Articles on this Page
- 04/12/17--16:00: _When fashion meets ...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Travel and tourism ...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Informal traders sa...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _SSA countries grapp...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Corridor Group exam...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Ontlametse passes on
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Syrian govt has no ...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Nollywood rocks for...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Women are not sex o...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Pilots should repor...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _ECN budget cut by N...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _DTA guns for Nghaam...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Booze ban in Otjozo...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Drive safely this E...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Draft rent bill und...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Judge slams land gr...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Rehoboth rejects wa...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Harambee alive and ...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _'China is our all-w...
- 04/12/17--16:00: _Opposition grills G...
- 04/12/17--16:00: When fashion meets culture
- 04/12/17--16:00: Informal traders satisfied with business at Khorixas
- 04/12/17--16:00: SSA countries grapple with junk
- 04/12/17--16:00: Corridor Group examines road safety
- 04/12/17--16:00: Ontlametse passes on
- 04/12/17--16:00: Syrian govt has no chemical weapons
- 04/12/17--16:00: Nollywood rocks for real!
- 04/12/17--16:00: Women are not sex objects
- 04/12/17--16:00: Pilots should report freely
- 04/12/17--16:00: ECN budget cut by N$40m
- 04/12/17--16:00: DTA guns for Nghaamwa's head
- 04/12/17--16:00: Booze ban in Otjozondjupa
- 04/12/17--16:00: Drive safely this Easter
- 04/12/17--16:00: Draft rent bill under public discussion
- 04/12/17--16:00: Judge slams land grabbing
- 04/12/17--16:00: Rehoboth rejects water meters
- 04/12/17--16:00: Harambee alive and well
- 04/12/17--16:00: 'China is our all-weather friend'
- 04/12/17--16:00: Opposition grills Geingob
According the brains behind the event, Suoma Shalonga, the show will see a total of six designers from different walks of life showcasing their unique different attires with a pinch of modern touches. “Since the Cultural Explosion will be a night of celebrating culture, the show will be opened with a parade by the Ovahimba speaking community. This platform reveals how diverse our cultures are,” Shalonga said. Apart from showcasing culture, the platform aims to promote and strengthen unity amongst all tribes in Namibia.
The ramp will be walked by 25 models who will grace the event and lull the audience with their captivating walks. Unlike many fashion shows, the Cultural Explosion will have different models in all sizes. “Culture does not know size, as we all have cultures that we need to embrace,” said Shalonga.
Tickets are N$120 for standards, N$100 for students and N$300 for VIP via reservation or alternatively you can pay N$150 at the gate. “If you find yourself in the capital and you love and appreciate your culture, make sure that you buy your tickets and come to celebrate culture with fellow Namibians. Culture is a way of life, and your life matters,” concluded Shalonga.
Shifeta made the disclosure during his budget speech in parliament last week. According to the minister, the year 2016 will go down in history as one of the most successful and positive tourism years in Namibia and “the tourism industry remained a backbone of the country's economy even during the testing economic times that Namibia is facing.”
Citing some statistics, he said that in 2015 they revealed that the year saw more than 1. 5 million foreign visitors come to Namibia compared with 1.4 million visitors in 2014.
Shifeta said the increasing numbers of visitors and increased spending in Namibia were bound to influence employment within the tourism industry.
According to the latest report of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism's direct contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) was N$4 billion in Namibia.
This is an increase of 5.3% from N$3.8 billion in 2014 while the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP rose by 5.6% from N$18.4 billion in 2014 to N$19.5 billion in 2015.
Shifeta said the WTTC predicted a rise of 7.2% per annum which would be N$39.1 billion by 2025.
“Travel and tourism directly created 25 392 jobs in 2015 which is equivalent to 5.5% of the total employment. It is expected to rise to 6.7% per annum to 48 000 jobs which is 6.5% of total employment by 2025,” Shifeta said.
He added that this has resulted in the introduction of new airlines such as Qatar, KLM and Ethiopian Airline and the opening of new tourism markets.
However, the minister said similar to other industries in Namibia last year, the tourism sector also faced a number of challenges. Most tourism operators experienced the impact of the slowing economy on their businesses, particularly those who rely on government for conferences, seminars and workshops and activities that often provided consistent revenue streams.
“Another pertinent challenge is poaching and an increased level of crime at various farm lodges.”
Despite Namibia being the fourth most competitive travel and tourism nation in sub-Saharan Africa, it has dropped 12 positions, to the 82nd slot in the World Economic Forum's latest tourism index.
Namibia lost 12 positions this year partially from statistical adjustments such as the inclusion of previously unavailable deforestation figures, which had significantly reduced the sustainability performance for the tourism and logistics sector. According to the index, Namibia has lost a considerable portion of its forest since early 2000 and its water resources have deteriorated.
Similarly, the reassessment of car rental services and the diffusion of ATMs have resulted in a lower performance of Namibia's tourism service infrastructure. It further points out that Namibia still needs to improve its health and hygiene and under-appreciated cultural resources and renew focus on its inadequately qualified human resources which remain the main bottlenecks toward a faster development of the travel and tourism sector in the country.
Namibia's natural resources, its business environment, air transportation and price competitiveness sustain Namibia's competitiveness as the country slowly continues to increase international arrivals, according to the index.
