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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 06/06/17--16:00: Tons per litre
  • Tons per litreTons per litreImproving water management for crop productivity Research underway in Africa is looking at how to effectively use techniques to save water and boost harvests. Agriculture is the largest consumer of water; accounting for over 70% of the world's freshwater diversion. However, only a part of this agricultural water diverted is effectively used in the production of food or other agricultural commodities and the remaining does not reach the crop/plants because of losses through soil evaporation or infiltration through cracks, root channels, and/or used by weeds. With increasing variation in rainfall distribution resulting from climate change and variability, water allocation for agriculture is facing increasing competition from non-agricultural users.

    The main challenge confronting water management in agriculture is to improve water use efficiency and its sustainable use. This can be achieved through (i) an increase in crop water productivity (an increased in marketable crop yield per unit of water transpired) through irrigation, (ii) a decrease in water losses through soil evaporation that could otherwise be used by plants for their growth, and (iii) an increase in soil water storage within the plant rooting zone through better soil and water management practices.

    The Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Subprogramme of the IAEA is currently working with many member states to improve agricultural water management through both coordinated research projects and technical cooperation projects. Using isotopic and nuclear techniques, constraints to water use efficiency were identified and appropriate land and irrigation management practices were put in place to enhance more crops per drop of water and improve soil water storage.

    For example, in Libya, with proper fertigation management identified through nuclear techniques resulted in tremendous savings of water and fertiliser and reduced the environmental impact of irrigation and fertiliser application. Fertigation which is the application of fertiliser through a drip irrigation system and is an efficient way of controlling water and nutrients in the root-zone helped to increase yield of the potato tuber by more than 150%, and reduced the water and nitrogen (N) fertiliser use by more than 50%. Additional benefits include savings on chemical and labour with increased income for farmers. With support through IAEA's technical cooperation, drip irrigation and fertigation is becoming a well-adapted water management practice on light -textured soils of the coastal belt in Libya. The Biotechnology Research Centre in Tripoli carried out a series of drip fertigation for potato production.

    Kenya is one of the 18 African countries participating in a new regional irrigation project to introduce and pilot-test appropriate small scale irrigation technologies (SSITs) with the aim of developing irrigation systems for small-scale farmers for increasing yield and quality of high value crops, and to improve their income and livelihoods.

    IAEA.ORG

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    Aggreko finance chief resignsAggreko finance chief resignsFinance chief to take up new role Aggreko Plc, the world's largest temporary power provider, said Chief Financial Officer Carole Cran had tendered her resignation after 13 years to become the finance head of Forth Ports Ltd, a Scottish infrastructure funds-owned company. The company, whose kits power major events and cover electricity shortfalls, said on Tuesday it would initiate a process to identify her successor and Cran would leave within the next 12 months following an orderly handover.

    Cran's departure comes less than a month after Aggreko announced the immediate departure of Nicolas Fournier, its managing director of power solutions since November 2015.

    The company has been hit by lower demand for its generators from North American oil and gas customers, who cut spending after commodity prices slumped.

    Aggreko has also had to price in a “significant” discount to secure a 200 megawatt contract in Argentina, its single largest market. This move led Aggreko to issue a profit warning in March.

    Aggreko is able to provide short-term power solutions speedily and has in the past also signed a power purchasing agreement with NamPower, providing it with 122 megawatts of power.



    NAMPA/REUTERS

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  • 06/06/17--16:00: Nedbank brand evolves
  • Nedbank brand evolvesNedbank brand evolvesBank undergoes brand repositioning Nedbank is out to prove that it is not an elitist and exclusive bank and has embarked on changing its brand positioning to show that it caters for all Namibians in need of banking services. Synonymous for making things happen, Nedbank Namibia is now challenging its consumers to 'See Money Differently' as it moves to reposition its brand image.

    Revealing the need for a new image, its managing director Lionel Matthews said: “At Nedbank, our perspective is that money managed well can make a real difference to all of our lives and this is in line with our new brand positioning 'See Money Differently'.

    “The essence of the new positioning speaks of our renewed commitment to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society.”

    According to him, systematically, Nedbank has been working on increasing the efficiencies of its processes during recent times, with a single-minded focus on creating the best banking experience in the country.

    One such milestone was the implementation of a new core banking system, Flexcube, which allows for greater flexibility in product offering, and enables the bank to tailor solutions to client needs.

    “Change is necessary. Client expectations from banking institutions globally and locally have changed and people expect a first rate, modern and client-centric banking experience at every point of engagement.

    “Our new banking system enables us to remain relevant and future-proof, and with sophisticated tweaking, gives us the flexibility to provide a world class banking service. From individuals looking for a smooth and mobile banking experience to larger businesses, looking to seamlessly leverage our banking network across the African continent, all is possible with our rejuvenation.

    “Indeed, the future for Nedbank clients looks particularly bright,” said Matthews.

    He added that considering some lingering perceptions of the bank being quite elitist and exclusive, Nedbank Namibia is out to prove that the opposite is actually true, as their repositioning is reflective of their recent growth and maturity, whilst showcasing the continuous evolution of transforming it into a bank that caters for all Namibians.

