Articles on this Page
- 04/06/17--16:00: _Bush praises Namibia
- 04/06/17--16:00: _//Karas budget slas...
- 04/06/17--16:00: _Harvesting wind to ...
- 04/06/17--16:00: _Suspended officials...
- 04/06/17--16:00: _Education faces tou...
- 04/06/17--16:00: _Household budgets t...
- 04/06/17--16:00: _Joblessness bites deep
- 04/06/17--16:00: _Millions for State ...
- 04/07/17--02:55: _ Fatal accident at ...
- 04/07/17--16:00: _NRU arranges friend...
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Shot of the day
- 04/09/17--16:00: _We are not entitled
- 04/09/17--16:00: _NamWater project at...
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Mosquito nets to fish
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Structural economic...
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Opportunity for NCA...
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Beef measles on the...
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Trainers admire Ind...
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Ndeitunga reads rio...
- 04/09/17--16:00: _Court questions SME...
- 04/06/17--16:00: Bush praises Namibia
- 04/06/17--16:00: //Karas budget slashed by 75%
- 04/06/17--16:00: Harvesting wind to create jobs
- 04/06/17--16:00: Suspended officials in limbo
- 04/06/17--16:00: Education faces tough times
- 04/06/17--16:00: Household budgets tightened
- 04/06/17--16:00: Joblessness bites deep
- 04/06/17--16:00: Millions for State House upgrade, port project
- 04/07/17--02:55: Fatal accident at Vierkantklip
- 04/07/17--16:00: NRU arranges friendlies
- 04/09/17--16:00: Shot of the day
- 04/09/17--16:00: We are not entitled
- 04/09/17--16:00: NamWater project at Kalkfeld progressing
- 04/09/17--16:00: Mosquito nets to fish
- 04/09/17--16:00: Structural economic change needed
- 04/09/17--16:00: Opportunity for NCA farmers
- 04/09/17--16:00: Beef measles on the increase in cattle
- 04/09/17--16:00: Trainers admire Indongo
- 04/09/17--16:00: Ndeitunga reads riot act
- 04/09/17--16:00: Court questions SME Bank urgency
The MCA-Namibia programme was signed in 2008 with funding worth N$3 billion for public investment in education, agriculture and tourism with the aim to reduce poverty through economic growth.
The programme concluded with a successful compact implementation in 2014.
Bush and his wife, Laura, arrived in Namibia Wednesday morning after visiting Botswana.
The former president paid a courtesy call on President Hage Geingob the same day, and a banquet on his honour was held at State House that evening.
Bush also commended Geingob on his leadership and the example he sets on the African continent, as well as the Namibian First Lady Monica Geingos for her strong advocacy towards health for women.
Bush said he is on a business mission in Namibia; “a business mission to help people live”.
“I have excitedly learned of women who survived HIV through anti-retroviral treatment, because your government was effective in distributing the medications to even rural areas,” he said.
Bush indicated that his mission is to campaign to eliminate cervical cancer in women, saying he is comfortable that they will succeed in this.
On his part, Geingob thanked Bush for the MCA-Namibia programme, saying it was well implemented in the country.
He said the World Bank decided to classify Namibia as an upper-middle income country, and it thus cannot get access to soft loans and grants.
With the MCA-Namibia, that requirement was waved and Namibia qualified.
“It was a well-carried-out programme, of which some of our projects must be a model of the Millennium Challenge,” he said.
The former US president and his wife visited facilities in Windhoek being prepared for 'Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon' services.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, launched in 2011 by the Bush Institute along with other private and public partners, builds upon the HIV/Aids platform to combat cervical and breast cancer in the developing world.
This was Bush's seventh visit to Africa since his time in the White House, but his first trip to Namibia and second to Botswana in post-presidency.
This brings to a halt a number of projects lined up in the various constituencies for the 2017/18 financial year.
The bulk of the projects relate to the provision of basic sanitation services, which include the elimination of the bucket system.
The picture is bleak, the deputy director of planning and development services Ralph Sachika said in a briefing at the regional development coordinating committee meeting in Keetmanshoop on Wednesday.
Budgets for projects underway were also cut, Sachika said.
The council requested N$50 million for the continuation of construction of the //Karas Regional Office Park for this year, but received an allocation of only N$15 million.
“This does not augur well for us as the shortfall may lead to the project being delayed,” Sachika said.
The N$187-million four-storey complex is supposed to be completed in September next year.
Several million dollars requested for servicing of water and sewer reticulations at Aus, Berseba, Tses, Ariamsvlei, Grünau and Noordoewer were reduced to zero.
Plans to construct an office for the Koës Village Council were also stopped.
“The projects are deferred to the 2018/19 financial year, so hopefully if the economy improves, our fortunes will change,” Sachika said.
This means the bucket toilet system will not be eliminated by the end of 2017 as promised by President Hage Geingob, Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa and //Karas Governor Lucia Basson, amongst others.
An amount of N$10 million requested for servicing and the upgrade of roads at Aroab village was reduced to N$4 million.
Lüderitz got N$4 million for servicing after budgeting N$8 million, while Keetmanshoop received N$4 million after asking for N$10 million.
Sachika said the deficits were a result of the adverse economic situation affecting the nation.
The urban and rural development ministry itself also only received N$390 million for this financial year.
This allocation is expected to increase to N$730 million next year while it might skyrocket to over N$1 billion in the 2019/20 year.
“The project which is undertaken in conjunction with the University of Namibia, has increased the turbine output capacity from a 1.8kW (kilo Watts) to 10.5kW station. The collaboration with Unam is to incorporate the research and development component into the project phases and it is planned to engage university graduates,” said Asser Mukapuli, the project coordinator. The wind power station which is built on a piece of land donated by the Lüderitz Town Council is a research and training facility which also supplies residents with electricity.
Following the successful installation of three 3.5kW wind turbines in March 2016, the LWPD now intends to utilise the electricity produced, increase the number of female participants and to produce more textiles. “The dependency of Namibia on electricity from other countries, increasing electricity tariffs and the concern about the impact of fossil fuels on our environment, are some of the reasons for embarking on the project. This will in turn empower women, create income and contribute to poverty reduction,” said Mukapuli.
