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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 03/08/17--14:00: Walvis will host NAMAs
  • Walvis will host NAMAsWalvis will host NAMAs Walvis Bay will play host to Namibia's crème de la crème of music after MTC announced that the seventh NAMA awards will be celebrated in Walvis Bay for the first time.

    The company's head of corporate communications, Tim Ekandjo says history will be made by hosting the prestigious awards in the harbour town.

    “We have always maintained that this is a truly Namibian event, and we are prepared to take it to any town that complies with the basic requirements allowing us to host the event successfully,” said Ekandjo. He further applauded the leadership of Walvis Bay for understanding the importance that such big events play in the local economy and the reputation of the town. “We thank them for their visionary leadership and allowing their residents to enjoy a truly world-class event” said Ekandjo.

    The seventh NAMA awards will take place at the Namibia Development Corporation in the Walvis Bay Extension 2 area. The building is called the !Nara Namib Industrial and Logistics Estate Building. It is just over 5 600 square metres in size. The building is co-owned by NDC and the industrialisation ministry and there is ample parking space.

    The mayor of Walvis Bay, Wilfred Immanuel heartily welcomed the awards ceremony to the town saying music brings people together irrespective of race, creed or culture. “Walvis Bay is proud to be hosting the seventh Namibia Annual Music Awards. We welcome the nation's most talented musicians to our oasis in the desert,” he said.

    Tickets for the 2017 NAMAs will go on sale at WebTickets Namibia and customers can buy them at Pick n Pay stores at Wernhil Park, Auas Valley, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Tickets are also for sale online via the website at www.webtickets.com.na. You can also book online and pay at the selected outlets in Swakopmund, Auas Valley, B1 City, Katutura, Mega Centre, Wernhil Park, Ongwediva or Katima Mulilo.

    General seats tickets sell for N$250 while VIP tickets go for N$500. Limited Golden Circle standing tickets will be available for only N$120 each. The awards will take place on 28 April for invitation-only Industry Awards and on 29 April, the main awards will take place.



    June Shimuoshili

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  • 03/08/17--14:00: Tourism is a job creator
  • Tourism is a job creatorTourism is a job creatorSustainable practices are the only way forward In formally announcing the Responsible Tourism Awards' finalists, Namibia Media Holdings CEO Albe Botha, reiterated the importance of the industry and the local role players. The finalists in the prestigious annual Responsible Tourism Awards (RTA) were formally announced yesterday.

    At a media event hosted by the sponsor of the awards, Namibia Media Holdings (NMH), company CEO Albe Botha emphasised the importance of the awards and of tourism in Namibia.

    According to Botha, “Tourism is one of the sustainable ways to create jobs in Namibia and the sector will not stand the test of time if Namibians are not part of it.”

    The winner of the Responsible Tourism Award is determined according to the criteria of Eco Awards Namibia and this year the focus is on safe travel which is also the theme of the 2017 Namibia Tourism Expo.

    In total, nine entries were received for the award and the four finalists are Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge in the Oshikoto Region, Jackalberry Lodge in the Zambezi Region, Ongava Tented Lodge in the Oshikoto Region and Wilderness Safari Hoanib Skeleton Coast in Kunene Region.

    The public relations officer of NMH, Maggy Mbako, said that NMH will be investing prizes worth N$500 000 in the tourism sector.

    Mbako sketched a brief background of the RTA which was introduced last year and also introduced the new look of the Tourismus which is now a glossy magazine. The Tourismus has been published since 2000.

    Meanwhile Bornventure Mbidzo from the Namibian Tourism Board said responsible tourism is happening across the world.

    “The world does not need us. We need the world. We need to take responsible actions to preserve the world.”

    He said that the finalists in the awards are not there by accident, but because of their unique offering to the market.

    “Yesteryear tourists were going to destinations just to enjoy the place without sustaining or considering the environment, but now they are considering responsible tourism and this is what makes Namibia unique.”

    He said the theme of the Tourism Expo has a certain flare to change things for the better and to preserve the environment for future generations.

    Opened in August 2014, the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is a beautiful camp in a very remote location. Built close to the Hoanib River, in northern Kunene Region, it is surrounded by gravel plains, mountains and large sand dunes. It is a finalist for the RTA 2017.

    The camp is situated in a private concession area which straddles the Palmwag area and Skeleton Coast National Park consisting of eight tents looking down onto the southern bank of the Hoanib, as well as a waterhole that is frequented by various species of desert wildlife.

    Activities offered include morning, afternoon, or full-day game drives which offer the best opportunity to see desert-adapted lions and elephants as well as other wildlife such as oryx, springbok, giraffe and brown hyaenas.

    For guests who want to be closer to nature, nature walks from the camp offer the perfect chance to study some of the interesting plant life and smaller animals.

    Because of the extremely sensitive ecosystem in which Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is situated, it has been built to minimise its impact on the environment. All the camp's electricity needs are provided through solar power.

    The Hoanib Research Centre located at the camp also provides opportunities for guests to interact with and have presentations from the researchers on their latest studies.

    The Hoanib Camp is only accessible by light aircraft transfer from Doro Nawas. Travellers on self-drive through Namibia will need to park their vehicle at Doro Nawas and then fly to Hoanib.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Councillor halts NamWater jobs at KalkfeldCouncillor halts NamWater jobs at Kalkfeld Otjiwarongo Constituency councillor, Julius Neumbo on Tuesday interrupted NamWater's recruitment exercise at Kalkfeld in the Otjozondjupa Region, citing suspicious dealings.

    The Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) on 1 March 2017 posted notices around Kalkfeld announcing 20 job opportunities to residents able to dig trenches, lay water pipes and conceal them.

    Three machine operators and two handymen and carpenters were also invited, bringing the total contract jobs to 25.

