Articles on this Page
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Philippines fightin...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Marchers in Angola ...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Shot of the day
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Restructuring must ...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Venaani seeks subsi...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Book on GDR kids la...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Alweendo, Kashikola...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Omaruru savings sch...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Murder case riddled...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Medical aid woes ro...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Namibia fails traff...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Oshikango panga kil...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Rhino death toll rises
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Man claims he set l...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Scientific research...
- 06/28/17--16:00: _Stray lions kill tw...
- 06/29/17--07:49: _GRN avails buses fo...
- 06/29/17--16:00: _Run for a good cause
- 06/29/17--16:00: _Now or never for Na...
- 06/29/17--16:00: _Tough test for Nami...
- 06/28/17--16:00: Philippines fighting hits day 36
- 06/28/17--16:00: Marchers in Angola shot at
- 06/28/17--16:00: Shot of the day
- 06/28/17--16:00: Restructuring must make sense
- 06/28/17--16:00: Venaani seeks subsidised student transport
- 06/28/17--16:00: Book on GDR kids launched
- 06/28/17--16:00: Alweendo, Kashikola are Ohangwena delegates to Swapo congress
- 06/28/17--16:00: Omaruru savings scheme starts constructing houses
- 06/28/17--16:00: Murder case riddled with inconsistencies
- 06/28/17--16:00: Medical aid woes rock NBC
- 06/28/17--16:00: Namibia fails trafficking victims
- 06/28/17--16:00: Oshikango panga killer found guilty
- 06/28/17--16:00: Rhino death toll rises
- 06/28/17--16:00: Man claims he set lover alight in fit of rage
- 06/28/17--16:00: Scientific research in crisis
- 06/28/17--16:00: Stray lions kill two more cattle
- 06/29/17--07:49: GRN avails buses for Warriors support
- 06/29/17--16:00: Run for a good cause
- 06/29/17--16:00: Now or never for Namibia
- 06/29/17--16:00: Tough test for Namibia against Tunisia
The discovery of the five victims among 17 other bodies retrieved would be the first evidence that civilians trapped in besieged Marawi City have been decapitated during the five-week stand by militants loyal to the Islamic State group, as some who escaped the city have previously reported.
Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Garcia of the Western Mindanao Command said in a text message to reporters the five decapitated were found with the other 17 civilians killed by militants.
It was not clear when the bodies were found. A civilian rescue worker, Abdul Azis Lomondot, told Reuters earlier there were body parts found on Wednesday, but there was “no proof of beheading”.
The battle for Marawi entered its 36th day on Wednesday, with intense gunfights and bombing in the heart of the town and black-clad fighters seen from afar running between buildings as explosions rang out. Marawi is on southern Mindanao Island.
Those fears are also being felt in Malaysia and Indonesia,whose nationals are among the Maute group of rebels fighting in Marawi, suggesting the group may have built a cross-border network that has gone largely undetected.
Military spokesman Restituto Padilla said it was likely that many civilians had been killed and the death toll - already at 27 before the latest 17 were announced - was only what the authorities could confirm independently. He said a “significant number” of dead had been seen by those who had escaped fighting.
Videos have appeared this month on the website of Islamic State's Amaq news agency and its social media channels of hostages in Marawi pleading for their lives, saying they would be beheaded if air strikes were not stopped. Clips have also appeared of people on their knees, shot in the head from behind.
Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the reports.
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he was prepared from the outset for a long fight against a well-armed Maute motivated only by murder and destruction.
“It seems to be limitless supply. They were able to stockpile their arms,” he said.
“Some of those who travelled to the Middle East got contaminated, brought the ideology back home and promised to declare war against humanity.”
Military spokesman Padilla called for patience and said troops needed more time to flush out the gunmen and secure the city.
Some 71 security forces and 299 militants have been killed and 246 000 people displaced in the conflict, which erupted after a failed attempt on May 23 to arrest a Filipino militant commander backed by Islamic State's leadership.
Nearly 1 000 people took to the streets on Saturday to protest alleged police brutality against campaigners calling for the independence of the so-called eastern Lunda Chokwe region.
Police fired on protesters as they headed from Luzamba to Cuango, an administrative town about 600km east of capital Luanda, activists said.
Cuango is in the north of the vast region that separatists want to see independent and comprises Angola's entire eastern half, according to some claims.
"A police officer shot at Pimbi Tchivutche," a 35-year-old father of eight who died at the scene, said Jose Zecamutchima, president of the Lunda Chokwe Protectorate Movement.
Another demonstrator was shot in the head and hospitalised, he said, adding that the protesters were unarmed.
