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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 07/03/17--16:00: Sudan extends ceasefire
  • Sudan extends ceasefireSudan extends ceasefire Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir on Sunday extended a unilateral ceasefire for nearly four months in the war-torn regions of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, state media said.

    The decision to extend the ceasefire from 2 July to 31 October comes days before the United States is expected to announce if it will permanently lift a 20-year trade embargo on Khartoum.

    Sudan's official news agency SUNA said Bashir signed on Sunday an order to extend the ceasefire until 31 October, describing it as “part of the government's initiative to bring peace to Sudan”.

    In June 2016, Bashir declared a unilateral four-month truce in the three regions, where fighting between government forces and rebels has killed tens of thousands of people.

    He extended it in October 2016 to the end of the year and again for a month on 31 December. On 15 January he further extended it by six months.

    The administration of US President Donald Trump is due to decide on 12 July whether to permanently lift the sanctions imposed on Khartoum in 1997 for its alleged support for Islamist militant groups.

    Former US president Barack Obama eased the sanctions in January, but made their permanent lifting dependent on Khartoum's progress in five areas of concern during a six-month review period that ends next week.

    These conditions include improved access for aid groups, halting support for rebels in neighbouring South Sudan, an end to hostilities in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and counterterrorism cooperation with US intelligence agencies.

    The conflict in Darfur - a region of the size of France - erupted in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising the region.

    Similar conflicts also erupted in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states after neighbouring South Sudan broke away in 2011.

    At least 300 000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in Darfur since the conflict began, the UN says.

    Thousands more have been killed in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 07/03/17--16:00: Crisis of our own making
  • Crisis of our own makingCrisis of our own making The Saturday Cosafa quarterfinal loss to Lesotho yet again underlined the mess Namibian football finds itself in. Ahead of the match many Namibians, including the media, were in an upbeat mood. Namibia Football Association (NFA) secretary-general Barry Rukoro even proclaimed there couldn’t have been a much better draw for the Brave Warriors. “Given our financial setbacks and the inactivity of our domestic league, we could have not wished for a better draw than this one. Thanks to our previous exploits, we ranked better and hence the quarterfinals and that saves us a lot of playing time and only training and training to be ready and fresh to face Lesotho,” the country’s football top administrator remarked. This will now be the second time that the Brave Warriors have failed to progress to the semifinals of this very same competition, which they won in 2015. The Cosafa Cup tournament has become competitive over the years and many other countries within SADC have upped their game. While it is a huge embarrassment for Namibia to lose to a nation that is ranked 46 places below the Brave Warriors in the FIFA rankings, the problem is of our own making. Our players were sluggish, unfit and clearly struggled to put up an enterprising display. As much as players and the technical department should take responsibility for the loss at the weekend, the football authorities should equally share the blame given the unwarranted politics rocking the local game. We clearly understand the frustration that people like coach Ricardo Mannetti have to put up with. It is an unfortunate situation to be in and you will understand why he is sticking to his tried and tested players for this competition. The boardroom politics are not helping us in the long run. Namibian football will remain in shambles for as long as we allow the same useless administrators, who have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they have nothing else to offer to the game, to run the show.

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    Walvis budgets N$100m for landWalvis budgets N$100m for landHarbour town prioritises housing provision The municipality is putting its money where its mouth is in its bid to prioritise the provision of adequate housing for coastal residents. The municipality of Walvis Bay intends to spend slightly less than half of its operational budget, representing a quarter of its expected revenue, for the current financial year on land development projects.

    The expected expenditure budget of N$444.8 million for the 2017/18 financial was tabled last week Friday by the chairperson of the management committee Tobias Nambala.

    The total amount on the developmental or capital budget has been recorded at N$286.6 million of which land development projects were allocated N$103 million.

    These projects run over more than one financial year.

    In total, there are 22 extensions planned for the year under discussion. Some extensions are continuous from prior years and some are new.

    Of particular importance is the inclusion of the development of Farm 37 into a fully-fledged mixed-use township.

    The development of the farm has been prompted by the housing demands in Walvis Bay and the shortage of available serviced land to accommodate residents who are living in backyard structures.

    Nambala said council anticipated an estimated revenue of N$444.1 million and that an expected deficit for the new financial year had been recorded at N$683 500.

    He also announced proposed average tariff adjustments of 15% for water supply services, 10% in property rates and taxes, 10% for refuse removal services and 10% for sanitation services.

    He explained that approximately 73% of the total estimated revenue is derived from water and related services, property rates and taxes, refuse removal and sanitation services. According to Nambala, 15% on water tariffs was necessitated by the 16% increase from NamWater.

    The suggested rates and taxes increase includes 5% contributions to the Erongo Regional Council as provided for under the Local Authorities Act.

    The annual tariff adjustments for other services will be made available to the public once gazetted.

    Community or social projects have been allocated N$60 million.

    Major individual projects under this category include the Phase 1 and 2 upgrading of the Kuisebmond Stadium, a new cemetery in Narraville, construction of industrial stalls in Kuisebmond, the installation of CCTV cameras to assist in combating crime, the upgrading of sport, parks and recreational facilities and the acquisition of traffic patrol vehicles. Infrastructure and service delivery-related projects have been allocated N$102 million.

    These projects include the resealing and tarring of streets and servicing of pavements. It also accommodates the implementation, upgrading and replacement of water and sewage infrastructure, including the capacity increase of the Long Beach reservoir and pump station, upgrading of the existing waste water treatment plant, the design of a new plant, the upgrading of Narraville’s pump station and rising main and the construction of a new pump station for Narraville and also for the lagoon area, amongst others. Vehicle costs have been allocated N$19 million.

    It was the second year that Nambala tabled the budget. He emphasised that local government is generally and widely known as the “government of the people, by the people, for the people” with service delivery to the people as its primary objective as local authority.

