Articles on this Page
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Disaster strikes Na...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Sundowns provide fr...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _28 years of Young C...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Kudus fail to deliver
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Welwitschias humili...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _I do not blame Mann...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Brave Warriors rue ...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Heat wave breaks 13...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Zimbabwe's Mugabe i...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Russian ceasefire d...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Shot of the day
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Stop punishing mens...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _SME Bank millions ‘...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _More Swapo chaos
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Sustainable tourism...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Slow progress on Oh...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Government bills un...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Murder, suicide and...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _Swapo’s Oshikoto re...
- 07/09/17--16:00: _High Court to rule ...
- 07/09/17--16:00: Disaster strikes Nam football
- 07/09/17--16:00: Sundowns provide fresh fixtures challenge
- 07/09/17--16:00: 28 years of Young Chiefs
- 07/09/17--16:00: Kudus fail to deliver
- 07/09/17--16:00: Welwitschias humiliate Senegal
- 07/09/17--16:00: I do not blame Mannetti
- 07/09/17--16:00: Brave Warriors rue missed chances
- 07/09/17--16:00: Heat wave breaks 131-year-old Los Angeles temperature record
- 07/09/17--16:00: Zimbabwe's Mugabe in Singapore for medical check
- 07/09/17--16:00: Russian ceasefire deal holding in southwest Syria
- 07/09/17--16:00: Shot of the day
- 07/09/17--16:00: Stop punishing menstruating girls
- 07/09/17--16:00: SME Bank millions ‘unrecoverable’
- 07/09/17--16:00: More Swapo chaos
- 07/09/17--16:00: Sustainable tourism awards launched
- 07/09/17--16:00: Slow progress on Ohangwena aquifer
- 07/09/17--16:00: Government bills under scrutiny
- 07/09/17--16:00: Murder, suicide and accidental death in Erongo
- 07/09/17--16:00: Swapo’s Oshikoto regional conference called off
- 07/09/17--16:00: High Court to rule on SME Bank liquidation
The national team last played a competitive game on 3 September last year in the 2016 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in Dakar. They lost that match to Senegal by two goals to nil and were effectively knocked out of the qualifying race.
Speaking to Nampa in Rustenburg where his team was preparing to face South Africa in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Plate final on Friday, coach Ricardo Mannetti said the lack of competitive games was a contributing factor.
“We have not played a single match on all the Fifa dates since we played Senegal. We missed about three weeks, which could translate to six games as other countries play two games during the Fifa dates, plus we were not at Afcon where other teams played at least three games,” Mannetti explained.
He said one of his mandates was to bring Namibia into the top 100 ranked countries and they managed to achieve that, but all that hard work had gone to waste now.
“The past two years were very good for Namibian football but when things went bad, I warned everyone that such things would happen. The rankings are a true reflection of what is happening in our football,” Mannetti said.
He once again called on the responsible authorities to stop fighting at the expense of football, and pleaded with them to fix the situation as soon as possible, as worse things are likely to happen if the situation was not arrested as soon as possible.
The Brave Warriors gaffer had strong parting shots to those calling for his head, saying: “Even if they remove me from this position, the rankings will not improve as long as football is still in the doldrums. I have shown the Namibian nation what I can do under normal circumstances.”
The unavailability of financial support has seen the Namibia Premier league (NPL) and lower leagues unable to play competitive football for more than a year now.
Leadership squabbles also saw former NPL chairperson Johnny Doeseb resign last year, creating a leadership vacuum which led to potential sponsors refusing to sign agreements with the interim committee.
That in turn led to the NFA imposing a leadership structure, a move rejected by some NPL clubs.
Following their victory at Saint George at the weekend Sundowns are guaranteed of finishing either first or second in Group C, which means a place in the last eight of the restructured competition.
Though Saint George can still reach the same number of points as Sundowns and possibly have a better goal difference to the men from Chloorkop if they win their last match and Downs lose theirs, they cannot end second.
The CAF regulations state that in case of equality of points between two teams at the end of the group matches, the greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the concerned will be used to find the winner.
Sundowns drew at home and won away against the Ethiopians.
Reaching the quarter-finals means the weekend dates of 8-10 September and 15-17 September are unavailable for any local fixtures involving The Brazilians.
Pitso Mosimane and his men will play any of Wydad Casablanca, ZANACO or Al Ahly in the last eight depending on the order of standings at the completion of the group matches this weekend.
Last season the PSL was forced into postponing several domestic fixtures involving Sundowns which meant The Brazilians spent most of the season playing catch-up as they were crowned African champions, going on to also play at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
Should they also progress beyond the quarter-finals on the continent this year Sundowns will chew up September 29-October 1 and October 13-15 – the dates set aside for the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Also not available to domestic football will be October 27-19 along with November 3-5 – this provided Sundowns reach the final which will further complicate The Brazilians' domestic fixture programme.
Last season Sundowns had only played three league games at the beginning of November and had as many as six games in hand at one time during the campaign.
Formed in 1989, the club is now the only remaining hope and pride of the north after Oshakati City struggled to return to topflight football.
Their drive to advance in the NFA Debmarine Cup is said to have been motivated by the fact that they want northern Namibia to embrace them.
The team also plays for founders Vaino Amuthenu and Fifi Shilunga who created the club just before Independence.
Gaining promotion to the premier league has been one of the greatest achievements in the club's history.
The club entered the premier league scene during the 2015/16 campaign and managed to avoid relegation in their first season.