"There are actually only 51 detained out of a total of 78 arrests. Thirteen people were injured, including four women and a 17-year-old. The others have been freed. In Cuango there was one death," a senior police officer told AFP.
Clashes were also reported in Saurimo, in the northeast of the Lunda-Norte province, some 400km east of Cuango.
Zecamutchima said his movement had written to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and local authorities notifying them of the march beforehand and vowed to hold further protests.
"The regime must stop shooting at people who march peacefully and are only exercising their rights," he said.
Angolan authorities arrested five Lunda Chokwe activists in March 2016 on suspicion of attempting to murder a police officer. They remain in prison.
Dos Santos's government has been criticised as secretive and corrupt, with authorities crushing dissent.
Dos Santos, 74, who has been in power since 1979, is accused of having used the State to direct money to his relatives by putting them in charge of major public enterprises. Meanwhile Angola's citizens suffer dire poverty.
Angola, which has an undeveloped economy that is almost totally dependent on oil revenues, is relatively stable but has been rocked by outbreaks of separatist violence in recent years.
The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) has been fighting for the independence of Cabinda, an oil-rich Angolan enclave located inside Republic of Congo, for four decades.
The province produces 60% of Angola's oil, making the country, along with Nigeria, one of sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producers.
Venaani made the statement in parliament, saying an individual student spends about N$6 600 per year to travel to and from their respective teaching institutions.
“This is not even accounting for the fact that sometimes on weekends, they may go in to access library facilities and perhaps to do group assignments,” he noted.
The leader of the official opposition party said there is “no doubt that public transport is the most critical driver of socio-economic transformation”, noting that when public transport is not easily accessible or affordable, it results in the urban poor not being able to access critical economic value chains.
Venaani said transportation has not received enough attention and consideration from the relevant initiatives such as the National Students' Financial Assistance Fund.
He suggested the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association, Namibia National Students' Organisation and tertiary institutions study the situation and work towards a mechanism that enables such a subsidy in an efficient and impactful manner.
Responding to Venaani, the deputy higher education minister Becky Ndjoze-Ojo said government will not be able to cater for all needs of all students due to its financial position.
She urged parents, businesses, churches and the community to assist government in the education of Namibian students.
Swanu feel left out
In the meanwhile, Venaani has come under fire.
The president of Swanu, Usutuaije Maamberua, is unhappy about Venaani speaking on behalf of political parties at Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo's memorial service.
Venaani delivered a speech at the memorial service held at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek on Friday.
In the National Assembly, Maamberua asked Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah if it was protocol for Venaani to represent all other parties.
He said Swanu's ideology differs from that of the other parties and it is the only opposition party in Namibia whose president was imprisoned on Robben Island with Ya Toivo.
Responding to Maamberua, Nandi-Ndaitwah said an invitation was extended to all political parties and only Venaani responded, saying he would be in attendance.
“It is very unfortunate that the leaders of the other political parties did not respond to the invitation for us to know if they were willing to speak at the memorial service or the funeral of the late Ya Toivo,” she said.
The book was written by Dr Jürgen Krause and Besse Kaplan with the aim to open the historic memories and shared history of both Namibians and Germans that played a role in raising the more than 430 children left destitute and in danger by the protracted war situation.
Nujoma said the book gives a pictorial glimpse into the lives of the children who were forced to live without families in a strange country who had to learn a strange language and culture for more than 11 years after the Cassinga massacre in southern Angola in May 1978.
“It also gives a face to those people who took care of them, with dedication and love,” noted Nujoma.
Nujoma also urged the GDR kids, as they have come to be known, to write their own stories to contribute to the overall story of the history of Swapo in exile.
Speaking on behalf of Krause who could not make it to the launch, the head of the Namibia Scientific Society, Waltraut Fritsche, said the book gives insight into an inter-cultural school project that started more than 38 years ago.
Krause has worked on the book for five years.
It is a compilation of documentary material he was able to salvage at the fall of the former East Germany and memories of those who have been involved in the relocation, care and education of the children.
It also comprises institutional photographs and a selection of more than 800 personal photos from the GDR kids and their educators and caregivers.
Krause explained that with this book he attempted to compile socio-political literature of contemporary history while keeping recollections personalised.
It also presents a picture of two cultures, the African-Namibian and German cultures that have been carefully balanced and merged into the character of the GDR kids.
Speaking on behalf of the GDR kids, Sakarias Iipumbu said while they have come from an abnormal life from refugee camps they are very proud of their past and the role others have played in it.
