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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: Meatco listens to producers
  • Meatco listens to producersMeatco listens to producers Meatco's farmer liaison meetings for communal areas commenced in the Kunene and Otjozondjupa regions last month.

    According to Meatco, its business environment continues to change due to many external forces and therefore it is important to continuously engage with its key stakeholder which is the producer. These meetings aim to engage farmers on issues affecting them as valuable stakeholders to Meatco's business model. The meetings were presented under the theme, “The future of livestock farming in Namibia - where to from here”.

    The Kunene regional governor, Angelika Muharukua, welcomed Meatco to the region's capital, Opuwo, saying the region needs development and that visits like these provide platforms that enhance the sustainability of farming in the area. During the meetings Meatco touched on various issues affecting the business and highlighted to the farmers how to create sustainable farming.

    Meatco's executive for stakeholder relations and corporate affairs Vehaka Tjimune said farmers have to develop their cattle-farming methodology. Going forward, this can only be done by addressing personnel and industrial challenges by working closely with farmers' associations.

    Elias Leopoldt is a 63-year old farmer from Opuwo who was amongst the farmers attending the meeting. Leopoldt, a father of three and former employee of Meatco's Oshakati abattoir, said life has not been easy.

    “Closure of the northern abattoirs has had a negative impact on farmers in the Kunene Region since they make a living from farming by selling their cattle to pay for their children's education and medical bills.”

    With Namibia recovering from a post-drought year and farmers facing many other challenges such as animal disease and herd restocking Fillipus Tjiteere, who farms in the Okakarara area, thanked Meatco for the informative session held with them.

    He urged farmers to use the information shared through platforms like these, to take farming to the next level. He encouraged them to read Meatco's publications that are distributed at these meetings and that are aimed at assisting with sustainable farming. He concluded by saying that Meatco has become a good friend to farmers, therefore it remains important to foster good working relationships between all stakeholders. Meatco will continue to host more engagement meetings with farmers in both communal and commercial areas this year. More information surrounding these meetings will be communicated through the relevant channels.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: Mom & daughter rock it
  • Mom & daughter rock itMom & daughter rock it Mother-daughter farming duo Adolphine and Ujama Mushimba inherited a family farming business that they have elevated to such an extent that they were amongst the Top 10 Meatco Producers for May 2017.

    Meatco chatted with Ujama to find out more about them and their flourishing business.

    Meatco: In which area do you farm?

    UM: In the Okahandja district bordering Hochfeld.

    Meatco: When did you get into the farming business?

    UM: I'm a second-generation farmer who took over the business after my father passed away a few years ago. The farm was technically not fully commercial, so I undertook to make it fully commercial in 2014, even though my father had been a producer for 10+ years before that.

    Meatco: Is it tough being an emerging farmer in the industry?

    UM: I think all farmers generally face what I do; lack of experience, not understanding the farming culture and of course taking over during a drought made wrapping my head around the operations and sustainability a challenge.

    Meatco: Considering you are a second-generation farmer, do you see yourself as a natural farmer?

    UM: Farming has grown on me, since I wasn't exposed to farming as much as I am now. Now I know a lot more about farm management, animal health and I am enjoying it. I am definitely a farmer who loves the farm.

    Meatco: Do you take care of all the operations?

    UM: It's a family business so all of us are involved, and we were blessed having the herd numbers we had when we inherited the farm from my father.

    Meatco: How can Meatco assist farmers?

    UM: As an emerging farmer it would be nice to get advice and assistance from technical advisors especially regarding our herds. Having that interaction would be greatly beneficial to many emerging farmers who have just started to produce for Meatco. Being at the farm and offering support in terms of how one can improve the animal quality and be a better producer would be greatly appreciated beyond the financial relationship.

    Meatco: Any advice to other emerging and future farmers?

    UM: Look at this as a long-term business, since farming is not an overnight success. I started by educating myself, by doing farming courses and learning to understand animal health, self-education on Meatco loading, animal grading and getting really hands-on. It's important to upscale in any industry that one gets into. But it is a technical industry where some periods are better than others, so look at it in the long-term.

    Meatco: What have the highlights of being a producer been thus far?

    UM: Being a Monthly Top 10 Producer is certainly a highlight. We push to produce A0 and A1 cattle as a team when selecting a load. Another highlight is having being able to withstand the worst of the drought without being as hard hit as other farmers that I know of. I believe stockpiling everything helped.

    Meatco: What could Meatco do better?

    UM: Strengthening programmes for emerging farmers would be greatly appreciated. I'm one of those farmers who don't see any other option since I like Meatco's consistency. I sell whatever the price may be, but the revenue is guaranteed as I'm not in the business of fluctuation. Yes, we all have issues with the price here and there but I certainly enjoy the fact that Meatco keeps with the times by adding new initiatives like the futures contract.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    Windhoek plagued by abortionsWindhoek plagued by abortionsStorm of cattle abortions hit the district With a large number of cattle abortions reported in the Windhoek district, authorities are scrambling to find out what the causes are. Large numbers of cattle abortions have recently been reported in the Windhoek district.

    These reports originate from various farms, with losses ranging from five to 45 and even 128 on certain farms. It is suspected that the incidences of these abortions occur wider than expected.

    According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), numerous samples have been submitted to the Windhoek Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) as well as to Onderstepoort and PathCare, in South Africa. Thus far only the bacterium Enterococcus casseliflavus has been identified, which is not known to cause abortions. Tests for other known venereal diseases have been negative thus far.

