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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 473 | 474 | (Page 475) | 476 | 477 | .... | 1152 | newer

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day THE SHOW GOES ON: While the country is in strife following its presidential elections, a Kenyan man sells his chickens by a road in Kisumu. Life must go on and people must eat. PHOTO: NAMPA/AFP

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    Revenue Agency bill passed in NCRevenue Agency bill passed in NCEfficient tax collection and easy access promised The revenue agency will soon be a reality with the bill passed by the National Council, no doubt much to the delight of the finance ministry. The long-awaited Namibia Revenue Agency Bill has been passed with amendments in the National Council this week.

    The bill provides for an establishment of a revenue agency that will be responsible for the assessment and collection of taxes and duties on behalf of the State.

    When he tabled the bill in the National Assembly in June this year, finance minister Calle Schlettwein, emphasised that the agency is important to ensure the fair and broad collection of public revenue.

    “While we have been able to achieve better revenue collection outputs relative to the region, and deal with ethical matters which arise in the ordinary course of business of tax administration and trade facilitation functions, we have to contend with slackness in the speed of tax assessments, audits, refunding and adaptation of techno-centric provision of efficient taxpayer services, including the provision of effective taxpayer education,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the agency will operate in a semi-autonomous status which means that, it will adopt and implement its own operational policies and functions, yet it remains accountable to the minister and the function of revenue and customs and excise policy determination remain vested with the minister.

    The agency will be governed by a board of directors appointed by the minister on the basis of expertise and through a transparent process.

    Their core responsibility will be to advise the minister on any policy relating to the collection of revenue and to supervise and ensure proper control of resources, services, properties, personnel and contracts of the revenue agency, and to ensure all its policies are complied with.

    The agency will be headed by a commissioner, appointed by the minister on account of skills and experience as well as meeting the fit and proper requirements.

    The board is appointed for a period of three years, while the commissioner is appointed for a five-year term. In both cases re-appointment, which is not automatic, will only be done once.

    “The establishment of the Namibia Revenue Agency will usher in a regime of greater efficiency in revenue administration and trade facilitation functions and strengthening of the national institutional capacity to better deal with the increasing complexities of a growing economy and business environment,” Schlettwein said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Hoeseb guilty of murder
  • Hoeseb guilty of murderHoeseb guilty of murder A resident of Otjiwarongo was found guilty of murder, attempt to defeat the course of justice and theft in the incident relating to the death of a 26-year-old woman whose partly burnt body was in October 2015 found on the outskirts of town.

    The court however found the 32-year-old Ivan Hoeseb not guilty on the counts of rape, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

    The partly burnt body of Elizabeth Ganses, 26, was found at Otjiwarongo on 31 October and Hoeseb was charged with murder, robbery, rape, violation of a dead body and an attempt to defeat or obstruct the course of justice by burning the body.

    Judge Christie Liebenberg in his judgment Thursday concluded that Hoeseb's plea of not guilty to the charge of violating a dead body by setting it on fire, is consistent with a guilty mind that was caught out.

    “He had sufficient reason to destroy the evidence. Burning was intended to destroy the evidence,” he emphasised.

    The judge stressed that Hoeseb had no intention to report the case which is consistent with a guilty mind.

    Hoebeb had admitted he strangled Ganses but fell and was unconscious and couldn't tell how long he held her, and when he regained his consciousness, he said he fled the scene.

    “It is a fabrication and therefore the court rejected the version as false. His fall played no material role as to the cause of the deceased's death,” the judge said, and added that the forensic evidence pointed to the continued and uninterrupted application of force on the neck of the deceased as he strangled her.

    Hoeseb at first pleaded guilty to all the charges but he later admitted only to killing her. He pleaded not guilty to the charges of rape, stealing his victim's mobile phone and setting the deceased's body alight.

    Deputy Commissioner Moses Khairabeb said Hoeseb was arrested at Okaepe village in the Okakarara constituency.

    He was apparently found in possession of a mobile phone that had belonged to Ganses. Hoeseb confessed to police that he had killed Ganses and added that before the incident, he and Ganses were socialising at a bar in the DRC informal settlement. They then had sexual intercourse nearby, and that he gave her N$400 as payment.

    Hoeseb also allegedly told the police that while he and Ganses were on their way to a nightclub, Ganses's boyfriend called her and told her to go home and sleep, after which Ganses decided not to proceed to the club. He allegedly insisted that they have sex again, but a fight erupted during which he strangled Ganses and later raped her, removed some of her clothes and set her lifeless body alight.

    He confessed to the police that he had killed Ganses after she had told him she was HIV positive. He said Ganses only told him that after they had had sexual intercourse three times without any protection. He also admitted that he strangled her for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until her body was motionless.

    Hoeseb when called by his defence lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, asked for forgiveness from the family of the deceased.

    He said while in prison he asked his aunt to speak to the family of the deceased but that she was afraid.

    “I accept the court ruling. I am very sorry for what I did,” Hoeseb said from the dock.

    However State prosecutor Henry Muhongo argued that the accused's professed remorse is not genuine.

    He said in the wave of violent crime engulfing the country the court should emphasise deterrence in sentencing.





    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Namibian cooperatives growingNamibian cooperatives growing Despite several challenges, there has been significant development in cooperative activities in Namibia.

    Speaking at the launch of the Namibia Cooperative Policy the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, said there are 146 cooperatives in Namibia with the majority being in the agricultural sector and several others in the mining and manufacturing, financial and arts and crafts spheres.