Iipumbu said the seeds of unity, discipline, as well as spirit of no surrender remain within them to this day.
“We were always told to play an active role in Namibia. We are ready to serve the [Swapo] party, country and all people of Namibia. We have the historic duty to continue with the fight of our parents,” said Iipumbu.
The launch was attended by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Swapo veteran Ben Amadhila, high-ranking Swapo functionaries like the secretary-general, Nangolo Mbumba and his deputy, Laura McLeod-Katjirua, as well as the secretaries of Swapo wings.
Also in attendance were the German ambassador to Namibia Christian Schlage, the Cuban ambassador, Antonio Pubillones and the Zambian High Commissioner, Dorothy Nachilongo.
A second launch of the book will be held by the Namibia Scientific Society on 19 August.
They were elected during a regional conference held at Eenhana on Sunday.
Party Coordinator in Ohangwena, Hafeni Hatutale on Monday confirmed their election, saying Alweendo and Kashikola were elected together with the party's regional mobiliser, Tuyeimo Hamukwaya-Nathingo and Eenhana Town Council member, Ester Kavela as Ohangwena candidates for the “Swapo pot”.
The Swapo pot, or Electoral College, elects candidates to represent the party in the National Assembly, depending on the number of votes won during the national election.
The same conference on Sunday re-elected Hatutale as the party's regional coordinator, after serving in that position for more than three years.
Hatutale won with 47 votes. His challengers were the party's administrator Willem Shatimwene, former Ohangwena regional councillor for Epembe Constituency Johannes Kamati Nakwafila and Titus Nghipewa.
Shatimwene received 35 votes; Nghipewa, six; and Nakwafila, who is said to have contested in absentia, zero votes.
Hatutale said Hamukwaya-Nathingo's position was not contested because her five-year term in office started in April 2016.
Former Ohangwena regional councillor for the Ongenga Constituency, Leonard Shimutwikeni was elected as new regional treasurer, taking over from long-serving Usko Nghaamwa, who is also Ohangwena regional governor.
When completed, it will bring the total number of houses constructed under the federation here to 117.
The 26 River C beneficiaries qualified for housing loans from the federation in 2013 after saving at least N$3 000 for land, N$2 800 for building materials and N$800 for insurance. They received land the following year but construction was delayed after the Omaruru Town Council was suspended, and then again last year because of a water shortage due to drought.
“I feel very lucky given all the challenges we experienced since we joined the federation in 2010,” recipient Elizabeth Goses said.
Goses, a domestic worker, said the process was slow but she is happy that construction has started.
Kathira Ekandjo, who just finished making 915 building blocks for his house, said he will fast-track the construction by assisting the builder, and believes it should be done in 30 days.
“It's a joy really; I am looking forward to having my own house,” Ekandjo said.
Johanson Masina, who had been saving through the group since 2013, was also delighted by the prospect of owning a house.
He said the federation is a lifeline for his family, who had been renting for decades.
Regional facilitator of the federation's Community Land Information Programme, Lisias Lazarus told this agency on Monday that five other saving schemes with a combined 178 members are retaining funds and should start constructing their houses as soon as a number of technical hiccups with the municipality are solved.
Rust, who has been behind bars for more than 20 months, on Monday heard the lead police inspector on his case, Reinhard Maletsky say he would support a new bid for bail.
In direct response to Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt's question on the issue of flight risk, which was cited as the primary reason for Rust's failed previous bail applications, Maletsky testified that he does not think Rust would abscond.
Rust is facing a charge of murder after he allegedly shot and killed Andreas Ukandanga (41), on his farm in January 2016 but he told the court that he accidentally shot Ukandanga. He has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Ukandanga had gone to the farm with three friends, who have since all been convicted on poaching charges stemming from their illegal hunting of a Kudu on the Okahandja district farm belonging to the Rust family.
Rust is also facing three charges of attempted murder, after the three men later claimed he tried to shoot them as they fled the scene.
Initially, Rust was also charged with a count of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, despite the fact that he had a valid licence, which Maletsky said Rust's family provided on the first day of the bail application. Those charges were later dropped.
Wessels argued that this was another indication that the prosecutor on the case, Rose Nangombe, had been “vexatious” and tried to “create the wrong impression” of Rust in front of the magistrate.
Maletsky, on Monday also admitted that during the first bail application in Okahandja he had known that Rust's passport had expired but could not explain why Nangombe fought against the passport being submitted as evidence.
He also said that he did not know “where she found those facts” when asked to explain why Nangombe had argued, without any witness statements to back her, that Rust had moved closer to Ukandanga before he delivered the fatal shot, execution style.