Khorixas has one service station, one bank, one clothing store and one supermarket. “Business for me is good during month end, and is almost good on a daily basis,” said Nelson Nangula, who has been doing business for more than three years at the old service station as an informal trader. Nangula said the old petrol station was strategically located in the centre of Khorixas. The town has about 6 800 people, according to the last census of 2011. Most traders there sell fruit and vegetables. Nangula said he and other informal traders often ordered produce from Windhoek and farms around Tsumeb in the Oshikoto Region, and the transport costs were high. “We make good profit on a daily basis, and I am happy so far with my business,” said another informal trader, Esko Martin. Martin too has been selling at the old fuel station for the past three years. He said he would not continue the business if it was not delivering good returns. Martin said business was good because Khorixas had only one supermarket, where food prices are high, adding that most locals opted to buy from him because his prices were reasonable.
The southern African nation has US$1.25 billion of bonds denominated in dollars, equivalent to about 10% of its gross domestic product. Botswana and Mauritius have investment-level ratings but no Eurobonds. Moody's and Fitch have both affirmed Namibia one notch above junk status at BBB- and Baa3 respectively. In its assessment released in December last year, Moody's said a downgrade would likely come as a result of government's inability to implement a new fiscal consolidation plan which was introduced to contain public sector debt accumulation beyond Moody's baseline measure. It also said sustained declines in foreign currency reserves below three months of import cover and a material increase in borrowing costs. Fitch on the other hand said factors that would warrant a downgrade in its opinion included, failure to narrow the fiscal deficit which lead to continued rise in the government debt to GDP ratio, a failure to narrow the current account deficit or significant drawdown in international reserves and the deterioration in economic growth.
The one-day meeting analysed information generated in a case study carried out in November and December 2016 along the corridors to assist the WBCG in finding effective road safety solutions.
A road safety specialist, Felix Tjozongoro, who also compiled the draft document, conducted the study.
He said it needed final input from stakeholders and should not be spared from constructive criticism.
The study focused on finding out how safe the corridor roads will be in the next five years in terms of truck congestion, roaming of domestic animals, road accidents, safety of pedestrians, narrow roads, overloading of goods and damages to the roads.
The manager for spatial development initiative at the WBCG, Gilbert Boois, said the Port of Walvis Bay and its corridor members were strategically located to give Namibia a competitive position in providing the best transport to link regional and international trades.
The Walvis Bay Corridor refers to a network of roads and railways linking different countries to the Port of Walvis Bay.
It includes a stretch of the Trans-Kalahari road and Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development road that was known as the Trans-Caprivi Corridor but was renamed in 2010 after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia joined the group.
The Trans-Cunene-Corridor is also of the group as a road network stretching from the port of Walvis Bay via Otjiwarongo, Oshivelo and Oshikango into Angola.
Stakeholders such as the Namibian Police and local authority traffic units, Roads Authority (RA), private ambulance service providers, different local authorities, fire brigade units, recovery services (tow-in trucks) and members of the regional road safety attended the meeting.
Expected by doctors to only live until the age of 14, Phalatse last month celebrated her 18th birthday.
She was the only known black female born with this disease.
According to an update on her Facebook page on Wednesday, Phalatse experienced breathing difficulties on Tuesday and was rushed to Hebron Clinic before being referred to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.
“The doctors did everything possible to save her but unfortunately she passed on. She was surrounded by her mother, brother, family members and friends.
“The Phalatse family and Ontlametse Phalatse Trust would like to thank the nurses at Hebron Clinic and the Staff at Dr George Mukhari [Hospital] for their compassion and their effort in trying to save her.
“Our hearts are filled with pain and sadness but Ontlametse as we know her would want us to carry on with her courageous spirit. We will miss you sorely, Tsontso, our first lady. May you find eternal peace among the angels.”
She celebrated her birthday on March 25, and two days before that fulfilled her dream of meeting President Jacob Zuma before she turned 18.
Zuma surprised Phalatse with a basket filled with flowers and a cake at his Mahlamba Ndlopfu Presidential House in Pretoria.
The president described her as “very sharp” and articulate.
The top military official went on to say that Russia demands a “thorough investigation” of the 4 April incident in the town of Khan Sheikhoun located in Syria's Idlib province. He underlined that US and western claims accusing the Syrian government of being behind the alleged chemical assault are “highly questionable”.
Rudskoy also noted that the “authenticity” of information concerning this attack circulating in the media raises “serious doubts” not only among the Russian military but also “among many respected experts and organisations.”
The general added that Russia is ready to provide experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with access to the Syrian Army air base from which the attack was allegedly launched.
“The experts are aware that it is impossible to conceal the traces of the chemical weapons,” he said. The official said the Syrian government is also ready to grant access to the base for the OPCW experts.
The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said recently that that the country's military had targeted an arms depot in Idlib where chemical weapons could have been stored by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front militants.
Rudskoy also drew attention to the fact that the Syrian government has fully complied with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and has destroyed all chemical weapons production and storage facilities on the territory it still controlled in 2013 when this process began.
“Out of 12 facilities used for storing and producing chemical weapons, ten were destroyed as confirmed by the OPCW experts. The Syrian government has no access to the remaining two facilities as they are located on a territory controlled by the so-called opposition,” Rudskoy said at the briefing, adding that it remains unclear if the chemical weapons stored at these two facilities had been destroyed.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attack on Khan Sheikhoun a “false flag” operation aimed at discrediting the Assad government and warned of a threat of similar incidents in the future, possibly targeting a Damascus suburb.