    He also invited community members of to be a part of the implementation of various projects and called upon the communities to present proposals, challenges and any possible contributions that could eventually lead towards accelerated and satisfactory service delivery in Walvis Bay.

    “It is no secret that locally and globally, the economic performances have reportedly been very sluggish. We should not sit back and wait for a miracle or quick fix to turn the situation around,” he said.

    “This is neither the time for ‘blame-games’ nor for ignorance. It is time for us to stand up, play a part and make a difference. Council has plenty of room for industrial investment opportunities and have a good number of serviced industrial erven available. We encourage manufacturing investment activities as these will create value addition to finished goods that will in the process, translate into more job opportunities to be created.”

    OTIS FINCK

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    School girls battle to raise childrenSchool girls battle to raise children A group of school girls who are mothers detailed their struggles in raising their children during a workshop aimed at empowering them in making constructive decisions for their lives ahead.

    The workshop was facilitated by the //Karas Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture in Keetmanshoop on Thursday, bringing together 34 girls from five schools in the region’s Kalahari Circuit.

    Five of the girls are currently expecting, while the others already have children.

    The girls are from St Therese Secondary School in Tses, Adam Steve Combined School in Köes and Keetmanshoop high schools Suiderlig, JA Nel and PK De Villiers.

    The mothers, who are in Grades 9 to 12, said it is a battle to raise their children alongside attending school and making time for homework and study.

    “Sometimes my baby is not well at night and I have to stay up, meaning the next day is a challenge to concentrate in class,” one girl said.

    Several said that finances were always in short supply to adequately bring up the babies.

    “The father of my baby does not care about his child. They only have sex with you and leave you in the desert. The burden is on my parents to support the child,” a fresh-faced youngster said.

    Another said that she experienced feelings of jealousy towards her child because of her parents’ attention and resources shifting away from her to the grandchild.

    “To make matters worse, my child looks like the father, so I often took out my frustrations on the child when I got angry about his neglect,” she added.

    The workshop’s facilitators asked for the girls’ identity to be concealed to allay the judgment on them as school-going mothers.

    Many spoke of the embarrassment and shame they endured while being pregnant in school and in their communities.

    They were urged by Kalahari Circuit Inspector Connie Wantenaar and senior education officers Otilie Lamberth and Immolatrix //Khamuxas to take control of their futures by completing school.

    Midwifery lecturer at the Keetmanshoop Regional Health Training Centre Maria Titus explained the risks of pregnancies on young bodies and provided the girls with information on all birth control options.

    She also urged them to suspend or delay sex, thereby preventing a second pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or unsafe and illegal abortions.

    “Make peace with your situation and aim to give yourself and your child the best chance in life. Also practice self-respect, self-restraint and gratitude to your parents and others who help you,” Titus said.

    The girls were told to make the most of government’s policy of allowing them to remain in school while pregnant and after giving birth.

    NAMPA

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    Govt called to account for N$36m Govt called to account for N$36m The presidential spokesperson of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) Joseph Kauandenge has called on the Namibian government to provide clarity with regards to reports in local media that the government has paid N$36 million to international lawyers working on the genocide case.

    Kauandenge said it was in the interest of the people for the government to state what the money was used for and what kind of legal advice they were seeking from foreign lawyers. “It is an undeniable fact that this money is coming from the taxpayers of this country, hence they too want clarity and answers as to whether this news is true and if so, what this money was paid for. Equally, descendants of the genocide must also be told by their government what this money is being used for and what legal opinion government is paying for to these lawyers,” said Kaundenge.

    He said that the government could have engaged local lawyers and still have paid reasonable amounts of money for the legal advice they got from international lawyers. “This country is, to put it bluntly, bankrupt and yet the very same government that pleads poverty at every turn has the audacity to spend millions of much-needed money to pay lawyers outside the borders of this country for perceived legal opinions that can be sourced locally for much, much less than that,” said Kauandenge.

    Local media houses of late have published that the government paid up to N$ 36 million for legal advice from London-based lawyers for the genocide negotiations with the German government.

    According to reports, Government is seeking over N$400 billion from Germany for the killing of over 65 000 Ovaherero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908.

    Shona Ngava

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    Contextualising Namibia's development and economic crisesContextualising Namibia's development and economic crises By: Pendapala M. Taapopi

    Africa is saddled and bridled in multifold crises of development, with implications threatening not only the welfare and existence of the broader populations, but the development base for future generations. As per Aina (1993), these crises entail features ranging from the continent being conflict ridden, negative economic growth, increasing environmental degradation, a socio-cultural malaise and the region's complacent and stagnated domestic politics with centralised authoritarian tactics and patriarchal regimes.

    Africa's poverty and her economic predicament is distinguished by export patterns virtually unchanged as agricultural products and raw materials still account for the bulk of trade, while government's development plans and industrial policies are met with failure and peripheral neoliberal capitalist structures inhibiting industrialisation efforts. In addition, Africa's public sector is the significant source of employment, supplying up to more than 68% of the jobs in the formal sector. However, neoteric employment in this sector has been deterred by austerity measures due to the adverse liquidity crisis.

    The concept of development entails a process of change and improvement. For Stiglitz, development represents a transformation of society, a movement from traditional methods of production to most productive modern ways. Indeed, change is a generational necessity and governments are charged with the responsibility to practically improve the standard of living, extend lifespans and increase productivity.

    The ripple effects of these phenomena infect weak economies leading to overall contraction. The credit crunch will certainly have lengthy negative consequences for the development and growth capacity of the nation-state, as the government scrambles to stabilise and secure capital.

    While a few countries have succeeded in rapid economic growth many more have seen the poverty and inequality gap grow, as neoliberal capitalist markets, even when assiduously followed, have not guaranteed success.

