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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 406 | 407 | (Page 408) | 409 | 410 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    5G communication licensees introduced5G communication licensees introducedCRAN updates telecommunications industry Local companies have been urged to work together to craft a strategy that will lead to the implementation of 5G. The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRAN) recently warmed the industry to the idea of 5G technology. CRAN organised a workshop to give telecommunications service providers insight into 5G technology capabilities and its spectrum requirements.

    The workshop also gave an overview of the current trials being conducted around the world for 5G, as well as the regulatory frameworks required to allow for the effective implementation of 5G technologies in Namibia according to its chief technical officer, Jochen Traut

    “Namibia was elected as the supporting country to South Africa in respect of the World Radio Conference (WRC-19) agenda points related to International Mobile Technology (IMT) services, which include 5G implementation and 5G spectrum related requirements. The workshop provided a platform for stakeholders to jointly craft strategies that will ensure the speedy and effective implementation of 5G in Namibia,” said Traut.

    “The success of 5G in Namibia is dependent on the collaboration and innovation of all telecommunications industry players. Investment in 5G will, in the long haul, enable mobile application and telecommunications service provides to connect simultaneously at any time,” he added.

    5G also achieves more efficient spectrum use, higher data rates, lower latency and ubiquitous connectivity. It is extremely reliable, near to universal coverage and its high speed mobile broadband can cost-effectively support growing data traffic demand (such as video down loads) and better support low-power Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

    Meanwhile, questions have been raised about Africa's preparedness to the introduction and adoption of 5G.

    While 5G networks are expected to deliver faster speeds for significantly more users on the same network, and is geared for huge volumes of simultaneous connections with an impressive reduction in latency, how realistic is deployment and rollout of 5G in Africa right now?

    Not really, says Martin Ferreira, executive head at Jasco Carrier Solutions.

    Ferreira said that southern African countries have 3G and 4G capability, and that there is scope to develop this into 5G, but this is limited to metro areas. “There is not much infrastructure in the rural and sub-rural type areas, and even in South Africa I think that is a huge problem... how successful do you think 4G was? I don't think it was, I don't have coverage at my home or when I move all over. I have hotspots where I can find them, so how successful was 4G? My philosophy is that 5G is going to follow that same route,” he told IT Web Africa earlier this year.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Russia urges US restraint in SyriaRussia urges US restraint in Syria The Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in a telephone conversation with American secretary of state Rex Tillerson urged Washington to take measures to prevent provocation against Syrian government troops, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

    The statement comes after the US-led coalition repeatedly bombed the Syrian army's positions in the south of the country.

    “Lavrov called on Washington to take measures to prevent provoking Syrian government troops conducting operations against terrorists.

    “The foreign policy chiefs discussed the settlement of the crisis in Syria, including the need to consolidate the ceasefire, in particular through the Astana process, intensification of the fight against terrorist groups and blocking of attempts to use chemical agents,” the statement said.

    On 8 June, the American-led coalition bombed pro-Damascus forces near al-Tanf in the area of a de-confliction zone following an alleged attack by a combat drone resulting in no coalition forces' casualties. This was the third attack by the coalition on Damascus' allies in the area. The coalition targeted a drone and trucks with weapons.

    The Russian defence ministry slammed the move, saying that it seems that the US-led coalition is more interested in bombing the Syrian army instead of fighting terrorists. It also accused the coalition and Syrian rebels it supports of “conspiring” with Daesh leaders by letting them leave the encircled area and move to other areas.

    SPUTNIK NEWS

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    No deal in Philippines hostage sagaNo deal in Philippines hostage sagaHostages forced to fight, loot, become sex slaves The government of the Philippines says it will not negotiate with Islamic terrorists holed up with hostages in Marawi City. Civilians held hostage by Islamist militants occupying a southern Philippine city have been forced by their captors to loot homes, take up arms against government troops and serve as sex slaves for rebel fighters, the army said on Tuesday.

    Citing accounts of seven residents of Marawi City who either escaped or were rescued, the military said some hostages were forced to convert to Islam, carry wounded fighters to mosques, and marry militants of the Maute group loyal to Islamic State.

    “So they are being forced to be sex slaves, forced to destroy the dignity of these women,” military spokesman Jo-Ar Herrera told a news conference.

    “So this is what is happening inside, this is very evident ... these are evil personalities.”

    Their accounts, which could not be immediately verified, are the latest harrowing stories to come out of a conflict zone that the military has been unable to penetrate for five weeks, as well-armed and organised rebels who fight off soldiers with sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

    Some escapees say bodies of residents have been left in the streets, some for weeks, and civilians are distressed by government air strikes and artillery bombardments that have reduced parts of Marawi to rubble.

    The protracted seizure has worried the region about the extent the Islamic State's agenda may have gained traction in the southern Philippines, which is more used to banditry, piracy and separatism than radical Islam.

    The rebels' combat capability, access to heavy weapons and use of foreign fighters has raised fears in the mainly Catholic country that the Marawi battle could just be the start of a wider campaign, and be presented by Maute as a triumph to aid their recruitment efforts.

    Heavy clashes broke out on Tuesday as the battle entered its sixth week, with intense bombings by planes on a shrinking rebel zone.



    No negotiations

    The government ruled out negotiations after reports that Abdullah Maute, one of two brothers who formed the militant group carrying their name, wanted to trade a Catholic priest hostage for his parents arrested earlier this month.

    The military said on Saturday Abdullah Maute had fled.

    Taking advantage of a short truce to mark the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday, eight Muslim leaders met briefly on Sunday with Maute. The Philippine Daily Inquirer said he had asked for his father, Cayamora Maute, and influential businesswoman mother, Farhana Maute, to be freed, in a swap for Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub.