    The project intends to channel drinking water from the Rodenhof government resettlement farm to Kalkfeld settlement, over a distance of 15 kilometres.

    The recruitment exercise was expected to commence on Tuesday at Kalkfeld but Neumbo stopped it shortly before it was meant to start.

    The councillor said he received reports from residents at the settlement that over 20 applicants related to officials at NamWater had travelled from the Khomas, Erongo and Oshana regions for these jobs.

    The jobs require Grade 10 and for applicants to be in good health.

    “We are not going to allow applicants from other regions to come and push wheelbarrows and dig and conceal trenches on this project, while we have many unemployed youth at this settlement,” said Neumbo.

    He then called on NamWater to cancel the exercise, as some of the applicants, allegedly from other towns, were standing there with their luggage.

    Neumbo demanded that the recruitment process start afresh and involve officials from the Kalkfeld settlement office.

    He also said voter's cards and police declarations must be used to testify that the applicants are true residents of Kalkfeld.

    Approximately 100 unemployed youth from Kalkfeld, who were present, want the jobs.

    A 35-year-old Loretha Kharuxas told Nampa she is from Kalkfeld and arrived at the recruitment site around 05:00 Tuesday.

    She said she found more than 20 job hunters from other towns sleeping at the site.

    Fillipus Hipondoka, also a resident of the settlement said he can dig, conceal and join water pipes, adding priority must be given to unemployed Kalkfeld residents.

    NamWater site foreman at the Kalkfeld office, Jimmy Asser said all accusations are false and refused to comment further on the matter.

    By the end of Tuesday, it was not clear whether NamWater is to proceed with the recruitment.

    NAMPA

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    Businesses, Telecom discuss hackers' trail of destructionBusinesses, Telecom discuss hackers' trail of destruction Some of the businesses that are facing enormous Telecom bills racked up by PABX hackers in the past two months have approached lawyers to advise them on the issue of liability.

    Sources confirmed this week that a number of companies are consulting lawyers to help sort out who is responsible for paying the bills.

    Following the latest spate of attacks, hackers made fraudulent calls at several companies that led to individual bills amounting to N$2 million, N$700 000, N$600 000, N$300 000, N$80 000, N$45 000 and N$11 000 respectively.

    Several more companies have been hacked, sources confirmed.

    Telecom Namibia spokesperson Oiva Angula confirmed last week that “the first reported hacks recorded losses of up to N$6 million to local businesses” on interconnect calls.

    Meanwhile, the number has increased by at least N$2 million, Namibian Sun was informed.

    Angula last week said that the legal liability for the call charges rests with the customer.

    On Monday, a Telecom representative said at a meeting attended by affected customers, IT specialists and service providers that Telecom would arrange individual meetings to discuss what could be done to assist them.

    He emphasised, though, that Telecom was not liable, because the hackers had targeted devices at the businesses, and not Telecom directly.

    One option Telecom is considering is to waive a certain amount, such as commission on interconnect calls, which would reduce the customers' bills by roughly 10%, Namibian Sun was informed.

    IT specialists this week warned that “every user is at risk”, including home-owners who have installed Fritzboxes, as well as PABX clients.

    It is unclear how many companies in Namibia have been hacked since January, and Telecom Namibia declined to provide an exact number, only saying it was “a few”.

    Off the record, some parties have complained that this is not the first time hackers have fraudulently accessed PABX switchboard systems in Namibia.

    They say service providers, including Telecom, should have implemented improved client protection options, including credit limits, and launched an awareness campaign.

    A source told Namibian Sun a Windhoek based company was hacked to the tune of more than N$100 000 about a year ago.

    At this week's meeting, the Telecom representative said the company had taken a number of steps to help customers identify possible hacker activity.

    Telecom has blocked calls to 15 countries after suspicious call volumes were detected. Once the calls are investigated in consultation with the clients, the countries are unblocked if they are deemed safe. Cuba and Angola were among the countries that were temporarily blocked.

    In terms of insurance cover, a Namibian broker says at the moment there are no policies that specifically protect businesses against cyber- or telecommunications crimes.

    Such products are newly available in South Africa and Namibian insurers are looking at the options.

    After this week's meeting, a list of precautions against hacking was released.

    These include ensuring, with the help of PABX service providers, that systems are protected with complex PINs and passwords, and avoiding default codes. Features vulnerable to hacking should be disabled, including external call forwarding and voicemail services.

    An IT specialist at the meeting pointed out that hackers “are not interested in breaking your system; they want to swindle you out of money”.

    Therefore, basic precautions such as blocking outgoing calls after hours are useful precautions.

    “The idea is to frustrate them. Don't be an easy target,” the expert warned.

    IT specialists also advise that business owners should conduct regular risk or vulnerability checks.

    Furthermore, businesses are advised to ensure they have PABX management systems in place, and should conduct regular spot checks on outgoing and incoming calls.

    In addition, companies are warned that not all hacking is done from abroad. Employees or anyone else with access to a switchboard can cause havoc.

    It was agreed that service providers, including Telecom, should improve customer awareness and that telecommunications companies and regulators should identify improved consumer protection strategies.

    One such strategy is to provide a credit-limit service, which would function as an early-warning system.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 03/08/17--14:00: Esau in troubled water
  • Esau in troubled waterEsau in troubled waterGambling with Namibia's future An environmental group has accused the fisheries minister of taking unnecessary risks with Namibia's fishing industry by announcing a pilchard quota despite the resource being close to extinct. A group of 44 environmental organisations has expressed alarm and denounced a decision by fisheries minister Bernhard Esau to issue a 14 000-ton pilchard quota despite scientific evidence that the fish is close to extinct in Namibian waters.

    In a statement issued this week by the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE), an umbrella NGO with a current membership of 44 environmental groups, the organisation sharply criticised the minister for his recent comments that he had taken “a gamble” when he decided on the quota.

