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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    WesBank partners with CNH Industrial CapitalWesBank partners with CNH Industrial Capital STAFF REPORTER

    WesBank has signed a partnership agreement with CNH Industrial Capital to further develop asset financing in Namibia.

    “WesBank, as the leader in Namibia’s leasing and financing business, established by FNB Namibia has entered into a preferred partnership agreement with CNH Industrial Capital, the financial services business of CNH Industrial,” said Wesbank executive officer Elmarie Cilliers.

    Together, WesBank and CNH Industrial are proposing financing and leasing offers to customers. The agreement works to promote the company’s IVECO and IVECO Astra brands in Namibia.

    Furthermore, Wesbank will benefit from all the other CNH brands, such as Case IH, Case Construction Equipment, New Holland Agriculture and New Holland Construction from this new agreement. This gives customers access to flexible finance and leasing solutions, customised for products under CNH Industrial brands.

    “CNH Industrial Capital is a global leader in the capital goods sector with established industrial experience, a wide range of products and a worldwide presence, and as such offers a unique business opportunity for Wesbank. This partnership allows us to customise lease structures that meet our customers’ needs, thereby optimising the customer experience through an ideal lease solution,” Cilliers said.

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Namdeb, MUN agree on wages
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    Feb vehicle sales increase slightlyFeb vehicle sales increase slightlyFigure still down from last year Vehicle sales have been contracting on a year-on-year basis since mid-2015 and are likely to continue because of lower government demand and amendments to the Credit Agreement Act. A total of 1 151 vehicles were sold in February, a 26.5% month-on-month (m-o-m) increase from the 910 vehicles sold in January, but 14.9% lower than in February 2016 when 1 352 vehicles were sold.

    Year to date 2 061 vehicles have been sold: 947 passenger vehicles, 1 041 light commercial vehicles and 73 medium and heavy commercial vehicles. Compared to the first two months of previous years, this is well below the figures of the last five years.

    “Vehicle sales have been contracting on a year-on-year basis since mid-2015. The slowdown has been felt in both passenger and commercial vehicles, with passenger-vehicle sales down 10.1% and commercial-vehicle sales down 29.4% year-on-year.

    “Within the commercial vehicle segments the light commercial category, which makes up the bulk of sales, has decreased by 14.7% y-o-y, while medium commercial vehicles sales have decreased by 50% y-o-y and heavy commercial vehicle sales have also decreased by 50% y-o-y. Heavy commercial vehicle sales have dropped to multi-year lows which can be seen as a drop in investor or business confidence,” says IJG Securities.

    Passenger vehicle sales increased by 35.6% m-o-m to 545 vehicles in February, while commercial vehicles sales increased by 19.3% m-o-m to 606 according to IJG.

    “Of the 606 commercial automobiles sold, 563 were classified as light, 18 as medium and 25 as heavy. The total number of passenger and commercial vehicles sold in 2016 were 7 006 and 9 592 respectively and we are likely to see lower numbers this calendar year.

    “From mid-2015, the new-vehicle market in Namibia has been in a state of decline and this trend seems to be continuing as we enter 2017.

    “The reduction in government spending had a direct and indirect effect on the demand for new vehicles, both direct orders from government and the weaker economic environment have reduced the demand for capital goods and this is clearly visible in the data.

    “The latest budget confirms that this will be the case going forward, as only N$45.1 million has been budgeted for the purchase of vehicles in the 2017/18 fiscal year's development budget, a large cut from the N$382.2 million spent in 2015/16 and N$139.1 million spent in 2016/17,” IJG says.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: 2015 Ruby World Cup pools
  • 2015 Ruby World Cup pools2015 Ruby World Cup pools A0 44.75

    A1 59.50

    A2 60.00

    A3 60.00

    A4 50.75

    A5 46.25

    A6 46.25

    AB0 40.25

    AB1 52.00

    AB2 52.00

    AB3 52.00

    AB4 44.25

    AB5 40.25

    AB6 40.25

    B0 37.75

    B1 49.00

    B2 49.00

    B3 49.00

    B4 41.25

    B5 37.25

    B6 37.25

    C0 33.75

    C1 45.75

    C2 45.75

    C3 45.75

    C4 38.25

    C5 35.25

    C6 35.25

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Bricks have had their day
  • Bricks have had their dayBricks have had their dayMeet the 'Lego house' Polycare recently presented a house it says will take at most two days to build and is very affordable when compared to conventional houses. Anglo-German investors Gerhard Dust, Anant Suchak and Ramon Gray may have the perfect solution to the country's housing woes. The trio presented a Build-It-Yourself housing model which they say adheres to the strictest health and safety checks, is highly affordable, is environmentally friendly and takes two to three days to construct.

