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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 524 | 525 | (Page 526) | 527 | 528 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Coastal pre-fab company set to expandCoastal pre-fab company set to expandEOS Capital acquires majority stake in Panel to Panel Increasing business lines and targeting growth, the partnership between EOS and Panel to Panel is set to benefit the local economy. EOS Capital has announced it acquired a majority 90% of the ordinary share capital of Panel To Panel.

    Ten percent of the company remains with the previous owners. Negotiations were concluded and an agreement was signed on Tuesday last week. The transaction which amounts to millions is now pending approval by the Namibian Competition Commission.

    EOS Capital chairman Johannes !Gawaxab was introduced and addressed the staff complement of 75 at the company premises located on the corner of Circumferential Road and Rooibank Street in Walvis Bay on Friday.

    He assured them that there would be no retrenchments and noted that there has been a 40% reduction in the imports of prefabricated panels imports since 2012. According to him this alluded to the substitution by local production by yet another Namibian manufacturing success story.

    “It shows that Namibia is taking the right steps towards industrialisation and local value addition in line with the government's Growth at Home strategy.

    We are proud to be associated with such a challenger firm and plan to support Namibia's industrialisation drive and to participate in the growth expected for the company through widening product offering, establishing export market operations and developing additional business lines. We need all of you to cooperate to take the company to greater heights.”

    !Gawaxab also said that the company had enormous potential for the provision of affordable housing with the high-standard and quality product it manufactures.

    “We could provide much better housing as well as classrooms quickly. The product is very durable and has a lifespan of 20 years if it's properly maintained.”

    Panel to Panel's financial director Jacques Crowther, concurred and said there are plans to widen Panel To Panel's product offering in the near future to serve a broader range of customer needs.

    “We are looking forward to working with EOS to formalise and grow the business whilst maintaining the same excellent customer service and the passion for what we do.”

    The insulated panel manufacturer was founded by entrepreneur Francois Kotze in 2005. The company supplies contractors and end customers across the country with insulated panels in their various applications such as cooling rooms, sterile environments and prefabricated houses.

    Panel To Panel serves a diverse range of sectors including the fishing industry, abattoirs, lodges, pharmaceutical plants and the public sector.

    The products are fairly resistant to shocks and this makes it attractive from a risk perspective.

    From its humble beginnings, Panel to Panel grew from strength to strength into the leading manufacturer of insulated panels in Namibia and now even boasts with its own polystyrene plant.

    Due to the scale and standard achieved, it offers well-priced and good quality products in comparison to local and international competitors.

    EOS Capital is a wholly-owned Namibian private equity fund manager that is managing the Allegrow Fund in Namibia.



    OTIS FINCK

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: The only constant is change
  • The only constant is changeThe only constant is changeExperts speak on local conditions for farmers From climate change to poverty, self-sustainability to food security and profit, famers in Namibia and the sub-region have ever-changing conditions. Namibia is continuously threatened by the decline of our natural resources, which includes the decrease of levels of underground water reserves, decline of rangeland condition and less free movement for game. The Namibia Agricultural Union's (NAU)project to implement the rangeland policy last week held talks with interested parties in the commercial farming area of the country to give proposals about any incentives which will promote conservation of rangeland, water and game.

    The interested parties from all over, including conservation bodies and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), attended the workshop. Mecki Schneider, a farmer from Grootfontein as well as Johan Britz of the Cheetah Conservation Fund opened the workshop. Schneider focused on the fact that most rural towns in Namibia are dependent on underground water and conservation inputs of farmers have a direct influence on availability of underground water for these towns. Conservation of water and game, however, starts with the improvement of the rangeland condition of the land. Studies have proved that more rainwater is stored underground on farms where bush thinning was done in comparison with farms where no bush thinning was done and with a poor grazing condition. Britz spoke on interesting possibilities in the international markets for beef to pay a bonus for meat which is produced in an ecosystem-friendly manner. The challenges, however, are how Namibian producers can use these advantages and how international consumers can get the assurance that the meat which is bought at a bonus is produced in the right manner.

