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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 09/11/17--15:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day SEEING DOUBLE: Janus, the Geneva Museum of Natural History's two-headed Greek tortoise, photographed on its 20th birthday on 3 September 2017, in Geneva. Janus, named after the two-headed Roman god, was born in 1997 at Geneva's Natural History Museum from an egg that had been placed in an incubator. With two heads, the animal would not have survived in nature, but thanks to the attentive care of the museum, the tortoise has beat the previous records of longevity of a turtle with two heads in captivity, that lived only a few years. Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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  • 09/11/17--15:00: Our obligation to pay taxes
  • Our obligation to pay taxesOur obligation to pay taxes One of the factors that have contributed to our country's cash crunch is without doubt the poor revenue collection by the authorities. The Ministry of Finance, largely due to weak enforcement capacity, has struggled over the years to come up with an effective tax and governance system. This has led to a significant undercollection of tax, which is costing government millions a year. In fact, in one of the ongoing court cases, government has reportedly lost about N$3.5 billion due to fraud, tax evasion and money-laundering by Chinese nationals and a local businessman from the coast. Of late the Ministry of Finance has committed itself to strengthening efforts to build revenue capacity in order to effectively administer the collection of tax, among others. Tax avoidance and evasion through under- or non-reporting of income has been an issue for quite some time, with the authorities last year decrying the fact that there was a huge undercollection of tax at the Oshakati office, which has over 81 000 registered taxpayers. It was reported that government collected a mere N$36 million from taxpayers registered with the Oshakati office during the 2015/16 financial year. During this period last year the principal tax debt countrywide stood at N$4 billion. This is uncalled for simply because it affects all efforts to increase economic growth as well as providing high-quality public services such as roads, clinics, schools and programmes aimed at alleviating poverty, among others. We are in full concurrence with the northern businessmen who have taken issue with government for allegedly protecting some foreign nationals when it comes to paying tax. As much as we expect all business owners to conform to the legal obligation of paying tax, government must put in extra effort to avoid the complex tax avoidance from businesses and individuals. We need a proper reporting and monitoring system tasked with overseeing the collection of taxes from all local and foreign investors in a fair manner. After all it is a legal obligation to pay revenue dues.

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    Drug dealer worried about his carDrug dealer worried about his car An inmate serving three years for dealing in drugs and in liquor without a license has lodged an urgent application against the auctioning of his car which was ordered by the magistrate's Court to be forfeited to the State.

    Josef Isaack currently serving his sentence at the Hardap Correctional Facility wants the High Court in Windhoek to grant him access to inspect his car to ascertain whether it is safely stored and that it will not lose its value to unsafe storage conditions.

    Magistrate Mwilima Mwilima on 13 September 2016 ordered the motor vehicle, a Nissan Tiida with registration number N 631 MA, forfeited to the State until the appeals process is fully exhausted.

    Isaack is appealing against the order on grounds that the magistrate erred in both facts and law when he made the forfeiture order.

    “I am afraid that the State will auction my car without waiting for the outcome of the appeal,” he emphasised in his court documents.

    He further said the motor vehicle is in fact still bonded on his grandmother's name who loaned him the money to purchase it.

    Isaack urged the court to grant him an order restraining the State from auctioning off the car pending the outcome of the appeal.

    Isaack, together with Tjilip Boois, Adam Swartbooi and Salmon Richter, was found guilty on the counts of dealing in drugs and dealing in liquor without license. They were sentenced on 13 September 2016 to three years' imprisonment for the drug charge and a N$4 000 fine was imposed for the illegal liquor sales. In default of payment one year imprisonment was ordered.

    Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa is opposing the appeal and argued in papers there is no criminal appeal since the appellant failed to attach his founding sworn statement to the notice.

    She further states that Isaack does not explicitly state the circumstances which render the appeal urgent.

    “The application is simply an abuse of the court's process and should not be granted,” she argued.

    Imalwa stated that she was advised by Hermanus Fleermuys, the clerk of court at the Maltahöhe Magistrate's Court, that no appeal was lodged in relation to the case.

    “The absence of this appeal is evident from the applicant's failure to attach proof of any appeal,” Imalwa emphasised.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 09/11/17--15:00: Land tussle in High Court
  • Land tussle in High CourtLand tussle in High Court The alleged invasion of farm Dickbusch by members of the Aroab Small Farmers Union is now the subject of urgent court interdict.

    The action was embarked upon after the members of the union failed, over a period of about two decades, to be resettled on land the government had acquired around Aroab.

    The land reform ministry and the //Karas Land Board are seeking to obtain an eviction and/or ejection order against 11 members of the union.

    The defendants are Andrew de Juy, Gertjie Witbooi, Piet Mathys, Benjamin Hendrikse, Henry Hendriks, Abraham Jash, Hendrik Abraham, Benedictus Draaier, Johannes Rooi, Wessels Draaier en Petrus Cupido, all members of the Aroab Small Farmers Union.

    However, Gertjie Witbooi, in a sworn statement to the court is arguing that it is a moot case.