    But presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said deals with militants were against government policy, and anyone trying to bargain had no authority to do so.

    “The local religious leader-led talks with terrorists last Sunday was one not sanctioned,” Abella told reporters.

    “Any demands made inside, therefore, hold no basis. Let us remind the public, the gravity of the terrorists and their supporters' offences is immense.”

    The military's public relations machine has been insisting that the rebel leadership was crumbling, saying top commanders had escaped or were killed in action, and the group was fraught with infighting, even executing their own men for wanting to surrender.

    Military officers, however, accept they lack solid proof of such developments and were working to verify intelligence reports.

    The army said there were reported sightings of the departure from the battle of Isnilon Hapilon, Islamic State's anointed Southeast Asian “emir”, which Abella said showed he was not committed to his cause.

    “It would be a clear sign of his cowardice,” Abella said of Hapilon.

    “It may only be a matter of time before they disintegrate.”

    Fighting has raged in the town since an operation to arrest Hapilon went wrong on May 23, leading to the government losing not just Hapilon, but control of Marawi.

    Official figures show 70 servicemen, 27 civilians and 290 militants have since been killed and 246,000 people displaced.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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  • 06/27/17--16:00: Explosion off Somalian coast
  • Explosion off Somalian coastExplosion off Somalian coast A huge explosion was heard from a ship off the coast of Somalia's Puntland region late on Monday and flames were seen rising from what might be a foreign vessel, an official in a nearby port said.

    “We heard (a) huge explosion and (saw) flame rising from the ship. I believe that the ship is foreign,” Ali Shire, mayor of Puntland's port town of Alula, a pirate haven, told Reuters on Tuesday.

    It was not immediately clear whether the explosion was caused by an accident on-board the vessel or was triggered by pirate attackers. It was also not clear whether the vessel was still afloat or had sunk.

    Jacqueline Sherriff, spokeswoman for the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), told Reuters in an email they were aware of reports about a possible explosion on a vessel and were working with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) to confirm details.

    “I can confirm that all EU NAVFOR warships and crews are safe and we have not been asked to assist with an incident.”

    Abdi Jama, a resident of Muranyo village near Alula, told Reuters the vessel had been in the area for two days before the explosion occurred and that he had seen a helicopter land on and take off from the vessel some time before the blast.

    He said the explosion turned the vessel “into flames and huge clouds of smoke”.

    Somali pirates often prowl waters around Alula. In March, they hijacked an oil tanker, Aris 13, with eight Sri Lankan crew on board, the first time a commercial ship was commandeered in the region since 2012.

    Several foreign navies, including from the European Union, China and others, often operate in the area as part of anti-piracy missions.



    NAMPA/REUTERS

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    Farmers need to comply with lawFarmers need to comply with lawNew Water Act under spotlight The new Water Act requires not only that farmers have permits for the abstraction of water but that abstraction figures are also submitted to the authorities. The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) held a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry with regard to the commencement of the new Water Act which has proposed new water control areas and stricter enforcement measures for water permit holders.

    The executive manager of the NAU, Sakkie Coetzee, and the manager of research, Wallie Roux, met with officials of the Directorate of Water Resource Management to discuss the current legislation regarding the inside and outside of water management areas, the commencement of the new Water Act, as well as the obligations of water permit holders towards the ministry.

    During the meeting it was confirmed that the current Water Act provides for certain water control areas where permits are required to extract water.

    The following areas are currently included as water control areas, namely Grootfontein, Tsumeb, Otavi, Omaruru, Windhoek, Gobabis, Stampriet and Maltahöhe.

    A permit is also required when water is extracted from any river in the country. According to the current Act permits are not required for extraction outside these water control areas.

    The new Water Act (Act No. 11 of 2013) was already promulgated and regulations made according to the new Act were drafted and are currently with the Ministry of Justice for finalisation.

    “As soon as these regulations are approved, a date for the commencement of the new Act will be published in the Government Gazette,” says the NAU. According to the proposed regulations additional areas will be included as part of the water control areas.

    “That means that water infrastructure in those areas will then be subjected to permits for water extraction.

    “The new Act makes provision for a grace period in such cases for owners of such infrastructures to apply for the necessary permits.”

    The NAU says during the meeting it was also mentioned that one of the conditions for a permit under the current Act is that a person is compelled to keep monthly water extraction records and submit these on a quarterly basis to the Department of Water Affairs. It was specifically mentioned that not all current permit holders are complying with this requirement. According to the new Act this requirement will be more enforceable.

    The NAU will keep members informed on any progress in this regard and when the new act will commence.

    In the meantime, all permit holders in the current water control areas are requested to submit their monthly water extraction records to the Directorate of Water Resource Management on a quarterly basis.

    “This should be seen in the light of the new Act that will be much more prescriptive than the current one for effective management of underground water resources,” says the union.



    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 06/27/17--16:00: Namibia bans poultry imports
  • Namibia bans poultry importsNamibia bans poultry importsBird flu reported in South Africa and Belgium Following the appearance of the H5N8 strain of bird flu, Namibia has closed its borders. Namibia has suspended the import and in transit movement of live poultry, birds and products from South Africa and Belgium following the outbreak of bird flu (H5N8).

    South Africa confirmed outbreaks on at least two farms this month and Belgium had one earlier this year.

    Bird flu is an infectious disease of birds which is caused by a type of strain of the influenza virus which occurs worldwide.

    It is characterised by sudden onset, severe illness, and rapid death with a mortality rate that can reach extreme levels.

    In a statement, issued by the agriculture ministry, the chief veterinary officer Milton Maseke said all previously issued import and in-transit permits are cancelled and recalled with immediate effect.

    “Since the incubation period of the disease is 21 days as set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the suspension will take effect 21 days prior to the date of start of the event,” he said.

