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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: Govt battles malaria burden
  • Govt battles malaria burdenGovt battles malaria burden The health ministry yesterday said it was pulling out all the stops to contain a malaria outbreak in northern Namibia.

    However, health minister Bernard Haufiku said more efforts were needed to curb the life-threatening disease.

    More than 7 000 cases were reported in January and February alone, while 15 people have died from malaria since the beginning of the year.

    The health ministry yesterday launched its official malaria response campaign following an unprecedented outbreak of the disease.

    Haufiku appealed to business owners to support the campaign, which will cost the government at least N$12 million. He said the Malaria Elimination 8 (E8) Secretariat had donated N$800 000 to the cause.

    The Red Cross Society, Clinton Initiative, School of Medicine, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Namibia and Consult Care have also pledged support. He added the cabinet had approved a spraying campaign costing N$12.3 million. “The reality is we will need funds and I want to appeal to the business community for funds. Not only in the affected communities but throughout the country,” Haufiku urged.

    A national task force has been formed to mobilise additional resources and fill regional gaps.

    For this effort 61 nurses and 10 environmental health staff have been recruited from non-malaria regions, as well as nursing schools and other partner organisations.

    “I am proud to deploy these individuals to the regions to provide much-needed relief to overburdened staff on the ground. We are working with the ministry of defence to deploy helicopters to ensure health workers reach people in need, especially where flooding prevents access,” Haufiku said.

    The most affected areas are the Kavango East and West regions and Zambezi, where just over 6 000 cases have been reported. Malaria cases are being reported in the Ohangwena Region too.

    Haufiku explained that regional teams supported by the national malaria programme's technical staff were currently deployed in the regions for an active outbreak response.

    “We are not doing door-to-door visits. We have deployed volunteers in villages, nearby schools and community centres. However, if someone cannot make it to these points they will be visited at home. Our volunteers are moving with testing kits and thermometers and will be testing and treating people as they go,” he clarified.

    He added that appropriate vector control to suppress the mosquito population would be brought to village level to ensure high coverage.

    The campaign is expected to run for 60 days.

    'Angola must do more'

    Meanwhile, former health minister Richard Kamwi has implored the Angolan authorities to collaborate with their Namibian counterparts in order to fight malaria.

    Kamwi, who is the African Union's Malaria Elimination 8 (E8) ambassador, said the current malaria outbreak was indicative of a lack of cooperation with Angolan authorities in the fight against malaria.

    According to Kamwi, regions bordering Angola and Zambia recorded high numbers of malaria cases and deaths.

    “In my capacity as Africa CDC champion and as E8 ambassador, I want to urge the two health ministers to work together. Our minister is very cooperative and is doing his best to assist his counterpart.

    “I want to encourage the authorities in Angola to work together with our health minister. If they work together, I can assure you that the two nations will eliminate malaria. If they are not working together, the current situation will continue and we will lose lives,” Kamwi said.

    He said during his tenure as minister of health more than 40% of malaria patients treated in Namibia were Angolans.

    “My relationship with Dr José Vieira Dias Van-Dúnem (former Angolan health minister) was working very well,” he said.

    “I used to invite him to Namibia and introduced him to our malaria programmes and I also used to visit Angola. Unfortunately when I left the ministry he also left a year later and that time there were no spraying programmes under way. I know my successor is trying his best to create a good relationship with the current Angolan health minister,” Kamwi said.

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    Rosh Pinah sold, Glencore still involvedRosh Pinah sold, Glencore still involved The Rosh Pinah Zinc mine was recently acquired by mining company Trevali.

    “The transaction will add two African zinc assets to Trevali's portfolio of mines in Peru and Canada, creating the only global mining company focused on zinc. The transaction will materially increase Trevali's geographic footprint and access to global capital markets.

    This will enable the company to take advantage of the significant opportunities to grow across the zinc market,” Trevali said in a joint statement.

    Glencore announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with Trevali Mining Corporation whereby Trevali will purchase Glencore's 80% interest in the Rosh Pinah mine in Namibia.

    “The aggregate consideration is US$400 million and includes an additional zinc-mining operation in Burkina Faso.

    The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close by July 2017,” Glencore said.

    Glencore will also increase its direct ownership in Trevali from 4% to 25% and its board membership to a total of two seats. Commenting on the transaction, Daniel Mate, Glencore's head of zinc marketing, said: “We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with Trevali as they embark on the development of the premier zinc company in the market. We have been working together as partners since their first mine was built and we share the same vision for the future growth of the business through value-creating organic and inorganic growth opportunities. We are excited to form part of this unique global zinc vehicle, providing pure zinc exposure across a wide geographic footprint.”

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  • 03/14/17--15:00: US braces for snowstorm
  • US braces for snowstormUS braces for snowstorm Snow began blanketing north-eastern United States on Tuesday as a winter storm packing blizzard conditions rolled into the region, prompting public officials to ask people to stay home while airlines grounded flights and schools cancelled classes.

    The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for parts of eight states including New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut, with forecasts calling for up to 60 cm of snow by early this morning, with temperatures 15 to 30 degrees below normal for this time of year.

    Some 50 million people along the Eastern Seaboard were under storm or blizzard warnings and watches.

    "If you must go out, do so for as limited time period as possible ... but the best thing to do is stay in," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.

    Above-ground subway service will be suspended at 04:00 local time as transit officials in the New York metro area warned that more bus and train routes could be suspended throughout the day.

    "It's a good day to stay home," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on CBS Radio. "It is going to be a dangerous, dangerous situation."

