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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Holland is 'nazi remnant' - ErdoganHolland is 'nazi remnant' - ErdoganDutch bar Turkish minister's flight from landing There appears to be no end to the increasing tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands. Turkey told the Netherlands on Sunday that it would retaliate in the “harshest ways” after Turkish ministers were barred from speaking in Rotterdam in a row over Ankara's political campaigning among Turkish emigres.

    President Tayyip Erdogan had branded its fellow NATO member a “Nazi remnant” and the dispute escalated into a diplomatic incident on Saturday evening, when Turkey's family minister was prevented by police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

    Hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags gathered outside, demanding to see the minister.

    Dutch police used dogs and water cannon early on Sunday to disperse the crowd, which threw bottles and stones. Several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons, a Reuters witness said. They carried out charges on horseback, while officers advanced on foot with shields and armoured vans.

    Less than a day after Dutch authorities prevented Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam, Turkey's family minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, said on Twitter she was being escorted back to Germany.

    “The world must take a stance in the name of democracy against this fascist act! This behaviour against a female minister can never be accepted,” she said. The Rotterdam mayor confirmed she was being escorted by police to the German border.

    Kaya later boarded a private plane from the German town of Cologne to return to Istanbul, mass-circulating newspaper Hurriyet said on Sunday.

    The Dutch government, which stands to lose heavily to the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders in elections next week, said it considered the visits undesirable and “the Netherlands could not cooperate in the public political campaigning of Turkish ministers in the Netherlands.”

    The government said it saw the potential to import divisions into its own Turkish minority, which has both pro- and anti-Erdogan camps. Dutch politicians across the spectrum said they supported Prime Minister Mark Rutte's decision to ban the visits.

    In a statement issued early on Sunday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey had told Dutch authorities it would retaliate in the “harshest ways” and “respond in kind to this unacceptable behaviour”.

    Turkey's foreign ministry said it did not want the Dutch ambassador to Ankara to return from leave “for some time”. Turkish authorities sealed off the Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul in apparent retaliation and hundreds gathered there for protests at the Dutch action.

    Erdogan is looking to the large number of emigre Turks living in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, to help clinch victory next month in a referendum that would give the presidency sweeping new powers.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will do everything possible to prevent Turkish political tensions spilling onto German soil. Four rallies in Austria and one in Switzerland have been cancelled due to the growing dispute.

    Erdogan has cited domestic threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants and a July coup bid as cause to vote “yes” to his new powers. But he has also drawn on the emotionally charged row with Europe to portray Turkey as betrayed by allies while facing wars on its southern borders.

    Addressing a rally of supporters, Erdogan retaliated against the decision to prevent the Turkish foreign minister from visiting Rotterdam.

    “Listen Netherlands, you'll jump once, you'll jump twice, but my people will thwart your game,” he said. “You can cancel our foreign minister's flight as much as you want, but let's see how your flights will come to Turkey now.”

    “They don't know diplomacy or politics. They are Nazi remnants. They are fascists,” he said.

    Rutte called Erdogan's reference to Nazis and Fascists “a crazy remark”. He added: “I understand they're angry but this is of course way out of line”.

    Erdogan chafes at Western criticism of his mass arrests and dismissals of people authorities believe were linked to a failed July attempt by the military to topple him.

    He maintains it is clear the West begrudges him new powers and seeks to engineer a “no” vote in the referendum.

    Barred from the Netherlands, Cavusoglu arrived in France on Saturday ahead of a planned speech to Turkish emigres in the northeastern city of Metz on Sunday, a Reuters witness said.

    Earlier, an official at the Moselle regional prefecture told Reuters there were currently no plans to prevent the meeting from going ahead.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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  • 03/12/17--15:00: Second case of Congo fever
  • Second case of Congo feverSecond case of Congo fever The second case of the Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (Congo fever) has been confirmed in the Omaheke Region.

    This was announced by the Ministry of Health and Social Services on Friday.

    According to the health ministry's permanent secretary, Andreas Mwoombola, a 19-year-old man from Okungoua village was bitten by a tick on 1 March.

    He showed symptoms of Congo fever when he was admitted to the Corridor Post 13 Primary Health Care Clinic on 5 March and was transferred to the Gobabis State Hospital where blood samples were taken.

    The patient was transferred to the Windhoek Central Hospital on Wednesday, where he is in a stable condition and being kept in isolation.

    The results of the blood tests obtained last Thursday showed that he tested positive for Congo fever.

    Mwoombola said ministry officials are busy conducting investigations, providing health education and disinfecting households at the village where the patient comes from. Last month, nine people were placed in isolation following contact with a 26-year-old man who died of Congo fever in the Gobabis State Hospital on 22 February.

    They were discharged when they tested negative.

    Mwoombola said that there is no efficient vaccine or a specific treatment for Congo fever.

    “However outbreak control measures are rather simple and appear very effective if they are fully accepted by the affected populations.” Symptoms can include sudden onset of high fever, headache, back pain, joint pain, dizziness, bleeding and nausea.

    A person can get Congo fever through tick bites, or handling ticks with bare hands, direct contact with infected animal blood and organs, including slaughter of animals with ticks attached.

    It can also spread by handling contaminated linen, beddings and clothes or by using contaminated medical equipment and supplies, direct physical contact with body fluids or blood of a person suffering from Congo fever or direct contact with a body of a person who died of Congo fever.

    In order to prevent infection check for ticks or tick bites after working with animals and remove them immediately using fine-tipped tweezers and protect your hands.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 03/12/17--15:00: Hoff gets suspended sentence
  • Hoff gets suspended sentenceHoff gets suspended sentenceMust perform 300 hours of community service Local businesswoman Susanne Hoff was convicted of attempted murder and given a two-year sentence, suspended wholly for five. A business Windhoek businesswoman was sentenced on Friday in the Regional Court in Katutura to two years' imprisonment which was conditionally and wholly suspended for five years.

