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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: New ownership offers variety
  • New ownership offers varietyNew ownership offers varietySporting action in SuperSport hands SuperSport has scored broadcast rights on all platforms including television, internet and mobile to an array of major international football games. These will include the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship as well as the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers and the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

    In addition, there's another jewel in the football crown with the all-new UEFA Nations League, a new competition to be contested by the national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA, also signed by SuperSport.

    These acquisitions guarantee major European football for each season from 2018 through to 2022.

    The rights are for exclusive broadcast in South Africa and non-exclusive in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa and the adjacent islands.

    “UEFA is happy to continue and further strengthen its relationship with Supersport,' said Guy-Laurent Epstein, the managing director of marketing at UEFA Events SA. “Supersport is a long-standing UEFA partner and we are confident SuperSport will deliver great coverage and promotion of the UEFA 2018-2022 national team football portfolio to fans across sub-Saharan Africa and exclusively in South Africa.”

    UEFA Euro 2020, in particular, is shaping as a milestone event given that it will celebrate the 60th birthday of the European championship and will, unusually, be held in 13 cities in 13 different European countries.

    The European qualifiers will also offer high-quality action as 55 teams chase down 24 spots available for the championship. This will be played from March 2019 to March 2020.

    “These are tremendous acquisitions,” said Gideon Khobane, chief executive of SuperSport.

    The European championship traditionally energises our viewers who thrive on watching the superstars in unrelenting competition. The UEFA Nations League is bound to develop an avid following, too, and SuperSport looks forward to adding this to our already substantial football offering.”



    SuperSport

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    All Whites must be brave against MexicoAll Whites must be brave against Mexico New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson says the All Whites must be brave against Mexico, knowing defeat today will effectively end their Confederations Cup hopes.

    Their 2-0 loss to hosts Russia in Saturday's opening Group A match means Oceania champions New Zealand have now gone a record 10 games without a win at the Confederations Cup having left the 1999, 2003 and 2009 editions empty-handed.

    Following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Portugal, Mexico are up-beat and favourites to win the showdown in Sochi.

    “We went head-to-head with the European champions and we managed to keep Cristiano Ronaldo in check,” beamed Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio after Sunday's draw in Kazan.

    In contrast, underdogs New Zealand must break their goal-drought to have a chance against Mexico.

    After friendly 1-0 defeats to both Northern Ireland and Belarus en route to Russia, the All Whites have now played three matches in the last two weeks without scoring. They badly need a good result against the Mexicans with Euro 2016 winners Portugal to follow in St Petersburg on Saturday in their final group match.

    New Zealand lost 2-1 to Mexico in a friendly last October and Hudson, 36, expects a spirited showing from his side.

    “We're determined to approach his game with the right mind-set and we definitely want to progress,” said Hudson in Tuesday's press conference.

    “We need to be positive, we need to be brave.

    “Mexico is a world-class side and we're the smallest team in the competition. “But we played them in October in front of 40 000 fans, it was a close game and we caused them problems.

    “We don't want to go in and be fearful or negative or sit back and let Mexico do what they want.

    “I'm expecting an incredible spirit from our team - this is a massive game for us.”

    Goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, who faces a busy night against the likes of ex-Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, believes New Zealand can pull off an upset.

    “We can definitely get a result against them,” said the 25-year-old. “We were unlucky against them before so we'll be going for three points.”

    Hernandez's diving header against Portugal leaves 'Chicharito', Mexico's all-time top-scorer, just two short of the 50-goals tally. Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio is expected to rotate his team, which could see Captain Rafa Marquez, 38, make his first Confed Cup start.

    Marquez is the only player at Russia 2017 to have previously lifted the Confederations Cup when hosts Mexico beat Brazil 4-3 in the 1999 final.

    “We've been trying to figure out if they will make chances,” said NZ boss Hudson.

    “They have players with quality in all positions, but I believe the style will stay the same.

    “It's a world-class squad and an incredible test.”



    NAMPA/AFP

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    Transfer window opens with 100% signings taxTransfer window opens with 100% signings tax Chinese Super League clubs face a 100% tax on signings as their mid-season transfer window opens on Monday.

    The country's football association (CFA) is proposing the measure for loss-making clubs in order to try to curb the league's extravagant spending.

    Chinese clubs spent 331 million pounds during the country's winter transfer window, which was more than their English Premier League counterparts in January. The proceeds from the tax would go into a government-run fund. If enforced, the measure would in effect double the fee for any player.

    Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and Chelsea striker Diego Costa are among the high-profile players to be linked with the Chinese Super League (CSL), with the transfer window open until 14 July.