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey readied hundreds of pieces of snow equipment at the three major New York area airports. Thousands of tons of salt and sand were prepared for airport roads, parking lots, bridges and tunnels.

    Airlines pre-emptively cancelled more than 4 000 flights ahead of the storm, according to tracking service FlightAware.com. The airports with the most cancellations were Newark International

    American Airlines cancelled all flights into New York's three airports - Newark, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport - and JetBlue Airways reported extensive cancellations.

    Delta Air Lines cancelled 800 flights for Tuesday for New York, Boston and other northeast airports. United Airlines said it would have no operations at Newark or LaGuardia.

    "We're keeping a close eye on things and depending on how things go, will plan to ramp back up Wednesday morning," United said in a statement.

    Governors in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia declared a state of emergency.

    "When this thing hits, it's going to hit hard and it's going to put a ton of snow on the ground in a hurry," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said, urging people to consider working from home if they could.

    New York City public schools - the largest school system in the United States - cancelled classes on Tuesday. Districts in Boston, Fairfax County, Virginia, and Philadelphia also cancelled school on Tuesday.

    The storm comes near the end of an unusually mild winter along much of the East Coast, with below-normal snowfalls in cities such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

    Boston was braced for up to a 30 cm of snow, which forecasters warned would fall quickly during the storm's expected peak. Washington D.C., which often bogs down with even low levels of snow, was expecting 13 cm and twice that in outlying areas. Winds of 100km/hour are expected.

    "Visibility will become poor with whiteout conditions at times," the service said.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was due to meet President Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday, postponed her trip until Friday, the White House said.

    The United Nations headquarters said it would close on Tuesday, but the New York Stock Exchange vowed to remain open.


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  • 03/14/17--15:00: ‘Netanyahu is a liar’
  • ‘Netanyahu is a liar’‘Netanyahu is a liar’Iran’s foreign minister slams Israeli government Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister says Benjamin Netanyahu is deliberately faking history. Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu of ignorance about history and the Jewish faith on Tuesday after he said ancient Persian rulers tried to destroy the Jews.

    In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Netanyahu said Persia had made "an attempt to destroy the Jewish people that did not succeed" some 2 500 years ago, an event commemorated by the Jewish holiday of Purim over the weekend.

    Zarif responded overnight on Twitter, calling Netanyahu's comments "bigoted lies" and saying Iran had saved the Jews on three occasions in history.

    "Netanyahu resorting to fake history and falsifying Torah. Force of habit," he tweeted.

    He linked to longer comments in which he said the Israeli premier "distorts the realities of today, but also distorts the past, including Jewish scripture".

    "The Book of Esther tells how Xerxes I saved Jews from a plot hatched by Haman the Agagite, which is marked on this very day.

    "Again, during the time of Cyrus the Great, an Iranian king saved the Jews, this time from captivity in Babylon; and during the Second World War, when Jews were being slaughtered in Europe, Iran gladly took them in," Zarif wrote.

    Netanyahu had sought to link ancient history to the present day, saying Iran was again seeking "to destroy the state of the Jews".

    Putin tried to return the conversation to the present day, saying the events described took place "in the fifth century BC. We now live in a different world. Let us talk about that now".

    Ever since the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran has been implacable in its opposition to Israel and has provided extensive support to Palestinian militant groups.


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    A new approach to tackle malariaA new approach to tackle malaria It is good to see that the ministry of health is doing everything in its power to battle and eventually eliminate malaria in the country.

    The recent outbreak, which has already claimed 15 lives, is a serious concern, considering the many cases reported.

    Almost 7 000 cases have been reported, with Kavango East and West as well as Zambezi and Ohangwena regions the hardest hit.

    The situation has forced the ministry of health to solicit funding from corporate Namibia and other stakeholders in order to up its efforts to curb the life-threatening disease.

    The outbreak comes at a time when the northern part of the country is under water due to heavy rains in southern Angola.

    The efundja in the north is not yet declared an emergency and local and regional authorities are using the little they have to relocate hundreds displaced by the floods.

    It is unfortunate that at the same time the nation is grappling with a malaria outbreak.

    This week health minister Bernard Haufiku emphasised greatly that a team of nurses will be assisted by volunteers, especially in rural areas, to contain malaria.

    It is really commendable to see the ministry rolling out this campaign to the villages, considering that it is our poor people in the most remote areas that at risk of contracting malaria. However, this is not going to solve the problem at hand.

    The fight against malaria requires a proactive approach and efforts must be made to enhance universal health coverage.

    We can forget about meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on health if we don’t change our approach in combating diseases such as malaria.

    To mitigate this risk, we really need to have community-based health workers stationed in remote areas to deliver the desired results.

    These workers must be trained by the authorities and equipped to diagnose and treat malaria at community level.

    Behavioural change at the grassroots level will not take place if we don’t invest money and time in coming up with an effective community-based health system.

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    30% drop in livestock for sale30% drop in livestock for sale Import and export conditions had a severe impact on the cattle and sheep sales last year with a 30% decrease.

    According to the Meat Board of Namibia, the number of cattle marketed in 2015 and 2016 shows there was a 30.3% decrease shown by a decline in sales from 423 491 to 295 217 units.

    “The difference between the amount of cattle marketed in 2015 and 2016 can be attributed to the steep decline in live exports to South Africa due the veterinary import conditions implemented on 1 July 2016,” says the Meat Board.

    A total number of 295 217 cattle was marketed between January to December 2016.

    The live exports to South Africa accounted for 56% of the total cattle marketed and 165 927 cattle were exported.