    According to him, Namibia's cooperatives had a slow start since independence mainly because of low entrepreneurial skills, resulting in high dependency on government and development partners to facilitate cooperative development.

    According to the minister cooperatives represent an effective means of economic inclusion of economically less developed communities into mainstream economies in many countries around the world.

    In both developed and developing economies, farmers' cooperatives, savings and credit cooperatives and housing cooperatives, among others, have organised themselves into formidable economic players that control farmers' markets, banking and micro-finance, and retail in several countries.

    Cooperative economic ownership is one of the six main forms of economic ownership provided for in the regulatory framework of Namibia.

    Mutorwa said the Namibian cooperatives policy is essentially a revision of the 1992 National Cooperative Policy, which has been developed by stakeholders in the cooperative sector and coordinated through the ministry.

    The policy represents a milestone in the development of cooperatives in Namibia.

    According to him the policy recognises that cooperatives are private players that must take charge of their development agenda.

    “It provides a framework through which the government will facilitate cooperative development and conditions under which public goods may be accessible to cooperative members. “

    The policy also provides for an organisational structure including an apex organisation of cooperatives which will facilitate communication and coordination of activities between government and cooperatives.

    “These cooperatives will act as an important link for all Namibians and especially economically disadvantages persons to take part in income-generating activities,” said Mutorwa.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Govt should act on Chinese
  • Govt should act on ChineseGovt should act on Chinese The National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) has urged government to urgently revisit its stand of awarding permanent resident status to Chinese nationals in Namibia.

    Presidential spokesperson of Nudo, Joseph Kauandenge, said it is high time and appropriate that the Namibian authorities control the influx of Chinese nationals in Namibia as it is becoming clear that there are organised crime syndicates operating in this country led and managed by some Chinese nationals.

    According to him, the home affairs ministry confirmed about two months ago that there are around 7 000 Chinese nationals living in Namibia, while 1 350 have been given permanent resident status.

    Kauandenge said that Nudo however disputes these figures as evidently there appears to be more Chinese nationals living in the country.

    “It is worth stating that it is becoming worrisome that more and more Chinese are apprehended almost on a daily basis with our rhino horns, and other wildlife products, yet the entrance of Chinese into this country is not monitored with extreme caution, in order to mitigate and reduce their presence in our

    country.”

    According to Kauandenge the so called mini Chinatowns are also increasing and are becoming fertile breeding grounds for crimes under the eyes of local law enforcement agencies, who do not seem to notice these crimes.

    “The more Chinese nationals that enter this country the more difficult it will be to control the killing of rhinos, elephants and pangolin.

    “Of course one has to admit that these crimes are committed with the help of locals, however the masterminds behind these wildlife crimes are the Chinese.”

    Kauandenge said liberation friendships and help rendered to Swapo during the colonial times by China cannot be used as the reason why Chinese nationals are allowed by the government to plunder and steal the country's resources.

    He said it is high time that the government engage with the Chinese embassy in Namibia and by extension, the Chinese government and make it categorically clear that these acts of treason against Namibian resources cannot be allowed to continue any longer.

    “It is time that the Namibian government wake up from its own induced coma and do what they were elected to do by the Namibian people, to protect all our resources notwithstanding solidarity and all the nonsense of liberation struggle help and friendship with China.”

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Oryx stoners identified
  • Oryx stoners identifiedOryx stoners identifiedMinistry says investigation ongoing The environment ministry is almost ready to close their probe on the stoning of an oryx by Afrikaans-speaking farmers in the south of the country. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is investigating a video of men stoning an oryx to death filmed on a farm in the south of Namibia and posted on Facebook.

    The gruesome video shows unknown men, speaking Afrikaans, stoning the animal before grabbing it by the horns and cutting its throat.

    A voice is heard in the background asking for “another long knife from the car”.

    “We have made progress in the investigation of this case, to the effect that we have identified the farm and the people who were responsible for this barbaric act.”

    The ministry said that it is in the final stages of its interrogations.

    “It is regrettable that this animal was destroyed in such a cruel and illegal manner,” the ministry said.

    The ministry condemned this barbaric and cruel act and further warned citizens to refrain from such cruelty against wildlife.

    It further said anyone who abuses a permit or does not comply with the conditions attached to a permit may not be granted a permit in future.

    The ministry further thanked the public for coming forward with information that led them to identify the place and the culprits involved in the video.

    Anyone who has information about similar incidents should immediately contact the director of wildlife and national parks at 061 284 2518/28 or 081 122 3443, or either the nearest office of the ministry or, the nearest police station.

    “Such actions have severe implications on Namibia's reputable conservation as well as our growing tourism industry,” the ministry further said.

    Earlier this year, a video footage was also circulated on social media showing a leopard which was killed by a group of dogs and an axe.

    This video footage of several minutes, showed a group of dogs attacking the leopard and ripping flesh from the animal while the animal was still alive and while four men stood watching and laughing.

    It is alleged that the leopard had preyed on a number of livestock on farm Okamiparara in the Otjiwarongo District and the owner of the farm is alleged to have set up a spring trap that caught the leopard.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Mothers must not lie in vulnerability grant applicationsMothers must not lie in vulnerability grant applications The gender and child welfare ministry has advised mothers to be honest when registering their children for vulnerability grants.

    Speaking at a community meeting in the Tobias Hainyeko Constituency here on Saturday, the ministry's administrative officer Amos Boois said some mothers register their children for vulnerability grants with false information.

    This, he said, includes mothers claiming to not know the whereabouts of the father or that the father is unemployed.

    Boois emphasised that vulnerability grants are given to children whose parents don't have a source of income or when their income is less than N$1 000.