For instance, do they eat anything else other than rice in Nigeria? Imagine telling a Nigerian movie director to put anything else on the menu for a dinning family set. I bet you would be forced to find out sooner if there is life after death!
"Mr Amaka, why don't we try anything else other than rice?” – You would ask.
At that moment, everyone in the set will turn to you in disbelief, mouths wide open - women softly murmuring amongst themselves, and the men shaking their heads in awe at what they have just heard.
For the untrained mind, this scene is the Namibian equivalent to those boys from Dollam asking you for N$1, and you have the audacity to say you do not have any!
I bet some old man - who was initially cast as an extra, will force his way forward, tightly shake your hand, and with a tear in his eye whisper "It shall be well with you, my son…" That will be the equivalent of the catholic, "…bless your soul" as in preparing to send you to meet your creator.
My personal favourite is watching a Nollywood action movie! When they arrest our hero for the wrong reason and he is taken to jail - I rejoice in the moment for I know my favourite part is unfolding. This usually comes in the form of the arresting officers.
These guys - usually around three to four - arrive on foot to take this supposedly dangerous suspect away! If the suspect is a wealthy business man, they would first knock, accept the offer for “something to drink” and watch TV in the meantime, while the rich man is preparing to go to jail upstairs.
They literally allow the man to pack his toothbrush, clean linen and fresh towels before he comes down the stairs to the living room to be escorted to the police station. Since the law enforcers arrived on foot, they get into the wealthy business man's car and they all shake and nod their heads to the awesome African tunes of Luchiana "100%" Mombulu all the way to the police station.
Once there, the business man - usually named Ikechukwu, or 'Pot of Gold', is dragged out of the car! At that point I am sitting in front of my telly - totally confused and in awe, asking my wife if I missed something! Like, were they not just jiving nicely together a moment ago? Mind you, he is not resisting arrest, nor is he back-chatting - but he is constantly told to "Shut up, my friend"…" I no gone tell you one more to shut up your mouth (This is my last warning for you to shut up)…".
To make matters worse, these same police officers, who were a moment ago only too happy to ride in a suspect's top class Mercedes Benz ML, would be carrying AK-47 Assault rifles to arrest 'Mama Ikebu', who allegedly stole her neighbour's 'ngari' (spinach dish) to feed her hungry children. They will drag her kicking and screaming self to the police station - usually less than a minute's walk from the suspect's house.
It is only in Nigerian movies that the expression I love you is a question! The man, who finally gets the opportunity to express his true feelings to the lady of his dreams will hold her hand, look her in the yeas and say "I love you Catherine…huhhhhh? Come on now, I tell you I love you now…hmmmmmm…" And they say Herero men are not romantic enough?
I am yet to see a Nigerian movie where the woman rushes upstairs to pack before leaving her matrimonial home. All they do is collect two large suitcases from the lounge and off they go! Ja, for a Nigerian movie, that is Morse code for "I am gone, Charlie. I have just dumped you. This is the moment where you cry your heart out and turn to boozing in the attempt to forget me…"
Well, they do have flaws - but who doesn't?
The crime statistics as well daily reports shared by the media paint a grim picture for the future of our country.
There is still no end in sight and that is the scary part. While violence and drug and alcohol related crimes continue to hog the headlines on a daily basis, the recurrence of rape is equally worrisome.
A day hardly goes by without a woman or child becoming a victim of rape. The sexual assault on our women and children is very real in our society.
This violence against women and children is a dark stain on our nation. We need to agree that the fight against violence and women and child abuse cannot be left to law-enforcement authorities only. It requires our collective responsibility to be eradicated from our society. This trend also shows that we have as a nation failed to instil the fundamental principles that all citizens should uphold for the preservation of our moral values. We need to eliminate violence and rape permeating our communities.
Nationwide condemnation and outrage is not enough to end this phenomenon. The justice system in our country works and has made great strides in providing justice our society by imposing hefty sentences for the criminals convicted of these types of crimes.
But is this enough? No! We must deal with inconceivable perceptions that women are men's sexual objects and/or possessions. In addition the culture of silence and concealment involving rape victims must furthermore be addressed.
In this editorial we demand that civil society, the criminal justice system and fellow citizens, especially men, should take the sexual assault of women and rape seriously, more so than what is happening today. As much as we want all rape claims to be investigated aggressively, it is time to spearhead anti-rape campaigns targeting young men and boys. We believe communal education campaigns will teach men and boys from a very tender age that women must be respected.
The Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations said that aircraft operators should encourage pilots to keep a voluntary reporting system culture that is non-punitive and to report all incidents and accidents that happen during flights without victimising the pilots.
Pilots are often hesitant to report technical errors or incidences as management can regard these individuals as troublesome and incurring costs for aircraft operators.
Two accident reports were released this week regarding the emergency landings executed by Scenic Air Pilots on charter flights last year.
In the first report it was found that the South African pilot who crash landed a small aircraft in an open field in Pioniers Park last year experienced a loss of engine power and did not have adequate experience on the aircraft type.
The Cessna 210 crashed west of the Pioniers Park Cemetery on 15 October last year.