    “Cooked poultry meat products from South Africa for commercial purposes may still be imported into Namibia under a revised veterinary import permit.”

    Maseke cautioned the public that the disease could be transmitted to humans through handling and coming into close contact with infected poultry as well as consuming poultry products from infected poultry.

    Some common health signs of the disease in poultry include swelling and purple discolouration of the head and wattle, swelling and red discolouration of the feet, bleeding of internal organs, staggering movement and paralysis of wings and legs.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    Landowners submit appeals against land valuationsLandowners submit appeals against land valuations The appeal of more than 300 landowners against last year's verdict by the Valuation Court has been submitted to the High Court.

    According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) the appeal of the 379 landowners are of those who did not have legal representation at the Valuation Court in 2016.

    The appeal of land owners who were represented by lawyers was already submitted on December 19, 2016.

    “The submission of this appeal supports the action to put aside the disputed 2012/17 Valuation Rolls and force the lands ministry to rectify it according to the regulations for determining land tax,” says the NAU.

    The union previously said that due to the large number of objections which were submitted against the 2012/17 provisional valuation rolls for the payment of land tax, as well as the confusing announcements by the Valuation Court in 2016, left landowners with no other option.

    The appeal and review application to the High Court are supported by the NAU as it is the aim of this action to correct the valuation roll for future land tax assessments.

    On 23 November last year the Valuation Court gave a 40% discount to all landowners who objected.

    The NAU at that time said that the 40% discount given by the Valuation Court to the objectors did not solve the problem of the valuation roll.

    “The problem is that the valuation roll ignores certain regulations, in terms of which it was compiled, which causes that the roll does not take the production potential of land into consideration. Furthermore it does not address the problem that the valuations differ as much as 100% from neighbouring landowners who fall into two different valuation zones.”

    The 40% discount caused an imbalance in valuations within the same zone, which defeated the purpose of the valuation roll, the union said.

    According to the NAU it has since 2013 been in contact with the then Ministry of Land Reform about the application of the regulations for the drafting of valuation rolls for the purpose of land tax payments.

    It said the biggest shortcoming was that the 2012/17 provisional valuation rolls did not take the production potential of the land into consideration. Various submissions in this regard were made by the NAU to the ministry, without any response.

    In the meantime the ministry started with valuations of selected farms for the drafting of the 2017/22 land valuation map. This process is supposed to take place each five years according to the current regulations, according to the union.







    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/27/17--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day WAITING: A fan waits for the start of the 2017 Confederations Cup group B football match between Australia and Germany at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on 19 June 2017. Photo: NAMPA /AFP

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  • 06/27/17--16:00: When we forget who voted
  • When we forget who votedWhen we forget who voted In the Hardap Region of Namibia, it is alleged that the governor used vulgar language and made some dangerously insulting tribal inferences at members of the Maltahohe Village Council for simply doing their jobs.

    The reason why NamWater and NamPower client services are cut is because it is a business and because these utility providers have their own costs to cover in the provision of water and electricity to the nation. It is therefore a crying shame that the people responsible for enforcing the logical consequences of non-payment of outstanding debts are castigated in this disrespectful manner.

    It leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. However, this is probably not the first time that something like this has happened and it speaks to a far greater problem, one that speaks of strong tribal undercurrents and disrespect for fellow human beings and this should end forthwith.

    We cannot afford to firstly allow, especially someone like Esme Isaacks, “Governor” of Hardap, indirectly put there by the power of the ballot and “the people” of Hardap to utter such rude and discourteous drivel and to scold people for doing their jobs – it is unacceptable – in the extreme. Furthermore, this speaks to another all the more common problem, which is the downright disdain demonstrated time and again by a horde of arrogant, self-serving elite, towards the people who voted them into power.

    Who can forget the Mbumba's insult when he called the people “aafyoona nye” in public, mind you.

    The sooner people realise that tribalism is no better than racism and that it has been the scourge of Africa and Africans after colonialism, the better. In Namibia we do not need tribalism, we do not need racism and least of all, we do not need disrespectful, arrogant and self-serving leaders.

    Or have we forgotten what the liberations struggle was for? This governor is just an example of another arrogant, insulting leader, one of many that we have had to put up with, who treat people with arrogance and disdain.

    Enough is enough, let her go back to where she came from and not profess to be a leader – she is a leader of what and whom?

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    Venaani urged to toe the lineVenaani urged to toe the line The minister in the presidency, Frans Kapofi has vehemently come out in defence of his boss, President Hage Geingob who swore that 'heads would roll', in the case revolving alleged corrupt practices in the execution of the tender to construct a multi-billion dollar oil storage facility.

    Geingob is alleged to have suggested that civil servants responsible for the mess related to the tender would be given marching orders during the delivery of his State of the Nation address. President of the DTA McHenry Venaani questioned the seriousness of Geingob's claim and said the utterance was only made to save face, a claim and statement denied by Kapofi. “While the president is on record for his commitment to combating corruption, the words 'heads would roll' did not appear in the State of the Nation address for 2017. That the honourable member would ascribe to the president words he did not utter, is a cause for concern because it falls within the trend of fake news,” said Kapofi. He called on Venaani to be factual and lambasted his behaviour. “These inaccuracies, whether they are intentional or accidental, must be discouraged. What is expected from the leader of the opposition is accuracy and truthfulness,” said Kapofi. According to him, an investigation into corrupt practices had already been launched and charges had been laid against government officials possibly implicated. “Investigations have started and good progress has been made. Already, charges have been laid against some civil servants and we expect more light to be shed regarding the shortcomings and/or irregularities in the implementation of the of the national oil storage facility,” said.

    “I am baffled and disheartened by Venaani's insinuation that the president may have not been genuine. I don't know what Venaani intends to say here… save face? Save face from what exactly?” Kapofi asked.

