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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 326 | 327 | (Page 328) | 329 | 330 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    No jail for rhino-horn smugglerNo jail for rhino-horn smugglerYe Zhiwei pays R1.2 million fine A man who smuggled 18 rhino horns from Namibia last year, allegedly because he needed money, has paid a fine of R1.2 million in South Africa. The Chinese man who smuggled 18 rhino horns through Hosea Kutako International Airport and was arrested in South Africa has been sentenced to a fine of R1.2 million or six years in prison.

    He paid the fine and will not spend any time in prison.

    Ye Zhiwei appeared before the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court last Wednesday. He pleaded guilty to smuggling the rhino horns from Namibia into South Africa.

    Ye was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport on 23 November 2016.

    He was travelling in transit from Namibia on board a South African Airways flight to Hong Kong when the South African Hawks received an anonymous tip-off and discovered 18 rhino horns hidden in his luggage. The rhino horns were tightly wrapped in industrial cling wrap.

    The horns weighed 43 kilogrammes and were valued at around N$6.6 million.

    Ye pleaded guilty to a charge of importing the rhino horns without the necessary permits. He said in his plea explanation that he had received 15 black rhino horns and three white rhino horns at a hotel in Windhoek.

    “I confirm that I imported the rhino horns from Namibia in transit to South Africa with the intention to take them to Hong Kong,” he said.

    He claimed that he had been approached in September last year by a certain Zang Fei, who offered to pay him for picking up a parcel in Namibia and taking it to Hong Kong.

    Ye said he was experiencing serious financial problems and therefore accepted the offer to earn extra income.

    According to Ye he was never told what he would be paid for his services.

    He testified that he went to Hosea Kutako on 23 November to depart for OR Tambo en route to Hong Kong.

    He said upon his arrival at the airport he booked the two suitcases and after his arrival at the OR Tambo the same day he went to the transit lounge to wait for his connecting flight to Hong Kong. He said after a while he was approached by the police and the 18 rhino horns were discovered in his luggage.

    A few days after Ye's arrest an investigation into activities at Hosea Kutako was ordered when it was discovered that the rhino horns in his possession had in fact been detected by airport scanners.

    The investigation resulted in the arrest of a Namibian Police sergeant, Pendapala Abraham Iitula (42), who had been stationed at the scanners when Ye was allowed to board.

    The minister of environment and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said at the time that Namibia might bring its own charges against Ye if it could be proven that the rhino horns were of Namibian origin.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 04/24/17--16:00: Winter is here
  • Winter is hereWinter is here With cold, rainy weather persisting in several parts of the country for most of the week, Namibians can prepare themselves for the start of winter.

    According to Odillo Kgobetsi of the Namibia Meteorological Service, temperatures are expected to drop in the next few days and will only start picking up again towards the end of the week.

    He says although there will be a slight increase of about 2 degrees, day temperatures are not likely to rise above 23 degrees until spring.

    There is still a good chance of rain this week in the Zambezi Region and the central and south-eastern parts of the country.

    In the Zambezi Region the chance of rain is about 60% early in the week, dropping to 40% later. In the central area the chance of rain is 20% to 40%.

    Heavy rain was received over the weekend.

    On Friday, 50mm was recorded at Tsumeb, 40mm at Steenboklaagte, 40mm at Nkurenkuru, 32.2mm at Grootfontein, 31mm at Otavi and 27.5mm at Eenhana.

    On Saturday Tsumeb recorded 40mm, Rundu airport 31mm and Rundu town 23mm.

    On Sunday 38.5mm was measured at Ogongo and Katima Mulilo received 11.1mm.

    Four of Namibia's dams have received inflow during the past week and the average dam level now stands at 62.4%, compared to 35.4% at the same time last year.

    The central dams are 55.8% full compared to 12.7% last year. The Swakoppoort Dam and the Von Bach Dam both received inflow last week.

    Swakoppoort is now 52% full and Von Bach 61.4%. The Omatako Dam is 55.4% full.

    The Hardap Dam in the south also received inflow and is now 69.4% full, while the Otjivero Main Dam in the Omaheke Region is 27.7% full.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Murder suspect seeks new judgeMurder suspect seeks new judgeDefence lawyer doubts fair trial Marcus Thomas wants his murder trial to restart before a new judge, claiming that Judge Christie Liebenberg has already prejudged him. One of the two Americans accused of killing André Heckmair in Windhoek in early 2011 now wants the presiding judge in the case to recuse himself.

    Marcus Thomas's lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, yesterday informed the court of his intention to submit a recusal application.

    He argued that Judge Christie Liebenberg had already concluded that Thomas had committed the murder.

    Judge Liebenberg postponed the matter to 15 May for the filing of the application, and to 5 June for the hearing thereof.

    Thomas, together with Kevin Townsend, allegedly plotted and committed the murder of André Heckmair in early 2011.

    They face one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act and one count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

    They were arrested shortly after Heckmair's body had been found in a parked car in Klein Windhoek on 7 January 2011.