According to the report, the Cessna 210 with registration V5-JAG was en route from Eros Airport to Hosea Kutako International Airport to collect four passengers who were destined for Desert Lodge at Sossusvlei.
Loss of engine power occurred due to an improper mixture setting.
The pilot, Wesley Thomas, who was injured in the accident, was on a visa, working for Scenic Air.
“Immediately after take-off the pilot reported loss of engine power and crash landed west of the cemetery.”
The flight lasted only one minute from take-off to where the accident occurred.
According to the report the pilot completed all the checks as required and no abnormalities were detected. After take-off the pilot stated that the engine sounded abnormal and he noticed the fuel flow dropping.
He also called the Eros control tower to request joining downwind in order to return to the field and called “May Day” about three times before executing a forced landing.
The report pointed out that another pilot who was supposed to fly the same aircraft at around 09:00 on the same day realised that the aircraft's constant speed unit was out of function and the duty engineer was called in to rectify the defect.
In another accident that occurred on the 5 August last year, a Cessna 210L with the registration V5-Jet made an emergency landing in the Skeleton Coast Park northeast of Henties Bay.
According to the accident report the emergency landing was made while on a repositioning flight from Dora Nawas to Swakopmund. The 40-year-old female pilot was the sole occupant and was not injured in the accident.
Before executing the landing the pilot stated she heard a massive bang that was followed by a propeller stoppage while the engine was under power.
The report says the pilot did not disclose where the aircraft initially impacted the ground and evidence indicated that the first impact occurred without the landing gear extended.
The investigation also revealed that the damage to the aircraft was as a result from high-impact forces.
The pilot is said to have lost situational awareness that resulted in an unintentional controlled flight into terrain.
Contributing factors of the accident were also inadequate monitoring of safe height above the terrain, disregard for standard and safe regulatory operating procedures, and an error in judgement with relation to the ground or obstacle clearance.
Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi said during the budget motivation of the ECN that its proposed budget has been cut from N$106 million to N$66 million, representing a N$40 million cut.
According to him the entire capital projects budget was cut to zero for the next three-year Medium Term expenditure Framework period.
Katjavivi said from the N$66 million an amount of N$44.6 million has been put aside and remains intact for the personnel expenditure, for both permanent and temporary staff.
However, the non-personnel expenditure has been reduced to N$22 million.
“Usually, an amount of N$22 million under normal circumstances is merely for one division in the ECN and not for the whole agency,” said Katjavivi.
He added that the N$22 million will be distributed among all divisions of the ECN.
“Put differently, the entire operations of the ECN will be greatly challenged during the 2017/18 financial year due to the drastic budget cuts.”
He further said that an amount of about N$5.5 million has been allocated for voter education.
He said that for the administration of elections N$5.5 million has been allocated.
He, however, stressed that the ECN must make contingency provisions for by-elections.
“In the real world, by-elections are a real possibility. They may emerge without a warning in case of a vacancy as a result of the resignation or death of any of the councillors of any regional council.”
Also an amount of N$11.1 million has been allocated to ensure the smooth running of the day-to-day activities of the ECN.
“The budget of the ECN has been cut with an amount of N$40 million and the entire operational budget will face major challenges. Despite such challenges, hopefully, the ECN has to discharge these duties successfully and thereby uphold the democratic principles and tenets of democracy enshrined in our constitution and the electoral law of the Republic of Namibia,” said Katjavivi.
In a letter dated 6 April and addressed to Nghaamwa, Hamata accused him of mismanaging taxpayers' money that has deprived the region of development projects.
“If you cannot do the job collectively as entrusted by the nation, then the only thing that is left is to leave your office for good and pave the way for those who can do the job and deliver as per the electorate's expectations,” Hamata said.
The letter also makes reference to a recent media report about N$68.2 million that, according to the treasury, is not accounted for by the region and a situation Hamata described as “disturbing”.
“This should not be condoned,” Hamata said.
He also demanded that Nghaamwa explain what happened to the money which was earmarked for regional development saying the Ohangwena Region is the least developed region with a high unemployment rate.
“Our region is behind in terms of development and job creation even though we receive a huge amount every financial year… it is also recommended that you do the honourable thing and deal with your accounting officers or resign with immediate effect so that competent people who can do the job can move our region forward,” Hamata wrote.
“It should be noted that money meant for regional development is not for individuals to waste and that every cent given must be spent on what it was intended for. We cannot live in a region where money comes and goes, leaving the people at the same level they have been for the past 27 years. Money should be used for the betterment of our region and generations to come,” Hamata added.
Nghaamwa denied receiving any such correspondence and told Namibian Sun that he did not receive anything from Hamata, adding that his office is always open.
“Let him come and tell me to resign. He is free to do that if he has the courage to come and say, 'Usko you have to go now and I have to take over the office,' he is always welcome if he has that courage,” Nghaamwa said.
He however refuted the amount the region is accused of not accounting for as reported in the media recently. According to him, Ohangwena Region has never been allocated a budget over N$68 million in any financial year.
Nghaamwa explained that stakeholders are busy looking into the matter to determine the exact amount. However, he did not rule out the possibility of funds being unaccounted for. Ohangwena Region, alongside the Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Kavango East, Oshana and Khomas regions, is said to have not accounted for funds collectively amounting to N$209 million, according to the auditor-general's reports.
