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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 471 | 472 | (Page 473) | 474 | 475 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Baby, 15 months, killed by carBaby, 15 months, killed by car A one-year-and-three-month-old baby girl died after being run over by a vehicle in Opuwo on Wednesday.

    Crime investigations coordinator of the Namibian police in Kunene, Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Kanyetu told Nampa the incident happened opposite the Agra service station at around 16:35 on Wednesday.

    It is alleged that the 48-year-old driver parked the vehicle and went to attend to some business. The baby, who was with her mother in the vicinity where the vehicle was parked, allegedly crawled under the vehicle without the mother noticing.

    When the driver came back to depart, he allegedly did not notice the baby under the vehicle and drove over the

    baby.

    She died instantly.

    The deceased has been identified as Kuritendamene Hevita. The next of kin are informed.

    The driver was not arrested.

    The case now awaits a decision by the prosecutor-general to prosecute him or not.



    NAMPA

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  • 08/10/17--16:00: They meet under a tree
  • They meet under a    treeThey meet under a treeSupport groups are impacting thousands With thousands benefiting from support groups to secure their HIV medication and share a chat, one community tells their story, under their tree. Community members living with HIV have come together to form support groups under the Community Adherence Refill Group (CRAG) which is funded by the US government through the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar).

    USAID, along with the health ministry implemented Tonata PLHIV, the organisation of numerous support groups such as the Gwaanaka Support Group which is located in northern Namibia in the Onyaanya district. Tonata PLHIV, which means “open your eyes” in Oshiwambo, is the main network organisation of people affected by, or living with, HIV.

    Also known as the community-based antiretroviral therapy (CBART), CRAG is designed to bring anti-retroviral delivery closer to the community and provide the much-needed and appropriate support to encourage long-term retention of patients, as HIV/Aids still remains the number-one killer in Namibia, claiming lives of 3 900 people per year, according to Pepfar.

    According to Loide Nakumbwala, sister in charge at Onyaanya Health Centre in the Oshikoto Region, contributing factors why most patients living with HIV die sooner than expected is because of the lack of commitment to taking their treatment and those living far from health facilities fail to pick up their medicines on a regular basis and adhere to their treatment regime.

    “HIV still involves a lot of stigma. Most of the patients on treatment are not willing to take their medication for a fear of judgement and the distance between the homes and the nearest health facility where they can access their treatment is far. Thus most patients are negatively affected,” she said.

    To address many of these challenges, community–based medicine distribution models such as the CBART where implemented to help remove the economic and social barriers that make it difficult for people living with HIV to access treatment. In addition, support groups like that of Gwaanaka, which was established in April 2006, have made the lives of many infected people much easier as the treatment comes to them.



    Relieving the burden

    Gwaanaka's group leader, Elli Ndhikwa, has made the collection of medication for her group much easier. Every three months, she travels to the Onaanya Clinic to collect ARV medication for each group member. They hand over their health passports to Ndhikwa and she takes them to the clinic's health pharmacists, who then process their medication accordingly.

    Nakumbwala explained to Namibian Sun that refill groups have reduced staff work load in the clinic. Long waiting times at health facilities caused by the sheer number of patients, was further reduced for patients. This has increased the productivity of the work flow, making it more efficient to attend to patients quickly.

    “In the past, we would have to tend to a lot of patients to make sure each of them have received their medication, but those days are long gone,” she explained.

    This system suits the group best, as Ndhikwa is excused from joining long queues which were common at the Onyaanya clinic. In the past the group would come as early as 07:00 in the morning and only receive service later in the day.

    According to Nakumbwala, on each visit the clinic is well aware of the group's arrival. “Their health passports are thoroughly examined to ensure each patient has received the correct dose of medicine and it is correctly labelled, as some experience allergic reactions to certain medicine.”

    She also added that a follow-up is done and discussed with the group leader to make certain each patient has taken their treatment and if any problems have been experienced over the span of three months.

    However there are certain requirements to joining a support group and to receiving assistance.

    “Since the support group was established to help people take their treatment, we want to work with people who are committed. They should have a stable health history, their viral load has to be suppressed - which means they at least need to be on treatment for more than a year and should not use alcohol and drugs.”

    After signing off the dispensed medication, Ndhikwa travels back to Onanjamba village and gathers under a tree located close to the main road. It is under this tree where the main purpose of the support group is executed.

    Each member is called by Ndhikwa to receive his or her treatment and signs it off to acknowledge they have receive it. Although this tree is exposed to the harsh weather conditions, members of Gwaanaka are enthusiastic. Happy chatter is picked up around the group as they wait, while others keep busy with making handmade jewellery. The jewellery is sold for N$50 or more at a local market. Profit from the proceeds are used to support the some of the group members – either pay for transport used to collect the medicine or help to buy food for members who sometimes may have fallen ill.



    A change for the better

    Hilma Prastus, who joined the Gwaanaka support group in 2014 has been living with HIV for the past 13 years. “Upon joining Gwaanaka, I have realised that I do not have to go through this alone. When I come here, I feel at home. We are like one family, because we all go through the same struggles, but the only difference is, we are prepared to overcome those struggles together,” says Prastus, 55.

    After going through numerous experiences of being discriminated against for having the virus, Prastus was prepared to throw in the towel. “I would go to the hospital and I would hear people make rude remarks like 'she is not going to live past 40 years' and 'she is a dead woman walking'. This really discouraged me and I lived with a lot of fear,” said Prastus softly, after being questioned about how her life was before she joined the support group.

    Fast forward three years later, Prastus is now motivated to live a positive life and making sure others do not have to give up on their life. “The help is here, and I have made a lot friends that have accepted me with opened arms.”