    Although most of the abortions that were reported have taken place between three to six months, there were also reports of older calves aborted. It seems that symptoms vary, but one is the presentation of high fever in the cow shortly before aborting.

    Abortion is usually defined as the production of one or more calves between 50 and 270 days of gestation; with calves being born dead or surviving for less than 24 hours. On a practical basis most abortions occurring during the second and third month go undetected until the cow fails to calve or returns to heat, so abortion rates are usually calculated from cattle that abort from 120 days onwards.

    Most herds have an abortion rate of around 1 to 2%, so a single abortion is no cause for alarm.

    According to the NAU, government and private veterinarians are working closely together to identify the cause of these abortions. “As much as possible information is needed and it is crucial to report any incidents of cattle abortions to the CVL or veterinarians.”

    For proper diagnosis at the laboratory, farmers are urged to wrap the aborted foetus and afterbirth in a plastic or any waterproof container and refrigerate or keep in a cool place, but do not freeze.

    This sample can be taken to the nearest veterinary office or straight to the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Windhoek.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: Where are the houses?
  • Where are the houses?Where are the houses? The implementation of the Mass Housing programme is proving to be a shameful affair. So far, about 3 500 houses have been constructed under this programme since it was launched by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba to build 185 000 houses by 2030. Many promises were made during the inauguration of the programme, including the announcement that government would built 8 800 housing units in the first phase. This programme has since been put on ice after unsubstantiated allegations were levelled against the previous National Housing Enterprise (NHE) regime headed by Vinson Hailulu.

    This newspaper reported that the minister of urban and rural development is allegedly trying to “save face” after an abrupt stop was put to the Mass Housing project following a submission to Cabinet justifying the stoppage of the project, presumably as an attempt to “stop the bleeding”. As we pen this editorial the running of this project is now in the hands of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. The very same ministry has also taken over some of the administrative functions of the NHE as far as the Mass Housing programme is concerned.

    Government is there is to initiate policy and it is important that they leave the job of administering its policies to focused bureaucrats who have the expertise. No wonder government is struggling to sell some of the social and credit-linked houses built under the programme.

    Namibia is a country grappling with a housing crisis of epic proportions and the housing backlog stands at over 100 000 units.

    The poor and middle-class still can't afford a place to call home. Yes, we will be the first to admit that the Mass Housing programme was not well thought through from the beginning. It looked like an election ploy to many of us. However, the authorities have a moral obligation to deliver on the promise of housing and this should not be politicised by personal agendas in the execution of this important mandate.

    NHE has a new CEO and a new board yet one wonders if their mandate is really to deliver houses to the needy or merely to dig out the dirt of the previous regime.

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day FIREBALL: With the hazy conditions across the country during this time of year, sunrises and sunsets are particularly beautiful. This shot was captured in our vibrant north known for its wide and open horizons. PHOTO: ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: MET hits back on hunt quota
  • MET hits back on hunt quotaMET hits back on hunt quotaSays the elephant population in Namibia is very healthy The environment and tourism ministry has lashed out at organisations which are criticising them for allowing the hunting of what they say are regular African elephants. The environment ministry, which has of late been slammed internationally for issuing hunting permits where the so-called desert elephant roam, has made it clear that there is no such thing as what people are referring to as desert elephants.

    In a strongly worded statement issued by the ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, it dismissed false allegations and reports that government has approved the hunting of three elephants in north-western Namibia which will cause the extinction of the so-called desert elephants.

    Elephants occur across the entire north of Namibia with two main sub-populations in the north-eastern and the north-western parts of the country.

    The ministry said that the elephants in Kunene and Erongo regions are being referred to by some people as 'desert elephants' because of their ability to live in arid conditions where annual rainfall is less than 150mm.

    “From what we know today, this ability is not due to any genetic adaptation but through their knowledge of the terrain, high mobility and physical endurance. They are nevertheless the same species of elephants that occur elsewhere in the country and are scientifically known as Loxodonta africana.”

    Muyunda said strictly speaking there is no such entity as a 'desert elephant'.

    “All our elephants are African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and not desert elephants. It is unfortunate that some people interested in marketing elephants as tourism attractions or those against hunting, continue to refer to them as desert elephants with the apparent intention of implying endangerment or imminent extinction of these elephants. These elephants are not at risk of extinction at all, in fact, their numbers have increased to the highest level in at least half a century,” said Muyunda.

    According to him, human-wildlife conflict is escalating due to increased population size and range expansion, as well as changes in land use, and in 2016 the number of problem-causing animal incidents reported to the ministry was 5 000.

    According to Muyunda in some unfortunate incidents, human lives were lost due to elephant attacks. Addressing human-wildlife conflict requires striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of people living with wildlife, he said, adding that elephant-human conflict is not new in the Kunene and Erongo regions.

    According to the ministry the aggression of the elephants and their new migration patterns inland are indications of disturbances in the Ugab River, probably caused more by irresponsible eco-tourism and vehicles than anything else.

    “Some NGOs and individuals even name these elephants for tourist attraction or other reasons, a practice that the ministry strongly opposes. Elephants are wild animals, not pets, not domesticated animals. Reports have also been received of the use of camera drones being flown too close to elephant herds and accordingly disturbing such herds. Wilful disturbance of a specially protected species is a punishable offence.”

    Tourism in general and trophy hunting in particular has grown to be one of the most important industries in Namibia in terms of its strong contribution to the gross domestic product, employment creation and the well-being and social upliftment of rural people, not to mention being the main economic driver for the protection of wildlife habitat, the ministry said.