The long-term objective of the project is to supply affordable, renewable electricity at cost recovery and on a sustainable basis to the local women in textile business. “The organisation is in need of funds for the construction of a textile sewing workshop, ablution blocks and a store room, additional sewing machines and textiles and funds for training five more women,” said Mukapuli.
Namibia's first wind energy plant at Lüderitz is a joint initiative between InnoSun and the Lüderitz Town Council which will provide 5MW (Mega Watt) of electricity to the town through the NamPower grid, is expected to be up and running later this year.
The Kunene Regional Council illegally suspended its chief regional officer (CRO) after the Public Service Commission (PSC) refused its suspension request, while the Omusati Regional Council is not treating the suspension of two top officials as urgently as it was requested to do.
PSC chairperson Marcus Kampungu told Namibian Sun there were no grounds for the request by Kunene to suspend its CRO, George Kamseb.
However, the commission did approve a request to suspend Omusati's CRO, Protasius Andowa, and deputy director of finance Elizabeth Mutota.
“After we learned in the media that Omusati had suspended their two officials illegally in August, we communicated with them and they complied.
“They submitted their suspension requests and we approved them on their merits,” Kampungu said.
“We received the suspension request from Kunene in November 2016, a month after they had suspended Kamseb. However, we rejected the request to suspend him. For us to suspend there must be grounds that the official in question could interfere with investigations but in their request there were no grounds for this.”
Kampungu added that they advised Kunene to charge Kamseb while he was still on duty, but the council never got back to them.
Sources told Namibian Sun that the council in the meantime has asked Kamseb to return to work but he refused since he was not informed of the reasons for his suspension.
According to the source, Kamseb was suspended after allegedly failing to provide the council with his employment contract. In November, after consultations with the PSC, the council tried to convince him to return to work, but he refused, according to the source.
“The council is finding itself in a difficult position now. It did not consult the relevant offices before taking the decision. Kamseb has refused to come back to work without being given a reason as to why he was forced to take leave in the first place. They are only now consulting relevant authorities,” the source said. Andowa, Mutota and Kamseb have been suspended with full salaries and benefits.
Andowa and Mutota have been sitting at home, earning full pay for eight months, while Kamseb has been sitting pretty for six.
CROs earn in the salary range of N$489 661 to N$519 632 per year, the same as a deputy permanent secretary.
They also get a monthly housing allowance of N$7 506 as well as a car allowance of N$10 936.
Deputy directors in the range of N$421 859 to N$443 502 receive a car allowance of N$5 993 on the capital cost and N$2 145 on the running costs.
Kampungu said suspensions were not supposed to be maintained indefinitely.
However, the Regional Council Act No 22 of 1992 read together with the Public Servant's Act No 2 of 1980 do not specify an official's term of suspension.
“When you are a ministry or an agency that is requesting permission to suspend, it is regarded as an urgent matter and it has to be treated as such. Since the suspended officials have not been charged or appeared before any disciplinary hearing, there is nothing we can do at this stage,” Kampungu said.
Both Modestus Amutse and Julius Kaujova, chairs of the regional councils of Omusati and Kunene respectively, say they do not know what is going on with these matters.
In Omusati, the director of general services, Gervasius Kashindi, is the acting CRO, while chief accountant Ngombe Iyambo is the acting deputy director of finance. In Kunene, the director of general services, Joseph Jantze, is the acting CRO.
Andowa has been with the council since 2004 and his employment contract expires next year, while Mutota's contract ends in September this year. Sources say the councillors are opting to remain quiet for the time being, waiting for their terms to end.
“I don't know anything thus far. The matter is with the regional council and they have not briefed me yet. Once I get any information, I will inform you. All I can say is that the status quo remains the same,” Amutse said.
Last year, Amutse told Namibian Sun that the urban and rural development ministry had assigned a team of investigators headed by the ministry's chief auditor to investigate the allegations.
He also confirmed that the council had met twice to discuss the outcomes of this investigation, but to date, he has refused to share what was deliberated upon.
“We did our part to put him on leave. For any progress on the matter you must ask the urban and rural development ministry's permanent secretary,” Kaujova said.
“It is a fact that the downward revision of the 2017/18 budget is negatively impacting the mandate of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture as it will affect implementation of our programmes across the board,” Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said this week.
She added that the ministry foresaw “serious implications” in the roll-out of the revised grade eight curriculum this year and the revised grade nine curriculum next year “due to very limited funding, especially in the area of textbook procurement and continuous professional development.”
She said the cuts significantly reduced the universal primary and secondary education grants per child, and the ministry was worried about the impact on the provision of textbooks and other learning materials, as well as teacher training.
“A negative impact on learner outcomes is anticipated for the 2017 academic year due to the reduction in the budget allocation for text books, school stationery and teaching aids.”
She said the desired ratio of one textbook per learner “will not be achieved with the insufficient resource allocation”.
Another area of concern, which the ministry said required further consultation with the Ministry of Finance for additional budget allocation, is hostel accommodation for students.
“During 2016, a total number of 63 988 learners across the country were accommodated in 226 primary and secondary boarding schools. I must however point out that the implications of the budget cuts are worrying for the hostel boarders …” she said.
The minister also referred to the introduction of new technical and vocational subjects, in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan, which required “a lot of resources and expertise which is costly.”
She explained that education budget cuts would also “negatively affect the implementation of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programme, especially the roll-out of ICT equipment to educational institutions, support and maintenance of ageing equipment” and more.
The minister added that despite the concerns, the ministry fully supported the objectives of the fiscal consolidation “as a catalyst to financial sustainability in the long run”. She said in terms of the coming financial years the ministry aimed to be “guided by concerns of value for money, working within the limited means at our disposal by setting core priorities on key result areas, promoting public private partnerships and stepping up efficiency measures.”
She said ministerial staff had been urged do “more with less” and a number of strategies would be implemented, including bringing on board strict efficiency measures and improving payroll administration within the ministry.
The ministry has also reduced and ceased “non-productive expenditures” including travel allowances, furniture procurement and overtime, and recruitment is carefully monitored.
Hanse-Himarwa said the ministry employed one of the largest numbers of public servants, with a total staff complement of more than 45 000, out of which 41 735 positions are filled.
She added that the ministry employed 27 886 teachers at 1 796 schools.