    In the last transfer window, Shanghai SIPG bought Brazil international Oscar for 60 million pounds from Chelsea, while Shanghai Shenhua spent 40 million pounds on Carlos Tevez.

    The Argentina striker signed a deal worth a reported 310 000 pounds a week. At the time, a spokesperson for China's general administration of sport said clubs in the country were “burning money”.

    Limits on the number foreign players in squads were put in place for the current season, which runs from March to November. Only three non-Chinese players can now be fielded in a fixture in a move the CFA hoped would tackle “irrational” spending.

    Costa was a target for Tianjin Quanjian but the club's owner, Shu Yuhui, said in January that a bid to sign the forward had been scuppered by new CSL rules limiting the number of foreign players.

    In each game next year, clubs will also have to field as many Chinese under-23 players as overseas players.

    China's football authority wants a 100% tax on loss-making clubs that sign foreign players.



    BBC SPORT

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Fitch rating left unchanged
  • Fitch rating left unchangedFitch rating left unchangedJunk status avoided for now Credit rating firm Fitch has left Namibia's credit rating unchanged at BBB-. Fitch this week affirmed Namibia's long-term and local currency issuer default ratings at BBB- with a negative outlook.

    According to Fitch, government's commitment to fiscal consolidation was a welcome sign that it had a record of fiscal stability.

    “The BBB- rating reflects Namibia's strong growth potential and record of political stability, balanced by high fiscal and external deficits,” said Fitch.

    While it had left the rating unchanged, it was concerned about growth and government's ability to reduce debt.

    “The negative outlook reflects uncertainties about the growth outlook and the ability of the government to reverse the rise in debt,” said Fitch.

    The rating's agency also said that it expected growth of 2% owing to recoveries in gold and uranium mining as well as the agriculture sector.

    “Over the medium term, we expect growth to return to around 5% or higher, similar to the levels seen between 2010 and 2015 levels. The recovery will be supported by an end to drought conditions and associated increase in agricultural output, as well as an expected increase in uranium and gold mining. However, tight fiscal policy and low global commodity prices have put downward pressure on growth and will continue to present downside risks,” said Fitch.

    Concerns were also raised by Fitch regarding the level of import cover and the structure of external debt.

    “Fitch forecasts Namibia to become a net external debtor by end 2017.

    “External vulnerability is somewhat mitigated by the structure of external debt; much of the debt is intercompany, with parent companies funding Namibian mining operations.

    “At just above three months of current external payments, foreign reserves are low compared with the 'BBB' median of six months,” it said. FNB Namibia head of research Namene Kalili said that Fitch's concerns were similar to that of FNB's. “Risks to the investment grade rating include government's inability to meet fiscal consolidation targets, low foreign currency reserves, a material increase in borrowing costs, failure to narrow the current account deficit and the deterioration in economic growth,” said Kalili.

    He was also of the opinion that Namibia was able to steer clear for junk status considering constrained economic growth and soaring debt.

    “We believe that the country has dodged a bullet after public debt, the economic performance and the current account balance all deteriorated since the last review,” he said.

    He did not rule out the possibility of a downgrade to junk status. “A downgrade remains possible next year, as reflected in Treasury-bill and bond yields,” said Kalili.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: 2015 Ruby World Cup pools
  • 2015 Ruby World Cup pools2015 Ruby World Cup pools A550.50

    A650.50

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    B042.25

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Marenica tests technology
  • Marenica tests technologyMarenica tests technologyPioneering uranium processing technology on trial Developers of the U-pgrade processing technology, Marenica believe their product results in reduced operating costs. Prospective uranium miner Marenica will be putting its U-pgrade processing technology on trial locally as moves to show investors that it is sitting on what could be a positive development for uranium producers who all have to contend with high production costs, and low prices for its ores.

    Marenica recently signed an agreement with Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine to test the commercial viability of its processing technology.

    Langer Heinrich mine spokesperson, Bernadette Bock, said that the new technology was currently being used on its mine to establish whether it would enhance production and reduce operating cost. “Their intellectual property is currently being tested to confirm if the implementation of their proprietary U-pgrade process can result in enhanced benefits to Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU); including reduced unit operating costs and the enhancement of future production expansion,” Bock told Namibian Sun.

    She said that Langer Heinrich was open to put the technology to use if the trial run proved to be a success.

    “If successful and a mutually beneficial agreement forward can be agreed upon, it is not unlikely that [U-pgrade] could be used to upgrade all of LHU's low grade ore stockpiles,” said Bock. A representative ore sample has been collected for transit to Australia, with test work expected to be completed within six-weeks of the sample arriving at Marenica´s laboratory in Perth.