    The conditions are that Susanne Hoff, 56, should not be convicted of attempted murder during the period of her suspension.

    Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt ordered that Hoff, who is also the owner of an advertising agency, must perform 300 hours of community service at Hope Village in Katutura under the supervision of Kingsto Makani.

    The court in last month found that Hoff had tried to hire killers to murder her husband, Khomas Hochland farmer Egbert Hoff, in November 2011 and consequently convicted her of attempted murder and discharged her on the initial charge of conspiracy.

    She was arrested on 30 November 2011, in a police trap when she handed over money to the two supposed hitmen and was held in custody for more than four months until April 2012, when she successfully appealed to the High Court for bail.

    The magistrate found that the alleged hired killers testified that they never actually intended to go through with the murder. They said they only pretended to agree to carry out the killing and alerted the police who set a trap for her.

    Her version that she asked two men to pose as horse buyers interested in purchasing a horse from her husband, as she suspected that he was selling horses belonging to her and pocketing the proceeds, was found to be false and improbable.

    Diergaardt said in her judgment that the law is clear that there could not be a conspiracy if one of the parties to such a plot only pretended to agree to commit a crime, without actually carrying out a criminal plan. “When there was no agreement of minds, there was no true agreement amounting to a conspiracy,” the magistrate said.

    According to her Hoff had intention to have her husband murdered. Since the crime was not committed, though, she was guilty of attempted murder.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 03/12/17--15:00: Valombola back in court
  • Valombola back in courtValombola back in court The murder case involving businessman Maurus Valombola (58) was back in the Oshakati High Court on Wednesday, where arguments on the admissibility of the court record for the continuation of the trial were submitted.

    Valombola is accused of killing Benhard Kalimbo (32) by running him over with a car following an argument on 7 February 2013. The incident happened in the Okeeke area of the Anamulenge Constituency in the Omusati Region.

    Kalimbo died from his injuries at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital. Valombola was arrested the next day after handing himself over to the police at Ogongo and has been in custody ever since.

    Defence lawyer Pieter Greyling argued that his client was not aware of his rights when he was cross-examined during his first bail application in the Outapi Magistrate's Court and consequently incriminated himself. Valombola was represented by lawyer Inonge Mainga at the time.

    Greyling said his client was treated unfairly, arguing that the court was supposed to ensure that he was informed of his rights and did not do so.

    He accused the State of having asked incriminating questions during cross-examination, which should not have been allowed.

    Greyling said during the cross-examination his client was also asked about his previous transgressions of the law, which should not have been allowed. Valombola was previously fined N$12 000 in a culpable homicide case.

    On these grounds, Greyling said the magistrate's court record should be ruled inadmissible in the High Court trial.

    State advocate Lucius Matota counter-argued that Valombola had a lawyer at the time, who was supposed to have informed him of his rights.

    Regarding the questions the State had asked Valombola during the cross-examination in the lower court, Mutota argued that the questions derived from Valombola's bail application, in which he admitted his involvement in the incident and previous transgressions, which he said could not be left out.

    Mutota said if Greyling's submissions were taken into consideration it would defeat the purpose of cross examination.

    Judge Herman Januarie postponed the case to 22 May to rule on the submissions presented by the two sides.

    Valombola remains in police custody.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Critical challenges for healthCritical challenges for healthMinistry highlights major obstacles In spite of essential shortages which hamper the delivery of healthcare, the ministry has made major inroads in HIV treatment and mother-to-child transmission. The Ministry of Health is crippled by major challenges impeding service delivery to the Namibian public.

    The assessment of the health ministry's performance in the 2016/17 financial year lists these challenges that it still endures in delivering health care services to the public.

    The ministry's budget for this financial year is 6.51 billion with a budget cut of 6.34%.

    According to the ministry it is experiencing a shortage of critically skilled frontline health workers and technical staff.

    The ministry says that there is also a lack of essential infrastructure and equipment which is resulting in referral hospitals being persistently overcrowded with bed occupancies of above 100%.

    Another challenge identified by the ministry is the shortage of medical equipment and ambulances which it says leads to deaths and other injuries.

    There is also a challenge with poor maintenance and ageing infrastructure and a lack of basic and life-saving equipment at health centres and district hospitals.

    According to the ministry's assessment there has been an increased demand for services in both communicable and non-communicable diseases and other social ills.

    It says that there is also a lack of a proper supply chain system to obtain required pharmaceuticals, clinical supplies and other related commodities.

    In spite of these damning challenges, the ministry also elaborated on some of its successes during the past financial year and it said the procurement and distribution of pharmaceuticals and related supplies to all public health facilities were done according to their demands.

    The overall service level has improved from 70.5% in the first quarter to 75% in the second quarter. The 75% is made up of ARVs (87.6%), pharmaceutical (63.9%) and clinical supplies (83.3%).

    A total of 11 139 babies born from HIV-positive mothers of which 7 146 were tested for HIV and a total of 245 infants tested positive which translates into about 3% transmission rate, lower than the national elimination target of under 4% by 2015.

    The ministry has managed to maintain 87% ART coverage as per National Strategic Framework set targets of 84%.

    Furthermore the ministry embarked on national medical outreach services since May 2015. The programme aimed at bringing medical services closer to people by mobilising health professionals to make their services available on a voluntary basis to the communities. During the reporting period, a total of 502 operations were carried out, of which 114 was performed by the health minister.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Dismal response to phosphate issueDismal response to phosphate issue Friday was the deadline for submissions by the public and other affected parties into the matter of offshore phosphate mining off the coast of Walvis Bay after the environmental clearance was withdrawn last year.