    The number of cattle slaughtered at export abattoirs accounted for 35% totalling 103 097, whereas the local abattoirs slaughtered a total of 26 193, equivalent to 9% of the total market share.

    Year on year, live exports of cattle to South Africa fell from 281 965 in 2015 to 165 927 cattle last year showing a decrease of 30.1% between the two years.

    According to the Meat Board, there was a more significant decrease of 98.6% in the live exports of weaners in 2016 and between June and July, the number of exports went down from 31 837 to only 2 units.

    The Meat Board said that the South African import regulations had a great impact on the price offered to producers saying they were forced to accept the low prices on offer.

    “As a result of the new conditions, producers' bargaining power reduced which negatively impacted their potential income that they would have obtained under different conditions.”

    Overall, an average decrease of N$1.31 in the weaner auction price was observed between 2016 and 2015, as the price reduced from N$18.04/kg in 2015 to N$ 16.73/kg in 2016.

    Meanwhile, a total of 680 843 sheep were marketed, of which 321 413 were slaughtered at export abattoirs.

    This is a 29% reduction compared to 2015, when 961 180 sheep were marketed.

    “Although both 2015 and 2016 were drought years, the decrease in the total of sheep marketed in 2016 compared to 2015 can specifically be attributed to the decrease in the number of sheep exported between these two years.”

    In 2015, 437 229 live sheep were exported whereas only 290 383 were exported live in 2016.

    This reduction, the Meat Board says, is also a result of the import conditions which reduced the number of exports in June 2016 from 56 881 to 7 588 live exports in July 2016.

    “Given the various challenges such as climatic conditions, the price of sheep skin and low slaughtering numbers, there is a need to ensure that the sheep sector is not compromised and disadvantaged.”


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  • 03/15/17--15:00: Black men were 'boys'
  • Black men were 'boys'Black men were 'boys'Tjiriange remembers the past Liberation struggle icon Ngarikutuke Tjiriange talks about the apartheid past and his book, 'To Hell and Back'. “Give this boy a rack of lamb, an ounce of meat and a gallon of milk.”

    This was the unusual instruction given to a shopkeeper in reference to the carrier of the note, a grown black man. It was regardless of whether the note carrier had a name. They were only known as 'boy', because black people were only useful to the extent of giving their labour to whites.

    Liberation struggle icon and author of the book 'To Hell and Back', Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, shared these bitter memories of racial segregation with Nampa ahead of Namibia's 27th Independence anniversary to be celebrated on 21 March.

    Although his recollection is dotted with humour, Tjiriange describes the former South African apartheid regime as one of the most gut-wrenching notorious regimes on the African continent, citing brutal killings of the innocent and terrible treatment of black people.

    There were a few shops where black people could enter while white people were inside. These were food markets which had a counter reserved for blacks, selling products that were not popular among white people, such as brown bread.

    The only way to access the luxury foods for whites was with a letter that was written by the white employer. They would say: “Give this boy this type of meat.”

    “We were sold parts of meat that they (white people) did not eat, like bones.”

    But with that letter they would go to the butchery and get the meat for their boss.

    Eventually, the oppressed cunningly started copying the letters to access the same foods white people ate, like meat and alcohol, for themselves.

    Tjiriange was born in 1943 but grew up in Klein Windhoek, an area that was known as Okongova.

    He says areas like these were reserved for whites. The only way a black person entered such areas was if they were providing cheap labour for the white employers.

    By the 21:00 curfew, any person found in a whites-only area was arrested and imprisoned. Similarly, having to go from one place to another was only possible with passes.

    There were various passes that were used, such as the day pass and night pass.

    “I personally was arrested three times because I did not leave the white area after 21:00 and was beaten up at the police station.”

    Tjiriange also recalled his political career, which started at a young age of 19.

    Swanu was the first political party started in Namibia in 1959.

    The formation of the Owambo People's Organisation (OPO) followed later the same year and was renamed the South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo) in 1960.

    Despite being Otjiherero-speaking, Tjiriange joined Swapo instead of Swanu, which enjoyed more support among OvaHerero people.

    “Swapo was the tool we used to liberate ourselves. As young people, we thought it was better to die fighting than to die as servants of these people in our country.”

    The Swapo Party, he explains, was organised in two structures: The national headquarters and the lower structure which was divided into sections.

    Windhoek was one section and other towns like Walvis Bay were sections.

    Tjiriange became a section leader for Swapo in 1962, two years after the party's formation, at the age of 19, preceding the late Joseph Ithana, the husband of current minister of home affairs and immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana.

    Today, these sections are known as districts. In 1964, he left for the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana) which at the time was a colony of Great Britain.

    He and several others were arrested and detained in Bechuanaland for several weeks. Together they managed to sneak out a letter to Britain informing the British that they had been imprisoned in the Queen's colony for no reason.

    “You must wonder how we got the letter out of prison. People were bringing us food from outside. So, we placed the letter between the plates and sent it off to Britain. A few weeks later, we were released.”

    Looking back at how Namibia has been transformed in the past 27 years, Tjiriange says the country is not yet free as it now has to be liberated from hunger, poverty, desperation and ignorance.

    “The struggle for independence was not by the barrel of the mouth, but by the barrel of the gun.”

    He adds that a battle of the mind which does not require weapons is now required to fight the scourge of poverty.

    He also notes that those in positions of power should remember that they are not bosses, but servants of the people.

    “Don't be intoxicated with your own power. You must serve the people to the best of your ability.

    “There is no substitute for respect and commitment to the well-being of the people if you are a leader.”