Spokesperson of the Namibian police, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha on Wednesday said the ban on the sale of alcohol is fully backed by the law.
Mbeha cited the Public Holiday's Act of 1990 No. 26, which declares public holidays as 'closed days' for the sale of alcohol.
She said on such days, shebeens and bars are not supposed to operate at all.
Public holidays are on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Workers' Day, Cassinga Day, Ascension Day, Africa Day, Heroes' Day, International Human Rights Day, Christmas Day, Family Day.
“We decided to pass an order that no sale of alcohol on public holidays will be allowed or tolerated in the region,” she said.
The officer further said this is in line with maintaining law and order to control alcohol-related crime activities, especially at bars and shebeens in the region.
Mbeha warned shebeen and bar owners that they will be penalised and their liquor licences confiscated if found operating on public holidays.
She explained that it is for this reason that bottle stores and alcohol depots are closed on public holidays to observe this law, and this also applies to shebeens.
Approximately 500 shebeens operate illegally in Otjozondjupa, said Mbeha.
Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi yesterday said that the police in all 14 regions would ensure high police visibility and permanent traffic checkpoints will be in full operation during the Easter weekend. Mobile checkpoints will be operational too, and highway patrols will be increased. Officers will be conducting random alcohol tests and checking for vehicle roadworthiness and overloading, said Shikwambi. “As is customary, people will be travelling to various destinations and this time around all roads lead to major towns of our country and especially the coast at Swakopmund where the youth will be participating in a soccer tournament. Consequently our national roads will be extremely busy,” she said. Last year over the Easter weekend 65 car crashes were recorded in which 11 people died and 114 were injured. In 2015 there were 81 accidents which killed 25 people and injured 139. A total of 59 accidents were recorded in 2014, in which six people were killed and 116 injured. Shikwambi said the aim was to reduce these statistics this weekend. She pointed out that four people had died in two crashes this week, before the weekend even started. “This is evident that during times of national festivities road traffic accidents are very prevalent.” She said the emphasis on road safety must be repeated, not only by law enforcement agencies but it must be a concerted effort by all stakeholders.
The police also appealed to Namibians to be vigilant at all times in terms of crime and urged all liquor outlets to strictly comply with the conditions stipulated in their liquor licences. Any traffic violation must be reported to road traffic checkpoints or the nearest police station, or call the police emergency number 10111.
The draft bill currently states that no rent shall be considered reasonable, which after deductions of a list of items including insurance, rates and taxes, furniture, fittings and services and more, “gives an annual return to the lessor of more than 10% on the join value of the land and improvements.” The draft states that the prescribed percentage “must be considered the basic rate of interest normally imposed by banks on mortgage bond loans.”
The first public consultation that forms part of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development's bid to finalise input for amendments to the Rent Ordinance of 1977 was held at a stakeholder workshop in Windhoek yesterday.
The ministry's permanent secretary, Gabriel Sinimbo, could not confirm yesterday whether further public consultations would be held, underlining that “given the urgency of the matter there will be inconveniences.” The stakeholder workshop yesterday was attended primarily by representatives of government ministries and agencies, representatives from local authorities and professional bodies, banks, and key stakeholders from estates and property agents. Members of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) and the National Youth Council were also in attendance. Sinimbo opened the workshop by noting that government intended to improve its overview of the rental market, in order to prevent exploitation of lessees at the hands of property owners, but cautioned that this could not be done without considering the views of the lessors.
“Government has considered it important to look at striking a balance between lessors and lessees,” Sinimbo said, saying an “amicable” position had to be achieved.
He told the participants that their submissions, handed in earlier this week and after the workshop, would be considered but the government was not prepared to delay the matter extensively. The minister of industrialisation, trade and SME development, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, briefly reminded participants yesterday of government's decision in February to pause the establishment and appointment of a Rent Board, and instead to amend the outdated and impractical Rent Ordinance to align it with the government's objectives.
The minister also said that there were always two sides and the workshop was aimed at soliciting views especially from the lessors. He said numerous inputs had been provided by lessees to date and the ministry aimed to draft a “reasonable law”.
Adolf Denk, the consultant from Monas Advisory and Associates who was brought on board by the ministry to consult on the draft bill, told the participants yesterday that one of the chief aims of the amendments was to ensure adequate protection in the rental market. He explained that the amendments proposed the establishment of regional rent tribunals will help determine rent prices, based on a number of factors, including value of property, location and other means. In the draft bill, the rent tribunals will also act on complaints and claims related to the Rent Act. A rent tribunal will consist of a magistrate of the relevant district, and four additional members appointed by the minister. The draft bill stipulates that all lease agreements must be in writing, and a written lease agreement must be concluded even if a property was rented before the bill is enacted.
A copy of all lease agreements must be lodged with the relevant rent tribunal in the region. The draft legislation stipulates that a written receipt has to be provided to a lessee for all payments. The draft states that a deposit may not exceed one month's rent and the deposit must be invested by the lessor in an interest-bearing account with a financial institution. The interest accrued, which may not be less than the rate applicable to a savings account with that financial institution, must be paid to the lessee once the rental agreement ends.At such time, the lessor may apply the deposit and interest towards payment of damages for which the lessee is liable.
The draft bill contains further details on the appeal board, which will oversee matters brought to it if a lessee or lessor is not satisfied by a decision of the rent tribunal.