    The recusal application is based on rulings Liebenberg had made on 3 August 2015 and 19 October 2016.

    He ruled in October last year that Thomas was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his acts and was fit to stand trial.

    Amoomo argued that this was proof that the judge had already made up his mind about the guilt of his client.

    “Will the accused have a fair trial in view of the predetermination and conclusion that he has committed an act which constitutes an offence without an evidential enquiry?” Amoomo asked.

    He argued that this was possible grounds for recusal and starting the trial afresh before another judge.

    A third psychiatric report on a second assessment of Thomas's mental state found him fit to stand trial.

    The report, compiled by Willem J. Annandale, provisionally submitted as evidence against Thomas, stated that he had tried to distort his evaluation test results.

    “From a neuropsychological perspective Thomas is most certainly fit to stand trial,” Annandale

    wrote.

    After a failed jailbreak attempt, Thomas allegedly suffered concussion when he fell from the security fence around the Windhoek Central Prison.

    Since then the trial has been stalled by arguments and submissions concerning his mental state.

    Evidence has already been led that Thomas was guilty of malingering, or faking a mental disability, in order to escape the consequences of his actions.

    Dr Reinhardt Sieberhagen, a Windhoek psychiatrist, and Professor Tuviah Zabow of the University of Cape Town both came to the conclusion that Thomas was mentally fit to stand trial.

    They stated in their psychiatric reports that Thomas was not suffering from any mental defect and was able to understand court proceedings.

    The experts were instructed to re-examine Thomas after a state psychiatrist in 2015 reported that he had a neurocognitive disorder and was unfit to stand trial.

    Advocate Antonia Verhoef is prosecuting while Siyomuinji Mbanga is defending Townsend.





    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 04/24/17--16:00: Plugging education's holes
  • Plugging education's holesPlugging education's holesEveryone must pitch in to fund schools The education ministry has appealed to parents and companies to make voluntary contributions to ease the budget cuts in the sector. Parents, teachers, school boards and the private sector can help soften the blow of the cost-cutting measures implemented at schools because of budget cuts.

    One of the savings that will be made is a reduction of the universal primary and secondary education grants to N$250 per pupil.

    The education ministry aims to save up to N$160 million with cuts of 45.5% at primary schools and 50% at secondary schools.

    “While we are cognisant of the challenges and hardships schools may experience due to the received allocations, we are working very hard to ensure that each school works closely with their school boards, parents and learners to spend funds in a sound and prudent manner,” education permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp said last week.

    She added that the reductions were not cast in stone. Should any funds be made available during the mid-term budget review, restoring the grants would be prioritised.

    Other cost-cutting measures include doing away with relief teachers when staff go on study leave.

    “It was requested that the regional directors should ensure that internal arrangements are made to substitute a staff member going on study leave, with no additional financial implications to the government,” Steenkamp said. She said study leave that had been approved last year would remain in place. She pointed out that the ministry had introduced an in-service diploma in junior primary education, paid for by the ministry, that was aimed at teacher development.

    She said there were various ways teachers could upgrade their skills, including long-distance or part-time studies.

    The ministry has also cut back on expenses such as travel allowances and overtime and instructed schools to reduce water and electricity usage.

    Regional directorates have been instructed to revise all contracts to determine where costs could be cut, and schools must eliminate non-essential spending.



    Everyone should pitch in

    Steenkamp said the ministry implored school managers and teachers to ensure they could account for every cent.

    Although mandatory school fees had been abolished, parents and the private sector could help in a number of ways, she said.

    She said voluntary contributions, whether financial or in kind, were welcome. “All these funds will be accounted for and approved for usage and the budgeting is done by the school board,” she said, referring to donations or fundraising campaigns.



    Textbooks

    Steenkamp did not respond directly to a question whether schools had been instructed to reduce textbook-to-learner ratios in order to cut costs, but confirmed that over the past few years textbook ratios had been improved from one book per three students to one book per student at some schools.





    She said the ordering of textbooks was based on each school's needs. “In the long run, schools are able to order adequate learning materials.”

    Nevertheless, the ministry had noticed that some schools were unable to reach the 1:1 ratio because they ordered textbooks with different titles each year, “leading to the side-lining of the existing learning materials that could be ideally used as relevant reference or resource materials.”

    Moreover, vandalism of textbooks by learners was a concern.

    In 2015, the ministry purchased more than a million textbooks, including new textbooks for the revised senior primary curriculum.

    In 2016, the ministry procured 627 282 textbooks, spending more than N$102 million during the 2015/16 financial year and more than N$79 million during the 2016/17 financial year on textbooks.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Governor in second culpable homicide caseGovernor in second culpable homicide case KENYA KAMBOWE

    The Oshikoto police have charged Ohangwena regional governor Usko Nghaamwa (73) with culpable homicide for the second time.

    He allegedly ran over a pedestrian at Onankali on the Ondangwa-Omuthiya main road at 01:00 yesterday morning.