    Environmental commissioner Theofillius Nghitila on Friday afternoon told Namibian Sun that very few submissions were received from the public regarding the matter.

    When asked how many submissions were received, were they 10 or 20, Nghitila answered, “I would not say there are so many.”

    The environmental clearance was issued by Nghitila for the “Sandpiper Project” that is located about 120km southwest of Walvis Bay last year.

    The granting of the environmental clearance to Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP) caused a public outcry with interested and affected parties and the fishing industry saying they were not afforded the opportunity for input.

    This led to environmental minister Pohmaba Shifeta ordering that the environmental certificate should be withdrawn, while all affected parties were given three months to give input into the matter. At the time he said the entire consultation process should be completed in six months.

    Nghitila said that the submissions that were received would be reviewed and the proper processes would be followed.

    According to him the submissions will also be used in the pending court case against the environmental ministry by fisheries associations.

    In a submission made by the organisation Swakopmund Matters, it said that the environmental impact assessment of NMP failed to admit that phosphate mining would greatly destroy the habitat, microbes, food and ecosystem services in the mining areas by dredging vast areas of seabed.

    “It is far-fetched to leave environmental monitoring and mitigation to NMP itself.”

    It also said that the 2012 study which the ministry is relying upon has never been approved. “At the time it was deemed merely a desktop study. It still remains the same today.”

    Legal action has been taken against the ministry for granting the environmental certificate with three fishing organisations that are asking the High Court to review and set aside the decision to grant an environmental clearance certificate to NMP and to declare that the mining licence issued to the company is invalid.

    Meanwhile, NMP has also filed a notice of motion at the High Court to appeal the decision by Shifeta to withdraw the environmental clearance licence.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 03/12/17--15:00: Geingob blasts critics
  • Geingob blasts criticsGeingob blasts criticsTakes a swipe at the media President Hage Geingob says the Harambee Prosperity Plan is unduly criticised before it has even kicked off. Addressing a large crowd at Keetmanshoop on Saturday, President Hage Geingob strongly criticised what he called “failed politicians” that have joined civil society groups to influence the government.

    “No, you are defeated,” remonstrated Geingob, saying civil society organisations in Namibia want to “deal with everything” the government is tasked to do unlike international movements that focus on specific issues.

    “They are failed politicians who want to come [in] from the back door now. Civil society wants to come in; why do we have elections then?” Geingob asked, and added that not everyone can be allowed to be governing the country since those in power have been duly elected to do that.

    He was making thinly veiled reference to the Landless People's Movement (LPM) and its leadership, amongst whom the former deputy minister of land reform, Bernadus Swartbooi and other Swapo members are now under fire in the party for advocating under civil society banners for ancestral land rights and urban erven.

    Geingob was speaking at Swapo's star rally at the J. Stephanus Stadium in Tseiblaagte where the LPM had also drawn a similarly large crowd of people about a month ago.

    A striking difference in the demeanour of the two sets of crowds was that the LPM gathering consisted of mostly Nama speakers who reacted very emotionally to the ancestral land claims proposed by the LPM leadership.

    Nama-speaking people only made up a fraction amongst this weekend's gathering who for the most part were very reserved and had to be prompted to clap hands or sing along.

    President Geingob at one stage even suggested that people are not engaging with the speakers at the podium because the LPM had allegedly urged them not to attend the Swapo rally.

    “You were told 'don't go to the meeting because you don't have land' and now you are not clapping hands. What is wrong with clapping hands?” Geingob at one point challenged the crowd.

    He said it was not Swapo that had dispossessed land but rather that land had been dispossessed first during the German colonial era and later by Apartheid South Africa.

    “Did Swapo take your land? Why should Swapo do that? Swapo has sacrificed; many have died to free this country so that you can get your land back. Why should Swapo leaders prevent people from getting their land?” he challenged the crowd.



    A swipe

    President Geingob took a swipe at the media by suggesting that the so-called defeated and failed politicians are being proffered by the fourth estate.

    “What happens when we defeat them [the 'failed politicians']? Then the press and other civil society organisations realise the opposition is weak. The press wants to step in; civil society wants to come in,” Geingob said.

    He, however, stressed that the government cherishes freedom of the press, which he said was introduced in the country by Swapo.

    Geingob said he does mind criticism from veteran journalist and founding editor of The Namibian, Gwen Lister, because she had played her part in the struggle for Namibia's independence.

    What riles him he added, are journalists in the age range of 40 to 50 who are old enough to have contributed to Namibia's liberation struggle, but who have not, and today pretend to be the “guardians of democracy”.

    “Where were they? Gwen can talk all what she wants to talk, but she was there that time. But, what about the others? They were in London or elsewhere and now they are here to lecture us on democracy. I say no!” emphasised the president.

    He also took aim at the NBC, which he said is going out of its way to report on poverty in Namibia and suggested that this is to create the impression that his Harambee Prosperity Plan is a failure before it got out of the blocks.

    “Every evening you will see [on TV] the ghettos. We did not create those ghettos; they were there,” said Geingob.

    He pointed out that the prevailing poverty is historical poverty and said blame for this should be apportioned to the former apartheid system.

    He chided those who want to see a return of the former regime, who “want to go back to apartheid” as he put it, saying it is now time to move forward and create prosperity.

    “That is our mandate,” Geingob stated. “We are doing things in a modern way, but people are just criticising.”



    Greed

    President Geingob also criticised unbridled greed and corruption.

    “Whether you are Swapo or others, do your business in a legal way. Don't be greedy to become rich overnight. We support Swapo members to do business, but not illegally, not through corruption, and not through thinking that you are Swapo and therefore it is your government and therefore anything must be given to you. No. One Namibia, one nation,” Geingob said.

    He also stressed that the government is not against businesspeople, as reportedly suggested.