    Marenica MD Murray Hill said that they have always viewed Langer Heinrich as a candidate for the use of its technology.

    “Marenica developed U-pgrade on calcrete uranium ore and have always considered the Langer Heinrich Mine ore to be a prime candidate for application of U-pgrade, and we are excited about the prospect of demonstrating the amenability of U-pgrade to the highest grade uranium deposit in Namibia and the only operating mine processing calcrete ore,” Hill said in an update to investors.

    The U-pgrade process is essentially a uranium concentration process. It provides the potential to dramatically increase the profitability of medium to higher grade surficial deposits, as well as transform lower grade ones from sub-economic into economic, Marenica believes.

    The processing technology has not been used on a commercial basis as yet.



    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Early days for Ondundu
  • Early days for OndunduEarly days for Ondundu B2Gold Namibia is yet to make a long-term decision with regards to the development of its joint-venture project with Forsys Metals on the Ondundu project. The Toronto-listed gold miner said that it was also still early days for the development. B2Gold executed a farm-in agreement with Forsys in 2016 for the potential development of the prospective gold mining project.

    B2Gold told Namibian Sun that it is evaluating its options and would provide a market update of exploration results should the Ondundu resource prove to be significant, according to its spokesperson, Gretha du Plessis.

    “Ondundu is a B2Gold exploration project. We are considering our options with the projects as we do with any other exploration and development projects around the world.

    We are still in the very early stages of development with Ondundu and will officially publicise exploration results should the results prove to be prospective,” said Du Plessis upon enquiry.

    Following the execution of the farm-in agreement, both parties agreed that B2Gold would take up a 25% stake in the project.

    Du Plessis did not provide an update pertaining to the farm-in agreement and whether B2Gold's interest in changed since the execution of the farm-in agreement.

    B2Gold's exploration budget for its domestic interest is nearly US$5.1 million and mainly for diamond drilling activities in its Otjikoto licence area as well as Ondundu.

    The Ondundu resource was first discovered in 1917. Tsumeb Corporation and Goldfields have carried out exploration programmes in the area in the 1980s. Surface and underground sampling and mapping was carried out by both TCL and Goldfields at the time.

    According to Forsys, Ondundu is a sediment-hosted gold deposit.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Warmbier's death sparks new tensionWarmbier's death sparks new tensionN. Korea and US relations strain further Trump administration says it holds Pyongyang responsible for Warmbier's death and demands the release of the remaining three Americans. Otto Warmbier, the US student released in a coma last week after nearly 18 months in detention in North Korea, died on Monday, prompting President Donald Trump to slam the “brutal regime” in Pyongyang.

    The 22-year-old was medically evacuated to the United States last Tuesday, suffering from severe brain damage. He died six days later surrounded by relatives in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

    “The awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible,” the family said in a statement announcing Warmbier's death.

    The young man was on a tourist trip when he was arrested and sentenced in March last year to 15 years hard labour for stealing a political poster from a North Korean hotel, a punishment the United States decried as far out of proportion to his alleged crime.

    Trump lashed out at Pyongyang following news of his death.

    “It's a brutal regime,” he said during a White House event. “Bad things happened but at least we got him home to his parents.”

    In a separate written statement, Trump said, “Otto's fate deepens my administration's determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.

    “The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”

    Added Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “We hold North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier's unjust imprisonment, and demand the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained.”



    'At peace'

    Doctors last week revealed that Warmbier had suffered severe neurological injuries, and described him as being in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness”, opening his eyes and blinking, but showing no signs of understanding language or of being aware of his surroundings.

    His family said on Monday that he first appeared anguished when he first arrived home, but died “at peace”. Kim Jong-Un's regime claimed Warmbier fell into a coma soon after he was sentenced last year, saying the college student had contracted botulism and been given a sleeping pill. Medical tests carried out last week in the United States offered no conclusive evidence as to the cause of his neurological injuries, and no evidence of a prior botulism infection. Warmbier's doctors said he had suffered extensive tissue loss in all regions of his brain, but showed no signs of physical trauma.

    They said that given his young age, Warmbier's severe brain injury was most likely caused by cardiopulmonary arrest cutting the blood supply to the brain.



    'No excuse'

    Warmbier's release came amid mounting tensions with Washington following a series of missile tests by Pyongyang, focusing attention on an arms buildup that Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has dubbed “a clear and present danger to all”.

    The young man's death also brought attention to North Korea's human rights record. A Washington-based rights group tied Warmbier's fate to many others “starved, tortured, brutalised and killed in North Korea's political prison camps”.

    “Millions of unknown North Koreans are subjected to the brutality of the Kim regime,” the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea said in a statement.