    “What some mothers are doing is really unacceptable. It is a crime to pretend that fathers are not supporting their children while it is not the case, just to get money from the ministry,” said Boois.

    He said some working mothers apply for the grant when they earn above the N$1 000 threshold, while some don't even live with their children.

    Boois said a mother who does not live with her child should not apply for the grant; the people taking care of the child should submit the application.

    “You find that some children are staying with their grandparents at the village and yet some mothers who are in Windhoek apply for the grant.”

    Boois said that on a monthly basis and after investigation, the ministry declines about 30 applications.

    He emphasised that mothers who registered their children with false information and are found guilty will have to pay the money back.

    The ministry offers four types of grants to orphans and vulnerable children. These are the maintenance grant, foster parent grant, special maintenance and the grant for vulnerable children.

    The number of orphans and vulnerable children benefitting from the grant system as of March 2017 total 285 431 in all four grant categories.

    Each beneficiary receives N$250 per month.

    NAMPA

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Moody's downgrade slammed
  • Moody's downgrade slammedMoody's downgrade slammedSchlettwein labels decision as regrettable The Friday downgrade by Moody's of government's international debt issuances to junk status has been lambasted by finance minister Calle Schlettwein, saying there was no thorough assessment made. Finance minister Calle Schlettwein said the Moody's Investors Service Friday downgrade of the Namibian government's debt rating was highly regrettable as there was no thorough assessment done on the situation on the ground.

    “For this recent rating 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,” the minister said.

    Moody's 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.

    According to Schlettwein, “A thorough assessment taking all factors into consideration would have been the proper way in dealing with reviewing Namibia's sovereign credit rating.

    “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's decides to downgrade our credit ratings.”

    He concluded by saying that the government summons the collective support of all Namibians and calls on the private sector and investor community to remain positive and supportive during the adjustment process.

    “The government recognises that fiscal consolidation takes time to achieve its intended objectives and that implementation of such a policy should avoid the risks of reversal in the development indices, given our unique circumstances.” The corrective policy response, Schlettwein said, had yielded positive results including curtailing growth in spending, reducing the budget deficit over the past two years and diversifying infrastructure finance options, among others.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    Esau recalls new fishing feesEsau recalls new fishing fees Anglers across the country and borders were jubilant on Friday after fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau personally intervened and recalled the controversially steep fishing levies announced last month to widespread outcries.

    On Friday the minister's decision to withdraw the new and contentious coastal angling fees until a new pricing structure is concluded following further consultations, was praised far and wide.

    “This is fantastic news for everyone. Thank you to all for your patience in this matter. It just shows that we live in a very good country, where government is prepared to still listen to its people,” an angler posted on Facebook.

    Ministerial coastal permit offices on Thursday last week 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.

    Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE) CEO Chris Brown pointed out earlier this month that for a family of four, based on the new and now cancelled fishing fees, a month's fishing holiday would have cost N$6 000.

    Brown added that the average wage in Namibia according to the Labour Force Survey from 2014 was N$6 626 per month, which “gives context to the thoughtlessness of the licence fee increase.”

    On Friday, 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 told reporters that 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.

    “In the meantime, the old regime will apply and extensive consultations must be held.”

    Esau said he would personally ensure that before the next proposed fees and levies are announced, he will make sure the suggestions are scrutinised by a special advisory body before he will “say yes or no.”

    Esau said he had especially taken note of concerns raised by communities who feared that the new fees would crush the recreational angling sector and tourism, as well as the impact on individuals whose livelihoods are based on the angling sector.

    The minister said had heard the “outcry and concerns of the communities, who said the new levies would cause serious socio-economic harm” to towns like Henties Bay, a popular angling destination, not only locally but also internationally.

    He said he was also worried of the impact of the new levies on “vulnerable people living along coastal towns, including pensioners, or those who visit the coast to fish for recreation.”



    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Tour bus crash claims one
  • Tour bus crash claims oneTour bus crash claims one A Spanish tourist was killed in an accident this weekend on the gravel road east of Maroelaboom, and 29 others, including one South African driver and two Zimbabweans, were injured in the accident.

    The spokesperson of the Namibian police in the Otjozondjupa Region, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha said the 31-year-old tourist from Spain died instantly after a bus crashed into a bakkie on the Tsumkwe gravel road on Saturday.

    Mbeha said the two vehicles, both transporting tourists, were following each other from the direction of Grootfontein to Tsumkwe.

    The accident occurred approximately 9 kilometres east of Maroelaboom at about 11:40.

    It is alleged that the bakkie travelling in front of the bus slowed down to view a giraffe. According to Mbeha as the bus was about to overtake, the bakkie turned right resulting in the accident.

    The bus rolled several times after it collided with the bakkie.

    “The tourist bus from South Africa allegedly drove into a moving double cab which had four tourists from France.”

    The bus had 26 occupants, including the deceased woman.

    Mbeha said these included 23 tourists from Spain, two Zimbabweans and a 44-year-old driver from South Africa.

    The 25 remaining tourists in the bus survived the accident with slight to serious injuries.

    The French tourists in the bakkie – two men and two women – also survived with slight injuries.

    The injured from both vehicles were taken to the Grootfontein State Hospital and were flown to Windhoek for further medical attention.

    This is the third accident in Namibia involving tourists the past two weeks. Last week Sunday a well-known Israeli photographer was killed and his wife injured in an accident in the north.

    They were travelling with two other Israeli nationals through the country on a photography trip.

    The accident occurred on the Oshikuku/Oshakati main road at the Etayi junction.