    Indeed, the rapid growth of the countries of East Asia wasn't achieved through the promotion of liberalisation and privatisation of markets. Yet their success in development was accompanied by a reduction of poverty, widespread improvements in living standards, and even a process of democratisation.

    In most cases, government played a large role as they followed standard technical prescriptions, of stable macroeconomic policies, while disregarding adverse policies. These governments pursued high productive investment in strategic economic sectors, complemented by industrial policies emphasising the importance of education and technology to close the knowledge gap between them and the more advanced economies.

    Namibia is in pursuant of the neoliberal capital market, based on free trade, minimal market regulation and export promotion. The government campaigns with such principle to attract FDI, which is not a sustainable means of development, despite what we are being taught in schools. For no country is built by foreigners owning its resources and factors of production.

    More so, Namibia fails to attract investment because TNCs do not invest in fragile economies, whose governments cannot guarantee a stable currency and are therefore more attracted to Latin America and Asian markets.

    The period 2012 - 2015 saw the economy grow by 5.6% - this is 1.18% average a year. The NDP5 attributes the negative and exclusive growth towards a lack of industrialisation, infrastructure development and investment.

    For instance, the 2008/09 crisis was resolved in many of the industrial and emerging markets, by employing counter-cyclical economic policies, comprising lowered interest rates and fiscal stimulus programs enacted in pursuit to avert the economic collapse.

    And Namibia does not have the capacity to deploy such counter policies, 'ones that cool down the economy when in an upswing and stimulate the economy when in a downturn' because the tax bases are narrow and domestic revenues insufficient.

    The impact of this crisis is defined by high inflation, prolonged unemployment, falling average incomes, increased inequality and additional high government borrowing. The class struggle is the order the day, with its effect on the working class and the youth in its majority.

    The youth see, feel and live with the effects of the crisis daily and overall experience the lowest living standards in the country. In 2016, the World Social Employment Outlook report, found that 35% of young Namibians aged 16-24 are jobless, while 15% of the employed youth experience extreme poverty.

    The economic crisis is but a crisis of capitalism as Marx and Engels' fundamental predictions on the intense concentration of wealth, the development of monopolies and the inevitability of crises proves accurate. A radical alternative paradigm is the only option, through a socialist system.

    This paradigm will be constructed on the condition of a people-centered development structure and based on universal human values. By this, development will not be measured solely in terms of GDP growth but assessed in the background of human contentment.

    Moreover, citizens can only play an active and non-partisan role in championing the common interests of the people through public deliberation of civil society engagement, to help institutions deliver public goods better.

    While the regional and local institutions of governance should be democratised and be decentralised in the literal sense, to check the authoritarian attitude of the state and strengthen the process of the democratic machinery from the perspective of development based on cooperation would ensure the participation of all in the political and economic processes and equip the citizens with the responsibility of managing their own affairs at the grassroots level through people-centered planning and initiatives.

    *Pendapala M. Taapopi is a fourth-year student towards a bachelor of Public Management at University of Namibia

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    Outlining development patternsOutlining development patterns Recently, South African President Jacob Zuma's ex-wife Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma came back into the African National Congress (ANC) after the end of her tenure as African Union chairperson. Zuma, who in the past months has faced fierce calls by opposition party leaders and some ANC members to step down, threw his weight behind his former wife to succeed him and compete with the deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa at the party's national congress. If she wins, she will be the first female presidential candidate for the ruling ANC.

    In Namibia, there have been similar talks, at least in the future, of the current deputy prime minister and international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to also consider running for the Swapo Party presidency. However, it remains unknown whether she will throw in the towel or not.

    Nonetheless, whether the president is female or not, development and the need for a stable and sustainable economy is what Namibia needs most at the moment. In 2015, Fitch Ratings had downgraded the nation's economic outlook. These ratings determine the status of the nation's economy in terms of currency strength (pegged with the South African rand), levels of unemployment and the strength of the education system. The government is thus mandated to put in place strong measures for a strong Namibian House. In this edition of the Astute Conversation, Taapopi explains Namibia's economy and as he did last week, Dylan further outlines the possibilities of a female president in Namibia.

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    A female presidency in Namibia: Analysing the narrativesA female presidency in Namibia: Analysing the narratives By: Dylan Mukoroli

    It is quite evident that a women presidency fever has emerged and now has a tight grip over the political scene in South Africa, and one can also observe that majority of the ANC's structures are also heeding to the call. It wouldn't be that farfetched to say that one can hear a mumble between certain individuals in Swapo, and certain publications, trying to develop the exact narrative. However within Swapo, the culture of silence and fear for prejudice holds back the views of those that believe in the cause.

    One needs to understand that within many political organisations, women had to fight tooth and nail against the male-dominated structures to enable them to break ranks. Namibia has seen the rise of women in key positions and leaders of government business. It is also observable that Namibia possesses the calibre of women that can lead the country; however the sphere of 'full bright politics' always takes its toll. In the Namibian context, an error made by the establishment was to hire somewhat capable executives to take up presidential advisory roles; the thought was admirable however these executives do not possess the skills to deal with full bright politics. We can define full bright politics as the process where different political elements such as factionalism, contemporary issues and certain acts determine the political landscape. Why is this analogy important? It plays into the notion that one can't simply choose, but one must look for individuals that pass through the eye of the needle criteria.

    The existing narrative is that women must come and fix what men have broken. In times of need many look to women leaders to come in as unifying candidates to come and unite the political organisation and the country. A reality that we must accept in the Namibian context is that the country is divided on whether President Hage Geingob is delivering and whether he should get a second term. This scenario is accommodating the call for a woman to take over the reins at next congress. The Swapo Party Women's League has also made it clear that they will back any female candidate for presidency; this notion by the women's league is highly flawed. It might come to the point where any female candidate avails herself; however that candidate might not be well placed for presidency. The women's league needs to focus on ensuring that the crème de la crème of available women leaders get into positions. The women's league might justify their position by playing the “women have been marginalised” card. We recognise that women have had their disadvantages and share of oppression including unfair inclusion. However this argument still doesn't justify the need for “any” kind of female leadership. Those that back the narrative of women's leadership, make it difficult for themselves as they complicate the process of sensitising the masses.