    Warmbier's father, Fred, lashed out at North Korea last week, telling a news conference, “there is no excuse for any civilised nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long”.

    In their statement on Monday, Warmbier's family said they believed the young man had found a peace of sorts after being flown home.

    Three more US citizens are currently being held by North Korea. Two were teachers at a Pyongyang university funded by overseas Christian groups, and the third a Korean-American pastor who was accused of espionage for the South.

    Following Warmbier's death, the tour group that arranged his trip to North Korea said it would no longer take Americans into the isolated country. “Now, the assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high. The way his detention was handled was appalling, and a tragedy like this must never be repeated,” it said.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    French detain family of Champs-Elysees attackerFrench detain family of Champs-Elysees attacker French police have taken into custody four members of the family of a radicalised Islamist who was killed when he rammed a car loaded with guns and a gas bottle into a police van on the Champs-Elysees, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

    The ex-wife, brother and sister-in-law of Adam Dzaziri were detained late on Monday afternoon after police questioned them at the family home outside Paris.

    The assailant's father was also “taken into custody during the evening”, the source said.

    Dzaziri was killed in Monday's attack, but there were no other casualties.

    Sources close to the probe said he had been on France's security watchlist since 2015 over ties to “the radical Islamist movement”.

    The suspect's father told AFP that his son “had a registered weapon, he practised shooting”. A source close to the case said the 31-year-old had a firearms permit.

    There has been no claim of responsibility for the assault, which occurred just a short distance from where a jihadist shot dead a police officer two months earlier.

    France remains under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists slaughtered 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city.

    The latest attack came two days before the French government is to unveil a new anti-terrorism law, designed to allow the state of emergency to be lifted.



    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day PRETTY: Children pose for graduation pictures at a kindergarten in Yangxian County of Hanzhong, northwest China's Shaanxi Province yesterday. Children in kindergartens around China have entered their graduation season. Photo: NAMPA/XINHUA

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Local is lekker
  • Local is lekkerLocal is lekker An innovative entrepreneur has made headlines with his (tripe) product he officially launched this week. The idea and the product, grand as it is, and delicious, however snubs government and regional economic lobbying to promote and utilise home and regionally grown products. It is ironic that the tripe is, as reported, imported from Europe. Considering that Africa is home to top quality beef and meat products, products that Europeans themselves import for their wealthy citizens and which is beyond the reach of ordinary citizens on that continent and thus, only tickles the taste buds of millionaires and billionaires abroad, who only buy in upmarket chain stores and supermarkets. The British royal family's beef is rumoured to be exclusively grown by a white Zimbabwean farmer, supporting the fact that African products are not only superior and healthy, but are exclusively for the “haves” abroad. It is a fact that meat and vegetables grown in Africa are big foreign currency earners and sought after by Europe and other countries the world over as organic produce which is superior in taste and quality (and GMO free). While it is acceptable that it could be a challenge to source the product locally, we feel that regionally and continentally, this grand initiative would have been better received if local or regional tripe had been used in the spirit of Ubuntu and to help the region and continent to meet its national economic development goals. That Namibia and other African countries beef and products have European Union export quotas is testimony to the superiority of its meat products. Let us use innovative initiatives to line our own pockets by putting a 100% African delicacy on the table. The region has realised its economic capabilities and spent billions to develop collaborative economic hubs and logistics corridors to maximise our regional potential. Regional airlines are fraught with bankruptcy not only from mismanagement, but partly because of lack of cargo to sustain their freight operations, all opportunities that Africa is ironically giving away to developed countries, as well as delivering imports that can be sources regionally. How will we support the expensive regional networks that we have put in place if as a region we do not use these corridors? Local is lekker.

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: 'The drought will be back'
  • 'The drought will be back''The drought will be back' Minister for Agriculture, John Mutorwa, has expressed concern about recurring drought conditions globally, brought about by climate change.

    “It is not a question of whether drought will come. Drought will come, and therefore, we have to be prepared,” he warned.

    Mutorwa was speaking in Rome where he is attending an international seminar on drought organised by Iran, the Netherlands, and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) taking place at the agency's Italian headquarters.

    The seminar was organised under the theme: “Predict, Plan, Prepare: Stop drought becoming famine.”

    According to Mutorwa, even though droughts and their deadly consequences are never welcome, they have, due to climate change,to some extent become part and parcel of activities in Namibia, and elsewhere in the world. He said in terms of the institutional or organisational preparedness Namibia is quite well prepared. “We have through law, established a directorate of disaster risk management within the prime minister's office.”

    According to him, work to establish this directorate started in 1992 when Namibia experienced a devastating drought as an independent nation.