    Geingob said the Swapo government has put in place robust governance and micro economic architecture in place that serves the country well.

    He said the Swapo government has acknowledged that the country is going through difficult financial times and is taking the necessary steps to mitigate the situation, but pointed out that finance minister Calle Schlettwein has indicated that the country is working to move out of the tight squeeze.

    Geingob also said that the recently announced budget is not Schlettwein's budget, as it is often referred to, but said the budget was fully discussed and agreed on by the entire Cabinet.





    Catherine Sasman

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  • 03/12/17--15:00: Efundja arrives in Oshakati
  • Efundja arrives in OshakatiEfundja arrives in OshakatiRelief for Uuvudhiya farmers The seasonal floodwaters from southern Angola reached Oshakati over the weekend. Nothern hydrologist Leonard Hango confirmed to Namibian Sun yesterday that the seasonal floodwaters, known as efundja, crossed the Namibian-Angola border on Friday evening.

    Hango said that there are many streams that carry efundja across the areas in the northern Namibia, but he could only verify two streams that were filling up by Friday evening.

    “By Friday evening the floodwaters came through our northern border through oshana shaNalumono and oshana shaKambembe and their flow was fast and the currents strong,” Hango said.

    He said that the two streams run through Oshakati and transport water to Lake Yinakulu Yomadhiya in the Uuvudhiya area.

    “Oshana shaNalumono comes in from Okahenge, through Ondeshifiilwa, Endola and Okatana and then flows into Oshakati through the Sky and Okandjengedhi bridges, while oshana shaKambembe reaches Oshakati via Ompumbu and runs on the eastern side of the town,” Hango explained.

    Uuvudhiya farmer Tomas Nambabi also told Namibian Sun yesterday that he visited lakes Oponona and Yinakulu Yomadhiya on Saturday and said he was happy to see that water has already flowed in.

    “The area has not received good rainfall at all, but with enough rainfall received in the southern Angolan highlands and with the streams that feed our catchments, we now have enough water. Lake Yinakulu Yomadhiya is already filled up, while water from the Otamanzi area was still heading into Oponona on Saturday,” Nambabi said

    Nambabi added that this brings great relief to farmers who were heavily affected by drought, and more specifically their water catchments that ran dry due to poor rainfall received during the past two or three years.

    Last week Hango told Namibian Sun that the Angolan authorities had opened the floodgates of the Cuvelai River to prevent overflows following good rainfall received in southern Angola. Tributaries that run from the Cuvelai bring water into northern Namibia and if strong enough, cause flooding.

    The levels are still rising and more water is expected from the southern highlands of Angola.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 03/12/17--15:00: Politicians hit pay dirt
  • Politicians hit pay dirtPoliticians hit pay dirtPresident, ministers and A-Team salaries revealed The salaries and perks of public office bearers, one of the best-kept secrets, have finally been laid bare. Politicians are sitting pretty.

    President Hage Geingob earns N$1 753 964 per year inclusive of his benefits, while vice-president Nickey Iyambo enjoys a remuneration package of N$1 525 186.

    This is according to the Government Gazette's 10 March proclamation of the remuneration packages of public office bearers, including the expensively-assembled advisors to the president.

    This proclamation follows last week's tabling of the N$62.54 billion 2017/18 budget in which finance minister Calle Schlettwein announced that 49% of the total revenue will go to the public service wage bill.

    As statesmen for life, former president Hifikepunye Pohamba receives an annual pension of N$1 159 260 while the founding president Sam Nujoma takes home N$1 376 085.

    These benefits are paid out for life.

    Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila banks N$1 326 248 per year of which N$285 730 is for housing.

    Government pays her full water and electricity accounts as well as her transport and telephone accounts without any limitations.

    The deputy prime minister has a housing allowance of N$233 480 per year, unlimited water and electricity as well as telephone accounts and earns N$1 083 723.

    This is fractionally lower than the annual salaries of ministers, the attorney-general, auditor-general, and the directors-general of the National Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) and National Planning Commission. They all earn N$1 089 185 annually with a N$55 560 allowance for water and electricity, and N$222 376 for housing.

    The 26 ministers will cost the taxpayer over N$28 million, while the 30 deputy ministers, who each earn N$788 366 and have a N$48 240 allowance for water and electricity, will cost the country N$23.6 million this year.



    A-Team

    The special advisors to both the president and the ministers and governors, are expensive.





    Geingob's A-Team members earn N$1 087 745 per year almost like the deputy prime minister and mere N$1 140 less than the ministers.

    A-Team members receive the same municipal benefits as ministers with a water and electricity allowance of N$55 560.

    Advisors to governors each earn between N$637 351 and N$794 606 while advisors to governors take home N$587 869.

    The 14 regional governors earn as much as a deputy minister totalling N$788 366 per year with N$48 240 in water and electricity allowances.

    Further to this, there are 14 regional councils with 121 members, representing each constituency in those regions, across the country.

    Members of these councils each receive N$462 151 while the chairpersons earn N$716 771.

    The National Council (NC) and the National Assembly (NA) are costly to the country's coffers.

    In wages, the NC costs N$33 500 961 per year.

    The chairperson earns more than a minister at N$1 139 283, which is also the annual salary of the National Assembly's Speaker.

    The 42 members of the NC each take home N$693 769 totalling N$29 264 298 per year.

    In the NA, besides the Speaker, the highest paid member is the leader of the official opposition, in this McHenry Venaani, who takes home N$996 006 per year. This includes a housing allowance of N$159 222 and municipal allowances of N$48 240. All the NA members earn N$693 769 each with N$40 320 in municipal allowances and N$119 807 for housing included. There are 104 members. Swapo's chief whip takes home N$882 590 the chief whip of the DTA, N$732 654. The total account of the NA, including the chief whips of the ruling and opposition parties, costs the taxpayer N$80 426 311 this year.