This year, the ministry's budget was reduced by 3%, from more than N$12 billion in the 2016/17 financial year to N$11 975 672 000 for the coming financial year.
Of this amount, 85% or more than N$10 billion goes toward staff expenses, including salaries, pensions and other benefits.
According to the latest figures, there was an increase of 0.8% compared to January and that was mostly due to a spike in overdrafts and other loans.
“Overdrafts and other loans increased by 3.7% in February and the sharp increase in this category may be an indication of a very stretched consumer,” the investment firm says.
This viewpoint is supported by a lack of growth in home loans, which have in fact slowed by 9.2% year on year.
Recently, Namibian Sun reported that inflation was set to increase to double digits, mostly due to high property rent and the cost of utilities.
Households are reeling from an increase in food prices and the fear of another interest-rate hike. Therefore, the demand for new debt remains low, in particular the demand for vehicle financing.
Vehicle sales have declined by almost 22% from last year and other instalment sales have dropped by 0.2% compared to January.
The private sector also did not borrow much, with a mere 1.1% increase in credit when compared to January, totalling N$937.1 million. This brings the total credit outstanding to N$87.21 billion.
“This is a slight uptick in the annual growth rate which has increased to 9.0% from 8.5% in January. The increase was driven by increases in overdrafts and other loans. Over the last 12 months a net of N$7.23 billion worth of credit was extended, N$3.03 billion to corporates, N$4.24 billion to individuals, while the non-resident private sector decreased their borrowings by N$43.6 million,” IJG said.
Businesses not growing
Turning to corporates, the picture is not much different. Although credit extension accelerated to 9.1% year-on-year from 8.2% year-on-year in January, it was due to strong growth in overdrafts and other loans. Again, mortgage loans and instalment credit were muted, with property loans growing 0.3% month-on-month and a decline of 1.8% month-on-month in instalment credit.
“As with credit extended to individuals, the drop in instalment credit has been the most pronounced, and is now in negative territory on an annual basis. This means that, on average, corporates are repaying these loans, and is an indication that businesses are not expanding as they are not spending on equipment and vehicle fleets at the same rate as in the past,” the report states.
According to IJG Securities, the trend of slowing private-sector credit extension will continue. Disposable income has been reduced by higher interest rates and commercial banks are experiencing increasingly expensive funding as a result of “an increase in market rates due to excessive government borrowing”.
The firm is of the view that the biggest obstacle to private-sector credit growth will be rising interest rates.
The situation in South Africa has exacerbated the current economic pinch. Standard and Poor's has downgraded South Africa to junk status and Moody's has placed its rating of South Africa on review.
“A ratings downgrade in South Africa is likely to lead to a downgrade of the Namibian credit rating as well. This would mean that both countries would have increased borrowing costs, a weaker currency and possibly higher inflation. This would likely trigger a move by the South African Reserve Bank to increase rates, in which case Namibia would be forced to follow,” IJG Securities states.
Experts agree that the solutions are complex and will require government and the private sector to come together and start ticking off a long checklist of measures that could help create jobs.
Some of the issues listed by experts are the need for a friendlier business environment, reviewing and amending restrictive bureaucratic red tape, the critical issue of high youth unemployment and the lack of job experience and skills training.
“Over 20 000 jobs have already been lost according to our estimation as a result of the ongoing economic crisis,” says Tarah Shaanika, the chief executive officer of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI).
That estimate is conservative, some economists say.
The last labour survey, conducted in 2014, found a 28.1% unemployment rate but the latest figures remain educated guess-work, says Tim Parkhouse, secretary general of the Namibia Employers' Federation (NEF).
Parkhouse says although the numbers are unknown, it is clear that “our figures must be rising” as a result of the current economic climate and the impact of the government's recent cost cutting.
Klaus Schade, executive director of the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN), says: “Since the economy was doing quite well until recently, it can be assumed that more jobs were created in 2015, in particular because of the strong performance of the labour-intensive construction sector.”
That came to an abrupt end with the completion in 2016 of major developments in the mining sector, and since then construction has been one of the hardest hit sectors.
“The decline in construction activities has certainly had an impact on the level of employment in other sectors as well, such as transport. The loss of jobs and income will have a negative impact on the wholesale and retail trade sector and might result in job losses there as well,” Schade says.
He believes that the labour market will remain under pressure this and next year at least.
Ronnie Varkevisser, chief executive officer of the Namibia Manufacturers Association (NMA), says: “Most businesses except for the tourism industry are affected by the economic crunch. This is exacerbated by the fact that government is not paying suppliers. Employment will drop and job creation is becoming more difficult.”
He warns that the Namibian employment situation at present is “precarious”.
Shaanika says a double-digit unemployment rate in Namibia is not a recent development.
“Any unemployment level which is in the double-digit space is very high and should be treated as a crisis.”
Cut the red tape
Parkhouse says a major challenge that needs to be addressed urgently is to ensure that the country improves the business environment for new and existing businesses.
He says the NEF has pleaded with the government for years for “smart regulations when it comes to labour issues, not over-regulation”.
Parkhouse and others emphasise that red tape in terms of opening a new business, employing or firing staff and other bureaucratic hurdles create unfavourable conditions for attracting investment or encouraging entrepreneurship.
“We need to encourage people to open a business, and quickly,” says Parkhouse.
Shaanika says employment can only be created through increased business activities, and the government's role in boosting business is through “appropriate policy and legislative interventions which should result in the need to employ more people and therefore create employment opportunities.”
Although policies and laws in general are business friendly, Shaanika warns that the “conduct of certain individuals, departments and structures in government have not been in tandem with those policies”.
He explains that there has been “unnecessary bureaucracy and conflicting interests” which has hampered business growth and undermined the government's “good intentions to facilitate business growth and employment”.
Shaanika warns that business cannot grow when access is “marred by heavy bureaucracy, prohibitive costs and corruption. You cannot attract investments in such a situation.”
Gitta Paetzold, executive officer of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), says one of the obstacles faced by that industry is a labour law that does not account for the 24/7 nature of the tourism sector.
Another hurdle is regulations that “make it difficult for emerging entrepreneurs to find their feet”.
She describes a “labyrinth” of regulations and paperwork that potential entrepreneurs have to wade through.