    Last man standing

    As the first group in the Oshikoto Region to start a community-based refill group, Gwaanaka has made a great impact in the lives of many, including Ben Uugwanga, who is the only surviving man in the group after seven passed on. A former chef that worked at a farm in southern Namibia during the 1960s, Uugwanga and his wife are both on ARV treatment and adhere to healthy living with the help of the support group. “Being the only man in this support group is a good and bad thing. It is a good thing, because I want to encourage other men infected with HIV to come forward and live a positive life. It is also a bad thing, because I have no companion and someone I can talk to when all the women engage in their activities,” said the 69-year-old.

    Uugwanga also told Namibian Sun that among the seven men that have passed on, he established close friendships with some of them and misses them dearly. “When we received this area from the headman to conduct our meeting, we also received a fence and my close friend that passed away and I worked together to set it up,” says the father of five. He also expressed that men are not willing to get tested and find out where they stand. He is however hopeful that more men will see the good in joining a support group and getting assistance where necessary. He feels he can serve as a good example for other men to open about their status by joining support groups.

    A total network of 574 refill groups have so far been established in Namibia - serving the Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana and Omusati regions. According to statistics by Tonata, out of 16 845 members, only 3 444 are male while 13 401 are female.

    Uugwanga and many others share the same sentiments that life has improved since the refill groups has been established. They have learned about positive living, gained help with adhering to treatment, and participated in community funding structures to generate income.



    TUNOHOLE MUNGOBA

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  • 08/10/17--16:00: Beef consumption growing
  • Beef consumption growingBeef consumption growing The increase in the consumption of beef both locally and internationally is creating more opportunities for the Namibian meat industry.

    This growth allows for Meatco to continue investing in newly realised markets such as Hong Kong and the United States of America while sharing a market space with big suppliers such as Brazil and Argentina.

    According to Meatco the increase in beef consumed in both developing and developed countries is ascribed to an increase in the size of the middle class market globally.

    “This means that more people are consuming beef at home and in restaurants as their income increases.”

    According to Meatco cattle numbers slaughtered has also increased to approximately 80 000 annually, while Namibia's expanding middle income class is a contributing factor to this increase.

    However, because of different affordability trends and population dynamics, beef consumed in Namibia remains less than that consumed elsewhere, the company said.

    Meatco processed a total of 21 809 tonnes of meat for its markets during the 2016/17 financial year reporting period, compared with 26 878 tonnes recorded the previous year. International markets account for 75.41% of the value of Meatco's sales, while South Africa and Namibia combined accounted for 22.9%.

    According to Meatco the European Union (EU) is a major export market for Namibian red meat, fish and grapes, receiving 40% to 70% of Namibia's agricultural exports. The company says preferential access to the EU market for premium beef cuts has made it possible for the local red meat industry to upgrade its production facilities to meet international standards.”

    “Beef consumption has been on the increase throughout the world and demand is growing. This puts Namibia in an excellent position to continue with beef production thanks to international market demands,” said Cyprianus Khaiseb, Meatco's executive for sales and marketing.

    Meatco as a meat processing entity continues to benefit from the current increased marketing opportunities globally and due to beef remaining an important source of protein.

    The general manager of the Meat Board of Namibia, Paul Strydom, earlier this year said the country's beef industry has the potential of being a global leader despite predictions indicating that there will be a decline in beef consumption by 2025.

    According to Strydom, predictions show that there will be 6% growth in beef consumption.

    According to the Meat Board Namibia is currently the 30th largest exporter of beef in the world with 24 countries importing Namibian beef and six countries importing sheep and goats products.

    This year new markets are being pursued in countries such as Tanzania, Mauritius, DRC, Kenya, Zambia and Saudi Arabia, the Meat board said.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 08/10/17--16:00: Oshakati to host Heroes' Day
  • Oshakati to host Heroes' DayOshakati to host Heroes' Day About 35 000 people are expected to attend this year's Heroes' Day commemorations in Oshakati in the Oshana Region, information and communication technology permanent secretary Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana has said.

    He told Nampa advanced preparatory teams will be arriving in Oshakati as from Monday to reinforce the regional preparatory teams.

    The 51st commemorations will be held on 26 August at the Oshakati Independence Stadium under the five-year theme 'The Aim was Independence', with President Hage Geingob as the keynote speaker.

    Ua-Ndjarakana said it was still early to reveal if there would be any foreign dignitaries, however he did not rule it out.

    This year's commemorations coincide with two other main regional events which attract national attention, namely the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair which runs from 25 August to 2 September in Ongwediva, and the Olufuko Cultural Festival from 25 August to 5 September in Outapi.

    “We expect people from all over the country to turn out in big numbers for all these events.”

    He reminded Namibians about the importance of Heroes' Day and the need to remember heroes and heroines who engaged in the liberation struggle towards the freedom of this country.

    “This is not a political gathering, it is a human gathering, therefore all Namibians across the country should be humbled to join in the commemorations,” he added. Last year's event was held in Walvis Bay and over 10 000 people attended.

    NAMPA

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    No word on economic advisory councilNo word on economic advisory council The Presidency said it will only announce the composition of a new Presidential Economic Advisory Council when it is ready to do so.

    This is according to its press secretary Albertus Aochamub who responded to Namibian Sun's questions on matters related to the council, which is tasked with advising the Head of State on economic challenges facing the country.

    According to Aochamub, the work of the council was well served by a member of President Hage Geingob's A-team, John Steytler.

    Steytler currently serves as Geingob's economic advisor.

    “On the council, we will advise when we are ready to make any announcements on future relevance, form, structure, composition and purpose. For now the president and the administration are both very well served by [presidential economic advisor] John Steytler who is doing a sterling job in that portfolio,” said Aochamub.

    Aochamub also defended Steytler's position by pointing out that previous economic advisors had always been utilised in conjunction with advisory councils that served on previous administrations.