That claim has been refuted by all state and defence witnesses and was never contained in any witness statements, Maletsky said.
Moreover, Nangombe allegedly argued that Ukandanga had been standing when he was shot, although his friends testified that he was crouching behind a rock that likely obscured him from Rust's vision.
Jan Wessels, counsel for Rust, whose initial questioning of Maletsky centred primarily on Nangombe's various claims, said the prosecutor had told the court during bail proceedings that Rust had tampered with evidence at the scene before the police arrived.
Maletsky agreed that there was no evidence of tampering.
Maletsky also failed to explain why Nangombe claimed Rust had shot the deceased in the back, why she said the deceased was standing, why she claimed one of Ukandanga's companions actually saw Rust shooting and claimed they had heard talking before the shooting started.
No evidence or witness testimony supported any of those facts during the bail application hearings or now and Maletsky confirmed and repeatedly said he could not explain why she made those claims.
Wessels highlighted numerous other examples of Nangombe making unsubstantiated claims, which were not supported by the police investigation, available evidence or witnesses.
Maletsky continued saying he could not explain those statements.
“She wanted to build a case she didn't have at the time,” Wessels argued.
“That is the manner in which the investigation has been manipulated,” Wessels said to the police officer, adding that “this was not an independent investigation”.
Wessels again underlined the peculiarity of the two post mortem reports, reported by Namibian Sun at the end of May.
The first report, issued shortly after Ukandanga's death, and undersigned by the chief of the Namibian Police Forensic Institute, Dr Paul Ludik, confirmed Rust's version of an accidental shooting and indicated that Ukandanga died after a ricochet bullet struck a hard object, “probably a rock” and fragments of the bullet injured and fatally hit the deceased.
Wessel's questioned the credibility of the second report, which completely contradicts the findings in the first report.
He said the second report raised questions as to why it was compiled 10 months later, while the first one had been completed as per protocol, shortly after Ukandanga died.
Maletsky yesterday claimed that the second report, which he said was “adjusted”, was obtained on the prosecutor-general's instructions.
Earlier, he defended the existence of follow-up witness statements from Ukandanga's companions that day, which contained new, and crucial allegations, only eight months after the incident, as having been obtained for the same reason.
Wessel's said the post mortem report was not merely adjusted, but completely re-written and contained numerous questionable findings, one of which, an alleged bullet wound on Ukandanga's right ear, he described as a “blatant lie.”
Rust's case, which was scheduled to continue for the rest of the week, was again postponed on Tuesday, after the regional prosecutor Fillemon Nyau reported that he was on sick leave.
The NBC has promised to make weekly payments of N$50 000 to Namibia Medical Care as a means to remedy the situation until the end of August. The national broadcaster is now waiting on the NMC board of trustees to make a decision on the matter.
NBC director-general Stanley Similo upon enquiry confirmed that employees had been without coverage since 1 June because the NBC owed the medical aid fund about N$15 million.
“It is true that the national broadcaster is challenged with arrears as regards the medical aid payments for the past few months, which have accumulated to an amount of close to N$15 million,” said Similo.
According to him, the NBC's board of directors had met with the medical aid fund to find a solution.
“During the most recent meeting held with NMC on 20 June 2017, we once again reiterated our commitment towards the said weekly payment. We also requested NMC to accommodate the NBC until the end of August 2017 to allow the necessary payment arrangements to come to fruition,” Similo said.
He added: “NMC committed to referring our request to their Board of Trustees, hence our disappointment with the premature announcement of the suspension of the medical aid services.”
The NBC's cash-flow problems were exacerbated by government budget cuts, Similo said, making it hard for the broadcaster to honour its obligations.
“It is indeed very sad that the current recessionary economic climate and the unexpected reduction of the government subsidy to NBC from N$252 million to N$179 million with a cash value of N$139 million for the same period is causing serious cash-flow challenges which hamper our monthly commitments to our creditors, including the medical aid fund,” said Similo.
“As management, we acknowledge the unfortunate situation and will remain steadfast in our efforts to engage our shareholder for assistance to remedy this unfortunate state of affairs.”
NBC chief commercial officer Umbi Karuihe-Upi told Namibian Sun that the issue had been brought to the attention of the line minister, Tjekero Tweya.
“It is with the minister, we need the money,” she said.
Questions sent to NMC's principal officer, Alison Begley, were not answered by the time of going to press.
Although Namibia has made some effort to combat human trafficking, it lacks in key areas such as convicting traffickers, personnel for shelters and awareness raising, while street children remain vulnerable to detention as police and immigration officials do not screen for indicators of trafficking.