    “Admittedly, we still need a lot of expert support to build our capacity and resilience, especially in the areas of predicting, planning and actually preparing for a drought.”

    Meanwhile, the FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva said droughts have become more and more frequent.

    According to him, since the 1970s, the areas in the world affected by situations of drought have doubled.

    “And this tendency will probably continue and even intensify due to climate change.” Da Silva said the impacts of a drought can be devastating. “But when people die in a context of drought, it is not just because they are suffering from a harmful climatic event. People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the drought.”

    Da Silva said drought is a structural problem that combines economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities.

    He further said most of the time, poor rural communities in developing countries don't even know that a drought is about to strike.

    “They are not informed. They have no knowledge.” He said building the resilience of farmers is therefore fundamental to face drought situations and also to maintain local food production.

    “We cannot stop a drought from happening. But we can avoid a drought from becoming famine.”

    According to him, the impacts of a drought can go far beyond human costs adding that it can generate social instability, and also perpetuate a cycle of poverty and aid dependency that may persist for decades.

    According to da Silva, for years, the focus has been responding to droughts when they happen, rushing to provide emergency assistance to keep people alive.

    However, he said it is essential to invest in preparedness and in anticipating action by providing farmers and rural communities with knowledge and tools.

    He said this concept is at the heart of FAO's work in order to increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.

    The seminar sought to promote pro-active and integrated action that engages actors within and beyond the drought community. By engaging in this way the seminar hopes to highlight existing best practices drawn from different context, drive the sharing of knowledge and promote the implementation of integrated holistic intervention.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Swapo infighting at Kalkrand
  • Swapo infighting at KalkrandSwapo infighting at KalkrandAngry members want results nullified Disgruntled Swapo members at Kalkrand are grumbling about the district's election process, claiming the new leadership was elected irregularly. Infighting for leadership positions continues unabated ahead of the Swapo elective congress in November this year.

    Some Swapo members in Kalkrand have rejected the results of a recently held district conference and want the outcome to be nullified.

    The aggrieved officials claim some party members were deliberately excluded from taking part in the conference.

    The alleged exclusion took place at Schlip on 9 June during the nomination of delegates for the Kalkrand district to attend the planned Hardap Swapo regional conference where delegates for the party's congress are to be nominated.

    The branch members also claimed to be in possession of damaging evidence of fraud, falsification of documents and false statements under oath, and bribery.

    Aggrieved members, in a letter to the media, described the exercise as a 'pseudo' Swapo district conference they say was it is in total disregard of the party's constitution and ethics.

    The allegations are that the conference took place without any formal invitation to all the branches and that there was no agenda set.

    They say Swapo's Kalkrand branch was not invited.

    The members blamed chairperson of the Hardap Regional Council, Edward Wambo, and other leading party officials for the chaotic meeting.

    The letter particularly pointed fingers at Wambo as the architect of the “dirty campaign” as the leadership of the Rehoboth Rural District, under his guidance, opts for “disunity.”

    The letter further alleged the police presence stifled democracy at the grassroots level where the party's serving leaders allegedly manipulated processes in order to retain their positions.

    “This was the biggest travesty of justice and destruction of democracy by Wambo and his cohorts,” the aggrieved party members stated. Swapo secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba when contacted said if the Kalkrand district elections were not conducted in line with party procedures, they will be nullified.

    “A district election cannot take place in the absence of some of the structures which compose the district,” Mbumba told Namibian Sun.

    Mbumba maintained that in accordance with the party's constitution, all branches must be present during the election for the party district leadership.

    “The nomination of candidates must be so that the best candidate must be elected through majority votes,” Mbumba stated.

    He directed that the regional leadership of Swapo must provide answers as they supervised district activities.

    Regional Swapo coordinator for Hardap Reverend Stephanus Tiboth could not comment on the allegations of exclusion, saying the executive committee has not yet convened to discuss the issue.

    “Once the committee meets and pronounces itself on the alleged irregularity, I can comment about the Kalkrand district elections,” he said.

    When contacted for comment, Wambo alleged those complaining do not want to recognise Hendrik Alcock is the Swapo district coordinator, adding he (Alcock) is the only one who can address their allegations.

    “I am not at district level. The regional leadership only supervises the district nomination process and not selection of delegates to such conferences,” he emphasised.

    He further denied that Nampol members were used as returning officers.

    “Police were called in to assist with security,” he said and explained that the Kalkrand branch meeting which was called to nominate delegates to the district conference was disrupted and never took place.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Oshakati contracts Nexus to divert waterOshakati contracts Nexus to divert water The Oshakati Town Council has appointed the Nexus Group to construct storm water channels and culverts along the roads in the Ekuku residential area to divert water and prevent flooding.