    “State House and the previous presidents have always had the services of an economic advisor since independence. The advisory council existed side-by-side with those economic advisors in place. In that sense your question of Dr Steytler's position as the president's economic advisor is irrelevant,” said Aochamub, providing context to Steytler's position.

    He also did not provide an update into the workings of the economic advisory council established by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2013.

    President Geingob has not composed an advisory council of his own yet, apart from his A-team which he assembled after taking office.

    Geingob also established a presidential advisory council comprising of former presidents Pohamba and Nujoma.

    Pohamba's economic advisory council was ironically headed by Steytler and included business heavyweights such as Koos Brandt, now First Lady Monica Kalondo, Ebson Uanguta (Bank of Namibia), Osmund Mwandemele (University of Namibia), Raimar von Hase (Karakul Board of Namibia), Herbert Jauch (labour consultant), Audrin Mathe (New Era Publications) and Seretta Lombaard (PriceWaterhouseCoopers).



    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Congo fever claims another lifeCongo fever claims another life A 63-year-old man died from Congo fever on Wednesday, raising the death toll from the tick-borne disease to two this year, health authorities confirmed yesterday.

    The victim hails from Uukwandongo in the Okahao district of the Omusati Region.

    The first Congo fever death took place in February this year when a man from the Omaheke Region died.

    Three other people who had been in close contact with the latest victim have been admitted to the Windhoek Central Hospital's isolation ward and are being monitored daily.

    According to the acting permanent secretary of the health ministry, Bertha Katjivena, the patient was admitted to the isolation ward on Monday after he had been transferred from a private hospital last week.

    “On behalf of the minister and the ministry I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and friends,” said Katjivena. According to her, the patient is suspected to have been bitten by a tick a week and half ago. She added that ministry officials were working with other ministries, including the ministry of agriculture and veterinary services, to conduct investigations in the Omusati Region in the area where the deceased lived.

    Congo fever is transmitted through a tick bite. Handling ticks with bare hands, or having direct contact with infected animal blood and organs, including slaughtering tick-infested animals, increases the risk.

    The first cases in Namibia were reported in 1986, one at Grootfontein, two in Windhoek, two at Gobabis, and one at Karasburg.

    One further case was reported in 1998 and two in 2001.

    One of those deaths was Nick van der Merwe, the owner of the farm Harnas, today home to the Harnas Wildlife Foundation.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Civilians foil highway robberyCivilians foil highway robbery A family of four German tourists survived an attempted hijacking on the Western Bypass yesterday at noon.

    According to the father of the family, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the hijackers overtook their car while trying to alert them to an alleged problem underneath the car.

    “When I stopped the car all three got out and one took me to the back of the car where the so-called problem was, when I bent down to closely inspect it he grabbed the moonbag with all our passports and money in,” said the distraught man.

    He then started chasing the suspect, who ran into the nearby veld and returned to the main road. He sustained minor injuries to his face during a scuffle with the robber.

    “I stopped and yelled at him, when he got on the main road an approaching car and bus blocked him which made him stumble so I could grab my bag. Four onlookers then arrested him,” the man said.

    The family of four had just landed in Namibia and were en route to Etosha National Park in their rented double-cab bakkie.

    The tourist said the incident would not cut their Namibian holiday short.

    “We obviously do not feel that safe anymore, but it could have happened in Italy or any other place. We are just very lucky that the police responded so quickly,” he said.Citizen's arrest

    The bus driver was armed and fired two warning shots.

    Two of the three robbers fled in their vehicle, leaving behind their accomplice who was held at gunpoint by the bus driver until the police arrived.

    The robbers fled with the rented bakkie's keys.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Local architects threaten legal actionLocal architects threaten legal actionDemand response from works minister over Zim experts Namibian architects and quantity surveyors have threatened to approach the High Court unless the minister of works and transport abandons a plan to exempt Zimbabweans from the required registration process. A group of Namibian architects and quantity surveyors are challenging a decision taken by works and transport minister Alpheus !Naruseb to seek exemption for 29 Zimbabwean nationals who will not be required to register with the Namibia Council of Architects and Quantity Surveyors immediately.

    The group are demanding that !Naruseb revoke the decision to seek exemption for the Zimbabweans and have given the minister until the end of business today to respond to their demand. Should !Naruseb ignore the demand, they will approach the High Court with an urgent application to block the exemption.

    !Naruseb recently sought exemption for 29 Zimbabwean nationals from the provisions of the Architects and Quantity Surveyors Act of 1979.

    The lawyer representing the affected group, Sisa Namandje, questioned why the government was seeking exemption for the group of 29 by asking for their names to be placed on the council's register. “If you are exempting them from registration, how could you, in contra, ask the council to place their names on the register?” asked Namandje. He called !Naruseb's decision irrational and unreasonable, arguing that local professionals must go through the registration process. “Your decision was irrational and was taken for ulterior purposes. The decision is unreasonable particularly in view of the non-exemption of Namibians who have to go through the requisite training programme,” said Namandje. “There was no proper application of mind on all relevant issues before the decision was taken.” Namandje also called the government decision flawed and said the provisions of the exemption were ambiguous. “The general exemption is also hopelessly flawed for several reasons. This includes the fact that while you seemingly granted a general exemption to the concerned Zimbabwean expatriates from all the provisions in the Act, the notice is materially ambiguous whether or not you intended exemption the concerned Zimbabwean expatriates from all provisions of the Act or only some provisions of the Act,” said Namandje.

    According to Namandje, an agreement that paved the way for Zimbabwean architects and quantity surveyors to work for the Namibian government expired recently.

    “The agreement expired on 16 May 2017 and there was no valid state act by the two states in terms whereof the agreement could have been validly extended,” he said.

    He also called the agreement invalid and said works and transport permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann had no power to negotiate and execute international agreements without the permission of the head of state. “Further, even if it were to be accepted for argument's sake that the agreement is still in force, we contend with due regard that the agreement is invalid as it was purportedly negotiated and signed by the permanent secretary of the ministry of works and transport when he did not have power to negotiate and execute an international agreement between Namibia and another state unless he had written delegation power by the president,” Namandje argued.