    Kapofi also demanded an apology from Venaani and said that his conduct was disrespectful. “In my view, this question by Venaani is disrespectful - it is totally uncalled for,” concluded Kapofi. Ministry of finance permanent secretary Ericah Shafudah appears to be the only high-ranking civil servant who has been slapped on the wrist with regard to the fuel storage facility. Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa recently issued Shafudah with a last written warning for her failure to attend tender committee meetings related to discussions around the construction of the fuel storage facility.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Domestic workers and employers should work togetherDomestic workers and employers should work together The Namibia Domestic and Allied Workers’ Union (Ndawu) has urged domestic workers and their employers to work together for a conducive work environment, where the employee is protected while providing satisfactory service.

    Ndawu secretary-general Dina Kahua told Nampa the union understands the difficulties domestic workers experience in negotiating for better working conditions, but they need to take charge of their careers by protecting their rights.

    Kahua said domestic workers are “silently abused” in the workplace because they do not know their rights.

    “Many employers don’t pay their domestics the minimum wage of N$1 353.20, nor is the N$7.80 per hour for those who work part-time adhered to.”

    She said the minimum wage was set in 2015 and should increase annually, while those who were being paid more than the minimum amount should not have had their salaries reduced.

    Other difficulties domestic workers have to endure include unfair dismissal, lack of leave and irregular payment of salaries because they do not have contracts.

    “We invite all domestic workers and others like gardeners to join Ndawu to make full use of all the benefits available,” Kahua said.

    She said employers can also source information such as work contract templates, information on Social Security Commission registration and the relevant labour laws and policies from the union’s offices.

    Meanwhile, the union is conducting information sessions with employees and their employers in all regions.

    “We provide information on conflict resolution, salaries, leave days, health and safety, and recruiting members,” Kahua said.

    They have already had such sessions at Henties Bay, Swakopmund, Karibib and Omaruru in the Erongo Region.

    Ndawu will conduct similar sessions at Mariental, Keetmanshoop and Oshakati in July, with dates and venues to be communicated via radio services and/or public notices.

    NAMPA

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    Africa road conference in JulyAfrica road conference in July The second International Road Federation (IRF) Africa Regional Congress will be hosted next month in Windhoek.

    The conference, which will be hosted in collaboration with the Roads Authority, will take place from 11 to 13 July under the theme “Sustainable Transport Practices: Tools for Modern Connectivity.”

    It will offer road and transport stakeholders in Africa a unique opportunity to share best practices, address important challenges, identify new and innovative resources to bridge financing gap.

    It will also explore emerging trends and new technologies that can contribute to making Africa an example to the transport sector and provide knowledge sharing opportunities as well as a setting for transport stakeholders to network and engage with road industry leaders from around the world.

    “The RA's mandate is to manage Namibia's road network with a view to achieve a safe and efficient road sector. Roads are essential to Africa's competitiveness and are a major driving force behind our respective nations' socio-economic development objectives. As our cities develop and our trade volumes grow, lack of adequate road facilities and transport services will translate into chronic delays, increased injury risk and higher costs borne by society unless the appropriate policies are identified and implemented,” said the CEO of RA, Conrad Lutombi.

    According to him Namibia is at crossroads as it seeks to select the appropriate engineering and management models to make safe and efficient roads a reality.

    “Hence, this congress comes at an opportune time and we are honoured to partner with the IRF”, Lutombi said.

    IRF President and CEO Patrick Sankey said the results of investment into roads have shown how transformative an infrastructure can be for a wide range of beneficiary communities.

    Sankey said the congress will focus on four subthemes namely the provision of a safe transport system; an efficient asset management culture; innovative financing techniques and building the capacity of the African transport professional.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    N$2.5 mill cigarette fraud case postponedN$2.5 mill cigarette fraud case postponed The fraud case against former employees of the then Indo Atlantic, now Commercial Investment Corporation (CIC) at Walvis Bay, which is on-going for over six years now, has been postponed to 19 July for arguments.

    The written arguments are expected to be submitted by both the State and the defence lawyers by next week.

    Judge Alfred Siboleka yesterday informed the accused David Martin Bezuidenhout, the former cigarette sales representative of CIC and Venecia Ann Koning, the former administrative clerk of the same company, that due to the voluminous transcripts of the proceedings the lawyers just received, they are now unable to immediately start with their arguments.

    Bezuidenhout and Koning are facing a host of fraud and theft charges in cigarette sales involving N$2.5 million.

    The two initially faced 36 counts of the same charges but were acquitted on some after a successful application which found that the State did not prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt. Bezuidenhout now appears on 14 charges of fraud, one count of theft and one of theft by false pretence, while his co-accused Koning is facing 37 charges involving fraud, theft, forgery and theft by false pretence.

    It is alleged that the two accused acted with a common purpose between the period October 2006 to August 2007 at Walvis Bay, and defrauded CIC.

    Koning allegedly paid cash amounts into accounts of other customers for whom Bezuidenhout had created false invoices for cigarettes that were never delivered.

    The evidence is that he delivered 1 000 packets of Benson and Hedges Special Mild to the Trust Market, while the retailer was invoiced for 3 000 packs.

    Another delivery showed he delivered 6 000 packets of Dunhill King Size and 4 000 Peter Stuyvesant to Walvis Bay Self Service while the customer was invoiced for 14 000 packets of Peter Stuyvesant and 16 000 packets of Dunhill.

    The State alleges he stole the excess cigarettes, sold them and pocketed the proceeds.