This is according to the 2017 US State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report which was released worldwide yesterday.
It says Namibia is “predominantly a country where children, and to a lesser extent women, are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking”.
“Some victims are initially offered legitimate work for adequate wages, but are then subjected to forced labour in urban centres and on commercial farms. Namibian children are subjected to forced labour in agriculture, cattle herding, and domestic service, and to sex trafficking in Windhoek and Walvis Bay,” the report says.
According to the report Namibia last year conducted eight trafficking investigations of which three were for sex trafficking and five for forced labour, compared to seven cases in 2015. The government initiated prosecution in two cases involving seven defendants last year, the same as in 2015.
No traffickers were convicted though, compared to one conviction in the previous reporting period. One prosecution initiated in 2014 resulted in acquittal during the reporting period.
This year there was a human trafficking case reported to the police at Rundu in which parents tried to sell their children. An international human trafficking case is also being investigated involving an Air Namibia employee and his accomplice for allegedly smuggling 11 Angolans out of the country.
The report says in 2015 media reports indicated that sex tourists from southern Africa and Europe allegedly exploited child sex-trafficking victims.
“Namibians commonly house and care for children of distant relatives to provide expanded educational opportunities; however, in some instances these children are exploited in forced labour.”
Among Namibia's ethnic groups, San and Zemba children are particularly vulnerable to forced labour on farms or in homes, the report says.
In 2014, a non-governmental organisation reported that prostitutes, some of whom may have been trafficking victims, were taken aboard foreign vessels off the Namibian coast.
“Children from less affluent neighbouring countries may be subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour, including in street vending in Windhoek and other cities as well as in the fishing sector. Angolan children may be brought to Namibia for forced labour in cattle herding,” the report says.
It continues that there were reports in 2013 of labour violations - potentially including forced labour - involving foreign and Namibian adults and children in Chinese-owned retail, construction, and fishing operations.
According to the report the government maintained modest efforts to protect trafficking victims.
“It identified 12 trafficking victims, including eight foreign nationals, and referred all victims to care facilities for assistance, although the government did not report what specific services it provided. This was compared to five victims identified and referred in 2015.”
However, the government did not have formal written procedures for use by all officials on victim identification and referral to care.
It says government shelters for victims of gender-based violence (GBV), including trafficking, were not fully operational, and were used as a last resort to provide emergency short-term shelter in limited cases.
A government-funded shelter in Windhoek provides care for women and child victims of GBV and trafficking and during the reporting period it provided care to 60 women and 85 child victims of GBV and trafficking, including four identified trafficking victims.
“The government lacked standard operating procedures for shelters, which remained under development by the gender ministry.”
Namibia has been placed on the Tier 2 List, which means that governments did not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to become compliant.
“Namibia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, therefore, Namibia remained on Tier 2.”
However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government did not convict any traffickers.
In August 2015, the Windhoek High Court handed down the country's first conviction under the national Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which made trafficking in persons a criminal offence in its own right.
Government-funded shelters lacked personnel and resources to assist victims and the government did not conduct awareness activities.
The report also points out that street children remain vulnerable to detention as police and immigration officials do not always screen for indicators of trafficking.
According to the report the police and office of the prosecutor-general began implementing a formal policy to screen individuals who have been identified for deportation for trafficking before deportation.
While the government had no formal policy to provide residence permits to foreign victims of trafficking, during the previous reporting periods, government officials made ad-hoc arrangements for victims to remain in Namibia, it says.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare employed 97 labour and occupational health and safety inspectors, who were responsible for enforcing laws against child labour. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labour.
The Oshakati High Court this week found Ndilinawa Gabriel (29) guilty of murdering Petrus Nameto Shuungu in 2011.
Gabriel, who pleaded guilty to the murder charge, told the court that he had acted in self-defence when he murdered Shuungu after a heated argument with him on December 4 2011 in an incident that was witnessed by residents who were at the cuca shops at Katwitwi informal settlement.
According to witnesses who testified during the trial, Gabriel confronted the late Shuungu demanding to know where his girlfriend was. The altercation degenerated into a heated argument. The court dismissed his defence saying there was no justification for the murder of Shuungu, who was not armed.
Gabriel further said he had acted out of anger and did not intend to kill the deceased.
In his judgement, Judge Herman Januarie said based on the evidence presented in the case, the lethal weapon that Gabriel used, as well as the 12-centimetre deep cut inflicted on the deceased, showed that Gabriel had used excessive force.