    “We demand that the minister give us an undertaking by close of business that the Gazette be revoked and withdrawn within the next ten days. Should we not receive such an undertaking we hereby place you on notice that the High Court shall be approached on [an] urgent basis,” Namandje wrote.



    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Amukwiyu re-elected amid Facebook furoreAmukwiyu re-elected amid Facebook furoreMbumba denies allegations of involvement Swapo’s Oshikoto regional conference re-elected Armas Amukwiyu as regional coordinator without any interference, says the party’s secretary-general, Nangolo Mbumba. KENYA KAMBOWE



    Armas Amukwiyu enjoyed overwhelming support at the recent Swapo Party Oshikoto regional conference at Omuthiya, which saw him retain his position as regional coordinator.

    The conference started on Wednesday and ended around 04:00 yesterday.

    Amukwiyu was contesting the Swapo regional coordinator position against former Onayena constituency councillor Marx Nekongo.

    Amukwiyu garnered 67 votes and Nekongo 17.

    Social media platforms were abuzz yesterday after the conference. Screenshots of messages were shared, purporting to be from Swapo secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba discussing the conference.

    But Mbumba’s office denied that he was the author of the messages, saying they were concocted by people trying to score cheap political points.

    “Swapo Party is baffled by the fabricated Facebook postings being circulated by some disgruntled individuals who are trying to score cheap political points. The postings in question insinuate that the secretary-general has been exchanging messages during the just-concluded Swapo Party Oshikoto regional conference,” the statement read.

    “It should be clear that the said postings are pure lies and utter fabrications by those aiming at destroying the integrity and character of the secretary-general,” it further read.

    Saara Shikokola was elected as Swapo’s Oshikoto regional mobiliser. She garnered 67 votes while her opponent, Anna Kambonde, received 18 votes.

    The conference also endorsed deputy minister of public enterprises Engel Nawatiseb as the regional treasurer. He was elected unopposed.

    Nawatiseb was expected to compete for the treasurer position with former Omuthiya councillor Armas Amukoto, who was not allowed into the conference as his name was not vetted.

    The conference also nominated ten delegates to the November Swapo congress. They are: Matheus Kamati, Tuli Nunyango, Nestor Iyambo, Ndangi Sheetekela, Joseph Katukula, Martha Nangolo, Saara Shikokola, Aina Shilongo, Hanna Neshuku and Hilde Ihuhwa.

    The four delegates to the Swapo congress for the central committee are yet to be elected.

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    Namibia tackles teen porn syndicateNamibia tackles teen porn syndicate A landmark police probe into a suspected online pornographic ring targeting young Namibian girls by blackmailing them into supplying a stream of sexually explicit material was launched by the authorities in March this year.

    The case revolves around online sexual predators who threatened and bullied young Namibian girls into providing pornographic photos and videos on demand, after the girls were lured through false advertisements for modelling jobs, scholarships or jobs abroad, and money.

    Veronica Theron, technical director at the Office of the First Lady, says the office agreed to become a complainant in the case, not only to offer support and guidance to the girls, but also because the case could help shape the way forward to inform policy and to test and strengthen existing systems that deal with cybercrimes.





    Theron says the case is complex and Namibian legislation on child protection and cybercrimes is not sufficient to prosecute such cases.

    “With this case, we see the need for robust, specific legislation on cybercrime,” Theron says.

    According to her the case has also highlighted that coordination between various institutions and experts is vital in tackling cybercrimes.



    The complexity of the case is underscored by the nature of online crimes, where perpetrators can easily disguise their identities and vanish when authorities shine a spotlight on them.



    While three girls initially approached her office, with the help of a teacher, only two agreed to make official statements to the police, with one family fearing the exposure and backlash.







    Deadly cat-and-mouse games







    One of the girls told her teacher that she felt “stuck and trapped” and that she didn't know how to get out. She was threatened when she tried to escape the situation.



    Theron says all of the girls were in severe emotional turmoil and showed signs of depression, which made it a “life and death” case that required urgent intervention.



    While the case files remain confidential, Theron says so far the case has highlighted the disturbing ease with which young girls can be conned by false advertisements on social media platforms promising lucrative earnings and new friendships.



    Last year, several warnings were shared on Namibian-linked social platforms, warning of Facebook accounts in the names of 'Mona Helmy', and a 'Jonathan Spears'. Both accounts are inactive at the moment.



    The accounts advertised modelling work that promised to pay US$250 000 per year.



    Theron explains that online predators, especially an organised ring as is suspected in this case, often create false online identities on social media and link to real international entities to claim legitimacy.



    “Children are not stupid. That is what I saw in this case. They do all in their power to find out if it is legit. They will ask this person to give them names of other people who have benefitted from the programme,” she says.



    In this case, the online perpetrators connected the potential victims with other purported beneficiaries, who then praised and verified the original offer.



    Theron says once the girls make contact, the grooming starts, with the online personae deploying all their charm to build trust with their victims. Gradually, they start demanding photos, at first innocent, and then more explicit.



    Once compromising images or videos are provided, the perpetrators turn the relationship around, threatening to go public unless the girls provide them with more, increasingly compromising material.



    When they try to leave, the threats are made real, with family or friends receiving messages containing material the girls shared. Often, they feel their only choice is to remain and do what they are told.



    “When we met the three girls for the first time, they were in a very bad emotional state. Now they were getting threats, and they were afraid their parents would find out. I imagine they are all on their own, and they are looking for solace amongst themselves, but they are all just so young, inexperienced and afraid,” Theron says.



    Since then, two of the girls have gone completely offline and with the support of their families they are recovering from the ordeal.