Shaanika warns that Namibia tends to “behave like a very developed economy, while we are far from there. We have enacted legislations which are hugely restrictive on the part of business to be able to operation optimally and become competitive.”
He says labour regulations are too restrictive and at times can appear punitive. “We tend to be more concerned about those already employed and we protect them at all costs, but are less worried about the unemployed.”
In line with these concerns, the NEF has compiled a list of proposals to amend current dispute-resolution processes after it was announced that the labour act was being reviewed.
Parkhouse says amendments should focus on achieving a balancing act that is fair to employers and employees alike.
Learn and innovate
Although the current outlook is worrying, some say that the situation offers opportunities to review and revive the way business is done.
“I believe that the ongoing crisis in our economy is temporary; it will end in the near future. Job losses are also temporary, as are the difficulties in creating new jobs in the economy,” Shaanika says.
He says the current economic crisis has “shown us that too much domination of the economy by the state is dangerous and should be reduced. Business should become more creative and find ways of diversifying. We must grow the private sector and increase its contribution to the shape and structure of our economy.”
Danny Meyer, director of SMEs Compete, says despite the many challenges he remains cautiously optimistic. “It has dawned on the nation that things have to be done differently if a different outcome is craved.”
EAN's Schade believes there are numerous steps the government and the private sector, as well as the public, can take to soften the blow of the current economic situation.
He says Namibian consumers could “be choosier when shopping and support Namibian producers if price and quality are met”.
The new Public Procurement Act and Board could result in more goods and services sourced locally, which could create jobs.
“The private sector could also put more emphasis on sourcing goods and services locally and thus contribute to job creation,” Schade says.
Varkevisser of the NMA warns that the Namibian government should do more to ensure that its Growth at Home strategy is implemented.
“Foreign entities are entering the Namibian business space and are not buying local,” he explains.
Varkevisser says the private sector should focus on remaining internationally competitive and should “investigate innovative ways and means to improve productivity and efficiencies”.
Schade proposes that instead of cutting staff numbers, employers and trade unions should be more innovative, when it comes to reducing labour costs.
Implementing reduced working hours, a wage freeze or part-time jobs “are better options than retrenching some employees – although the degree of flexibility depends on the specific sector”.
Economist and Unam lecturer Dr Omu Kakujaha-Matundu warns that relying on the current status quo will not solve the problem.
He says one option is to “restructure the economy by revolutionising the agricultural sector” which will have the positive spin-off of creating new manufacturing opportunities.
Work skills and ethics
SMEs Compete's Meyer says reaching out to entrepreneurs in the informal sector should be an important focus.
“Helping entrepreneurs in the informal sector migrate or graduate to the formal sector is another strategy worthy of development. Once the micro-enterprise is position for growth, it will create jobs.”
Work ethics and attitude could play a role too, with many saying productivity in Namibia is extremely low.
Paetzold says the tourism industry has experienced a remarkable drop-out of staff who do not seem prepared to work in remote rural areas for long and are not willing to work after hours.
Shaanika adds that a lack of skills is another issue. “Most people are simply not appropriately skilled to be able to find the right employment or create income-generating opportunities for themselves.”
He says the training system needs a total overhaul, and adequate financial and technical support needs to be provided to graduates in order to promote production and job creation.
Parkhouse agrees that financial support should include guidance in business management.
One of the ways the NEF is tackling youth unemployment and skills development is the imminent launch of a national apprenticeship network, aimed at providing opportunities to young people to learn on the job.
Paetzold says HAN has also reached out to the government to review current legislation in order to help roll out apprenticeship programmes in future.
She adds that skewed skills development is another issue that contributes to unemployment.
She explains that most jobs in the large employment sectors such as mining, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing and tourism require vocational skills, which are often sneered at.
“Fortunately the Namibian government has realised that the educational focus did not match the demands of the labour market and we hope that in the near future, more emphasis will be put on vocation training,” she says.
Economist Roland Brown recently pointed out that a N$56.8 million allocation for upgrading and renovating State House “in these trying times” pointed to distorted government priorities.
The estimated total cost of this State House project until 2020 is estimated at more than N$120 million. That leaves a balance of N$63.2 million to complete it.
For this financial year it means N$41.5 million will be spent on the construction, renovation and improvement of State House, as well as N$15.3 million for the feasibility studies, design and supervision of the project.
Another project that surprises is the more than N$303 million budgeted during the 2017/20 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) for the construction of the Cape Fria harbour project in the Kunene Region that has returned to the national agenda. During the 2018/19 financial year more than N$41 million is earmarked for this harbour project, and N$60 million in 2019/20.
Brown said it was “peculiar” that this project seemed to be back on the cards, given the N$3 billion expansion of the Walvis Bay harbour. Finance minister Calle Schlettwein in January was quoted as saying that there would be no funds available for this harbour project. He said it would only be possible through a public-private-partnership arrangement. If the project goes ahead, Cape Fria would be Namibia's third harbour after Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.
The national treasury has allotted N$45 million for the 2018/19 financial year and N$60 million for 2019/20, with a balance of N$196.8 million outstanding for this project. The government considers this harbour project as an important growth point, not just because this part of the country attracts most tourists but perhaps more importantly for its significant mineral deposits.
Notably Chinese mining concerns, among others, have moved into the region in a big way through companies such as Namibia Eastern China Non-Ferrous Investment Holding for the exploitation of iron ore near Opuwo, and Namibia Red Earths that has obtained a mining licence for open-pit mining and a processing plant north-west of Khorixas.
Pundits of Chinese investment and infrastructure development projects in Africa have observed that such projects usually are accompanied and bolstered by strategic infrastructural hubs, which host countries are prepared to sponsor or co-sponsor.
As far as a budget allocation of more than N$1.2 billion for personnel expenses for the operations of the 1 763-member 21st Guard Battalion under the Ministry of Defence during the 2017/2020 MTEF period goes, Brown commented: “Just going to leave this one here without comment.”
Schlettwein acknowledged that the government had to a certain extent realised that there must be a move towards the quality of spending, which he said had been introduced.
“But we cannot stop and start everything. It is a gradual turn away from wasteful expenditure,” Schlettwein said.