    The trio put a house on display at the Invest in Namibia International Conference and say there has been overwhelming interest in the model house.

    “After the Invest in Namibia International Conference, hundreds of people walked through our model house and asked, 'When can we start buying the houses, we want to set up our own houses'. A lot of people said, 'I would like to have such a house',” says Gerhard Dust, chief executive officer of Polycare.

    “This is a clear indication of support from the base. The other support we have received was from the government. We have met with the president and several governors already. We have also met with the mayors of Okahandja and Windhoek. Everyone has said to us, 'You must come back as soon as possible'.”

    According to Ramon Gray, even the president has taken a liking in the project. “In Namibia itself, the president has invited us and said, we need your technology. Speaking of our technology, it is environmentally friendly when compared to conventional concrete. We use only 15% of the energy the cement industry uses. The other benefit is employment creation. Eighty-seven percent of the blocks we make come out of Namibia.”

    Gray says Polycare is willing to partner with Namibian companies.

    “We also have a lot of local partners. We will need roughly six months to set up a factory and train the local people. I am still optimistic that we will be able to build by the end of the year. We have a partnership with Kavango Bricks. We have trained their people by enabling them to dismantle the houses and rebuild. We were introduced to Kavango Bricks by Ambassador Guibeb.”

    On conforming to local standards, Gray points out: “We have already talked to the Namibia Standards Institute. This technology is also approved in several markets. Our material was tested by the Bauman Institute in Germany.

    “We have applied for confirmation in Germany. All this testing, they conducted tests you couldn't even imagine. We have met German standards testing. Further to that we have won an innovation prize in Kuwait. Testing it, they said the technology was unbelievable. We already have houses in India and Libya. We are also looking to do housing in the United Kingdom.”

    Eager to get the ball rolling, Gray says: “We have not yet signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) but will most likely sign one soon. We are still in negotiations. We hope we will have an MoU latest by March. We are really optimistic. We are planning to talk to the National Housing Enterprise and the minister of urban and rural development, Sophia Shaningwa. We are also engaged with local authorities to make this happen.”

    It remains to be seen what impact Polycare will have on one of Namibia's most pressing infrastructure needs, which is housing.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Windhoek to revive dying CBD
  • Windhoek to revive dying CBDWindhoek to revive dying CBD The City of Windhoek is embarking on a strategy to revive the central business district, which has lost some of its pizazz, as evidenced by a drop in rent market income when compared to other parts of the city.

    Driving the initiative is local businessman Matthews Hamutenya, who is a landlord in the CBD; Broll Namibia, which is the owner of several properties in the city; and the municipality.

    The proposed changes aim to emulate the appeal of other CBDs, Cape Town in particular.

    Setting the tone, City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise said: “The CBD is a vital hub for business activities and the plan to develop the CBD is in cohesion with resident property owners.”

    A legal framework is being put in place for an 'improvement district', which would need a management committee of property owners, a board and a budget management committee.

    The envisaged changes are aimed at reducing crime, increasing business activity and raising the demand for property by means of creating an attractive, safe, and affordable CBD, Derick Bock explained.

    Bock was instrumental in the establishment of improvement districts that have sought to revitalise interest in the Cape Town CBD.

    Sharing his experiences, he said: “In Cape Town, it took about three years before interest in the CBD was revived. Property values in Cape Town improved by about 6%. In the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District between 8% and 9%, by about 10% in the Cape Town CBD and 12% in the Bellville CBD. This means more money is coming into the coffers of the City Council.”

    According to Bock the establishment of an improvement corridor would require levies to help fund a steering committee.

    The committee would see to it that the look and feel of the CBD is maintained and improved by providing services similar to those provided by a typical municipality, such as the removal of litter and provision of security services.

    Said Bock: “I have never seen a CBD as clean as Windhoek's. You've got a great opportunity here.”

    His comment was reiterated by Hamutenya, who owns a high-rise building on the boundaries of the CBD. “I am sure all property owners will agree with me, we want a clean CBD, a safe CBD, an attractive CBD.”

    Hamutenya was part of a steering committee that is driving the revitalisation. The goals include preserving and enhancing the heritage of the CBD, improving accessibility, increasing foot traffic into the CBD and promoting business activities within the CBD.

    Once established, the envisaged CBD business improvement management committee will collect additional levies and use the proceeds to improve the look and feel of the CBD.

    The CBD runs along Robert Mugabe Avenue, thereafter, it turns right into Lazarett Street before proceeding into Edison Street on the south-western boundary. On the north-eastern boundary, the CBD is sandwiched between Bismarck and Uhland streets.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Best boys for beef
  • Best boys for beefBest boys for beefMeatco top producers named The best of the Namibia's beef producers were awarded on Friday night at the annual, prestigious Meatco Producer Awards. While Meatco this weekend awarded its top producers for 2016, a Norwegian expert warned that serious bottlenecks can be expected if cattle farmers are excluded in certain Meatco processes and it can threaten the very existence of Namibia's meat industry.