    It is further alleged that Bezuidenhoudt defrauded Indo Atlantic's clients listed as Kuiseb Shop 4 Value, Bargosa Wholesalers, Walvis Bay Self Service, Parade Supermarket, Trust Market, Metro Walvis Bay, Metro Swakopmund, Shoprite U Save, Shoprite/Checkers Walvis Bay, Sentra Portuguese Market, Spar North Rand Henties and Shoprite Swakopmund.

    Bezuidenhout explained that normally on demand he would deliver the requested consignment, it would be picked up at the specific shop and he would take the cash from the sale.

    Advocate Simba Nduna appears for State while Boris Isaacks and Titus Ipumbu are in defence of the respective accused.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Still dependent on export marketsStill dependent on export marketsVery little value addition to grow local market Namibia’s meat industry, in particular Meatco, is still reliant on foreign markets for income as there is almost zero value addition at home. Namibia is likely to remain dependent on export markets for beef, while it is unlikely that the local market will become a high-value earner for the country’s biggest beef producer.

    According to Meatco’s latest annual report, the Namibian market is not a high-value earner for the company, accounting for 10.62% of actual sales in the reporting period, but 31.7% in terms of volume.

    “Nonetheless, since Meatco needs the raw material, the cattle, provided by local producers to enable it to sell high-value cuts to its international clients, the Namibian market has high strategic value for Meatco.”

    In terms of value, the international market accounted for 77.08% of Meatco's revenue and 44.27% of Meatco's total volume was exported to these markets.

    According to agricultural expert Wallie le Roux, Namibia will remain dependent on export markets.

    He explained that the company exports its premium cuts to international markets where it is able to receive a better price for these cuts.

    In Namibia the company sells beef which is of a lower quality. “High-quality cuts are not marketed locally, because we are not willing to pay those high prices,” Le Roux said.

    “It all has to with the price. If you start to sell high-quality cuts at an exorbitant price in the country the buyer will simply go to a place where the meat is cheaper. The problem is that we have excess meat in the country and therefore it needs to be exported.”

    Le Roux said it will therefore be very difficult to turn Namibia into a high-value earner. “The only way this can happen is if there is a lot of value addition.”

    Furthermore, the Meatco says that the unlocking of new markets such as Hong Kong, China and the UK, meant more value for producers and a broader market diversification for the company.

    Meatco processed a total of 21 809 tonnes of meat for its markets during the reporting period, compared with 26 878 tonnes recorded the year. International markets account for 75.41% of the value of Meatco’s sales, while South Africa and Namibia combined, accounted for 22.9%.

    Due to South Africa’s population size, income levels, and proximity, it remains a lucrative regional market for some of its beef products, receiving 12.28% of Meatco’s exports in the year under review.

    With consecutive years of drought in Namibia, the impact was felt in the meat industry with declining cattle numbers available for slaughter. Meatco slaughtered 25 000 less cattle during the 2016/17 financial year from south of the red line in comparison to the previous year.

    This is the first year that cattle for slaughtering decreased south of the red line.

    It budgeted slaughtering just over 95 400 cattle during the reporting period, but ultimately slaughtered 91 558 cattle.

    Meatco Board Chairperson Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun said that at the company’s AGM that Namibia, industry and the company is currently facing tough economic times.

    She urged Meatco members to consider the sustainability of Namibians.

    “Farming is not for the faint-hearted and with these conditions, we are seriously facing a real threat to the viability of being a producer under the prevailing market and economic conditions,” she said.

    According to the report during the 2015/16 financial year 116 948 cattle south of the red line were slaughtered. However, this has decreased with 25 390 cattle year-on-year to 91 558 during the reporting period.

    According to the report this is quite substantial.

    Communal producers also delivered 1 682 cattle directly to a Meatco abattoir for slaughter.

    According to the annual report the unfavourable climatic conditions and resultant water crisis in Namibia contributed to a challenging year for Meatco.

    The company recorded a net profit for the year of N$19.2 million, while the revenue decreased by 8.5% year-on-year mainly due to less cold mass being processed in conjunction with the strengthening of Namibian dollar against other foreign currencies.

    “In terms of volume, the company recorded an overall decrease of 21.7% from the previous year of the amount of cattle slaughtered south of the veterinary cordon fence.”

    In addition, 53.12 % of all beef revenue was returned to producers in the form of the producer price.

    According to the report the average weight and quality of cattle procured by Meatco has also declined year-on-year, with approximately 40% of the number marketed directly as C-grade cattle.

    “Unfortunately, the situation impacts on the national herd as well, with quality declining due to drought and the herd shrinking by at least 15%. The effects of the drought will continue to be felt in the foreseeable future,” says the report.

    Meanwhile the Mobile Slaughter Unit which started operating in August 2016, slaughtered just short of 750 cattle in the northern communal areas (NCA).

    This represented a decrease in the number of cattle slaughtered compared with the previous year when the abattoirs in Katima Mulilo and Oshakati were still operational.

    According to Meatco even though fewer cattle were slaughtered in the NCA, it is optimistic that once the Mobile Slaughter Unit is in production for a full year, the numbers will increase.

    “The slaughtering unit will end the financial drain of approximately N$354 million over 25 years that the conventional abattoirs brought on the corporation. However, access to markets is a hindering factor in terms of slaughter numbers,” according to the report.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/27/17--16:00: State funeral for Oshiko cop
  • State funeral for Oshiko copState funeral for Oshiko cop The late Sergeant Aina Magano Iikela, 42, was laid to rest at her home village of Oshilulu near Etilyasa in Okahoa constituency of Omusati Region this past weekend.

    Iileka died while on duty at Oshiko police check point after she was hit by a vehicle allegedly driven by a 22-year-old unlicensed driver who then fled from the police.

    Iikela was also a part-time student at the International University of Management (IUM) at Ongwediva. She died on 15 June, the day she resumed her duties at work after returning from two weeks of study leave.