    “The pilchard (sardine) is one of Namibia's most threatened species. It has declined to perhaps less than 1% of its former biomass,” the NCE wrote.

    The NCE members joined numerous marine scientists who have called on the ministry to urgently stop pilchard fishing until stocks have recovered to sustainable levels.

    The NCE said recent reports in which the minister admitted he had ignored advice from his own fisheries scientists were “most disturbing at many levels.”

    “Instead the minister suggested that sardines simply may have moved to deeper waters. This appears to be a personal view which is seemingly not backed by any solid data.

    “Minister Esau is gambling with the ecological stability, biodiversity, productivity and economy of Namibia's marine ecosystem,” the organisation said.

    It said his decision could affect the long-term future of the country's marine ecosystem.

    The minister's comment that he had acted on the advice of members of the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) was also questioned by NCE.

    “Only one practising fisheries scientist serves on the council, essentially biasing decisions in favour of the fishing industry,” it said.

    The NCE added that the alleged advice from the MRAC was unclear, “as so many aspects of marine fisheries lack transparency”.

    Namibian Sun was informed by anonymous sources that during the annual surveys conducted over the past three years, scientists found so few pilchards that they could not make a biomass estimate.

    It was reported that the last survey, the 2016/17 survey, was abruptly cancelled and never completed.

    At his annual staff address in Swakopmund recently, Esau admitted that the pilchard situation “has been under severe pressure” but added that the ministry had “tried to do stock recovery, and we've done that. There are pilchards in the sea for sure.”

    According to the official statistics however, the industry was only able to catch 4 000 tons of pilchard last year against a quota of 14 000 tons.

    The minister claimed that climate change had forced pilchards to move into deeper waters, and that the industry was only permitted to “take a sustainable amount of fish”.

    The NCE explained, however, that scientists had already called for a moratorium on pilchard fishing in the early 1980s, in order to allow declining fish stocks to recover. Those calls were also ignored.

    The NCE quoted a number of studies that have highlighted the degradation of the Namibian marine ecosystem.

    The NCE said given the current state of the pilchard sector, a moratorium of several years could be achieved at minimal cost.

    “Pilchards would be one of the most important fisheries once it can recover. It is a vital part of the marine food chain with many important fish species feeding on it and should be the basis of a large and vibrant fishing industry with good employment,” the NCE said.

    The organisation also proposed that scientific research on stock size and related ecosystem aspects be intensified.

    It suggested an agreement with Angola on the sustainable management of shared pilchard stocks through a joint management plan.

    These efforts should be complemented by the establishment of marine protected areas to protect spawning and nursery areas.

    Questions sent to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources were not responded to at the time of going to print.

    JANA-MARI SMITH, LEANDREA LOUW & OTIS FINCK

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    Job charged for 'insulting' HuangJob charged for 'insulting' Huang Affirmative Repositioning (AR) firebrand Job Amupanda was one of the first Swapo members to receive formal charges from the disciplinary committee set up by the Politburo in what is seen as an attempt to muzzle critical voices in the party.

    Amupanda yesterday afternoon said he was charged with misconduct over alleged unsavoury comments made on Facebook.

    Among other things, he posted comments about Chinese multi-millionaire Jack Huang, business partner of President Hage Geingob, who is one of a number of Chinese business people being investigated in a N$3.5 billion tax-evasion scam.

    Amupanda is convinced that he is also being hauled over the coals for comments made in another post titled 'No Chinese should be left out', as well as a post on freezing of recruitment in the Ministry of Education, Art and Culture, and comments made on the assertion that 80% of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) has been successful.

    “The charge is laughable,” said Amupanda, and posted on his Facebook page that his comments cannot constitute misconduct.

    “I will respond accordingly. This is nothing but a smear campaign to prevent our generation from appearing on the ballot,” he said, referring to his aspirations to be a candidate at Swapo's upcoming congress.

    Former Swapo Youth League secretary Elijah Ngurare said he had not yet received any charges but was expecting them.

    Other people likely to be charged, such as Landless People's Movement (LPM) activists Bernadus Swartbooi and Henny Seibeb, as well as former MP Kazenambo Kazenambo, could not be reached for comment.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Calle speaks out on corruptionCalle speaks out on corruption Finance minister Calle Schlettwein hit all the right notes in his budget statement presentation in the National Assembly yesterday, including telling government officials to uphold good governance.

    Schlettwein said the fight against corruption needed to be addressed.

    “Corruption, or better the fight against it, needs our full attention,” he said.

    “Whether it is the misuse of office, soliciting and receiving bribes, inflating tender prices or whatever improper conduct, persons who further their personal gain to the detriment of the common good must be dealt with. It is well known that the poor suffer most from the impact of corruption.”

    Inflated tender prices for government projects have raised eyebrows, with so-called middlemen often accused of pushing up tender prices, which is an immense burden on state coffers.

    “Let us all make sure that all parties to these illicit activities are brought to book. Government has to play an active role in this fight, but so has the private sector. No one should engage in this 'dance with the rattlesnake', where the initial moves may be very pleasant, but in the end, when the snake has bitten it becomes lethal. Let us jointly remove the snakes from the dance floor by reporting them instead of engaging them.”

    During his budget presentation, Schlettwein announced that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) would receive an additional N$5 million to make provision for swift investigation and prosecution.

    “It must also engage widely in education, capacity-building and preventive approaches, because stopping corruption at its roots is far better than letting it happen and dealing with culprits thereafter,” he said.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Eight hospitalised at Meatco Eight hospitalised at Meatco Ammonia leak shuts down abattoir A leak in a refrigeration pipe at Meatco’s Windhoek plant yesterday caused an emergency evacuation after eight workers were hospitalised by corrosive ammonia gas. ELLANIE SMIT



    An ammonia gas leak at the Meatco abattoir in Windhoek’s northern industrial area has put eight employees in hospital, one in critical condition.