Training on a dusty gravel field next to the Oshakati Independence Stadium, the team now prepare for one of their toughest encounters yet.
They will have to travel over 900km to battle Eastern Chiefs in their own backyard in the NFA Debmarine Cup quarterfinals on 29 July.
At the start of the competition, no one would have guessed that the boys from Oshakati would make it this far.
But they have proven all the critics wrong by producing thrilling performances on their journey to the quarterfinals.
They managed to beat Bee Bob Brothers 3-1 in the last 16 to book their place in the Gobabis spectacle.
“This team has come a long way and I think many people in the north are proud of what we have achieved during the years.
“It has not been an easy journey for us to become a club, but we have indeed managed to make the most of Young Chiefs.
“Gaining promotion to the Namibia Premier League was brilliant for us and our fans.
“The fans have made such a huge contribution as far as ensuring that the team has people behind it whenever it struggled,” spokesperson Nicky Kapuka said.
With the absence of the 2016/17 Namibia Premier League season, the Debmarine Cup is the club's only hope to get a piece of silverware.
The club however acknowledges that it does have a long way to go before it can start thinking of the trophy.
Clubs like Civics, Young Africa, Tura Magic, Try Again, Eastern Chiefs, Rundu Chiefs and Mighty Gunners all still have a say as to who will win the prestigious prize.
“The draw for us came as no surprise because we knew that any club we will come up against in the quarterfinal will be very strong.
“At this stage of the competition, there are no easy teams because they would have not been here if it was not for their character.
“Our plan is to take it one step at a time and that is why our main focus is not winning the trophy now.
“Eastern Chiefs will be playing on their own home ground and that is why we await a tough match,” he said.
JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA
The lead changed on several occasions before flyhalf Macho Prinsloo secured the win (39-38) for the visitors with a drop goal in the dying moments of the highly entertaining match.
Wanderers right wing Zannon Platt crashed over for the first try. Kudus inside centre Michael Hummel hit back with a try. Flyhalf Aurelio Plato converted (7-5). Hooker Christien Du Plessis crashed over for Wanders.
Prinsloo added the conversion (12-7). Flank Virgil Bampton scored a try for Kudus. Plato added the conversion (14-12).
Fullback Jamie Joseph visited the try line for Wanderers. Prinsloo added the conversion (19-14). Hummel then scored his second try for Kudus and levelled the scores (19-19). Kudus scrumhalf Rayton Paulse added another try. Plato converted and ensured a 26-19 lead for the hosts at halftime.
Leftwing Floyd Freygang scored a try for Kudus after play resumed and stretched the lead to 12 points (31-19). Wanderers then launched a concerted effort and were adequately rewarded with try by hooker Du Plessis (converted by Prinsloo) and fullback Joseph who levelled the scores (31-31).
Outside centre Bevan Botha then crashed over for Kudus. Plato converted and ensured a 2 points lead (38-36). Wanderers flyhalf Prinsloo however had the final say and made the score 39-38 in favour of the visitors with a well-struck drop goal moments before the final whistle.
Wanders also defeated Kudus 52-7 in a Reserve League match. Outside centre Andre Visser, eighthman Johan Meyer and hooker Giel Boshoff each scored two tries for the visitors. Leftwing Frans Van Staden, prop Quinton Esterhuizen also visited the try line for Wanderers.
Scrumhalf Elton Frans scored a try for Kudus and flyhalf Benito Bezuidenhoud added the conversion.
Walvis Bay Rugby Club forfeited their Premier League match against the current defending champions Unam in Walvis Bay and played a friendly against Grootfontein.
Walvis Bay will take on Unam and Suburbs will take on Wanders in the semi-final round of the Namibian Rugby Premier League competition scheduled for Windhoek in two weeks' time.
Eugene Jantjies opened the scoring for the home side with a try that Rohan Kitshoff converted.
Adrian Booysen's try gave Namibia a 12-0 lead over a helpless Senegal team.
Jantjies then scored his second try of the match, which was converted by Louis van der Westhuizen.
Namibia went down to 14 men due to a red card given to Louis van der Westhuizen.
This did however not change much of the game as the home side continued hunting for more points.
Namibia held an unassailable 36-0 lead at halftime, with Senegal looking as if they did not want to play.
Going into the second half, Rohan Kitshoff extended Namibia's lead to 41-0.
Kitshoff's try was followed by another one from Justine Newman, while Jantjies followed with a conversion.
Kitshoff then scored his fourth try of the match with Jantjies converting the try.
Namibia's Lesley Kim put the game beyond Senegal's reach with a try of his own.
The Senegalese's team posted minimum threat to Namibia's backline which seemed to have been on holiday.
Theuns Kotzé sealed the victory for the Namibian team with a try and conversion of his own match.
Namibia has now won two matches in the competition, while Senegal has been defeated twice so far.
The next assignment for the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias will be against Zimbabwe, followed by Kenya in the same competition.
(15) Jonathan Courtinard, 14 Mamadou Ndiaye, 13 Georges Pompidou Mendy, 12 Steeve Sargos, 11 Abou Sall, 10 Félix Mendy, 9 Abdelkarim Fofana, 8 Fabrice Lewis Karaba, 7 Lamine Silla, 6 Sy Omar, 5 Elhadji Babacounta Faye, 4 Mahecor Toure, 3 Adrian Laporte, 2 Sekou Sakho, 1 Boubakar Diabira
Replacements, 16 Babou Diatta, 17 Benjamin Sanio, 18 Moustapha Ndiaye, 19 Boubacar Diouf, 20 Oumar Diouf, 21 Ibrahima Diaby, 22 Cheickh Ndiaye, 23 Babacar Ba
Well, I believe that the Cosafa flop was not Mannetti's fault, but that of the players and the entire Namibian football system.
