and the Government Institutions Pension Fund.

    Trade Union Congress of Namibia secretary-general Kavihuha appealed to President Hage Geingob to reduce the size of his cabinet to help support the process of fiscal consolidation.

    “The most important expectation from us is that the president will reduce the size of his cabinet. The reason why we say this, those people can still have access to their salaries.”

    This is the second time Kavihuha has spoken about the size of Geingob's cabinet, having previously appealed to the president to get rid of his 'A-Team' of advisers.

    “We are hoping he will not touch education. He must however cut heavily on defence. There is no war, the country is peaceful, this is not the way to go,” Kavihuha said.

    Just under N$6 billion is estimated to have been spent by the end of the financial year.

    Kavihuha also expected Schlettwein to increase the tax payable by high-income earners. “What is more important is to look at the component of taxation.

    “I think it is time to tax high-income earners.”

    He was less welcoming of government's asset swaps. “They know that government is running out of cash. The first victims are the workers, more specifically those working in the public sector.

    “They rightly know that government is technically bankrupt. We are not comfortable with this. The reasons provided by Schlettwein are a concern to us, a serious concern.

    “Government is helping itself to Government Institutions Pension Fund money.

    “What guarantees do we have that this money will be paid back? The concern is not only in Namibia, there is Greece as well.

    “World history has taught us, we are not very happy and we are expecting him to clarify.”

    Schlettwein announced that he would like to table the budget on 8 March when he addressed the heads of state-owned enterprises recently.


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    Understanding South Africa's budgetUnderstanding South Africa's budget Pravin Gordhan has done his part to appease ratings agencies Moody's, Fitch and S&P, which collectively downgraded their outlook for South Africa coupled with a potential credit downgrade.

    Following the tabling of the South African budget last week, Capricorn Asset Management's chief investment officer for equity and asset allocation, Floris Bergh, weighs in on the recently tabled budget.

    The South African budget will probably appease the rating agencies. The minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan, did his best to balance conflicting forces (in more ways than one) and came up with a politically palatable, and yet fiscally sound, budget. This means that South Africa's foreign currency sovereign rating is safe for now. Political risk events such as a cabinet reshuffle that results in Gordhan losing his job may still derail the rating, because it would create the perception that the South African government is not serious about fiscal consolidation.

    By fiscal consolidation we mean that expenditure is controlled and reduced wherever possible, that revenue does not fall away and that the result is lower budget deficits and a stabilisation of the debt-to-GDP ratio.

    Financial markets' reactions were fairly muted, even positive. The rand strengthened since the budget was delivered and is currently at R12.90 to the US$. Bond yields have also strengthened and are down about 10 basis points with the R186 at 8.67%. The equity market is virtually at the same levels.

    The property market initially did not like the increased withholding tax on dividends, but recovered when investors realised the effect will be small. For instance, a yield of 10% pre-5% increase will now be 9.5% post-5% increase. It is not negligible, but it is not a game changer.

    The revenue measures announced in the 2017/18 budget will raise an additional R28 billion for the fiscus and include: a new top marginal income-tax bracket, expected to raise an additional R16.5 billion; higher dividend withholding tax of 20%, expected to raise an additional R6.8 billion; fuel levy and sin taxes, expected to raise an additional R5.1 billion; and the sugar tax and carbon tax coming soon. This means that the minister expects to raise R1.41 trillion in revenue. This amounts to 30% of GDP. The biggest sources of revenue are taxes on income and profits, which contribute 59% of revenue, and Value-Added Tax, which contributes 36%. There is no doubt that South Africa is a highly taxed nation.

    A glimmer of light for Namibia is tucked away in the SA budget documents in that the estimate for outgoing payments from the SACU pool is up sharply. This could prove to be a game changer for the Namibian fiscus and economy. It would relieve pressures in more ways than one.


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