    In South Africa it is easy for one to support Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in her verge to cling to the hot seat, because she speaks out on issues, she lets known her belief and perspective on many contemporary political issues. One might not always agree with her views, but the fact that she allows one the opportunity to analyse them plays in her favour. On the other hand in Namibia, it becomes very difficult for one to rely on existing women leaders in the establishment, as they are rather mum on issues that require their perspective.

    It is easy for one to say that they are manoeuvering strategically, however the political dynamics have changed as more conscientious and academically oriented youth challenge the establishment. The harm of this perceived “manoeuvering strategically” is that only when it is time to tally up to the masses, is when we get to hear the views of these leaders, furthermore one can also analyse that one can't then take them seriously because at this their views are very much systematic and agenda driven.

    Women leaders in Namibia and around the world owe it to themselves to remain defiant and resist being used in the name of 'it is time for female presidency'. For us as Namibians to start taking a hold of the possibility of women presidency, we need to start hearing independent views and perspectives of women leaders in and out of the establishment; it sets the platform for much needed growth of women within the country. When one observes at how revolutionaries embark on change and sensitisation, the simple answer is that they let their perspective be known, an engage all forms of criticism on it. Independent perspective development allows one the opportunity to be critical on an intellectual level, and it gives the gallant masses the platform to engage purposefully, this is the kind of growth that the women presidency narrative needs.

    It would be easy for die-hard feminists and feminist sympathisers to allude that this opinion piece diminishes the image of women and further intelligently marginalises them, however from an intellect perspective, this opinion piece looks at factors that influence and hamper the growth of women leadership, and how women can spearhead their own growth in a just and independent manner.

    *Dylan Mukoroli is a third-year student studying Lifelong Learning & Community Education at the University of Namibia

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  • 07/03/17--16:00: Unam staff want their 7%
  • Unam staff want their 7%Unam staff want their 7% Disgruntled University of Namibia employees, who were represented by the Namibia National Teachers Union and the Namibia Public Workers Union, held a peaceful demonstration on Friday demanding that the university pay them the 7% salary increase promised to them last year.

    Muree Tjiueza from Nantu handed over a petition to Unam vice-chancellor Lazarus Hangula.

    The university undertook to pay its staff a 7% salary increase in December 2016 but has not done so. Staff members received a letter from Hangula informing them they would receive a 7% salary increase that would be implemented on 15 February 2017, backdated to 1 January 2017.

    Tjiueza said the unions were informed by Unam that they could not pay the increases due to financial constraints.

    “In January, Unam consulted the unions and advised that they could not implement the increase in February 2017 due to cash-flow challenges.

    “Unam assured the unions that they were actively consulting with the finance and higher education ministries to find a lasting solution to the cash-flow challenges and implement the promised salary increase,” said Tjiueza.

    A lecturer at Unam, who did not want to be identified, said she was frustrated that the university still had not paid her the salary because she had turned down other job offers.

    “I was supposed to teach in South Africa but I turned down the offer because Unam's offer was more lucrative,” said the lecturer.

    Another employee said the university must pay them because it owed them for all the hard work they had done.

    “We are a performing institution with good employees. If Unam does not pay us most people will leave the university and its credibility will drop,” he said.

    The employees are demanding that Unam suspend all its capital projects and divert the money to its salary budget. They are also requesting that the university stop appointing staff members on contract and to stop appointing people who are already close to retirement age.

    The unions also demanded to be part of the recruitment process at Unam to ensure “transparency, fairness and equity compliance with Unam recruitment policies”.

    The unions have given Unam until 11 July to respond to their petition.

    SHONA NGAVA

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    American fails in recusal bidAmerican fails in recusal bidJudge Liebenberg will hear murder trial The latest legal ploy by murder accused Marcus Thomas has failed. An American murder accused's bid to have the presiding judge step down from the case was dismissed yesterday in the Windhoek High Court.

    The court was satisfied that Marcus Thomas had failed to show reasonable apprehension that Judge Christie Liebenberg would not bring an impartial mind to bear when adjudicating the matter.

    Thomas had argued that he had reasonable apprehension of bias based on the judge's order that he was fit to stand trial.

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

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

    The accused were arrested shortly after Heckmair's body was found in a parked car in Klein Windhoek on 7 January 2011.

    Last year, the High Court had, after hearing evidence on the accused's criminal responsibility, found that Marcus Thomas was criminally responsible and was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his acts and to have acted in accordance with such appreciation.

    Thomas on the strength of the courts' findings had applied for the recusal of presiding Judge Christie Liebenberg. He claimed that the court had prejudged an issue which was still live and significant in the matter.

    Liebenberg yesterday during his ruling stated that at the time of the court's earlier ruling, no evidence had been adduced about Thomas having acted in relation to the offences charged.

    “It is evident that the court at no stage made any findings on the alleged commission of the offences charged and that the same charges still had to be proved during the trial,” Liebenberg stated and then dismissed the accused's application for his recusal.

    Liebenberg gave brief background for better understanding of the present proceedings and stated that the accused on 3 November 2014, whilst in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, attempted to escape and in the process sustained injuries.

    Four days thereafter Thomas and Townsend had pleaded not guilty to all the charges they were facing and thereafter the trial started.

    During the proceedings the trial was interrupted by the lawyer of Thomas applying to have him referred for psychiatric observation. The court granted the order and directed that the accused be examined and reported on.

    Consequently two psychiatric reports were issued and filed and the court admitted the reports into evidence.