    The driver of the Ford Ranger allegedly tried to avoid hitting a donkey in the road and the car overturned.

    Amos Gil, 72, was killed in the accident, while his wife Irit, 66, and the other two Israeli nationals, Joseph Shakaka, 73, and Carmela Heffer, 32 were injured.

    The week before that an Italian tourist was killed in an accident and three other Italians injured.

    The accident occurred on the Helmeringhausen road.

    It is alleged that four Italian women were traveling in a Toyota Hilux when the driver, 46, lost control of the vehicle and it overturned. Ingrid Simona Ungaro, 37, died at the scene.

    The other women sustained serious to slight injuries.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Amupolo venerated at service
  • Amupolo venerated at serviceAmupolo venerated at serviceRecognised as outstanding military man Remembered for his life-long commitment to Namibia's freedom and later, its national army, Erasmus Amupolo was laid to rest this weekend. Thousands of mourners from across the country and abroad attended the funeral of former Namibian Defence Force retired brigadier-general, Erasmus Kayambu Amupolo, who was laid to rest over the weekend.

    Amupolo, 63, died in a car accident on 3 August in Omaheke Region. He was buried at Oshuungu village in Elim constituency in Omusati Region. According to the chief of intelligence services, Philemon Malima, the accident that claimed Amupolo's life was caused by “a Boer who is a former enemy of Namibia.”

    Malima who was the most senior government official at the funeral told mourners that Amupolo defeated the Boers during the struggle, but they had taken his life in a car accident.

    “It is unfortunate that Amupolo's life has been taken by a former enemy of this country. It is a Boer who caused the accident that claimed his life. I do not know whether this Boer was notified that the retired army general was heading in that direction,” Malima told mourners.

    Amupolo and five others died instantly following a head on collision on a gravel road between Dordabis and Leonardville. President Hage Geingob last week accorded him an official funeral.

    According to his eulogy, read by another retired brigadier-general Holden Uulenga, Amupolo was born in Oshuungu village near Elim in 1954. He started his primary education at Elim and continued at Ongwediva. In 1972, he started working for the South Africa government administration in the finance department in Ondangwa. In 1974 he went into exile via Angola.

    In exile he received military training from several countries including infantry and anti-aircraft training from Cassamba in Angola, anti-aircraft battery commander and motorised infantry tactic commander from the former Soviet Union, brigade commander from India, peace support operations from Egypt, command and staff duties and executive national security programmes from South Africa, and multi-national peace support training in France.

    He joined the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) as an infantry member and later became a platoon and battery commander, before he became chief of air defence for the northern rront. In 1983, he established the northwestern front to which he was appointed chief of staff under commander Erastus Negonga. During the 1989 election campaign, he was an armament keeper.

    After independence, Amupolo served in various ranks and portfolios in the NDF which he joined in 1990. He started as a commanding officer for the 262 Battalion as lieutenant colonel. He later became the deputy commandant at the military school and he was promoted to colonel. He was again elevated to brigadier-general and he commanded the 12th and 26th Brigades before retiring in 2014.

    Retired lieutenant-general Martin Shali read messages of condolences from the two former presidents and former NDF commanders-in-chief under which Amupolo served. They all described him as a dedicated soldier who fought for the country fearlessly and served it outstandingly.

    “Amupolo will always be remembered as a pioneer of Plan, as a founding member and a commander. He served in various ranks during the liberation struggle and he also fought many battles. After independence, he served the country outstandingly and he retired a decorated soldier,” Hifikepunye Pohamba's message described Amupolo.

    Founding president Sam Nujoma described Amupolo as a product of the liberation struggle who together with others brought Namibia independence.

    “It is sad that a man who survived many battles during the liberation struggle dies in a tragic car accident. Carnage on our national roads are robbing the country of great citizens,” Nujoma's message read.

    The governor for Omusati Region, Erginus Endjala read message of condolences from President Hage Geingob saying, “He dedicated his life toward pursuing the independence of the country and is among people to be honored during Heroes Day to be commemorated this month. His leadership and military skills prospered after independence. In 1997 he also served in a national duty in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The country has lost a great man,” Geingob said.

    Amupolo is survived by his mother Rauna Nampila, his wife Jutty, 12 children and 15 siblings.



    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 08/13/17--16:00: Free education under review
  • Free education under reviewFree education under reviewSwapo’s Central Committe debates school fees At a Central Committee meeting on Saturday, Swapo's bigwigs discussed the future and viability of continued free education in Namibia. The issue of scrapping free education and reviving compulsory school fees was reportedly debated amongst senior Swapo officials during a central committee meeting on Saturday.

    The subject was debated because government has become deeply concerned that voluntary parental contributions have slumped, despite difficult economic times that have led to education budget cuts.

    Under the current financial year the ministry of education, arts and culture was allocated a total budget of N$11.9 billion, a 3% reduction from the previous year's budget of N$12.3 billion.

    Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa and Nahas Angula, who both attended the Swapo central committee meeting on Saturday where the issue was allegedly debated, would not comment or confirm the debate yesterday.

    Angula told Namibian Sun he was not a Swapo spokesperson, and would not comment.

    Hanse-Himarwa told Namibian Sun on Sunday that she was also not a spokesperson and could not discuss or confirm the topics that were debated at the meeting.

    She however pointed out that reversing free education would not be constitutional and that despite compulsory school contributions until some years ago, education has been essentially free since independence.

    She said access to free education “is a constitutional provision and if we wanted to reverse that, we would have to amend the constitution.”