    Bone of contention

    The civil service wage bill has for some time, been a bone a contention.

    However, government is the largest employer in the country and should it start retrenching, the economic impacts will be severe.

    In a bid to contain the wage bill, Schlettwein, when tabling the budget in parliament said, “the government has proposed a number of measures to prevent the further growth of the wage bill and related personnel expenditure, but also, to reduce current levels. These measures include the freezing of the size of the civil service and streamlining the multiplicity of bonuses and allowances.”

    Other measures such as reduced travel costs and spending, reviewing of medical aid coverage and the like, are also being investigated in a bid to bring down costs.

    Speaking on Thursday during an analysis of the 2017/18 National Budget organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration Veikko Nekundi said urgent measures are required to address the growth in the civil service wage bill.

    “We must move swiftly to address the public wage bill, which is consuming the largest part of state revenue,” he said.

    Nekundi said there is an urgent need to reform state-owned enterprises in order for them to reorient themselves from public revenue burdens to revenue generating instruments.

    He noted that there is an urgent need to expedite the establishment of the revenue authority as a tool to efficiently maximise revenue collection.



    YANNA SMITH

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    Municipality pulls down shoddy housesMunicipality pulls down shoddy houses Several prefabricated Mass Housing homes constructed by Delta Group Holdings (DGH) in Swakopmund are being demolished due to poor workmanship.

    Reports quote urban and rural development minster Sophia Shaningwa on Friday saying the South African construction company will build 133 new houses at no extra cost.

    Deputy minister Derek Klazen, who was in Walvis Bay on a personal visit this weekend, was due to visit the construction site yesterday.

    It was agreed to demolish approximately 100 houses constructed with prefabricated material after quantity surveyors found out that they were not on standard.





    The demolishing process commenced on Thursday after Swakopmund municipality design and building control manager Martin Amedick said he wrote a letter to the company's headquarters in South Africa informing it that the municipality was not happy with the standard of some of the houses.

    “We instructed DGH to demolish parts of the houses they built and we will not issue occupation certificates for them. We originally gave the company permission to use this specific construction method in 2014. What they showed us back then was produced in their factory in South Africa. They tried to imitate the process locally in Namibia under poor supervision and with substandard quality.”

    Swakopmund municipality spokesperson Aili Gebhardt concurred with Amedick and said she was aware of the fact that some of the houses constructed are being demolished since they are not of good quality.

    “I can unfortunately not give you an indication on the number of houses that must be demolished due to the substandard quality. Mass housing falls under the ministry with the municipality being responsible for providing the land. Our building inspectors have to check on the quality of the houses being constructed. The municipality does not just hand over land for construction purposes. There are a set of standards that need to be adhered to.”

    Efforts to contact representatives of DGH based in Swakopmund proved futile.



    OTIS FINCK

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    Land critical to economic stabilityLand critical to economic stability The African National Congress (ANC) will accelerate the transfer of land to the black majority to help reduce inequality and avert future protests, spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

    “If you don’t deal decisively with the issue of land, you may have to deal with a bigger problem,” Kodwa said in an interview at the party’s head office in Johannesburg.

    President Jacob Zuma has vowed to step up wealth distribution in South Africa in his final year as head of the ANC, promising “radical economic transformation,” including constitutional changes to allow the government to expropriate land without paying for it.

    While his comments contradict the stance taken by ANC lawmakers, who say the process can take place without amending the constitution, the party favours accelerated land reform.

    “When we talk about radical economic transformation, it’s about the stability of the country going forward,” Kodwa said. “In the absence of that, you may be sitting with instability in the future and land is at the centre. It is key.”

    More than two decades after the end of white-minority rule, South Africa continues to struggle with persistently high unemployment and one of the world’s widest rates of inequality. About 95% of the country’s wealth is in the hands of 10% of the population, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in his budget speech last month.

    Land is expected to feature prominently in the ANC’s policy documents that will be released on March 12, ahead of a party conference in June. Decisions taken at that meeting will guide the state’s strategy.

    The government previously proposed banning foreign ownership of agricultural land and limiting the size of farms people can have. It also said that it’s considering buying half of every farm and giving it to farm workers to operate in joint ventures with the previous owners.

    The transfer of land ownership to the black majority will be quicker if people and companies that have under-utilised properties approach the government to negotiate a fair exchange, Enoch Godongwana, the head of ANC’s economic transformation committee, said in the same interview.

    “The problem is people tend to attack whatever we say,” he said. “They simply insult us, instead of saying ‘we want a smooth way of making sure this land redistribution happens.’ It’s going to happen.”

    Fin24

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    Address the root causes firstAddress the root causes first We are delighted by the monies allocated to education. Simply delighted. The amount of N$15.05 billion is gargantuan compared to the allocations to the other key ministries and of course, with the reforms coming, the monies are essential.

    However, we are concerned that we are not dealing with the core issues. Throwing money at education is good and well but, it is a little like fertilising a field that has not been de-weeded. Education has been receiving good money for years and still, it is not flourishing. Our teachers are still ill-equipped, our classrooms are overcrowded and are falling apart, we do not have enough hostels, and the list goes on.

    Horrifyingly, we actually celebrate school feeding day on 3 March, as a continent. We celebrate a day that indicates that our parents are too poor to feed their children and the school has to do it. And if the school stops, the children drop out. We should not celebrate such a day, we should hang our heads in shame that we are in a position that our parents cannot feed our children at home.

    And these are the issues that should be addressed. Shebeens in neighbourhoods where children either go to school or where they live and have to study. Abusive households in which they have to live. Absent fathers and single mothers who work long hours having to leave their young children alone for protracted periods. Poverty so intense that there is no food at home. The threat of rape, and robbery, even though we cleaned the riverbeds, when they walk to and from school. Unethical teachers that exploit young children, a lack of stationery and the inability to buy uniforms for school, and this list too, that goes on and on.