Advocate Taodago Gaweseb appeared for the State while Inonge Mainga-Sisamu represented Gabriel.
The case was postponed to 31 July. Gabriel’s bail was forfeited to the state and he remains in police custody.
This brings the total of poached rhinos to 16 this year, while there have also been 16 elephants poached this year.
Altogether 59 rhinos were poached in the country last year and 95 rhinos in 2015, 56 in 2014 and 9 in 2013.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism yesterday confirmed in a press release that eight rhino carcasses had been discovered over the weekend, and not seven as it had told Namibian Sun on Tuesday.
According to the ministry only one of these rhinos died of natural causes.
The ministry said poaching remained a major problem and tackling it remained a priority of the ministry.
“In this regard we will do anything possible within the framework of our laws and policies to bring poaching under control as it robs the nation of valuable resources.”
The ministry said investigations into these cases and other wildlife crimes were continuing and urged the public to report any suspected cases of poaching to the ministry or the police. No arrests have been made yet.
Etosha is Namibia's flagship wildlife conservation area and has experienced a shocking wave of rhino poaching over the years.
“This situation can be detrimental to the tourism sector and the economy of our country and threaten to reverse our conservation gains made since independence,” the ministry said.
The ministry has intensified patrols in protected areas in conjunction with the police, the Namibian Defence Force and other relevant authorities.
“The ministry will continue with its efforts to strengthen effective crime prevention and law enforcement through coordinated and integrated clusters of activities such as security planning, monitoring and adaptive management,” it said.
Any person who provides the ministry or other relevant authorities with information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of a rhino poacher will receive a N$60 000 reward.
Plesie Gowaseb said he killed Petrina !Goagoses, the mother of his three children, after she had accused him of infecting her with HIV/Aids.
“I was blinded with anger. I went away from her house but after a while, when everyone was sleeping, I went back. I locked her house from outside with a padlock and jumped into her room through the window,” Gowaseb explained yesterday in a plea explanation before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg.
“While I was in the deceased's room, I found a container with paraffin and poured it everywhere in the room. I used matches to set the room alight in which the deceased was.”
In the plea explanation that was read by his lawyer Milton Engelbrecht, he added that he then jumped out through the window. She also jumped out but was on fire. !Goagoses died on 21 October 2012.
Gowaseb pleaded guilty to murder and arson and emphasised that he tendered his plea freely and voluntarily. He admitted burning down the house at Farm Dordabis between 13 and 14 October 2012.
Gowaseb told the court that that he was in a domestic relationship with !Goagoses and that they had three children together.
He confirmed that he was aware of his rights, namely that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
“I confirm that I cannot be compelled to give self-incriminating evidence and that if I so wish can remain silent and do not have to testify during these proceedings,” he stated.
He said he was not influenced to plead guilty in any manner whatsoever, nor was he made any promises.
“I further confirm that I am fully aware of the consequences of this plea, namely that I plead guilty without the State calling witnesses or tendering any evidence to the said charges against me,” Gowaseb said.
“I knew that pouring paraffin in the room and setting it alight would cause injuries that could lead to her death,” he admitted.
He admitted that it was his intention to kill the deceased when he poured the paraffin in the room and set it alight.
“I was consumed by anger and failed to control it. My anger overwhelmed me to such an extent that I committed this horrible, cruel and chilling act. Today I sit with regret and wish I could take back my actions,” he stated.
State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu accepted the plea and Judge Liebenberg thereafter postponed the matter to between 13 and 14 July for evidence in mitigation and aggravation of sentencing. Gowaseb was remanded in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.
Mvula left the NCRST at the end of May. His five-year contract with the parastatal was to end in 2019.
His unexpected departure prompted conjecture that Van Kent had dealt him a poor hand by “frustrating” support to NCRST through deliberate budget cuts.
It was also reported that Van Kent had been leading a crusade against Mvula because Van Kent purportedly had his eye on the top job at NCRST, which Mvula clinched.
Mvula has since moved from being a substantive CEO at NCRST to the position of chief operational officer (COO) at the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), allegedly as a result of Van Kent's underhanded dealings with him.
Van Kent has categorically denied the allegations.
“As permanent secretary the performance of the institutions that I am responsible for reflects on me and the minister's [Itah Kandjii-Murangi's] performance. His departure is a personal choice. He should not blame it on someone else. I do not know what his reason for leaving is,” said Van Kent when approached for comment.
The institutions Van Kent refers to are Unam, Nust, NCRST, Namibia Training Authority (NTA), National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), and the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).