    Tjiriange was the first minister of justice in independent Namibia in March 1990, after having served as Swapo secretary for legal economic affairs. He also held the portfolio of Swapo secretary-general before he retired in 2006. Tjiriange is the current chairperson of the Swapo disciplinary committee.



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  • 03/15/17--15:00: A breather for your soul
  • A breather for your soulA breather for your soulExperience nature at Ongava Tented Camp Ongava Tented Camp is one of the four finalists in the Responsible Tourism Awards (RTA) for 2017. The Ongava Tented Camp is one of four pristine lodges in the 30 000-hectare Ongava Private Game Reserve and borders on the Etosha National Park at the Anderson Gate.

    Ongava is considered one of the finest private game reserves in the region and enjoys global recognition for its exceptional conservation, ground-breaking research and exciting safari experiences.

    It boasts of an internationally recognised research centre that was started by well-known Dr Ken Stratford and his wife Sabine in 2006.

    The research centre studies a wide variety flora and fauna and it includes the successful breeding of both white and black rhino populations as well as the rare black-faced impala.

    Ongava also boasts a large free-roaming lion population.

    With more than a thousand animals, including 100 different mammals and a large variety of birds and reptiles to study, it provides the perfect “living laboratory” for serious research in wildlife.

    At Ongava Tented Camp, guests can experience nature first-hand with a waterhole that is right in front of the entertainment area.

    The camp consists of nine comfortable luxury tents each with a private veranda.

    All the en-suite tents also have a view of the waterhole that is not only frequented by lions, but also by elephants, rhinos, black-faced impala and waterbuck.

    Ongava Tented Camp is specifically designed to blend into its surroundings and provide a rustic, relaxed feel.

    Part of the charm of the camp is the calm of its surroundings, with the only sounds coming from birds chirping in the mopane trees or some antelope drinking water.

    The camp is powered by a solar plant of 120 panels that provides the entire lodge with power, while each tent is also equipped with its own solar geyser. An outside shower also heightens the experience for guests of being close to nature, while all shampoo and shower gel provided is biodegradable.

    Activities include game drives to Etosha and in Ongava, nature walks, rhino tracking and bird watching.

    The other three finalists of the RTA are Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge in the Oshikoto Region, Jackalberry Lodge in the Zambezi Region, and Wilderness Safari Hoanib Skeleton Coast in Kunene Region.

    The winner will be announced at the official opening of the Namibia Tourism Expo on 31 May.


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    Conservancy offices empower communitiesConservancy offices empower communities Tourism and hunting provides an important income for conservancies, but farming remains the main source of livelihood for most conservancy members.

    However, with the growing effects of climate change, access to alternative income streams is becoming increasingly important.

    This is according to the deputy minister of environment and tourism, Tommy Nambahu, who was speaking at the inauguration of conservancy offices in the George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana conservancies and community forests.

    Nambahu said the offices represent the next important step in the empowerment of communities, and that it will greatly facilitate the work and operations of the conservancies.

    He also announced that the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Project (BMCC) which is ongoing for the past four years will continue for another four years.

    The project's overall objective was the implementation of biodiversity and climate change related policies, strategies and practices by the ministry, in cooperation with other ministries and non-governmental organisations, to contribute to diversifying and securing the livelihoods of local users of natural resources.

    According to Nambahu, the George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana conservancies were gazetted in 2005 and they now form part of a network of 82 communal conservancies which cover almost 20% of Namibia.

    He explained that for those conservancies with tourism potential, the right to establish tourism enterprises has been realised through joint ventures with the private sector, which bring both capital and experience to the table.

    “As wildlife numbers grew and were sustained by conservation measures, lodges have found a sure footing in some conservancies, bringing income and creating employment.”

    Currently there are 42 joint venture lodges in Namibian conservancies, and in some of those conservancies, tourism is replacing trophy hunting as the key source of income.

    These two activities are strictly separated by zoning conservancies into different land use areas, including agriculture.

    Nambahu said that while agriculture remains the main source of livelihoods for most conservancy members other alternative income streams are important due to impact of climate change.

    According to him community forests form an integral part of the CBNRM Programme.

    He said that community forests are similar to conservancies, and very often overlap with them as is the case with George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana community forests having been gazetted in 2013.

    According to Nambahu community forests control grazing and natural resource extraction rights in forest areas.

    He said that forest committees have rights over their resources, and issue permits for their utilisation based upon annual monitoring. They also control livestock grazing in forest areas which are a valuable fodder resource in times of drought.

    He added that community forests empower local people to take responsibility and to become actively involved in forest management, thereby increasing the value and benefits derived from forest resources for local people.

    “I am very pleased that the George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana community forests are taking this mandate very seriously. One outstanding example of this is the successful annual fire management campaigns that have been undertaken since 2014.”


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    Veteran journalist, ex-fighter rememberedVeteran journalist, ex-fighter remembered A veteran journalist and freedom fighter, who died in a car accident outside Rehoboth on 24 February, was laid to rest last weekend at Gibeon.

    Hans Pieters distinguished himself a as a highly gifted political instructor as well as an artist.

    He created many powerful political posters, which decorated the Tobias Hainyeko Training Centre, Swapo's military training centre, near Lubango while in exile.

    He left the country in 1978 to Angola where he served in various capacities in the People Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) notably as a journalist - a career he developed to the fullest after independence.

    Upon his return from exile in 1989, Pieters joined the now defunct Times of Namibia newspaper and later moved to the corporate communication division of Telecom Namibia before going on early retirement some years back.

    He was eulogised by close friend Oiva Angula as a deep thinker, an intellectual.