“Cape Fria is in the most undeveloped part of the country. We have only one single deep-sea port, so I do not see anything wrong in exploring a development project of a deep-sea port in an area of the country that has hitherto not been developed at all,” he said.
Schlettwein also insisted that the resuscitated Cape Fria project had nothing to do with Chinese mining interests in the Kunene Region.
“It has to do with the fact that there are significant mineral deposits in that corner of the country. The Chinese are welcome to invest and so is everybody else. The fact that the mineral deposits are not utilised is because there is no infrastructure that allows for the use thereof and therefore I think we must look into that area and see how we can unleash the economic potential that is hidden there,” Schlettwein said.
As far as the wage bill of the 21st Guard Battalion is concerned, Schlettwein again acknowledged that there were efficiency gains that could be brought about, which he said had been started with.
“We have reduced expenditure in defence; we have levelled out expenditure in the other security areas, but do not make the mistake and take peace and stability for granted. If we have the argument that it is not a priority expenditure, then I think we are missing the point. What is correctly mentioned is that maybe we can get more bang for our buck and that we can do with more efficiency. That is the trend that we want to go,” Schlettwein said.
The cause of the accident is still being investigated.
The Namibian police’s traffic department has issued a warning to all motorists not to stop at the accident site as this has already caused numerous near-accidents. The recovery of the truck will start today and might result in the temporary closure of the road from time to time.
The friendlies have been set up in order to prepare the teams for their upcoming competitions.
The two teams will play against invitational teams with players combined of all clubs from the domestic league at the Hage Geingob Stadium on Wednesday.
The Windhoek Draught Welwitschias will participate in the SuperSport rugby challenge on 22 April, while the under-20 team prepares for Rugby Africa Barthes U20 trophy in Madagascar.
The tournament in Madagascar commences on 18 April.
Coaches of the invitational teams will be Johan Diergaardt and Shawn Kaizemi, with Flip Louw as the team manager and Gerald Loubser as the invitational coach of the U-23 team.
Namibia Rugby Union CEO Elizma Theron said that the friendly matches will give the two teams a boost in fitness ahead of their competitive matches.
“The games will be intense since many of the invitational players still want to prove that they deserve a spot in the national squads.
“This should produce quite spectacular rugby. The Windhoek Draught Welwitschias team has to do better in the next competition and so should the under-20 team.
“We are looking forward to a great display of rugby from the players because their preparations have gone well.
“These are the last preparations before the teams leave for their respective tournaments,” Theron said.
Kick-off for the under-20 team will be at 18:00, while the senior team is expected to start at about 19:45.
Theron invited people to come in their numbers and witness the state both teams are in at the moment.
“The fans can definitely come and cheer up the boys because it promises to be very entertaining rugby.
“This year, we want to make sure that our teams are more than ready when taking part in many competitions lined up for them,” Theron said.
She further revealed that no entrance fee will be charged at the gates.
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa
Often, the Namibian government behaves this way. The recent visit of former US president George W. Bush again brought this to the fore.
We have no right to donor money, certainly not from the United States, or actually anywhere else for that matter. We have no right at all. The office of the American president owes the Namibian citizenry and its government nothing. Not a blue cent. Not one penny.
Combating HIV and Aids is our problem and our problem alone. We could work together with countries in our region to fight the disease, but certainly, the American taxpayer has nothing to do with mother-to-child transmission in a village in the Oshana Region, for example.
They have their own problems and even though those may be far lighter than ours, our problems are still not their responsibility.
The government of Namibia rules a country with a relatively good infrastructure, a tax base, beautiful environments and vast natural resources.
Should we not rather look at developing those and doing the best we can within the budget we have to live off, rather than asking for handouts from others?
In fact, it is our duty to create our own wealth and if help comes, it should be in the form of investment, not aid or loans.
We read in international media that the United States is no longer funding the United Nations Population Fund – a fund that helps women and children in developing countries and places where conflict exists.
Why should they?
It may come across as harsh, but what is the reason to help women and children in faraway places trapped in circumstances, which Americans did not create?
The same goes for us. Let us raise our hats to the past, take off our jackets for the future and get working. Working for us. Our country. Our people.
Last month, recruitment for the project was stopped as locals feared they were being sidelined in the process. The recruitment was then finalised through the drawing of numbers, which the locals felt was fair.
NamWater recruited 20 general workers and three machine operators to dig trenches and lay pipes over a distance of 22 kilometres. The project also employed two carpenters, two bricklayers and a clerk.
One of the general labourers, Gerson Geiseb, told Nampa they started working on 13 March and they are satisfied so far. They received their first salaries at the end of March.
The senior office administrator at the settlement, Anna Marrie Kawatomas said there have been no complaints from the workers so far.
“I think everything is going well,” she said.
A NamWater artisan, Dawid Jacobus Booysen, said the project is moving fast and workers are motivated.
“We are expected to dig about 1.2 metres deep and one metre wide for the trench, and also to harden the basement area,” he said.
Booysen explained that about 23 men and eight women are employed at the site.
Kalkfeld was proclaimed a village in 1991, but was downgraded to a settlement in 1996 due to a lack of economic development.
The efundja coincides with the increase in mosquitoes, but instead of being used to protect people from mosquitoes at night, people are using them to fish.
The health ministry rolled-out the anti-malaria campaign last month, which included the distribution of free treated mosquito nets and the spraying of Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) from house to house to control the prevalence of these insects. In parliament recently, health minister Bernard Haufiku announced that 7 003 cases of malaria were reported in January and February and 86 malaria-related deaths during the 2016/17 rainy season.
Citizens in the malaria-prone regions of Ohangwena, Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, the two Kavango and Zambezi regions are receiving free mosquito nets and these are the same regions affected by efundja.
The two Kavango regions, reported the highest number of malaria cases - 4 617 - followed by Ohangwena Region with 1 184 cases, Zambezi Region with 582 cases, while Omusati had 237, Oshikoto 196, Otjozondjupa 97 and Oshana 69.
In an interview with the Malaria Elimination 8 (E8) Ambassador and former health minister, Dr Richard Kamwi last month, he said even if the ministry of health distributes mos quito nets to every Namibian, if they are not using them to protect themselves against mosquitoes, then the country and E8 will not succeed in their plan to contain malaria by 2020.