    The Norwegian farmer, politician and business man Gunnar Daren was a guest speaker at the Meatco Producer awards.

    “If arguments and friendly inputs have no effect, producers have to unite to make their voices heard. The future of Meatco may be at stake.”

    Dalen said the warning lights are flickering for the local cattle farmers and the meat industry if they are excluded from certain processes in Meatco.

    “This is of utmost importance. If producers are given a reason to feel they are being treated disrespectfully and excluded from processes warning lights will flicker.”

    “Producers, politicians, workers and citizens all have an interest to overcome the challenges so that cattle farming and the meat industry can continue successfully. If farmers lose interest in cattle farming, the rest of the value chain will vanish,” he warned. According to him Norway, one of Namibia's top beef markets, imports about 17% prime cut worth about N$300 million a year from Namibia.

    “This is about 5% of Meatco's production,” he said.

    Meanwhile Omaheke farmer Dirk Uys was crowned the Meatco Producer of the Year and Esegiel Nguvauva from Ovitoto walked away as the Communal Producer of the Year.

    Uys also won the Top Regional Producer (commercial slaughter) award and was one of the Top Five Producers (slaughter commercial) while Nguvauva won the Top Regional Producer's award (slaughter communal) and the Top Five Producers' award.

    In total Meatco awarded 74 producers and the N$165 000 that was donated by Hollard to the event was given as prize money to the producers.

    Meatco board chairperson Martha Namundjebo Tilahun congratulated the producers saying that they have overcome tough and difficult times such as water crises, climate change, policy changes and in particular the devastating drought over the past few years.

    She also announced that the board has approved a budget for producer bonus of 75c per kilogramme to value producers' hard work.

    “Amidst all these challenges farmers have renewed their passion and hence their outlook has turned more positive,” she said.



    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Zim war vets offered land
  • Zim war vets offered landZim war vets offered land Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is promising to give more land to the country's former freedom fighters, telling those who have not yet benefitted from his land programme to “indicate” which farms they prefer, ahead of the 2018 elections.

    War collaborators, former political detainees and restrictees are also set to benefit.

    Critics are adamant the Zanu-PF strongman faces his most defining moment next year, as his party is ravaged by factionalism over uncertainty on who will succeed him.

    Zimbabwe polls are tentatively due in July 2018 but information obtained by News24 suggests Mugabe is already “oiling” his election campaign machinations amid concerns by the opposition the nonagenarian intends “stealing” yet another vote, as he seeks a fifth term at the helm of the republic.

    In seeking to curry favour with the grumbling veterans of the country's war of liberation from colonial Britain, Mugabe's ministry in charge of the freedom fighters has written a notice alerting them he is addressing their grievances - top among them parcelling out farms at provinces of their choice for those who have not benefitted from his controversial land redistribution programme.

    Mugabe, who turned 93 last month, met the veterans last year amid complaints some of their lot failed to benefit from his controversial land reforms. They also complained they were being discriminated against in the allocation of residential and commercial plots.

    “During their epic meetings with the President, veterans generally complained of being dispossessed of their allocated lands, be they agricultural, urban or peri-urban, under various unjustifiable pretexts,” reads part of the notice to the veterans dispatched on 11 March 2017 by Tshinga Dube, the Minster responsible for war veterans.

    The veterans who had been offered farms but failed to settle on the properties are required to name the farms, and bring copies of offer letters. Those threatened off the land or issued with withdrawal notices or court action or if court action is under way, must submit supporting documents to that effect. These stated requirements, officials say, would aid Mugabe to reverse such actions or ensure they get the farms.

    “Veterans of the liberation struggle who have not yet been allocated are urged to submit their names, indicating their provinces,” added Dube in the notice to the veterans.

    But critics say these are election sweetners as Mugabe moves to placate the veterans who have been his mainstay in power since the advent of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of polls.

    Opposition politician and human rights lawyer David Coltart believes Mugabe maybe “activating” the war veterans ahead of the crunch polls in which he is likely to face a grand opposition coalition. Coltart says, however, that another possibility is that Mugabe is trying to head off Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa's threat by ingratiating himself with war veterans.

    “One of Mugabe's biggest headaches as he moves towards the 2018 elections is that the majority of war veterans no longer support his candidacy. He is desperate to rectify that - hence this advertisement,” says Coltart.