    The water needs to be redirected into the nearby floodplain.

    “As a result of heavy rainfall this year, six houses in the Ekuku area were flooded,” said the town's spokesperson Katarina Kamari. Kamari said the Nexus Group was appointed to complete the job as they are already contracted to construct roads in Ekuku. “The work is done at a cost of N$700 000,” Kamari pointed out, adding the project began in March and is expected to be completed by the end of August. She said it is about 80% complete. The council also announced in September last year the rehabilitation of the Kwame Nkrumah and Immanuel Shifidi roads.

    These roads are since June 2016 being rehabilitated by a Chinese company, Zhong Mei Engineering Group, at the cost of N$24.1 million and are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

    Kamari said the project is 90% complete, with outstanding minor construction works of speed humps, road signs and interlocked sidewalks.

    “The 4.5 kilometres road is within established developments, therefore road users are still urged to adhere to warning signs that are erected while finishing up the remaining work,” Kamari concluded.



    NAMPA

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    Mayor wants land sale moratorium liftedMayor wants land sale moratorium lifted The mayor of Okahandja, Johannes Hindjou, has called on the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to fast-track the lifting of the moratorium on selling and leasing land in the town.

    Speaking to Nampa on the sidelines of the 121st commemoration of the OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority and observation of the death of Chief Kahimenua Nguvauva, Hindjou said the town council is losing out on revenue due to the moratorium.

    He said town councils depend on the sale and lease of land for survival.

    Hindjou noted that even the OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority has applied for land in Okahandja, but their application could not be processed until the directive from the ministry is received.

    The OvaMbanderu traditional authority has applied for the open space called OvaMbanderu Commando on the outskirts of Okahandja.

    “If we could process their application, by now they would have been paying rates and taxes. The council makes money from rates and taxes, which will be then used for funding developmental projects and provide quality services to residents,” he said.

    In 2015, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa placed a moratorium on selling and leasing land in Okahandja due to irregularities that were detected.

    The irregularities include the double allocation of land and people being allocated land without applying for it.

    Hindjou, however, idicated that they have to respect the decision of the ministry because of these irregularities.

    “An investigative team was sent to Okahandja some time ago by the ministry and we hope the moratorium will be lifted soon,” he said.



    NAMPA

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    Concern over leasehold registrationConcern over leasehold registrationObstacle to productivity on resettlement farms The Legal Assistance Centre has performed research indicating that out of 5 000 resettled farmers, only 10 leaseholds have been registered. Less than 10 leaseholds were registered at the deeds office by 2016 even though more than

    5000 people have been resettled on farms countrywide.

    This is according to a new report released by the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) in cooperation with the Namibia University of Science and Technology. The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) has expressed grave concern about the figures released in the report.

    “It is of great concern that to date less than 10 leaseholds are registered at the deeds office out of nearly 5 000 resettled famers, which already have the advantages from this resettlement programme,” said NAU.

    According to the union, the problem is that is that these leaseholds are not accepted as security by banks or other financial institutions and that they are not transferable.

    According to the report, no real rights in land can be considered to be transferred from one person or entity to another unless those rights are registered at the deeds office.

    The objective of the study is to give input for a policy framework with regard to leaseholds for especially resettlement farmers.

    “This therefore raises the question as to the legal status of any real rights expected to be transferred through any allotment or lease that is not registered at the deeds office.”

    The report raises the question whether any allotment letter from the lands ministry to an individual, or even an unregistered lease agreement, carries with it the effect of transferring any real rights in land from the lessee to the lessor.

    “The registration of leaseholds at the deeds office was even slower, with only six lease agreements over land allocated under the national resettlement plan registered by April 2016. This is a very low figure, bearing in mind that the ministry has resettled more than 5 000 beneficiaries,” says the report.

    According to the report, during the financial year 2013/14, “a total number of 11 lease agreements were handed over to the notary public through the attorney-general's office for preparation and lodgement in the deeds office.”

    Moreover, the report points out that the actual number of lease agreements issued and registered does not approximate the targets set for the strategic planning period 2013-2017.

    Over this period, the lands ministry intended to grant a total of 620 notarial lease agreements.

    “These low registration figures should be of concern to policy makers and implementers, and they raise a number of questions which require critical analysis.”

    It said a major concern about legalising transactions in leased resettlement land is that short-term considerations will lead to beneficiaries selling their rights, and hence becoming landless again.

    It said financial institutions will remain hesitant to advance loans if foreclosure involves having to clarify land rights.