    According to him, Nedbank is a healthy and growing brand. Said Matthews: “To offer more clients the experience of unrivalled banking convenience, we saw an opportunity to revitalise the brand to reflect some of the business changes already in place.

    “It was never just about changing the logo and the corporate identity; it's about changing the client experience.

    “Based on the insight that money well managed can make a positive difference to individuals, businesses and communities, we are choosing to challenge and inspire our clients and the public at large to 'See Money Differently',” he concluded.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 06/06/17--16:00: MTC erects new towers
  • MTC erects new towersMTC erects new towers Telecommunications company MTC, recently erected 14 new towers within a space of four months in a continuous attempt to increase capacity and expand its network as part of its on-going network expansion programme especially in rural areas.

    “The investment in our network is an absolute priority because we need to keep up with the rapidly growing demand of our customers. Just in 2017, between February and May, we have erected 14 new sites in Okahandja, Rehoboth, Tschudi, Windhoek (Soweto), Otjiwarongo, Otjokavare, Fransfontein, Swartbooisdrif, Katima, Rundu Mall and Dr Lemmer High School in Rehoboth and we will continue to roll out more sites throughout the course of the year,” said Tim Ekandjo, MTC executive and spokesperson.

    Ekandjo says more new sites are planned for 2017 in both rural and urban areas, but the company remains concerned that it takes over six months to get environmental clearances to erect sites, which delays the entire roll out of plans.

    “In as much as MTC is committed to bringing service to rural areas people, patience is imperative due to the vastness of the country, but we also implore to authorities to speed up the process of approvals especially those that have to deal with environmental clearance. As a company we have taken a decision to make sure that development gets to each and every corner of Namibia,” concluded Ekandjo.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Paratus Telecom attracts global attentionParatus Telecom attracts global attention With nearly 7 000 visitors from 140 countries across the globe, International Telecoms Week (ITW) once again proved to be a huge success in Chicago.

    Considered as one of the most recognised carriers in Africa, Paratus Telecom was overwhelmed by the interest shown for its services by other network carriers. It was also evident that the Paratus brand and its good reputation was already recognised throughout Europe and North America.

    The company's CEO Barney Harmse said that this year's event was a phenomenal success. “This was our 5th showing and the first time we decided to exhibit. It proved to be a huge success, ITW is an affordable and beneficial platform for the entire community to meet and conduct business.”

    He says there was an enormous interest in doing business in Africa. “It is quite obvious that global leaders consider Africa as one of the fastest emerging markets with a plethora of business opportunities. ITW is certainly the ideal platform to network with global players it offers so many networking opportunities.”

    Harmse is upbeat about Paratus Telecom's expansion opportunities throughout Africa. “We had several successful meetings and we also signed a number of agreements with other countries. It was astounding how many equity partners were looking for business opportunities and also the interest shown from financial institutions,” he concluded.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    MMI'S international business upMMI'S international business upNamibia adds to growth MMI Holdings, a parent company to insurer Metropolitan and the under-fire administer of government's medical aid scheme, PSEMAS has reported good fortunes for its nine-month financial results. MMI Holdings recently reported a 3% growth on a year-on-year basis for its internationally focused business, with the Namibian operation adding 9% to the growth the insurer has recorded.

    The group recently updated the market via a Namibia Stock Exchange News Service announcement.

    Said MMI of its operational performance over a nine-month period: “Difficult economic conditions have continued to weigh on MMI Holdings' financial performance in the nine month to 31 March 2017.”

    International's new business was up 3% year-on-year, the insurer reported.

    “Recurring premium new business is up 11%, single premium new business is down 17%. Value of new business is up 30% to R61 million for the nine months. Namibia has made the strongest contribution year-to-date with volumes up 9% and new business value up 26%. Lesotho and Botswana also made solid contributions with only Swaziland showing decline in sales.

    Profitability in the Namibian business returned to normal levels the group said.

    “Earnings at International are lower than in the previous year. Life insurance earnings are below those achieved in Financial Year 2016 due to the weak start to the current year in Namibia. Profitability in the Namibia life business has recovered to more normal levels since the weak first quarter 2017 results,” it said.

    The group also said that bit would be looking to improve operating efficiencies.

    Commenting on its other Africa-focused business operations, it said: “Losses for our short-term insurance operations in Africa have continued tracking the run-rate observed at mid-year. Our health insurance operations continue to show improved profitability following premium rate increases on underperforming schemes,” adding, “We are making steady progress with rationalisation of our Africa portfolio and this will also unlock scope to reduce the central expenses incurred to support the in-country activities.

    Looking ahead, it expected the South African operating environment to improve.

    “Operating environment remains difficult in South Africa and we do not believe that the tough environment will improve meaningfully in the near term. This means that we need to continue applying strong discipline in our capital allocation decisions and to find increasingly efficient ways of doing business in the absence of meaningful revenue growth in core operations,” MMI said.