    On your doorstep







    At least seven schools and tertiary institutions in Namibia have learners who have become involved with the online predator ring, although there could be many more, Theron says.



    Interviews with learners at several schools revealed that many were aware of the recruiters and their advertisements.



    Some claimed that the recruiters had managed to convince learners to start recruiting on their behalf, demonstrating how easily the initial online relationship evolves into an offline relationship where the girls become foot soldiers for their anonymous masters.



    These girls are also used to threaten, sometimes physically, others that might wish to escape.



    Theron describes the relationship between the girls and the online perpetrators as a “master and slave” relationship, which is underscored by the language used by them.



    Online messages she has seen include crude, belittling and threatening words and phrases, including “little slut”, “little whore”, “servant”.



    Girls have told her that they were “servants” or “slaves” who must serve their master.



    The perpetrators become increasingly demanding and the girls are forced to compromise friendships, family relations and their studies in a constant quest to provide their masters with the footage they demand.



    “To the point that they no longer have a life, it becomes so obsessive. It can be any time of the day, where or with who you are. And it goes on for hours and hours. So imagine what it does to the academics, their family lives, their relationships. Other healthy relationships are compromised. You don't have another life, you have to serve him.”



    Theron believes the operation is not driven by a single person or a few people, but likely by an organised syndicate.



    “I think it is much bigger than what we would like to believe. I think it's a much wider organised ring.”



    She says it is likely that the images and videos sent to the perpetrators are sold online to international porn sites.



    Theron says one of the ways parents and educators can help children avoid cybercriminals is to get back to basics. “Parents need to sit with their children and make time to listen to them. We are always busy these days, but we have a responsibility, including the children and teachers, to listen to each other.”

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  • 08/10/17--16:00: Chinese underworld exposed
  • Chinese underworld exposedChinese underworld exposedLocal collusion at lower levels Chinese 'mafia' groups are said to be driving unprecedented wildlife crime and environmental destruction in Namibia. The unprecedented growth of Chinese immigration has brought with it the feared Chinese organised crime syndicates called triads, who are working in cahoots with Namibian crime syndicates, a renowned private investigator has observed.

    Andrew Fordred claims these Chinese criminals are not entrepreneurs seeking to make a quick, if dishonest, buck. Instead, they are part of ancient and well-organised criminal groups with “fierce internal discipline”.

    Often poorly educated, many of these immigrants form so-called Chinatowns wherever they go, which often leads to illegal activities such as sales of pirated goods bearing famous brand names. A natural progression, says Fordred, is escalating involvement in drug smuggling, foreign currency contraventions, prostitution and wildlife crime.

    A triad is one of many branches of transnational organised crime syndicates which usually are based in China. At least four triads are operating in a number of African countries, including Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

    These are the Wo Shing Wo group, San Yee On group, 14K-Hao group, and the 14K-Ngai group.

    The 14K triad is one of the most powerful criminal organisations in China and the world, says Fordred.

    Criminal groups have recently risen to prominence in Botswana where the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), as well as labour and immigration departments, have become “ideal targets” for a “Chinese mafia takeover”.

    Recently, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) and the Botswana United Revenue Services (BURS) “stumbled” upon information suggesting that a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential candidate was sponsored by an investor linked to the so-called Chinese mafia.





    A money-laundering investigation by FIA and DCEC revealed that the Chinese investor had “repatriated” more than 45 million pula in cash in about 24 months.



    In a paper entitled 'Chinese Organised Crime and Africa' Dr Gary K Busch identifies a link and interaction of Chinese organised criminal structures with African states and their symbiotic relationship with forces of the Chinese state and the military-industrial sector.



    “The cooperation between the triads and the Chinese military companies make it easier to disguise the political aspects of Chinese investment by masking it behind a front of intermediaries with no military connections.



    “The triad structure allows for secrecy to prevail. The triads can, and do, make a lot of money on their own and are not financially dependent on the corporations, which broaden their face in many transactions,” Busch writes.



    Busch says such criminal entities operate in virtually every African state, especially where there is a coast and a mining industry.



    He mentions that Chinese criminals operating in Africa often have niche markets such as controlling the export of wildlife products, buying and trading in illegal ivory and rhino horns, as well as being major buyers of illegally mined gold and diamonds.



    Namibia is not exempt from such crimes, as is increasingly evident from court cases.



    As recently as 2009 Namibia, perhaps naively, did not anticipate that the scourge of rhino poaching in neighbouring South Africa would move across the border because of Namibia's relative success in the management of conservancies.



    The coordinator of the Land, Environment and Development (LEAD) project of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), Willem Odendaal, says this changed with the first rhino poaching case in December 2012 in the Palmwag area.



    “That was the beginning of our problems,” says Odendaal.



    From 2013/14 onwards, rhino, elephant and pangolin poaching escalated and it continues unabated.







    LEVELS OF POACHING







    Fordred says local syndicates work in cahoots with the Chinese criminal giants.



    From 2012 to 2015 seven Chinese nationals and 103 Namibians were arrested for wildlife crimes in Namibia.



    This led the Chinese embassy in Namibia to conclude that local outrage over Chinese involvement in such crimes was largely unfounded because the largest number of suspects was locals.



    However, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) points out that locals are usually involved in Level 1 and Level 2 poaching with very little international resources, access or contacts.



    Level 1 poaching is usually for subsistence purposes; while Level 2 is for commercial gain.



    The Chinese are usually involved at Level 3, or the syndicated, sophisticated organised crime, which is internationally orchestrated and is the commercial driver of wildlife crime. These syndicates recruit large networks of locals to do the actual poaching.



    In a strongly-worded letter in December last year the Namibian Chamber of Environment demanded that the Chinese embassy “put a stop” to wildlife crime.



    The chamber argued that the embassy is responsible for the behaviour of its citizens because Chinese nationals cannot travel independently and appear to be part of a state-supported system.