    “The pending eviction does not rest upon existing facts or rights in that the ministry and land board seek an eviction order in a pretended controversy, which if granted, shall have no practical effect upon the existing controversy,” he argued.

    According to Witbooi, they wrote letters to the Legal Assistance Centre, the Ombudsman, parliament, the //Karas governor and the land reform ministry in September 2016.

    The defendants individually applied for resettlement on farm Dickbusch on 13 October 2016. Two days later on 15 October, they informed the Keetmanshoop police about their intention to have peaceful demonstration on farm Dickbusch on 18 October. They were summoned to the Ombudsman’s office in Keetmanshoop where the farmers informed the office of their disappointment in the resettlement programme since 1994.

    “We applied for resettlement on 29 farms without any success. On 29 October 2016 we held a peaceful demonstration at Dickbusch,” Witbooi stated.

    He said that within 15 minutes certain Mr Neville, employed at the land reform ministry, came and locked the gates. Thus, he said, they were locked up inside the farm.

    The defendants are now applying for condonation for their failure to deliver a plea within the timeframe allowed by the court.

    They also submitted that due to the oversight of their legal representative, the Legal Assistance Centre and who in the meantime withdrew from the case, they failed to deliver a plea and counter claim.

    “Our legal representative never filed a plea but instead came up with a settlement agreement, Gertjie Witbooi said.

    In their particulars of claim, the ministry and land asked for an order that the 11 farmers remove their property or infrastructure from the land they unlawfully occupied at farm Dickbusch within 30 days of the judgment. They allege the union members illegally occupied the land.

    They want an order authorising the deputy sheriff to remove the defendants from the farm in the event they do not voluntarily vacate.

    The ministry on 1 June 2016 purchased a portion of farm Dickbusch No. 71, in the Keetmanshoop district.

    On 27 January 2017, the ministry and land board gave written notice to the defendants to vacate the property but that they failed to do so.

    “In the premises the defendants are in unlawful occupation of the farm and that the ministry is entitled to obtain an eviction order against them.”



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Namvet wants inclusive law for militaryNamvet wants inclusive law for militaryWant 'refund' if benefits cannot be shared The body said all former soldiers need assistance from the state to be fully reintegrated into society. The Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet) said its members do not demand for 'war veteran' status but rather 'military veteran' status.

    Chairperson and spokesperson of Namvet, Jabulani Ndeunyema, last Thursday said the ex-soldiers have never asked to be recognised as veterans of Swapo's war campaign in exile nor has it demanded inclusion in the Veterans Act of 2008.

    The body says the Veterans Act in any case was legislated purely to benefit some Swapo members.

    “There is a big difference between veterans of the liberation struggle and SWATF and Koevoet who were made to counter the installation of a communist regime in Namibia. Veterans of liberation are military and civilian and because some were not military veterans, they fit in the Veterans Act of 2008. That is why there is no military veteran's Act in Namibia,” Ndeunyema said.

    Namvet has proposed the introduction of a Military Veteran's Act which will cater for ex-Plan fighters as well as former SWATF and Koevoet and members of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF).

    “All military veterans worldwide are entitled to receive benefits from their respective governments. The benefits must be driven by the needs of individual military veterans to address their plight and to eliminate past disparities,” suggested the body.

    Ndeunyema said Namvet has been demanding since 2004 to be considered for benefits enjoyed by former Plan fighters who have also received a portion of the N$36 million which the South African regime had transferred for former SWATF and Koevoet members.

    “If we cannot share their money as we have shared ours because of the policy of national reconciliation, then the Namibian government should refund our money,” said Ndeunyema.

    He said the once-off payment of N$1 300 to each former soldier shortly after independence was wholly inadequate, particularly for those who have suffered debilitating physical injuries or suffer terminal mental illnesses as a result of their time in active service of the military.

    “All military veterans in Namibia are in dire need of adequate healthcare and medical aid support, especially home-based care for the chronically ill, adequate rehabilitation and counselling,” Ndeunyema said.

    He said so far there has not been any comprehensive counselling support to former soldiers, be they former Plan of former SWATF/Koevoet members.



    SHALLI

    Ndeunyema took issue with a statement by former NDF chief Martin Shalli weeks ago who supported President Hage Geingob's stance that former SWATF and Koevoet members will not be recognised as veterans under the Veterans Act.

    “People think we are joking,” commented Ndeunyema. “We know the difficulty of our journey but nothing will stop our struggle to fight injustice from a black government. There are only these things to follow: celebration of a 'one Namibia, one nation' or destruction, death or prison.”

    He added: “I understand the situation in which some members of the liberation struggle find themselves in, including Martin Shalli. His participation in the liberation struggle must not be a prerequisite to have a share in the resources of the country. He must not forget that he was a best friend to [former South African brigadier-general] Karl Ndjoba who worked in the colonial army with me.”