    “At this stage we expect full year results to broadly reflect the trends visible in the first nine months of the current financial year,” it said in anticipation of its full-year results.

    MMI Holdings Namibia was amalgamated in 2015 following the acquisition of Swabou from FNB Namibia. In its amalgamated form, MMI Holdings now comprise Metropolitan, Momentum Namibia,

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 06/06/17--16:00: Credit growth slowing
  • Credit growth slowingCredit growth slowing Corporates and consumers have become wary to take up new loans as the total credit extended appears to wane, in stark contrast to the highs observable in 2015, stock-broking firm IJG has found.

    Commenting on the recent private sector credit extended numbers for April, IJG said: “Total credit extended to the private sector increased by N$113.7 million or 0.13% on a month-on-month (m/m) basis in April, bringing the cumulative credit outstanding to N$87.3 billion. On a year on year basis, credit extended grew by 8.1%, the slowest growth recorded since mid-2010.”

    According to them, on a rolling 12-month basis, N$6.5 billion worth of credit was extended, down significantly from the highs of 2015.

    Said IJG: “Credit extension to individuals continued to slow in April, expanding by 8.7% y/y and 0.5% m/m. Instalment credit contracted by 0.5% m/m bringing the year on year (y/y) growth to 2.2%. Vehicle sales, which make up a large portion of instalment credit, have been in negative territory since the end of 2015 which has decreased the demand for these loans considerably.”

    According to IJG, the general slowdown in credit extended to individuals is attributable to tighter lending conditions and banking sector liquidity, as well as deterioration in the creditworthiness of the average borrower due to an increase in debt to incomes over the last two years.

    Credit extended to corporates also appeared to slow, contracting 0.4% m/m in April after contracting 0.3% m/m in March. “This has slowed annual growth to 7.4% y/y, the lowest growth rate since December 2011. Instalment credit extended to corporates contracted by 0.8% m/m, the seventh consecutive monthly contraction, which brings the annual growth figure to 0.2% y/y. Mortgage loans extended to corporates also contracted by 0.4% m/m and grew by 6.1% y/y,” IJG said.

    “The outlook for private sector credit extension has improved slightly. The demand for credit may remain slightly muted as the economic environment has not yet improved to such an extent as to increase the demand for capital goods such as houses and vehicles,” it said of the anticipated trend.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Erdogan speaks to leaders in Qatar-Gulf rowErdogan speaks to leaders in Qatar-Gulf row Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken to key players in the dispute between Qatar and neighbouring Gulf Arab countries in efforts to find a solution, his spokesman said.

    Erdogan “has initiated diplomatic efforts to resolve this dispute between friends and brothers in line with the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late Monday.

    Erdogan has not yet commented on the crisis, in which Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Yemen, cut ties with Qatar Monday, accusing it of supporting extremism.

    But the deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said Monday that Erdogan had already been in contact with several key players.

    He spoke by phone with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

    He also discussed the crisis, the biggest in the region for years, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to declare once again that Turkey is prepared to do its due over the next days and weeks,” Kalin said in the statement.

    Turkey enjoys friendly relations with Qatar including in the energy sector, but also maintains good ties with other Gulf countries.

    Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday called for dialogue and said Turkey was ready to help defuse the row.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Dear Namibians, crime doesn't payDear Namibians, crime doesn't pay The global campaign against drug trafficking has intensified over the years and many countries have adopted a zero-tolerance policy regarding the relentless fight against drug smuggling. This has necessitated law enforcement agencies becoming tougher on cross-border drug traffickers. It is believed that just like the booming illegal wildlife trade, drug trafficking is equally thriving, with drug lords resorting to using new technologies and techniques to carry out illegal activities. Namibians, mostly women, have also fallen prey to the drug trap. These women are now used as drug couriers in many drug-smuggling operations with international connections and syndicates. This week we reported that a young woman, who is in her early 30s, was arrested last week at the Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport in Brazil for being in possession of cocaine. Like with many other cases, this woman went missing after reportedly meeting a Brazilian boyfriend.

    It is alleged that she left the country with her boyfriend who hails from Brazil.

    She is just one of a few Namibians caught drug trafficking in Brazil. Individuals charged with drug trafficking in South America face severe penalties when they are convicted and sometimes face up to 15 years in jail with only the right of making two phone calls per annum. The message delivered by Nampol spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi, warning Namibian women not to fall victim to unscrupulous foreigners who want to recruit them as drug mules, cannot be overemphasised. A drug trafficking conviction can result in many other negative consequences for the offender, which makes their return to society very problematic. Namibian women specifically, must realise that crime doesn't pay, no matter how desperate you are.

    Drug trafficking cannot ever be a solution offering an escape from poverty. The lure of making a little “easy money”, unfortunately, comes with a very heavy price, which does not only include receiving a lengthy jail sentence, but worst of all, one of putting your family and/or dependents at home through hell. Just imagine the thought of languishing in a foreign prison, far away from your beloved country and your loved ones.