The fact that the national team has been inactive since last year was definitely going to have an impact on the team's performance at the just-ended Cosafa tournament.
The absence of the Namibia Premier League because of a lack of sponsors also took its toll on the national team.
It is sad that so many people want Mannetti out just because his team could not score enough goals to win the Cosafa tournament.
One of the things I observed at this tournament was that the team did have chances that they failed to put away.
The entire Namibian team seemed to have forgotten their shooting boots at home.
It was also unfortunate that they had to lose on penalties to a weak Lesotho team.
There was nothing Mannetti could have done because it was all in the hands of the players.
The players let their coach down by missing chances and penalties.
Now how does one blame the coach for the mistakes of players who could not capitalise on their opportunities?
It is clear that Mannetti had given the right instructions to his team, but the players failed to make anything out of it.
Match fitness was a concern for the Brave Warriors even before they left for the Cosafa tournament.
I could see that some of the players were really struggling with pace in the three games the Brave Warriors has played.
Some of these players who ply their trade in South Africa and Botswana have barely made it into their first team squads during the 2016/17 football season.
Others that are home based have also been inactive for almost a year.
All these misfortunes in Namibian football have made it very difficult for the natin to thrill at the Cosafa.
Mannetti has done many good things for this country and must not feel the pinch alone during these difficult times.
All football administrators have played a part in Namibia's failure because they have not been able to restart the Namibia Premier League.
This was almost the same team that won the Cosafa tournament in 2015.
Most of the players who played this year played in that tournament two years ago. The difference was that they were fitter then than they are this year.
One could see that they were mentally and physically unfit despite Mannetti's efforts to get them ready.
I do believe that now is the time that the Namibia Football Association must strongly back the coach.
It is time to find solutions in order to save our dying beautiful game.
Administrators must go out of their way in order to secure a lasting sponsorship with the league.
Namibia will face Zimbabwe in the CHAN competition and I cannot help but fear for the worst.
Zimbabwe has many local players that have been active in the domestic league, while Namibia has none.
Our local players lately play for reserve teams and in mini-tournaments that contribute nothing towards their development as players.
Now just imagine us playing against a fresh Zimbabwe that has specifically appointed a different coach for their Chan team.
It just shows that these guys are serious with tournaments of this nature, while Namibia is set to struggle yet again in this competition.
I really feel sorry for the Namibian coaching staff who have to try and perform miracles to get the team to gel.
The 2015 Cosafa winners had a chance to take the game to extra time, but failed to capitalise on it.
The fact that the team could not score a goal in 90 minutes left coach Ricardo Mannetti a frustrated figure.
Mannetti's post-match analysis told a recurrent story that has been haunting the Brave Warriors in many games.
The team failed to convert a first-half penalty and had two good chances in extra time, but just could not get the elusive goal.
Captain Ronald Ketjijere sent his seventh-minute penalty wide of goal and then in additional time at the end of 90 minutes, substitutes Benyamin Nenkavu and Peter Shalulile were off the mark to draw their side level.
“It was just not going to go in. We could have played 100 more minutes and still it would have not gone in. When you look at the tactics and you are creating chances then you are on the right track, but we need to score,” Mannetti said.
Roger Katjiteo was impeded in the box and Namibia won a penalty which Ketjijere sent wide, with South Africa going on to score the only goal of the match on 36 minutes through Mohau Mokate.
Mokate's long-range shot deflected off Denzil Haoseb and left goalkeeper Maximilian Mbaeva wrong footed.
The Brave Warriors next assignment will be against Zimbabwe next Saturday in the 2018 CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers.
Mannetti is expected to make some chances to the Cosafa team, given that the CHAN competition is played only by local players.
Riaan Hanamub started at left back with Ferdinand Karongee at centre back and Larry Horaeb at right back.
Wangu Gome and Ketjijere played in midfield, with Itamunua Keimuine upfront.
“I gave a chance to about seven locally based players preparing for Zimbabwe.
“These players had no proper game time in over a year, not even friendlies.
“Coming here, our expectations were maybe a bit emotional as you cannot have a league and expect to overcome players who play week in and week out.
“But over and above that we created chances and that gives us hope,” Mannetti said.
JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA
The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that the temperature downtown hit a record high of 98 Fahrenheit degrees (36.6 degrees centigrade), beating the former record of 95 Fahrenheit degrees (35 degrees centigrade) set in 1886.
“A strong upper level high pressure system over the southwest United States along with locally breezy northerly winds at the surface will create dangerous record-breaking heat over much of the area again this afternoon into the early evening,” said NWS in a heat advisory.
High temperatures away from the coast will range from 90 to 100 Fahrenheit degrees (32.2 to 37.7 degrees centigrade), including downtown Los Angeles. “This is a dangerous situation with an increased threat of life-threatening heat related illness, especially to those without access to air conditioning. Power outages are more likely,” warned NWS.
An excessive heat warning was in effect until 11 p.m. (0600 GMT Sunday) for some districts in Los Angeles County. Temperatures in Los Angeles should begin cooling on Sunday in some areas, but even so it remains hot in some locations, said NWS forecasters. In response to the extreme heat, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks extended cooling centre hours at some locations. Some libraries also served as cooling centres during regular hours.