    Catherine Sasman

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  • 09/11/17--15:00: N$400bn reparations 'normal'
  • N$400bn reparations 'normal'N$400bn reparations 'normal'Special envoy says talks are progressing According to Dr Zed Ngavirue, it has taken some time to get Germany to understand the depth of the issue of the genocide and the impact it has had on the Nama and Ovaherero. A huge task in Namibia's genocide dialogue with Germany is to impart to modern Germany the gravity of the damage and loss suffered by Namibians over the erstwhile war atrocities.

    Namibia's latest position is to recognise as genocide the massacre of tens of thousands of Ovaherero and Nama people by German troops between 1904 and 1908. It would also move to tender an acceptable apology.

    “It took them a while to get there and there were obvious problems in how they see 'genocide' and the issue of reparations.”

    Zed Ngavirue said Namibia's monetary claim of over N$400 billion was a normal procedure in reparation negotiations.

    “It is an amount arrived at through investigations and could come in different forms.”

    Namibia's special envoy on the matter Ngavirue feels progress has been made in this regard.

    He said it has been a continuous process of making Germany understand the depth of the genocide issue, for them to ultimately take responsibility for it.

    “To reconstruct our society is not an easy thing and Germany must participate in a meaningful way. At this point, there is a lot of potential for them to do the right thing,” Ngavirue said.

    The chief negotiator said in the sixth meeting with Germany later this month on 28 and 29 September, Namibians will have to prove their case for an official apology and reparations.

    The deliberations that commenced last year, so far served to exchange views and present factual evidence and documents on the case for genocide.

    “It is still a little ambiguous at this stage, but the process has come a long way from Germany refusing to acknowledge genocide and similarly dismissing the call for reparations.”

    Of the ideas passing through the minds of the relevant government committees are issues around land and capital projects such as water and desalination plants in drought-stricken areas.

    “There is nothing concrete yet as there has to be justice to the visible poverty of Namibians,” Ngavirue said, touching on how his extensive travels through southern Namibia impacted on him the suffering of many once-thriving communities.

    He said Germany at one point contemplated improving the Namibia-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP) implemented in rural areas of communities that have suffered during the German colonial period.

    “They knew the special initiative was not adequate and wanted to improve it, but even that shows that they do not understand the depth and scale of the devastation and damage of their actions.

    “Once they do and take responsibility, the process of the development of a people can begin,” Ngavirue said.

    The former diplomat was in Keetmanshoop on invitation by //Karas Governor Lucia Basson to directly update the region's traditional leaders, regional councillors and chairpersons of village councils on the genocide talks.

    NAMPA

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    Swapo members take aim at MbumbaSwapo members take aim at Mbumba Swapo secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba gave disgruntled Otjozondjupa members a cold shoulder when they tried to corner him for an impromptu meeting at the party headquarters last week.

    The party members led by Omatako district treasurer Welcome Kazondunge, demanded a response from Mbumba on alleged irregularities in the party.

    The group submitted a petition to Mbumba on 8 August calling for the nullification of the Otjozondjupa regional conference that took place in June.

    According to the petition, the Swap's top leadership failed to launch an investigation into a series of illegal meetings that were held over the past months in the Otjozondjupa Region.

    When the group arrived at the party headquarters, Mbumba ignored their presence and walked out of the building without acknowledging them. Later, Mbumba told Namibian Sun they did not follow party procedures and had not made an appointment with his office to see him.

    “On top of that, they are led by a district treasurer who is number three at regional level and then they roped in councillors. What am I going to do with a crowd? It is not a rally. We cannot just march to other people's offices even if I am working for them, I am not only working for them,” Mbumba said.

    He added that the party is still busy with the Omaheke Region investigations, saying he will eventually reach all parties with grievances.

    Kazondunge told Namibian Sun that the group does not know what to do next and describing Mbumba's attitude, he said: “Mbumba has no respect” for the party members and forgets that he is in that position because of their support.

    He also questioned why the party has sent investigation teams to other regions with corruption complaints and not to Otjozondjupa.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Lack of money may delay water supply to OkangwatiLack of money may delay water supply to Okangwati The government's current financial situation may delay the provision of drinking water to the Okangwati settlement in the Epupa constituency of the Kunene Region.

    This concern was shared with Nampa by Tjimutambo Kuuoko, who is the chief administrative officer at the Epupa constituency office.

    Kuuoko said that three of the four boreholes that were drilled at Ohamaremba village in the constituency are said to have enough water to supply Okangwati village.

    Ohamaremba is situated about 14 kilometres east of Okangwati which is the constituency capital.

    Confirming the situation to Nampa was the chief control officer at the constituency office, Tjikunda Kulunga, who said although the drilling was completed the process has stopped as stakeholders are busy exploiting all avenues to source funds for this purpose.

    Kulunga told Nampa that the shortage of money was one of the critical topics on the agenda of the constituency development committee meeting held in Okangwati on 15 August.

    “The residents of this settlement need potable water, but funds are not secured to provide them with the recently drilled water from Ohamaremba,” said Kulunga.

    According to Kulunga, an environmental study is to be done to determine where the water pipes will be laid.

    Kuuoko said that the entire process was scheduled to be completed in November, but it does not look possible.