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    Three students may write examsThree students may write examsUnam agrees to let three suspended students sit The University of Namibia has said that the suspended students, save Joseph Kalimbwe, will be allowed to write their exams if they so wish. The University of Namibia (Unam) will consider allowing three barred Student Representative Council (SRC) leaders to write their examinations should they express an interest to do so.

    The university's public relations officer, Simon Namesho, said the examinations will be written off campus under the university's examination regulations.

    The students SRC vice-president Raymond Tjiueza, Vanessa Hifitikeko and Jefrey Shapange.

    Under the Student's Code of Conduct, the university said it reserves the right to take all the necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community.

    “The university recognises that under the Student Code of Conduct, students have substantive and procedural rights to be respected and to know the circumstances and manner in which disciplinary provisions will be exercised,” the statement reads.

    The three students were last week barred from the main campus because there is overwhelming evidence that they engaged in prohibited or unlawful conduct.

    This follows the suspension of a fourth student, Joseph Kalimbwe, the former SRC president, who has subsequently been charged with fraud and forgery after it was found he was not registered at the institution. He was released on N$1 000 bail.

    The suspension, however, remains in place pending the outcome of an investigation.

    Namesho said: “The bar against them remains in place pending the finalisation of investigations into the allegations levelled against them and the outcome of any disciplinary action that may be taken against them, unless otherwise lifted by the university.”

    Namesho further reiterated that Joseph Kalimbwe was not a registered student and was therefore not expelled from the university.

    “The continued insinuation by some media houses that Kalimbwe was expelled from the university is, however, regrettable in light of the fact that he is not a registered student for the 2017 academic year.”

    Meanwhile, students have shown their dismay at the suspensions. They gathered to protest against the suspension of Kalimbwe and three others. The students locked the gates at the main campus while protesting during the early morning hours of Monday. Kalimbwe has distanced him and the Unam SRC members from the protest and said it was a decision taken by the students. “We were told not to go to Unam and we don't want to go there because we don't want to commit any crimes. No one in the SRC planned the protest - it is the students who planned it. I am not involved in anything happening on campus,” said Kalimbwe.

    The students were suspended for allegedly trying to break into the Unam's cafeteria saying there is lack of study venues on campus.

    – Additional reporting by Nampa



    SHONA NGAVA

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  • 06/06/17--16:00: Omusati SORA to give hope
  • Omusati SORA to give hopeOmusati SORA to give hope The governor of the Omusati Region says that his State of the Region Address (SORA) will not only look at problems facing the region, but he will also talk about plans aimed at tackling social issues.

    The governor, Erginus Endjala, who is expected to deliver his SORA on Friday, told Namibian Sun that all systems are in place.

    At the beginning of the rainy season, President Hage Geingob launched Operation Tulongeni at Matheus Iilonga's mahangu field at Onamundindi village in the Ogongo Constituency, in the Omusati Region.

    Endjala said the SORA is delivered at the end of the crop production period and it will give a comprehensive report on the Tulongeni initiative.

    “This year, our region is expecting a bumper harvest because of the success of Operation Tulongeni. Our SORA will highlight the idea of establishing our food bank. Farmers are expected to contribute to the food bank to feed the needy during tough times,” Endjala said.

    He also said his SORA will reflect on various economically viable projects that will create hundreds of employment opportunities throughout the region.

    “We will also report on the asparagus project at Etunda which has the potential to create 350 jobs. Trials which were done at Omahenene have already been completed. We are in the final stages of finishing a tomato production plant at Epalela that will also create employment. It is a prospect that creates jobs for our youth. The project is a breakthrough one, and currently we are having discussions with Nakayale Vocational Training Centre to become the workshop for government and private tractors that will be disseminated in our region.”

    All 12 constituencies of the region have benefited from the micro-finance assistance fund Endjala said, adding that his SORA is also expected to highlight the impact made by the scheme.



    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Axe murderer Kapepu gets 28 yearsAxe murderer Kapepu gets 28 years A 44-year-old man who last month admitted hacking his girlfriend to death with an axe in the Tsaraxa-Aibes informal settlement of Otjiwarongo two years ago, has been sent to prison for 28 years.

    Israel Kapepu was sentenced by High Court Judge Naomi Shivute on a charge of murder with the direct intention to kill.

    Shivute said it was a heinous crime.

    Christine Gases was assaulted with the back of an axe on the head, which is the vulnerable part of the body.

    “The deceased died a cruel death at the hands of her boyfriend,” said Shivute as she handed down the sentence.

    Kapepu's State-funded defence lawyer, Mese Tjituri, wanted a sentence of about 20 years, while State Advocate Martino Olivier asked for a custodial sentence of between 30 and 40 years.

    Kapepu, at the start of his trial on 16 May 2017, admitted killing the 28-year-old Gases.

    He earned a living as a welder in Otjiwarongo and is a first offender with no record of previous convictions.

    Kapepu has a three-year-old daughter with Gases.

    Evidence presented during trial shows that the incident occurred when Kapepu and Gases returned to her shack from a shebeen on 28 February 2015 at about 15:00.

    A quarrel broke out after Gases wanted to go back to the shebeen but Kapepu wanted her to prepare food for him.