    The court on the strength of the psychiatric reports came to the conclusion that the applicant was fit to stand trial.

    Liebenberg found that the court at no stage of the proceedings made credible findings on the evidence presented thus far.

    He said the question whether the presiding judge had already expressed himself in respect of an issue which was 'still live and which was of real or significant importance in the matter before him' must be adjudged on the correct facts.

    “It shouldn't be limited to the wording of the court order given in the end,” he stressed.

    It was his considered opinion that the objective reasonable observer in possession of the facts as set out in the judgment would have no basis for harbouring any reasonable apprehension that the presiding judge is biased.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Pensioner missing for five monthsPensioner missing for five months It has been three months since Namibian Sun reported about a missing 67-year-old Oshakati man, but there is still no trace of him.

    Johannes Shikongo, also known as J. Malambo, was last seen on the afternoon of 1 February in the Oshoopala location of Oshakati while he was tending to cattle with his 57-year-old nephew.

    The Oshana police confirmed that Shikongo is still missing since the first report received by his family in February. The Oshana police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Thomas Aiyambo, told Namibian Sun that a docket was opened and an investigation was under way.

    “Our team of investigators are busy gathering information from the community and once they are done they will be handed to the responsible people who will determine the way forward,” Aiyambo said.

    At the time he went missing, Shikongo had been living with his elder sister, Serestina Shikongo, 97, and her children at their home in the Ehenye towship of Oshakati.

    His nephew, who was the last person to see him, earlier told Namibian Sun that at around 10:00 on 1 February, his uncle released cattle from a kraal to graze in a floodplain behind the Oshoopala location.

    According to his nephew, Shikongo frequented the location to consume otombo. During the day he was found drinking tombo in Oshoopala.

    “I bought him some otombo and told him not to tend to the cattle in the floodplain because it was muddy. I told him to wait for me in the afternoon so that we could go and gather the cattle together. I came home and told my mother that I found uncle drinking otombo,” the nephew said.

    He said he picked up his uncle with his car at around 16:00 to help gather the cattle.

    “He rode in the back of the car and we went near the Sky Bridge were we found the cattle. I told him not to get out of the car while I was driving the cattle home from the other side of the oshana. While driving the cattle home I saw him get out of the car and when I returned he was nowhere to be seen,” he said.

    Efforts to locate Shikongo proved futile. He was last seen wearing a green T-shirt, brown pants, a white cap and sandals.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    SOE cost-cutting plan under waySOE cost-cutting plan under wayEnough with half-baked turnaround strategies New business plans or turnaround strategies will be thoroughly scrutinised by the ministry of public enterprises. Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste says the days of overly optimistic business plans or half-baked turnaround strategies at parastatals are over.

    It appears that the boards of some state-owned enterprises are presenting half-baked turnaround strategies and business plans, a situation Jooste says cannot be allowed to continue.

    Also tied into that, it will now be a requirement for SOE bosses to be willing to match remuneration to performance and success of the turnaround strategies, Jooste told Namibian Sun last week.

    The remarks follow a statement by Roads Contractor Company acting CEO Tino !Hanabeb that there was nothing untoward about a request for N$5 billion to strengthen the balance sheet of the RCC.

    Refusing to bow to pressure, Jooste said boards and CEOs couldn't just haphazardly submit strategies to him without being clear on the intended outcomes.

    “The matter of the recurring 'turnaround strategies' has been a problem for government for some time and we intend to solve this. The first thing we did was to analyse why this phenomenon has taken place over the years and then to identify suitable solutions to remedy the situation,” said Jooste.

    He said his ministry would carefully scrutinise proposed strategies before giving approval.

    “New business plans or turnaround strategies are now being thoroughly scrutinised by the ministry of public enterprises to ensure that they are feasible before they are approved.

    “We have discovered that some of the submitted plans are not feasible and we will refuse to approve these before the required adjustments are made,” Jooste said.

    He admitted that some executives and board members were coming up short in drawing up strategies to grow business. “Some of the previous business plans have basically been funding requests and have failed to include certain key aspects which should form part of any business plan,” he said.

    “We also have to acknowledge that we are currently operating in a complicated economic environment where we have to prioritise and invest state funds extremely wisely so as not to affect the efficient delivery of services and products through the government and the state-owned enterprises.”

    Explaining the rationale behind the introduction of performance agreements, he said these would ensure that new strategies would not be implemented willy-nilly.

    “Performance agreements are now also being aligned to ensure that executives and board members do not just implement turnaround strategies for the sake of, but that their remuneration would be tied into the success or failure in turning around ailing state-owned entities.

    “After new business plans are approved we will ensure that the performance agreements are aligned to the new business plans and the actual key performance indicators will be drawn from the business plans.

    “This will then force the boards and CEOs to 'own' the business plan and to be accountable for the outcome thereof.

    “On top of that, our new remuneration guidelines will be incentivised and remuneration will be determined by the achievement of reaching the key performance indicators as per business plan,” he added.

    According to Jooste, the final and most important element required is to ensure that there are right people in the right positions to execute these plans.

    “We need boards with the appropriate skills mix with specific emphasis on sector specific skills to ensure that we achieve a skills balance between the board and the executive of the entities.

    “We then equally need highly qualified CEOs and senior managers to implement the strategic direction provided by the board of directors,” he said.

    Economist Klaus Schade welcomed the initiative and said it was a move in the right direction.

    “I believe this is a move in the right direction. We have heard so much about continuous turnaround strategies that have apparently not achieved the desired results.

    “We need experts to scrutinise the strategies in order to ensure they can lead to the envisaged outcome,” Schade said of the development. Of the requirement to match performance to pay packages, he said it made absolute sense.

    “Linking the performance contracts to the strategies makes sense, since it will ensure that board and management are fully behind the implementation, and necessary adjustments if need be, of the strategies,” said Schade.