    According to Muyunda, the ministry is however aware of specific NGOs and individuals who are working against the wildlife conservation activities of the government and the sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources by rural communities through the conservancy programme.

    “This has negative implications for our Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme, which has been widely recognised as an innovative and successful people-oriented approach to conservation. We have become recognised as a leader in this field. We have restored the link between conservation and rural development by enabling communal farmers to derive a direct benefit and income from the sustainable use of wildlife and tourism activities.”

    Muyunda said these specific NGOs and individuals have no research permits for conducting research on elephants in the two regions or elsewhere in the country, and they at best only have short-term local and anecdotal information to support their claims. “Neither do they have operating agreements with the government through the ministry. Their activities and pronouncements on elephant conservation are seemingly not intended to foster cooperation with the ministry and other wildlife conservation stakeholders and we urge them to refrain from this irresponsible behaviour. The ministry cannot let them create confusion amongst rural communities or the public and to tarnish Namibia's conservation achievements.”



    Hunting and population growth

    According to Muyunda, two elephants are included on the game utilisation quota for this year for Ohungu and Otjimboyo Conservancies (one for conservation hunting and one for own use), and one other elephant has been declared a problem animal in the Sorris Sorris Conservancy. These three elephants are the subject of the media articles and letters received by the ministry.

    “It is important to note that the ministry may well have decided to destroy these elephants. Making them available to be hunted is, however, the preferred strategy, as some revenue can be generated in the process for the relevant communities,” said Muyunda.

    Communal area conservancies manage about 19% of communal land in Namibia and thus over 250 000 people live within these conservancies. To date, there are 83 registered conservancies that generate over N$50 million from consumptive and non-consumptive utilisation of wildlife including hunting of elephants, per year.

    The ministry said since most elephants in the northwest, except the population in Etosha National Park, occur on communal lands it is essential to ensure that resident communities will tolerate elephants in the long term.

    “Co-existence with elephants implies that a balance is needed between the costs that they incur and the benefits that can be derived from them.”

    The ministry added that today there are more elephants in Namibia than at any time in the past 100 years.

    In 1995, Namibia had about 7 000 elephants and in 2004 the total population was estimated at about 16 000 animals, while the current figure is just over 22 000 elephants.

    According to Muyunda this is the highest recorded number since population surveys commenced which shows a continuous positive growth trajectory.

    The north-western population based on aerial surveys is estimated at 4 627 animals.

    Estimated figures in 2015 indicated that there are 2 911 elephants in Etosha National Park 2015 and 1 716 elephants in the northwest (Erongo, Kunene and Omusati Regions) estimated in 2016.

    “Elephants occur as far south as the Ugab River and occasionally in the Omaruru River and in most of the river catchments that flow westwards to the Atlantic Ocean in the north, and have been expanding their range in the past two decades,” said Muyunda.

    The north-eastern population numbers are estimated at over 19 549.

    “Movements between different populations sporadically occur, providing opportunities for genetic interchange. Numbers will be monitored through aerial surveys at two- to three-year intervals,” said Muyunda.

    “Namibia's elephant population and the Kunene and Erongo population in particular, is a healthy and growing population. It is growing at about 3.3% per year. The current levels of consumptive off-take are extremely conservative. They are well below sustainable off-take levels, and the population continues to grow and expand.”

    Muyunda said one of the reasons for the increase in numbers is that the animals have a value, communities have rights to manage and use the wildlife, and are starting to earn significant income from wildlife.

    This is creating the incentives for them to look after and protect wildlife and wildlife habitat all of which leads to a positive conservation result.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    No bail for bogus traditional healersNo bail for bogus traditional healers Two Ugandans arrested at a rented house in Khomasdal last week on suspicion they are fake traditional healers, were refused bail on Monday.

    Geofrey Mugwari and Jackie Ssematimba (ages unknown) were each refused bail when they made their first appearance before Windhoek Magistrate Celma Amadhila.

    Public prosecutor Ntelamo Laura Mabuku strongly objected to the granting of bail to the two on the grounds that they do not have any standing in Namibia and have no valid documents to be in the country.

    The State said it feared that they would abscond from Namibia to other countries if granted bail in efforts to evade prosecution.

    The duo have now both applied for State-funded defence lawyers.

    They were arrested by the police on 6 September 2017 and are charged under the Immigration Control Act of 1993 for being illegally in Namibia and working in the country without work permits.

    They are also charged with contravening the Health Act by administering medicine and injecting people without authorisation.

    They appeared without legal representation, and their case was remanded to 9 October 2017 for them to obtain responses from Legal Aid in respect of their applications for government-sponsored defence lawyers.

    Earlier reports by the New Era newspaper had it that the two advertised their services ranging from solving “manhood problems”, winning court cases and lotteries; to facilitating abortions.

    However, after questioning by the police, they said they were not real traditional healers.

    The police confiscated several items used during the fake healing ceremonies such as animal horns and skins, a dead bird, a dead snake, eggs placed in a bottle, syringes, tablets and candles.

    NAMPA

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: Coastal burglary headache
  • Coastal burglary headacheCoastal burglary headache Incidents of housebreaking remain a concern for the police in Walvis Bay.

    Some 76 housebreaking cases were reported in Walvis Bay town for the months of June (34), July (22) and August (20) this year.

    Goods with a combined value of N$1 846 295 were stolen and goods valued at N$108 645 were recovered. The incidence of housebreaking has increased slightly but remains high as 73 cases were reported for the same period in 2016.