    He got an axe from behind the shack and struck Gases on the head three times.

    She died immediately.

    Kapepu will serve his sentence at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility.



    NAMPA

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    Ovivapa leadership denies land crisisOvivapa leadership denies land crisis Leaders of the Ovivapa community in the Kunene Region have distanced themselves from the concerned group that threatened to take the law into its own hands if government fails to resolve the land dispute between them and people from Omusati.

    The community's spokesperson, Uakandaiza Tjiharuka told Nampa they are not party to the petition delivered last month by concerned residents. The concerned group petitioned President Hage Geingob through the office of Kunene Governor Angelika Muharukua in which they asked Geingob to step in to resolve the problem which they said started in 1992.

    The group allege that some residents from Omusati, especially in the area of jurisdiction of the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority, are fencing off large pieces of land in Kunene.

    According to Tjiharuka, they are not aware of anyone who was resettled without having followed the proper channels.

    “We are also not aware of anyone from Kunene who was refused a place in the Omusati Region by the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority as claimed by the petitioners,” Tjiharuka said.

    He also said the fenced-off areas are gardens and not camps as alleged. Approached for comment, spokesperson of the concerned group, Kaaree Mupya, told this agency their problem is not with the Ovivapa leadership but with the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority, which allegedly resettles people out of their area of jurisdiction.

    “If the Ovivapa traditional authority wants to start an argument with us, let us do so,” Mupya warned.

    The Ovivapa leadership has not yet been recognised by government. The community is led by councillor Jaazemenua Matundu.





    NAMPA

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    Vast resource of local know-howVast resource of local know-howWe need to capitalise on traditional knowledge Namibia's environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has emphasised the importance of banking what we know about our natural resources. The environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta, said that the time is now for Namibia's local communities to capitalise on traditional knowledge and natural resources.

    Shifeta said that he is anxiously waiting for the Access to Biological and Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge Bill to be signed into law and protect the rights of local communities.

    According to Shifeta, the National Council passed the bill last month and when it is signed into law it will give added impetus to protecting the rights of local communities over biological and genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

    According to him, it will also provide for fair and equitable benefit sharing for communities - from value addition and the commercialisation of natural resources.

    “Namibia is home to such a rich variety of natural resources and traditional knowledge relating to these resources. The knowledge of our people of the medicinal, cosmetic and other uses of these resources is a key example of how, in the rural areas, we are connected to nature. It is my view that the time is now to capitalise on the commercialisation of some of this knowledge and the resources at our disposal.”

    According to Shifeta this applies to plant species such as Devil's Claw, marula, Hoodia and !Nara for example, but there is also huge potential for greater value addition and the commercialisation of wildlife-based products as well as other products derived from nature.

    He said that although the connection of the rural populations with nature is clear, the connection of the urban population to nature can become cut and forgotten.

    “With over 50% of the population now estimated to be living in urban areas in Namibia, we need to ensure that our urban populations remain connected with nature and broader environmental protection.”

    He said that urban areas can become centres for environmental degradation through air pollution, littering and inappropriate management of waste, as well as through pollution of our precious water resources.

    “I am particularly concerned that this tendency is now occurring in our towns and cities across the country.”

    According to Shifeta, this needs to change and urban areas need to capitalise on the economic and social opportunities from becoming greener and developing in harmony with nature.

    He said that for example, the transition towards renewable energy and more sustainable forms of public transportation can help to reduce air pollution and help us to become more energy secure in a manner which protects our environment. Shifeta said that Namibia also needs to bring back its reputation as the cleanest country in Africa. “This will enhance our reputation among tourists and improve the quality of life for our citizens in urban areas.”

    He said that the country must decisively tackle the problem of littering and the improper management of waste, particularly in urban areas.

    Shifeta made these remarks on the occasion of World Environment Day that is celebrated on 5 June every year and is used for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

    This year the day was celebrated under theme 'Connecting people to nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator', which implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the earth that we share.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/06/17--16:00: SA storm to hit us
  • SA storm to hit usSA storm to hit us Namibia is also feeling the brunt of the storm that hit South Africa yesterday with severely cold conditions and strong winds expected.

    The system that is being labelled in South Africa by forecasters as “one hell of a storm”, started last night and Namibia also started feeling its first impact overnight.

    According to local forecaster Odillo Kgobetsi, very cold and windy conditions started in the south and west of Namibia since last night with a few showers in places.

    He said that these very cold conditions will spread further over the central parts of the country tomorrow.

    According to Kgobetsi, while the system started to impact Namibia last night the fact that there is cloud cover in the air keeps temperatures from dropping to below freezing.

    However, what makes it more cold are factors such as the showers that can be expected and strong winds which can reach up to 30km per hour in the central parts of the country and up to 40km per hour in the far south.

    Meanwhile, he stressed that tomorrow temperatures are expected to drop even further, likely to below zero degrees.

    Kgobetsi also pointed out that cloud cover will be clearing and therefore it will become colder and frost can occur.