    Conservation organisations estimate the losses to Namibia's wildlife and ecosystems caused by Chinese nationals at around N$811 million.







    LOCAL PLAYERS







    Local crime syndicates so far identified include Dr Gerson Kandjii and his cohorts who have been repeatedly arrested – and released – on poaching charges.



    This group was first arrested in November 2014 for having poached four rhinos in the Etosha National Park. While out on bail in that case they were arrested for the murder of German industrialist Reinhard Schmidt in the Kalkrand area in March 2015.



    In certain circles it was suggested that Schmidt's murder was linked to plans to introduce rhino to his hunting farm in the Omamas district. He was murdered about two months before the first rhino was to be delivered there.



    This stirred speculation of collusion by officials in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism because Schmidt had to get permits from the ministry for the rhino to be received at the hunting farm.



    The Etosha arrests also resulted in the arrest of Pinehas Auene, the deputy director of marine pollution control in the directorate of maritime affairs. He was released on N$35 000 bail.



    Also arrested was Fillemon Magongo Ilende, a police constable, linked to another poaching case. He was released on N$25 000 bail.



    The 'Karibib gang', which operated around 2010, included Beatus Emvula, Absalom Fillemon, Thomas Iyambo, Jacob Jacobine, Joe Emvula, Otillia Sheehama, Paulus Amakali and Thomas Xoagub.



    Absalom was arrested a month ago for rhino poaching and appeared in the Omaruru Magistrate's Court.



    Fordred says the group around Festus Mazuva, an employee at Nored, changed tack in that they attempted to get involved at Level 3 by trying to directly sell rhino horns in Zambia in May 2016.



    That led to the arrest of Nefuma Stefanus alongside three Zambians, two of whom are air force officers.



    Mazuva, Eben Levi and Tuakutuakumue Mupiam were also arrested and denied bail in Namibia. However, in 2013 Levi was given a presidential pardon. Still at large is someone known only as Ulemo, who allegedly is a nurse at the Rundu State Hospital.







    THE CHINESE KINGPINS



    The most noted wildlife criminals include Chinese national Xuecheng Hou (41), who goes by the street name Jose.



    His company New Force Logistics is currently involved in tree logging at Katima Farm and in the Caprivi State Forest.



    Fordred says Hou is a “main buyer” of African rosewood, which his company has been logging at the Katima Farm since around February.



    Hou was arrested eight times in Namibia between 2004 and 2014 for theft and wildlife crime, although he has never faced trial in any of the cases from 2010 and is out on a combined bail amount of N$100 000.



    A successful investigation into organised wildlife crime led to the arrest of Hui Wang, Li Xiaoling, Li Zhibing and Pu Xuexin, who are now serving 14-year prison sentences.



    Linked to this prosecution, says Fordred, was the arrest of Stefan Geng, who allegedly paid for their accommodation. Stefan is the brother of Zhi Geng, who was arrested with James Barron Wallace for smuggling rhino horn and abalone.



    Fordred says there is evidence of some involvement by Pakistani and Indian nationals.

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     Esau orders recall of new fishing fees Esau orders recall of new fishing fees Fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau has personally intervened and recalled the controversially steep fishing levies announced last month to widespread outcries.
    Coastal permit offices yesterday already displayed a ministerial notice, announcing that permit prices had reverted to the previous N$14 for a monthly permit, and N$168 for an annual permit.
    The issue dates back to last month, when the coastal angling and tourism industry were left reeling after a shock announcement by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources that a monthly fishing permit would be increased to N$1 500, or N$50 per day. Annual coastal fishing licenses increased to N$18 000 per year, up from N$168.
    Esau confirmed that he decided to withdraw the controversial government gazette notice 158 and would order new round of consultations with stakeholders to determine suitable levies.
    The minister said as a Namibian who grew up alongside the coast, he could relate to the myriad of concerns that were raised and the importance of a thriving angling community.
    “We feel there were not sufficient consultations with the stakeholder and members of the angling community, and we need to go back to the drawing board on these fees and levies,” he said.

    JANA-MARI SMITH


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    Government blasts junk status downgradeGovernment blasts junk status downgrade Moody's Investors Service yesterday downgraded the government of Namibia's debt rating to Ba1 from Baa3-, while maintaining a negative outlook. The agency attributed the downgrade to the erosion of the country’s fiscal strength due to sizeable imbalances and an increasing debt burden. The limited institutional capacity to manage shocks and address long-term structural fiscal rigidities was also noted as a factor, while the risk of renewed government liquidity pressures in the coming years also led to the downgrade. “Despite the weakening of its creditworthiness, the country's key credit metrics in the economic, fiscal and external spheres are currently well aligned with those of Ba1-rated peers. The rating is also supported by the country's strong growth prospects in the coming years. However, the maintenance of the negative outlook following the downgrade of the rating to Ba1 reflects the risk that the erosion in key fiscal and debt metrics could be more pronounced than currently anticipated, giving rise to significant funding challenges,” Moody’s stated. Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein said the downgrade was highly regrettable as there was no thorough assessment done on the situation on the ground. “This recent rating acting by Moody’s relied merely on an exchange of emails on a single item, that of outstanding invoices and how government is planning to settle them. This is highly regrettable. A thorough assessment taking all factors into consideration would have been the proper way in dealing with reviewing Namibia’s sovereign credit rating,” said Schlettwein. “The process followed by Moody’s is, therefore, not systematic as we are busy developing the mid-year budget review and better informed ratings action and effective country assessment could have benefited from the mid-year budget review planned for October 2017.” He said the rating agency ignored positive developments reported within the country such as the level of foreign exchange reserves that increased to 5.3 months of import cover during the second quarter 2017. “This is a crucial variable in credit worthiness that cannot be ignored. It is puzzling that at a time when Namibia’s import coverage has increased, Moody decides to downgrade our credit ratings.”