    According to the Walvis Bay's police commander Chief Inspector Patrick Muhita, even though the overall number of cases of crime reported decreased, cases of housebreaking are still not stable and pose a great challenge.

    Muhita listed limited resources and lack of manpower as challenges faced by the police to combat the scourge of housebreakings in the Walvis Bay town area.

    He said strong partnerships between the police and neighbourhood watch groups and more neighbourhood watch groups were needed in different areas of the town to combat this.

    “The economic situation has affected the ministry and resources are low. There are times when there is no petrol for our patrol vessels and this resulted in a decrease in the number of hours patrol vehicles are on the streets. We also do not have enough manpower. The number of members has not been increased. There has not been any recruitment over the past two years. The population though, is increasing steadily.”

    Crime statistics provided by Muhita shows 308 cases were reported and 115 arrests were made for June, July and August 2016 compared to 265 cases reported and 78 arrests made for the same period this year.

    The number of ATM fraud and fraud-related cases reported increased from 22 to 33 while assault GBH cases increased from 10 to 11.

    The number of domestic violence cases decreased from two to one and the number of assault cases dropped from 32 to six. Theft also decreased from 119 to 90. Theft out of motor vehicles decreased from 30 to seven and drunk driving cases from 41 to 32.

    Muhita attributed the achieved success to the partnership between the police and neighbourhood watch groups, information sharing on crime hotspots in Walvis Bay and the visibility of police officers and patrol vehicles.

    He also said monthly stop-and-search operations provided some breakthroughs.



    OTIS FINCK

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    Unam gets N$300 million buildingUnam gets N$300 million building The University of Namibia (Unam) Monday inaugurated a state-of-the-art building at its Jose Eduardo Dos Santos campus in Ongwediva which is valued at over N$300 million.

    The building known as the 'German Wing' was co-funded by the German government through the KfW Development Bank and the Namibian government.

    The building, which will house the department of civil and environmental engineering, comprises of lecture rooms, seminar rooms, study rooms, offices, a boardroom, computer laboratories and civil engineering laboratories.

    Two training workshops were also inaugurated.

    Speaking at the inauguration, higher education minister Itah Kandji-Murangi reiterated the efforts of the German government towards Namibia.

    Kandji-Murangi said that since the country gained its independence in 1990 Namibia thus far had received close to 900 million euros (close to N$14 billion) in solidarity from Germany.

    “Today's event is indicative of yet another example of the excellent bilateral cooperation that exists between the governments of the Republic of Namibia and the Federal Republic of Germany,” Kandji-Murangi said.

    She then called on all Unam students to cherish the facility and take maximum care in order for the next generation to find it in the state it currently is.

    “Utilise these excellent laboratory facilities to strengthen your practical understanding and abilities and excel in pursuit of knowledge,” Kandji-Murangi said.

    She said Namibia is in need of engineers of various disciplines.

    Unam's vice-chancellor Lazarus Hangula shared the history of the campus which he said started as a community project and now turned into a faculty which trains the best engineers that are ready to be absorbed by the market.

    Hangula pointed out that the campus was designed to be an ex-territorial faculty of the Oshakati Unam campus.

    He also pointed out the numerous donations made by the German government and other stakeholders to the university in the form of laboratory equipment will come to an end following the construction of the 'German Wing'.

    Hangula also spoke on the issue of there being a huge intra-sectoral mismatch between industries that often have money but lack skilled human resources, yet, do not invest in universities which can use the money for a great course in which these sectors will benefit.

    He said that if only every sector would support its faculty or department for a period of 15 - 20 years, Namibia will have solved its human resource problems adding that the ministry of higher education cannot do it alone.

    “So, in as much as we appreciate the support and solidarity from our good friends, a wholesome involvement of all Namibian sectors is key if we are to make measureable progress,” he said.

    German ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga said that Germany has been supporting tertiary development on various levels and the enhancement of the faculty of engineering at Unam is a core element of their contribution.

    “Together with Germany's relentless support for vocational training this is the best contribution to the professional empowerment of young Namibians one can think of,” Schlaga said.

    Schlaga said the strengthening of the relationship between the two countries also emphasises the exchange between German and Namibian universities and their students through exchange programmes.

    The 'German Wing' was constructed over a period of 24 months.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Court gives drought-stricken farmer a breakCourt gives drought-stricken farmer a break The High Court in Windhoek has shown leniency to a communal farmer who removed cattle from his drought-stricken farm in the Kunene Region without a permit.

    Henry Jacobus Mapanka had been fined N$50 000 for contravening the provisions of the Animal Health Act. He succeeded on appeal to have his fine reduced to N$5 000, which was wholly suspended.

    Initially, Mapanka (63), after having lost 54 cattle to drought and having only 30 left, approached the authorities at Khorixas to obtain the required permit.

    After three weeks the permit had not been issued and during that period 14 more cattle died of hunger and thirst.

    He went ahead and removed the cattle despite not having a permit.

    In his appeal, he told the High Court that the N$50 000 fine exceeded the jurisdiction of the magistrate's court.

    Mapanka, a farmer with no other income besides his animals, also asserted that the sentence imposed was so unreasonable and inappropriate that no reasonable court would have imposed it.

    The High Court in Windhoek upheld Mapanka's appeal against the N$50 000 fine and ordered him to pay a fine of N$5 000 or serve one year's imprisonment in default of payment.

    The sentence was wholly suspended on condition that he is not convicted of a similar offence during the period of suspension.

    Two judges of the High Court, Judge Christie Liebenberg and Judge Alfred Siboleka, ruled that Mapanka's personal circumstances, and the circumstances under which the offence was committed, justified a lenient approach towards the sentence.