    He said that on Friday temperatures will likely pick up as the system moves out, but cool air will still be in circulation.

    The conditions will be cold to mild.

    The South African Weather Service yesterday warned about the cold front that hit the country from Tuesday evening onwards.

    All schools in the Western Cape will be closed today following repeated warnings of adverse weather conditions in the province.

    Among the key concerns are flash floods and strong gale force winds in some areas that are predicted to reach up to 90km/h‚ while 12 to 15-metre swells and 80mm of rain is also expected.

    Cape Town is ready to evacuate people in high-risk areas in preparation for the storm‚ which is set to hit the Mother City this morning.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Namibia slams Trump for exiting climate dealNamibia slams Trump for exiting climate dealUS withdrawal from Paris pact a big setback Donald Trump's announcement that he will withdraw the US from the Paris climate change agreement drew condemnation from Namibia. Namibia has expressed its disappointment in the withdrawal of the United States from the landmark Paris climate deal, describing it as a huge setback to global climate change efforts.

    Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said that this withdrawal has undermined the significance of the Paris agreement and the efforts that have been made, particularly by developing countries such as Namibia to reduce and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Shifeta said that even though the accord provides for any party to the agreement to withdraw at any time, the sudden announcement by the US that it will pull out is a major blow to global efforts in tackling climate change considering that the US is one of the biggest polluters in the world.

    It is reported that the US contributes about 15% of global emissions of carbon. The US is also seen as a significant source of finance and technology for developing countries like Namibia in their efforts to fight rising temperatures.

    “It is disappointing that the withdrawal was made on the verge of World Environmental Day where countries are expected to rededicate and recommit themselves to protecting the environment and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment,” the minister said.

    Shifeta said that the Paris Agreement unites all the nations of the world into a first-ever universal, legally binding global deal to tackle climate change.

    According to him, the agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

    It further commits developed countries such as the US to scale up financial support for climate change mitigation and adaptation action in developing countries.

    US President Donald Trump announced last week that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, weakening efforts to combat global warming.

    In a speech Trump said the landmark 2015 pact imposed wildly unfair environmental standards on American businesses and workers.

    He vowed to stand with the people of the US against what he called a “draconian” international deal.

    “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said.

    Trump's decision to abandon the agreement for environmental action signed by 195 nations has been seen as a rebuke to heads of state, climate activists, and members of the president's own staff, who all failed to change his mind with an intense, last-minute lobbying blitz.





    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Man kills another over piece of meatMan kills another over piece of meat A man was brutally murdered this past weekend in the Oshikoto Region after an argument over a piece of meat.

    According to the police, Johannes Efraim was stabbed five times with a traditional knife across his body on Saturday.

    He was stabbed in the chest, right shoulder, abdomen, and on the right arm by a 27-year-old suspect after they quarrelled over meat.

    According to the police, the argument occurred at the suspect's house at around 22:00 at Onekotale village.

    Efraim was found dead in the suspect's mahangu field by a 14-year-old boy that lives at the suspect's house.

    The suspect has been arrested.

    In another incident on Saturday, 25-year-old Wilbard Nelumbu from Iiyungo Okaku was beaten with bricks on the head by two men during a robbery.

    They stole his cellphone, cap, shoes and a wallet. He was admitted to a local hospital in critical condition.

    On Sunday a man was attacked and beaten during a robbery in which N$70 was stolen.

    According to the police, the incident occurred at the Okandini village in the Elim constituency at about 20:00.

    Ndeutege Erastus Iita was beaten and kicked by the suspect, sustained a broken leg and was admitted to hospital.

    A 19-year-old was arrested.

    Meanwhile, a one-year-old boy drowned in a bucket of homebrew known as oshikundu.

    The incident took place around 07:30 at Ekuku village in the Onayena area.

    The boy, Lucky Tangi Johannes, was apparently living with his grandmother.

    In unrelated case, a two-year-old girl drowned on Sunday in the Omupindi village in a 100-litre water drum.

    It is alleged that Ndapewoshali Magnus was left alone at home by her mother.

    Police are still investigating the drownings.

    In other incidents over the weekend, the police arrested two people in Divundu for being in the possession of and dealing in cannabis.

    On Friday at around 08:00 a 31-year-old and a 35-year-old were found in possession of cannabis and cash received from clients.

    The items confiscated included six balies of cannabis.

    Cash to the amount of N$500 was also confiscated.

    On Saturday an 18-year-old was also arrested in Rundu at Tutungeni for being in the possession of a plastic bag of cannabis.

    The value is unknown.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Keetmans defends Red Force tenderKeetmans defends Red Force tenderLocals employed as far as possible Residents fear the termination of municipal services if they cannot pay outstanding debts. The Keetmanshoop Municipality says there is nothing untoward about its tender award for municipal debt collection to Red Force Debt Management, which residents say an ‘outsider’ got the job while locals sit at home.

    The tender closed on 30 December last year when, as the Tender Bulletin stated, the whole country is in shut-down mode.