    He was remembered as an avid photographer during the struggle. “He has taken iconic photographs of fighters and life in Plan some of which are used to this day without anyone even acknowledging him for that,” he stated.

    Angula added that Pieters's commitment to the liberation struggle was inspiring. According to Angula, his legacy will be his kindness and humility.

    “All of these things have impacted on many of us who had the privilege of being his friend, brother and comrade-in-arms,” Angula said.

    He said Pieters joined the war for liberation as a teenager of 17 or 18 years of age and had an indomitable spirit to fight for his country.

    “We count him amongst the bravest of Namibians. He was fearless. Many of us owe our lives today to him,” he said.


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    Ministers defend Chinese contractorsMinisters defend Chinese contractors Cabinet ministers yesterday jumped to the defence of Chinese contractors in Namibia after opposition MPs claimed they were not complying with labour laws.

    The ministers could barely contain themselves when United People's Movement (UPM) MP Jan van Wyk accused the government of turning a blind eye to labour issues involving Chinese and other foreign contractors.

    Labour minister Erkki Nghimtina emphasised from the beginning that it was not his intention to defend or vilify Chinese companies or any Chinese national, but that there was a need to put “true facts” before parliament.

    According to him, the government has a legal regime in place that ensures the enforcement of labour standards through efforts such as labour and special inspections, particularly in the construction industry.

    “The investigations of the construction industry have revealed, among other things, that some of the construction companies including companies of Chinese, German, Namibian or South African origin, as well as joint ventures, do not comply with the labour and employment laws, while many in fact do comply,” said Nghimtina.

    Although he pointed out that the government's compliance efforts were not premised on nationality, ethnicity or skin colour, Nghimtina acknowledged that there was a need for the government to close loopholes that make it easy for foreign construction companies to appoint foreigners at the expense of Namibian workers.

    “Often technical arguments are advanced to try and justify the engagement of these foreigners. I admit that is a challenge not only for our ministry, but for the Immigration Selection Board,” he said.

    Nghimtina also informed the National Assembly that the Labour Act of 2007 was being reviewed. He urged members to forward their “concrete and specific” proposals to his office.

    Deputy home affairs minister Erastus Uutoni explained that an independent body called the Immigration Selection Board was responsible for approving work permits for expatriates.

    “I would like to inform this House that members of the board are appointed by the minister of home affairs and immigration and are senior government officials who have expert knowledge in the functions of the institutions they represent. Their role is to advise the board on the merit of the decisions taken,” said Uutoni.

    He added that there was a perception that the board granted permits to semi-skilled foreigners, but explained that this could happen because of a misrepresentation of facts, since individual applicants did not appear before the board for interrogation.

    The board officials are drawn from the Office of the President as well as from the trade, safety, labour, higher education and justice ministries.

    Uutoni's clarification came in response to Van Wyk's assertion that the authorities were favouring Chinese companies when it came to granting work permits.

    “It baffles my mind how work permits are dished out to Chinese companies to allow them to bring low- and semi-skilled workers such as bricklayers, forklift drivers and supervisors into the country,” Van Wyk said.


    On the awarding of tenders, works minister Alfeus !Naruseb said preference was given to Namibian companies.

    However, he noted that a significant number of tenders awarded to Namibians were wholly subcontracted to foreign-owned companies without the knowledge of his ministry.

    “These arrangements are entered into illegally between Namibians who have been awarded contracts by the Tender Board and the foreign companies. This is usually done with a one-off contract and the work is done by the foreign-owned entity.

    “These arrangements are common and they regrettably fail to strengthen construction capacity as the money earned by Namibians is not reinvested in the construction industry and it only benefits individuals,” said !Naruseb.

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    Fraudsters target the landlessFraudsters target the landlessWalvis Bay mayor warns against scam People at Walvis Bay are warned not to pay anyone who promises to reserve plots for them in a new housing development called Farm 37. Walvis Bay mayor Immanuel Wilfred has warned landless community members and backyard tenants to be wary of individuals and groups spreading incorrect information and misleading the public about the development of Farm 37.

    “We have become aware of scamsters who collect money from people to reserve erven at Farm 37 and we cannot allow these persons to do as they please. Only the council has the mandate to make any official announcements regarding Farm 37,” he said.

    Wilfred appealed to residents not to fall into this trap and said it was highly unlikely that victims would see their money again. He also called on community members to report dishonest people to the police.

    “You will not be able to reserve any erven through dubious means and are therefore doing this at your own risk. The allocation of erven at Farm 37 will be done strictly according to the official waiting list.”

    Wilfred said the council had met with the Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) last month to address a number of issues related to Farm 37.

    “These issues were amicably resolved and official approval for the establishment of Farm 37 should therefore be a mere formality.

    “Only once we have received that first round of approvals can we move forward to the series of requirements to satisfy the Townships Board, before we can plan for the provision of services.

    “By the time we provide feedback to the public again, we should have a better idea of the timeline it would require to develop the first phase of Farm 37. Before then, any unofficial information should not be taken notice of,” the mayor warned.

    More than 500 people present at a community meeting in February voted in favour of being relocated to Farm 37 after the chairman of the town council's management committee, Tobias Nambala, had informed them that their consent was crucial for the development of Farm 37.

    Nambala said money was needed for the development of Farm 37 and would only be provided once Nampab gave its approval and the land was made available to the municipality.

    “We therefore need your consent and a roll call of all present to prove that we obtained it from you. The objective is to obtain the land first and then to plan accordingly,” he said.

    Councillor Ndishoshili Samson Nghilumbwa, who is a Nampab member, explained that the council had submitted an application in 2015 to acquire Farm 37 in order to develop a township and resettle people there.