    The deceased, identified as Petrus Iyambo (20) was crossing the road on his way home after a night out. He was hit by a Toyota double-cab bakkie driven by Nghaamwa and died instantly.

    According to the police report, Nghaamwa was travelling from Otjiwarongo on an official trip and was alone in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

    It is the second time Nghaamwa has been charged with culpable homicide. In March 2015 he was involved in a similar incident in which 31-year-old Benceau Vanyenga, a cattle herder, died after being hit by the governor’s Land Cruiser.

    The incident took place about two kilometres from the Tsintsabis Veterinary Gate. Nghaamwa sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to a Windhoek hospital.

    According Deputy Commissioner Naomi Katjiua of the Oshikoto police, that case was closed after the prosecutor-general’s office decline to prosecute.

    Katjiua said it was difficult to prosecute someone in cases where there were no witnesses.

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    'Racist' angler slapped with lifetime ban'Racist' angler slapped with lifetime ban A man who was recorded hurling racial slurs at security guards at a popular fishing spot at the coast this past weekend was banned for life.

    A Saturday post from a visitor to the Windpomp 14 campsite and restaurant just north of Swakopmund went viral on social media, prompting an investigation by angling authorities.

    The Namibia Rock and Surf Angling Association on Sunday issued a statement stating that it had been brought to their attention that a member might have misbehaved on Saturday, 22 April.





    The letter, signed by Johan Agenbag, the chairman of the association, stated that “the incident will be investigated by the individual's club in cooperation with the association”.

    The letter stated that the association did not condone “this type of behaviour” and should a member be found guilty, disciplinary steps would be taken.

    Windpomp 14 belongs to Namibia Wildlife Resorts but is managed by the Prosperity Group's Sun Kaross affiliate. Bertus Struwig, a principal of the Prosperity Group, on Sunday offered the following apology, banning the perpetrator for life.





    “It took hundreds of visitors to help build Windpomp14's reputation over a period of 16 months as a place where friends and family can meet, relax and enjoy Namibian hospitality at its best ... it took one man to trash that reputation in a matter of minutes. We are this morning disgusted and strongly condemn this juvenile behaviour of this person that caused this unacceptable incident,” Struwig posted on the Windpomp 14 Facebook page.

    “We offer compliments to our security guards who tried their best to deal with this situation and apologise that they had to take the insults from a man who obviously has no respect for himself or others. I'm totally amazed that we still have such human elements in this great country, whilst we cannot wish you away, our doors will always be closed to you. The sign NOT WELCOME should have your name on.”

    According to a Facebook user, Shaldon Isaaks, he was visiting the restaurant with his family and they were having a “wonderful time” when a group of anglers arrived.

    “The fishermen who took part in the angling competition held at Mile 14 arrived and were very thirsty.”

    He accused the group of speaking loudly and being vulgar, saying one member of the group “pulled down his pants and danced in front of the patrons at the restaurant”.

    He alleged that one of the men urinated outside the restaurant, against the establishment's windows.

    “And the place has such beautiful restrooms,” he wrote.

    Security guards then arrived and the matter turned ugly, leading to a fistfight between the guards and the unidentified man. A video of the incident was also shared on Facebook.

    Isaaks alleged that racist slurs were uttered by the man but it appears as though the fight was settled quickly and the group of anglers then left.

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    No urgency in SME Bank reinstatement appeal No urgency in SME Bank reinstatement appeal The High Court has refused to grant urgency to an application involving the suspended executives and directors of the SME Bank who are claiming that the Bank of Namibia acted unlawfully when it dismissed them. Judge Shafimana Ueitele, in his ruling said, the applicants must set good reasons why they cannot get a redress in a normal course of action. The central bank in February this year removed the ex-directors and the executives and took charge of the SME Bank following the discovery of what appeared to be unsound investments of close to N$200 million in South Africa. The applicants include the bank’s CEO Tawanda Mumvuma, finance manager Joseph Banda, General Manager of Treasury and Investments Alec Gore, Chairperson of the Board George Simataa, Vice-Chairperson Enock Kamushinda and ordinary director Ozias Bvute. They have been ordered to pay the costs of the respondent.

    STAFF REPORTER





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  • 04/25/17--16:00: Dos Santos to step down
  • Dos Santos to step downDos Santos to step down Angola's cabinet said on Monday that elections will be held on August 23 to choose a successor to President Eduardo dos Santos after 38 years of iron-fisted rule.

    Dos Santos, 74, has been in power since 1979 and has announced that he will not contest the election. His ruling party's presidential candidate will be the current defence minister.

    "At the suggestion of the president of the republic... the nation's cabinet on Monday approved August 23 as the date for Angola's general election," cabinet spokesman Joao Maria de Sousa said in a press conference broadcast on national radio.

    Dos Santos must now formally trigger the legal process to stage the polls which will see up to 9.6 million Angolans cast ballots.

    Joao Lourenco, the current defence minister, emerged in February as Dos Santos' chosen successor and is thought by analysts to be the most likely victor in August's contest.

