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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Evaluating the education sectorEvaluating the education sector Education is one of the foremost pillars every nation needs in order to compete with the rest of the world in this ever-changing environment. Over the past three decades, Namibia has put measures in place to ensure the strength of our education system. The Polytechnic of Namibia has since been transformed into a university, 'The Namibia University of Science & Technology'. The University of Namibia has also continued to be a beacon of hope for so many young Namibians.

    The Ministry of Higher Education and Innovation has in recent months advocated for the College of the Arts (COTA) to be removed from its sister ministry to that of higher education. This on its own shows how willing the country is to keep on improving its education system.

    However, the events at the number-one institution of higher learning in the country, the University of Namibia (Unam) have been met with a lot of controversy since 2016. From students been barred from writing examinations, to the fees protests, student leaders fighting against the system, and the subsequent results thereafter. In this edition of the Astute, Goli and Tobias explain the education system to its core.

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    Evaluating the education sectorEvaluating the education sector Education is one of the foremost pillars every nation needs in order to compete with the rest of the world in this ever-changing environment. Over the past three decades, Namibia has put measures in place to ensure the strength of our education system. The Polytechnic of Namibia has since been transformed into a university, 'The Namibia University of Science & Technology'. The University of Namibia has also continued to be a beacon of hope for so many young Namibians.

    The Ministry of Higher Education and Innovation has in recent months advocated for the College of the Arts (COTA) to be removed from its sister ministry to that of higher education. This on its own shows how willing the country is to keep on improving its education system.

    However, the events at the number-one institution of higher learning in the country, the University of Namibia (Unam) have been met with a lot of controversy since 2016. From students been barred from writing examinations, to the fees protests, student leaders fighting against the system, and the subsequent results thereafter. In this edition of the Astute, Goli and Tobias explain the education system to its core.

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    Students and African RenaissanceStudents and African Renaissance By: Goli Banda

    A BBC Africa report on their Facebook page reported that “according to a new research by the UK's University of Loughborough, universities in Namibia, Malawi and Botswana put too much emphasis on learning by heart.” They revealed that “African students need to be taught to think more critically and creatively, or there could be trouble for future generations.”

    When matters of education are raised in Africa, papers like this cannot abscond the views raised by the first president of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela, who stated that “education is the key”. The views of the first president of Tanzania, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who espoused strongly on an education system that is inclusion-oriented, and last but not the least, the views of the second and former president of South Africa Dr Thabo Mbeki who currently serves as chancellor at the University of South Africa (Unisa) where he is also coined the grand terminology of “African Renaissance”, that I wish to attach in this discussion.

    To understand the African Renaissance or the rebirth of Africa, we must understand the life of yesterday and how today is so inextricably shaped by the preceding day. Only then can we grasp why we prepare for the rebirth for tomorrow. As a man abandons one route for another after a wrong turn, so is he reborn when he ventures in another.

    To completely concur with the assertion on African students by the BBC Africa report however, is to ignore the socioeconomic challenges of poverty and unemployment, inequality and the colonial history of Africa on the one hand. For these are relative characteristics stemming from the age and the role of the education in question, for without these features in society, the African Renaissance would not be coined.

    A question on the state of a nation is a question on the engine of society, notably a productive society which is interwoven in the role played by its education system. Miseducation is not the inability to think critically alone, but brains that recite a pseudo capitalist agenda for self-aggrandisement and an education system that educates the few who can afford, excluding the vast majority who are stuck in underprivileged circumstances. Identical opportunities to education for all, regardless of individual social class, was the grand ambition of those who came to hoist the opinion that the main problem in Africa was that individualism came a little too early. Nyerere believed that the economic system introduced by colonisers was a capitalist system that encouraged individualism at the expense of the community. He further noted that “capitalism fosters excessive individualism; promotes the competitive rather than the cooperative instinct in man; exploits the weak; divides the society into hostile groups and generally promotes inequality in the society.”

    To completely disagree with the BBC Africa report on critical thinking on the other hand, is to ignore questioning both the educated few and the wealthy few of Africa, for one would expect their application of critical thinking. Genuine education, according to Nyerere who concurred with the views of Paulo Freire, is a type of education that helps the individual to think critically. In short, learners must have the ability to put theory into practice. This calls for a paradigm shift from assimilating what to think to how to think, because when leaners are cognitively awakened they become aware of their oppressions and take part in the transformation.

    As a blunt knife requires a rock to be sharper for the meat, a society of capable students who can produce knowledge is a society not only skillfully educated at the task of putting theory into practice, but also aided through empowerment by active state institutions to recognise opportunities and achieve them. It is thus, the role of the government to aid the social entrepreneurs produced, whose operations are less profit oriented, but of course not based on altruism or the Victorian concept of philanthropy, for it is inevitable that an act that has a positive impact on society is attached to a great harvest. The individuals are to be challenged to pay back to the various communities where they come from, to promote “civic leadership” and discourage the loss of human labour that rob Africa of its intellectuals through the “brain drain.”

    The Renaissance aims to address the social-economic challenges of poverty and unemployment, so are student movements a reaction to the experienced harsh conditions of inequality experienced in the education system and foreseen in the society. The student movements are not the problem, but what induces the movements is what requires the attention of addressing, it would be viable then that one classifies both the movements and the solutions as a part and parcel of the Renaissance. The goal is not only to meet student demands for that is short term, but to supplement that effort with empowerment programs to meet their creative potential and have them liberate generations. To Mbeki, the prominent goal of Unisa is Africanisation of the institution. According to a South African study entitled 'Some Reflections on the Africanisation of Higher Education Curricula' conducted by Unisa's Prof. Paul Prinsloo who cites Joseph Mensah indicated that “The African curriculum should in the first place arise from, and contribute to, African canons of knowledge and praxis, not as exclusionary and opposing western canons, but as equally worthy and scientifically rigorous and valid…,” and, “An African curriculum has to do with the manner in which the curriculum encourages students to apply their learning to the unique challenges they face in their local communities impacted by global challenges.” Education is the key, but not in the absence of critical thinking and robust student empowerment programmes. Failure to mitigate this challenge in a competitive world is to risk losing the intellectuals necessary for African Renaissance.