    The provision of potable water to Okangwati will according to Kulunga boost the economy as many institutions will open offices there.

    “Okangwati being the constituency capital through which tourists are driving to Epupa, will attract the construction of lodges, guest houses and service stations which will create jobs for the residents,” Kulunga cited.

    Okangwati residents have been struggling with a lack of potable water for the past 30 years and are forced to consume dirty water from a well.

    The only borehole in the area contains salty water, unfit for humans and animals.

    NAMPA

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    Poultry industry on bird flu alertPoultry industry on bird flu alert Namibia's contingency plan for an outbreak of bird flu has been updated and more stringent import regulations were implemented last week.

    According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) the increasing occurrence of bird flu outbreaks in South Africa have Namibian poultry and egg producers on high alert and strict bio-safety measures are being implemented at the various companies. The situation is monitored closely by the Namibian Poultry Producers Association and regular contact is made with the Namibian Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS), the union said.

    “DVS revised the conditions of import of poultry and poultry products from South Africa. These more stringent import conditions were implemented last week,” the NAU said. According to the union Namibia's contingency plan for an outbreak of bird flu has also been updated. “Due to bird flu not only being transmitted by poultry and poultry products, but also through wild birds, the implementation of very strict bio-safety measures on poultry farms is crucial,” the NAU stressed. These measures by the poultry industry follow an outbreak in South Africa that has spread to several provinces in the past two months. Since the end of June, South Africa has detected 24 outbreaks of the H5N8 strain of bird flu, including 10 at commercial chicken farms and three at ostrich farms.

    The disease has been reported in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and recently also in KwaZulu-Natal, the North West and the Western Cape provinces. Following a complete ban on poultry imports from South Africa, Namibia amended the ban at the end of July. Namibia now allows imports of poultry and poultry products originating from certain areas, called 'compartments', certified by the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to be free of bird flu.

    These compartments must be located 90 kilometres from confirmed outbreaks and the poultry must be slaughtered at approved abattoirs.

    Monthly tests are done at these compartments to confirm that they remain free of the disease.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 09/11/17--15:00: Rhino horn suspect absconds
  • Rhino horn suspect abscondsRhino horn suspect absconds A Chinese man accused of dealing in controlled wildlife products with a combined value of N$320 000 yesterday failed to turn up for court proceedings.

    The fugitive is 38-year-old Zhi Geng, who was arrested on 1 February last year on charges of dealing in 1.5kg of rhino horn valued at N$232 000 and abalone valued at N$91 000.

    His lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, told Windhoek Magistrate Mwilima Mwilima that he did not know where his client was.

    “I tried to contact him but his mobile phone was off,” Amoomo said.

    Mwilima issued a warrant of arrest again and ordered that Geng's bail of N$250 000 be cancelled and forfeited to the state. The case was postponed to 21 September.

    State prosecutor Tatelo Cuthbert Lusepani informed the court that the prosecutor-general had decided that the fugitive and his co-accused, James Barron Wallace, must be put on trial on charges of unlawful dealing in controlled wildlife products, alternatively illegal possession of uncontrolled wildlife products, unlawful export of game products and possession of illicit goods for illicit dealing. The case against Wallace was postponed to 21 January 2018 for plea and trial.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Thieving donkey butchers caughtThieving donkey butchers caught Five suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of 14 donkeys with an estimated value of N$19 000 at Omatjete on Friday.

    Erongo's Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu said the arrests followed after suspects removed the donkeys -belonging to different owners - from a field at Omutuanduko village in the Omatjete resettlement area.

    Members of the stock theft unit followed the tracks to Tsawises Pos 3 in the Khorixas district where four donkeys were slaughtered and 10 animals were recovered alive.

    “One suspect (20) was arrested while four others ran away. Their identities were known and they were eventually apprehended yesterday.

    “Two (aged 31 and 19) were arrested at Otjohorongo village in the Omatjete area. The other two (aged 31 and 24) were arrested at Tsawises pos in Khorixas area, Kunene Region.”

    The suspects will appear before the Omaruru Magistrate's Court today. The investigation continues.

    OTIS FINCK

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    RCC business plan feasible - !NarusebRCC business plan feasible - !NarusebMinister believes RCC can recover on its own The transport minister believes that judicial management is not necessary to rescue the Roads Contractor Company. Works and transport minister Alpheus !Naruseb is still of the opinion that the Roads Contractor Company can be revived and has called for its board to be supported as it attempts a turnaround.

    !Naruseb's comments were in stark contrast to issues raised by public enterprises minister Leon Jooste, who announced last week that the RCC may be placed under judicial management, a development that might make its board and executive management team powerless while a manager appointed by the High Court attends to the RCC's affairs.

    !Naruseb yesterday said if the RCC's business plan was implemented, it would be back on its feet within three years.

    “The five-year business plan which was compiled and submitted to our ministry is economically feasible. The transformation of the RCC will definitely take time, it will take about three to five years… if it happens sooner, that will even be better,” !Naruseb said.