“President Mugabe on Friday left the country for Singapore for a routine medical check-up,” the Sunday Mail newspaper reported.
The paper said the veteran ruler is expected back in Zimbabwe midweek.
His previous visit to Singapore was in May, also said to be for a “routine medical check-up”.
In 2011 and 2014 he had eye surgery in a hospital in Singapore.
Mugabe now walks with difficulty and sometimes dozes off during meetings.
His health has been the subject of increased speculation in recent years and authorities in March arrested two journalists over a report alleging that he was “in bad shape”
In 2016, the government had to deny that he had died abroad during his annual vacation.
Mugabe has declined to name a successor and his ruling ZANU-PF party has been riven by factionalism for years.
Despite Mugabe's advanced age, the party last year endorsed him as its candidate for the 2018 general elections.
The leader is not the only African president currently abroad for treatment for an undisclosed condition.
Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari has been in London since 7 May, and his lengthy absence has caused political uncertainty in Africa's most populous nation.
Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos recently spent a month in Spain for medical treatment and on Monday officials announced that he had gone back for what was described as a “private visit”.
The United States, Russia and Jordan reached a ceasefire and “de-escalation agreement” this week with the aim of paving the way for a broader, more robust truce.
The announcement came after a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit of major economies in Germany.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, said “calm was prevailing” with no air strikes or clashes in the southwest since the truce began at noon (0900 GMT) on Sunday.
“The situation is relatively calm,” said Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesman for the Alwiyat al-Furqan rebel group in the Quneitra area.
Another rebel official, in Deraa city, said there had been no significant fighting. It was quiet on the main Manshiya front near the border with Jordan, which he said had been the site of some of the heaviest army bombing in recent weeks.
There was no immediate comment from the Syrian army. A witness in Deraa said he had not seen warplanes in the sky or heard any fighting since noon. Several ceasefires have crumbled since the onset of the conflict and it was not initially clear how much the combatants, Syrian government forces and the main rebels in the southwest were committed to this latest effort.
With the help of Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has put rebels on the back foot over the last year. The wide array of mostly Sunni rebels include jihadist factions and other groups supported by Turkey, the United States and Gulf monarchies. Earlier talks between the United States and Russia about a “de-escalation zone” in southwest Syria covered Deraa province on the border with Jordan, nearby Sweida and Quneitra which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. A senior State Department official involved in the talks said further discussions would be necessary to decide crucial aspects of the agreement, including who will monitor its enforcement. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the deal includes “securing humanitarian access and setting up contacts between the opposition in the region and a monitoring centre that is being established in Jordan's capital.”
The U.N. Deputy Special Envoy for Syria said on Saturday the deal was a “positive development” ahead of the latest round of U.N.-sponsored peace talks to begin in Geneva on today.
Western-backed rebels control swathes of Deraa and Quneitra, which are home to tens of thousands of people and form a centre of the insurgency south of the Syrian capital Damascus. The multi-sided Syrian conflict, which grew out of popular protests against Assad's rule in 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and created the world's worst refugee crisis.
Poverty in Namibia is widely recognised as one of our major social, economic and political hurdles and measures to eradicate it forms part of all our much praised development plans.
And yet, the smallest of measures that could directly tackle the barriers to education is still being debated, and not implemented.
In the past few weeks, a call to provide free sanitary products to school girls whose families can’t access or afford them, has made the rounds in the country.
The debate is a critical one, but instead of still talking about it after countless studies and articles have pointed out how devastating the impact of menstruating without access to sanitary products is, we are still debating.
Key ministries remain mum on the subject, allowing their blushes to override the need for coming up with solutions.
Studies have shown that an estimated 1 in 10 girls in Africa misses school during menstruation, totaling up to 50 days of missed days. Many simply drop-out once they reach puberty.
The solutions are simple, and don’t have to be pricey.
Last year a South African campaign distributed 88 menstrual cups to students in order to help reduce absenteeism and address the myths and still deeply entrenched culture of shame around menstruation.
The advantage of providing menstrual cups, instead of tampons or pads, is multiple.
A menstrual cup is environmentally friendly, lasts up to five years, costs less than the cumulative costs of 60 months’ worth of non-renewable pads or tampons, is safe and hygienic and can provide up to 12 hours of protection at a time.
A simple solution to a problem that robs many of our school girls of their basic human right to an education.
The writer Eli Khamarov wrote “Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit,” and being forced to miss out on school because you are menstruating sounds like a terrible punishment indeed.
There is no hope that the Bank of Namibia will ever trace the investments made in South Africa by the SME Bank, according to finance minister Calle Schlettwein, prompting decision-makers to liquidate the embattled bank.
The other reason was that the SME Bank did not fulfil its mandate of serving small and medium enterprises.
“We must be aware that they were operating under a retail licence, the reason why the regulator [Bank of Namibia] had to step in was because the prudential requirements were at risk of not being complied with. The SME Bank does not have the ability to pay out all of its depositors, if that happens, then the Bank of Namibia is obliged to step in.”
Schlettwein pointed out that the money invested in South Africa might never be recovered.
“There were efforts by the South African Reserve Bank to trace the money, those efforts failed. It appears that it may be gone, that is the main cause of its liquidity. That’s the first point. The second is that its mandate was to serve small and medium enterprises. If looking at its structure, it did not.