    *Goli Banda, a fourth-year student at the University of Namibia, studying towards a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and Sociology.

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    Unam: A classic example of an undemocratic institutionUnam: A classic example of an undemocratic institution By: Joseph Tobias

    Recent events at Unam highlighted just how far we are in terms of applying democracy and its practices in different institutions. As we continue to celebrate our 27th independence year, we have to ask ourselves what progress we have made in all aspects. Apart from the unending cuts and slicing of budgets, I have come to realise that there are institutions in our country that still haven't grasped democracy or perhaps reluctant to be challenged, questioned or criticised.

    The events at Unam, its SRC president and his deputies, highlighted just how behind we are in the area of democracy, at least in our institutions, parastatals and other public enterprises. This might just be one institution, but who knows. The SRC president and his deputies were barred from campus. Although there are different claims from different sources and questions still linger, this is not important for now - the activities and events that have happened in the past though, are.

    Unam has had its share of scandals and it has seen its name appear in headlines all for the wrong reasons. Students of the university have the right to be heard, to criticie, complain and speak out on injustices and lack of services they get from the institution, as the institution is bound by legislation. It is also a democratic institution in a democratic country and therefore has to act as such, it has to be accountable to the students it hosts.

    A democratic institution has to be accountable to its subjects. It should also be open to criticism, allow people to express themselves and not feel threatened, be open to questions pertaining to its activities and most importantly, has to act democratically and put into consideration its own subjects. That said, the activities of the university in that past have had a considerable effect on students and its image has more than once been tarnished, mostly by people responsible for it - the likes of lecturers trading marks for sex, to reports that the university has been aware of this activity long before it launched an investigation as the news broke. What would have happened if no one said something or spoke out about this atrocity?

    First of all, the institution shouldn't have allowed anything like that to happen, secondly, it's the institution which was supposed to correct or take care of such activities and take action against that individual. As the facilities of Unam are there for the benefit of all stakeholders and not individuals, corruption should also never be allowed to happen in a democratic institution, let alone such a big institution.

    Democratic institutions attend to the needs of their subjects, they do not build million dollars' worth buildings when it claims to have insufficient funds, not when its subjects have unrepaired old and broken lecture halls, insufficient accommodation, malfunctioning projectors.

    In a news report in 2009, the University of Namibia was involved in a collision with the students. The students in a statement demanded new student accommodation, a 24-hour clinic and a functioning career centre. Since then, the university has allowed a private accommodation to be built on the main campus in Windhoek, which has since been criticised of sucking the life out of the students' pockets and making their lives even more difficult. A clinic has also been built, perhaps prompting the university to say it has tried to meet the demands of students for a functioning career centre, until today, nothing of that sort exists.

    The SRC president at that time, Job Amupanda claimed that students have been regarded as insignificant ants by the university, except when raising their voices over concerns, in which case they were branded 'troublemakers' and 'unruly kids'. I fear the same is happening now at the institution. In the year 2017, SRC president Joseph Kalimbwe argued that the students are not taken seriously at the negotiation table, they have been given several empty and fake promises, fake dreams that have been laid down by the university just for it to dismiss them shortly after the students turn their backs. Sounds like something we have heard before.

    After all that has happened in this institution, you wouldn't be surprised if students took matters into their own hands. Democracy or democratic practises do not seem to be tolerated, whether the students were wrong or right, the university clearly seems to have a problem with keeping their promises or being accountable. We realise how undemocratic the institution is, as long as there is no one talking or making statements, upholding the power and embracing the authority, the granted and the deserved rights of students, not criticising its activities, questioning its decisions or challenging it's status quo, Unam would be a great institution, as its been after the years of 2009 when Job Amupanda represented the students and spoke out. As it has been until the 2017 SRC members came along. An institution which feels threatened by a single person demanding justice and fair treatment for the people he represents, an institution so full of scandals and a diminishing image, full of corruption and undemocratic practices, does not count for a democratic institution.

    *Joseph Tobias is a graduate in the Department of Politics and Administrative Studies at the University of Namibia.

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  • 07/31/17--16:00: Water secure until 2020
  • Water secure until 2020Water secure until 2020 With the available water resources, as well as the stipulated Windhoek water savings, NamWater is confident that the water security of the central region, particularly Windhoek, is guaranteed until the 2020 rainy season.

    NamWater spokesperson Hieronymus Goraseb last week told Namibian Sun that while they are still carefully monitoring water supply and remain concerned, with the targeted 5% savings on water consumption and the present water sources “the rainy season of 2020 can be reached even if there is no inflow of water into our dams.”

    As per the latest dam bulletin issued 24 July, the three central dams, Swakoppoort, Von Bach and Omatako, are currently at 48.6% capacity.

    Swakoppoort is 49% full, Von Bach stands at 67.9% and Omatako is at 26.8%.

    Goraseb noted that while NamWater does not base its operations or strategies on long-term rainfall predictions, “we are preparing for the scenario of no inflow into our dams” in the coming rainy seasons.

    He said currently NamWater does not foresee any strengthening of existent water restrictions, but water resources are monitored closely and a re-evaluation will be done after the next rainy season.