    She added that since independence “all along, the State has been carrying the costs of education and schooling of Namibian children” adding that if there were no free education, that would mean parents would have to pay for books, electricity, teacher salaries and other related costs of running a school.

    In 2013, with the support of then education minister Abraham Iyambo, government implemented free universal primary education, where parents were no longer required to pay compulsory fees towards the school development fund.

    After David Namwandi took over as education minister, he supported the call to implement free secondary education, which was green-lighted during former President Hifikepunye Pohamba's administration and became effective at the start of 2016.





    While Namwandi would not comment on the alleged debate to reintroduce compulsory school fees, he told Namibian Sun over the weekend that if the plan goes ahead it would be “unfortunate”.

    It was also reported that according to some committee members, instead of implementing compulsory school fees again, government should instead consider reducing costs by addressing a top heavy governmental and ministerial structure, which often duplicates mandates and wastes money.



    Parents must take responsibility



    On Sunday, Hanse-Himarwa emphasised that she has consistently advocated for increased voluntary parental support to education and would continue to urge parents to up their responsibility towards their children's education by funding schools their children attend.

    She said “no parent must be compelled to pay, but they cannot just fold their hands and completely stop supporting government's efforts to educate their children.”

    Earlier this year the ministry reportedly announced that they would consider reducing the free education budget, due to the economic situation facing the country.

    The ministry explained that this would mean revising current school and learner subsidies.

    In her recent state of education address, the minister said that of the N$11.9 billion education budget, 95% or N$11.4 of the total budget is for operation and current expenditure, with N$10.2 billion, or 85%, for personnel expenditure.

    This leaves the ministry with only N$584 million, or 5% of the total budget, available for capital expenditure which she said meant the ministry “has been doing more with less.”

    Yesterday, she reminded Namibian Sun that essentially education has been free since independence, and that before the introduction of 'free education' to secondary and primary schools, mandatory contributions to the school development fund did take into account what parents could afford and was set at a maximum ceiling of 10% of total cost of education for a child.

    “The cost to the school fund was determined by the area the school was located in. In non-affluent areas, the fees were lower than in mid- or high-income areas.”

    She added that these compulsory fees never covered all the costs, which government carried.

    “No parent has ever carried the salaries of teachers, except in private schools. The state has been carrying the costs for utilities, stationary, everything, since independence; education has been free since then.”

    She said scrapping free education would essentially mean government was handing over the reins of these payments entirely to parents and communities, which she underlined, would never be the case.

    She said going forward, government will continue to subsidise education “but parents are called upon, as I always do, to take up the responsibility to support schools.”

    She said parents should take equal responsibility for their child's education.

    “We need parents to contribute a voluntary fee for one or the other activity; parents have to be able to take up that responsibility.”

    The ministry also this month launched the Friends of Education in Namibia Special Initiative (Fensi), in an effort to provide an ease way for parents, the public, and anyone willing and able to pledge various forms of support to the ministry.

    The initiative is described as a “non-bureaucratic and red tape free education basket” that was the brain child of Hanse-Himarwa.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Schools battle online bullyingSchools battle online bullying A new trend in public vulgarity, cyberbullying, character assassination, and online harassment is growing among school learners in Namibia and is a cause for grave concern.

    Online accounts are being created on social media platforms such as Instagram through which learners “confess” their secrets, anonymously.

    The “confessional” accounts also give one the power - through their anonymity - to share a secret about someone else - even if it is untrue.

    Some of the “confessions” include learners claiming to have had oral sex with a teacher, being in love with their teacher, mentioning incestuous acts between siblings while on a camping trip, while other posts are targeted at specific learners by name using crude and insulting name-calling.

    A site known as qoou.me has several of these anonymous accounts that are linked to learners.





    Namibian Sun found at least five accounts which have recently been used are linked to prominent schools in Windhoek.

    These accounts are then connected to an Instagram account.

    The accounts which Namibian Sun found through a search on both Instagram and the qoou.me site, include Nam_Confessions 101, Whk_Confessions and whkgym_Confessions.

    While the Instagram accounts are marked as private and only followers are able to enter, the accounts on the qoou.me site can be opened by anyone. The Nam_Confessions account specifically makes mention of Windhoek Gymnasium Private School, Windhoek High School and Windhoek Afrikaans Private School (WAP).

    Sources also say that WAP learners are apparently also organising “rainbow parties”. Some learners confessed what they did at the parties, on these accounts.

    These parties are said to include oral sex with multiple partners, both male and female.

    According to the creator of the Nam_Confessions account, the page was reported and closed, but reopened again.



    'Many problems'

    A department head at WAP, Abie van Wyk, told Namibian Sun that they are aware of these accounts that learners are using anonymously.

    “We have had many problems with them and so have other schools. Learners are able to say anything they want and we do not know if there is any truth to it or where it is coming from,” he said.

    According to him, the school learned about the accounts through learners complaining about what others were saying online.

    “It is very concerning that someone can just say anything on social media without being held accountable.”

    He said these of anonymous accounts have been around for some time. “We have urged learners not to get involved in these types of activities and warned them about the dangers and how it can ruin lives.”

    Van Wyk said currently, it appears there is no solution to stop these accounts and the following they attract.

    “Our laws are not on that level. We have had similar problems with Facebook in the past, but were unable to do much about it,” Van Wyk added.



    Difficult

    Meanwhile, Ombudsman John Walters told Namibian Sun that he can also not say how this issue can be addressed.

    Walters, however, made it clear that parents should take responsibility.

    “This is just another example of how people are using technology to abuse others. This practice must stop,” said Walters.