    Judge Liebenberg, who read the appeal verdict on behalf of the panel, said Mapanka had been found guilty of moving cattle from his farm without a permit. The crime has a penalty provision of N$100 000 or five years' imprisonment.

    Mapanka had applied for a permit but when it was not forthcoming after three weeks, he loaded the cattle and removed them from his farm.

    “This was amidst a serious drought where 14 animals died from hunger and thirst during the period he waited for the permit,” Liebenberg said.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: AG studies RCC matter
  • AG studies RCC matterAG studies RCC matter The attorney-general, Sacky Shanghala, is set to study the matter of the Roads Contractor Company's (RCC) intended judicial management, after which the National Assembly will debate the rescue plan proposed by the minister of public enterprises, Leon Jooste.

    According to Jooste, the matter has been discussed with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and will be tabled in parliament after the attorney-general completes his assessment.

    The study was further necessary to determine which minister would table the RCC motion in parliament.

    “We are waiting for the AG to look into this specific matter and to pronounce himself. We will then want to see this tabled as soon as is practical. The AG is simply looking at the matter from a legal perspective to determine who should table the bill in parliament,” said Jooste.

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

    If parliament approves the decision, an application will be filed 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 company,” Jooste said.

    During that time, the shareholder (the government) and the board will be “disempowered” and will have no influence or powers 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 that the current and former RCC boards had been part of the process and were granted ample opportunity to share their views and insights. The judicial manager can at the end of the process recommend that the company be wound up or that there is a chance to salvage it. In the end the shareholder will have to decide the fate of the company.

    OGONE TLHAGEw

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    Teen pregnancy stats shock RehobothTeen pregnancy stats shock RehobothShebeens, sugar daddies and parental neglect Healthcare workers in the Rehoboth District say the official statistics, shocking as they might be, are only the tip of the iceberg. About 20% of the 681 pregnant women in the Rehoboth district in the Hardap Region are children.

    According to confidential reports in Namibian Sun's possession, 124 of this figure are girls between 15 and 19 years while seven are girls younger than 15.

    It also states that seven girls under the age of 15 fell pregnant in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively, while only four were recorded in 2016.

    Furthermore, a total of five girls under 15 have sought contraceptives from clinics in the district between January and July this year, while 126 girls aged between 15 and 19 reported for the same service.

    In 2016, a total of 29 girls younger than 15 went to clinics to seek family planning services, seven in 2015, two in 2014 and three in 2015.

    The report indicates that the problem is of such magnitude that nurses in the district are compelled to dispense contraceptives to 14-year-old girls without their parents' consent.

    The report states that five of 379 teenagers aged between 15 and 19 tested positive for HIV between January and August this year.

    Between January and December 2016 a total of nine teenagers in the same age group tested positive for HIV, ten in 2015 and eight in 2014.

    Staff at the clinics in the district told Namibian Sun that these figures are but a drop in the ocean, as many do not report for antenatal care or testing.



    Sugar daddies

    According to the regional governor, Esme Isaak, very often girls from poor homes say they are forced to engage in sex to obtain money for necessities.

    Another factor, she says, is the lack of parental involvement in their children's lives. Parents expect teachers to take responsibility for their children's upbringing and education.

    In an effort to address these social evils, the governor has embarked on an outreach programme to 'return' children to their parents.

    According to her a fine must be instituted to punish parents whose children are found roaming the streets.

    “In Mariental, we have started to work closely with the police to assist them on Friday and Saturday evenings. We go out onto the streets and visit shebeens where we have caught schoolchildren. We [usually] put them in a minibus and take them to the police station where we take their names. On Monday we contact their schools to inform their parents,” she said.

    She added that the operation would soon be extended to the entire Rehoboth district.

    A Rehoboth-based police officer said this is not necessarily a solution because parents from the wealthy parts of town resist police intervention.

    “Usually when the parents arrive at the police station they get angry and say their children are not criminals and should not be taken to a police station, but these children are underage, so where do we draw the line?” asked the police officer.

    “It is also very difficult for us to open cases because sometimes these girls are drugged and cannot recall anything at all.”

    A local pastor, Dean du Toit, said the blame must be placed on parents who “simply do not care”.

    According to him family values have been eroded and have made way for social evils to consume teenagers who often have nobody to guide them.

    “Parents make very little time for their children.

    In some instances children are exposed to drugs and alcohol outside the home,” he said.

    The numerous shebeens in neighbourhoods and near schools have been identified as another challenge in keeping children safe and away from alcohol and drugs.

    A multi-stakeholder approach, which involves the church, the police, local authorities and the ministries of education and child welfare should be involved, one member of the community, who preferred anonymity, told Namibian Sun.

    “How do I keep my child at home, in front of her books, when there is a shebeen just walking distance from my home? I am at work and the shebeen offers alcohol and sugar daddies who are willing to pay amounts that I cannot provide,” she said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Parliament to debate Gaming BillParliament to debate Gaming Bill The National Assembly is expected to debate the Gaming and Entertainment Control Bill this week.

    The sixth session of parliament resumed yesterday and will run until 23 November.

    The long-awaited bill, which seeks to raise the legal gambling age from 18 to 21 and to introduce tougher penalties to protect gamblers, came about in 2008 to provide for the regulation of gambling premises and gambling machines.

    This followed an increased prevalence of gambling machines in shebeens, cafes and shops.