    As part of several strategies that were highlighted during the water supply crisis last year, these plans, including the City of Windhoek's steps to install additional boreholes within the city, have contributed materially to ensuring water security beyond the 2019/20 rainy season.

    NamWater has also improved the pumping installations at Kombat and Berg Aukas, as well as created the capacity to abstract “the dead storage at Swakoppoort and Von Bach dams”.

    Feasibility studies are being carried out for the central areas and the central coast with the aim to address the long-term security of water supply to these areas.

    “Over the medium term we are investigating incorporating additional sources of water to supply to the central area,” Goraseb said.

    City of Windhoek spokesperson Lydia Amutenya recently told Namibian Sun that the municipality was happy with public efforts to monitor and save water but urged everyone to remain diligent.

    “It is very important that consumers monitor their weekly consumption to avoid undetected leaks underground and for them to fix those leaks promptly.”

    In June, the City of Windhoek announced that the water restrictions in place since 1 December 2015 had been relaxed from a Category E Water Crisis to a Category B Water Alert, as per the City's drought monitor index.

    Category E requires that the public reduce consumption by 5%.

    The City also noted that the drought response plan launched in 2015 had been revised and would in future be known as the City of Windhoek Water Management Plan 2017.

    The City cautioned consumers that although water security had improved it was critical to maintain the set savings targets.

    In line with this the City has published weekly water consumption updates on its social media account.

    Last week, water consumption was above the allowable consumption target and the City requested the public to “please do not forget that we are still in a water alert situation and every drop of water should count!”

    The 2017 water management plan for Windhoek permits residents to irrigate their lawn, trees, shrubs and perennial plants twice a week.

    Flowers, vegetables and community gardens may only be watered by hand and not sprayers, and no watering is permitted between 09:00 and 12:00 in summer and 10:00 and 16:00 in winter.

    Car washing at home is only permitted with a bucket and pressure cleaner, and all non-private carwash operations require relevant certification, while commercial carwash operations are limited to 30 litres per car.

    No fountains or water features may be operated.


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    Coastal anglers still worriedCoastal anglers still worriedLobbying against new licence fees continues The government's steep increase in angling permit fees poses a severe threat to the economies of coastal towns such as Henties Bay, which are based on recreational angling. With Namibia now likely the most pricy recreational angling destination globally, with an annual fishing permit costing N$18 000, the angling community says it will continue to lobby the government to amend the new levies in order to safeguard the sector.

    Although the crisis control announcement by the ministry last week that anglers can buy a daily permit for N$50 softened the blow somewhat, anglers and coastal businesses say the steep price increase poses a severe threat to the coastal angling economy.

    In essence, the increase from N14 to N$1 500 for monthly permits and from N$168 to N$18 000 for an annual fishing licence could severely affect businesses that depend on the angling community, including amateur and professional anglers, concerned members of the community said.

    Moreover, with angling one of the main attractions for many visitors to the coast, with private groups booking accommodation or camping spots for several weeks and professional angling competitions attracting enthusiasts across the region, concerns have been raised that the costly permit increases could force visitors to look elsewhere.

    Yesterday it was announced that a ministry of fisheries official had confirmed that he would meet with representatives at Henties Bay tomorrow in order to receive feedback and suggestions from the concerned community, and those who visit the town regularly for angling, on the way forward, Namibian Sun was informed.

    “The thing is, this is very bad news for many people, especially here in Henties Bay. The price difference is huge and many are afraid how it will impact the local economy. We are keen to talk to the ministry and to negotiate the way forward. We don't mind a price increase, but it has to be reasonable,” a Henties Bay resident said yesterday.

    Henties Bay residents have been particularly vocal about the likely negative impact the steep price increases will have on the town's community and economy.

    “Angling is what our town is about, so this is very difficult for us. We will get hurt if the prices are not changed. There is nothing else that keeps this town going, apart from the angling economy,” a Henties Bay resident told Namibian Sun.

    Furthermore, members of coastal angling clubs and private anglers are banding together in order to map the way forward.

    One of the first steps is a meeting to put their heads together at a meeting on Monday night in order to agree on what steps to take in order to directly address the issue with government in the coming weeks.

    Many argue that it is not reasonable for the ministry to apply the same daily N$50 permit costs for a month fee or an annual permit, and the ministry should instead introduce a scaled costing model where the price decreases for permits that are valid for longer.

    “For arguments sake, they could retain the daily permit at N$50 dollars, and then for instance say a month permit is N$350 and a year permit N$500,” one of the anglers assisting clubs to address the issue, and who preferred to remain nameless, said.

    He said anglers were willing to pay the N$50 fee, but N$1 500 for a monthly permit, or N$18 000 for an annual permit “is extremely costly.”

    Research of global permit costs show that Namibia's one-off permit costs are now the highest in the world, and not, as argued by the ministry, in line with South Africa's permit costs.

    The fee payable in respect of an application for a permit is N$7 and the cost of an annual permit for angling is N$87, a South African angling website shows. A short-term permit for angling costs N$50.

    The discussion on Monday night regarding the way forward will be based on negotiating strategies and suggestions to put forward to the ministry of fisheries, Namibian Sun was informed.

    Many agree that direct dialogue with the ministry is the preferred first step, although lawyers have already been consulted for legal advice, should the ministry remain unconvinced by the arguments by anglers.

    “Yes, we have reached out for legal advice, but we feel that is a last resort option,” the angler said.

    “We will only go to court if the ministry is not open to negotiations at all. But we hope to be able to negotiate and find a golden middle way.”


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  • 07/31/17--16:00: Hospital projects shelved
  • Hospital projects shelvedHospital projects shelvedFive health facilities on hold in Kavango West Budget cuts have forced the shelving of clinics, health centres and a district hospital in the Kavango West Region. Due to budgetary constraints, the health ministry has placed the construction of five facilities in the Kavango West Region on hold.