    “Council already obtained an environmental clearance certificate, but the application was rejected by Nampab due to the fact that there are quarries situated approximately three kilometres from the identified area and due to fears that the mining activities could impact people living there. The wind is also a concern,” he said.


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    Avid shareholder confirms Kandara's involvementAvid shareholder confirms Kandara's involvement The involvement of the late Lazarus Kandara in the Social Security Commission's missing N$30 million investment in the Avid Investment Corporation was confirmed by one of the shareholders this week.

    Retired Namibia Defence Force (NDF) Brigadier Mathias Shiweda, during cross-examination by lawyer Pedrie Theron appearing on behalf of Inez /Gâses, stated that Kandara, the Avid CEO, had been present during two briefing meetings at the beginning of 2005.

    The 19 January 2005 meeting took place before former SSC finance manager Gideon Mulder went to South Africa. Shiweda said he was requested to accompany /Gâses to a meeting with Mulder and former SSC general manager of finance Avril Green to make a formal presentation to the SSC about the investment. None of the other directors were available, Shiweda confirmed.

    /Gâses was the chairperson of Avid and the contact person the SSC had with Avid.

    The Swapo Party Youth League was allegedly the major shareholder in Avid, with 80% of the shares in the company.

    The company allegedly promised that it could offer the SSC a better return on the N$30 million investment.

    Shiweda could neither confirm nor deny that he was requested to attend the meeting with the SSC top brass in Kandara's place because Kandara was allegedly blacklisted by the commission.

    Kandara committed suicide in front of the Windhoek Police Station in 2005, shortly after he had been arrested following his testimony before an Avid liquidation inquiry.

    Shiweda was part of Avid when the company obtained the N$30 million from the SSC in January 2005. The company was liquidated after it was unable to repay the N$30 million and the promised interest of N$1.4 million to the SSC after the investment period had lapsed.

    Shiweda is facing a charge of reckless or fraudulent conduct of business. He is charged together with /Gâses, former works deputy minister Paulus Kapia, Otniel Podewiltz, Sharon Blaauw and Ralph Blaauw.

    Nico Josea of Namangol, which allegedly received some of the funds from Avid, faces charges of theft and reckless or fraudulent conduct of business.

    The trial continues before Judge Christie Liebenberg.

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    Man commits suicide in Oshakati hospitalMan commits suicide in Oshakati hospital The body of Fillemon Kandu (30) was discovered by cleaners in one of the rooms in the Oshakati State Hospital on Tuesday morning.

    Kandu, who was from Endola village in Ohangwena Region, is believed to have hanged himself with a bed sheet on Monday evening. He apparently was locked into a room at the hospital's Communicable Disease Centre (CDC).

    His corpse was discovered the following morning at 06:20.

    The regional police commander, Commissioner Rauha Amwele, said the police were investigating the incident. A well-placed source told Namibian Sun that Kandu had sent a text message to his partner before hanging himself. In a separate incident in the Oshikoto Region, the body of Hileni Itana (62) was discovered yesterday morning in a pan at Uukwanambwa village in the Onyaanya area. She is believed to have drowned. According to the Oshikoto police Itana was last seen at nearby cuca shops the previous night. The police investigation continues.


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    N$45m for drought-stricken farmersN$45m for drought-stricken farmersAll but 3 from south of the Red Line The agriculture ministry paid out N$45 million to farmers affected by drought in the 2016/17 financial year. More than N$45 million was paid out to farmers affected by drought under the 2016/17 Drought Marketing Incentive Scheme. Farmers south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence received the bulk of this money.

    According to an assessment of the agriculture ministry's performance in the 2016/17 financial year, a total of N$45 083 880 was paid out to farmers affected by drought. Three of these were from the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) and 3 316 from south of the Veterinary-Cordon Fence.

    N$157 659 was for transport services.

    According to the ministry, under the Dryland Crop Production Programme, 4 011 farmers benefited from a fertiliser subsidy while 21 328 farmers benefited from improved mahangu and maize seeds. Furthermore, 10 134 farmers benefitted from ploughing services and 1 451 from weeding services.

    This resulted in 17 583 hectares of land being ploughed and a further 3 077 hectares weeded using 823 unemployed youths who participated.

    The ministry said it continued to implement a community-based management project for supplying water to rural communities. In the year under review, 17 boreholes were installed, 28 boreholes were cleaned and 60 water points were rehabilitated. A total of 36 small pipelines were constructed and 1 713 private off-takes were connected.

    According to the ministry, the hydrological monitoring network was upgraded, maintained and expanded with the acquisition of 20 additional CELO Telemetry instruments and 10 sensors. Installations were done at Ngoma Gate, Lake Liambezi and Nkurenkuru.

    A total of 257 sanitation facilities were constructed in 13 regions, excluding the Khomas Region. Community education on sanitation, health and hygiene was conducted prior to the construction of these facilities.

    The ministry also said that the construction of the Neckartal Dam in the south was progressing well. At the main dam, roller-compacted concrete (RCC) has been placed in layers over the full length of the dam wall up to an elevation level of 742.4 metres. The highest elevation on the right bank is 749.6 metres.

    Two river-diversion culverts were constructed at the bottom of the dam wall.

    “These channels are to divert the water during seasonal river flows for the period of construction. The lower gallery was also completed within the RCC dam wall. The RCC dam wall also includes a conventional vibrated concrete (CVC) inlet-outlet structure which was constructed up to elevation level 752m with hydro-mechanical pipes.”

    The ministry said the absence of a fence along the border with Angola remained one of the major challenges for the agricultural sector, making it difficult to control livestock movement across the border and prevent the spread of animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lung sickness.