In his judgement, released yesterday afternoon, Judge Shafimana Ueitele said that having dismissed their application, primarily due to a lack of evidence to support their claims of long-term occupation before the evictions, it was important to note that “we as a country are facing extremely serious problems relating to poverty, unemployment and more importantly housing”.
He cautioned however that “these intolerable living conditions cannot be a licence to impel people to resort to land grabbing. Self-help of this kind cannot and must not be tolerated.”
The judge concluded his judgement by saying that “I want to record that this case shows the desperation of people living in deplorable conditions in the city.”
Ueitele said the municipality was obliged to “act positively to ameliorate these conditions” and was under an obligation to provide access to urban land to its inhabitants.
He warned however that the obligation to provide land “does not mean and must never be interpreted to mean that conditions of poverty and landlessness are a license to land grabbing aimed at coercing the City into making land available.”
Citing a Supreme Court judgement, Ueitele said that “the destruction of a home and the removal of its contents have grave implications for the people concerned. Homes are the centre of people's lives.”
Appeal on the cards
The Affirmative Reposition (AR) announced yesterday that they were likely to appeal the judgement in which the 15 7de Laan homeowners were ordered to vacate their homes by no later than 28 April.
“We approached the court in search of justice. Our struggle is not confined to the court but we are merely doing whatever we can to restore the dignity of our people with the little we have,” the AR said in a statement yesterday afternoon.
The AR said that following appeal, the “judgement of today will be temporarily suspended and be of no effect immediately. The matter will then proceed to the Supreme Court.”
Yesterday, Judge Shafimana Ueitele dismissed part A of the urgent application brought by 15 residents whose shacks had been demolished on 28 March.
In his judgement, he cited a lack of evidence to support their claims that they had lived at Erf 3162 in 7de Laan for more than three years when the City ordered their eviction and demolished their shacks.
The City had argued that it had stopped an illegal occupation that was in progress and that none of the applicants had lived there before, and for that reason a court order was not required.
The judge did include an instruction to the City Police to return all confiscated building materials, including corrugated-iron sheets and wooden poles, to the applicants.
Part A of the application had asked for an order interdicting the City Police and Windhoek municipality from proceeding with evictions and demolitions without a court order, pending a review of the actions and decision of the City and the City Police under Part B.
Part A also asked for an order directing the City to restore the homes that had been demolished.
Part B of the application was to review the actions of the City, and asking that their actions be declared unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.
The judge postponed Part B of the case until to 26 April for a status hearing.
Little supporting evidence
Ueitele yesterday said the main issue the court had to consider was the dispute about the length of occupation of the residents at 7de Laan.
Apart from Christine Likuwa, the first applicant, Judge Ueitele said that none of the other 14 applicants “placed evidence before this court as to when exactly they came to occupy Erf 3162.”
Neither did the applicants dispute the version put forward by the City officials, “thus casting serious doubts on their version that they have been in occupation on Erf 3162 for a period of more than three years.”
The judge said because of the lack of supporting evidence for their claims he was bound to accept the version of the City officials.
“The facts put up by the City and City Police cannot be said to be far-fetched, those facts do, in my view, cast serious doubts on the version put up by Ms Likuwa and she can therefore not succeed.”
Swapo councillor Vincent Uirab confirmed that the council had resolved to procure the meters, although the purchase was not recommended by its management committee as stipulated by law, because it was an “urgent matter”.
“Yes, it must be recommended by the management committee but if an item is a special case then it can be done through a special council meeting,” said Uirab.
This consignment is part of 7 500 units ordered at a cost of N$18.7 million.
Namibian Sun understands that a payment plan has been arranged that would see the bill settled in instalments over 120 days.
In the meantime Swartz has disappeared and could not be reached at his office or on his mobile phone.
According to a council source, Swartz in his acting capacity steamrollered the resolution on 8 February 2017 while Rehoboth CEO Christof Uirab was out of town to attend a workshop in Swakopmund.
Meanwhile, United People's Movement councillor Emma Farmer says she is unaware of a resolution made regarding the water meters.
“There was talk about it. It was mentioned that water meters must be installed for the pensioners and for Block C and E residents. We still have no clarity on how it would have been financed, whether it would be a donation from NamWater or whether the council would pay for it,” she said.
Although Uirab declined to comment on who had authorised the procurement order, he said it was not a priority and the council simply had no money to pay for the meters.
“It is true that the truck is here but we have not made a decision on whether we will accept the shipment yet. We only heard about it yesterday. We have other pressing issues to deal with such as the NamWater water bill.”
This comes at a time when an intervention team from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development has been stationed at the council to investigate a number of staff members.
According to Uirab consultations are being held with this team on what the ultimate decision will be regarding the water meters.
The water meters are being stored at a private business owner's storerooms.
The Namibian House is stable. The Namibian House is resilient. The Namibian House is secure. With these words President Hage Geingob ended a well-crafted and honest outline of the state of the nation yesterday.
The head of state focused on the achievements of his administration during the past year, especially in the areas of health, education, economy, housing and other socio-economic challenges. He also did not shy away from admitting to the failures of his administration and other challenges facing the nation.
Geingob reiterated his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption and enhancing transparency. He spoke at length about asset declarations and performance agreements for cabinet ministers.