    Red Force is owned by Namibian George Itembu, the executive internal auditor of the Road Fund Administrator (RFA).

    This company has also been enlisted by Agribank to collect debt of N$500 million.

    Questions are also asked about Red Force’s CEO, the 27-year-old Zimbabwean, Julius Nyamazana, who in January 2014 appeared in a Bulawayo court on charges of defrauding Edgars Zimbabwe of more than US$30 000 or N$450 000.

    The two-year tender was awarded to Red Force in April and the company was to commence with collecting more than N$60 million from May.

    According to the contract between the two parties, the municipality will pay Red Force 3% commission on all debt recovered and the client will pay 8%, which means that Red Force will receive 11% on all monies collected.

    This translates into N$6.6 million on the outstanding N$60 million.

    The municipality said the rest of the recovered money will be used for road maintenance, servicing land and upgrading the bulk infrastructure to cope with a growing population.

    Residents preferring anonymity questioned why the municipality had not used its own debt control division to collect the debt or alternatively use the town’s unemployed youth to assist the council in this venture.

    Dawn Kruger, the municipality’s spokesperson, said the council is obliged to go out on tender for any project in excess of N$100 000.

    She said only tenders from outside the town were received from which the best tenderer was chosen.

    Moreover, Kruger said the municipality does not have a debt collecting department and has always conducted debt collecting on an ad hoc basis.

    “This practice did not yield the necessary results, hence the decision taken to put the project on tender. The objective was to find a professional company with the necessary skill and resources to recover the outstanding debt,” Kruger said.

    She said unemployed youth with required qualifications can still apply for positions at Red Force’s office set up in the town.

    Cutting off supply?

    Residents have expressed concern over possible terminations of municipal services if they are unable to pay outstanding debts.

    At the announcement of the tender award in April Nyamazana had mentioned “drastic action” like cutting the supply of services and/or legal action “if needed” should residents and other entities fail to pay their debts.

    Again the municipality downplayed this threat, saying Red Force would first do a thorough analysis and make recommendations to the council on the way forward, vowing to pursue all other avenues before drastic steps are to be taken.

    Artificial debt

    Residents claimed that some of the outstanding debt is “artificial” because the finance department did not write off debt of people who have died while interest is mounting.

    Kruger said debt on any property is part of an estate and should be paid by the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate.

    “In most cases, however, the amounts have escalated only after the deceased have passed. The N$60 million is thus owed on active accounts and interest is charged as per normal business practice,” Kruger said.

    Vandalism

    The municipality said pre-paid water meters and toilets in the informal settlement are vandalised as soon as they have been repaired.

    Kruger said the municipality is now working on a long-term strategic plan to do away with informal settlements or to move people permanently from un-serviced.

    She said the council has recently serviced Extension 4 in Tseiblaagte where residents are now leasing erven and are encouraged to apply for consumer accounts.

    Casual workers are used for unskilled labour “to assist the unemployment problem” and to give these workers an opportunity to improve their skillset, said Kruger.

    Bigger projects are given to qualified local contractors “as far as possible”.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    N$12b transport plan under fireN$12b transport plan under fireMinisters poke holes in ambitious project There is divided opinion on whether the N$12 billion northern transport plan will be implemented without major problems. A number of concerns were raised this week during the final presentation of the much-anticipated transport masterplan for the four northern regions, including fears that the project lacked meaningful public consultation.

    The presentation took place at Oshikango in the Ohangwena Region where regional and local authority leaders, including works minister Alpheus !Naruseb and urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa, sought additional clarity regarding the plan aimed at solving many transport-related challenges facing the four regions.

    The transport masterplan, which took two years to develop, is an initiative that derived from stakeholder engagement that took place in 2014 where the transport needs of the people in the Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Omusati regions were discussed.

    The aim of the 20-year envisioned masterplan is to complement government's aims and objectives with regard to improving the road networks in Namibia with specific focus on accessibility, mobility and connectivity.

    Following the presentation, it was indicated that compensation will have to be made to the people who have constructed in the road reserves, which raised concern for !Naruseb.





    “If this is going to be the case, more people will start constructing in the road reserves intentionally just for compensation,” he said.

    On the issue of people who have constructed in the road reserves, Shaningwa asked whether consultations were done to sensitise them and whether agreements were reached, hinting that government does not have the financial capacity to carry out an exercise of compensation on a grand scale.

    “When we travel from Omuthiya, you can see fixed assets constructed in the road reserves and that's why I am asking whether there were consultations made and people sensitised.

    This is very important,” Shaningwa said.

    The Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund CEO, Rosalia Martins-Hausiku, also added to the concerns, saying his organisation was left out during the drawing up of the master plan.

    She added some of the information regarding safety and the causes of accidents indicated in the plan were not accurate.



    Recommendations

    One of the recommendations in the plan is to do away with gravel roads.

    The governor of Ohangwena, Usko Nghaamwa, indicated that it will be wrong to do this as these roads play a vital role in the daily lives of the people in his region.

    Nghaamwa said although the material used in the construction of the gravel roads in his region is poor, they should remain.