    These projects include the construction of clinics and health centres at Nkurenkuru, Dcwatjinga, Gcaruhwa and Rupara, as well as the construction of a district hospital which has been in limbo for more than three years now.

    “Due to budgetary constraints the Ministry of Health and Social Services had to shelve some of the planned construction projects. The ministry, however, has committed to continue with the ongoing contracts. All new projects will be undertaken in the coming financial year pending the availability of funds,” health ministry spokesperson Manga Libita said upon enquiry.

    The issue of incomplete and abandoned infrastructure was also mentioned extensively in the recent state of the region address by the governor of Kavango West, Sirkka Ausiku, who expressed concern over the matter.

    During a recent visit to Kavango West, Namibian Sun observed that the clinic built at Nkurenkuru was standing idle and according to locals it has been the case for more than two years.

    “Please go and ask those with answers as to when this clinic will be used as we have not been informed of anything and nothing is going on here,” a concerned resident said.

    According to the ministry the delays with the clinic are due to non-performance by the contractor.

    “The construction of the Nkurenkuru clinic, which is part of the district hospital component, is ongoing, however delays are being experienced with regard to the non-performance of the contractor,” Libita said.

    According to a Nampa report earlier this year, the contractor of the project, Shafombabi Eedopi Construction, was supposed to complete the facility on 15 April 2015 but had completed only 70% of the work.

    A two-year delay in the delivery of materials from South Africa was cited.

    It was further reported that of the budgeted N$28 million, N$22 million had already been spent.

    Namibians Sun understands that the outstanding work includes the installation of a generator, electrical wiring and fire extinguishers.

    Local people further asked why a large piece of land had been fenced by the ministry. They said they had been informed that a hospital would be built there but nothing happened.

    The plot in question was set aside for the construction of the Nkurenkuru District Hospital, which is situated along the main road.

    According to the ministry, the hospital project can only start once the clinic is completed.

    Apart from the construction projects that were put on ice, the training of 50 health extension workers was also put on hold due to budget cuts.


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  • 07/31/17--16:00: Brothers die on gravel road
  • Brothers die on gravel roadBrothers die on gravel road Two brothers died in a car accident on a gravel road just outside Helmeringhausen on Saturday.

    The men were identified as Manfred Hanse, 35, and Roedolf Hanse, 55, by Deputy Commissioner Chrispin Mubebo of the //Karas police.

    Mubebo said the brothers died instantly after the vehicle they were travelling in overturned.

    The accident occurred at around 17:00, some 500 metres from Helmeringhausen on the road to Maltahöhe.

    An injured passenger, Herman Aoseb, 31, died en route to the Keetmanshoop State Hospital, while another passenger, Anna Kuwinga, 23, survived the accident.

    Meanwhile, at Bethanie on the same day at around the same time, 38-year-old Paul Piete died after he was stabbed in the chest. A suspect was arrested on Sunday.

    At Westerkim in Karasburg, a 27-year-old woman was raped, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, early Saturday morning.

    Mubebo said the victim was dragged from her house to a nearby shack. The suspect was arrested.

    Meanwhile, the five people who died in two crashes on the Otjiwarongo-Otavi road on Friday night have been identified.

    The police spokesperson for the Otjozondjupa Region, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha, said the first accident that claimed four lives occurred in the early hours of Friday, about 60 kilometres north of Otjiwarongo.

    The deceased in that accident were 23-year-old driver Martin Ndeulikufa Shatilwe; Toini Magano Iimbili, 43; Elizabeth Kasanga Kilino, 28; and Lina Elizabeth Nangula Iimbili, whose age is unknown.

    Mbeha said the four died instantly due to the severe impact of the collision between a Scania truck and their sedan.

    The sedan was heading towards Otavi, while the truck with two trailers full of cattle was driving in the opposite direction.

    Mbeha said one of the vehicles was overtaking at the time of the accident.

    The truck driver and his assistant escaped with minor injuries.

    In another accident on the same road, 43-year-old Libertine Salionga died instantly on Friday night when she collided head-on with a bakkie about 40 kilometres north of Otjiwarongo.

    Both vehicles involved in the accident had two occupants.

    “Three people sustained injuries and were taken to the Otjiwarongo State Hospital,” said Mbeha.

    Police investigations in both cases continue.


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    Geingob questions Swartbooi upbringingGeingob questions Swartbooi upbringing President Hage Geingob yesterday questioned the upbringing of controversial politician-turned-land activist Bernadus Swartbooi following his sudden resignation from the ruling party last week.

    Geingob, who was speaking for the first time about his fallout with Swartbooi, yesterday said the former land reform minister angrily walked out on him and senior government officials during a State House meeting late last year. Swartbooi had been summoned to State House where he was asked to apologise for utterances made against his then superior, lands minister Utoni Nujoma, whom he had criticised on his handling of the resettlement programme.

    Geingob yesterday said Swartbooi slammed a State House conference door after failing to apologise for his comments. Lifting the lid on what exactly happened that day, Geingob said Swartbooi was livid during the meeting, which was also attended by vice-president Nickey Iyambo, prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and presidential affairs minister Frans Kapofi.

    “When I walked in the man was burning as if he was smelling something… angry! I (asked) why are you angry,” said Geingob.

    According to Geingob, Swartbooi even forgot his cellphone when he angrily stormed out of the room.

    “I told Kapofi to run quickly and give it to him,” Geingob said adding that he wondered “what kind of home” Swartbooi came from.