    The election is set to mark a new chapter for the oil-rich country as Dos Santos hands over power.

    Dos Santos, who has dominated the Angolan government and the ruling MPLA party for decades, has been regularly accused of crushing dissent.

    The MPLA has ruled since independence from Portugal in 1975.

    About 50 protesters attended an unauthorised demonstration in Luanda on Monday calling for fair elections, with police arresting seven people who were each jailed for 45 days.

    After constitutional changes in 2010, Angola does not directly elect a president but the leader of the winning party in the general elections automatically becomes head of state.

    "All the political, parliamentary, financial, logistical and security conditions are in place for transparent and unhindered general elections," said Sousa, who also serves as the country's chief prosecutor, apparently quoting Dos Santos.

    But opposition figures have raised doubts about the plans for the polls and suggested it is unlikely that they will be fair.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 04/25/17--16:00: Gravy train must end
  • Gravy train must endGravy train must end We read with disgust in The Patriot at the weekend about the political elite who continue to demand lavish perks on top of their high-paying jobs. Members of parliament last week demanded in the National Assembly that a clinic be constructed at parliament, an ambulance, apartments and business class flights when travelling abroad. The demands made by our politicians are a reminder that there is an entrenched and unrelenting sense of entitlement from those who are quick to claim that they are public servants. It is as clear as daylight that our economy is struggling at the moment. Measures to cut costs are ruthlessly implemented at many government agencies, with the latest education cuts being a stark reminder that all is not well. While treasury officials are hard at work trying to improve the country's revenue through cost-cutting measures, some MPs are arrogantly demanding luxurious perks. Our MPs are doing this despite the knowledge that there is not enough money to buy textbooks. They are also knowledgeable of the funding crisis the country's sport sector finds itself in, not to mention the high levels of inequality which is evidently allowed to worsen. The MPs in the National Assembly are already sitting pretty. They earn almost N$700 000 per year and perks of over N$160 000 inclusive of housing and utility allowances. One would assume that given the lean budgets of government offices and agencies that politicians would lead by example, by giving up on some of their lucrative perks, especially the business class flights, which cost taxpayers millions every year. Ordinary Namibians have tightened their belts in the context of being prudent. Why can't politicians do the same with our state resources? Their spending clearly reveals an entitled attitude and this must be discouraged in the strongest terms. Some of these MPs hail from villages without basic healthcare and education facilities, yet they prioritise taxpayer-funded allowances and perks. Politicians have been riding the gravy train for far too long without delivering on their election campaign promises. We expect politicians to lead by example and help us weather these difficult economic times.

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  • 04/25/17--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day SQUABBLE: Unbothered by onlookers, two women have an altercation at the Kilimanjaro informal settlement in Windhoek. Photo: LIMBA MUPETAMI

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  • 04/25/17--16:00: Rust trial date set for May
  • Rust trial date set for MayRust trial date set for May Kai Rust who is facing a murder and attempted murder charges agreed to abandon a planned bail application yesterday in favour of an earlier trial date, set for next month.

    Defence lawyer Jan Wessels informed Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt at the Windhoek Regional Court yesterday that a decision to abandon a third bail application had been made after the state agreed to set aside two days at the end of May for the trial.

    “We are of the view that the early dates the State are willing to provide us with, will probably expedite matters,” Wessels explained.

    As anguished family members of Rust sat in court yesterday, Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt adjourned the case to the 30 and 31 May for plea and trial.

    Rust has been behind bars, first in a cell at the Okahandja police station, and afterwards detained at the hospital division of the Windhoek Central Prison, since late January 2016. This followed his arrest after the death of a suspected poacher from a gunshot wound on his farm allegedly fired by Rust.

    He has applied for bail twice with both applications failing, including an appeal at the High Court, which was also denied.

    On Monday, Wessels indicated that his client would attempt a third bail application at the regional court in Windhoek, after the case was transferred there from the Okahandja Magistrate's Court earlier this year.

    Wessels informed the court earlier this year, that the new bail application would be driven by the decision of an investigating police officer in Rust's case, who said he would no longer oppose bail for the accused.

    Diergaardt was informed by Wessels that Rust remains in the hospital division of the Windhoek Central Prison, due to numerous health concerns. Rust has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

    Apart from the count of murder and three counts of attempted murder, Rust was initially, also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, but the charges were withdrawn earlier this year.

    The charges are in connection with the fatal shooting of a suspected poacher, Andreas Ukandanga, on the Rust family's farm north-east of Okahandja. The attempted murder charges stem from allegations that Rust shot at other suspected poachers as they fled the scene.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 04/25/17--16:00: No urgency, says court
  • No urgency, says courtNo urgency, says courtSME Bank execs should follow normal channels The High Court has ruled that the deposed SME Bank executives can use regular routes for relief. The High Court has refused to grant urgency to an application involving the suspended executives and directors of the SME Bank who are claiming that the Bank of Namibia (BoN) acted unlawfully when it dismissed them.