    So yes, we are pleased with the billions received by both basic and higher education but, until we do not address the social issues, the root causes of drop-outs, failure and under performance, nothing will change for us and our children will continue to flounder. What then will become of the Namibia of the future?

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  • 03/13/17--15:00: The struggle continues
  • The struggle continuesThe struggle continues March is a very important month in Namibia's history. The day 21 March always brings back memories of the euphoria of 1990 when Namibians from all walks of life celebrated the end of sanctioned racial oppression under the South African apartheid regime. It remains one of the proudest moments for many Namibians. Twenty-seven years after independence we are still counting both the gains and failures of a free and democratic republic. Obviously, there have significant strides made in lifting people out of poverty, but high levels of inequality still persist. We have done relatively well as a country and it is true that Namibia is better off than it was 27 years ago. However, there are those who let our people down. It has always been our wish to see a Namibia where no one is re-colonised by the selected few who appear to have selfishly formed an intricate system that promotes corruption, nepotism and patronage among others. It really takes a true patriot to fight for his/her motherland. Despite our differences, days such as the Independence Day, should not be used to promote certain political agendas. It is therefore unpatriotic to mobilise people not to attend celebrations of this nature. As patriotic sons and daughters of our nation, we should have progressive and positive views of the future of our country. Promoting a positive attitude towards inclusivity in all shapes should become the mainstay of our society. Diversity is useless without inclusivity. The successful realisation of these goals depends on our understanding and acceptance of our beautiful country as a vibrant multi-cultural society, free of tribalism and racial discrimination. Let us learn to despise name-calling, derogatory attacks against each other and all the other evils that have blighted our society. Equally our leaders must not take the freedom we are enjoying today for granted and must realise that in our midst, there are those who are still sick, tired and who feel hopelessness in hardship. We are stronger as one, but the struggle isn't over yet.

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  • 03/13/17--15:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day IN MOTION: A bird photo bombs one of the Namibian Police force's helicopters right before the helicopter landa at the CJ Brandt High School for the Dream Big campaign by NAMPOL. Photo: Shona Ngava

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    Maltahöhe abides by ACC findingsMaltahöhe abides by ACC findings The Maltahöhe Village Council compiled five charges relating to dishonesty and the contravention of regulations pertaining to the civil service, against its former acting CEO and council electrician.

    The two men, Otto Richards and electrician Geronimo Tise, were recently suspended by the council with immediate effect. The suspension is pending the finalisation of the investigation on the charges.

    Though the details of the charges are not yet known, the two officials -according to the recent findings of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) - violated the tender board procedures and personnel regulations.

    Richards and Tise allegedly irregularly awarded the tender for the construction of a fire station at the village.

    The ACC's investigation found that they received N$48 000 in kickbacks. Former councillor Markus Saal allegedly received N$10 000 from that amount and was further promised livestock.

    It was also found that the company, LN Perfect Builders allegedly paid Tise N$35 000 with which he is said to have purchased a Golf motor vehicle which is currently in his possession.

    The council further recently opened a case of theft after the external hard drive of the Maltahöhe village council computer containing the council's financial records had reportedly been stolen.

    The current acting CEO Marianne Pieters, upon inquiry said the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development appointed Advocate Jana de Kock as the investigating officer.

    “She will act on behalf of the council during the hearing while someone from the ACC will assist her,” Pieters said and added that the council had also requested the ministry to appoint a chairperson for the disciplinary hearing.

    The governor of the Hardap Region, Esme Isaak, in direct disregard of the findings and recommendations made by the ACC recently instructed the village councillors not to take action against two council employees.

    She instructed a team of regional councillors, Eduard Wambo of the Rehoboth Urban Constituency, Hercules Jantze of Daweb Constituency and Jan Jaarzhen of the Aranos Constituency, to investigate a complaint made by Tise against the newly appointed acting CEO, Marianna Pieters.

    Tise allegedly, after the completion of the ACC investigation into the awarding of a tender wherein he was implicated, wrote a letter of complaint to the regional council alleging bias by Pieters towards him.

    It came to light through councillor Elisabeth Visser, that the complaint was never forwarded to the village council who is the appointing authority of the complainant.

    “We only came hear about the purpose of the regional councillors' visit upon their arrival,” said Visser, who was adamant that they will proceed with the disciplinary process as recommended by ACC against the two officials.

    An elderly resident of Maltahöhe was of the opinion that the regional council has no mandate to appoint an acting CEO nor does the governor have a mandate to instruct the investigation of complaints by a staff member in Tise's current position, against another member of staff.

    Isaak allegedly instructed that Pieters, who alerted the ACC about the alleged corrupt activities, be removed and replaced by someone from the regional council office.

    She is alleged to have threatened that those who dig graves for others will fall into the same graves.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Tourism levies under spotlightTourism levies under spotlightLevy review will compensate for budget cuts Following an 8% cut in fund allocation for the coming financial year, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says levy collection will be scaled up and improved. On top of the environment ministry's agenda for the coming financial year is the appointment of a new board for the Namibia Tourism Board as well as amendments to the Act to ensure efficient collection of tourism levies payable.

    This follows after an 8% budget cut for this financial year with an allocation of N$447.364 million to the ministry.

    Adjustments to the tourism levy, currently not reflecting occupancy rates, are also on the horizon.

    Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta yesterday told Namibian Sun that the ministry will be able to manage with the budget cuts and that it should have a negligible impact on tourism.

    Shifeta said that the amount was agreed upon with the finance ministry after consultations with his departments to cut expenditure.

    “It is a good move in the long-run and we can do with the little that we have.”