    STAFF REPORTER



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  • 08/13/17--02:27: Free education to fall
  • Free education to fallFree education to fall Well-placed sources at the Central Committee meeting of the ruling Swapo Party were shocked to the core yesterday when President Hage Geingob announced "the end of free primary and secondary education in Namibia because of lack of money." Sources say Geingob announced that school boards will be re-introduced and parents will be expected to start paying school fees.
    In a strange twist Geingob informed the meeting that "it was the late education minister Abraham Iyambo who made a mistake to introduce free education" saying he was against the idea.
    Schools are set to close on Friday this week, a few days earlier, allegedly because of the cost of keeping children in hostel.
    The meeting, attended also by the country's first education minister Nahas Angula, discussed the financial crunch the country finds itself in and there were also murmurings of merging ministries, such as the education and higher education ministries, in a bid to save money. The cost of the poverty eradication ministry was also allegedly questioned with some saying that handing out food is an unsustainable form of combating poverty.
    Read the full story in Monday's edition.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Hamstring keeps Benson out
  • Hamstring keeps Benson outHamstring keeps Benson outVows to comeback Johanna Benson missed the 2017 IPC World Athletics Championships due to injuries. Namibia's poster girl, Johanna Benson, has vowed to make an incredible comeback after an injury-prone season.

    Deemed as Namibia's 'Golden Girl', the 2012 Paralympics gold and silver medallist has missed out most of the events this season due to a recurring hamstring injury.

    The 27-year-old was not part of the Paralympics team which competed in London this year.

    She however competed in the South African Nedbank Paralympics in South Africa.

    “It has been a very difficult year for me because I have been suffering from a hamstring injury.

    “I am however trying my best to get back on the track in order to revive my career,” Benson said.

    Benson rose to fame after her incredible gold and silver medals in the T37 200m and T37m races at the 2012 Paralympics games in London.

    She returned home to a hero's welcome after her heroics, and was dubbed as the present and future star of Namibian Paralympics.

    She has however failed to repeat her 2012 star-studded performance since her victory in London six years ago.

    She managed to win individual bronze medals from 2013 to 2015 in world races.

    “I am a very strong athlete that will never give up, even if the times seem to be tough.

    “All I want to do now is to get back on the scene with great performances.

    “I still believe that I have so much to offer before I can consider calling it a day.”

    She entered the 100 metre and 400 metre sprint, and the long jump at the 2016 Rio games.

    Despite qualifying through to the finals in both races, she finished at the back of the field in both events.

    “Brazil's Paralympics were not so good to me because I did not do well at all.

    “I have been struggling to regain my form, but that will not deter me from taking part in global events.

    “I have the support of my people behind me and that has helped me so much on my road to recovery.

    “I want all my fans to be patient and keep me in their prayers as I make my way to a full recovery.”

    Benson says her desire is to retire from world Paralympics in style in the future.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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    Jooste dreams of completing Desert DashJooste dreams of completing Desert Dash Veteran cyclist Bill Jooste is optimistic that he will complete the 2017 Nedbank Desert Dash in less than 24 hours after missing the cut off-time by just a few minutes during the 2015 and 2016 events.

    The Desert Dash is Namibia's biggest cycling competition and covers 369 kilometres of mainly gravel road between Windhoek and Swakopmund. It must be completed within 24 hours.

    The 13th edition of this gruelling race will be held on 8 December.

    Jooste, 79, competes in the solo category.

    He told Nampa recently he will be fit and ready before December.

    “I am currently working with a biokineticist in Walvis Bay to build strength and endurance,” he said.

    Jooste is also working on his mental strength, which is important when they ride alone at night during the race.

    “Last year, I started very well but as it got dark I struggled with the wind and cold in some parts of the desert,” he said.

    Organisers said close to 900 riders have so far registered for the 2017 Desert Dash. It includes 191 solo riders, 116 two-person teams and 118 four-person teams.

    Event organiser, Leandre Borg told Nampa on Thursday the four-person team category has sold out.

    “We will still allow solo and two-person teams to register because a maximum number of 1 000 participants will be allowed to compete,” he said.

    NAMPA

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Kavango East team ready
  • Kavango East team readyKavango East team readyKunene in the mix More teams have expressed excitement towards the Skorpion Zinc under-17 tournament. The Kavango East Region is busy with their final touches as they prepare the under-17 team for the Skorpion Zinc tournament.

    The competition will take place in Windhoek on 9 September.

    Chairman of the Kavango Football region, Vaino Pieters, confirmed that they have already selected 20 players to represent the region.

    “The team is almost ready and we are confident that the boys will do wonders at this tournament.

    “We have also appointed the technical team which consists of experienced coaches,” Pieters said.

    He feels it is important for the team to win the tournament given the amount of talent at the region's disposal.

    “Our wish is to go into this tournament well prepared in order to come out victorious.

    “The players are very excited about this tournament and we hope they make the Region proud.”

    Kunene region is also busy with preparations for the prestigious youth tournament.

    Chairman of the region, Petrus Tjiveze, expressed excitement over the competition.

    “I can say that our preparations are in full swing and we expect to announce a team by today.

    “We have a very good group of talented players that will definitely be a force to reckon with during the tournament.

    “We also want to win this competition because we have never won it during our previous attempts,” Tjiveze said.

    The mining company has committed itself to N$1.4 million sponsorship for the Namibia Football Association (NFA) to stage the youth tournament.

    The last time the tournament took place in 2015, Omusati Region defeated Oshikoto Region 1-0 to lift win the Skorpion Zinc Cup.

    This year, the competition has drawn defending champions Omusati alongside Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, //Karas and Kunene in group A.

    Group B will see Kavango East, Erongo, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Khomas battling for the knockout stages.