He also made mention of the remuneration of all public office bearers. “As promised, we have publicly released the remuneration of all public office bearers. The negative short-term trend of sensationalising information obtained due to these and other disclosures will hopefully translate into a positive, long-term trend of a culture of transparency.”
In combating corruption, Geingob listed the cancellation of the N$7 billion airport tender, saying: “The Supreme Court’s decision to set the tender award aside enabled us to restart a transparent, cost-sensitive procurement process.”
He also listed the investigation into the national oil storage facility to contain costs, the action taken against the SME Bank and the investigation into the money laundering and tax evasion case.
He told parliament that a “friend of the president was implicated. If the president were not serious about fighting corruption, why did he not intervene to protect his so-called friend from arrest?”
Other matters including Avid, the Offshore Development Company, the GIPF saga and the Kora Awards were also mentioned as being investigated by the authorities.
The Public Procurement Act is also in force and was described by Geingob as a concrete action to strengthen governance architecture.
“Unfortunately, the Whistleblower Protection and Access to Information bills were not finalised timeously. We anticipate their enactment this year. The honourable ministers of justice and information and communication technology are enjoined to take the necessary action.”
Finally, he said the ministerial performance contracts were available on the website of the Office of the Prime Minister. “Apart from quarterly performance reports by offices, ministries and agencies, we have also introduced one-on-one performance discussions between myself, as president, and individual cabinet ministers.”
The president emphasised the development of water infrastructure for the central regions following acute shortages at the start of this year. He highlighted borehole development in the Windhoek area as well as infrastructure to pump and extract water not only from the Von Bach and Swakoppoort dams, but also from the Berg Aukas and Kombat mines near Grootfontein. Further water infrastructure will be developed, including the expansion of existing carriers, improved desalination capacity and the completion of Neckartal Dam near Keetmanshoop.
“Competitive infrastructure is the backbone of our economic development. Investors look for reliable and affordable water, electricity and functional distribution networks. Infrastructure is also a crucial catalyst in uplifting the living standard of our people,” Geingob said.
Electricity supply had stabilised and several renewable-energy projects were under way, he said.
Other major projects he discussed include the expansion of the port of Walvis Bay and the addition of 463km of tarred roads added to the road network.
In terms of the Harambee targets, he said that 159km of dual-carriageway roads were added to the network from a four-year target of 526km.
“This represents a completion rate of 30% and suggests this target is attainable over the remaining period of three years.”
While upgrading of the rail network formed part of the Harambee goals, none of these were achieved. “Six new locomotives and 90 fuel tankers have been commissioned. Going forward, focus will be on upgrading the railway tracks on the basis of PPPs.”
Geingob called for proposals and submissions from stakeholders for land reform and related the inequality levels in Namibia to the skewed land distribution. He emphasised again that a second land conference would be held in the third quarter of the year.
“Land should be one of our most productive assets. The land question should therefore not be confined to redistribution, but also take into account the need to increase agricultural productivity.”
He discussed mentorship programmes between retired and emerging farmers, saying a management company could be established where resettled or emerging farmers gradually took over from retired farmers.
“Armed with valuable skills and knowledge, resettled farmers could be encouraged to gradually assume management control while the retired farmers exit the company. Resettled farmers could then form cooperatives to better participate in the agricultural supply chain. This will be highly beneficial for our country and a significant step towards our shared prosperity.”
In a bid to improve the productivity of agricultural land, Geingob stressed that the resolutions of the first land conference, along with their implementation, must be looked into.
He added that open dialogue should be held on the willing-seller, willing-buyer principle, ancestral land claims, land expropriation and urban land reform.
He called for a calm response to the land issue, saying that “we are on the same page” but adding that the government would not condone lawlessness, settling illegally on land or grabbing land.
“Nations go to war when dialogue fails. In our democracy, we have sufficient room for frank and open dialogue. All those born in Namibia are Namibians, irrespective of race or colour, and are entitled to own land legally.”
Turning to the delivery of serviced land and houses in urban areas, a burning topic in the country for the past two years, Geingob told members of parliament: “I am pleased to report that we have made good progress with servicing residential land, especially in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Outapi and Oshakati. In Windhoek, we are also making progress, albeit at a slower pace. In total, 7 754 plots have been serviced countrywide, surpassing the annual target of 6 000.”
Last year, Geingob promised 26 000 serviced plots over four years.
According to the head of state, 5 554 houses were completed nationwide with a target of 5 000 in the first year of Harambee.
Geingob included the municipalities, GIPF, Development Bank of Namibia, National Housing Enterprise, Shack Dwellers Federation, with support from its partners, the Built Together Programme and private property developers in the housing figure.
“Unfortunately, some houses remain unoccupied for too long due to the bureaucratic process involved in the transfer of ownership of land. We are following up on those cases and working with the partners to expedite the process.”
One of the most important targets was the elimination of the bucket toilet system by the end of this year. According to Geingob, “progress with regard to the elimination of the bucket system has been less than satisfactory”.
Some 2 367 households are still using this system and 780 households have been identified in the Hardap and //Karas regions where construction work has commenced to replace this system.
“I have directed the implementing offices, ministries and agencies to step up delivery of this essential social need and ensure that by the end of this year, we eliminate this demeaning system from Namibia.”
Namibia remains one of the most unequal societies in the world and the Namibia Statistics Agency says the income of the top 1% of Namibians is equal to the combined income of the bottom 50%. The Gini coefficient has remained static at 0.5972.