    The country's first FMD case in 26 years was reported on 11 May 2015 in the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions, while the last one was recorded at Etayi village on 22 July last year.

    The government swiftly acted by imposing animal movement restrictions and allocating N$180 million, of which the largest portion was spent on procuring 3.7 million doses of FMD vaccine.

    The vaccine was used for three rounds of vaccination and covered an estimated 1.1 million cattle.

    “In an effort to respond to FMD outbreaks in the NCAs between May and July 2016, the following activities were undertaken: zoning, movement control, decontamination, disease surveillance, awareness creation, and procurement of equipment, consumables, vaccines and serial vaccines,” said the ministry.

    A total of 213 permanent staff assisted by 826 temporary staff were deployed to control the outbreak. The outbreak was contained by 22 January 2016 and its success was due to tremendous support from the government, livestock farmers, farmers unions, the Meat Board of Namibia, Meatco, traditional authorities and other stakeholders.

    The agriculture ministry has been allocated a budget of N$2.1 billion for the next financial year, which is 13.39% less than the previous year.


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  • 03/15/17--15:00: Ministry mum on aquifer
  • Ministry mum on aquiferMinistry mum on aquiferRegional water crisis continues There has been no update on progress made with a study on the tapping of the Ohangwena II Aquifer, which started in 2007. ILENI NANDJATO

    Despite the fact that the Ohangwena Region has a massive aquifer estimated to hold around 20 billion cubic metres of fresh water, inhabitants of the Omundaungilo, Oshikunde, Okongo and Epembe constituencies are consuming water that is unfit for human consumption.

    According to the agriculture and water ministry, the aquifer has the potential to supply water to northern Namibia for the next 400 years.

    A member of the water committee at Elunda Londjamba village in the Oshikunde constituency, Paulus Nghilukilwa, told Namibian Sun that the people remained hopeful that the government would one day provide them with tap water fit for human consumption.

    Nghilukilwa said several boreholes that were drilled at different places yielded saline water not fit for human consumption and the people and their livestock depend on rainwater from ponds.

    “When these ponds dry up, the community members have to walk up to 40km or more to fetch water from places where boreholes contain fresh, potable water. Senior citizens and those who can’t reach these paces have no other option but to consume the saline water. Many others use donkeys to transport water,” Nghilukilwa said.

    He further said there is a borehole at Elunda Londjamba powered by a diesel pump and the residents have to contribute money to buy diesel.

    “Community members are not using the water point because not everybody can afford to give money for the diesel.”

    The Ohangwena regional councillor for Omundaungilo Constituency, Festus Ikanda, called for the establishment of a Constituency Development Fund that would enable regional councillors to have their own budgets to fund projects.

    “We have a water tank distribution programme in the region, but it covers a huge area. This means that for weeks there is no water that will be distributed to collection points or constituencies. A feasibility study was conducted to have pipeline connection at Ohandiba to bring water to Eenhana from Ondobe.

    “This 100km pipeline will connect Epinga, Oshipala, Elundu, Onghwiyu in the Oshikunde constituency and also connect the Epembe constituency,” Ikanda explained.

    Omundaungilo village gets water from the Omhalapapa borehole, about 20km away.

    Last year, Namibian Sun was informed by the agriculture ministry that a group of German and local scientists had started testing the Ohangwena II Aquifer.

    The group warned that careless drilling could spoil the giant groundwater source. It was also reported that a production well had been drilled at Eenhana and was being tested with the assistance of NamWater.

    The deputy director of geohydrology, Bertram Swartz, who is the project coordinator, was not able to give an update on the progress made so far.

    Information made available to Namibian Sun indicates that the project, which started in 2007, will run until the end of May next year.

    It is financed by the German Development Fund, the European Union (EU) and NamWater at a cost of N$25 million.

    Information obtained from the EU shows that after the aquifer was identified, a groundwater hydro-census was conducted as a baseline study between 2007 and 2008. A transient electromagnetic (TEM) field survey revealed potential freshwater horizons in the Ohangwena and Omusati regions.

    Drilling campaigns were done between 2009 and 2010 and verified the existence of a deep aquifer in the western part of the Ohangwena Region. Additional observation boreholes were drilled in 2011 to delineate the freshwater extent and to set up a groundwater monitoring network.

    Investigations established that the aquifer stretches for about 75km from the Ondobe Constituency towards the east and about 40km from the Angolan border to the south. It forms part of the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin (CEB).

    The CEB is divided into six groundwater regions and one of them is the Ohangwena Aquifer (KOH I and KOH II), a multi-layered, continuous porous aquifer system of the eastern Ohangwena and northern Oshikoto regions with a groundwater flow from Angola to the south.

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    AG defends whistleblower billAG defends whistleblower bill JEMIMA BEUKES

    Attorney-General Sacky Shanghala says controversial sections of the whistleblower bill are not aimed at punishing those exposing corruption, but at addressing the effects of “rumour-mongering”, which is common in the country.

    According to Shanghala, newspapers are basing reports on rumours and that should be nipped in the bud. He said the media were mainly targeting the big fish, and there was no protection for those who hold public office.

    “I do not understand why a person who goes and lies about something should not be punished,” said Shanghala, who was contributing to debate on the Whistleblower Protection Bill in the National Assembly.

    “We are not saying the whistleblower must be punished…but when you lie.”

    Shanghala emphasised that it was important to encourage whistleblowers in combating corruption, but pointed out that lawmakers must take notice of what had happened in the past when wrong and malicious information was leaked.