    Seventy carcasses were contaminated by the ammonia.

    An ammonia pipe burst at a freezer in the dispatch area yesterday morning at around 10:00 and certain areas of the plant are still shut down.

    According to Meatco spokesperson Rosa Thobias, operations were halted for five hours and some areas remained off limits until further notice.

    Ammonia is a colourless gas with a strong odour and is used as an industrial refrigerant for Meatco’s freezers.

    Thobias said hundreds of employees had to be evacuated as a safety measure. About 671 employees were in the plant when the leak happened.

    “As part of our emergency plan we evacuated everybody in the plant to determine the level of damage to the cooling system.”

    When Namibian Sun arrived at the scene just before 11:00 an ambulance and other emergency vehicles were rushing workers to hospital, while other staff were gathered outside the factory.

    By yesterday afternoon Thobias confirmed that seven employees had been exposed to ammonia and one of them was in critical condition.

    Thobias said all the workers were taken to the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital in Windhoek. “Some of the employees are under surveillance for further check-up.”

    Thobias said Meatco had not determined the extent of the damage yet.

    As part of Meatco’s emergency plan the City of Windhoek’s emergency services were called in to assist.

    “We will update the public if any other staff are hospitalised and the company is working hard to contain the leak,” Thobias said.

    She further said the 70 contaminated carcasses would be evaluated by Meatco together with the Directorate of Veterinary Services.

    Ammonia is considered a high health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. Ammonia is also flammable at certain concentrations. When mixed with lubricating oils, its flammable concentration range is increased. It can explode if released in an enclosed space with a source of ignition present.

    The side effects of inhaling ammonia include irritation of the respiratory system, coughing, and burning of the nose. When inhaled in excess it could harm the lungs.

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  • 03/08/17--14:00: No new taxes
  • No new taxesNo new taxesN$62.5 billion budget tabled Finance minister Calle Schlettwein says the Namibian economy needs to be transformed. OGONE TLHAGE



    Treasury has moved to tame its expenditure on key government projects in the wake of tough economic times with proposals presented by finance minister Calle Schlettwein showing just a minimal increase in public spending by 1.7% compared to the revised budget of 2016/17.

    Schlettwein yesterday tabled a N$62.5 billion budget for 2017/18, which he said had to do with more than just tightening the fiscal purse.

    Following an unprecedented financial challenge, Schlettwein has been facing a tough balancing act, with expectations to propel economic growth, while at the same time improving revenue collection.

    Schlettwein followed a consolidation path when he tabled his mid-year budget review last year, resulting in spending cuts of approximately N$4.5 billion.

    For 2017/18, revenue would be slightly less than N$53.43 billion, better than the estimated 3.5% estimated in last year’s budget review and an almost 10% year-on-year increase from an estimated N$51.51 billion in 2016/17. The situation was attributed to improved Southern African Customs Union receipts as well as an improved domestic revenue streams.

    Additionally, Schlettwein expected that the budget deficit would show improvements over the course of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which is expected to reduce to 3.6% of GDP in 2016/17. The budget deficit is further projected to fall below 3% in 2018/19 and average around 2.5% during the MTEF.

    “As a result of the targeted fiscal consolidation programme we took in the 2016/17 budget and the mid-year review of that budget, we have realised better fiscal results and we are now able to forecast a more positive medium term economic outlook,” said Schlettwein.

    “These are indications of having averted the deepening of the crisis which could have severe consequences. These gains came about because of principled, albeit painful actions. These early gains must be sustained, as a nation, we should resolve to nurture these emerging gains and keep spending pressures under control.”

    Government has been experiencing cash-flow problems in the last financial year, with a substantial amount still owed to contractors for work done.

    To this, government has allocated almost N$2 billion from the new budget to meet obligations for services rendered in the last financial year.

    As widely expected, education received the largest chunk of the budget at almost N$12 billion.

    An increase to the old-age pension was also announced, which will see senior citizens receive N$1 200 per month.

    Defence, unsurprisingly, remained high on the allocation list.

    “N$11.98 billion is allocated to the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture. This is the highest budget allocation in keeping with the historical priority accorded to education,” said Schlettwein.

    An amount of N$3 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Higher Education, with the biggest allocation of N$926 million going to the University of Namibia, while the Namibia University of Science and Technology will get N$533 million.

    Safety nets

    “The Ministry of Health and Social Services receives the second highest allocation of N$6.51 billion while N$3.28 billion is allocated to the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare for the provision of social safety nets and other anti-poverty intervention measures,” he said.

    The ministry of safety’s allocation was kept steady at N$5 billion while the defence ministry was allocated N$5.68 billion.

    The Anti-Corruption Commission would get an additional N$50 million to strengthen the fight against corruption.

    No new taxes

    No tax increases were announced, nor were any new taxes introduced by Schlettwein.

    “Regarding tax policy, I do not propose to general tax rate increases or [the] introduction of new taxes at this stage. I however wish to propose new tax policy and tax administration reforms as well as the completion of some of the major ongoing tax reforms with the objective of deepening and broadening the tax base, curbing tax evasion, profit shifting as well as improving overall efficiency in the tax administration function.”

    Reforms would also be driven to deal with the government’s wage bill, which currently accounts for 50% of Gross Domestic Product.

    “The civil service wage bill is a matter that has been discussed on many occasions and, yes, it is unsustainably high. Government through the Office of the Prime Minister has proposed new measures to prevent the further growth of the wage bill and related personnel expenditure, but also to reduce current levels. This would include freezing the size of the civil service and remodelling the government medical aid pension scheme.”

    Schlettwein also mentioned changes to the current domestic asset requirements which will enable the repatriation of more domestic savings back into the country.