    He pointed out that a person's life can be ruined by making false accusations online. He said a good example is the MiWay saga recently reported in South Africa where two employees received hate mail and death threats for a fake “racist” email that went viral on social media, but was actually written by an angry client.

    Walters said education at home and school is therefore very important to teach children to be tolerant towards others and respect each other's rights.

    “The call must be on children themselves and parents, as well as those that know about these accounts, to report them and not take part.”

    First Lady Monica Geingos during the state of education address recently also expressed her concern about the use of social media platforms by learners and cyberbullying.

    She said she is aware of these confidential accounts in which schools are named.

    “Young people are sharing their darkest secrets and protect their own identity, but not that of another child.”

    She said that “if a learner for instance did drugs over the weekend the person would post, 'Sandra and I did drugs'. Now you can imagine the anxiety of Sandra – it's a form of bullying.”

    Institute for Public Policy Research researcher Frederico Links, said that this remains a grey area.

    “If the site is for instance based in the US to shut down the page or take legal action there will be jurisdictional issues to take into account, to apply to have content or the page removed. You will have to approach the US courts.”

    He pointed out that the issue of who will be held accountable remains problematic as the postings are anonymous.

    According to Links, Namibia has no law in place at the moment that deals with cyberbullying or online harassment.

    “You can be found guilty for comments that you make on social media, but how do you make a case against an anonymous person. Who do you turn to in Namibia? All authorities are struggling with this,” Links said.

    He said the proposed Electronic Transaction and Cybercrime Act is attempting to deal with online harassment as well.

    However, he warns that care must also be taken in terms of this regulation not to clamp down on freedom of expression.

    “If somebody finds something offensive, is it really harassment or defamatory, or is it only offensive to you. It is very easy to claim harassment and therefore we have to be clear what we are regulating.”

    The spokesperson of the education ministry, Johanna Absalom, said the ministry is aware of these types of social media sites where cyberbullying is taking place as well as other bullying by learners.

    “The ministry investigates cases once a report or a complaint has been made. Therefore, we encourage all learners and all citizens under the services and within our mandate to come forward.”

    According to Absalom, access to social media and information is a choice of each individual.

    “Therefore, it is not against the law to open a social media account and the ministry cannot close these accounts or prohibit learners from opening them. Schools may choose to look at their current code of conduct to see the provisions around violence and bullying in schools for both learners and teachers. This would guide them on steps that can be taken.”

    The ministry is also working with various stakeholders to develop a website for Child Online Protection (COP), which the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) is currently busy developing.

    In addition, the ministry is also busy developing the National Safe School Framework, which will guide schools on how to prevent violence in schools, including online violence.

    The ministry said it realises the challenges associated with the social media and is taking steps to include COP and also online etiquette in the revision of the Life Skills curriculum.

    It will also look at supplementing other curricula.

    Absalom also said the ministry generally believes bullying indicates an underlying behavioural problem by the learner and therefore schools have a Life Skills teacher and every region has a regional school counsellor to assist the life skills teacher to deal with such behavioural challenges.

    “These behavioural issues may often spring from personal issues that the learner is facing at home or in the community.”



    Engaging bullies

    Absalom said instances of bullying should be identified as early as possible, they must be prevented and when they occur there should be proper support for the child who was bullied and the bully.

    “It is important for the ministry that parents also get involved in order to positively influence the behaviour of the bully and to support the child who was bullied. Bullying at schools, if left undetected and not addressed, can lead to depression in children, poor academic performance and school drop-outs,” Absalom added.

    The ministry said with the development of the National Safe Schools Framework, schools will be guided on developing internal regulations around violence and bullying, which would include responses to cyberbullying.

    Both the director of Windhoek Gymnasium, Fanie van Zyl, and the school's managing director, Colette Rieckert, said they were not aware of the cyberbullying websites.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Shaningua guilty of Joker's murderShaningua guilty of Joker's murder Rodney Danne Shaningua (46) was found guilty of murder with direct intent relating to the killing of the 42-year-old Finnish citizen, Marco Kristian Uolevi Rönni. High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg delivered the verdict this morning.

    Rönni was shot nine times in an apparent road-rage incident after a minor accident outside a bar near the Windhoek showgrounds. The incident took place during the night of 8 to 9 August outside Joker's Bar in Bell Street in Windhoek.

    Shaningua, who had pleaded not guilty to the charges, including that of murder and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, told the court during the course of his trial that he acted in self defence. He testified that when he disembarked from his car outside the Joker's bar, he saw another car with a revving engine driving towards him. He said he pulled out his gun and fired until the magazine was empty, intending to puncture the wheels to fend off the danger.

    Rönni died as a result of gunshot injuries to his chest.

    An eyewitness to the events, Fenola Felix testified that after Shaningua had left the scene, he had driven to his house in Hochland Park, where he removed his car's number plates. She told the court that a friend of Shaningua's brother had offered her N$7 000 bribe for her silence but, on 10 August 2015, she went to the police.

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     Two more tourists killed in crash Two more tourists killed in crash Two Italian tourists have become the latest road crash victims when they were killed in an accident yesterday near Sesriem.
    Nampol spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi said four Italian tourists were involved in the crash. Two men were killed and two women were seriously injured and flown to Windhoek.
    The accident allegedly occurred when the Sense of Africa overlander they were travelling in overturned.
    It is alleged that the driver was not the tour guide and does not have a public driver’s permit.
    The driver escaped without serious injuries.

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    Ohangwena positive about Zinc CupOhangwena positive about Zinc Cup Preparations for the Skorpion Zinc U-17 Cup are under way in the Ohangwena Region.