    “Board members should be appointed on merits and bring the expected expertise to the company. They are there to add value.”

    Simonis Storm head of research Purvance Heuer echoed Schade's sentiments.

    “This is a positive development, assuming that they can follow through on that requirement,” Heuer said.

    “It is important that SOEs deliver on the plans that they submit and that their performance is assessed against that. This will thereby lead to improved service delivery.”

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Murder accused gets bail after 17 monthsMurder accused gets bail after 17 months After 17 months behind bars and two failed bail applications, Okahandja farmer Kai Rust was granted N$40 000 bail yesterday based on key witness testimony made during the course of the trial which is continuing at the Regional Court in Windhoek.

    Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt said it would constitute a “malicious act” to keep Rust behind bars following a number of new facts that had come to light during his trial, including testimony by State witness and lead police inspector in the case Reinhard Maletsky last week, who said he did not object to Rust being released on bail and did not consider him a flight risk.

    Rust has been in custody since his arrest in late January 2016 in connection with the killing of Andreas Ukandanga, 41, who died from a gunshot wound on Rust's farm after he and three companions, who subsequently were found guilty of poaching, illegally hunted on the farm.





    Rust, through his lawyer Jan Wessels, has said that Ukandanga's death was accidental, after a bullet he fired ricocheted and fatally hit Ukandanga. Rust has pleaded not guilty to a count of murder and three charges of attempted murder.

    Wessels addressed the court yesterday morning in respect of bail, arguing that it would be fair and in the interest of justice to grant bail mid-trial, because of the new facts that had been put on the record by State witnesses, which had not been revealed during two previous bail applications.

    Regional prosecutor Fillemon Nyau argued yesterday that should the defence bring a formal bail application, the State would oppose bail.

    Nyau added that bringing another bail application in the middle of the trial, and in front of the presiding magistrate, would be un-procedural.

    Diergaardt however said that having looked at the previous bail application judgements, the regional court had jurisdiction to hear a bail application on new facts.

    She said she agreed with Wessels that the court was in a better position to rule on bail, having heard the facts put on the record to date.

    Diergaardt said “most importantly” Maletsky had testified that he did not oppose bail and did not consider Rust a flight risk.

    Maletsky had also testified that the accused's passport had expired, and been handed in to the police, before the trial began.

    She said witness interference was no longer a possibility, as the majority of witnesses had testified and had been cross-examined.

    She ordered Rust to pay N$40 000 bail, and to appear at court at 08:30 each day that the trial is set to continue, as well as to not leave the Okahandja district without prior permission from the police.

    Rust is not permitted to apply for any new travel documents and she instructed him to report to the Okahandja police station twice a week.

    The trial continues on 3 August 2017.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 07/03/17--16:00: Toilet tenders stink
  • Toilet tenders stinkToilet tenders stinkMillions flushed down pit latrines Despite the government spending millions of dollars, rural households in Namibia still lack appropriate toilet facilities. Since 2012 the government has been jumping from one toilet system to another, spending millions of dollars, but failing to find a suitable system for rural areas.

    Tenders are issued and awarded and units installed without any community outreach. Due to lack of education on maintenance and, in the case of flush toilets, simply a lack of water to flush them with, all the systems have failed. Regional and traditional leaders are not being consulted in the selection in order to find the optimum solution.

    In just five northern regions, N$181.5 million was spent in 2011/12 on Ecosan (Ecological Sanitation) toilets and in 2013/14, N$157.5 million was spent on Amalooloo toilets and the cheaper Ventilation Improved toilets under the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).

    Officials responsible for the project at the regional councils and the line ministry did not disclose information upon Namibian Sun's enquiries.

    A source at a regional council said that all the toilet systems were selected by the national government without community or regional government input. Regional councils were only involved in the process to implement, monitor and evaluate.

    Another source informed Namibian Sun that the government had spent N$181.5 million on 10 000 Ecosan toilets in five northern regions during 2011/12.

    Ecosan is a dry toilet system that does not mix urine with other human waste. The system stores human waste and users can use it as fertiliser to increase crop yields.

    It is further alleged that each region received N$20 million for the construction of these toilets. Tenders were awarded to local small and medium enterprises who charged the government over N$20 000 per toilet.



    After the completion of these toilets, they remain unused to date.

    “When the Ecosan project was completed and handed over to the beneficiaries, we were asked to do a survey on how the beneficiaries were using their toilets. We found out that these toilet facilities did not solve rural sanitation problems as the beneficiaries were not using them due to technical difficulties. We also realised that no testing or information sessions were done,” the source said. Some beneficiaries started demolishing them and removing the building materials. This system stores human waste in a sack. Users are required to remove the sack once it gets full.

    In 2013, as the directorate of sanitation was transferred to the agriculture ministry, a national sanitation project for both rural and urban areas was launched. Around N$100 million was used for rural toilets, while N$300 million was used for urban toilets.

    The project resumed construction of the Amalooloo toilets without consulting regional councillors and communities on the sanitation programme and on the choice of appropriate systems that best suited the beneficiaries.

    The Amalooloo toilets were said to be ecologically safe pit latrines.

    Since the Ecosan system failed, they ended up constructing Amalooloo at houses where they already built Ecosan toilets.

    “We felt that it was of no use for people to have toilets they will never use. We gave Amalooloo toilets to the same people who benefited from the Ecosan system,” said the official.

    The official added that due to poor consultation with regional authorities the Amalooloo system also could not materialise because the toilet cannot function in areas with a high water table.

    “Amalooloo toilets have a tank underground that holds the waste. Due to associated ground movement and water pressure, the tank will compress. The tank is a panel system that relies on the integrity of the sealant to hold the panels together and to keep the joints watertight.”