“It served other targets, it became a financial institution not lending itself to SMEs. The conclusion can be that it did that mandate not being fulfilled. Thirdly, it would be very irresponsible to use tax money to compensate for money that was invested outside, the banking institutions act does not allow for that.
“We will try to close the bank in a manner that all the depositors get their money back, we are curbing the losses. We are aware that others will be affected. A failing bank with a slow economy is a no-go, a failing bank will weaken the economy, we have to close the bank.”
There was an option to recapitalise the SME Bank, Schlettwein said.
“We had a choice to pump another N$500 million into the SME Bank, would the SME Bank have been okay?” Schlettwein said of discussions held to decide the fate of the embattled lender.
He pointed out that the SME Bank’s loan book would be left untouched and that no loan would be written off.
Another High Court bid for SME Bank
Meanwhile, the DTA has said that it would approach the High Court to allow the National Assembly to debate a motion calling for an inquiry into the affairs of the SME Bank.
The DTA had called for a debate but the request was shot down by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, who said because the matter was being heard in court, the National Assembly could not discuss it.
Speaking to Namibian Sun recently, Venaani said it was strange to him that the SME Bank debacle could be discussed in public, but not the National Assembly.
“It is a shame that the Speaker blocked a debate on the matter to call for a commission of an inquiry. I am stunned that parliament cannot discuss the SME Bank. All the other interested parties can do it but not the people’s elected representatives,” he said.
According to him, efforts were being made to protect those implicated in the SME Bank saga, which according to him explained the resistance to the DTA’s bid for an inquiry.
The DTA was in the process of approaching the High Court with a view to have the merits of a commission of inquiry debated, said Venaani.
“We are approaching the High Court with a view to open up the debate for a commission of inquiry into the SME Bank. We will have our day in court, the people’s elected representatives are being trampled on,” he said briefly via telephone.
“We need to restore confidence in the SME Bank,” said Venaani of the DTA’s motivation to call for an inquiry into the shenanigans at the embattled lender.
“The intention of the SME Bank was to support SMEs and not institutions like Woermann Brock which has been operating for over 100 years. The mandate of the SME Bank has been circumvented by providing loans to the likes of Woermann Brock.
“Loans have been given to directors of the SME Bank and these directors of the SME Bank have not even read the King Report. As a board member, you should know you are the guarantor of the rules,” Venaani previously said.
SME Bank employees raise concerns
With the fate of the SME Bank already decided, its 208 employees have asked why the government had not involved them in its liquidation process discussions.
“Employees question why the majority shareholder is not addressing employees on this matter, fully knowing that the Namibian employees are suffering the consequences of other people’s action that led to money being lost,” the employees said in a letter to trade minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko signed by SME Bank acting CEO Benetus Herunga.
The employees asked if there was a possibility of redeploying them to other state-owned financial institutions.
“We are requesting the government as the majority shareholder to come up with an alternative for the employees not to end up unemployed by either opposing the closure of the bank or by incorporating the employees in state-owned institutions or other financial institutions,” the letter read.
They charged that they were being made to pay the price while the Zimbabwean executives responsible for the mess had secured employment in their home country.
“We understand that the expatriates who were in charge of the SME Bank are already employed in their country while the Namibian employees are suffering the consequences. If there are no other options but for the bank to close, we want commitment from our government to ensure job security,” they said.
Dubious investments laid bare
According to Bank of Namibia governor Iipumbu Shiimi, between N$181 million and N$196 million was invested in questionable financial instruments in South Africa.
“The Bank of Namibia’s considered view is that such investments have the potential to cause instability if they are verified to be unsound.
“The Bank of Namibia has assumed control of the operations of the SME Bank to allow for an objective and thorough assessment of the investment portfolio of the SME Bank to make a full determination of the soundness of these investments.”
According to Shiimi, the answers given by the implicated persons were not satisfactory and resulted in their suspension.
The nearly N$200 million that the SME Bank Namibia invested with two little-known South African entities was withdrawn from these companies’ bank accounts less than two months after the deposits had been made from Namibia, New Era has reported.
SME Bank funds flowed into a troubled bank, called Venda Building Society (VBS) Mutual Bank, as well as into a cash-management firm, called Mamepe Capital – both South African entities.
There were major disinvestments (withdrawals in layman’s terms) immediately after the money was deposited with the two institutions. Furthermore, very little interest was earned on the amounts deposited.
According to confidential reports seen by New Era, SME Bank deposited N$70 million with VBS Mutual Bank between 12 August and 14 October 2016.
A further N$181 million was placed in the hands of Mamepe Capital between 22 August and 8 November 2016.
Within two months, withdrawals amounting to N$69.8 million were made in the period between 13 October and 8 November 2016.
The interest earned on deposits with VBS Mutual Bank in that period include N$460 239 and an additional N$68 143 recorded as interest accrued by 31 December 2016.
This is according to documents detailing the dealings between SME Bank Namibia and the two South African financial institutions.
Mamepe Capital, acting as fund managers, received N$150 million on 22 August. That amount was followed up with another deposit of N$25 million on 1 September and a final deposit of nearly N$6 million on 8 November.
Interestingly, the withdrawals of the same funds started less than two months after the deposits were made with the two institutions. An amount of N$2.7 million was withdrawn on 13 October 2016, followed by a withdrawal of N$37.1 million the next day. About two weeks later, on 26 October, an amount of N$10 million was withdrawn, followed by N$20 million on 8 November.