    The organisers say they will be ready to turn the tables and take the tournament by storm.

    Ohangwena Region's under-17 coach, Lennox Kanyehu, says they have selected a team of 25 players that is to be trimmed.

    As part of their preparations, the Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Oshana regions will host a two-day tournament at the Independence Stadium in Oshakati at the end of August.

    Kanyehu acknowledges that Ohangwena was not in top form in previous years, but feels that they are improving.

    “If players can play more games after this Skorpion Zinc Cup, Ohangwena Region can really improve and perform extraordinarily in other competitions to come,” he says.

    Kanyehu recognises the threat posed by other regions, but is confident his region will emerge victorious.

    Ohangwena is part of group B, along with Oshikoto, Kavango East, Khomas and Erongo.

    “Our region has no youth league, and this is a disadvantage to us,” Kanyehu says.

    SPORT REPORTER

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  • 08/14/17--16:00: AN applauds IAAF outcome
  • AN applauds IAAF outcomeAN applauds IAAF outcomeNaimhwaka sees progress Athletics Namibia (AN) has leapt to the defence of local athletes who did not win medals at the IAAF World Championships in London. Athletics Namibia president Erwin Naimhwaka is urging Namibians to refrain from criticising the Namibian team that competed at the just-ended IAAF World Championships.

    The president feels the five marathon athletes who represented Namibia at the global athletics showpiece did the best they could do.

    Paulus Iiyambo, Helalia Johannes, Namupala Reonard, Lavinia Haitope and Beata Naigambo all failed to collect medals. Iiyambo and Reonard Namupala finished 35th and 37th respectively, with Iiyambo clocking a time of 2:19:45, while Namupala produced a season's best performance of 2.18:51. Johannes finished 19th at the games in London with a time of 2:26:09, while Haitope and Naigambo finished 50th and 30th with times of 2:44:02 and 2:37:24.

    “I think it is about time we start looking at the positive side of things rather than always trying to draw criticism to our athletes.

    “Most of these athletes have had very challenging lives and therefore they are trying their best to make a living. “From my side as the president, I do strongly believe that the athletes tried their very best at the championships,” Naimhwaka said.

    The president's wish is that Namibia will have more representation at the next world championships.

    The country was only represented in the marathon events at the championships. “The marathon athletes have more events to participate in during the season and that is why their chances of qualifying are always high.

    “However, the other athletes have limited track-and-field participation during the season.”

    The other challenge is the lack of resources.

    Naimhwaka felt that Namibia could have had more athletes qualifying to the championships if they had strong financial backing.

    “We try our level best to source funds in order to get the athletes to compete at global events. “Moving forward, we will just have to ensure that more athletes are able to have active athletics seasons.”

    A total of 205 countries were represented in 26 events at this year's championships. The next IAAF World Championships will be held in Doha, Qatar in September 2019.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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  • 08/14/17--16:00: Costa blasts Chelsea
  • Costa blasts ChelseaCosta blasts Chelsea NAMPA / AFP



    Out-of-favour Chelsea striker Diego Costa has launched an angry broadside against both the club and manager Antonio Conte, accusing them of treating him like a “criminal”.

    Costa, 28, has been informed by Conte that he has no future at the club and having been frozen out of the first-team squad; the Brazil-born Spain international has gone home to Brazil.

    He says Chelsea “want to sell me to China”, but has reiterated his desire to return to former club Atletico Madrid, who is under a transfer ban until January.

    “I am waiting for Chelsea to set me free. I didn't want to leave. I was happy. When the manager does not want you, you have to go,” Costa said in an interview published in yesterday's Daily Mail.

    “In January, things happened with the coach. I was on the brink of renewing my contract and they put the brakes on it. I suspect the manager was behind it. He asked for that to happen.

    “They gave me a week extra off, but since then its fines all the way. They want me training with the reserves. I am not going to do that. I am not a criminal and I am not in the wrong here.

    “So, if they need to fine me, let them fine me.”

    Costa was particularly scathing in his criticism of Conte, who led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season at Stamford Bridge.

    “I respect him as a great coach. He has done a good job and I can see that. But as a person, no,” said Costa, who was speaking in his hometown of Lagarto in north-eastern Brazil.

    “He is not a coach who is very close with his players. He is very distant. He doesn't possess charisma.”

    Faced with Atletico's inability to recruit players, Costa said he would rather spend a year not playing than join another club.

    “My desire is to go to Atletico,” he said. I have rejected other offers. They want to sell me to China or other teams. If I'm off, I'm going to the club I want to go to, not the club that's paying the most.

    “I am open to being a year in Brazil without playing, even if Chelsea fine me for a year and don't pay me. I'll come back stronger. If I was in the wrong, I'd go back now and do as they say.”

    Chelsea opened their title defence in disastrous fashion on Saturday, losing 3-2 at home to Burnley, with Costa's replacement Alvaro Morata coming off the bench to score.

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    Mixed emotions as Bolt bows outMixed emotions as Bolt bows out Jamaican Usain Bolt said Sunday he was sad but also excited to bow out of athletics, adding that his disappointing world campaign in London would not change his career achievements.

    Bolt brought down the curtain on his glittering career in dramatic fashion when he pulled up with a hamstring cramp halfway through his anchor leg in the 4x100m relay.

    That meant his final competitive race finished without a medal, Bolt having sealed a bronze in the individual 100m behind American duo Justin Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, and Christian Coleman.

    “It's been a rough couple of days,” admitted the 30-year-old. I always tried my best 100 percent all the time and put on a good show.