    According to him, the board would be faced with various challenges and would have to make tough decisions during this significant period.

    “The board and stakeholders should engage the RCC accordingly and in support of the CCOPP decision to turn around the company,” !Naruseb said.

    Jooste announced that a cabinet committee had resolved to place the RCC under judicial management.

    Parliament will debate the proposal, and if it is accepted, an application will be lodged with the High Court to place the RCC under judicial management.

    Judicial management is a temporary court-supervised rescue plan. Its objective is to give viable companies which are in financial trouble a more even chance to rehabilitate and be restored to profitability.

    Jooste had previously said judicial management was the best option for the RCC.

    “We are convinced that as we looked at all the options for the RCC, our collective decision is that this is the preferred option for the RCC,” Jooste said.

    During that time, the shareholder (the government) and the board will have no power over the parastatal.

    “If the board were to decide to oppose this decision, the shareholder will have no other choice but to dissolve it and replace it with an interim one,” Jooste said.

    He said the current and former boards had been part of the entire process.

    At the end of the process the judicial manager will recommend whether the company should be wound up or whether there is a chance to salvage it. In the end the shareholder will have to decide the fate of the company.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    I don't subscribe to factions – AngulaI don't subscribe to factions – Angula Swapo member Nambata Angula says her nomination for a central committee seat at the November congress is guided by her commitment to nation building and not by mere factionalism.

    Responding to an article that appeared in last week's Namibian Sun, Angula denied allegations that she was linked to a faction within Swapo that was opposed to the candidacy of Hage Geingob as party president.

    “I don't subscribe to factionalism,” she told Namibian Sun yesterday. “I worked through the structures of the party to be where I am today. I am guided by the conviction to work towards nation building and unity.” Angula was recently nominated to stand as a candidate for the central committee of the ruling party at this year's congress. She was nominated alongside Khomas Region Swapo leaders such as businessman Desmond Amunyela, John Elago and Mirjam Onesmus.

    Angula currently serves as Windhoek East district information and mobilisation officer of the Swapo Party Women's Council. By virtue of her position, she is an executive member of Swapo's Windhoek East district.

    As per the Swapo constitution, she was nominated as a delegate to the elective congress and in addition to stand for a central committee post.

    Angula is a former member of the Swapo pioneer movement and the youth league.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    International help against syndicatesInternational help against syndicatesPoaching is an international crime Namibia is one of five countries where the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement is directly involved in the fight against wildlife crime. The American government is aware of several international syndicates that focus on poaching as their main source of income.

    In an effort to combat this growing cross-border crime, the American Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement is working with several countries, including Namibia.

    During a teleconference held last week Thursday, the deputy assistant secretary in the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Daniel Foote, told members of the media that he could not provide any details regarding the syndicates as the matter was under investigation.

    However, he did say that it was encouraging that through the cooperation with American authorities, there has been an increase in the confiscation of contraband as well as arrests.

    He made mention of the two international senior managers who were arrested for trading in ivory through a joint operation between Congolese, Zambian and American agencies.

    At the Entebbe airport in Uganda, at least 30 consignments of ivory have been confiscated this year, he said.

    “We are currently working with Namibia and law enforcement agents are attending all the training opportunities we offer.”

    According to Foote, Namibia is one of the countries where cooperation has reaped the greatest rewards and is one of the few that has an early-warning system in place.

    During July, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), along with the US, donated N$23.4 million to the environment ministry to combat the illegal trade in wildlife products. The donation was made available by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

    Implementation of these conservation projects will be done along with the Intelligence Support Against Poaching (Isap) group, the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), the Natural Resources Working Group and the Save the Rhino Trust.

    Foote told members of the media that the illegal trade in wildlife was not only destructive to the environment but undermined justice, encouraged corruption and advanced instability.

    His bureau is currently active in 30 countries, working to strengthen legal frameworks and fighting wildlife crime and Namibia is one of the five countries where the bureau is directly involved. The other countries are South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.

    Zambia and Malawi are soon to follow suit. A training centre in Gaborone, Botswana facilitates this work.

    Foote said they were cooperating with the United Nations as well as Interpol. His government had allocated US$50 million to combat wildlife crime and more than half of this had been used in Africa.

    He added that financial losses were great for countries where poaching was rife.

    “Poaching is a low-risk, high-income activity. Often, punishment for these criminals is far too lenient as it is considered an environmental matter and not international crime.”

    Foote said there was increasing evidence that terrorist groups such as the Islamic State, Al Shaabab and the Lord's Resistance Army were using wildlife products to finance their operations.

    “These criminal organisations exploit poor communities who are the ones to deliver the poached products to the middlemen. Bribery is also common where environmental and customs officers are bribed to let products through.”

    ESTELLE DE BRUYN

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    Major job losses in agri sectorMajor job losses in agri sector The agricultural sector has lost a massive 89 540 jobs between 2014 and 2016 when the country was suffering consecutive drought years.

    The sector, which is one of the largest employers in the country and also one of the biggest contributors to the GDP, shed more than 50% of its jobs during this period.