    The president also lashed out at Swartbooi for referring to Swapo as the Ovambo People's Organisation (OPO) following his recall from the National Assembly last week. The outspoken Swartbooi, who is the patron of the Landless People's Movement (LPM), claimed emissaries sent by Geingob had approached him to fight his political battles at the upcoming Swapo elective congress in exchange for a ministerial post.

    He said the “messengers” had asked him to lobby against the likes of Oshikoto Swapo regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu, businessmen Lazarus Jacobs and Desmond Amunyela as well as former cabinet minister Kazenambo Kazenambo.

    “Every person that Mr Geingob has sent to me has asked three questions in the following order: Are you close to Armas Amukwiyu? Are you working with Armas Amukwiyu? Are you going to insult Mr Geingob? Are you going to meet with Mr Geingob,” claimed Swartbooi.

    He added that he messengers eventually changed their tune and said, “If you can go to the congress and fight against Armas, Kazenambo Kazenambo, Lazarus Jacobs, Desmond Amunyela and these people. If you agree to fight these individuals on behalf of this other character you will be awarded with a ministerial position.”

    Geingob, who is also the acting Swapo president, vehemently denied these claims, saying people were spreading rumours.

    No to tribalism

    Geingob yesterday also lashed out against those fanning tribalism in the country, saying it was mostly failed politicians engaged in such activities.

    “I am deeply concerned about the increase in tribal and racist remarks. Namibia is large enough for all of us to reside together in harmony and unity. Before all else, we are first and foremost Namibian. It is now imperative, more than ever before, that all of us; black or white, male or female, young, old or whatever tribal affiliation; let's hold hands,” he urged.

    The president said he had personally asked office-bearers implicated in tribalism allegations to apologise to the nation.

    These included Omaheke governor Festus Ueitele, fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau and Omusati governor Erginus Endjala.

    The president declined to comment on remarks made by Kazenambo, who accused Geingob of dictatorship.

    When prodded for a second time about Kazenambo's remarks, vice-president Nickey Iyambo responded and said the fact that Kazenambo was not reappointed by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba during a cabinet reshuffle a few years ago was the government's way of dealing with him.

    During a recent media briefing Swapo secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba said the party had “not read” any of the remarks made by Kazenambo.

    Ironically, Kazenambo's remarks appeared in the same newspapers as those made by Swartbooi.

    Swartbooi was recalled from parliament last week after he had criticised the Swapo Party, saying it had bankrupted the country in a mere 27 years.

    He also said he was “99.9% not Swapo” and would leave the party within seconds of being recalled or expelled.


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  • 07/31/17--16:00: Over 100 grab land at Rundu
  • Over 100 grab land at RunduOver 100 grab land at Rundu More than 100 people from the Kehemu and Kaisosi settlements at Rundu yesterday demarcated land for themselves at a former golf course near the Okavango River.

    They started clearing the area from as early as 06:00.

    Many said their pleas for land had fallen on deaf ears at the Rundu Town Council, forcing them to grab land to put up houses.

    The land was in the past used as a golf course but is now a dumpsite for household waste.

    The disgruntled residents argued that it would be better if they cleaned up the land and shared it among themselves.

    The headwoman of Kehemu, Christine Kandambo Sakaria, who was present at the site, told Nampa they had been living near the river for many years but due to floods, they were told by the council in 2011 to move to higher ground.

    “If people want to build their houses and live here, leave them alone,” she said.

    Resident Munaye Engelbert said the area had become a hotbed of criminal activities, and that prompted them to divide up the land for themselves.

    He said other settlements around the town were being extended but they were far from town centre; the former golf course was closer to town.

    Police officers were called to the site to maintain order, while the headwoman and some residents were taken to the police station for questioning.

    Rundu Town Council acting CEO Mathew Naironga said town councillors visited the site and told the people to follow procedure and not to take matters into their own hands.

    He said the council was to meet yesterday evening to discuss the issue.

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  • 07/31/17--16:00: Economy on the mend
  • Economy on the mendEconomy on the mendSigns of recovery noticed, says Geingob President Hage Geingob says the economy is now in better shape than last year. President Hage Geingob believes that the economy is showing signs of recovery.

    He was speaking at an information-sharing session held at State House yesterday.

    According to the president, despite the technical recession that Namibia entered in the last quarter of 2016, developments locally and in the Sub-Saharan African region hold the potential to stimulate economic growth.

    He said the economy was now in a better position than last year.

    “While there is a lot of discourse on the state of the economy, the actual state of our economy is better than currently portrayed in the public domain. As a matter of fact, the underpinning fundamentals of the economy are stronger than they were a year ago,” said Geingob.

    The president also reassured service providers and contractors that the government will settle all outstanding payments by the end of August.

    “We have realised that one key factor fuelling discontent and opinion is the occurrence of unsettled invoices. We deeply regret the accumulation of unsettled invoices that came about as a result of weak revenue collection, due to the economic downturn. We understand the serious impact this has on business operations, in particular on small and medium sized enterprises. We sympathise with those businesses that had to close down as a result of the economic downturn and those employees who lost jobs as a result of such foreclosures,” said Geingob.

    He acknowledged that 2016 had been tough but said the government's fiscal consolidation stance had helped the economy weather the storm.

    “It is true that 2016 was one of the most challenging years for Namibia from an economic growth point of view. This notwithstanding, Namibia's fiscal consolidation plan is deemed to be credible and is acknowledged by independent observers such as rating agencies,” he said.

    According to Geingob, the economy is now on the mend. “We believe the economy has been through the brunt of the downturn and is now on a recovery path.”

    Developments in the domestic economy which showed that the economy had recovered included a subdued inflationary environment, improvements in the lending space by consumers and revived building activity witnessed in the construction sector.