    The report found that there are two major reasons for the lack of registration of leaseholds.

    “Firstly, there seems to be a general lack of information about the process and requirements for registration among beneficiaries, implementing agencies, and financial institutions. The second reason relates to financial, technical and other capabilities of the beneficiaries as well as the economic potential of the parcels, rather than the leasehold registration process itself.”

    The report says that although the fixed transaction costs (government fees, professional fees and taxes) appear to be significant, it would lead many to conclude that this is not affordable, given the perceived scale of economic activity on many resettlement farms. However, the cost should be seen in the context of the value of the asset and the advantages that may accrue from the registration of the leasehold agreement.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Work resumes on Aranos road
  • Work resumes on Aranos roadWork resumes on Aranos road Work related to the upgrade of the Gobabis-Aminius-Aranos road to bitumen standard resumed recently following the allocation of funding needed to complete construction on the 226-km stretch of gravel road.

    Construction on the road stopped at the end of July last year when the Roads Authority (RA) failed to pay the contractor, putting approximately 200 people out of work at the time.

    RA spokesperson Hileni Fillemon said construction work had moved to full production when she spoke to Namibian Sun recently.

    “We had a slowdown in production on this project due to financial constraints. However, payments were done and we have moved into full production,” said Fillemon.

    According to her, the first phase of the project which runs from Gobabis to Onderombapa is 90% complete.

    “This project covers the road from Gobabis to Onderombapa which we are currently busy with and it is now at 90% completion. Phase 2 of this project will continue from Onderombapa to Aranos,” said Fillemon.

    The N$1.2 billion project was initially due for completion later in December this year.

    Meanwhile, Roads Contractor Company CEO Tino !Hanabeb on enquiry also told Namibian Sun that construction activities on a gravel road leading to Onamatanga, in the Omusati Region, did not go as planned and it was up to the RA to come up with solutions.

    “Money was given for work done and we are engaging the Roads Authority to resolve issues related to that. The Onamatanga project did not go as planned. It is now up to the Roads Authority to see what solutions they can come up with and it is also up to them to source funding for this project,” said !Hanabeb.

    According to him, the contract for the construction of the Onamatanga gravel road was given on a contractual basis and the RCC had done its part.

    Namibian Sun reported last week that only de-bushing activities had been conducted on the 40-km stretch of gravel between Omakange and Onamatanga despite the fact that N$40 million had been allocated for its construction.



    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 06/20/17--16:00: Hotel occupancy falls
  • Hotel occupancy fallsHotel occupancy fallsEconomic slowdown hits tourism Slowdown in the economy has invariably affected the local tourism sector. The hospitality sector has been faced with low occupancy rates due to the contraction of economic activities in the country during the first quarter of the year. According to a recently released index, the situation is worsened by the poor support the sector is receiving from government.

    The FNB/Fenata tourism index indicates even though the first quarter of the year is known as off-season, the sector usually relies on government activities to support their businesses, but this has not been the case this year because government is also operating on a tighter budget.

    Daniel Kavishe, market research manager at FNB, said the tourism sector remained resilient over the course of 2016, but the marked slowdown in the economy has invariably affected the industry.

    Significantly, fewer bed nights were sold to domestic tourists during the first quarter, as disposable income has come under pressure and accommodation prices rose.

    “With the rand expected to depreciate over the remainder of the year, coupled with higher tourist arrival numbers, we anticipate a slightly better tourism season in 2017 compared to last year. This, however, is largely contingent on currency volatility and the price of accommodation relative to neighbouring countries.” Furthermore, the government was also under fire in the index for lack of strategic importance it places on the tourism sector.

    According to the index, dated laws are also decreasing the ease of doing business and have become counter-productive for several sectorial developments.

    Kavishe says a pertinent theme has been the fluctuation of the currency that makes securing business in the accommodation sector difficult.

    According to him, tour operators stated that the current strengthening of the exchange rate has led to a decline in their activities.

    “Furthermore, the increase in the prices at the accommodation sites has meant that there has been meaningful reduction in bookings for tours. The influx of French tourists has increased demand for qualified tour guides who have an affinity for the language, and these are presumably not readily available in the market.”

    Another challenge for the sector is the increase in crime that is negatively affecting tourism as robbers are targeting tourists.

    “According to the latest figures, the tourism sector had a tough first quarter to the year. Based on the travel index, growth in real terms subsided to -20% quarter on quarter as the stronger currency coupled with low occupancy rates drove it down,” said Kavishe.

    He said inflation in the sector remains rampant at 13% for the quarter as various operators aimed to remain abreast of global pricing patterns. International arrivals recorded a notable improvement during the first quarter at 4.3% quarter on quarter, beating prior expectations.