    During 2014 a total of 165 000 people were employed as skilled labourers in the sector. This figure dropped to 75 714 last year. This is according to statistics released in the 2016 Namibian Labour Force Survey in comparison with the same survey conducted in 2014. The survey also shows that skilled agriculture, which was the number one occupation in the sector in 2014, accounting for 23.2% of the total jobs, had dropped to fourth position to account for 11.2% in 2016.

    The agriculture, forestry and fishing economic sector remains the biggest employer in Namibia, accounting for 20.1% of the labour force. In 2014 it accounted for 29.5% of the labour force.

    Last year there were a total of 477 558 people classified as employees, with the largest number coming from this sector (59 672).

    About 132 422 of the total employees were own account workers. This group of people were also more concentrated in the agricultural sector, according to the survey.

    “The unpaid family workers who made up 25 865 of employees were also concentrated in the agriculture and forestry sector with 11 966 people.”

    According to the 2016 survey more males (70%) than females (29.5%) were working as subsistence farmers with paid employees and the total number of subsistence farmers employing people slightly increased from 5964 to 8 958.



    The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says there has been a big shift of job opportunities from the rural areas to urban areas.



    According to the data, urban employment increased from 390 394 jobs in 2014 to 415 178 jobs, while in the rural areas it decreased by 41 5178 to 261 707 during that period.



    “From the above it is clear that jobs increased by 6.3% in urban areas since 2014 whilst they have decreased by 18.8% in rural areas,” the union said.



    The statistics furthermore show that the livelihoods of 58 878 subsistence farmers or communal farmers are vulnerable.



    According to the labour force survey these people are unlikely to have formal work arrangements or access to benefits or social protection programmes, and they are more at risk to the effect of economic cycles.



    “As presumed, all the job losses in agriculture were in the categories communal or small-scale farming and were most probably due to the drought. Communal and small-scale farmers are very vulnerable to droughts,” said the NAU.



    The labour force survey added that the average monthly wage of a person in the agricultural sector is about N$2 252 in 2016. This was up from N$2 114 in 2014.



    Based on the Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) wage survey, there are about 35 000 job opportunities in commercial agriculture (4 000 employers and 31 000 employees). Commercial agriculture thus comprises 26% of the total agricultural sector.



    The average basic monthly pay of permanent employees on commercial farms amounted to N$1 975.12, while their total remuneration package amounted to N$3 320.64 on average.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Playing with fire ends in tragedyPlaying with fire ends in tragedy Two children, aged four and five, burned to death in the Omusati Region on Saturday after they set their shack on fire.

    The incident happened at Okafitu Kalyokotsandi village in the Tsandi constituency at around 16:00.

    According to the police report, Klaudia Matias (5) and Nestory Sheetheni Wilbard (4) were left home alone when their parents went to a funeral in the same village.

    It is alleged that the children were playing with fire. Apparently they set alight a traditional basket in the homestead and went to hide in the shack. The fire spread to the shack and they were trapped inside.

    At Mariental in the Hardap Region, the body of Gavin Barman (23) was discovered at the Hardap irrigation scheme on Saturday morning.

    It is alleged that Barman had fallen into the canal while walking to work and drowned.

    When he didn't turn up at work and didn't answer his mobile phone, people followed his tracks and found his sandals and hat floating in the canal.

    His body was recovered from the water. No foul play is suspected.

    In the Khomas Region the police are investigating a case of attempted murder after a shooting at a bar. A 20-year-old man was wounded at the Weekend Bar in Katutura's Damara Location on Saturday night.

    According to the police the suspect entered the bar with a pistol in his hand and started shooting at someone else. A bullet hit the victim in the abdomen.

    The victim was rushed to Katutura State Hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition.

    The suspect also had to be rushed to hospital after some people at the bar attacked him. The suspect escaped from the hospital and the police are still after him.

    In the Erongo Region, a 19-year-old woman was gang-raped at Uis last Saturday night.

    The complainant filed charges against three suspects, aged 17 and 18. The three were arrested and appeared before the Omaruru Magistrate's Court yesterday.

    The complainant was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when the incident happened. After hearing from her friends what had happened, she reported the matter to the police and was taken to hospital for a medical examination.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 09/11/17--15:00: Mass housing fallout rages
  • Mass housing fallout ragesMass housing fallout ragesInsiders hint at cover-up Essential information about the mass housing initiative was reportedly kept quiet by the line minister to justify the stoppage of the project. The minister of urban and rural development, Sophia Shaningwa, and other high-ranking officials are accused of being sparse with the truth about the disgraced multibillion-dollar mass housing programme.

    The minister is reportedly trying to “save face” after President Hage Geingob put an abrupt stop to the mass housing project after she had made a submission to cabinet justifying the stoppage of the project, presumably as an attempt to “stop the bleeding”.

    The perception this created was that there was widespread corruption in the awarding of the tenders.

    NHE insiders claim that the cabinet approved Shaningwa's submission without any further digging.