    “Regulation 28, 15 and 29 will be amended to gradually lift the domestic asset requirement threshold from the current 35% of total assets to 45%. This will ensure that some of the domestic savings which flow out of the country will be invested locally to grow the economy.”

    Schlettwein spoke candidly about the Namibian economy, which he says needed to be transformed.

    “We need to transform the economy so that wealth is distributed downward without destroying our hard-won economic and political stability. As we struggle for a prosperous Namibia we have to contend with some challenging trade-offs,” he said.

    He said the government had undertaken to continue with a pro-poor and inclusive economic policy.

    “We have demonstrated our commitment to improvement of social welfare through poverty-reduction programmes while maintaining the priorities on education and skills development.”

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    Malaria outbreak causes concernMalaria outbreak causes concern ILENI NANDJATO

    Health minister Bernard Haufiku this week announced that 7 003 cases of malaria had been reported in January and February.

    He said malaria infections and deaths had steadily increased since 2014, with 86 malaria-related deaths reported during 2016/17.

    Haufiku, who was briefing the National Assembly on Tuesday, said the capacity of the two Kavango regions, where the highest number of 4 617 cases was reported, was completely outstripped.

    In the Ohangwena Region, 1 184 cases were reported. The Zambezi Region reported 582 cases, while Omusati had 237, Oshikoto 196, Otjozondjupa 97 and Oshana 69.

    The ministry said the increase in the incidence of malaria and the resultant fatalities were of great concern.

    The ministry has a strategy in place to combat the disease, including annual indoor residential spraying.

    From 2014, malaria cases in Ohangwena have increased by 700%, in Oshikoto by 513%, with a 306% increase in Oshana and 120% in Otjozondjupa.

    The Kavango regions are known as malaria transmission areas.

    Haufiku said 86 people had died of malaria last year, 51 of whom were local and 35 foreigners.

    Ohangwena reported 31 deaths, Oshana 21, Kavango 18, Omusati 11, Zambezi eight, Oshikoto six and Otjozondjupa five.

    “Most cases are reported in regions bordering Angola and Zambia due to climatic and environmental factors, as well as significant cross-border movement from high malaria-endemic countries. These factors have been influencing malaria transmission in Namibia for the past years,” Haufiku said.

    A malaria surveillance committee that meets weekly to discuss the situation and make recommendations has been established. The committee consists of representatives of the ministry, the World Health Organisation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Malaria Elimination Secretariat.

    Haufiku recommended that the cabinet urgently approve the funding request from his ministry to fight the epidemic.

    He said the ministry required N$2 million for this outbreak, of which it already had N$1 million from its own funding. He said the ministry urgently needed extra vehicles for the response and to mobilise health officers and nurses in the regions.

    “The malaria outbreak response depends heavily on adequate resources and coordinated active surveillance in key transmission areas. Additional equipment such as tents, camping equipment and helicopters are being mobilised in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister,” Haufiku said.

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  • 03/09/17--07:48: No time for time change
  • No time for time change No time for time change It seems that Namibians will still have winter time this year.
    When the Namibian Time Bill was up for discussion today in the National Assembly it was suggested that it should be referred to a parliamentary committee for further consultation.
    This was seconded by the deputy minister of home affairs and immigration, Erastus Uutoni.
    Committee phases usually take months. With the change to winter time taking place on the first Sunday in April, it is not likely that the committee will complete its task before then.
    Even if the committee gives the bill the go-ahead before the first Sunday in April, it would still have to be debated in the National Council. The NC might then also assign a committee to investigate the bill, which would further delay the process.
    The home affairs ministry conducted public consultations for three months on amending the Namibian Time Act of 1994. An overwhelming majority of Namibians elected to do away with a different time zone in winter.
    A total of 3 096 people wanted the government to stick to summer time as the standard time, while a meagre 304 wanted both summer and winter time.
    One of the main concerns was the safety of schoolchildren, especially those in rural and informal settlements who walk to and from school in the dark during winter.
    Home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana said in her motivation for one standard time that schools could start later in winter. She also said that more input was expected from the education ministry on that.
    “In light of the foregoing, a proposal was advanced that schools could start an hour later than the time they start now. On the other hand, others argued that both times should be maintained provided that winter time was applicable for three months only (June, July and August) and that schools should have four terms instead of three terms and that May should be made a school holiday,” said Iivula-Ithana.
    Many Namibians who make use of public transport to and from work have also said that during winter it gets dark very early, making them vulnerable to robbery and other crimes while walking home.
    Business owners argue that Namibia effectively loses four business hours a day in winter because the country’s main trading partner, South Africa, is an hour out of step.
    STAFF REPORTER



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    Unam and Suburbs to lock hornsUnam and Suburbs to lock hornsTeams look forward to great rugby season Rugby fans can look forward to another exciting season as the premier league kicks off this weekend. KAINO NGHITONGO



    Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) league defending champions Unam and Western Suburbs will clash in the first game of the premier league season this weekend.

    The league kicks off tomorrow with action in the premier and reserve leagues in Windhoek, Rehoboth and Walvis Bay.

    Speaking to Namibian Sun yesterday, Suburbs coach Rudolf Witbooi said his team was looking forward to the season.

    “We’re looking forward to the season and we really think it is going to be a better one since we have been going through a building stage for the past two years. I think we are now in form and ready for this season,” he said.

    He added that his team could not wait to host defending champions Unam tomorrow at the Suburbs field in Khomasdal.

    “We actually cannot wait for Saturday especially since it is a game against Unam, whom we consider as our biggest rivals, so I think this is a good start,” said the optimistic Witbooi.

    Unam coach Johan Diergaardt also predicts a great season.

    He said his team had worked hard in the off season but did not have any warm-up games.

    “But that being so, we are still well prepared and looking forward to a great season and some great rugby.