    “I'm sad to be walking away now. I don't think one championship is going to change what I've done in this sport.”

    Often compared to American boxing great Muhammad Ali by IAAF president Sebastian Coe for not only his sporting prowess but also the charisma and larger-than-life personality he brought off-track, Bolt made the same link in a final press conference on Sunday.

    “I remember after losing the 100m, someone said to me: 'Usain, don't worry, Muhammad Ali lost his last fight also so don't be stressed about it'.

    “I've proven myself year in, year out,” said the Jamaican, world record holder in the 100 and 200m, winner of eight Olympic gold's and 14 world medals since making his debut in Helsinki in 2005 when he finished eighth and last in the 200m final.

    Bolt insisted that there would be no comeback. “No! I've seen too many people return and come back to sport and shame themselves,” he said with a wry smile.

    “I won't be one of those people. I am looking forward to being free. It's exciting, I'm happy.

    “My whole life has been track and field since I was 10. All I know is track. I need fun and to relax a little bit.”

    When asked what his legacy would be, Bolt spun a line that will be music to the ears of Coe and all at the IAAF, his potential new employers as both parties seek a mutually satisfying position to incorporate the Bolt brand for the advancement of track and field.

    “Continue trying in anything you do, it's a good message to the kids,” he said. “Work hard, stay strong and push on.

    “If you do that, you can be the best you can be. That's a good legacy to leave.”

    Turning to his disappointing 100m outing, Bolt said: “The whole champs has seen bad luck for certain athletes. It has been a surprising championship with lots of shocks.

    “It is just the championships, not to do with me personally. I am always going to leave everything on the track. Everything happens for a reason; I don't know why it happened but it has.”

    And with no mention of newly-crowned 100m champion Gatlin, Bolt signed off with a word on athletes who abuse drugs in sports and what the message to children should be.

    “I have always been strong on doping,” he said. “I've said it; athletes should get life bans if you go out of your way to cheat an athlete.

    “The sport is now on the way back up and we have to do everything to keep it in a good light. I've shown that you can do it without doping so that's what I hope the young athletes will take from it.”



    NAMPA / AFP

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  • 08/14/17--16:00: Neymar impresses on day one
  • Neymar impresses on day oneNeymar impresses on day oneMore alive Brazilian football player Neymar opened his scoring account for Paris Saint-Germain when he scored for the team on his debut at the weekend. Neymar wasted no time in making an impact on the field for Paris Saint-Germain, scoring on his debut in a 3-0 win at Guingamp and declaring he felt “more alive than ever”.

    The Brazilian world record signing was handed a start by coach Unai Emery for the game in Brittany, two days after international clearance came through for his 222 million-euro ($261 million) switch from Barcelona.

    The 25-year-old, at home in PSG's all yellow change kit, played a part in the own goal scored by Jordan Ikoko that gave the away side the lead early in the second half.

    He then set up the second goal for Edinson Cavani with a superb pass in behind the Guingamp defence before completing a comfortable victory with his team's third goal eight minutes from the end as PSG made it two wins from two to start the French season.

    “People think that leaving Barça is to die, but no, it's the opposite,” Neymar told reporters.

    “I'm more alive than ever. I play, I'm very happy, and football is the same. Only the country, the city and the team change, but football is the same.”

    Guingamp coach Antoine Kombouare, a former PSG player, described Neymar as a “phenomenon”.

    “It's been a long time since I have seen such a phenomenon. All his teammates want to play with him and he brings competition,” said Kombouare.

    “Everyone gets more time because of him, he can accelerate and make a difference. We're happy that we don't have to play PSG every weekend.”

    Despite the many distractions of the last couple of weeks, including trips to China, Portugal and the French Riviera and glitzy presentations to the media and PSG fans, Neymar lasted the full 90 minutes.

    He had taken the place of Javier Pastore in the Paris side in the only change from last week's 2-0 win over Amiens, completing a 350 million-euro front three with fellow South Americans Cavani and Angel Di Maria.

    Neymar was one of four Brazilians in the PSG line-up, not including Brazil-born Italy midfielder Thiago Motta, for the game played before a sell-out crowd at the 18,000-capacity Stade du Roudourou.

    Guingamp, a sleepy little town 500 kilometres west of Paris with a population of barely 7,000, may have been a slightly incongruous setting for such an occasion but the match was broadcast live in more than 180 countries according to his new club.

    That was a sign of the interest generated worldwide by Neymar's transfer, which Qatar-owned PSG hope will help them conquer Europe after so far coming up short in the Champions League in recent seasons.

    Emery's side are also desperate to regain the French crown after losing out to Monaco last season.

    “I'm very happy. The main thing was to win. The team played well and I played well,” Neymar, speaking in Spanish, told Canal Plus, after the match.

    “It is always very important to score, not just in the first game. This is a very big challenge for me as a person, but we have a great team.”

    Neymar, playing mainly as an inside left, threatened sporadically in the opening stages before his cross in the 35th minute found compatriot Marquinhos, who headed against the woodwork.

    He then watched as a Cavani free-kick was tipped over by Karl-Johan Johnsson as the first half ended goalless.

    But PSG needed just seven minutes of the second half to get the breakthrough with Neymar involved in the build-up as Ikoko tried to play the ball back to Johnsson and succeeded only in passing it into his own net.

    Neymar then released Cavani with a delightful pass as the Uruguayan slotted home the second goal just after the hour mark.

    All that was missing was a goal of his own and that arrived eight minutes from the end as Neymar finished from close range following a Cavani cutback.

    NAMPA/AFP

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