    Group C has only four teams: Kavango West, Oshana, Hardap and the Zambezi regions.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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    Rugby under-20s get pocket moneyRugby under-20s get pocket money The under-20 national rugby team, which is scheduled to travel to Uruguay for the Junior World Rugby Trophy later this month, received a timely boost when well-wishers pledged to provide the youngsters with pocket money.

    The competition takes place from 29 August to 10 September.

    In a media briefing at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Thursday, coach Roger Thompson, said some supporters and parents came together to raise the funds.

    “We have noticed that it is always difficult for the young players to have money to spend or do some activities when they travel on national duty. Most of them are students, either in high school or universities, hence the decision to embark on a fundraiser,” Thompson said.

    Various well-wishers in and out of Namibia have donated wine and cash to motivate the team.

    The wine was auctioned off a few weeks ago to raise money.

    Rae Bjerre, a Namibian based in South Africa, said the idea came about from his previous experience as a young Namibian sportsperson.

    “We experienced the same in our days when we would tour and find ourselves without pocket money. So, I decided I can give back to Namibian sports by initiating this fundraiser,” he said.

    Thompson could not reveal how much has been raised so far as the auditors are still verifying the amount.

    Team captain Prince Haseb thanked all those involved in the initiative and called on his teammates to repay the faith shown to them.

    “I am confident that as a team we will work hard to achieve our goal of bringing positive results,” he said.

    The coach said this year they are targeting to finish in the top three teams.

    He added that preparations are going well, with most players already in camp, including players studying or based outside the country.

    “We are expecting the remaining four players to join camp by next week,” he said.

    This will be the fifth consecutive time Namibia participates in Junior World Rugby Trophy.

    Last year, the team played in the bronze final playoff, where they lost to Fiji by 44 points to 30, to finish fourth.

    NAMPA

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    Ontotwaveta yoRevenue Agency ya tulwa poshitaafula mOmutumba gwoPashigwana Ontotwaveta yoRevenue Agency ya tulwa poshitaafula mOmutumba gwoPashigwana JEMIMA BEUKES

    Ontotwaveya ndjoka ya kala ya tegelelwa koyendji yoNamibia Revenue Agency Bill oya pitithwa moNational Council.

    Ontotwaveta ndyoka otayi ka kwatela komeho etotopo lyolutu ndoka tali ka kala li na oshinakugwwanithwa shokugongela iishoshela yepangelo, pehala lyepangelo.

    Sho a tula poshitaafula ontotwaveta ndjoka muJuni, Ominista yEmona, Calle Schlettwein, okwa popi kutya etulo miilonga lyolutu ndyoka olya simana noonkondo opo ku kwashilipalekwe egongelo lyiishoshela yepangelo.

    Olutu ndyoka otalu ka longa lwiithikamena molwaashoka otalu ka tula miilonga lwolwene oompangu dhawo niilonga.

    Olutu ndoka otalu ka kwatelwa komeho kaakomeho mboka taya kuulikwa kuminista

    Iilonga yawo otayi ka kala okugandja omayele kuminista kombinga yomilandu dha kwatathana negongelo lyiishoshela yepangelo.

    Olutu ndoka otalu ka kwatelwa woo komeho kukomufala ngoka tuulikwa kuminista nelelo lyolutu ndyoka otali ka kala miilonga uule woomvula ndatu omanga komufala ta ulikwa kokondalaka yuule woomvula ntano.

    Etotepo lyoNamibia Revenue Agency otali kakwatela komeho ekondololo ewanawa lyegongelo lyiimaliwa yepangelo.

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    Aathaneki yomatungo yomoshilongo ya hala omayamukulo okuza ku !NarusebAathaneki yomatungo yomoshilongo ya hala omayamukulo okuza ku !NarusebYa hala minista a kuthe oonkondo etokolo lye Aathaneki yomatungo naayaluli yomwaalu nongushu yiitungithi tayi pumbiwa mokutunga oya ningi omatilitho kutya otaya ka konga ekwatho kOmpangu yoPombanda omolwa etokolo ndyoka lya ningwa kominista yiilonga nomalweendo oshiwike sha piti. OGONE TLHAGE

    Ongundu yaanashilonga moshikondo shomatungo otaya pataneke etokolo ndyoka lya ningwa kOminista yIilonga nOmalweendo, Alpheus !Naruseb opo aakwashigwana yaZimbabwe o-29, ya shangithwe nolutu lwoNamibia Council of Architects and Quantity Surveyors inaya ningilwa omakonaakono ngaashi tashi uthwa kompango.

    Ongundu ndjoka oya pula minista opo a kaleke etokolo ndyoka, nuuna a ndopa okuninga ngaashi mboka taya pula oya popi kutya otaya ka konga ekwatho lyopampangu.

    Omukalelipo gwopaveta ngoka ta kalelelpo ongundu ndjoka, Sisa Namandje okwa pula kutya omolwashike epangelo lya hala AaZimbabwe mbyoka ya shangithwe inaku landulwa omulandu.

    Namandje okwa popi kutya etsokumwe ndyoka lya li lya gandja oonkondo opo epangelo li gandje ompito kaanashilonga mboka AaZimbabwe olya pwa ongushu. “Etsokumwe ndyoka olya pu ongushu momasiku 16 gaMei nuumvo na kape na ompango yi li miilonga ndyoka tayi utha ngaaka.”







    Okwa popi woo kutya etsokumwe ndyoka kalya li li na oonkondo molwaashoka amushanga muuministeli mboka, Willem Goeiemann ke na oonkondo dhokuninga omatsokumwe gopashigwana pwaahena epitiko nezimino lyomupresidende.



    Namandje okwa pula opo minista a kuthe oonkondo etokolo ndyoka a ningi nongele okwa ndopa nena otaya ka pula ekwatho okuza kOmpangu yoPombanda meendelelo.

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