    One of the things they feel should have been considered was a subsequent N$3.5 million report by quantity surveyors, which found that the prices of the mass houses, contrary to public perception, were in fact not inflated but were below market value.

    The sources, preferring anonymity, further said that the NHE at no point during the execution of the first phase of the mass housing project had received any money from central government for it.

    Instead, the NHE had borrowed N$220 million from a local institution to capitalise the first phase of the mass housing project.

    They insisted that not a cent of the project money was unaccounted for at NHE.

    Despite these facts having come to light, the insiders say cabinet and Shaningwa preferred to remain silent while former NHE CEO Vinson Hailulu's public image was tarnished.

    “The withdrawal of the mass housing project from the NHE was a vote of no confidence in the parastatal. None of the key allegations minister Shaningwa had presented to cabinet were substantiated.

    “Yet, the government did not come out and put the record straight. They want to catch Hailulu by artificially elevating issues to corruption levels,” the sources said

    The explosive accusation levelled against Shaningwa and other officials come after the NHE board accused Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director-general Paulus Noa of dereliction of duty for not following up on possible fraud and corruption reportedly emanating from an investigation by Deloitte & Touche.

    The sources claim that Shaningwa, not the NHE board, had handed over the Deloitte report to the ACC and demanded further investigation into certain alleged irregularities in the awarding of certain mass housing contracts.

    Noa refused to do any investigation, arguing that it was an administrative matter that should be dealt with internally.



    Deloitte report

    The insiders claim that the Deloitte report was not a forensic investigation, but merely an assessment of the NHE board to familiarise itself with the workings of the parastatal.

    This assessment cost the cash-strapped parastatal more than N$750 000.

    From discussions on the Deloitte report at an NHE board meeting on 17 January, the report “overall” showed that the NHE books “were not in order and require rectification”.

    Findings ranged from duplicate entries in the loan book, as well as missing files and documents.

    The new board under the chairpersonship of Sam Shivute then was of the view that disciplinary measures should be taken against senior employees responsible for recurrent wrong entries.

    Deloitte on 7 March presented a report to the NHE board on an additional audit carried out on certain aspects of the loan book.

    It pointed out that client data was not fully maintained.

    Deloitte suggested that the NHE introduce an automated system and improve its historic data, among other things.

    However, both Hailulu and former senior manager for technical services and property management Uazuva Kaumbi were exonerated from allegations of misconduct in the awarding of mass housing tenders.

    A record exists that showed that Kaumbi had declared his interest on a Lüderitz project in which his son had shareholding in the contractor company. However, the selection and recommendation of the Lüderitz project were done by the technical division, which Kaumbi headed.

    It was also found that Hailulu had recused himself from participating in the award of the Otjomuise project because the subcontractor, Titus Nakuumba, is related to his wife.

    The NHE tender policy did not compel recusal on account in an event of conflict of interest

    The report did, however, find that tender processes related to other NHE programmes outside mass housing, “were in the main [flawed] and disregarded in a number of instances”.

    It found that in some cases contractors awarded tenders were not competitive and in some cases contractors were “simply hand-picked”.



    Other projects

    “The tender policy that was in use at the time of mass housing and during certain awards such as for Oruhapo (contractor for the Lüderitz project) and Kata Investment (contractor for Otjiwarongo project) was not as per best practice,” the March NHE board minutes stated.

    Oruhapo got a N$24.6 million contract to build 79 houses.

    Kata Investments reportedly did not meet the requirements and failed to meet the deadline for submission of the bid.

    It got a N$16.5 million contract to build 71 houses in Otjiwarongo.

    Kata Investments CC is co-owned by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba's daughter, Kaupumhote, and Taschiona !Gawaxab, daughter of former Old Mutual Africa's managing director, Johannes !Gawaxab.

    Minister Shaningwa was not available for comment. Her office also did not respond to questions sent last week.



    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Gladiators to lean on foreign based playersGladiators to lean on foreign based players The Namibian senior national women's football team, Brave Gladiators, will meet Botswana in Luveve Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe today in their first match of the 2017 Cosafa Women's Championships.

    The tournament will run from today to 24 September and the team will depend on the experience of European based duo Zenatha Coleman who plies her trait for Lithuana and Veweziwa Kotjipati who plays for Germany.

    Coleman helped her side Gintra University in northern Lithuania win the Baltic Women's Football League. She is the top goal scorer for her side and remains the only Namibian footballer to be nominated for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women Footballer of the Year award, after her outstanding display for the Brave Gladiators at the 2014 African Women Championship. Kotjipati, who plays for club Armenia Bielefeld, brings high level of discipline, commitment and hard work to the team as well.

    The two are expected to aid the team through the group stages as the Gladiators are heading to their third regional football showpiece with a lack of game time.

    This however, does not deter coach Brian Isaacs who is positive the ladies will emerge from the group stage.

    “I'm positive the ladies will do us proud in Zimbabwe. We have done all we could in terms of preparations and they have what it takes to reach the next round. Facing Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa will be challenges we need to overcome as a team and the ladies know they need to believe in their own abilities for us to achieve this,” Isaacs explained before departure.