Kamwi said that malaria is still the leading killer in Africa mainly in children, pregnant women, elders and the frail and infirm. He urged community members to make sure that they remain protected against mosquito bites, especially at night.
He also urged the health ministry to follow up if people are indeed using mosquito nets and whether they are using them properly. “If many cases of malaria are reported in an area where the annual malaria spraying campaign was conducted and free mosquito nets were distributed then something is wrong. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended 90 to 100% indoor spraying and mosquito nets distribution coverage for a successful fight against malaria,” said Kamwi.
The ministry of health is using N$2 million in the recent malaria outbreak, while other multinational organisations and local organisations such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) Angelican Aids Programme and Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) are trying to assist the government to provide free nets.
The health ministry, on questions of the number of nets distributed thus far, as well as the consequences when one found using the mosquito nets for fishing, did not respond to Namibian Sun.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said this economic growth trajectory can only be achieved if manufacturers are manufacturing goods within internationally set standards for them to gain a reputable market, both nationally and internationally.
Kuugongwelwa-Amadhila made these remarks during a courtesy call to factories at Ondangwa on Friday.
After visiting Roama Gates Manufacturing, Country Roofing, Henning Crusher, Tumandje Burial Coffins Manufacturing and Blue Pointers Namibia, the prime minister said that she was pleased to witness and recognise that Namibian business people are finally manufacturing and producing goods of high quality which is an ambition advocated for in Vision 2030, the fifth National Development Plan and the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
“It is quite pleasing to witness these, but let us make sure that we follow the international standards so that we can be able to export our products to other countries. Although this is a laudable progress, our manufacturing industries must grow at a much more rapid pace to absorb our growing labour force and surpass our extractive industries in terms of job creation, production, exports and public revenue,” Amadhila said.
She said that for Namibia to overcome the urgent need for structural change in economy to break out of commodity dependence and move to a more diversified base, government is ready to support manufacturers, but only if they are complying to set international standards.
“We can buy your products or help with manufacturing-based value addition as long as international standards are met. This is not an affirmative action scheme, but it is empowerment opportunity for you, the local manufacturers. So, let us not compromise the quality of manufactured goods,” Amadhila stressed.
At the same occasion, the president for the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Sven Thieme, commended Namibians who took the risk which comes with entrepreneurship in the pursuit of their visions and dreams and in establishing elements that not only add value to the aspirations of entrepreneurs, but also create opportunities for Namibia.
“Taking a stand on something you know is right can lead to innovation and further business opportunities and when we support these big thinkers we have the ability to amplify the opportunity for the benefit of our community and society at large,” Thieme maintained.
Robby Amadhila, owner of steel products manufacturing, Roama Gates Manufacturing said that it is painful to see people coming up with very good economic growth initiatives, but they do not flourish.
“Madam Prime Minister, let our lawmakers introduce a law that will allow government to take over economically viable businesses that are struggling to help build our economy. We are not going to do this to benefit individuals, but to assist growth the economy of our country. Some initiatives are very good, but they die because either the owner messes up or could not take it forward,” Amadhila said.
The delegation had quite a strong focus on the area north of Namibia’s red line. Herald Ebner, a member of the German group, spoke to the media about meat produced north of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF) which is still a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) zone.
He said the delegation proposed to agriculture minister John Mutorwa that farmers should obtain a certificate for organically and naturally pastured reared cattle specifically for the farmers in the northern communal areas. This certificate can be obtained in Germany and indicates a far higher quality beef and is an opportunity for these farmers that do not have a market to sell their meat.
Dr Wilhelm Priesmeier said FMD is very difficult to combat and that Angola and Zambia must cooperate with Namibia to fight the disease. He added that to a certain extent, the veterinary cordon fence helps, but cooperation with other countries is necessary.
According to head of the delegation, Alois Gerig, their country’s secretary of state on Wednesday travelled to the north of Namibia specifically to gather more information about the “red line” and FMD.
“We have the expertise on how to combat diseases and would like to assist.”
Another member, Hermann Fäber said what impressed him most during the visit is the manner in which natural resources are used such as the bushes that are used for fodder and charcoal.
The delegation, from the German Committee on Food and Agriculture also visited several communal agricultural projects, a vocational training centre and commercial enterprises in Namibia.
They also met with Mutorwa as well as the land reform minister Utoni Nujoma, and members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources.
The visit focused on the effects of climate change on agriculture, the importance of land reform for the agricultural sector in southern Africa, economic vocational and further training, the improvement of rural regions, the development potential for urban agriculture as well as the prospects of trade in the area of food and agriculture.
According to Gerig, the reason for the trip to Namibia was to strengthen ties between the two countries, especially in the field of agriculture.
He said the delegation saw projects carried out through German funding in Namibia and stressed that training and education is an important factor to take into account at these projects.
According to him, the delegation came to the conclusion that the financial contributions made to these projects are invested and utilised well.
He also said the delegation spoke to farmers’ associations and political representatives from Germany in Namibia as well as non-governmental organisations. According to him, there are 800 million people suffering from hunger across the globe and it is therefore essential that countries work together to produce food.
“We see Namibia on a good path to meeting these challenges and we want to ensure that Germany will support Namibia,” Gerig said.
Regarding the meeting with Nujoma, he said that the discussions were held in a friendly atmosphere and he showed the delegation how land reform will continue in a peaceful atmosphere in Namibia. According to Gerig, the matter of expropriation of land in Namibia was not discussed during the meeting.
Priesmeier however said the optimism of Gerig is not shared by all in the delegation.
He said Namibia faces enormous economic challenges and without financial support he does not see how it can move forward, especially in the agriculture sector. He stressed that Namibia needs to increase its crop yields and that Germany should increase support to Namibia.
He also said the expropriation of land is a problem in Namibia that is caused by the budget difficulty.
Meanwhile, Rita Hagl-Kehl said Nujoma shared their ministry’s plans to develop communal land in the country and to have surveys conducted throughout the country.
Ebner added that Nujoma stressed land reform is only possible through intensive training and he greatly respects how the land reform has been carried out in Namibia through the willing-buyer, willing-seller system.
This, he said, has contributed to the peace and stability in the country.
Ebner also said Namibia needed to further develop its infrastructure as there are many communities that produce and live far away from the markets of their products.