    The project wants to collect the opinions of commercial farmers throughout the country and a short questionnaire will be sent out in due course with the support of the various involved organisations to get the opinions of producers.

    All interested parties agreed that commercial conservancies, which are managed by the landowners themselves, will play an important role as instrument to facilitate incentives for conservation in future.

    Further inputs into maximising farming yields were made at the Agri open-day hosted by the Dordabis Farmers' Union.

    The event, held on 29 August in Windhoek, had two guest speakers, namely Johannes Möller, the president of the South African Agricultural Union and Ryno van der Merwe, the president of the NAU. Möller exchanged ideas about the challenges for commercial agriculture in southern Africa, while Van der Merwe spoke about the involvement of the NAU to ensure sustainable agriculture. Möller opened with the reality that commercial agriculture in southern Africa is part and parcel of the fourth industrial revolution where corporate involvement is now an integral part of the integration within agricultural value chains. His message in this regard was that individual commercial agriculture should maintain its competitive advantage at all costs to avoid being absorbed in the current corporative integration process over time. Worldwide and in southern Africa, he said, less fossil fuels are utilised in general, as well as in agricultural production. This, in turn, means that by-products of the petroleum industry, like fertiliser and plastic, will in future become scarcer. Hence, natural fibres like cotton and wool will make a comeback in daily life.

    Commercial agriculture has an increasingly responsibility to conserve natural resources and to utilise it optimally to ensure sustainable production in future. Here Möller specifically referred to the Cape and surroundings in South Africa with its current drought - a reality that was not foreseen. “While agriculture world-wide is on average responsible for 62% of a country's water utilisation, South Africa was able to bring this figure down to 60%. This means that all countries in southern Africa should cooperate to conserve this resource.”

    He also referred to one important social aspect for commercial agriculture in southern Africa - poverty. His message was when a person is hungry, but without money, that person cannot buy food. Thus, commercial agriculture has the responsibility to uplift people through community projects to ensure that they become self-sufficient.

    There are three aspects that commercial agriculture should be aware of, he said. “The first is that climate change is a reality and commercial agriculture should constantly contribute towards mitigating its effects. Second is the movement of protectionism that was exacerbated with the election of Donald Trump as American president, which is bad news for agricultural commodities in southern Africa dependent on export markets. Finally, certain public opinions of political leaders in Africa are sometimes unconsidered and they do not realise the negative repercussions of this on commercial agriculture dependent on exports,” Möller explained.

    Van der Merwe referred to the constant changes experienced in the current agricultural production environment while aiming for sustainable production. To give an example, he compared the 2016 and 2017 agricultural years; in 2016 the country was still undergoing a drought – in 2017 the majority of the country received average to above average rainfall; in 2016 the weaner price was approximately N$13/kg and in 2017 it increased to N$40/kg and more. “These are just a few examples to confirm the constant changes and the reality thereof in the agricultural production environment. Such conditions bring new challenges and changes to which producers need to react – the question arises, which of these can be controlled or not, or just be influenced? Hence, how would a commercial producer react to these new challenges and changes? There are only two approaches, namely to ignore, deny and offer resistance or to acknowledge the reality, take ownership and take action,” he urged.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Americans pass US$700bn defence budgetAmericans pass US$700bn defence budget The US Senate overwhelmingly authorised US$700 billion in defence spending on Monday, nearly 5% more than President Donald Trump had requested.

    The National Defence Authorisation Act of 2018 allows for increased spending on new F-35 fighter jets, ships and M1 Abrams tanks, raises military pay by 2.1% and authorises nearly US$5 billion for Afghanistan security forces, including a programme integrating women into the country's national defence.

    It also authorises US$8.5 billion to boost US missile defence - a full US$630 million above Trump's baseline request - at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea over its testing of nuclear devices and ballistic missiles.