    “I think our game on Saturday will be a great one taking into consideration the opposition. Suburbs are always a tough and competitive side and they always push us to our limits,” he said.

    He added that they were looking forward to defending their title.

    “There is so much pressure on us now because of our past of winning the title, but we would however still like to win the cup for the third time in a row, but that goes in line with a lot of responsibility like having to play accordingly and act accordingly so I hope and pray that we have what it takes to get there,” he said.

    In other fixtures:

    Wanderers vs Trustco United – 15:15

    Kudus vs Walvis Bay – 15: 115

    Rehoboth vs Reho Falcons – 15:15

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    Tobias plays guardian angel Tobias plays guardian angel JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

    The MTC Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing & Fitness Academy has come to the aid of boxers owed money by the Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board.

    Earlier this week, fellow promoter Kinda Nangolo complained that some of his boxers had not received their appearance fees for last weekend’s fights.

    The boxing board responded that it could not pay the boxers because it had no money. It had used the money deposited by Nangolo last year for operational expenses such as rent.

    Nestor Tobias announced yesterday that his academy would pay Nangolo’s boxers.

    “The local boxers were left disappointed when the boxing control board used the funds meant for their salaries.

    “Kinda Promotions paid the amount to the control board who in turn decided to use the funds for other things than paying the boxers.

    “We have been following this sad story, and we sympathise with the boxers who make a living from boxing,” Tobias said.

    Tobias added that he understood the sacrifices boxers made in preparation for a fight.

    “We have committed ourselves to raise funds with our upcoming April bonanza at Ramatex to ensure the boxers are paid in full.

    “It is a sacrifice that we make under very difficult circumstances.

    “Money is very scarce but as responsible leaders we cannot allow boxers to go hungry and be treated like this because without them there is no boxing,” Tobias said.

    Boxing sponsor MTC also expressed concern about the situation. MTC said it was their responsibility to protect the interests of their beneficiaries.

    “We won’t allow the same thing that happened to Kinda’s boxers to happen to our boxers.

    “However, the boxing board is an independent body and we as the sponsors of the Academy have no authority over them,” MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo said.

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    Nakathila ready for comeback Nakathila ready for comeback JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

    Talented Namibian boxer Jeremiah ‘No Respect’ Nakathila says he is happy that he will be part of the Independence Boxing Bonanza.

    The MTC Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy will stage the boxing event on 1 April at the Ramatex Complex in Windhoek.

    Nakathila faced Evgeny Chuprakov away from home on 18 November 2016 in a WBO Inter-Continental title bout.

    Things did not turn out as planned for the Namibian, though, and he lost his first professional bout after putting up a great show against one of the world’s most dangerous fighters.

    “The fight I lost in Russia disappointed me, but I have managed to dust myself off after that bad night,” Nakathila says.

    “It has been one of those months when I needed to put the past behind me and focus on the future.

    “I am now ready and will make a good show at Ramatex to restore my pride and the pride of the nation.”

    Nakathila still believes that he will be able to fight for a world title one day.

    The 26-year-old has a record of 11 fights, with ten victories and only one defeat.

    His opponent is yet to be confirmed, but promoter Nestor Tobias is optimistic that he will secure him an opponent in due course.

    “I do not know who I am fighting yet, but I am not going to fear nor respect anyone who comes my way.

    “I am willing to make my people proud and put up a great show, so that I can take a step closer to a title fight,” Nakathila says.

    Other fighters in action on the night will be Paulus ‘Hitman’ Moses, Sakaria ‘Desert Storm’ Lukas, Immanuel ‘Prince’ Naidjala and Walter Kautondokwa.

    General tickets are selling for N$50, while VIP tickets will cost N$300. The academy said it slashed the prices by half in the spirit of Independence Day.

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  • 03/09/17--14:00: Athletes meet in Oshakati
  • Athletes meet in OshakatiAthletes meet in Oshakati A huge turnout is expected for the second leg of the Coca-Cola regional club challenge at the Oshakati Independence Stadium this weekend.

    The athletics meet will start tomorrow at 16:00.

    Athletics Namibia's secretary-general, Immanuel Hamutenya, says clubs from all over country have submitted entries for the competition.

    “Following the first leg that was held on 18 February at Otjiwarongo, rivalries have started to develop in quite a few events.

    “Dantago Gurirab appears to be setting the pace in the men's sprints, with Hitjivirue Kaanjuka, Even Tjiviju, Ismael Tjiramba and Leigh Taukeni all wanting to be leader of the pack,” he says.

    Globine Majova is determined to maintain her dominance in the sprints, while Desiree Kandovazu looks strong in the 400 metres.

    The battle of the armed forces will be renewed in the middle and long distances, with the NDF re-emerging after a few years of almost total Nampol dominance.

    Events on offer are the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, high jump, triple jump, javelin throw and shot-put.

    The public is encouraged to and support Namibia's best athletes.

    SPORT REPORTER

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  • 03/09/17--14:00: Boxing board paid lavishly
  • Boxing board paid lavishlyBoxing board paid lavishlySports Commission to look into sitting allowances The sitting allowances of directors of sports federations have come to the spotlight following a revelation of how much the boxing board members earn. The Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) will review the sitting fees of directors of sports federations when the commission's new chief administrator, Freddy Mwiya, starts his job on 1 April.

    The position has been vacant since 2013, when Rusten Mogane left unceremoniously because of financial irregularities related to his salary.

    Acting chief administrator Peter Wilson told Nampa that as custodians of sports in Namibia, the commission will review federations' use of public funds, including sitting fees for board members.

    Wilson said commissioners may not meet more than six times or fewer than four times per year. He said the nine commissioners were paid N$795 per meeting, except the chairperson who receives N$900 per meeting.

    In contrast, the five members of the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) each receives N$5 000 per meeting.

    This, Wilson said, needs urgent review.