    The bill, which has been with legal drafters for over six years, will repeal the Licensing of Totalisators Ordinance 5 of 1938, and the Casinos and Gambling Houses Act of 1994.

    The Gaming and Entertainment Bill makes provision for the lifting of a moratorium on the issuing of gambling house licences that has been in place since January 1997.

    However, according to information published on the website of the ministry of environment and tourism, applications for casino licences and the transfer of gambling house licences are still being processed.

    It states that by November last year a total of 254 gambling house licences and six casino licences had been issued.

    Bills referred back by the National Council without amendments are the Whistleblower Protection Bill of 2017, Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Amendment Bill 2017, One-Stop Border Posts Control Bill of 2017, Usury Amendment Bill of 2017, Regional Council Amendment Bill of 2016 and the Namibia Time Bill of 2017.

    Other bills sent back with amendments are the Lotteries Bill of 2017, Namibia Revenue Agency Bill of 2017 and Local Authorities Amendment Bill of 2016.

    According to parliament's public relations officer, David Nahogandja, reports detailing the outcomes of parliamentary standing committee visits and investigations during the recess in August will be tabled during this session.

    “Several parliamentary standing committees undertook visits to the regions to investigate government projects and conduct public hearings on items referred to them by the House,” he said.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Schiefer gets 6 years' reprieveSchiefer gets 6 years' reprieveSupreme Court orders longer concurrent term Romeo Schiefer will serve only 42 years in prison for the murder of his mother and father. A young man serving an effective 48 years for the murder of his mother and father in 2008 received only partial reprieve from the Supreme Court when his sentence was on appeal reduced to 42 years' effective imprisonment.

    The Supreme Court made the reduction after finding that the sentence imposed by the trial court “attracted the epithet of strikingly, startlingly or patently inappropriate which justifies interference on appeal,” the judges said.

    Romeo Schiefer, 28, was serving 28 years for each of the murder counts which were read in conjunction with the provisions of Combating of Domestic Violence Act. At the time of sentencing in 2013, High Court Judge Naomi Shivute ordered that eight years from the second prison term of 28 years must run concurrently with the sentence of 28 years on the first murder count. A further eight years' imprisonment in respect of the count on theft was ordered to run concurrently with the sentences imposed for the murders.

    Schiefer was initially unsuccessful when applying for leave to appeal in the High Court but successfully petitioned Chief Justice Peter Shivute, who granted him leave to appeal against the sentences only.

    Judge of Appeal Elton Hoff, concurred with by Deputy Chief Justice and Acting Judge of the Supreme Court Dave Smuts, stated that the imposition of sentence is the prerogative of the trial court.

    He emphasised that the exercise of the court's discretion is not to be interfered with merely because an appellate court would have imposed a heavier or lighter sentence.

    “An appeal court may only interfere if the sentence imposed by the trial court is so inappropriate, that if the appeal court had sat as a court of first instance, it would have imposed a sentence which would markedly have differed from that imposed by the trial court,” the appeal judge said.

    He added that a long term of imprisonment is an appropriate sentence in the circumstances of the case. However, he said, as a court of first instance he would have ordered a longer period of imprisonment to run concurrently with the sentence imposed on the first murder count.

    Consequently he ordered that 14 years of the second prison term run concurrently with the 28-year term on the first count of murder, effectively slashing six years off Schiefer's full prison term.

    Schiefer has been in jail since October 2013.

    He was found guilty and sentenced on two counts of murdering his biological parents, Frans and Fransiena Schiefer, both 50, at their house in Windhoek's Khomasdal residential area on 18 January 2008. He was 19 years old at the time.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: Delays slow development
  • Delays slow developmentDelays slow developmentMunicipality, developers tussle over rezoning The City of Windhoek has been sitting on hundreds of rezoning applications, much to the frustration of developers who find the process painfully slow. In a self-described military-style effort to avoid a potential loss of “tens of millions of Namibian dollars” the City of Windhoek this year hastily processed 217 rezoning applications which had been part of a backlog dating back to 2010.

    Minutes from the August City of Windhoek council meeting show that slow progress in processing 352 rezoning applications had “created huge frustration in the industry”, at a time when development could play a crucial role for the city's prospects.

    The council documents indicate that the municipality is partly blaming the delays on the limitations of the existing policy areas, and City officials have recommended an “urgent re-evaluation of the policy areas and its implementation.”

    Four applications from 2010, nine from 2011, 14 from 2012, 17 from 2013, 59 from 2014, 107 from 2015 and 142 dating back to last year, have led to mounting frustration among developers and others.

    City officials, as per the council minutes, noted that a “major concern” was that there were no provisions allowing the City to “use policy areas as a development guideline tool” and a number of problems have plagued rezoning application processes to the detriment of the City's town planning schemes.

    Policy areas are areas that have been identified as multi-purpose land use areas, where rezoning applications in theory can be approved quicker, but industry insiders say that some applications take several years to be processed.

    However, the municipality noted that rezoning applications in these policy areas “do not guarantee automatic approval” although many, including consultants and applicants, “regard it as an automatic approval” which has led to numerous appeals at Namibia Planning and Advisory Board (Nampab).

    As a result of this, the City claims that development in regards to land-use changes and development potential is being “determined by developers, consultants and some property speculators” and not by the municipality.

    “Put another way – the City of Windhoek is no longer guiding land-use management.”



    Do the work

    In a final attempt push for the processing of hundreds of outstanding applications, members of the Namibia Institute of Town and Regional Planning (NITRP) earlier this year submitted an amendment scheme on behalf of the City, in an attempt to bypass the City's urban policy team and take the matter to a higher authority.