    Political analyst Rick Mukonza concurs, adding that Mugabe knows he has the odds stuck against him in the upcoming 2018 elections. “He knows the economic situation of the country continues to deteriorate and there is no solution in sight. Substantially, therefore, he has nothing to campaign with, the indigenisation and land redistribution mantra has passed its sell-by date and people want food on the table. Mugabe has lost some important and key allies such as the war vets, add to that the splits within Zanu-PF. As if that is not enough, there is the prospective coalition between Tsvangirai, Mujuru and others. All these militate against his victory in 2018,” said Mukonza.

    NEWS24

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Hate crime unit launched
  • Hate crime unit launchedHate crime unit launchedSouth Africa, Nigeria launch system to track xenophobia In a bid to diffuse tensions between South Africa and Nigeria, the two countries are cooperating on an early detection system to deter xenophobic attacks. South Africa and Nigeria on Monday said they would launch a jointly run "early warning" system to track and deter xenophobic attacks against Nigerian migrants.

    South African foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane met her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama in Pretoria in a bid to diffuse soaring tensions over a recent string of attacks on migrants living in the rainbow nation.

    "The early warning centre would allow us keep each other abreast of issues and help prevent violence," Nkoana-Mashabane said.

    There were several incidents last month of South African locals attacking migrants from Africa and elsewhere and their businesses in both the administrative capital Pretoria and the commercial capital Johannesburg.

    Many locals have alleged that the targets were brothels and drug dens being run by migrants from elsewhere in Africa, including Nigeria.

    More than 20 shops were targeted in Atteridgeville, outside Pretoria, while residents in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, attacked at least 12 houses.

    The new violence-busting forum will meet every three months and will be made up of representatives from both countries and include immigration officials, business associations and civil society groups.

    Nkoana-Mashabane said it was untrue that "the attacks on foreign nationals were targeted at the Nigerians", adding that citizens of other countries were also affected.

    'Mass attacks'

    Onyeama said he had received assurances that Nigerians in South Africa would be able to live in peace and called for an end to "mass attacks".

    According to the Nigerian Union in South Africa, there are about 800 000 Nigerians in the country, many of them living in Johannesburg.

    Onyeama added that groups in Nigeria calling for the retaliatory expulsion of South African residents and businesses "do not speak on behalf of government".

    Attacks against foreigners and foreign-run businesses have erupted regularly in recent years in South Africa, fuelled by the country's high unemployment and poverty levels.

    In response to the violence, about 100 demonstrators gathered on February 23 outside the offices of two South African companies in the Nigerian capital Abuja - telecoms giant MTN and satellite TV provider DStv - to protest the upsurge in attacks.

    The Nigerian government last month called for the African Union to step in to stop "xenophobic attacks" on its citizens in South Africa, claiming 20 Nigerians were killed last year.

    South African authorities have declined to confirm the figure which may have been the result of other criminal activity, not just anti-immigrant violence.

    A protest march against "migrant crime" was held in Pretoria on February 24 and resulted in violent clashes between crowds of young South African men and migrants from elsewhere in Africa, including Nigerians and Somalis.

    President Jacob Zuma responded by condemning the wave of xenophobic unrest and called for calm and restraint, saying that migrants should not be used as a scapegoat for the country's widespread crime problem.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day A COLOURFUL CELEBRATION: A woman is part of the celebration of Holi festival in Guwahati, capital of north-eastern Indian state of Assam on 13 March. India Monday celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, which comes at the end of the winter season, marking the beginning of spring. Photo: NAMPA/XINHUA

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Sink or swim
  • Sink or swimSink or swim The silver lining out of the current government liquidity crisis is the restoration of sanity on government expenditure. In the recently presented national budget, Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein has introduced prescriptive measures to resuscitate the gasping government liquidity situation. After years of throwing billions of dollars of taxpayers' money down the drain into State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), the government's liquidity crisis has made government see clearly now. We welcome the end of bailouts for SOEs who all these years perpetually handed their begging bowls to the government with no remorse for their exploitative financial transgressions and whining in the wake of “financial constraints”. Only a handful of these SOEs are profitable and the majority have been sucking the Finance Ministry dry since birth and have metastasised over the years to become State Agony Organisations. Organisations riddled with inefficiency and glaring lack of business acumen, they have hired and fired executives willy-nilly and paid them hefty exit packages unfazed by their costly decisions and plunder of State funds. Praise Schlettwein for emulating the tactics of the eagle, which removes the cushions of its thorny nest to force the little ones taking too long to learn to fly out of the nest. This was long overdue, but it's better late than never. Political interference has also hampered the efficient operation of some SOEs and blocked the implementation of sustainable operational initiatives. President Hage Geingob's spirit of Harambee should be instilled in these SOEs to rid them of the fragmentation that has retarded progress and profitability. The national airline, Air Namibia and national rail carrier TransNamib will also do better without unnecessary meddling in the affairs of their operations. With the port of Walvis Bay growing by leaps and bounds, it is incongruous that TransNamib is not bagging the benefits, leaving the road carriers taking the opportunity, while the goods train leaves Walvis Bay at 9 o'clock in the evening with coaches carrying six passengers.