    “Most important is the fact that food price inflation is much lower that it was during the same period last year. This means low-income earners, who spend relatively more of their income on food items, are relatively shielded from the full impact of inflation compared to the same period last year,” said Geingob.

    “Some demand indicators such as monthly credit extension by commercial banks, monthly vehicle sales and monthly statistics on building plans approved are starting to show and confirm a modest recovery,” he added.

    The African Development Bank loan facility that had been recently accessed by the government also helped alleviate its cash-flow problems, he noted.

    “Liquidity conditions have improved remarkably. A credit facility with the African Development Bank, denominated in South African rand and at favourable terms, has immensely contributed to the improved liquidity situation in the country,” said Geingob.

    He defended public expenditure cuts, which according to him were the harshest since Independence. Had the cuts not been carried out, public debt would have risen considerably.

    “We instituted some of the deepest fiscal cuts since Independence to rescue the economy and put it on a sustainable long-term growth trajectory.

    “These include the shelving of the Kudu Gas to Power project, the construction of the Hosea Kutako international airport and the construction of a new parliament,” said Geingob.

    “Had these projects proceeded as planned, the costs incurred could have crippled the economy.”

    Geingob said his office showed commitment to the budget cuts.

    “We have significantly reduced the travel and subsistence allowance budget. In my own office, I have only travelled twice this year, to two African countries, and no travel has been undertaken outside Africa,” Geingob said.

    He also said that growth was more inclusive and that more Namibians were able to benefit.

    “Despite low growth in 2016, such growth was more shared than in previous years. This is owing to our strong commitment to eradicate poverty.”

    Namibia slid into a technical recession toward the end of 2016 following the government's fiscal consolidation stance undertaken after finance minister Calle Schlettwein's mid-year budget review.

    The domestic economy contracted by 1% in the third quarter of 2016, compared to a growth of 5% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

    The real Gross Domestic Product for the third quarter of 2016 recorded a contraction of 1% compared to a 5% growth registered in the corresponding quarter of 2015.

    The poor performance was mainly attributed to the mining and quarrying, construction, and public administration sectors, which contracted by 5.6%, 12.3 % and 5.3 % respectively in real value added.

    In addition, year on year, wholesale and retail trade, electricity and water and health sectors slowed down to register 3.6%, 5.3 % and 4.1 % in real value added, the NSA said.

    Data released by the NSA showed that the wholesale and retail trade, electricity and water and health sectors all recorded slower growth in real value added of 3.6%, 5.3 % and 4.1 % in the third quarter of 2016, compared to strong growth of 4.9%, 7.5% and 6.6% in the corresponding quarter of 2015.


    RECOVERY: Construction has driven growth in the past.

    Photo: YANNA SMITH

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    Pensioners fear no pay-out todayPensioners fear no pay-out today Hundreds of pensioners are waiting patiently at the Katutura Post Office for their pension pay-out for August. Many arrived very early this morning, facing very cold conditions, to receive their monthly grant. However, it appears as though the fates are not on their side as the electricity has been off since 09:00 this morning. Many are frail and cannot be seated. There is no indication of when the electricity will be restored and according to many, they have no choice but to wait.
    "It is expensive for me to travel here so I have no choice but to wait. We need to get our money," one told Namibian Sun.
    Staff at the post office said that while the problem has been reported, there is no indication of when the power will come back on.


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  • 08/01/17--07:51: Mwoombola back in office
  • Mwoombola back in officeMwoombola back in office Permanent secretary in the health ministry, Andreas Mwoombola has returned to office, two weeks after his suspension over alleged corrupt practices. This was announced by the secretary to Cabinet George Simataa in a one-page press release yesterday. “In compliance with section 26(2) of the Public Service Act, 1995 (Act No.13 of 1995) and in view of the fact that the preliminary investigation has been completed, the public is hereby informed that Mwoombola has resumed duties today, 1 August 2017.”Mwoombola stands accused, amongst others, of interference in the internal tender process.


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    Locals urged to learn from SA counterpartsLocals urged to learn from SA counterparts Local football authorities have been urged to attend big international matches so they can learn from such events to improve local football.

    This was the opinion of local football supporters who attended the Carling Black Label Champions Cup - or Soweto Derby - for the first time on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    The Soweto Derby between the South African Premier Soccer League's Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is considered one of the most fiercely contested matches in South African football.

    The Carling Black Label beer brand falls under SABMiller. SABMiller Namibia took a group of 10 supporters, sales persons and shop and bar owners, along with a journalist, on an all-expenses-paid trip to Johannesburg from Friday to Sunday.

    Speaking to Nampa on Sunday, football fan Clarence Visagie said Namibian football administrators should work harder towards getting sponsorships.

    “I think if we want the game to grow at home we need to get serious sponsors who will spend money on marketing the game like how they do it here in South Africa. Players also feel motivated to play well when the stadium is full, and they know they are paid well because no one wants to play for charity,” he said.

    Namibia has not seen any Namibia Premier League (NPL) football for over a year because of sponsorship and governance challenges. At the end of the 2015/16 season, Mobile Telecommunications Limited decided not to enter into a new sponsorship agreement with the NPL.

    Sales representative Lizzy Xoagus said the Soweto Derby experience was “extraordinary” and Namibians could learn from it.

    “I was never at a stadium that had so many people at once. This showed me that football has no colour and does not discriminate,” she said.

    Xoagus, who is a Kaizer Chiefs and Black Africa supporter, said the Namibia Football Association and NPL should send officials to such events so they can see how things are done professionally and implement such measures at home. Ester Karombe, a Kaizer Chiefs and African Stars supporter, added that such unity is needed in Namibian football.