“It is for this reason that we have proposed the introduction of an economic empowerment framework, NEEEF. Public consultations on the framework have been completed and the Office of the Prime Minister has consolidated the report, which will soon be tabled in Cabinet.”
Geingob admitted that the framework may be imperfect but added that there had not been any significant transformation in sectors such as mining, tourism and financial services in the past 27 years. “The majority of Namibians remain structurally excluded from meaningful participation in the economy.”
Without deliberate policies, he said, the economy would not be able to correct these structural imbalances itself.
Highlighting land distribution as a role player in economic inequality, he added that “Namibia has the advantage of enjoying positive race relations which lends itself to a frank, difficult and necessary conversation on the solutions to reduce inequality”.
He called on the private sector to consider employee share and home-ownership schemes, saying it was “disheartening” that workers, many of whom had worked as long as 40 years for a single employer, only received a long-service award upon retirement.
He elucidated the plight of farmworkers.
“It is an issue close to my heart and the deplorable conditions that many of them face compels all farm owners to take a moment and re-examine their sense of humanity. Many farmworkers are working under slave-like conditions. This is not acceptable in a free Namibia, which prides itself on upholding the values of human dignity and decency.”
The cordial relations between Namibia and China were underscored by President Hage Geingob yesterday following months of news coverage about Chinese nationals involved in poaching and the uncovering of a multibillion-dollar tax-evasion scam.
In his State of the Nation Address yesterday Geingob said he wanted to address the relationship between Namibia and China, and specifically referred to media coverage.
In March the Chinese embassy in Namibia said there had been overwhelmingly negative news coverage about Chinese citizens and China in the local media, with more than 70 negative reports on China, mostly on wildlife crime, reported since January.
Geingob yesterday said China and Namibia’s relationship remained strong and the two countries were “all-weather friends”.
He said Namibia and China stood together in fighting corruption and crime, as well as condemning xenophobia and intolerance.
Geingob said the relationship with China was not built on personalities.
“It is a state-to-state relationship spanning many decades and based on the principles of mutual respect and trust.”
Geingob said that just like Namibia does not condone illegal behaviour by its citizens in other countries, Chinese authorities had given the assurance that they too did not condone the illegal conduct of their citizens abroad.
“The two countries stand together in this. We would also like to reiterate that we fully support the One China policy.”
Geingob also elaborated on Namibia’s relationships with other countries and said that Namibia and Africa shared a common destiny.
He singled out the contribution made by what he referred to as two of Namibia’s closest allies, namely Angola and Cuba, towards Namibia’s independence.
He said Angola was not only home to thousands of Namibians in exile, it was the main rear base from where the country’s armed struggle was planned and waged.
As for Cuba, no other country outside Africa had contributed as selflessly as Cuba had to the attainment of Namibia’s freedom.
“We will forever cherish this true solidarity. The Cubans never came to plunder and take away our resources. They only came to assist and requested nothing in return.”
He further said that Namibia’s relationship with Germany remained cordial and said that Germany was one of its biggest development cooperation partners.
Geingob said that the Namibian government continued to engage Germany in order to resolve the long outstanding issue of the genocide.
Geingob said the relationship with other countries, including the United States, the European Union, Russia, India and South Africa, was equally outstanding.
“We are mindful that there are still people in the world who do not enjoy their full rights. Namibia sympathises with nations denied their right to self-determination,” said Geingob.
DTA leader McHenry Venaani has told President Hage Geingob that he is only “talk and no action” when it comes to corruption.
After the State of the Nation Address yesterday, Venaani challenged Geingob - who said his administration would “do something bold” about corruption - to explain why no heads had rolled in the Hosea Kutako International Airport tender saga.
Geingob hit back, saying it was because of his intervention that the tender was stopped and that the opposition simply wanted to disagree, having failed to work together with the government to curb corruption.
“People are about to be charged, there is a due process which is an important thing. You cannot just grab people because they are implicated… the next time it can happen to us. Why can we not be encouraged for addressing corruption? I would have thought you would have joined us,” Geingob said.
Venaani also demanded that Geingob explain why he had spent N$700 000 on a two-day hotel stay recently.
Geingob rejected this claim as a “blatant lie” and urged Venaani to bring him the bill as proof.
“Which hotel is that? I went to New York where I paid US$10 000 a night,” he thundered.
Venaani also asked Geingob to explain why N$9 million was spent annually on new furniture for the Office of the President, to which Geingob failed to respond.
Geingob also failed to respond to Venaani’s question on what his administration was doing to see to it that foreigners were not appointed in jobs at the expense of qualified Namibians.
Geingob took a swipe at genocide activists when he responded to questions from Nudo president Asser Mbai regarding the issue, saying, “Many of you think you are going to get cash to buy your cars.”
Geingob also snapped at government critics who had criticised the appointment of Dr Zed Ngavirue as special envoy on the genocide reparation negotiations.
“As president, I have the prerogative of appointing someone, not on tribal basis. We appointed Dr Ngavirue, a respected man. We live in a representative democracy, where selected or elected people have to represent the greater majority. Swapo is elected by 80% of Namibians to represent them. Many of you are who are talking do not even have royal blood,” he mocked.
Swapo parliamentarians were mostly silent during question time.