The disagreement between the members of the party stems from a regional elective conference held by one faction of the party on Tuesday, which culminated in the election of a new regional leadership.
Former Epukiro constituency councillor Ruth Kaukuata-Mbura was elected as new party regional coordinator, while Swapo Party Youth League regional secretary Eben Handura got the nod for the information and mobilisation portfolio.
The same conference also elected Eliot Hiskia as regional treasurer.
The other faction, led by former regional coordinator Kejamuina Mungendje, took issue with the outcome of the conference and challenged its constitutional legality.
Mungendje's faction argued that the other faction, which includes Gobabis constituency councillor Phillipus Katamelo and the chairperson of the Omaheke Regional Council, Ignatius Kariseb, does not have the constitutional mandate to convene such a conference without his blessing as regional coordinator.
Members loyal to Mungendje boycotted Tuesday's elective conference, saying that they would hold their own conference at a date yet to be communicated.
The other faction nonetheless went ahead and called a media conference on Wednesday, where it announced its newly elected leadership, backed by the chairperson of leaders assigned to the Omaheke Region, Bernhardt Esau.
Confrontation however started when Mungendje's faction turned up at the party regional office to convene a Regional Executive Committee meeting, but the other faction continuously disrupted the meeting, prompting police intervention.
Esau told members of Mungendje's faction that their gathering was unconstitutional and that they needed to disperse, to which they objected, resulting in a war of words.
Those present accused him of abusing his position by meddling in the affairs of the party regional structures. He however responded that he was simply carrying out his mandate as an overseer of the region.
“I will not be intimidated by you. I am a Swapo member since 1976,” Esau said.
Mungendje however maintained that the other faction deliberately bypassed him when it elected Mbura as regional coordinator.
“I am above the chairperson of national leaders assigned to the region when it comes to such things. I do not have a problem vacating the office, but it has to be done in order,” he said.
The police then advised Mungendje's faction to hold its meeting elsewhere, to which it eventually agreed. This diffused the situation in the end.
Meanwhile, NamPol regional commander for the Omaheke Region, Commissioner Josephat Abel told Nampa on Friday the police involvement in political squabbles is solely to restore order and prevent unruly situations.
Abel made the comments after some residents here alleged that the police were taking sides in the political stand-off within the ruling party in Omaheke.
The allegations surfaced after the police were on two different occasions called to intervene in meetings of the party to calm down members who were on the brink of taking each other on physically.
Commenting on the award ceremony which is expected to take place in September, Humavindu called the awards an important initiative and output of the sustainable development advisory council.
“I am delighted that the Hanns Seidel Foundation and Climate Change Project have come on board to assist the council and environmental investment fund in the organisation of this year's event as well as to be a co-sponsor,” he said this week.
Humavindu announced that new sponsors came on board in recognition of the awards.
“I am pleased to announce that a number of other partners have also committed to supporting the awards and I would like to acknowledge Nedbank, Namibia Media Holdings, Agribank, the NCRST, the Namibian Business Innovation Institute and the embassy of Finland for their commitment and generous support,” he said.
Humavindu said the awards would help raise awareness about sustainability. “The main aims of the sustainable development awards are to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable development among all Namibians, to recognise and reward the outstanding contributions and individuals active in this field,” said Humavindu.
According to him, sustainability is an important element in the planning process. “Sustainable development is the cornerstone of our national planning documents, which also highlight the broad focus of sustainable development in terms of how we manage our economy, society and environment so that the needs of the future are met,” said Humavindu.
This year's categories are private sector champions for sustainable development with sub-categories for start-ups, SMEs as well as established companies; community-level natural resource management and utilisation initiatives; research and development to reward outstanding research or innovations undertaken in the field of sustainable development,” said Humavindu of the award categories.
The awards would also celebrate human achievements, he pointed out. “There will also be categories on thought leadership to honour individuals that have had a major contribution as ambassadors for sustainable development in Namibia; pioneering journalism in the field of sustainable development , which will reward outstanding performance in the areas of best print media, best social media, best radio and best television and youth action for sustainable development,” he explained.
Motivating the need for the awards, Humavindu said it was necessary to celebrate efforts made at promoting sustainability. “We know that there are many individuals and organisations out there that are making a difference in the area of sustainable development and helping the country achieve sustainable development goals.”
The deadline for applications is 14 August 2017 and further information on the process and procedures is available from the secretariat of the council, the Environmental Investment Fund and the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The ceremony is expected to be held on 21 September 2017. The Sustainable Development Advisory Council advises the government on matters for development and promotes cooperation and coordination on issues related to sustainability. The first award ceremony was held in May 2015 and was organised by the council in partnership with the Ministry Of Environment And Tourism and the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia.
The Kalahari Ohangwena Aquifer (KOH-2) steering committee has dispelled rumours that the aquifer has the capacity to supply water to northern Namibia for 400 years, but confirmed that it contains an estimated 20 billion cubic metres of water.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s deputy permanent secretary for water affairs, Abraham Nehemia, expressed concern about the aquifer’s water quality.
The committee held a meeting at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region last week to share information on the status of the aquifer. During the two day meeting, it was revealed that the aquifer is currently supplying water to Eenhana, Okongo and Omundaungilo, but this water contains a high concentration of fluoride.
The committee reported that water in the area between Oshikango and Eenhana is high in fluoride, while water between Eenhana and Okongo contains less fluoride.