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    Court rejects fines for first offendersCourt rejects fines for first offenders The Windhoek High Court has dismissed a request for fines to be imposed for first-time offenders rather than such offenders being sentenced to imprisonment.

    On Monday, High Court Judge Dinah Usiku dismissed an appeal in this regard for drug-dealing convicts Bangani Dlamini, 35 and Derick Manzini, 32.

    The two filed an application with the court to appeal their six-year sentence for dealing in drugs with the hope that they will get only a fine as they were first-time offenders.

    “There is no rule of thumb that a first-time offender should not be sentenced to direct imprisonment,” Usiku explained.

    She said the fact that a fine is provided for in the penalty clause does not mean it will be imposed in all instances.

    According to court documents, the duo was found in possession of 25.8 kilogrammes of cannabis worth N$130 000 a few kilometres from the Trans-Kalahari border post on 5 September 2015.

    The documents further state that the pair was transporting the drugs from Swaziland into Namibia.

    The pair, through their application, noted that since they voluntarily pleaded guilty, showed remorse and were in fact first-time offenders, the law should just impose a fine on them.

    Usiku however said imposing a fine in a case of this nature might create the impression that the offence is not serious.

    Before dismissing the appellants' application, Usiku explained that the sentence imposed by the Gobabis Regional Court was correct and appropriate.

    Dlamini and Manzini will continue serving their sentence at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.



    NAMPA

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Drownings soar in the north
  • Drownings soar in the northDrownings soar in the north Police have reported that six people, including five children, have drowned in the north since February.

    Two of the victims were learners who took the chance to swim through flooded areas on their way home from school.

    Oshana police said they recorded three drowning incidents since last month when water levels on the floodplains rose. Two incidents were reported in Ondangwa while the latest was reported in Oshakati when Carlos Nzolantima, nine-year-old Grade 2 learner at Oshakati West Primary School, drowned.

    Oshana regional police commander Commissioner Rauha Amwele told Namibian Sun that Nzolantima drowned at the Okandjengedi Bridge on Tuesday while he was swimming with four others after school.

    “He apparently jumped into the water and drowned while he was swimming with friends. The children ran away when they realised he was not coming out of water,” Amwele said.

    In the Omusati Region, another nine-year-old boy, Wilbard Ushona, a learner at Uukwandongo Primary School, also drowned on Friday while he was swimming with other learners after school. Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Linekela Shikongo said that Ushona drowned in a well and his body was recovered the following day.

    Shikongo said another incident involved two-year-old Paulus Dankie Cloete who drowned in a pond while playing at Iishanaputa village.

    “I am urging parents and guardians to take extra care with their children. They must not let them play while on their own,” Shikongo said.

    Amwele urged children to control their excitement around water and to refrain from imitating things they see on television. “Children must be taught to be more careful and their parents and guardians must talk to them and explain the dangers of playing in the water if they cannot swim. Parents must also help their children to cross waterlogged areas, especially school-going children,” Amwele urged.

    She urged people to cross these areas with caution and advised that they use sticks to verify the depth and keep a firm eye out for strong currents.

    There was only one drowning in Ohangwena at Omungwelume when a 24-year-old man died while attempting to cross a waterlogged area.





    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: No need for beef
  • No need for beefNo need for beefMeat producers deserve respect, says Norwegian businessman An industry expert from Norway has told Namibian beef producers that they should come first in all considerations. A Norwegian businessman has called on local farmers to stick together in taking the meat industry to the next level.

    Gunnar Dalen, who is also a farmer and politician, has advised the Namibian authorities against sidelining local producers.

    “Should arguments and friendly submissions fail, producers of Meatco must stand together to make themselves heard otherwise, I see trouble brewing for the company,” said Dalen who was speaking during the Meatco annual producer awards held last week. It is his view that the meat industry of a country can only be successful if the farmers feel included in the processes.

    “This is the most essential component of any value chain. Without cattle there is no meat industry,” he said. “Include your farmers and treat them with respect.”

    Dalen has been on an official visit to Botswana and Namibia and says the two countries have much in common.

    Having been in the meat industry since the 80s, he has also served on several national boards for producers and cooperatives and was also involved in policy creation for the meat industry in Norway.

    He currently serves on the board of the Norwegian meat cooperative, Nortura.

    “Both Namibia and Botswana are in the process of privatising their meat companies which are currently parastatals and this is a good thing.

    However, producers must be included in this process from day one. They have to have some say over the future to ensure a sustainable industry. I can only advise you but remember, the clock is ticking,” he warned.