    The Harambee Prosperity Plan indicated the construction of 50 000 rural toilets to eliminate the bucket system by end 2017. Every region is required to construct cheap toilets, VIP latrines at no more than N$10 000 per toilet. The VIP latrines operate just like the traditional toilets in villages.

    “There is no way this system will work. They are now using inferior material and the toilets will not last for more than three years. In Otjozondjupa Region the system came to a standstill. Contractors are not getting any profit from the project.” According to a local expert in sanitation, Eline van der Linden, no toilet system will work without educating communities on daily cleaning. A long-term solid periodic maintenance plan should also be in place from the onset. She said that despite millions of dollars used in sanitation programmes, the sanitation sector in Namibia is not in a good space. More than one million Namibians still have no other option than to resort to open defecation with all the associated health problems and costs, including cases of cholera. Open defecation is also associated with higher incidences of assault when women and girls go into the veld. “Communities can only change their perceptions through government intensive interaction with the beneficiary communities and by having a solid long-term maintenance plan in place. Providing sanitation is not a one-off action but rather a long-term engagement with the communities.

    The choice of technology/infrastructure is important but the relationship management is critical to the success of any toilet system. Imagine if municipalities would walk away after the sewerage pipe has been installed and leave the residents to work out what to do with their flush toilets,” Van der Linde said.

    “They are now constructing VIP latrines in each of all 14 regions. One wonders why VIP latrines were specified, especially in areas prone to flooding and with high water tables. Government must construct toilets that people can use for over 10 years, for value for money.”

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Africans expected to back Indongo's fightAfricans expected to back Indongo's fightAfricans expected to back Indongo's fight Namibian boxer Julius 'Blue Machine' Indongo will fight Terence Crawford in a super lightweight unification title fight in Lincoln, Nebraska, next month. After much speculation Julius Indongo will go head-to-head with Terence Crawford of the US on 19 August in a unification fight for the super lightweight title, it was announced yesterday at a media briefing in Windhoek.

    It will be history in the making since it will be the first time that the super lightweight title will be unified and only the fourth time in the modern era that a unification title fight will take place.

    Indongo is urging all local sport fans as well as the whole of Africa to support his quest to floor Crawford in his home country.

    The boxer says he has a great team behind him, but that is not enough as he wants the whole African continent to back him up as he is doing this for Africa.

    “I am focused and will remain humble. I am preparing well and have removed myself from all social media in order to focus on the game plan. We know what we are going to do in America,” he said yesterday.

    His promoter, Nestor Tobias, said Indongo was a special ambassador for the country.

    “He is fighting for his country without expecting anything in return. This is going to be the biggest sporting event for the nation, so everyone should support in any way they can,” Tobias said.

    He added that his team did not fear a challenge and local boxers did not need to train overseas. “As long as they have the best team locally, they can make it,” he said.

    Tim Ekandjo from MTC, who was also present at the event, said the company was proud to be part of the history being made in Africa. “This fight is one of a kind, something that does not happen often.

    “The whole world will stand still to watch this fight because when Indongo wins he will be the first man to have five titles to his name,” he said.

    He added that they were negotiating with airlines in the hope of securing discounted air fare for boxing fans to watch the fight.

    Those who cannot fly to the United States will still have the chance to watch the fight live on television.

    Asked what Indongo needed from the nation, Ekandjo was quick to answer that Namibians always assumed that honouring someone should be in monetary form.

    “It does not always have to be so. Honour someone as you see fit. Our government can even give him a diplomatic passport as he is the potential undisputed champion of the world,” he said.

    Neither Ekandjo nor Tobias wanted to confirm the size of the purse, with Tobias saying that it is confidential.

    Indongo holds the WBA and IBF world titles while Crawford holds the WBO and WBC world titles.

    The fight will take place at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, and 15 000 spectators are expected to fill the seats.

    Indongo has a record of 22 wins and 11 knockouts while Crawford has a record of 31 wins and 22 knockouts.

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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    Mannetti brings in new playersMannetti brings in new players Ricardo Mannetti has made changes to the Brave Warriors team to face Swaziland today in the 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup Plate Section semi-final.

    The team exited from the Cup section on Saturday after losing to Lesotho 4-5 on penalty shootouts.

    Mannetti was not impressed with the attitude of some of the players and made changes to the team aiming to finish fifth yet again.

    “I was not happy with some players' attitude and approach to the match on Saturday and therefore I will make changes to the team. Yes, we had problems with the preparations and all that is known but our approach should have been better.

    “Therefore I have decided to bring in new players for the Swaziland clash, also with one eye on the CHAN (African Nations Championship) qualifier we have next week. I will give more local players a chance to play,” explained Mannetti.

    The coach also revealed that he had released defender Chris Katjiukua from the team to enable him to assess other players for the centre-back position ahead of CHAN.

    “I have also called up Benyamin Nenkavu and he will be on the bench for the game against Swaziland. It is also very normal that if the team does not perform to expectations, you make amends and try to get the desired result,” he said. In the reckoning for tomorrow will be Lodyt Kazapua in goal, as well as players such as Riaan Hanamub, who made a cameo appearance on Saturday, as well as Ferdinand Karongee, Oswaldo Xamseb and Dynamo Fredericks.

    The Brave Warriors will face Swaziland at 18:30 at the Moruleng Stadium. If they win they will advance to the Plate Section final against either South Africa or Botswana on Friday at the same venue.

    In the African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2018 qualifier, Namibia will host Zimbabwe on 16 July at the Sam Nujoma stadium and the return leg is scheduled for Harare on 23 July.

    SPORT REPORTER

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    Local authorities' pension fund celebratesLocal authorities' pension fund celebrates The Retirement Fund for Local Authorities and Utility Services recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, which coincided with its rebranding.

    Highlighting the fund's achievements, the minister of urban and rural development, Sophia Shaningwa, said it was satisfying that the fund had experienced a positive growth in assets of a very low base of members at its inception in 1992.