    Oshana police held a memorial service at the Oshiko police check point last week Wednesday in remembrance of the late Iileka. According to Deputy Commissioner Hilja Haipumbu, the Oshana police have arrested Erastus Tashiya in connection with Iileka's death. He has already appeared before the Oshakati Magistrate's Court and his case was postponed to 1 September. He faces several charges including murder, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving a motor vehicle without a driver's licence and failing to assist an injured person. He was remanded in custody.

    Haipumbu said Tashiya is alleged to have stolen the bakkie from the family home at Aafoti near Onaanda in Omusati Region.

    He was being pursued by police when he hit Iikela who was standing on the roadside. She was killed instantly.

    During the memorial service, the commander for Oshiko police, Inspector Benjamin Hophin, said Iileka reported for duty with other members at 14:00.

    “She was the second in-charge at the road block during for the shift. I briefed them before I left. At around 20:00 I received a call that there was a fatal accident at the check point and it had claimed the life of one of our members. It was very sad to learn that she was on the roadside when the car hit her,” Hophin said.

    Sergeant Dornatus Paulus who was on duty with Iileka that day said that he was not at the check point when the accident happened, but he had informed the team about a speeding vehicle heading in their direction that was being pursued by the police and asked them to stop manning the road.

    “It was announced on our radio that a car, reported stolen in Omusati, was spotted in Oshana and it was driving toward Ondangwa. When it passed Ongwediva heading the check point I communicated to members at the check point to vacate the road because the car was being driven recklessly,” Paulus said.

    It is reported that the speeding vehicle first hit a stationary bakkie that was standing at the check point for inspection before it went onto the roadside where Iileka was standing.

    The late Iileka joined the Namibian police in 2011. Iileka started her career in Otjozondjupa Region where she worked under the special field force unit. In 2013 she was transferred to Omusati Region. After she enrolled at IUM in 2015 she was transferred to Ongwediva.

    In February this year, Iileka started working at Oshiko police check point. The governor for Oshana Region, Clemens Kashuupulwa, expressed concern about the safety of police officers at Oshiko check point. In July 2011, the same check point claimed the life of Constable Albertina Naambo Uugwanga who was also hit by a vehicle while on duty.

    “This is the second incident at the same check point. Our attitudes as drivers are not good and we must think twice about this. Motorists must exercise caution when approaching. It is also high time that we erect speed hump here so that this will never happen again,” Kashuupulwa.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    SME Bank assets concern MetbankSME Bank assets concern MetbankShareholder complains of decline in bank's liquidity position A minority shareholder in SME Bank, Zimbabwean Metbank, expressed serious concern over the Bank of Namibia's request for millions to re-capitalise the beleaguered institution. Metbank, a minority shareholder in the disgraced lender SME Bank, is crying foul over investigations launched by the Bank of Namibia and wants the central bank to explain how the SME Bank's assets have declined since it fell under curatorship. Metbank, also known as the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe, is a commercial bank in Zimbabwe.

    This follows a request by the central bank's governor, Iipumbu Shiimi for roughly N$351 million for re-capitalisation purposes. Metbank chairman, Wilson Manase, has also requested for an update into the investigation launched by the central bank after alleged dubious investments worth nearly N$200 million were made in South Africa.

    Requesting for an update from Shiimi, Manase asked how it was possible that the central bank had to ask for capital despite taking over a financially healthy institution in March this year.

    “At the time the Bank of Namibia took over, we noted that SME Bank was solvent with a capital position in excess of 68% of the required minimum capital and a surplus liquidity position of 155% above the statutory minimum,” said Manase in a letter to the central bank governor.

    According to him, he was shocked to learn that the central bank held out a begging bowl to trade minister, Immanuel Ngatjizeko.

    “To our dismay, we were startled to learn that the above position changed while the operation of the SME Bank vested under the care and custody of the Bank of Namibia, to such an extent that the governor addressed a letter to shareholders requesting for re-capitalisation of the SME Bank to the total sum of N$359 million on or before 13 June 2017,” said Manase

    He also claimed that he had written to both Shiimi and the trade minister, Immanuel Ngatjizeko about developments pertaining to investigations by the Bank of Namibia. “Committed to further our business interests, we on various occasions in writing requested the governor and the minister of trade to disclose pertinent financial reports upon which the decisions will be made. To date, such crucial reports pertaining to the bank are yet to be disclosed,” said Manase, adding that Metbank was now in a favourable position to fund the re-capitalisation of the SME Bank while also looking to regain control.

    “As a matter of fact, both the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe and Worldeagle Investments are in a favourable standing to re-capitalise the SME Bank in accordance with the shareholders' agreement subject to disclosure of material information pertaining to the bank since assumption of control by the Bank of Namibia

    “As owners of the business, we noted that the Bank of Namibia removed directors and officers of the SME Bank and assumed control. For whatever reasons, no consultations at the very least were made by yourselves with the lawful shareholders of the SME Bank and in particular Metbank.

    “Metbank also requested a comprehensive written copy of the central bank's investigations in the investments that were made by the SME Bank in VBS Mutual Bank and Mamepe Capital as well as a full and comprehensive report on the financial and operations status of the SME Bank, none of which have been forthcoming.

    “We are very concerned on the way forward and need to be appraised on your findings so far,” he said.

    The central bank has since refuted the allegations and said that it had engaged SME Bank shareholders at all times regarding developments at the commercial bank.

    “The bank hereby wishes to state that it has engaged all the shareholders and relevant stakeholders regarding matters related to SME Bank,” said central bank spokesperson, Kazembire Zemburuka.

    Shiimi wrote to Ngatjizeko in March requesting for between N$250 and N$300 million to recapitalise the SME Bank.