    Judge Shafimana Ueitele in his ruling said the applicants must set good reasons why they cannot get a redress in a normal course of action.

    The central bank on 24 February this year removed the bank's directors and the executives and took charge of the SME Bank following the discovery of what appeared to be unsound investments of close to N$200 million in South Africa.

    The applicants in the matter include the bank's CEO Tawanda Mumvuma, finance manager Joseph Banda, General Manager of Treasury and Investments Alec Gore, Chairperson of the Board George Simataa, Vice-Chairperson Enock Kamushinda and ordinary director Ozias Bvute. They have been ordered to pay the costs of the respondent.

    The applicants described the action as extra-ordinary and invasive and lodged a challenge on urgent basis.

    Mumvuma had stated in sworn statement that the application is extremely urgent as the illegality, apart from the direct and immediate irreparable harm it has caused, is also incompatible with the requirements of the rule of law.

    Further ground for urgency they said, was that the bank is currently being run unlawfully by a purported interim board of directors appointed by the chairperson of the BoN board and its director when it does not have such powers.

    The Bank of Namibia on 24 February announced that it has taken control of the SME Bank, including all its assets, following questionable investments in neighbouring South Africa.

    The governor of the Bank of Namibia Ipumbu Shiimi announced that the SME Bank CEO, its board, the manager for treasury and that of finance have all been removed pending an investigation. Benestus Herunga was been appointed as the interim CEO and an interim board was also appointed.

    Investigations into the whereabouts of over N$180 million, invested in the SME Bank by the BoN, started immediately.

    The removed members of the board of directors including the CEO are Tawanda Mumvuma, Joseph Banda, Enock Kamushinda, Alec Gore, Ozias Bvute and George Simataa.

    They were removed from their posts with immediate effect, following the discovery of questionable investments that did not conform to sound investment principles and reportedly placed the bank's stability at risk.

    SME Bank had invested N$231.8 million in a South African company, Mamepe Capital, and a South African bank, VBS Mutual Bank, of which N$196 million is said to still be with the two South African financial institutions, while only N$37 million – including interest of N$1.7 million – had reportedly been returned to SME Bank.

    It was seen by BoN to be risky and an interim board, consisting of Dennis Khama, Melani Tjijenda, Ali Ipinge and Fanuel Kisting, with Benestus Herunga as acting CEO, was appointed.

    However the former board members did not lay low. The former CEO Tawanda Mumvuma, other bank directors as well as two senior executives challenged the BoN's actions. This was after Shiimi failed to heed their call to retract his “unlawful” decision to fire them.

    In court the applicants argued the Bank of Namibia has misconstrued its powers and has acted unlawfully, and its illegalities are continuously prejudicing them, the public and SME Bank Limited.

    Sisa Namandje appearing on behalf of the members argued his clients have since been suffering massive reputational damages, given the most degrading and public manner in which the BoN's illegal actions was taken and that they will also suffer financial losses.

    According to him BoN had no power to remove a director or official of a bank and the Banking Institutions Act only allowed it to write to the SME Bank to remove its directors and added that the removal of the SME Bank directors and officers was thus null and void.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    SADC to focus on accountabilitySADC to focus on accountabilityIntegrity and social responsibility is key The SADC Parliamentary Forum has urged its member states and parliamentarians to focus on the needs and the plight of citizens, and on being accountable. The chairperson of the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes at the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF), Muzoor Shaik-Emam, has urged different Standing Committees to identify common challenges they can tackle collaboratively as opposed to working in isolation.

    The South African lawmaker made the call when he officially opened a two-day session of the Standing Committees on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes and Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    The joint sitting was convened to equip participants with basic knowledge and skills on the social accountability cycle, as a rights-based approach and also to re-orient participants on the role of governance in attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Social accountability is an emerging approach to development, which encourages the strengthening of citizens' capacity to hold the state and service providers accountable to public resources and to make them responsive to their needs.

    Shaik-Emam challenged the parliamentarians to make a positive difference in the lives of their citizens. He said that could be achieved through advancing the social accountability agenda in SADC, and bringing states to account for their obligations and commitments in the health sector.

    “The ultimate responsibility for social accountability lies with government actors who must design and implement programmes in a manner which is accountable and responsive to the needs of people, provide oversight through a legislature, and if necessary enforce corrective measures,” he said.

    He said the SADC region faces significant development challenges in health and that SADC member states had committed to meeting international, continental and sub-regional policy goals to undertake actions at national level to address these issues.

    He urged MPs to uphold integrity, equity and transparency as they work towards making a difference in people's lives.

    Integrity, he explained, implied that the decisions MPs take for their respective citizens were good, solid and well-intended for the good of the majority while equity implied that MPs did not treat all SADC residents the same, but rather lifted up those who needed a little extra lifting.