    NITRP approached Nampab, the authority that is authorised to approve such an amendment scheme should the option be viewed as necessary by the relevant ministry.

    Subsequently, Nampab advertised the proposed amendment scheme and set a 19 September deadline for the City of Windhoek to object and to respond to the scheme, which contains 217 of the 352 outstanding applications.

    According to the city council, the submission of the amendment scheme, and its potential approval by Nampab, could have led to a number of complications, in addition to a potential “significant loss of income amounting to several tens of millions of Namibian dollars.”

    The minutes state that the potential consequences of the amendment scheme may have led to the approval of applications which the City, following its guidelines, would have declined.

    The council also said there was a risk that applications would be approved, despite objections from the public.

    Another risk was the approval for “rezoning without adequate supporting infrastructure” and rezoning outside of the existing provisions of the Windhoek Town Planning Scheme.

    In response, the municipality compiled an action plan that revolved around “a military-style exercise” aimed at dealing with all 217 applications prior to next week's deadline.

    The minutes state that an action plan was crucial, and successful.

    The City noted that it was “highly unlikely” that Nampab would have accepted any further delays and that Nampab would more than likely have approved the amendment scheme as submitted by NITRP, leading to a number of potential complications as listed by the City.

    According to officials at the municipality, the recent events and the submission of the amendment scheme highlighted that “there is a very real and urgent need” for amending the municipality's town planning methods.

    “This is considered an absolutely critical issue that requires urgent resolution to regain control over development and as such it is imperative that a proper policy areas study be concluded as soon as possible.”

    A number of recommendations were approved by the council in order to address the issue, including a policy area study.



    Quick work after slow progress

    The “military-style” action plan led to the municipality approving 64 applications plus 95 applications on condition of minor changes. A total of 58 could not be approved.

    The approved rezoning applications will now be submitted to Nampab for approval.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 09/12/17--15:00: NHE fails to build houses
  • NHE fails to build housesNHE fails to build houses President Hage Geingob is accused of having “misled” the Namibian nation by claiming during his 2017 state of the nation address (SONA) that more than 5 000 houses had been built with public money during the previous financial year.

    During his SONA address in April, Geingob boasted that 5 554 houses had been completed nationwide in the first year of implementation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, which was in 2016.

    However, the National Housing Enterprise (NHE), which has as its core mandate the construction of affordable housing, has acknowledged that not a single new house has been built by the parastatal since the departure of beleaguered former CEO Vinson Hailulu in August 2015.

    President Geingob's Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) had estimated that 20 000 houses would have been built, 27 000 plots serviced and 50 000 rural toilets installed to replace the bucket system by the end of 2017.

    NHE spokesperson Eric Libongani this week confirmed that the parastatal had “not executed its own housing project” since around August 2015, admitting that the NHE had not embarked on any new housing projects since then.

    However, Libongani said the NHE had been “working towards a new housing project model through Request for Proposals (RFP) in which the NHE will engage with private-sector companies in financing and construction of houses across Namibia”.

    He said 54 bidders had so far submitted proposals and the first phase of this construction project was at an advanced stage.



    Last year, the NHE announced that the RFP model would deliver 5 000 houses at an estimated cost of N$2 billion. By then, a number of Chinese and other companies had submitted their bids.

    Libongani said during the first phase of the project the NHE envisaged the delivery of more than 400 houses. It is not yet clear who the bidders are.

    NHE insiders who preferred anonymity said they were embittered about the slow delivery of housing and the stoppage of the mass housing project. They said the NHE during Hailulu's tenure had built 3 500 houses under the mass housing project in about 10 to 11 months.

    “If the project had been properly funded and not politicised, the NHE might have been in a position to build as many as 20 000 houses,” said one, adding: “Africa is the enemy of its own development. We value politics more than we value economics.”

    The insiders acknowledged that the mass housing project did experience “teething problems” but insisted that it nonetheless employed 4 880 workers who on average earned at least N$4 000 per month, which they said meant that around 25 000 people directly benefitted from the programme.



    Unallocated houses

    The government, and in particular the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, is said to be failing to distribute the houses that the NHE had built before the middle of 2015.

    At the end of July this year, a whopping 87% of credit-linked houses bought through loans were unoccupied; only 31% of heavily subsidised social housing was occupied.

    President Geingob made mention of this in his 2017 SONA address when he noted that “some houses remained unoccupied for too long due to the bureaucratic process involved in the transfer of ownership of land”.

    Geingob then mentioned that his administration was following up on these cases and working with partners to expedite the process.

    That is what the president said on 12 April, and on 24 April his office sent a letter to the NHE with a request to develop and submit an action plan to deal with unallocated housing units built under the mass housing project.

    Geingob had already communicated with the minister of urban and rural development, Sophia Shaningwa, on the unallocated houses in January and Shaningwa informed her staff to expedite the allocation of the houses.

    It is understood that the ministry has taken over the role from the NHE to allocate the houses.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Magic, Unam and African at GobabisMagic, Unam and African at Gobabis Three Namibia Premier League clubs will be busy with pre-season matches at Gobabis over the weekend.

    Tura Magic, Young African and Unam FC will all play against each other at the Legare Stadium on Saturday.

    The matches serve as preparation for the NFA Debmarine Namibia Cup and for the league.

    The entrance fee at the gate will be N$10 for adults and children, with an extra N$10 being charged for those with vehicles.

    Young African owner Marley Ngarizemo said: “Since there is positive news about the Namibia Premier League, I do believe it is important that we start preparing in time.