    “When the fund was established 25 years ago, many of us did not imagine how this fund would grow and impact the economy and its people. At its establishment, the fund had a total market value of N$54 million, but currently it is now boasting over N$4 billion of total market value,” said Shaningwa of the fund's growth since its inception in 1992.

    “I cannot overemphasise the absolute joy and pride I feel that our very own Namibian pension fund has evolved tremendously over the years,” she added.

    She advised members not to cash in their pensions when changing jobs but rather to preserve their savings to enable them to grow.

    “My message to the members of the fund is that I would like to encourage you to resist the temptation of utilising the pension for short-term needs when changing employment, but rather to preserve the pension until retirement to avoid living in destitution after retirement,” she said.

    The fund's principal officer, Dorian Amwaandangi, said the fund was poised to continually serve its members well, owing to improvements in operational capacity.

    “We realised it was time to claim our rightful position in the dynamic pension industry. I am proud to say we have achieved several important successes which include crafting a flourishing investment strategy which has seen the asset value of the fund grow to just over N$4 billion,” said Amwaandangi.

    “We have also witnessed a continuous growth in the fund's membership and consequently we have increased our staff count to be able to attend to the needs of our members and stakeholders,” he said.

    According to him, much of the focus would now be on the new brand identity launched last week.

    “The new brand is a positive transformation and will not affect the service and commitment that the business has demonstrated thus far,” he said.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    EasyWallet and GoPay with easeEasyWallet and GoPay with easeClients advised to make use of new product offerings EasyWallet and GoPay are convenient, affordable and cost effective, says Bank Windhoek's Jacqueline Pack. As a consumer-centric organisation Bank Windhoek continues to invest in affordable and convenient banking solutions for its customers, hence the introduction of two new exciting electronic banking offerings, namely EasyWallet and GoPay, according to its spokesperson, Jacqueline Pack.

    “Bank Windhoek's extensive offering of banking services to our customers through our national network of branches, agencies and ATMs is complemented by a diverse variety of locally developed digital banking channels,” she says.

    She explains that the newly introduced EasyWallet offers customers the convenience of paying third parties and other beneficiaries, purchasing airtime and electricity, making balance enquiries and more using their mobile devices.

    “GoPay offers a safe and cash-free method to purchase fuel nationwide from a large network of petrol stations,” says Pack of Bank Windhoek's other new offering.

    Pack advises clients to make use of the new electronic banking services, as they are cost effective.

    “Bank Windhoek endeavours to inspire customers to make use our electronic banking channels as a method of transacting, as these are safe, easy to use and cost effective. In support of this we have kept access to iBank, Mobile App, Cellphone Banking, EasyWallet and GoPay totally free.

    “In addition to this, the purchasing of prepaid electricity and AlertMe/SMS notifications remain free, empowering customers to be informed of all activity on their transaction accounts and reducing the risk of losses due to fraudulent transactions,” she says.

    Digital banking services continue to offer customers a convenient and cost-effective channel to conduct their banking 24/7, according to her.

    “Bank Windhoek is also proud to offer competitive Point-of-Sale purchase (transaction) fees in the market and would like to encourage customers to make use of their debit cards for transactions which is much safer than carrying around cash.

    “We would like to reassure our esteemed clients that we have also taken the current economic conditions into account and have fairly priced our products and services.

    “A notice, in the form of a poster in all our branches and agencies, will display the new fees and charges effective from 1 July 2017. The main fees and charges of Bank Windhoek will also be available in brochure format,” Pack said.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 07/03/17--16:00: Wernhil expansion commences
  • Wernhil expansion commencesWernhil expansion commences The fourth phase of the expansion of the Wernhil shopping centre in Windhoek will start today and is expected to run until May 2019, making it one of the biggest shopping centres in the country when completed.

    The expansion was launched by Ohlthaver and List group chairman Sven Thieme this week, marking the start of construction activities at the shopping centre.

    According to him, the expansion will create many work opportunities for residents of the city and is being undertaken at the right time.

    “It is an important moment in the growth and development if the vibrant city. We are excited at the approximate 1 100 new job opportunities Wernhil phase 4 extension will bring both during and after construction,” Thieme said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

    Broll Namibia's managing director, Marco Wenk, described the development as ambitious.

    “Nineteen thousand square metres of shopping space will be created and it is our most ambitious project to date. It will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the biggest malls in the country,” said Wenk.

    “The overall completion of the project is expected for May 2019.”

    Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua welcomed the investment and described it as important to the revival of the central business district.

    “The central business district is on a revival path. We are moving to phase 20 and even phase 100 I hope. I am very excited about the opportunities this brings,” he said.

    The mayor called on Thieme to also look at Katutura as an investment destination and called on the City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise to allocate suitable land.

    “We want these developments in places like Havana. The Katuturas should always come here. CEO, please allocate land,” Kazapua said.

    The minister of urban and rural development, Sophia Shaningwa, was also enthusiastic about the development.

    “It warms my heart when the business community contributes towards the achievement of Vision 2030 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” she said.

    She added that it was important to collaborate with the private sector and encouraged public-private partnerships.

    “The input of the private sector plays an important role in the success of our future. I am particularly excited when the private sector invests. We need to develop a character of camaraderie and need to take hands not only during difficult times, but also when we celebrate successes,” said Shaningwa.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 07/04/17--07:34: BoN seeks SME Bank closure
  •  BoN seeks SME Bank closure BoN seeks SME Bank closure The Bank of Namibia has approached the High Court seeking the winding down of the troubled SME Bank. “While the bank of Namibia is aware of the anxiety these actions may cause to employees, depositors, creditors, and other interested parties alike, it nevertheless calls for calm during this period and urges all stakeholders to cooperate fully and exercise the necessary patience,” the central bank stated in a statement a while ago.
    STAFF REPORTER


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