    He told Namibian Sun that the ministry will have to prioritise important programmes such as the implementation of wildlife protection and security in national parks and also prioritise on savings in the ministry.

    “We will have to manage with what we have and contain debt.”

    He said that the budget cut may have negative impact on tourism but the impact is not expected to be too great.

    “The tourism sector may suffer, but the projected decline will not be that much and in the next two years it will recover. The sector will not have a 0% growth.”

    Meanwhile tourism establishments in the country have been found wanting in the way they pay their tourism levies. Despite an increase in the occupancy rates over the years, levies have been declining.

    According to Shifeta, the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB) currently does not have enough power or legislation to demand all levies gathered by registered accommodation organisations like lodges and campsites. In order to control this, they are going to empower the NTB, especially with regard to the collection of tourism levies.

    A tourism levy is a non-taxable amount which is paid to the NTB by a relevant organisation, and is normally included in the monies paid to establishments by guests.

    Shifeta said that Namibia plays host to a large number of visitors but the revenue from tourism levies does not reflect this.

    “There are some leakages with regard to the collection of tourism levies and these needs to be closed. Establishments are underreporting and NTB is not doing much do rectify this.”

    According to him a new NTB board will be announced by the end of March and thereafter, amendments are to be made to the NTB Act to curb the low inflow of levies collected through local tourism activities.

    He said that NTB Act will also be amended to give NTB more power to inspect these establishments and also even inspect the books of the tourism establishments.

    He said that they will also look into giving local authorities powers to inspect tourism establishments.

    The ministry is also planning to increase tourism levies and registration fees paid to tourism establishments.

    Shifeta stressed that establishments should keep in mind that this money is used to market not only the country, but also the accommodation establishments.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Welcome youth involvement in decisionsWelcome youth involvement in decisions By Josef Johannes

    The truth is that something deeply disturbing is going on within our government and how they perceive the youth, and we should be talking about it. What is facing the Namibian youth are challenges that will make one wonder if the government even has a thought for what the youth are going through.

    The youth in Namibia are faced by a multitude of problems that the government itself cannot solve. Firstly, accessing land in Namibia has been a big problem for a while now. It is affecting college graduates who want to own land in their own country but the land prices remain far too high forcing such people to end up paying for a house which they will never own. Although resistance against high land prices has been formed many working people still do not have land which is something that should be addressed by the government. Other members of the youth stay in informal settlements on the outskirts of town, where diseases spread due to poor hygiene. There are no basic necessities or services and they are forced to use traditional means of living even when staying in the nation's capital.

    Those who have graduated from university are still unemployed hustling to get jobs since every vacancy requires experience in whatever field. The youth is being asked for experience that they do not have as they just graduated and should at least start off as assistants to positions that they qualified for. Where will they get the experience if they just graduated? Inequality in Namibia is amongst many complaints of the youth when it comes to opportunities. Only well-connected people are enjoying the fruits of an independent Namibia. Jobs and tenders are awarded only to certain people - you find people called for interviews from far corners of the country for a job interview without knowing that the job has been awarded to someone else. And this is continuing to happen but the government is not doing anything about it. That will contribute to unemployment in Namibia which will lead to even more poverty.

    Government only focuses on the youth when they are campaigning. Then they forget us. They have stopped car washes in Windhoek on which many youth relied on for an income. Budget cuts have affected us too. About 4 500 young Namibians had their hopes of employment in the police dashed following the announcement of a recruitment freeze until 2019. Why they did not cut the ministers' salaries to be able to recruit the youth?

    However, last year they wanted to build their N$2.4 billion parliament and there was an approved budget. Now they are saying the economy is not on a standard to be able to recruit until 2019. We thought last year that the government is rich when they wanted to build a phosphate mine and new parliament. When you are in a top position, you are there to serve the people, not yourself only. Ministers are running the government just for the sake of the money they receive. They are not doing it for the privilege of citizens. There has never been a thing that the government has done for the development of the youth but taking away their happiness.

    The youth shapes the future and also has a significant impact on the national economy with tendencies toward free enterprise, equal rights and humanitarian issues. The government is failing to consider those two facts and because of this young people reach adulthood and never take over from the veterans with a new leadership for the country. The government will not achieve Vision 2030 if it does not consider the youth in things like economic well-being and access to opportunities. So it is important to encourage civic responsibility among the youth so that they feel rooted in these roles.

    The youth are only provided with free knowledge regarding voting but they pay to be provided with vocational training skills to have knowledge on something to improve their living standard with a job and a business. But because of money many have no other alternatives but to steal to survive and it is the only government that can be blamed for that.

    Government wants to silence those who speak the truth in our country. Those who speak out understand the youth are struggling and are being blamed for disturbing the peace. We understand that we were not part of the fight against colonialism but our ancestors were. Why then should you enjoy freedom alone while we are fighting to survive in a situation that you have dragged us into?

    Why are there only youth-related leaders? Why are only the youth hurt by every government decision? Is there any love for the youth in the Namibian government?

    *Josef Johannes is a student at the University of Namibia's Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences

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    Youth inclusion as a crisis of governance Youth inclusion as a crisis of governance As we have stated before on these pages, the statistics on the African continent have confirmed that more than 60% of the continent’s population is young. Correspondingly, the population of young people in Namibia is also calculated at 60%. The challenge in Africa, the challenge of governance that is, is that these statistics in Namibia are not met with the policy response of including and allowing young people to get an opportunity given the statistical realities. What has happened is that the liberation generation has remained in charge, refusing and unwelcoming of the younger generation to take over governance institutions. Africa is in crisis. Those who disagree must look at the newly presented budget where the Office of the President was allocated N$600 million while the youth ministry only got N$300 million. In sharp contrast the ministry of veteran’s affairs, catering for the affairs of the veterans got a whopping N$900 million. It doesn’t require rocket science to realise what is at play here.