    “We need to encourage truthful disclosure,” he urged.

    DTA parliamentarian Vipuakuje Muharukua questioned the need for targeting whistleblowers rather than dealing with lying as ordinary perjury. He warned that the law would scare off potential whistleblowers.

    “It is alarming that this law is made to hold in people who are telling what is perceived to be a lie. Lies and truths are subjective,” he argued.

    Shanghala’s remarks come at a time when civil society organisations are calling on the government to reconsider the bill, which they believe will have the effect of frightening off whistleblowers, thereby rendering the Act null and void.

    Last week the Action Coalition of Namibia (ACN) warned that passing the Whistleblower Protection Bill in its current form would invite legal challenges on constitutional grounds.

    The ACN joined several other critics in urging the National Assembly to refer the bill to a standing committee for public hearings in order to address the bill’s constitutionality and what it described as “several serious flaws”.

    The coalition warned that unless the whistleblower protection law had the confidence of the Namibian public it would fail to achieve its aims of encouraging people to report corruption.


    Federico Links, the organisation’s chairperson, listed three main flaws in the bill which the group said must be urgently reviewed before the bill was passed.

    The organisation pointed out that Section 52 (1d), which deals with the withdrawal of whistleblower protection when the disclosure is critical of government policy, was “fundamentally unconstitutional”.

    The section “violates the whistleblower’s right to freedom of expression and thought” as entrenched in the constitution, the organisation stated.

    The group warned that the clause appeared to have been included “purely to ensure whistleblowers cannot criticise the government when making a disclosure.”

    The group noted that the bill made provision for disclosures that could “quite easily concern matters of policy,” citing examples such as reports on waste in a government department or threats to the health and safety of a community, which could be labelled as questioning government policies.

    The other two areas of concern are Section 30 (5a), which makes provision for a high penalty for false disclosures, and the lack of independence of the bodies provisionally tasked to deal with whistleblowers and their disclosures.

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  • 03/15/17--15:00: High rent drives inflation
  • High rent drives inflationHigh rent drives inflation STAFF REPORTER

    There appears to be no relief on the horizon for consumers based on the latest inflation figures released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

    The inflation rate for February stood at 7.8%.

    Some analysts believe that an almost 10% month-on-month increase in property rent is driving inflation, which is now higher than in South Africa.

    And the pressure will continue. According to economists, the inflation rate is not expected to drop much and should hover above 7% for the rest of the year.

    In its assessment IJG Securities wrote: “Namibian inflation is now much higher than that of South Africa, and expectations are for high inflation rates to continue in both countries.

    “South African inflation is expected to average 6.2% in 2017, according to their reserve bank’s monetary policy committee’s January forecast.

    “These expectations are largely driven by a weaker, real effective exchange rate and the pass-through effect of higher import prices. The effect of higher food inflation due to the drought, and the pass-through effect of South African food prices on Namibia, will likely cause the double-digit increases in food prices to continue in the short term, although we are starting to see some of this pressure ease.”

    The company added that annual inflation in Namibia averaged 6.7% in 2016, but given the surprisingly high monthly increases witnessed in January, “inflation can be expected to remain quite high in 2017”. The main driver of this, according to IJG Securities, is a rent increase of 9.7% month-on-month, the largest increase in the last 14 years.

    “Thus, our expectation is for 2017 inflation to average 7.9%,” IJG concluded.

    Some of the price inflation in the ‘basket’ which makes up the Consumer Price Index has slowed down, though. Comparing February 2017 to February 2016, inflation on alcohol and tobacco dropped slightly from 7.9% to 5.4% and healthcare came down to 5.6% from 7%. Clothing and footwear inflation slowed by one basis point to 0.8%.

    Five critical groups in the basket continued to increase, contributing to the higher inflation rate. They were: food and non-alcoholic beverages (11.3%), housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (9.6%), furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance (8.5%), education (7.8%), and hotels, restaurants and cafés (7.6%).

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      Africa votes Issa Hayatou out, Ahmad Ahmad in Africa votes Issa Hayatou out, Ahmad Ahmad in The long-serving Caf president was voted out of power today as African football's leaders voted for his opponent from Madagscar.
    Issa Hayatou's 29-year grip in African football ended on Thursday when Caf voted for Ahmad Ahmad as the confederation's new president.
    Ahmad defeated Hayatou by 34 votes to 20, thus bringing to an end Hayatou's reign, which began when he replaced Abdel Halim Mohammad in 1988.
    The surprise result, which was announced Caf’s 39th General Assembly in Addis Ababa, prompted shock and celebration across social media, with many fans, pundits and observers celebrating the departure of the 70-year-old, who has been accused of various controversies during his long stint at the helm.
    However, the Cameroonian has overseen significant improvement in Caf’s standing within the global football community and considerable growth within the continental game.


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  • 03/16/17--08:12: Mbidi loses CAF exco bid
  • Mbidi loses CAF exco bidMbidi loses CAF exco bid Namibia Football Association president Frans Mbidi today lost out on a chance to be one of the two representatives of the southern zone on the CAF executive committee. The Namibian lost out to Angola’s Rui Da Costa and South Africa’s Danny Jordaan during the CAF General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jordaan received 35 votes, while Da Costa got 25, with Mbidi closely coming third with 24 votes. “Congratulations to the newly elected exco members who made it. I do not regret taking part in this race,” Mbidi told Namibian Sun a while ago. “I would like to thank all those that supported me because it has shown that there are those who believe in my leadership ability.” Earlier in the day, long-serving CAF president Issa Hayatou lost out to Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar in the presidential race.


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