“The aquifer testing has demonstrated that the volume is very significant, but the quality of water is not as we expected. This water is high in fluoride and at the moment we mix it with pipeline water for the people of Eenhana to use.
“As we are taking water from the aquifer, it is affecting both the quantity and quality. The more water we are taking, the more fluoride they are getting,” Nehemia explained.
The Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) project manager, Martin Quinger, said it must not be said that the aquifer has a capacity to supply water for the next 400 years. He said further studies were needed on how the aquifer reacts to the extraction of water.
“We are not sure how the aquifer is reacting yet as the level has not subsided well yet. This aquifer is recharged by water sources coming from Angola and we do not want to dry it completely,” Quinger said.
Quinger said they were studying the aquifer reaction by means of monitoring boreholes next to the production borehole. For the 2011/2012 year, the aquifer recharge volume was 635 000 cubic metres.
“At the moment we only observed that recharge is very slow as the aquifer is still at the full capacity. We cannot really tell how it is reacting.”
Namwater’s manager for geohydrology, Henry Mukendwa, said it was expensive and risky to set up these boreholes. He said the drilling of one borehole cost N$2.6 million, plus N$3 million worth of material.
“We are talking about drilling up to 300 metres deep. The deeper you go the more expensive it gets and it also gets complicated. Sometime it gets difficult to pull out drilling equipment. There are some boreholes where we buried the equipment because we could not get them out,” Mukendwa said.
He explained that the KOH-2 aquifer, which contains freshwater, lies below the KOH-1 aquifer, which contains salty water. When drilling they have to make sure that water from KOH-1 does not contaminate KOH-2. They also have to build a concrete shield after drilling.
The meeting also reported that no independent body had tested the water quality. There is also no purification done: the groundwater goes straight to residents for consumption, except for Eenhana where it is mixed with pipeline water.
Demand for speedy implementation
The regional governor for Ohangwena, Usko Nghaamwa, urged the government to speed up the development of the aquifer because his region desperately needs water. He said the areas east of Eenhana have no pipeline supplying them with drinking water and people are suffering.
The deputy permanent secretary could not indicate when the extraction of water from the aquifer would be fully operational.
The cabinet has established a committee on water security. This committee reports to the president and it is monitoring the progress of the aquifer study.
According to the Harambee Prosperity Plan the aquifer project will be implemented within five years. “All those areas east of Eenhana up to Oshivelo will be supplied with this water,” Nehemia said.
The aquifer is part of the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin (CEB) - an extensive sedimentary basin which is part of the much larger Kalahari Basin covering parts of Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.
The CEB is divided into six groundwater regions, based on geological units (Damara Sequence) and the locally occurring Kalahari Sequence.
Namibia and Angola have entered into an agreement on how to manage the aquifer. They have established the Kunene Bain Commission and Okavango Basin Commission.
They have also established four management committees and a join groundwater task force is sharing research findings.
Several abstraction scenarios have been calculated and their impact on the aquifer visualised.
“The problem lies with the determination of the sustainable yield of the aquifer and the conceptualisation of water abstraction. The production well of Eenhana town does not prove that the aquifer is sustainable. More tests are still needed and this will take more time,” Nehemia said.
Since 2009 up to 21 observation, production and monitoring boreholes have been drilled, but not all of them were successful. Namwater’s production borehole at Eenhana collapsed in 2014 and was replaced.
NamWater and the ministry of agriculture are supervising the project with technical support from Germany, while the European Union has provided funding of approximately N$25 million.
The meeting indicated that the study is expected to end by September next year.
It has come to light that the government has unpaid invoices in excess of N$2 billion that have not been budgeted for, in stark contrast to an amount of N$1.7 billion made available to address outstanding invoices owed to role players in the construction industry, outstanding PSEMAS payments to medical service providers and utility services provided by municipalities to government offices across the country.
According to finance minister Calle Schlettwein, more than N$1 billion, or about 60% of the total outstanding invoices budgeted for, was honoured within the first quarter of the budget year.
He stressed that the government was committed to honouring its debt obligations.
He said efforts had been accelerated to settle outstanding accounts.
“It is the government’s intention to accelerate and settle the remaining balance of the budgeted outstanding invoices over the course of July 2017, on the basis of the budget revenue and proceeds of the budget deficit financing,” said Schlettwein.
He called for fiscal discipline and said the State Finance Act would apply where possible.
“When I addressed this matter last year, I noted with dismay that certain public officials had gone to the extent of overcommitting the budget with impunity and in complete violation of the State Finance Act.
“We will not leave things like that and pay with closed eyes, we must go through a stringent process. This will call on ourselves and other votes to conduct scrutiny in a way that is credible. We have set up teams investigating that, every invoice not paid is harm to the economy, so this fiscal indiscipline is a harmful practice that needs to be dealt with,” he said of payments currently outstanding.
About 30 medical service providers are being investigated, while similar action is planned for service providers in the construction sector, Schlettwein said.
“We found that a number of claim rates were excessive, we have red-flagged a number of entities, over 30 of them, and investigations are ongoing. We have proposed the same for the construction industry. We have to get to the bottom of this,” he stressed.
He warned those in government who were spending irresponsibly and said the State Finance Act would be applied in instances of abuse.
“The law should be seen to take its course for those officials who negligently disregard the provisions of the law,” said Schlettwein.
The government has demonstrated its commitment to meeting PSEMAS contractual obligations through a partial settlement of outstanding invoices amounting to N$200 million in March 2017 and the frontloading of N$715.6 since April 2017.