    He said Meatco's producers must organise themselves, adding that this is the only way they will be able to reach any kind of negotiations table where the transformation of the industry is being discussed.

    “But you are doing better than Botswana. Your paperwork is in place and as far back as 2013 you came together to turn Meatco into a cooperative. This is good but I see bottlenecks ahead.”

    He told producers that it is his dream to see a meat industry managed by the producers and one that is a powerful role player in the local meat industry.

    Regarding Norwegian imports, meat from the SADC market remains a firm favourite Dalen said.

    “We import 17% of our prime cuts market from SADC. The value of these cuts from Namibia stood at N$300 million last year. Even if this only represents 5% of what Meatco produced, it is at least 20% of the total value.”

    Nortura has an annual turnover of N$35 billion and has 90 000 members and exemplifies a well-functioning cooperative.

    “It has given farmers the opportunity to grab market share and to exercise influence over the prices received for their products. Competition is also only good if the industry is owned by the producers in a cooperative format and not in a private company format, otherwise prices will drop.”



    ELVIRA HATTINGH

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    Learners implored to study hardLearners implored to study hard Home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has urged learners in Omusati Region to focus on acquiring a tertiary or after-school qualification, saying it has become a pre-requisite for a better future.

    “Society has changed such that a qualification is a prerequisite to a better life. Life is challenging when you do not have a qualification, considering the high demand for employment versus the available job opportunities. Thus, it is very important that you put more effort into in your studies for a better tomorrow,” Iivula-Ithana said, speaking during a prize-giving ceremony at Tsandi last week.

    “I am well aware of the challenges that you face in trying to further your education, be it stationery shortages, a lack of classrooms, chairs and desks, badly equipped libraries and laboratories and now also the floods, but these challenges cannot be used as an excuse for neglecting your schoolwork or perhaps dropping out of school.”

    She added that there is no country that can meaningfully develop when its human resources are not knowledgeable and skilled, an essential requirement for the attainment of long-term development goals such as Vision 2030.

    “It is necessary that our children and the youth are equipped with the relevant technical knowledge and skills to enable our country to realise Vision 2030,” she said.

    Motivating girls, Iivula-Ithana said that they should respect their teachers, but not fall victim to them. “Respect your teachers but do not place your life in their hands as some of them may not have your best interest at heart,” she said.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    RA did not anticipate heavy rainRA did not anticipate heavy rainLutombi says roads are regularly maintained At a courtesy call to the governor of the Oshana Region, Roads Authority CEO Conrad Lutombi reveals that they were not expecting such heavy rainfall. Following recent media reports of gravel roads in northern parts of the country being washed away by rain water, the Roads Authority (RA) said it had not anticipated such heavy rains.

    This is according to RA's CEO, Conrad Lutombi, during his courtesy visit to the Oshana Regional governor Clemens Kashuupulwa last week where he explained the situation of gravel roads being damaged by the rain.

    Lutombi said they never expected such heavy rains, making reference to a Namibian Sun report on the Ekamba-Onkani gravel district road DR 3643 which was constructed to the tune of N$65 million and badly damaged by the rain.

    “You will have unforeseen circumstances. We never expected these heavy rains at this time but you will have these situations and that is why we call those roads district roads,” Lutombi said.

    Explaining the situation about the DR 3643 gravel road which was constructed about seven years ago, Lutombi said gravel roads need to be resurfaced after such a period.

    In response to the maintenance of the gravel roads countrywide Lutombi said they should be graded occasionally after construction.

    When asked how often they grade gravel roads he said it depends on the number of vehicles and the type that travel on the road, but as for the Onkani road it is graded three times a month. Regular users of the road however told Namibian Sun that it has been at least 12 months since there was any maintenance on that route.

    Some road users said that that the N$65-million road was a waste of money however Lutombi emphatically denied this saying the road was constructed following a full hydrological assessment and water level studies.

    Kashuupulwa on the other and informed Lutombi and his delegation about the state of roads in his region making reference to a number affected by rain such as the Okatana-Ongwediva road which has made access to schools, health facilities and other essential institutions a challenge.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Old-age poverty omnipresent
  • Old-age poverty omnipresentOld-age poverty omnipresentMore can be done for the elderly The Namibian government should step up its provision of health and care centres for old people, a United Nations expert advises. More can and must be done to ensure the dignity, safety and prosperity of old people in Namibia, a UN expert has said.

    Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, a UN independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by older persons, has called on the Namibian government to “deploy every effort possible to finalise and put into motion the comprehensive national policy on the rights, care and protection of older people”.

    She said although there were many factors contributing to inequality in the country, including the legacy of colonial rule, “this does not mean that the existing disparities in income and land distribution are acceptable, and I have to insist that more can and needs to be done to fight old-age poverty.”