    He also said that the European duo of Coleman and Kotjipati bring a new dimension to the team and gives confidence to the other players.

    Captain of the team Uerikondjera Kasaona said the team spirit is great. Preparations for the tournament went well. “We are not here to participate but to compete and I'm positive that we will bring something home,” she said speaking from Bulawayo.

    After today's game the team will face South Africa on 15 September and finish off against Lesotho on 17 September.

    The Gladiators squad: Agnes Kauzuu, Melisa Matheus, Iina Katuta, Uerikondjera Kasaona (captain), Twelikondjela Amukoto, Stacey Naris (vice-captain), Lorraine Jossop, Ester Amukwaya, Vewe Kotjipati, Juliana Skrywer, Millicent Hikuam, Thomalina Adams, Zenatha Coleman, Memory Ngonda, Shirley Cloete, Lovisa Mulunga, Elmarie Fredericks, Elina Uulumbu, Anna-Marie Shikusho and Twanyanyukwa Anstino.

    –Additional reporting NFA

    Limba Mupetami

    Caption

    TROUBLE MAKER: Zenatha Coleman will be one to watch at the tournament.

    Photo: FILE

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    ACC still probing boxing boardACC still probing boxing boardN$2 million investigation continues It will be a long way to go before the ACC can bring any of the former Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board members to book. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has revealed that it is far from making any arrest in the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board's alleged mismanagement of N$2 million saga.

    In April this year, it was announced that the ACC had launched an investigation into a series of irregularities dating back to 2015. More than N$2 million was suspected to have gone missing during the era of the previous board.

    The former board members were Kelly Nghixulifwa (chairman), Ellison Hijarunguru (vice-chairman), Ambrosius Kandjii, Shitaleni Herman and lawyer Slow Murorua.

    ACC chief investigator Nelius Becker admitted that the case would take longer than expected.

    “It is a long way to go before we can make any arrest because we still have to go through all the documents and ensure that a thorough audit is done.

    “I can tell you that we are in possession of the documents, but it will not be a fast process to investigate the matter,” Becker said.

    Ellison Hijarunguru (chairman), Ronald Kurtz, Philip Mwandingi, Kenny Hepundjua and Victoria Hamunyela last year replaced the former board. Hepundjua parted ways with the board a few months ago.

    The new board has had its troubles with promoters and its former administrator, Joe Kaperu was dismissed this year.

    The ACC investigation into the boxing board followed another case in which Walter Haseb and Ivonne Nande were arrested for allegedly misappropriating N$4.9 million at the Namibia Sport Commission.

    Becker yesterday said that the boxing case was even more complicated than the NSC probe.

    In the NSC case, the investigation started in 2011.

    It found that cheques made out to various sport bodies were cashed by the two officials, usually for the maximum allowed amount of N$100 000 per cheque.

    The cash never reached the sport organisations and no supporting documentation could be found for the expenditure.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: Uruguay defeat Namibia
  • Uruguay defeat NamibiaUruguay defeat Namibia Namibia's junior rugby team finished fourth in the under-20 World Rugby Trophy competition held in Uruguay.

    Namibia lost the bronze final at the Estadio Charrúa in Uruguay on Sunday, going down 34-12 against the hosts.

    The five-tries-to-two performance capped what had been an excellent tournament for the Teritos. Their set piece was a hallmark of Uruguay's success throughout and a scrum won against the head set up the opening try for Santiago Civetta.

    Namibia conceded a penalty and the Teritos opted for a put-in over their own and made it look easy, walking over the line as their opponents disintegrated.

    Despite the abominable conditions, Uruguay did their best to play positive rugby. Martín Fitipaldo entered the line and nearly broke clean through. The speedy winger was halted but after a couple pick-and-go phases from in close, Guillermo Pujadas forced his way over with help from front row mate Agustín Sosa.

    With the Teritos knocking on the door and looking odds-on for another score Cliven Loubser stretched an arm out and picked off a pass inside his own 22, racing more than 80 metres down the pitch to score completely against the run of play. The flyhalf converted his own try to make it a one-score game.

    It looked as though that score might carry through to the half but Loubser's opposite had other ideas. With the Teritos on attack Juan Martín Cattivelli opted for a snap drop goal and somehow got the bounce right in the muck to send it over the crossbar.

    Namibia were still in the game early in the second half and again it was by virtue of a Uruguayan mistake. Juan Nicola's box kick attempt was charged down and after several attempts at the goal line, big lock Adriaan Ludick reached over the ruck to dot the ball down and close the gap to only three.

    That would be as close as they could get, however, as Uruguay controlled the rest of the match. The scrum walked over for a second Civetta try and then a lovely cross-kick from Cattivelli found its target in the form of Fitipaldo. The final act of the game would see replacement hooker Matías Aboy adding one more try, with Alejo Piazza's third conversion bringing an end to proceedings.

    So closes a very positive competition for the Teritos who have been arguably the tournament's most impressive team outside of the calamitous opening weekend.

    AMERICA RUGBY NEWS

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