    “When we came in as commissioners we found all this in place as these were documents that were already signed by the public commissioner, but we are busy with our Sports Act review which will fix all this,” he said.

    NPBWCB spokesperson Ronnie Kurtz said boxing board members “claim a reasonable fee” of N$5 000 per sitting.

    Kurtz said at a press briefing last month that since their appointment in September last year, they had met 13 times and had each received N$35 000.

    At the same meeting, it was revealed that the board's private secretary was paid N$1 500 per meeting to take minutes.

    Wilson said the boxing board's sitting fees were not right for an institution that did not make a profit and depended on government funding.

    He said the commission was waiting for Mwiya to start the review so he would be up to speed on all decisions taken with regard to how federations used the money allocated to them.

    “If need be, we can put better measures in place on how public funds should be used when paying board members if the federation fully depends on government funding,” he said.

    He added that the NPBWCB was established by an Act of Parliament just like the Sports Commission, and received its funds directly from the Directorate of Sport.

    Earlier the commission had processed the boxing board's monthly grants.

    “We stopped this in 2016 when we realised we were all established through the same Act of Parliament. Despite being established by the same Act, they still fall under the commission since we are the custodian of sports in the country,” Wilson said.

    – Nampa



    HESRON KAPANGA

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    Ireland seek Wales stepping stoneIreland seek Wales stepping stone Ireland will attempt to set up an audacious bid for Six Nations glory over frontrunners England when they face Wales today.

    A victory for Joe Schmidt's team, allied with an English win over the ever-improving Scotland side tomorrow, would make for a mouth-watering Six Nations title decider in Dublin on 18 March.

    But Ireland's games with Wales are notoriously close, and it would be a brave person to rule out a Welsh team, albeit misfiring, playing at home with pressure on to assure a top-eight World Rugby ranking for the draw for the 2019 World Cup and also to shine in a bid to help guarantee spots on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in the summer.

    The Irish kicked off their Six Nations campaign with a surprise defeat by Scotland before bouncing back to beat Italy and France.

    Wales overcame the Italians before slumping to defeats by England and Scotland, and find themselves contemplating a third consecutive Six Nations loss for the first time since 2007.

    Both teams are unchanged for the Friday night fixture at the Principality Stadium, Rob Howley's decision not to blood some younger Welsh players in place of more experienced but underperforming stars raising eyebrows.

    “As coaches, we discussed giving the opportunity to the side to redeem themselves for the second-half performance against Scotland,” Howley said.

    “Obviously, I know things have been said in the week about some players' performance. But as a coaching team, we have talked about the opportunity just to go out again.

    “There is an opportunity to go out at home in front of our own supporters and deliver a performance which the players are proud of and for the supporters to support that. It will be a huge game.”

    Wales winger George North experienced perhaps his worst game for his country against Scotland, when the Welsh shipped 20 unanswered points in a woeful second-half showing.

    But Ireland coach Schmidt insisted his team would not be targeting the giant Northampton flyer.

    “What could be a bad day one day for a player can quickly become a good one next time out,” the New Zealander said.

    “I think he will have a big one this time, unfortunately.

    “And I'm sure he's highly motivated to have a really good game, as are the rest of the Welsh XV.

    “They are so used to competing on the last day of the championship to win or lose the championship.

    “So for them not to be in that position will certainly provide extra motivation for them.”

    Wales have won just four of their last 12 matches - a run stretching back to last year's Six Nations and including a defeat to Waikato Chiefs: the victories came over Italy, Japan, a season-weary Argentina and a disintegrating South Africa.

    “In sport, sometimes fine margins make a huge difference and we need to get on the positive side of them. We expect a reaction on Friday night,” said Howley, in interim charge in the absence of the Lions-seconded Warren Gatland.

    “The challenge for us is to make sure we deliver a performance this week.

    “Every player has a point to prove when you pull the national jersey on. That's the challenge of international rugby. It's about handling the pressure from one minute to 80 minutes. That's the challenge for all of us.”

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    PSG coach battles for survivalPSG coach battles for survivalBarca stage Champions League's greatest comeback The Champions League saw another huge upset when PSG went down to Barcelona by 6-1, an encounter that was described as a nightmare. PSG coach Unai Emery was fighting for survival yesterday after his side were swept away 6-1 by Barcelona in a Champions League rout described as a “nightmare” and a “humiliation”.

    The Spaniard had been hailed as a tactical genius last month when his French champions stunned mighty Barca 4-0 in Paris in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

    But on Wednesday night, in front of almost 100 000 people at the Nou Camp, PSG shipped three late goals in an incredible last seven minutes as Barcelona completed the greatest comeback in the history of the tournament, winning 6-5 on aggregate.

    “When you win 4-0, then lose 6-1, it's very hard to accept,” said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari official whose country has poured millions of dollars into the French club.

    “Everyone knows that the quarter-finals were an objective and after winning the first leg 4-0 that aim was confirmed.

    “This is a nightmare for everybody. Is Unai Emery still credible? This is not the moment to talk of this. After the game, we are all upset.”

    Influential French sports daily L'Equipe was quick to highlight the implications of becoming the shock European fall guys.

    “It is the entire PSG project that is threatened by this humiliation,” it said.

    Emery, meanwhile, said PSG were damaged by German referee Deniz Aytekin's decisions to award two penalties to Barcelona -- both in the second half.

    Lionel Messi converted the first penalty on 50 minutes to make it 3-0, before PSG's Edinson Cavani scored what looked like a crucial away goal.

    But Neymar, after scoring an 88th-minute free kick, tucked away the second penalty in the 91st minute before Sergi Roberto got the vital goal in the fifth minute of injury time.

    “The truth is we have let a huge opportunity get away and we are aware of that. In the first half it was more our fault than them playing well,” said Spanish coach Emery.