    While she commended various government initiatives aimed at preserving the human rights of the elderly and lessening the gap between rich and poor, she said it was crucial for the government to begin investing in health and care infrastructure required to provide alternatives to old people, specifically in the rural areas.

    Kornfeld-Matte acknowledged that the country's extensive system of social grants was a laudable achievement, but said it must be noted that in many households the old-age grant was the sole income.

    “I acknowledge the huge positive impact of the old-age grant on reducing poverty levels, while it is important to ensure that earmarked assistance reaches its intended beneficiaries.”

    Another issue she warned about is an increase of violence, abuse and maltreatment of older persons, in particular women, in Namibia.

    She said it is estimated that around 4% to 6% of older persons have experienced some form of maltreatment at home.

    Apart from the impact of poverty, inequality and substance abuse as contributing factors, she said that “entrenched attitudes including corporal punishment” needed to be tackled urgently by the government.

    She said studies showed that the proportion of older persons has remained constant at 7% since independence, but projections indicate that this population group is expected to grow faster now.

    An ageing society presents numerous challenges, she explained.

    “It will result in immense pressure on the care system, as a growing number of older persons will be living with chronic diseases and disability.”

    Moreover, low population densities and accelerated levels of urbanisation have the potential to erode traditional family care systems, which have acted as safety nets for ageing relatives.

    “Care can no longer be considered simply a family matter and I call on the government to step up its efforts to revise the Aged Persons Act in order to fully provide for the rights, protection, care and welfare of older people.”

    Kornfeld-Matte said the international community can play an important role in provide technical cooperation and capacity building, and should heed that responsibility.

    She said she would do her utmost to encourage the international community to continue its cooperation with Namibia, including through financial and specific technical support.

    During her 10-day visit to Namibia, Kornfeld-Matte visited Windhoek, Katutura, Okahandja as well as Rundu, Silikunga, Zone and Mpungu in the Kavango regions and met with government and non-governmental representatives. She also met with older persons and their representatives, hearing about their experiences first-hand.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Maamberua will not pay back the moneyMaamberua will not pay back the money The president of Swanu says he will not pay back the extra money from a salary increase that was approved for politicians in 2016.

    This follows a Monday statement where Usutuaije Maamberua said he would not accept any of the perks and salary increases approved for politicians, because they amounted to self-enrichment while the country was facing economic difficulties.

    In the statement he said that if he received the increase he would regard it as bribery and corruption.

    However, Maamberua issued the statement after it was reported that the 6% salary increase for politicians approved by President Hage Geingob last week was effective this month.

    It has since been clarified that the salary increase had been approved for the 2016/17 financial year, which ends this month.

    Maamberua told Namibian Sun yesterday that the reasoning behind rejecting the salary increase and calling on other politicians to do the same was because of the budget cuts and the economic difficulties that the country was facing.

    He said, however, that these salary increases were already granted in 2016, before the budget cuts.

    “How can you reject something that has already been effected?”

    According to him there is no need to reject the salary increase.

    He added that given the economic situation there should not be any further salary increases for politicians in the coming three years.

    “If the situation worsens there should be a salary cut of up to 50% for politicians,” he asserted.

    According to Maamberua he had proposed a salary cut for politicians for almost two years and said that they should agree to such to help the “unfortunate” people in Namibia.

    “A salary increase amidst severe budget cuts, sluggish economic growth, high unemployment rate and poor service delivery is insensitive and self-enriching. It shows poor planning, immoral, politically incorrect, unsustainable, retrogressive and unpatriotic behaviour,” he said in his statement on Monday.

    He added that Namibia had urgent needs for which such funds could be utilised such as free education, basic income grants, drought relief and vulnerable children, agricultural subsidies and the renovation of hospitals.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Hage sparks brouhaha over executive pay Hage sparks brouhaha over executive pay The Office of the President has defended the remuneration of politicians, saying it was fair considering the massive weight of expectation they carry.

    According to the Government Gazette’s 10 March proclamation, President Hage Geingob earns about N$1.7 million per year inclusive of his benefits.

    The income is also tax-free, while vice-president Nickey Iyambo enjoys a remuneration package of N$1 525 186.

    The basic salaries as well as perks of other public office bearers such as the prime minister, ministers, presidential advisors as well as parliamentarians, among others, were also carried in Monday’s edition of Namibian Sun.

    Late yesterday, the presidency argued that Geingob was earning less than many heads of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the country.

    In fact the presidency compared Geingob’s salary to that of SOE bosses as provided by the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

    A table indicated the total annual salary packages of some heads of parastatals such as the Electricity Control Board (N$2.6 million), Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund (N$2.4 million), NamPower (N$2.3 million), Nampost (N$2.1 million), Unam (N$2.1 million), SatCom (N$2.0 million), Development Bank of Namibia (N$2.0 million), Telecom Namibia (N$1.8 million) and New Era Publications (N$1.7 million) bosses, among others.