Farmers have been warned to take proactive measures and prevent the number of cases from increasing so that it will not impact on the European market to which Namibia exports beef, and the livestock industry in general.
Spokesperson at Meatco, Rosa Thobias confirmed to Namibian Sun that the total number of beef measles that has been detected in cattle since January this year stands at 73 and poses a concern for the operations of the company.
Beef measles is a concern for Meatco because the affected meat is not accepted on the EU market, which is one of Namibia's most lucrative foreign markets. It is a food safety issue and its economic effects on the company could be considerable if not addressed.
Concerns have been raised about the amount of beef measles cases detected during slaughter operations.
Normally, the amount of beef measles cases detected would be about one or two cattle per week, but since operations began in January, there has been an average of seven animals diagnosed with measles every week.
Thobias however explained that the seven cattle are out of a total of 2 000 slaughtered per week, adding that the concern is the impact it could have on the EU market and in turn on Meatco if the cases keep increasing.
The company could not quantify the financial impact of the disease thus far.
“We want to maximise our profits and therefore we want a week where there is no cattle testing positive for measles. We want to maximise each cattle carcass that is coming through,” said Thobias.
There are generally two types of infestation of beef measles. Meat with low infestation levels is fit for frozen packaging, meaning the meat is frozen at -12 to -18 degrees to deactivate the parasite to make it fit for human consumption. However, a high infestation sometimes means that it is totally unfit for human consumption.
“It is not a disease caused by natural causes, it is caused by human intervention,” explained Thobias.
Measles is a parasitic disease caused by Cysticercus bovis, which is a cystic form of human tapeworm. There are no visible outward signs of the disease and it is only detected after slaughter when the meat is inspected. Consequently, the meat cannot be sold.
“Even though Namibia has a low prevalence rate, the disease cannot be taken lightly as it can damage the livestock industry” says the company.
There are several actions that producers can take to reduce the risk of measles infection in cattle, especially with regards to animal husbandry.
Farmers are urged to try to avoid faecal contamination of cattle feed and grazing areas at all cost, meaning that farm workers and visitors must practice good hygiene by using toilets and avoid defecating in the bush.
Farmers are also advised to avoid grazing cattle in camps or pastures known to be infested with human waste. As a beef producer, it is important to implement, practice and adhere to good farming practices by taking precautions to limit exposure to measles.
Consumers are encouraged to buy meat from registered butchers and abattoirs to ensure that the meat has been inspected and does not contain measles.
The majority of cases detected thus far are from Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Khomas regions.
Indongo has a date set with WBA world champion Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland on 15 April.
The man from Onumutai village, close to Ongwediva is described as a humble, hardworking person who goes the extra mile in the gym.
The boxer has since his amateur days, never been shy of confidence and has always been helpful towards his fellow boxers.
“I knew that he was destined for greatness from the day I saw him many years ago.
“He works hard and always obeys what he is asked to do even if it proves to be difficult at times.
“I have been training him since he was young and that is why I know he has something special in him,” trainer SBK Kaperu said.
Kaperu says that even when the boxer faced difficult times in his career, the 34-year-old always found a way to bounce back.
He is described as a warrior who sticks to what he wants even if the odds are stacked against him.
Many did not know the world champion until he turned professional back in 2009.
However, at amateur level he was as fearless and determined as he is now.
Indongo has travelled the world and earned several accolades during his days as a junior boxer.
“He was improving with every fight he fought and this is what made us believe in him more.
“Indongo is not just like any ordinary person, because what he does at times, is simply out of this world.
“The fact that he sacrificed time to spend with his family just to box has made him one of the greatest in world boxing history,” Kaperu further said.
Attention to tactics is one of the things that has made the boxer who he is at the moment.
Trainer Joseph Hantindi shares the same opinions as Kaperu, describing Indongo as man of dignity and courage.
“He is never taken by the lavish life that so many people fall into when they earn extra money.
“This guy had to struggle, coming to the gym every day, because of transport issues - not even that broke his spirit,” Hantindi remembers.
Indongo is known to have displayed enormous admiration towards Josef since his amateur boxing days.
“I know how hard he has worked for this and that is why it gets me emotional whenever he achieves something great,” Hantindi said.
MTC Nestor ‘Sunshine’ Tobias Fitness and Boxing Academy coach Immanuel Moses feels that Indongo deserves all the praise he received so far.
“I believe that all of us at the gym have great admiration for Indongo, because of the person he is.
“Working with him has always been easy, given that he has a great understanding of what he is here to do.
“He is just like many of our [other] boxers who became African and world champions.
“I have known him for way too long to have any doubt about [the success of] his next fight,” Moses says.
Former world champion Paulus Ambunda who once fought and lost to Indongo in their amateur days praised the boxer, having known him since they were young, saying Indongo has the heart of a lion.
“He is one of the guys you do not want to fight against, because he is very strong.
“Indongo keeps his focus on his training and is always willing to do more whenever he is at the gym.
“His preparation did not start today, it started the moment he decided he wanted to be a boxer.
“I wish him all the best and hope he brings the WBA title and his two tiles back home,” Ambunda said last week.
Indongo remains undefeated in his professional boxing career and is looking forward to becoming Namibia’s first triple world title holder.
He has a record of 21 wins in 21 professional fights, with 11 of them by knockout.
The boxer captured the IBO and IBF titles with a first-round knockout against Russia’s Edward Troyanovsky in Moscow in December.
Before the fight in Moscow, the world champion defended his WBO Africa super lightweight title on five occasions.
“I would have not been who I am if it was not for my promoters, trainers, fans and family.
“When you are in that corner of the ring, the coaches and trainers are the guys I rely on the most.
“These are the guys that must get the most praise. They do remarkable things in the ringside corner.
“Thanks to them, I am going to Scotland ready and prepared for war,” Indongo said.
Indongo has his name in the history books for being the first Namibian to hold two world titles at the same time, but he nevertheless has a daunting task ahead of him.
The boxer will not only have to outclass the Scotsman away from home, but he will also have to impress a panel of British judges.
“I am very confident that Indongo will not be intimidated by fighting away from home.
“We have prepared him physically and mentally for the past couple of months.