    “The atmosphere at the stadium was amazing and I dream that one day our local organisers will be able to pull so much supporters to the stadiums for the love of the beautiful game,” said Karombe.


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    Debmarine tourney attracts regionsDebmarine tourney attracts regionsDebmarine tournament attracts 11 regions The first Debmarine Regional Netball Championship is taking place in Windhoek this weekend. Eleven regions have confirmed their participation in the Debmarine Netball championship in Windhoek this weekend.

    The tournament will give netball players a chance to be selected for the national senior netball team.

    There are two pools in which players will compete. Pool X will consist of Kavango East, Kavango East, Otjozondjupa, Kavango West, Karas and Omaheke. Pool Y will consist of Khomas, Erongo, Oshana, Ohangwena and Zambezi.

    Matches will be played on a round robin basis. Games will start on Friday, with Otjozondjupa playing Omaheke Region at 18:00 and then Khomas taking on Erongo Region at 18:45.

    Games will continue on Saturday, accompanied by training for umpires and bench officials. This is to empower and develop administrators for the game according to Rebekka Goagoses, spokesperson for Netball Namibia.

    Goagoses says not only will players get the opportunity to hone their skills on the court but administrators will also receive training to help grow the game.

    At the end of the tournament, the winners will receive N$30 000, the runners-up N$15 000 and the third-placed team N$9000.

    Netball has suffered from lack of sponsorship in recent years, which resulted in limited tournaments, but recently Debmarine Namibia came to the rescue of a financially struggling Netball Namibia with a sponsorship of N$1.8 million over three years.

    Netball Namibia will receive N$600 000 each year from the diamond-mining company until the contract ends.

    The code has become the second recipient of a lucrative sponsorship from the company after the Namibia Football Association (NFA) also received a sponsorship last year.

    The funds will be used for staging netball championships and an annual five-nation tournament which will see Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe challenging for top honours.

    N$10 000 will be distributed to 14 regional leagues, while the remaining funds will be used for administration purposes.

    Entrance to the weekend's netball games is free of charge. All matches will be paid at Khomasdal Court in Windhoek.

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  • 08/01/17--16:00: Geingob wishes Indongo well
  • Geingob wishes Indongo wellGeingob wishes Indongo wellBoxer is given official passport The stage is almost set for Namibia's Julius 'Blue Machine' Indongo to make history in a super lightweight unification title bout. President Hage Geingob wished WBA, IBF and IBO world champion Julius 'Blue Machine' Indongo the best of luck on Monday.

    Geingob also awarded the world champion an official blue passport.

    Indongo's promoter, Nestor Tobias, was given the same passport.

    The passports will make it easier for the two to travel to the United States.

    Indongo and his delegation are expected to depart today for Lincoln, Nebraska, where he will fight American Terence Crawford for the unified WBA, WBC, WB0, IBF and IBO belts on 19 August.

    The fight is billed as one of the greatest unification bouts of the current generation, as Indongo and Crawford have both put their belts on the line.

    “I wish you all the best of luck in your next fight and please defend yourself at all times.

    “The stakes are getting higher and remember at all times that you are going to America in a boxing battle,” Geingob said.

    Indongo said he would dedicate the fight to his late father, who died during the apartheid era.

    The boxer also dedicated the fight to all Namibians and promised to give his all during the bout.

    “I am going into this fight knowing that I carry the hopes of this nation and many young boxers on my shoulders.

    “I have been preparing well and will definitely try my utmost best to return with all the titles.

    “This fight could have been staged at home, but as we know our country's status, we will have to go on foreign soil to fight for these titles,” Indongo said.


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    Desert Dash to deliver world-class cyclingDesert Dash to deliver world-class cycling The allure of the Nedbank Desert Dash stretches far beyond the borders of Namibia, with between 30% and 40% of the participants travelling to Namibia with the specific intention of participating in this bucket-list event.

    “Due to the fact that their holidays are often then extended to include a longer stay in our country, our conservative estimations indicate the Nedbank Desert Dash as a stand-alone attraction generates over N$20 million in additional revenue.

    “This benefits the tourism industry in the main, but there are spin-off benefits to bicycle shops, car rental companies and general retail businesses,” a statement from Nedbank read.

    “There is no event that quite matches the charm and allure of the Nedbank Desert Dash and this is a sentiment often expressed by overseas participants as a consequence, therefore, they return year after year.

    “While the Nedbank Desert Dash may seem to be just another cycling event, the reality is that its impacts are felt wider than just the cycling community,” said Gernot de Klerk, Nedbank's head of marketing and communication.

    De Klerk further said that the event contributes handsomely to the national GDP, and by extension to the cause of economic progression as highlighted in Namibia's Fifth National Development Plan.

    “This race remains one of the premier sporting events within the borders of Namibia. With its international appeal, this elite race has once again attracted some high-profile cyclists across the globe. This year is no different, with cyclists grabbing up entries within seconds.

    “We are sure to see 2016 Winner, Konny Looser, 2016 third-position holder Jaco Davel (RSA) as well as 2016 sixth-place holder Dana Schutte (RSA) competing again this year,” he added.

    “Rebecca Robsich, our 2016 female winner, will be eagerly waiting at the start line along with Anri Parker, who took third position last year. Our veteran cyclist Bill Jooste, aged 79, will soldier on to try and finish the gruelling 369km within 24 hours after he missed the deadline by a few minutes in 2015 and 2016,” said race organiser Leander Borg.

    The prize money amounts to N$350 000 this year, with solo winners taking home at least N$32 000 each.

    “Air Namibia has come on board again and will provide the following tickets as part of the lucky draw items: two return tickets to Frankfurt as well as 2 x 2 tickets for return flights from Windhoek to Johannesburg or Cape Town.