    It also compares the president’s salary to that of listed companies such as FNB Namibia and BidVest Namibia, whose heads reportedly earn N$3.5 million and N$3.1 million, respectively.

    “Based on the above, the question should be asked whether it is fair remuneration for the president to be paid less than the heads of some State-Owned Enterprises based on complexity of decision-making,” the presidency said.

    “The remuneration for private sector top executives average N$2.9 million per annum with some private sector chief executive officers earning more than N$4 million guaranteed remuneration, excluding performance and other bonuses.”

    The presidency furthermore argued that salaries of public office bearers were determined by an independent body based on international practices.

    “These are monies earned as fair remuneration for a fair day’s work based on the complexity of decision-making. To criminalise and characterise the elected politicians and appointing officials as thieves is therefore unfair and mischievous.”

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Security guard minimum wage in chaosSecurity guard minimum wage in chaosMinistry, employers disagree about gazetting A minimum wage for security guards that was agreed in December still has not been gazetted, with the labour ministry and the Security Association of Namibia blaming each other for the delay. The Ministry of Labour has placed the blame for a delay in the gazetting of the new security guard minimum wage at the door of the three unions and the Security Association of Namibia (SAN) who negotiated the 25% increase during last-minute negotiations that averted a holiday strike in December.

    But SAN yesterday fired back, arguing that they had warned the ministry and the unions that security companies would resist paying the new minimum wage before it was gazetted, and that would lead to unfair competition and possible job losses in the industry.

    “SAN pertinently requested the permanent secretary and the unions that SAN and all the other security companies can only start paying the new wages once the agreement is gazetted, as we knew that this would be the reaction from non-SAN members. However, the unions under the facilitation of the permanent secretary did not want to agree and again, the playing field remains unequal,” Dries Kannemeyer, president of SAN, said this week.

    He said during the initial negotiation stages, SAN also warned that the increase was unaffordable to many, including clients of security services, and that they had warned the labour ministry as well as the unions that a steep hike in the minimum wage could backfire.

    “A survey that was done during the negotiations showed that the industry cannot afford such an increase, but nothing of this feedback was taken into consideration by labour or the unions. Any decrease in security manpower should be laid before labour and the union's doors,” he said.

    Kannemeyer added that several SAN members had threatened to resign from SAN in the past two months because of the uneven playing field that was created over the issue of compliance with the new minimum wage.





    SAN members have been forced to implement them, while non-SAN members are not legally bound to do so until the new wage is gazetted.

    Last week, ministry of labour permanent secretary Bro-Matthew Shinguadja told Namibian Sun that the chaos around the new minimum wage was due to a misunderstanding on the part of the three unions and SAN.

    “There are security companies that are not members of SAN. They are not bound by that agreement until it is extended by the Minister,” Shinguadja confirmed.

    He told members of SAN and the unions that it was inexplicable how the “confusion” arose, because the legal process for gazetting new wages had been in place for decades.

    Shinguadja said in order for the collective agreement reached between the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau), the Namibia Security Guards and Watchmen's Union (NASGWU), the Namibia Independent Security Union (Nisu) and SAN to be gazetted, the four parties should have begun the process for gazetting soon after the agreement was signed, but didn't.

    Shinguadja said the ministry only received a letter on 2 March in which the unions and SAN asked that the minister extend the agreement to the entire sector, including non-SAN members.

    Shinguadja said he could not explain why the unions and SAN had delayed starting the process until March, when the agreement was signed in December.

    “They have been around in this industry. They know the process. The negligence is on their side,” he insisted.

    SAN's Kannemeyer, however, argued that Shinguadja's statements were unexpected.

    “We don't know where this comes from. All previous agreements between the parties under the facilitation of labour [ministry ]were prepared by them and sent through for gazetting. Now all of a sudden we have to apply to the ministry that the agreement is gazetted.”

    Shinguadja said the December negotiations eventually led to a private agreement between SAN and the unions after negotiations at the labour ministry reached deadlock.

    As such, the parties were obligated to send a letter to the ministry, asking the minister to extend the agreement to the entire sector by gazette, he explained.

    This process would take months, as a 30-day block of time must be set aside for objections and other procedures, he explained.

    He said SAN and the unions had made a mistake. “They thought when they agreed, automatically the minister would extend the agreement to the entire sector.”

    Several attempts to obtain comment from Natau and Nisu failed this week.

    NASGWU secretary-general Andreas Hausiku confirmed that the unions and SAN met at the beginning of March and “agreed to apply to extend the minimum wage agreement to non-party members”.



    He did not comment on the delay of these actions.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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