“His movement during training has continually improved and that gives us more reason to believe the title will come to Namibia,” Kaperu adds.
Indongo and his team left for Scotland on Saturday afternoon and return on 17 April.
Promoter Nestor Tobias says, “The champ has been and will be ready for this fight.
“This is a big fight, bigger than the one which took place in Moscow, because there are three titles involved.
“He has been working hard for this one and the blessings he received from the president of Namibia, the founding father and the mayor of Windhoek are already motivation for him.
“They are saying that he gained the win from a lucky punch in Moscow. Well, let them see that lucky punch again.”
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa.
At an official ceremony where 52 force members were promoted or given new portfolios, Ndeitunga said that members who were promoted must not think they can sit back and relax.
“You are not bosses and the offices which you work in are not yours but belong to the public who are paying your salaries. Be friendly with your communities and assist them where they need it,” he said.
Of the promotions, by far the two most outstanding is firstly, the promotion of the former Oshikoto Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Anne Marie Nainda to the rank of Major-General. Nainda is now the deputy inspector-general of the Namibian police's Administration department. Major-General Nainda joined the police force in 1992 at the tender age of 18 working at the Katutura and later Windhoek police stations.
She also served at Interpol until she joined the Oshikoto police as regional commander in 2007. Nainda is the first woman to be appointed a deputy of Ndeitunga.
After the retirement of Major-General James Tjivikua, who was the chief of operations, Major-General Desiderius Shilunga will take his place.
Former Walvis Bay crime investigation coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Ottilie Kashuupulwa from the Erongo Region was transferred to the Oshana Region as the new head of police administration, while acting regional commander in //Karas Region, Deputy Commissioner Julia Sakuwa is now the head of police administration in the Zambezi Region. These promotions and new portfolios are effective from 1 April. Ndeitunga placed great emphasis on gender representation and ethnic balance in the police force when he addressed the members.
“Look at this morning's parade, he said. I do not see any white faces. We could have had a beautiful Namibian parade if there was a diversity of colours.
“I urge white parents and families to encourage their children to join the force,” he said.
“A garden is only beautiful with flowers of different colours. I do not want to see another parade where the colours of the country are not fully represented.”
He also warned members to give their best and be productive at all times, saying there will be serious consequences for those who are lackadaisical.
“I will demote any member by three ranks should I find out that any of you who have just been promoted are lazy. Corrupt and lazy officers are an embarrassment to me and the entire force. Even if we have less members in the police, it is still better than having members who embarrass us. The same goes for officers that allow dockets to disappear.”
He urged the community to report crime saying that neighbours know when there is a drug house next to them or that their neighbour beats his wife. He urged people to report these crimes to the police without delay.
He further expressed concern over the recent escape of suspects in custody at Oshakati.
He said he will take these members on directly as there was obviously no proper supervision of the junior officers.
“If there is no proper supervision there is no control and that is when duties are not performed properly and discipline falls by the wayside. The escape of the suspects at Oshakati is one such an example,” he said.
Referring to the economic crunch, Ndeitunga said it is difficult to address the shortage of housing and officers for the force at this juncture. He added that procurement too will be problematic and new headquarters and regional offices have also been put on hold.
“The procurement of fuel has been cut from N$110 million to N$20 million and that means we will have to improvise otherwise our vehicles will soon be parked. Strict controls must be implemented.
“I repeat my directive for the control of movement for all police vehicles. If a car has been allocated for administrative purposes it may only be use during working hours and only for this purpose,” he said.
Judge Shafimana Ueitele is expected to give his ruling on 19 April. The urgent application is a sequel to the dismissal of the board of the SME Bank on 24 February by the Bank of Namibia's governor Ipumbu Shiimi.
An interim board was immediately appointed to manage the bank which includes Advocate Dennis Khama, Melani Tjijenda, Ali Ipinge and Manuel Kisting. Benustus Herunga, a long-serving member of the executive management team at the bank was appointed as acting CEO. The applicants, Tawanda Mumvuma, Enock Kamushinda, Ozias Bvute, Joseph Banda, Alec Gore and George Simataa, described the action as extra-ordinary and invasive and lodged a challenge on urgent basis. Mumvuma, executive director and CEO of the SME bank, in a sworn statement said that the application is extremely urgent as the illegality, apart from the direct and immediate irreparable harm, is also incompatible with the requirements of the rule of law. The further grounds for urgency, he said, is that is the bank is currently being run unlawfully by a purported interim board of directors appointed by the Bank of Namibia and its board when they do not have such powers. The respondents in the matter were listed as the chairperson of the board of the Bank of Namibia, the Bank of Namibia, SME Bank Namibia and the interim SME Bank board members Dennis Khama and Ali Ipinge. According to Mumvuma, members of the public therefore are on a daily basis made to transact with the SME Bank while it is being managed by an unlawful board and an unlawfully appointed CEO. “These are exceptional grounds for urgency as the banking transactions being undertaken are at the risk of being successfully impugned in future on these grounds,” Mumvuma argued.
The former directors and executives requested the court to set aside the Bank of Namibia's decision to remove them and to reinstate them while they continue further legal proceedings where they will be asking the court to review and set aside the Bank of Namibia's decision on 24 February to take control of the SME Bank, and to have that decision declared unlawful and invalid. Ueitele urged the applicants to justify why they should jump to other avenues for relief and come to court with an urgent application.“The applicants have avenues in the Labour Law where they can sue the respondents in terms of the provisions of the Act,” he said.
He then urged Mumvuma and the other applicants to place facts before court on how they will suffer irreparable damage if the matter is not heard on urgent basis.
The judge added that the requirements of urgency need to be set out in the documents. South African counsel Advocate Vincent Maleka, appeared on behalf of the applicants and maintained that there is no further sufficient redress if the matter is not heard on urgent basis. He emphasised that the respondents acted outside the law and emphasised the Rule of Law and Constitution. They were removed never to reoccupy their positions at the SME bank.
According to him the exercise of any public power should be authorised by law, that is, either by the Constitution or by any other law recognised by or made under the Constitution. “The exercise of public power is only legitimate where it is lawful,” he said.
He said in a matter such as this case the element of fairness, required for the validity of administrative action as per Article 18 of the Namibian Constitution obligates any public decision-maker to exercise appropriate concern and caution.