    According to Shiimi, it was still unclear what the investigation would reveal. “If these funds are lost and not recoverable, SME Bank will immediately become insolvent and will need recapitalisation by the shareholders for the bank to continue with banking business,” said Shiimi in a letter dated 6 March 2017.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Rössing's appeal outcome expected FridayRössing's appeal outcome expected Friday The Supreme Court will give its ruling on whether the High Court misdirected itself in holding that the decision relating to the distribution of the N$454 million surplus must be reviewed, on Friday.

    The High Court ruling relates to the distribution of a surplus in mine's pension fund.

    Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Damaseb, shortly after the start of the proceedings announced that it is in the public interest that the entire judgement is read and that the public is entitled to come and listen.

    It will further rule whether the court misdirected itself that the trustees of the fund, instead of themselves taking the decision as to the manner of distribution of the surplus, impermissibly acted on the direction of the employer.

    The Supreme Court also will decide whether the allocation to the employer of a share of the surplus in the pension fund was in conflict with the Pension Fund Act.

    The issue to be decided is also whether the challenge to the allocation of the surplus was brought within a reasonable time.

    The Rössing Pension Fund is a 'defined benefit fund' as opposed to a 'defined contribution fund' and was established to provide retirement, death as well as disability benefits to its members employed by the employer, Rössing.

    In March 2009 the fund declared a surplus of N$367 million and by 1 April 2012 the surplus had grown to N$454 million.

    Subsequent to the declaration of the surplus, the trustees of the fund recommended that the surplus be distributed equally - 33.33% - to active pension members including pensioners, the employer and former members.

    Acting in terms of the Pension Fund rules, the board of directors of the Rössing Uranium (Ltd) reversed the decision of the trustees and approved a distribution of 15% to the former members through a cash distribution, 33% to be distributed to the company, through a three year contribution holiday and 52% to the active members through a three year contribution holiday and a once-off defined contribution to their pension account.

    The former members of the fund, disgruntled by the decision launched an application to review and set aside the decision of the board. Rössing then opposed the application on the grounds that the challenge was not brought within a reasonable time.

    However the High Court upheld the challenge to the manner of distribution of the surplus and set aside it on the grounds that in terms of the Pension Fund rules, only the trustees have the sole responsibility for the management of the Fund and to decide how surplus funds are to be allocated and distributed.

    The High Court held that the decision of the board was in contravention of the Pension Fund Act in that the decision amounted to usurping the powers of the trustees.

    The court rejected the objection that the challenge was not brought within reasonable time.

    Rössing Uranium has appealed against the judgement .



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    RCC N$5 billion request not untoward – !HanabebRCC N$5 billion request not untoward – !HanabebOnly DBN proposal approved The head of the parastatal says it has only expressed its funding needs. The acting CEO of the Roads Contractor Company (RCC), Tino !Hanabeb, says there is nothing untoward about a proposal to private entities for funding of the parastatal's capital projects.

    Questions were raised about a financing request to an obscure company called TN Investment in which !Hanabeb in April 2016 wrote that the RCC would require a whopping N$5.237 billion for a number of envisaged projects.

    He enumerated that the money would be required for working capital (N$300 million), N$440 million for the replacement of an old plant, N$161 million for the 245-kilometre Gobabis-Aminius-Aranos road, N$321 million for the 105-kilometre Khorixas-Kamanjab road, N$225 million for maintenance projects and N$90 million for an enterprise resource planning system.

    It further includes N$800 million for the construction of a mixed-use RCC Plaza, N$900 million for a Waterfront and Marina Development at the port of Walvis Bay, as well as a request for N$2 billion funding of “government roads construction projects”.

    !Hanabeb said the letter to Thomas Nakasole was simply indicating the RCC's project funding needs. He said this is what the parastatal does each time it approaches various providers for funding.

    “My office receives offers for funding/partnerships, on a weekly basis. Therefore, RCC's correspondence with TN Investment was simply to understand [its] offer and for the same to be submitted to the RCC board and the shareholder (Namibian government.) In this case we did not process and/or submit (the) TN Investment proposal to the board of directors,” !Hanabeb said.

    He said TN Investment had expressed interest to provide funding to the struggling RCC in February 2016.

    !Hanabeb has recently in a communiqué to the RCC staff, stated that the RCC issued an expression of interest for funding in June 2016.

    Funding was sought for asset and plant funding, specific project funding, property development funding and an item called balance sheet restructuring.

    Companies that responded to this request were jointly made by a company called Red Bull CC and the Development Bank of South Africa, as well as by Lexna Incorporated in partnership with Sasari Co. Ltd & Winthorpe, and Development Bank of Namibia (DBN).

    The RCC board has approved a N$36 million funding proposal from the DBN, which will be used for project-based finance on a mass urban land servicing project at Goreangab Extension 1 in Windhoek.

    !Hanabeb said the RCC has not taken any loan from TN Investment.



    Questions

    Sources preferring anonymity claimed the government has not approved the 105-kilometre Khorixas-Kamanjab road for which !Hanabeb in his April 2016 letter to Nakasole said they would require N$321 million.

    Asked about this, !Hanabeb stated that the RCC was awarded phase 1 of the Swakopmund-Henties Bay-Uis-Khorixas-Kamanjab road in June 2015.

    “The award of the subsequent phases was subject to good performance on phase 1. The second phase was formally awarded from Khorixas to Kamanjab was awarded to RCC [sic],” said !Hanabeb, adding that details of this are available at the RCC.

    He said the RCC Plaza project commenced in 2012 and a pre-feasibility study was completed in 2013.

    “We are simply reviewing and implementing the project which our predecessors started. The project will immediately improve the RCC balance sheet,” !Hanabeb said. “RCC has 53 erven across Namibia, some with buildings, others not. This land and buildings are in various towns and the RCC is paying rates and taxes in places where it does not have operations. The objective is to turn the cost centres into revenue centres and through that reduce the high overhead costs.”