Van Kent also said that there had been a significant reduction in government funding to all public institutions under the ministry's mandate, and not just NCRST.
“Fiscal consolidation is an exercise that governments go through to ensure managing expenditure and sustainability. For Namibia this is not an exception,” Van Kent said.
He said the N$2.4 billion the higher education ministry had received this year was shared proportionally.
“In my opinion there are institutions that have less operational allocation than the NCRST. All the functional areas under the ministry, vocational education and training, as well as training and research, science and technology and innovation, are critical cornerstones for Namibia's growth. It therefore goes without saying that the reduction of subvention to the ministry affected all agencies resorting under it,” Van Kent added.
The finance ministry has made N$600 million available for institutions of higher learning and that was proportionally allocated mainly to Unam and Nust. Government's subvention to NCRST for 2017/18 has been reduced by 38%.
“The accusation that I have deliberately cut the budget of NCRST is invalid because we have made proportional allocations from money allocated by the finance ministry. His [Mvula's] funding team was part of the discussions when we dealt with these allocations. All institutions are affected and all should live within their means,” countered Van Kent.
He said discussions with the finance ministry were continuing to see how best the challenges facing some of the institutions could be resolved.
“It was agreed with Dr Mvula and his team that the allocations to the development budget would be reviewed in due course,” Van Kent said.
'He ran away'
Insiders preferring anonymity claim that Mvula has “run away” from a sinking ship following a damning forensic investigation by BDO Cyber & Forensic Lab.
Some of the findings of the audit which was conducted for the period of 1 April 2014 to December 2016 were that there has been a “serious breakdown in financial controls” at NCRST.
If further stated that financial procedures had not been followed or complied with, that there was “little or no oversight”, no “clear segregation of duties”, and that there seemed to be “no checks and balances and thus simple fraudulent transactions could go undetected”.
The audit investigation recommended that procurement procedures needed to be re-evaluated and suggested that a full audit be conducted.
The insiders claim that Mvula did not want a full audit to be conducted.
While Mvula did not respond to direct questions put to him, he did say that the BDO audit was commissioned in January on suspicion that two staff members “might have made themselves guilty of serious misconduct pertaining to fraudulent activities related to payments of service providers' accounts”.
Mvula said the findings of the audit were entrusted to NCRST's board finance and audit committee, which had the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the audit's recommendations.
He said he was bound by a confidentiality provision and could not elaborate further on the content of the audit report.
On the financial management of NCRST, Mvula said the parastatal “continues to comply” with legal requirements and that since the establishment of the parastatal in 2013, its financial statements were unqualified, which he said pointed to prudent financial management.
The two staff members investigated by BDO were suspended in December. The insiders claim these suspensions were done without any charges laid against them and without a disciplinary process preceding the suspensions.
One of the suspended staff members has since resigned from NCRST and commenced work at the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA).
“Who gave him references?” one of the insiders wanted to know, and questioned why the suspensions were not made public since public money was at stake.
The insiders further accused Mvula of having funded research projects that are not necessarily in the public good.
It is alleged that during last year N$14 million was spent on research projects from a handful of “select companies”. It is also alleged that these research projects were not of a strategic or developmental nature but instead were “just research” for the sake of having a research project to access funding.
Mvula said research projects were in priority areas identified under the National Programme for Research, Science and Technology for 2014/15 to 2016/17.
He said these areas included health, agriculture, energy, water, geoscience, mining, environment and tourism, social sciences, ICT, manufacturing technologies, biotechnology and space science.
Mvula said the distribution of research grants reflected the intensity of research taking place at Unam and Nust, while the remainder were distributed among research organisations like the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre and youth innovators' organisations.
The animals were killed on the farm belonging to northern businessman Mburru Ismael last week, bringing the total number of cows killed by escaped lions to 24.
Nature conservation officials visited the farm recently but left without any solution.
According to the farm manager, the environment officials were “afraid to offend” the lioness and its cubs, which had been living on the farm since February this year.
The lioness entered the farm in January and gave birth to four cubs, said farm manager Eino Ashipala.
“These lions are still on the farm. After your newspaper published a story about them, environment ministry officials came to visit our farm, but they told us that a lioness with cubs is very dangerous. They said they cannot do anything and they advised us not to do anything to them,” Ashipala said.
A total of six lions, which escaped from Etosha, were recently killed by northern farmers after attacking livestock in the Ongandjera grazing area.
Ashipala said even before the story was published they reported the lions to nature conservation officials patrolling the Etosha border fence, but they never visited the farm.