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    Xenophobia: An African tragedyXenophobia: An African tragedy By Kambarure Kaputu

    Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah said at the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, “Our objective is an African union now. There is no time to waste. We must unite now or perish.” On 11 July 2000, all 53 African leaders embarked on a quest for further unity as set out in their objectives, Article 3 (a) and met in Lome, Togo, where they signed what was to be known as the Constitutive Act of the African Union which later entered into force in 2001 and the African Union (AU) was created.

    As a crucial document that sets out the framework on how the African Union ought to conduct itself, all heads of state and governments declared by stating in the preamble: “Inspired by the noble ideals which guided the founding fathers of our continental organisation and generation of pan-Africanists in their determination to promote unity, solidarity, cohesion, and cooperation among the people of Africa and African states...”. This was the founding ideal that led to the establishment of the AU, believing that without unity, the AU has no legitimacy to agitate towards development. Another element or tool which holds Africa back is the old tactic of divide and rule.

    Thus, this ideal was believed to be multi-generational, flowing in the blood of the current and future generations. Nonetheless, it seems like it is not the case following the recent xenophobic attacks on our fellow African brothers and sisters in South Africa.

    An African tragedy is when fellow Africans turn against each other, it is when Africans deliberately forget major unpleasant events in their history, the discrimination, torture and oppression committed by the colonialists, it is when there is no spirit of Ubuntu (togetherness) amongst Africans, it is when Africans forget how important unity is to Africa's success story. No doubt, our forefathers might be turning in their graves at this point, disappointed at all of us. We should all ask ourselves, is this what they envisioned? Do we still think that without unity the dream for a developed Africa can be achieved? Our aim was freedom, and one such freedom was freedom from fear which is currently denied to our fellow Africans in South Africa. Another was the right to self-determination and democracy, was given to South Africans in 1994 through the collective support of fellow African states. It was unity which brought about this continental wave of freedom and independence, brothers and sisters holding hands in solidarity and working hard to bring about freedom and socio-economic development to all African states.

    With tears in our eyes, one could say what is currently transpiring in South Africa is unacceptable and ought to be condemned by all Africans. There are a lot of critical developmental issues to be dealt with, ranging from a leadership crisis to unemployment, from shattered businesses to costly schools and hospitals, from economic exploitation to lost cultures and traditions, rather than exercising hatred and violence.

    There is a crucial need for understanding not vengeance, Ubuntu not victimisation. It is the responsibility of every African to unite in love and with a heart full of a desire for unity, and for us to come up with collective, mature solutions for the issue of xenophobia. It is our responsibility to take it upon ourselves to continue the long march of solidarity with those who came before us, a march for a just, equal, free, caring, united and prosperous Africa.

    Our goal should be to explore all options that allow people to earn a living so that the social welfare system does not create permanent dependencies. Immigrants of whatever colour or hue can all make contributions; but we focus often on the negatives and allow gross generalisations about crime to determine the narrative. And our society needs to tackle the severe social trauma that finds expression in such violence - whether it is domestic violence against partners or children, or against foreigners. On the economics front, Africans need partnerships between government and business in tackling unemployment and inequality - not adversarial approaches that apportion blame rather than solutions. Our leaders and others in positions of influence should recognise that their statements are powerful weapons - and that they need to be used carefully and responsibly.

    Ubuntu can be a powerful idea and movement to highlight our common humanity and the kind of world that South Africa advocated on its re-entry to the international community. But it will require more than just the rhetoric, branding or police units to create a lived reality for Africans and all those others who live on the continent and make it the diverse, dynamic society that it is

    Furthermore, let us built a spirit of cooperation, solidarity and unity as outlined in our objectives, building a more perfect union, so stable that no African feels left out. We need to choose hope over fear, solidarity over conflict, we need to proclaim an end to hatred and violence. The time has come to choose our better history, to carry on that powerful ideal passed on from generation to generation, keeping in mind and heart that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. Remember, “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu”.



    *Kambarure Kaputu is a student at the University of Namibia's Faculty of Humanities doing a BA (honours) Media Studies and Political Science.

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    Another Chinese donkey abattoir proposedAnother Chinese donkey abattoir proposed Barely a week after Outjo residents objected against a donkey abattoir in their town, a company believed to be owned by Chinese businesspeople is now applying to set up a similar one in Okahandja.

    A notice is about to go out in which town planner Ritta Khiba Planning Consultants requests special consent from the Okahandja municipality for an abattoir for the slaughtering and processing of donkey meat on Erf 780, which is zoned as “general industrial”.

    The erf is on West Street and measures about 3 289 square metres.

    Objections can be lodged within 14 days after a notice is published in newspapers and on a municipal notice board from tomorrow.

    According to an official at the Okahandja municipality the erf was first registered to a Chinese company called Everlasting Iron Sheet Investment. While the transfer of this property is not clear, it is now registered under a company called Agri-nature Investment Trade.

    The purchase of Erf 780 is one of those that the minister of urban and rural development, Sophia Shaningwa, in 2015 had said would be investigated after it was alleged that it had been done unlawfully during the 2011-12 financial year.

    The erf was sold to First Wall Property, a joint-venture estate agency and construction company co-owned by Chinese businesspeople Stina Wu and Songgen Huang.

    The Namibian on 17 February reported that a forensic audit was being conducted on several questionable land sales by the Okahandja municipality.

    The article claimed that Erf 780 had been sold to First Wall Investment although the company had not applied for the land. It further reported that the forensic investigators had recommended that this plot, as well as Erf 778 also sold to First Wall Investment, be returned to the Okahandja municipality.

    The demand for donkey skin has exploded in China, where it is believed to delay menopause, and is putting donkey populations in Southern Africa and other parts of the world under increased pressure.



    CATHERINE SASMAN

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