“N$400 million was front-loaded for PSEMAS services in April this year. Since then, a further payment of N$315.6 million was paid for these services, bringing the total spending on PSEMAS to N$715.6 million since April 2017,” he explained.
N$181 million was paid out for invoices in the road sector and a further N$250 million was paid out through a further arrangement with the Road Fund Administration.
A 38-year-old man committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with his 9mm pistol on Friday.
Erongo Police Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu confirmed the death of Simeon Shilunga in Otjimbingwe.
“The deceased allegedly shot himself in the head with his licensed 9mm pistol in his bedroom shortly after an argument with his girlfriend at farm Wilsonfontein in the Otjimbingwe area.
“An argument allegedly erupted at the girlfriend's room and the deceased departed to his residence and then shot himself. He did not leave a suicide note. His next of kin were informed. The body was taken to the Walvis Bay police mortuary for a post-mortem examination and the investigation continues,” Iikuyu said.
The police are also investigating a murder that happened at Kuisebmond on Saturday, 1 July. Iikuyu requested members of the public who witnessed the incident or might have any information which might lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact Detective Warrant Officer Simon on 081 259 5452.
Iikuyu said Immanuel Maurisius (34) was assaulted by a group of four unknown suspects at Big Brother Bar in the Tutaleni residential area between 20:00 and 21:00.
“The victim was allegedly taken with a taxi by family members to Walvis Bay State Hospital after the assault. Nobody reported the matter to the police and on Tuesday, 4 July at around 05:00 the victim passed away at Walvis Bay State Hospital. The matter was only reported to the police that day in the afternoon. The next of kin of the deceased were informed.”
Iikuyu also confirmed the death of Emil Urinavi (57), who apparently fell from a donkey cart on Wednesday at about 19:00.
“The deceased was last seen alive on the way back home to Otjizondjou village, Omatjete area. He dropped off his father at Otjovatjimba village and departed alone on a donkey cart. We suspect the donkey cart drove over a big stone, the victim fell off from the cart, hit his head on the ground and then died on the spot a few meters before he reached his residence. His dead body was discovered by the neighbours and we do not suspect any foul play. The body was taken to Walvis Bay police mortuary for a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death.”
The body of Heyno Shone Haoseb (26), who had jumped into the sea from the Swakopmund Jetty on 26 July, was recovered on Friday and identified by family members.
“The floating body was found by a public member who was swimming in the area of Maritime court a couple of metres away from the jetty where the deceased allegedly jumped into the sea and drowned. The police was notified and Sea Rescue personnel removed Haoseb’s body.
“He was pronounced dead by medical officials at the scene and the body was taken to Walvis Bay police mortuary where a post-mortem examination will be conducted to determine the cause of death. The investigation continues,” said Iikuyu.
The Swapo Party Oshikoto regional conference that had been scheduled to take place at the weekend was called off after the party uncovered a number of issues that needed to be resolved.
This is according to a letter dated 7 July from Swapo Party secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba to the Oshikoto regional coordinator, Armas Amukwiyu, informing him to reschedule the conference and in the meantime address the issues raised in the document.
Mbumba indicated that the regional conference should not go ahead because crucial documents sent to the party headquarters in Windhoek were incomplete.
Mbumba yesterday confirmed the letter, saying that it was not a big deal as the recipient of the letter was just informed that they could not proceed with the conference as there were number of issues that needed to be ironed out first.
He said the issues raised were likely to be sorted out today and the new date for the conference would be set.
Some of these issues were the unavailability of a summary report from Amukwiyu in which he was expected to indicate which positions are to be contested and by whom, incomplete submissions of the candidates’ political profiles, membership card proof of payment and legal documents such as identification cards sent forward to the vetting committee.
The letter also indicated that some of the faxed documents received at the party headquarters were illegible. Also there was no indication as to who the candidates aspiring to be part of the central committee are.
The document further states that the Swapo Party regional executive committee should peruse the names and required documents before they are forwarded to the party headquarters.
Metbank and World Eagle Properties lodged an application to prevent the provisional liquidation of the SME Bank by the Bank of Namibia.
The central bank, which took control of the SME Bank at the beginning of March, brought an urgent application for the provisional liquidation of the SME Bank in the High Court after it had discovered that dubious investments of between N$181 million and N$196 million had been made in questionable financial instruments in South Africa. Appearing on behalf of the Met Bank and World Eagle Properties, lawyer Sisa Namandje argued that the matter was not urgent and that the Companies Act was opposed to liquidation. He argued that if other remedies were available, such options should be exercised rather than liquidation. He also argued that his clients' rights were violated because they were not given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the application.
Senior counsel Andrew Corbett, on behalf of the central bank, told the court on Friday that the central bank would only ask for a provisional liquidation order and not an order for the final liquidation of the SME Bank.
He further argued that the central bank only tried to protect the assets and interests of the SME Bank's creditors. He added that efforts should be made to recycle investments outside the borders. Corbett said the matter was inherently urgent and could not wait to be heard in 2018 because there would be damage if the SME Bank was not liquidated. According to him, a preliminary liquidation would prevent loss of the bank's assets and also prevent a large-scale withdrawal of funds. He further argued that there would be no sense in hearing the application next year.
He also said that the BoN had a duty to regulate the SME Bank's liability and operations and that it would evade its responsibilities if it allowed SME Bank operations to continue.
Judge Prinsloo will deliver her ruling on the issue of urgency this afternoon at 14:15.