    “While the downturn in the index was expected for the first quarter, the trend should continue on the downside if the South African rand remains on its current path of recovery.”

    According to the latest survey, business performance dipped marginally since December, with 12% of the respondents stating that business was poor. However, when compared to a year ago, the business performance indicator increased from 3.3 to 4.6. The improvement during the quarter was mainly because of an increase in number of tourists compared to the same quarter last year.

    A total of 49.4% of the respondents stated that they received an increased number of tourists compared to first quarter in 2016. The respondents were mainly lodge owners and tour operators who believed this year the industry would grow faster than last year, based on an improved first quarter performance.

    The latest labour force survey showed that there has been an increase of 63.5% in the accommodation and food service activities, which relate to the tourism sector.

    According to the index, over 30% of the respondents stated that there will be an increase in the workforce during the second quarter of the year as the market stabilises.

    The concern among the respondents however remains the high turnover in the sector followed by poor service delivery from the staff. These “malignant” problems in the sector need to be addressed effectively in case the tourism sector suffers substantial setbacks.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Crew abandons fishing vessel after fire breaks outCrew abandons fishing vessel after fire breaks out A fire broke out on a long line hake fishing vessel belonging to Merlus fishing company in the early hours of Sunday morning and the 25 crew members on board abandoned the vessel near Pelican Point.

    The fire damage to South West Eagle estimated around

    N$5 million is suspected to have been caused by an electrical fault.

    The vessel which was heading to the Port of Walvis Bay, was carrying 11 tonnes of hake when the fire broke out

    Merlus fleet skipper, Willem Buckle, said the South West Eagle is a complete write-off.

    “The Department of Maritime Affairs (DMA) is busy with an investigation but initial indications are that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.”

    Merlus HR manager, Marlene Martins confirmed all crew members were rescued and that nobody was injured during the fire incident.

    Buckle said he received a call from Bertram Strauss the skipper of Ambrose Bay (another Merlus owned vessel) around 02:00 informing him that the South West Eagle was on fire. Reports indicate that the South West Eagle crew members initially kept the fire which started during the early hours of Sunday morning under control when it first broke out while the vessel was sailing towards Walvis Bay.

    The flames however reignited at around 03:00 and the situation deteriorated further after the auxiliary engine driving the vessel's onboard fire fighting system failed.

    The fire went out of control and the skipper of the South West Eagle Jason Mays ordered the crew to abandon the ship amid heavy fog and smoke which made the rescue operation extremely difficult.

    The Namport Omanda and Cormorant tug boats also rushed to provide assistance to the crew and to help douse the flame.

    The fire was subsequently brought under control and the South West Eagle was towed to the port of Walvis Bay around 06:00 on Monday morning.



    OTIS FINCK

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    Murder suspect wants her mental state examinedMurder suspect wants her mental state examined The defence lawyer of the widow accused of murder plot against her husband has submitted an application to have his client referred for psychiatric observation.

    Hipura Ujaha told the Windhoek High Court that it is unfortunate that the application is submitted at this stage of the trial, but it is in the interest of justice in light of what transpired yesterday.

    Ujaha appears on behalf Rachel Rittman, 46, who, with her lover Rhyno du Preez, 33, is accused of killing her husband, Rudolf Rittman at Gobabis on 23 August 2013.

    The doctor who treated Rittman allegedly informed Ujaha, though it is not yet certified, that she is suffering from anxiety attacks and depressive moods and has recommended that she goes for psychiatric observation.

    “It is on that basis I am submitting the application for referral for psychiatric observation,” he argued. Ujaha explained, based on his consultation with his client on Monday that she cannot compile a defence as she is not able to follow the proceedings.

    Boris Isaacks appearing for Du Preez, on his part argued that it is imperative that Rittman is referred for such observation as it might have an effect on the whole trial.

    “It's imperative she follows the proceedings,” he stressed.

    The second State Advocate Marthino Olivier, who is being assisted by Advocate Ethel Ndlovu, stated that the defence must provide medical evidence to support its allegations.

    Judge Christie Liebenberg added that evidence is required for the court to make a ruling on whether there is a need for referral.

    “The court is not in a position to evaluate the situation without guidance by the medical evidence of an expert,” he said and postponed the case to 22 June to allow the defence to prepare and present such evidence.

    In a double twist, Isaacks, on behalf his client withdrew the plea of guilty he submitted after the State refused to accept it.

    Ndlovu maintained the accused is not pleading according to facts and that they still did not plead on the charge of robbery.

    “We still have to lead evidence on that,” she stated.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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