    As far as the waterfront and marina development at the port at Walvis Bay goes, !Hanabeb said the RCC was approached for a partnership for the construction of this project even though it did not tender when it was advertised by Namport in 2015.

    !Hanabeb further denied that the RCC has requested N$2 billion funding for “government roads construction projects” as he has stipulated in his letter to Nakasole.

    This request has raised eyebrows among industry players who said funders are usually requested to provide a 10% guarantee on individual road projects.

    !Hanabeb responded to the assumption: “RCC considers funding options for government roads awarded to it for construction and maintenance. This is to acquire plant and for working capital. Working capital is required as payments are done only after 56 days for bitumen standard roads and hence the need for four months' working capital.”

    He added that the RCC primarily relied on its joint venture partners for the provision of working capital to “reduce the heavy reliance on joint venture partners”.

    Catherine Sasman

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    I don't want their forgivenessI don't want their forgiveness A 50-year-old cuca shop owner who was brutally assaulted and her shop burnt down to ground for allegedly poisoning people, says all she wants is her assets back.

    She does not want their forgiveness, she says.

    On the weekend of 29 April, Hilma Sevelenus from Ongenga village in the Okaku constituency of the Oshana Region suffered serious injuries at the hands of angry community members who accused her of poisoning a pensioner.

    At the time of the incident, when interviewed by Namibian Sun, Sevelinus narrated her story of how her hands and legs were tied up with wire, followed by being kicked all over her body.

    They lashed her with thorn bushes and threw stones at her head.

    Yesterday Namibian Sun revisited her at home where she shared the impact of the events on her life and her image in the community.

    “To this day, they have not come with proof. They have not come and said here is the proof, you are responsible for the pensioner's death. Nothing. The question is, why did they do it to me?” she asked.

    After the incident she lived at a neighbour's house, fearing for her but now, she is able to move about freely. There is still fear, she says, but not as much as after the attack.

    “You will remember I used to live at my neighbour's house after what happened, but now I am living at my home and I am moving around freely. The fear is not entirely gone because you don't know what is in the minds of those that did this to me,” she said.

    Sevelinus said last week she was informed by a fellow community member that those that hurt her are planning on visiting her to ask for forgiveness, which she says she will not accept.

    “If they are planning to come and say 'I am sorry' and leave, they must forget about that. What I want is for them to reconstruct my shop, stock it up, replace the assets they destroyed and give my money that they took. As for what they did to my body, I will never forgive them for what they did to my body,” she said.

    “They must also repair the corrugated iron sheets they hit with their weapons as those things were bought by my 19-year-old son who is currently taking care of me and his siblings.”

    She has taken a hard knock with the loss of her cuca shop and has no income to earn as her shops was destroyed.

    “From that cuca shop at least I could make some money and help my family but now I can't even give my daughter who is in Grade 12 taxi money to go to school,” Hilma said.

    At the time of the incident, Hilma said only one of the community members was arrested but she recently learnt he was released on bail.

    She also shared that attempts were made by some of her family members who supported the mob that attacked her to withdraw the charges, which she refused.

    “They contacted me telling me to withdraw the charges and tell the police I am doing so because I had forgiven them, but I asked them why I will do such a thing? None of the elders of those who did this to me came to talk to me, which is a sign that they do not care.”

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    LPM's grassroots land conferenceLPM's grassroots land conferenceInternational players invited A “people's” indaba is planned to ensure grassroots voices are heard. What is dubbed the “People's Land Conference” under the banner of the Landless People's Movement (LPM) with technical and advisory support from Namibian Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (Nangof), is set to take place from 8 - 10 September ahead of the second national land conference slated for 13 - 18 September.

    The LPM's conference is said to prepare a “people's position” on the burning land issue which promises to “ensure that the voices from grassroots level are articulated and heard” even if they are not invited to the government-led national land conference.

    The Ministry of Land Reform on 19 June announced in the media the dates for its regional consultations to be held in July also in preparation for the national conference. These dates have been postponed from a draft schedule circulated earlier in June.

    The national chairperson of the People's Land Conference, Henny Seibeb, yesterday said the “people's conference” will review the history of land dispossession in Namibia.

    Discussions will also focus on constitutional law and restorative justice and ancestral land claims, lessons from the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS), governance and institutional issues of land reform, as well as a critical review of the resettlement policy and programme and an increasingly so-called “elite land grabbing”.

    The conference hopes to investigate options or models for the development and support of communal areas, including virgin land, as well as the interrogation of an agrarian land reform programme.

    It will further consider how absentee and foreign ownership of land ought to be dealt with, as well as how farming and mining rights should be harmonised.



    Urban land reform will similarly be in the spotlight.

    The LPM has invited a number of international players involved in restorative land claims. This includes an invitation to La Via Campesina, which is an international movement, including 17 African nations, bringing together peasants, small- and medium-size farmers, landless people, and indigenous people in defence of small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice based on food sovereignty.

    Other international players invited are the Landless Peoples Movement of South Africa, land activists from Botswana, the Institute of Agrarian Reform based in Zimbabwe, the Brazilian Landless People, groups from Bolivia, Venezuela, and Mexico, Native American First People, as well as aboriginal groups from Australia and New Zealand.

    Seibeb said the conference will devise resolutions which will be taken to the second national land conference.

    “We want to start with our campaign because we feel Swapo is an ethnic party, which will never resolve the land issue,” Seibeb, himself a Swapo member, said.

    According to him all other political parties in Namibia, with the exception of Swapo, are in agreement with the pursuance of ancestral land claims.

    To pull off this conference, the LPM relies on donations from its members, international development partners and philanthropists.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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