    “Tura Magic and Young African are also still in the Debmarine Cup and this will be important for the players to keep fit.

    “We are so positive and sure that the league will kick off and that is why all league teams need to start having this exhibition matches.”

    The semi-finals of the NFA Debmarine Namibia Cup will be played at Otjiwarongo on 23 September.

    Mighty Gunners, Tura Magic, Young Chiefs and Young Africans are all vying for a spot in the final of the competition.

    Tura Magic and Gunners will open the competition at 15:00, while Young African and Chiefs play the final match of the day at 17:00.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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  • 09/13/17--15:00: Gladiators beat Botswana
  • Gladiators beat BotswanaGladiators beat BotswanaWomen footballers make their mark The national women's football team beat Botswana 4-0 in their first match of the 2017 Cosafa Women's Championship yesterday. The Brave Gladiators scored four goals to kick-start their campaign in the 2017 Cosafa Women's Championship, which was won six years ago by Zimbabwe on home soil when the regional showpiece championship was first played.

    In the first half of the game in Bulawayo the Namibian side took the match to Botswana with their attacking football and using the speed of left winger Vistorine Shangula who eventually headed in the team's first goal through an assist from Zenatha Coleman in the 16th minute.

    Coleman was very involved in the match, giving Botswana's defenders extra work as they could not keep up with her quick feet on the ball. In the 40th minute she was fouled in the penalty box. The midfield maestro did not make a mistake in front of goal and scored from the spot: sending her teammates on the bench into a frenzy.

    Shangula again found herself in the right place in the box and scored another goal through a brilliant cross by Twelikondjela Amukoto who did very well on the right wing.

    In the second half, Coleman was substituted, giving Anna-Marie Shikusho a chance to show her capabilities.

    She stepped up and added the fourth goal for her team when she ran through the Botswana defence and easily scored in an empty net.

    Ester Hamukwaya did well in defence and kept the Botswana strikers at bay as they tried to seek a consolation goal.

    Coleman received the Woman of the Match award and said the team would take each game seriously as they planned on playing in the semi-finals.

    The Namibian side is led by experienced coach Brian Isaacs, who said his side started off well and the win gave the players the necessary confidence to move forward into the tournament.

    Isaacs added that they would build on the good and rectify the bad in the squad as they moved forward.

    The Gladiators have twice reached the semi-finals of the Cosafa Women's Championship.

    Their next match will be against South Africa tomorrow and then they finish off their group games against Lesotho on 17 September.

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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  • 09/13/17--15:00: Zeraeua Cup at Omaruru
  • Zeraeua Cup at OmaruruZeraeua Cup at Omaruru The Chief Christian Eerike Zeraeua Cup will be played on the weekend of 6 October in Omaruru.

    The organisers on Tuesday said that the tournament will feature netball and football and will be played at the Omaruru prison and Maboke stadiums.

    The tournament forms part of a day commemorating the life of the late Chief Christian Eerike Zeraeua of the Zeraeua Traditional Authority.

    A total prize of N$80 000 is up for grabs, with N$50 000 going to football and N$30 000 for netball.

    The winners in the football category will walk away with N$25 000, while the runners-up are guaranteed a N$12 500 prize.

    The third- and fourth-placed teams will each be compensated with N$6 250 for their efforts.

    The winners of the netball tournament will receive N$15 000 while the runners-up will take home N$7 500 and the third- and fourth-placed teams will each receive N$3 750. The registration fee per team in the football category is N$1 500, while netball teams can register for N$1 000.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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    Hitman will not fight Danny BoyHitman will not fight Danny Boy Boxing promoter Nestor Tobias has refused to entertain talks of a fight between his boxer Paulus 'Hitman' Moses and Albinius 'Danny Boy' Felesianu.

    Felesianu, the current International Boxing Federation (IBF) Africa lightweight champion, wants to fight Moses after Moses successfully defended his World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa lightweight title against Saidi Mundi from Tanzania in Windhoek on Saturday.

    Moses won the fight with a fourth-round technical knockout.

    Felesianu told Nampa on Saturday that the fight between Moses and Mundi was a “joke”, because Mundi looked weak and unable to land a proper punch.

    “I know a lot of Namibians would want to see him face me in the ring because I know at this stage I can end his career in just two rounds,” he said.

    The Walvis Bay-based boxer added that Moses should not continue looking for weak boxers to boost his ranking when he knows he is currently not the best in the country.

    Felesianu, who also holds the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental lightweight title as well as IBF Youth featherweight title, has a record of 14 wins of which seven were knockouts, one draw, and two losses. Moses's record is 40 wins and three losses.

    Approached for comment, Tobias said Moses could not fight Felesianu because Moses had nothing to gain or prove to anyone.

    “Hitman is on another level and does not have time for small fights that have no benefit for him. Danny Boy wanting to fight Hitman is like Benfica Football Club from Tsumeb asking for a game against Manchester United (from England). We all know that match won't happen,” he said.

    Tobias said Felesianu was just looking for publicity, but needed to first prove himself to other young boxers in the country before challenging people who are not in his class

    “What I will advise Danny Boy to do is ask for a fight against Jatoorora Tjingaete, who is a young boxer in his class. Challenging Hitman does not make sense at this moment,” he said.

    Felesianu, in turn, said he could not fight Tjingaete because he is “too old” and has not been in the ring for over a year.

    “I respect Hitman as a boxer and appreciate what he has done, but what people want to see is who is best between the two of us,” he said.

    NAMPA

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