    According to Shaik-Emam, those who need extra lifting include the ultra-poor who have no handles for economic upliftment and continue to be left behind; co-citizens who live with physical or intellectual disabilities or both; brothers and sisters who face serious health challenges whether or not in or out of their control; SADC women who by the mere fact of being “female” endure domestic violence, are impregnated and become infected with HIV not by choice; disillusioned SADC residents who tried and failed and tried multiple times more without success to end resultant poverty and disempowerment; and co-Africans who are politically not free and may not express their thoughts and ambitions for the future yet have good, solid honest implementable ideas to improve their own lives and the lives of others in the community.

    He called, also, for transparency which implies that SADC member states follow due process through following competitive procurement procedures to get best value of money when they buy goods and services.

    He said through their core oversight function, parliamentarians have an obligation to see that government policies and actions are effective to mitigate to the various challenges faced by citizens. Parliamentarians, Shaik-Emam said, have a critical assignment to mobilise their communities so that they have the knowledge and ability to engage with public resource management processes.

    “The region faces significant development challenges in health. We have no choice but to work together to make a difference on the ground, where we want to make a difference,” he said in his call for greater collaboration among parliamentarians and also with stakeholders to avoid working in isolation while addressing similar challenges.

    “As the SADC PF, we are mandated to provide effective parliamentary oversight mechanisms in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals to respond to common challenges in our region.”

    He said commitments made by SADC member states through international, continental and sub-regional instruments on health, could be used as basis to measure their actions to address issues affecting the citizens.

    Some of these commitments include the 1999 SADC Protocol on Health, the SADC Sexual and Reproductive Health Business Plan (2011-2015), the Maseru Declaration on the Fight against HIV/AIDS in the SADC Region (2003) and the Sustainable Development Goals.

    For sustainable development to be attained in the region and for these regional and international commitments to be met, parliamentarians were encouraged to work hand in hand with the states to ensure equal access to opportunities by all SADC residents and to take special cognisance of marginalised groups.

    Maneesh Gobin, who is the chairperson of the Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights Standing Committee, co-chaired the joint sitting.

    He said given the huge amounts of public resources that are going into the health sector, especially for HIV programming, parliamentarians have an urgent role to play to ensure that there is transparency and accountability of how these resources are managed by their governments.

    Staff Reporter

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    Livestock on roads a big problemLivestock on roads a big problemEar tags help trace cattle owners The police have warned farmers not to let their livestock graze unsupervised in road reserves. A 27-year-old man is in critical condition after he sustained head injuries on Monday morning when the bakkie he was driving crashed into a cow.

    The accident occurred just outside Otjiwarongo on the road to Kalkfeld at around 05:00.

    Police yesterday confirmed that the man had been airlifted from Otjiwarongo to Windhoek and remained in a critical condition.

    Deputy Commissioner Naukalemo Andreas of the Otjozondjupa police said the incident was being investigated.

    “The owner [of the cow] is being traced and he will be dealt with as per the prescribed law,” she said yesterday.

    Andreas issued a stern warning to farmers to keep their livestock in fenced-off areas.

    “These cattle are risking the lives of many motorists as it is difficult to see a cow at night,” she said.



    Spotlight

    The accident has again highlighted the dangers posed by livestock roaming freely in road reserves, which has led to numerous accidents. The problem was exacerbated by a three-year drought when farmers were desperate for grazing.

    In line with this, a pilot project allows people to send a photo via WhatsApp of the identifying NamLITS tags, which all livestock are required by law to wear.

    The project was launched recently by the Joint Crime Prevention Forum. The initiative is supported by Kosmos 94.1 FM radio station, with sponsorship from NamAgri, and is taking place in collaboration with the police and other relevant authorities.

    NamAgri's Alex McDonald said the project was aimed at clearing the road reserves of livestock in order to reduce the risk of accidents.

    Once a photo is received via the toll-free WhatsApp number, 081 765 5636, a team starts the work of tracing and contacting the owner of the animal.

    McDonald said the project was in its infancy and more publicity would follow to ensure all Namibians could take part. He confirmed that at least one police station had joined the project.

    He said animals in road reserves were a bigger problem than people realised.

    According to the Namibian Road Traffic and Transport Regulations of 2001, chapter 8, “a person may not leave or allow any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig or ostrich to be on any section of a public road where the section is fenced or in any other manner closed along both sides, and a person may not leave that animal in a place from where it may stray onto that section of public road.”

    Following a crash on the road between Windhoek and Rehoboth in December, when a man swerved into oncoming traffic when he tried to avoid crashing into a cow, the police bemoaned the fact that many animals were not registered on NamLITS.

    The NamLITS system allows tracing of livestock owners, but the animals must be tagged to make that possible.

    * Additional reporting by NAMPA

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Contractor abandons Nkurenkuru clinicContractor abandons Nkurenkuru clinic A contractor appointed to build a primary healthcare facility at Nkurenkuru that was supposed to have been completed in 2015, says he has been waiting for material from South Africa for the past two years.

    Shafombabi Eedopi Construction was supposed to complete the facility on 15 April 2015 but has completed only 70% of the work.

    Of the budgeted N$28 million, N$22 million has already been spent.