    “Gravel roads in my region are very important because they make it easier for my people to access important places therefore I suggest that they cannot be removed or closed,” Nghaamwa said.

    Other regional and local authority leaders also expressed concerns in this regard. Transport ministry deputy director Lemmy Mutonga said there was room for amendments to be to the document.

    Mutonga said that if there were any omissions, they would be rectified, adding that some of the concerns raised form part of the document's recommendations and are yet to be studied before it will be approved by Cabinet.

    Thus far, the document has been handed to the ministry and from there it will be taken to Cabinet for approval.

    The scoping of the master plan project was funded by the German government through the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and its implementing agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

    It also comes months after the City of Windhoek suspended its pilot bus transport system because of operational challenges.

    The city had introduced new routes for its buses, which were introduced on 14 November 2016.

    However, the introduction of the new routes was not well received by the commuters, who argued they were not informed about the route changes, and the rationale behind it.

    The city has since promised to reintroduce a revamped system this year.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    SA crunch a double-edged swordSA crunch a double-edged sword South Africa's recession mimics local conditions in which consumers are coming under increased pressure while the situation is also likely to affect Southern African Customs Union (SACU) tariffs significantly, analysts said yesterday.

    IJG head of research Eric van Zyl says that the recession will impact Namibia in a number of ways.

    “The probability that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will cut interest rates to stimulate economic growth has increased,” Van Zyl said.

    South Africa entered into a technical recession this week when the South African Statistics Agency (StatsSA) reported that economic growth for the first quarter had contracted by 0.7%.

    This is South Africa's second 'technical' recession in eight years.

    Said Van Zyl: “Whether or not the Bank of Namibia (BoN) will follow the SARB with interest rate cuts is uncertain, but the probability is high as the Namibian economy is in need of stimulation as well.





    “Namibia is likely to benefit from lower inflation over the short term as the majority of our imports are through South Africa.”

    Sharing his thoughts on the likely events that would follow domestically following slowed growth, economist Klaus Schade said: “Subdued economic growth in South Africa can reduce the demand for Namibia's exports to South Africa, in particular beer and meat, since South African consumers are left with less disposable income. The contraction of the South African economy will impact negatively on imported goods and services into South Africa and hence customs revenue, which finally translates in lower SACU transfers to the member states.”

    Simonis Storm analyst Frans Uusiku told Namibian Sun that the technical recession in South Africa was very similar to economic conditions locally.

    He said, just like here, consumers are also coming under increasing pressure in South Africa.

    “We view the economic situation in South Africa as resembling a mirror-image of Namibia's economic environment,” he said.

    According to him, the [technical] recession in South Africa was largely triggered by a 2.3% decrease in household consumption expenditure thus contributing -1.4 percentage points to total growth, and by a decrease in government consumption expenditure, thus contributing -0.2 of a percentage point.

    “This highlights the impact of fiscal consolidation and a tight consumer environment as evidenced by an increase in unemployment of 27.7% and a declining trend in both vehicle sales and private sector credit extension in South Africa,” he said.

    As far as he's concerned, the private sector has been in a recession since 2012 save for the construction sector which was mainly spurred on by government spending.

    “The private sector has been in a recession since 2012 if you exclude [the] construction [sector], meaning government spending and construction have been the main drivers of economic growth since 2009. In fact, the private sector only grew in 2010 and 2012 after 2008.”

    According to him, further proof of government's consolidation is its contribution to GDP.

    “Note that in 2016, government represented 45.5% of GDP, excluding public enterprises. We expect this to reduce to 37.6% of GDP in 2017 as government consolidates,” Uusiku said.

    Van Zyl reiterates both Schade and Uusiku's sentiments saying: “Worth noting though is that consumption in South Africa is contracting. This is likely to affect the SACU revenue pool negatively. Should we see further contractions in Namibian and South African consumption spending, we may see SACU revenues for the next budget year revised lower.”

    In its vehicle sales report for April, Simonis Storm also found that sales contracted by 35% year-on-year to 946 units compared to 8% contraction recorded in the prior month, indicating just how much consumer spending was constrained.

    “We expect this trend to continue as fiscal consolidation lingers, while consumers are also under pressure,” Uusiku added.

    Van Zyl also raised the probability of a rating's downgrade in the aftermath of the recession.

    “Another point of concern is the longer term implications of further contractions in South Africa. Should we see further contractions in the South African economy we are more likely to see further credit ratings downgrades. A contracting economy which continues to issue debt to service a budget deficit does not bode well for investor confidence and credit ratings. This in turn is likely to lead to rand weakness over the medium to long term,” Van Zyl said.

    Namibia entered a technical recession in December 2016 when economic growth contracted by 1% in the third quarter of 2016.

    But the country has since sailed through troubled waters according to Schade.

    “The recession was only for the two quarters in 2016 when negative growth was recorded,” he told this newspaper.

    The real GDP for the third quarter of 2016 recorded a contraction of 1% compared to a 5% growth registered in the corresponding quarter of 2015.



    -Additional reporting by Fin24



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