    “In the second half it changed. The (Messi) penalty got them off to a great start, but I was already calmer because I could see the team was responding better, were better positioned on the pitch and could do damage.

    “We had chances to make it 3-2 and then the refereeing decisions, I don't know if they were right or not, but for sure they damaged us. Then in the last two minutes we lost everything we had recovered in the second-half.

    “Barcelona are capable of this in their stadium. In the last few minutes they played all or nothing and they have beaten us.”

    PSG's Belgian defender Thomas Meunier blasted his teammates for allowing Barcelona to bully them.

    “At 5-1 down, we were qualifying but we conceded a goal that we should not have conceded,” he said. “We acquiesced; we were victims and let them dominate us.

    “Even when we were 3-1 down we had lots of chances to score but we didn't take them. We made unacceptable mistakes and handed the game to them.”

    NAMPA/AFP

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    A fifth of patients take their BP medsA fifth of patients take their BP meds According to the World Health Organisation, around 45% of Namibians suffer from some form of hypertension or high blood pressure. In South Africa there are about 3.3 million people but if one accepts the international definition of hypertension (BP >140/90 mmHg) it adds a further 2.7 million people.

    Hypertension is a major and costly contributor to cardiovascular disease but there are many effective blood pressure pills on the market, and it is generally agreed that the majority of patients with high blood pressure can be successfully treated using these medications.

    However, only 20% of patients seeking care for stubborn high blood pressure take all the medicine they're supposed to, according to a Dutch study.

    “Another 20% are not taking any of their blood pressure medications,” study senior author Dr Peter Blankestijn said in an American Heart Association news release.

    The study was published in the journal Hypertension.

    “People mistakenly thought to have resistant hypertension – which is high blood pressure despite taking three or more medications – end up seeing specialists and undergoing extra tests because we don't understand why they are so difficult to treat,” said Blankestijn. He is a professor of nephrology and hypertension at the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands.

    The researchers of the study in hypertension didn't set out to determine whether people with resistant high blood pressure were following doctors' prescriptions. Instead, the investigators wanted to know if those patients could benefit from a treatment in which nerves between the brain and the kidney are destroyed by radio waves or ultrasound.

    The study looked at 95 patients who were randomly assigned to undergo the procedure and 44 who only continued their medications. The researchers concluded the procedure wasn't better than normal treatment for resistant high blood pressure. But following doctors' orders is key, the study authors stressed.

    “Adherence to medication greatly affects the ability to assess the value of another treatment, so researchers need to measure adherence and do what they can to improve it,” Blankestijn explained.

    Patients must tell their doctor if they don't want to take their medicine for any reason, he added. “You and your doctor can discuss options for changing the type of pill or the dose if needed. There are many effective blood pressure pills and the majority of patients with high blood pressure can be successfully treated,” he said.

    High blood pressure increases a person's risk of heart attack, stroke and other health issues. And although this study was conducted in the Netherlands, the results likely apply to patients in the United States, according to the researchers. The same would apply to many other countries, including South Africa.



    HEALTH24

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  • 03/09/17--14:00: Good news for Aids sufferers
  • Good news for Aids sufferersGood news for Aids sufferersSuppressed virus cannot be passed on New research indicates that HIV-positive people with a suppressed virus cannot transmit the disease to others. When the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is successfully suppressed by medication, people with HIV can't transmit the virus to others, according to a coalition of community health and HIV/Aids organisations.

    Modern drugs for HIV, the virus that causes Aids, can often achieve viral suppression, meaning levels of the virus have been reduced to undetectable levels in the blood.

    This week, the American Aids United Public Policy Committee issued a statement that said virally suppressed people on treatment can't pass HIV to others, and it recommended that healthcare providers and educators share this message with the public.

    "We feel that the science is very strong on this and felt comfortable making that statement," said Ronald Johnson, Aids United's vice president of policy and advocacy in Washington, D.C.

    An expert not involved in the coalition told Reuters Health she didn't completely agree - but she did say the risk of transmission in such cases would be "negligible".

    People who start treatment for HIV with so-called antiretroviral therapy (ART) can be virally suppressed within 12 to 24 weeks, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Viral suppression can be lifelong if people stay on their medicine.

    Over 1.2 million people in the US are currently living with HIV, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 86% are aware of their diagnosis, 37% are on treatment to stop the virus from replicating and 30% are virally suppressed.

    A study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the risk of transmission between a person living with well-controlled HIV and their HIV-negative partner.

    Among 548 opposite-sex and 340 same-sex couples having unprotected sex, only 11 of the HIV-negative partners became positive over about a year and a half of follow up. None of the new infections could be traced back to the partners with HIV.

    Those researchers and others, however, did not go so far as to say the risk of transmission is zero. They emphasised that more data is needed - particularly for condomless anal sex.

    "We felt looking at these studies, there is substantial evidence that we can come to the conclusion that people living with HIV that have sustained and undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV," Johnson told Reuters Health.

    Dr Michelle Cespedes, associate professor of infectious disease at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said it's impossible to say transmission would never occur with condomless sex.

    "To say there is absolutely no risk is maybe a little overstating it, but based on the evidence to date it’s a reasonable conclusion," said Cespedes, who was not involved with the Aids United statement but described the risk as negligible.

    She said she always recommends condoms and she offers pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to HIV-negative patients, which also significantly reduces their risk of contracting the virus.

    The new statement calls for the HHS Antiretroviral Guidelines Committee to examine the issue and update its language. It also calls for laws and policies regarding HIV in the US to be modernised to reflect current science.

    Johnson said such changes, along with public knowledge that people living with HIV can't transmit the infection while on treatment and virally suppressed, will reduce stigma.

    Aids United also endorsed a consensus statement last year issued by the Prevention Access Campaign that made a similar determination about the risk of HIV transmission when the virus is suppressed.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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