    Approached for comment on Monday, the contractor, Andrew Shafombabi, said he had not abandoned the site and was waiting for material he had ordered from South Africa.

    He said he would resume work on the project next week.

    Nicodemus Chidhakwa, the health ministry's capital projects regional coordinator for the two Kavango regions, briefed Vice-president Nickey Iyambo about the project.

    Chidhakwa said the contractor still needed to install a generator, electrical wiring and fire extinguishers.

    “The building also has many defects that the contractor has to come back and repair,” he said. Some of these defects affect the external sewer system, sanitary fittings, ceilings, doors, some of the floors and the water tower.

    Chidhakwa, who is an electrical engineer, said the works ministry might have to identify a new company to complete the facility.

    “We tried to engage the contractor in 2015 and gave him extra time up to October 2015 to tell us what his challenges were, but he abandoned the site,” he said.

    NAMPA

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    Elephant attacks tourists' carElephant attacks tourists' car A couple from Holland were fortunate to escape unhurt when they were attacked by an elephant in the Bwabwata National Park.

    According to the spokesperson of the ministry of environment and tourism, Romeo Muyunda, the incident happened on 17 April at the Horseshoe in the Kwando Core Area, while the couple were seated in a car viewing a herd of about 60 elephants. The Horseshoe is a popular watering hole for elephants.

    The couple did not notice other elephants that were passing behind the car and one of them attacked the car.

    Muyunda said the couple escaped unhurt but their car was damaged.

    The tourists reported the incident to the local police station.

    “It is unfortunate that the incident occurred and it is the safety of our tourists that is our concern,” Muyunda said.

    He urged tourists visiting Namibia's national parks to be vigilant and cautious when viewing wildlife.

    He also said that tourists should be accompanied by ministry staff when possible and warned visitors not to agitate animals in any way, especially by using drones to take pictures.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Satisfaction survey starts lateSatisfaction survey starts late OGONE TLHAGE

    The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is on a mission to gauge public sentiment on performance and service delivery with the introduction of citizen satisfaction surveys.

    The surveys were originally envisaged to be introduced towards the end of 2016.

    “Citizen engagement has become a key element of modern government and conducting a national survey is one way to determine what the public wants,” says the spokesperson of the Office of the Prime Minister, Saima Shaanika.

    According to her, the government is serious about continuously improving public service delivery and it is a stated aim of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) to increase citizen engagement for the purpose of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public service delivery.

    Enumerators are expected to go in the field by the end of the month.

    “The 2017 survey will draw a national representative sample from 14 regions and 3 740 households will be visited with an estimated 18 700 questionnaires to be completed. Only Namibian citizens aged 21 and older will be eligible to participate in the survey,” Shaanika says.

    From the end of April, 85 enumerators will be deployed in the regions. The data collection will take up to three months.

    “It is estimated that the findings of the survey will be presented to key stakeholders within government during August 2017. A report will also be made available to the media and the public,” Shaanika says.

    The survey was expected to be launched by the end of last year and the analysis and remedial actions were to be done this year.

    “These targets will be ready before the first annual customer satisfaction survey is carried out by end of 2016,” the HPP document stated.

    The OPM also sought to track public sentiment with the use of opinion polls on specific matters.

    “Since one year is long to wait on customer satisfaction feedback, OPM will champion additional measures to solicit citizens’ feedback on service delivery. These will include random opinion polls on specific identified matters, as well as the provision of feedback boxes at all offices, ministries and agencies,” the HPP document read.

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    Local authorities ‘overlooked’ Local authorities ‘overlooked’ Nudo slams government service delivery The Nudo party says local authorities should be the main players in the delivery of public services. STAFF REPORTER



    The National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) has accused the government of not supporting local authorities.

    Party spokesperson Joseph Kauandenge said local authorities were the first point of entry in relation to the provision of basic services to people.

    “These government institutions serve as the yardstick of how and to what degree basic services are provided to our people in the country.”

    According to Kauandenge the government has been treating local authorities as “a nuisance” ever since independence.

    “In fact local authorities in Namibia are treated as an extension of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, but not as legal entities with statutory and legal powers to carry out their own work,” he charged.

    He said the mushrooming of informal settlements in many towns was a direct result of the government’s inability to decentralise powers to municipalities.

    Its reluctance to subsidise municipalities was a major reason why many local municipalities continued to struggle with providing decent housing.

    “It is high time that the government realises that for as long as local authorities are not empowered through proper legislation to receive subsidies from government, and if there is no paradigm shift towards empowering them through elevating municipalities’ status and roles as equal partners in the creation of an enabling environment for our citizens in this country, then the status quo will continue.”

    Kauandenge said the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development must move towards an era where local authorities could be empowered to provide basic services to people as an extension of the government’s responsibilities, rather than continuing with the current status quo.

    He said forward-looking countries moved away from treating local authorities as mere spectators in the game of service delivery and elevated them to equal and active participants in providing basic services to their people.