Environment deputy minister Tommy Nambahu's recent fact-finding mission to Etosha could also not yield any solution to the potential human-wildlife conflict problem brewing in the north.
Ashipala said they did not hear about the deputy minister's visit to the area so that the farm owner could get a chance to talk to him about the five lions on his farm.
The Etosha fence is believed to be in a sorry state in that area, leading to the escape of wild animals.
The Ministry of Sport on Thursday morning announced that two busses will be made available and will depart from Footfall House in Katutura on Friday, 30 June between 12:00 and 14:00.
Interested Namibians are urged tor register as long as they have a valid passport and an N$250 for fuel contribution per person.
The fans will return back home immediately after the 2017 COSAFA Cup quarterfinal clash against Lesotho which takes place at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, 16:30, Namibian time.
Interested persons should contact Sports Officer: Gabriel Katuuo 0822910315 and or Stanley Tjozongoro 0816040505.
The shopping centre is celebrating its third anniversary this year, and organised the run to reach out to the community.
Funds raised will go towards the support of children with cerebral palsy in Okahandja. Currently there are six identified children living with cerebral palsy in Okahandja.
It is envisioned that this event will be hosted annually in aid of different causes that affect the community of Okahandja.
“Okahandja Shopping Centre values the continued local community support it has received over the past three years and is determined to impact the lives of those in need in the beautiful garden town,” said spokesman Mzomuhle Sibanda.
Sibanda said participants can choose to compete in a 21km or 5km fun run. There are categories for veterans, elite and junior runners. The Okahandja Shopping Centre is the official start of the run
The registration fee for the 21km race is N$150, and only N$30 for the 5km. Forms are available at the shopping centre and the Okahandja Running Club offices.
The centre calls upon the people of Okahandja and the surrounding area to support the event in large numbers.
Namibia have faced Lesotho nine times, winning three times, losing three and drawing the other three.
The last time the two teams played in October 2011, the score-line was level at 0-0.
However, the stakes are very high for a football-thirsty nation that is in dire need of rejuvenation.
Namibian football hopes and dreams have been shattered by the absence of the country's premier league this season. But Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti believes that these dreams can be restored if the national team puts up a heroic performance against a stubborn Lesotho. The quarterfinals will be just the first stage for a team desperate to reclaim a title they won in 2015.
“We have a game plan and the boys are determined to rewrite history.
“The good thing is that the boys believe in themselves and the spirit in the camp has been phenomenon.
“This is the time that we have to play for our nation that has gone through misery as far as football is concerned,” Mannetti said.
The coach added that he was well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of most of their opponents.
He suspects that Lesotho will try and outpace the Warriors team and therefore has a strategy prepared to keep the Crocodiles at bay.
“Lesotho has brought some of the players who played in their Cosafa under-20 team a few years ago.
“I did watch that game and I do have an idea how they play on all parts of the field.
“It has been a hard time for our football, but I have managed to select a team I feel will fight for a place in the final.” Mannetti explained that nothing much would be changed from the team that won the Cosafa tournament in 2015.
The coach expects the players to be firing on all cylinders despite a lack of match fitness.
Lesotho coach Moses Maliehe told the Lesotho Post newspaper that his intention was to play good football and reach the last four of the competition.
JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA
Winning the cup would give Namibia the opportunity to play in the 2019 World Cup to be held in Japan from September 20 to November 2 2019.
The Welwitschias need to beat Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Uganda, Kenya and Senegal in their quest, as South Africa have already qualified.
The Gold Cup tournament is played over seven weeks in a series of home and away matches.
Elizma Theron. acting CEO at the Namibia Rugby Union, says because of studies, injuries, family crises and other commitments, 13 players are unavailable for this tour. This created an opportunity for a number of new players to be exposed to the national team setup. Namibia won the RA Gold Cup in 2014, 2015 and 2016. All matches of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup will be broadcast on the national broadcaster, NBC.
Collen Smit, AJ de Klerk, Desiderius Sethie, Shaun du Preez, Orbert Nortje, Louis van der Westhuizen, Casper Viviers, Max Katjijeko, Mahepisa Tjeriko, Ruan Ludick, Thomasau Forbes, Wian Conradie, Rohan Kitshoff (Captain), Christo van der Merwe, Eugene Jantjies (Vice Captain), Damian Stevens, Lesley Klim, Darryl de la Harpe, Justin Newman, Gino Wilson, Johann Tromp, Helarius Kisting, David Philander and Chrysander Botha.
Dates for upcoming matches:
8 July Senegal (Home), 15 July Zimbabwe (Home), 22 July Uganda (Away) and 29 July Kenya (Home).