    “They have also agreed to transport cyclists' bikes free of charge, same as last year, which is a great value add for our international cyclists.

    “Along with these prizes, Wilderness Safaris provided two prizes consisting of two nights for two people at Kulala Desert Lodge and Dora Nawas,” Borg said.

    This year's Desert Dash will take place on 8-9 December.


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  • 08/01/17--16:00: Ronaldo protests innocence
  • Ronaldo protests innocenceRonaldo protests innocence Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo protested his innocence after testifying in court on Monday against charges of evading €14.7 million in taxes.

    The 32-year-old Portuguese, who was in the Pozuelo de Alarcon court for about 90 minutes, declined to speak to reporters afterwards, but he released a statement through his agency Gestifute.

    “The Spanish tax authorities know my income in detail, because we have given it to them. I have never hidden anything in my declarations, nor have I had the smallest intention of evading taxes,” Ronaldo said.

    “I always make my declarations voluntarily, because I think we all have to declare and pay tax in accordance to our incomes. Those who know me know what I ask my advisors: that they take their time on it and pay correctly, because I don't want problems.”

    Ronaldo explained that he did not create a special structure to manage his image rights after joining Real from Manchester United in 2010, saying he utilised the set-up which was deemed “legal and legitimate” by English tax authorities.

    Spanish courts have recently cracked down on tax evasion among leading footballers.

    Barcelona's Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence this year on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.


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    Cheetahs, Kings officially join PRO14Cheetahs, Kings officially join PRO14 The Pro12 will be expanded to include South African side Southern Kings and Cheetahs from September, the organisers have confirmed.

    The expanded tournament will be called the Pro14 and see the teams split into two conferences of seven made up of two Welsh, two Irish and one team each from Scotland, Italy and South Africa.

    The conferences have been decided based on last season's results.

    Cheetahs and Kings will play their home games in South Africa.

    They will play only Saturdays, and there will be five travel-free days before matches.

    The first round of matches is due to be played on the weekend of 1-3 September, with the first fixtures to be announced on 7 August.

    It is understood the addition of the two new teams will bring in an extra £6m a year in revenue.

    “The arrival of the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings marks a bold and exciting new chapter for the Guinness PRO14 as a global rugby championship,” said Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi.

    “South Africa is a rugby powerhouse of over 55 million people. These teams already operate to the high standards demanded by Super Rugby and they will add to the quality of our tournament.

    “This is a natural evolution for the championship and we aim to be at the forefront of the game's growth around the world.”

    The South African teams lost their places in the southern hemisphere Super Rugby, which is cutting from 18 teams to 15, at the end of last season. The Pro12 grew out of the Celtic League, which was formed in 2001 but has seen many changes to participants and format during its existence. Last season's tournament was won by Scarlets, who beat Munster in the play-off final in Dublin.

    Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, says the decision for South African team to play in a northern hemisphere tournament was groundbreaking.

    “This development is as exciting as the launch of Super Rugby itself back in 1996,” he said.

    “It will not be without its challenges in aligning with a competition in a different part of the calendar and in very different playing conditions; but it is also a fantastic opportunity for South African rugby to widen our rugby horizons.

    “We believe the Toyota Cheetahs' and Kings' participation will be good for the competition and good for the teams.”

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  • 08/01/17--16:00: 800m champion out of action
  • 800m champion out of action800m champion out of actionRudisha pulls out of championships with strain Defending champion and 800m world record holder David Rudisha has pulled out of next month's World Athletics Championships because of a leg injury. World 800 metres record holder David Rudisha said on Monday he was saddened and disappointed to have pulled out of the World Athletics Championships due to a quad muscle strain.

    Rudisha, reigning Olympic and world champion, is the first and only person to run under one minute 41 seconds for the 800m. He would have been one of the star names at the August 4-13 global showpiece event in London.

    “It is obviously disappointing and I am saddened. It was during the time I was actually trying to engage more speed. In the process of doing that, I put my muscle under intense stress when doing normal mileage. I damaged my quad, and this saddens and disappoints me a lot,” the 28 year-old told Reuters, having announced his withdrawal on Twitter.

    Rudisha won his first 800m world title in Daegu in 2011, a year before his world-record performance at the Olympics in the same London Stadium where the world championships are being held.

    After suffering the injury, Rudisha said that the severity of the grade one strain was realised only when he went for an MRI scan on Monday.

    “We thought it was going to take a few days before recovery. It's taking longer. We have been trying to do treatment and physio and everything and the problem was still persisting. Today we went for an MRI scan, they found that fluid was coming out of the muscle,” he said.

    “So I have been advised that I take it easy. If I push it with that pain, it could damage me further. It is not the right thing to do, or I would run the risk of missing the complete year.”

    The announcement of Rudisha's withdrawal came 24 hours before the first wave of Kenya's team were due to head to the British capital.

    Head coach Julius Kirwa said the development would force a last-minute change in the team's strategy.

    “I am disturbed so much by this last-minute turn of events. I am not settled since learning about this,” Kirwa said.

    “It is now my duty to plan and change the strategy, which we will do in consultation with the technical bench.”

    Kirwa said the injury would take at least two weeks to heal.

    There are four other 800m runners in Kenya's team: Emmanuel Korir, Michael Saruni, Ferguson Rotich and 19-year-old Kipyegon Bett.

    Rudisha, who missed out on the 2013 championships before reclaiming his 800m crown two years ago in Beijing, said he aimed to be back competing for the world title again in 2019.

    “I have accepted my fate with a very heavy heart and would like to wish the team well. They can still make it,” he said.

    “I will still come back stronger and even challenge for the title in the next world championships.”


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