    He added that it was inappropriate for President Hage Geingob to say that Namibia was moving in the right direction in addressing issues relating to poverty through the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

    According to him the Harambee Prosperity Plan might be full of lofty promises but it would be hard to deliver on those promises.

    “In simple terms for as long as those with ties to government leaders continue to milk the state of hard-earned cash and vanish into thin air, as long as tenders are inflated to benefit a select few, and as long as the ills of corruption continue to be swept under the carpet to protect a select few, then that cheque will continue to come back time and time again, with the same words.”

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    Schools should change own timeSchools should change own time The education ministries should allow individual schools to change their starting and closing hours to fit their needs instead of relying on the winter time change, the Namibia Employers' Federation (NEF) has proposed.

    NEF secretary-general Tim Parkhouse told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security during a public hearing on the Namibian Time Bill that this should only be done after consulting parents. He said the business community opted to stick with standard South African time instead of changing to Winter Time because they lost four trading hours daily for five months (April to August).

    “The total potential of four hours' trading being lost daily does become a serious issue,” he stated.

    Parkhouse said despite modern technology such as the internet, e-mail and electronic banking, there were still frequent telephonic communications taking place with South Africa. The NEF leader also pointed out that most sport activities took place after work and during Winter Time artificial lighting had to be used excessively for five months of the year, resulting in a huge drain on the electricity supply. The federation represents an estimated 5 500 employers countrywide. The head of research and advocacy at the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Leonard Kamwi, said the business community had raised two compelling arguments: one on the safety of schoolchildren and the other on the economic implications of Winter Time. Kamwi explained that Winter Time not only desynchronised Namibian businesses with their trading partners, but also resulted in less trading time, especially at borders. He said for economic reasons businesspeople felt that it would be better to have one standard time. The Namibia Time Bill was tabled in the National Assembly after 10 sectors raised concern over Winter Time. It was found that insufficient consultation had been done by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration when the original law was passed, as only three ministries and three governors were consulted.

    NAMPA

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  • 04/25/17--16:00: Landing system fails at HKIA
  • Landing system fails at HKIALanding system fails at HKIAWalvis Bay airport not an alternative A combination of fog and a broken instrument landing system at Hosea Kutako The Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Hosea Kutako International Airport has been broken for months, contradicting reports that foggy conditions were to blame for diverting aircraft this week.

    This was revealed after Monday and yesterday's diversions of flights from the airport due to inclement weather.

    The system allows aircraft to land safely when there is poor visibility and runway lights are not efficient, such as in foggy conditions.

    Currently, the only instrument landings that can be made at the airport are VOR approaches, which use radio beacons on the ground to determine the aircraft's position, but these approaches are highly variable and not precise.

    At least five flights had to divert to other airports during the past two days due to heavy fog at the airport. These included two flights from Europe that had to return to South Africa yesterday morning.

    Air Namibia's flight SW286 from Frankfurt was unable to land yesterday morning at about 05:00 and the captain decided to divert to Johannesburg. A Condor flight made the same decision a while later.

    On Monday, three flights had to divert to other airports because of fog. These included an Air Namibia flight from South Africa and an SA Airlink flight, which both had to divert to Walvis Bay, and a KLM flight which opted to divert to Luanda in Angola. These flights could only return hours later to Hosea Kutako.

    Experts in the industry commented that Walvis Bay was not a suitable diversion for Hosea Kutako. Although the airport has the correct air stairs and space to handle large numbers of passengers, it does not have the level of emergency services required for an Airbus A330 to land, according to international regulations.

    Meanwhile, a NOTAM for the period 25 to 27 April was issued to airlines informing them that the ILS was not operational. The NOTAM was only issued yesterday and expires tomorrow.

    A NOTAM is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert pilots of potential hazards along a flight route.

    Approached for comment yesterday, Angeline Simana, acting executive director of the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), said she was unable to comment, but added that “the issue regarding the ILS is being addressed and the line minister and the board are being informed”.

    Questions regarding the broken ILS were sent to Simana but she did not respond by the time of going to print.

    In another NOTAM yesterday, pilots were warned of low visibility at Hosea Kutako and advised to exercise extreme caution.

    The acting deputy director of prevention in the Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations, Hafeni Mweshixwa, said it was critical for the ILS to be operational at an international airport, especially in the foggy conditions that Windhoek had been experiencing for the last few days.

    He said the ILS system was not only critical to landing in inclement weather but was very important for lining up aircraft for landing when an airport is busy.

    “This can be done in a manual way but it is very difficult,” he said.

    Mweshixwa expressed concern over the fact that the ILS has been broken for several months, saying that it could pose a safety risk and should be repaired as soon as possible.

    Several calls and e-mails were sent to the acting CEO of the Namibian Airports Company, Tamerr El-Kallawi, who promised to give feedback today.

    He was asked to comment on the “late” NOTAM that was issued, the ILS that was left broken for months, the flights that were unable to land, technical proficiency at the moment to deal with landings in severe inclement weather and what the ICAO rating is at the airport at this time.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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