    The bill provides for US$60 billion in war funding known as Overseas Contingency Operations, and boosted military enlistment figures by 7 000.

    The legislation, one of the cornerstones of congressional bipartisanship over the decades, passed 89 to 8.

    The House of Representatives passed its version in July, and the two chambers will now need to thrash out a compromise bill.

    “It keeps faith with our men and women in uniform,” Republican John McCain, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said of the bill he shepherded through the chamber.

    McCain was quick to point to the increasing number of training accidents within the military, saying the lack of force readiness was a result of ever-tightening budgets that left the army, navy and other branches depleted.

    “My friends, more of our men and women in uniform are now being killed in totally avoidable training accidents and routine operations than by our enemies in combat,” McCain told his colleagues.

    “Where is the outrage about this? Where is our sense of urgency to deal with this problem?”

    The US$700 billion is US$91 billion beyond the spending caps outlined in the 2011 Budget Control Act, which demanded a “sequestration” of military spending in order to rein in federal costs.

    McCain said it was imperative that Congress lift the spending caps on a bipartisan basis in order to fully fund military operations.

    The legislation also funds European security programmes with US allies, arguing that deterring “malign” Russian activities and aggression there “is an enduring function”.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    UN seeks US$10m as Nigeria cholera outbreak worsensUN seeks US$10m as Nigeria cholera outbreak worsens At least 44 people have now died in a cholera outbreak in northeast Nigeria, the United Nations said on Monday, calling for nearly US$10 million to keep the disease from spreading.

    “To date, the outbreak has claimed at least 44 lives, out of close to 2 300 confirmed and/or suspected cases,” the world body said in a statement.

    About US$9.9 million is needed as part of the relief effort, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

    The first cholera case was identified in Borno State on August 16 and has since spread, mainly in camps for those displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

    Water-borne diseases are a constant threat because of a lack of adequate sanitation as well as stagnant groundwater during the current rainy season.

    The agency's deputy humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, Peter Lundberg, said that despite new treatment centres and sanitation measures, more needed to be done.

    “The camps for displaced persons are congested, there is not enough water, sanitation facilities are poor, and the health care system is weak,” he said.

    “We must tackle this urgently to avoid preventable suffering and loss of life.”

    Additional funding would help to implement a cholera response and prevention plan in the coming months, including providing access to clean water and a vaccination programme.

    Northeast Nigeria is already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency, which has killed at least 20 000 people and displaced more than 2.6 million.

    The UN's head of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Mark Lowcock, said last week that the threat of famine caused by the conflict's impact on farming had been averted.

    But 8.5 million people in the northeast, out of 17 million in the wider Lake Chad region comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, needed humanitarian assistance, he said.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: Maria's coming
  • Maria's comingMaria's comingHurricane pummels Dominica, barrels toward Virgin Islands All eyes are on Hurricane Maria as she makes her way across the Caribbean as a Category 4 storm. Hurricane Maria, the second major storm to hit the Caribbean this month, crept toward the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico yesterday, after it ripped through the small island nation of Dominica, causing widespread devastation.

    Downgraded to a Category 4 early yesterday, Maria remained an “extremely dangerous hurricane” as it churned about 380 km southeast of St Croix, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said in an advisory.

    The storm ploughed through Dominica, an island nation of 72 000 people in the eastern Caribbean, late on Monday causing widespread devastation, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a Facebook post.

    “I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating ... indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured,” he said.

    With maximum sustained winds of 250 km per hour, the storm slammed into the island as a Category 5 hurricane, the NHC said.

    “The winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with,” Skerrit said. “The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn-away roofs in the city and the countryside.”

    While the intensity of the hurricane may fluctuate over the next day or two, Maria is expected to remain a Category 4 or 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the Miami-based NHC said.

    The storm was on track to move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea and, by last night or early this morning, approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where millions are still reeling from Hurricane Irma earlier this month.

    If Maria retains its strength, it would be the most powerful hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years, since a Category 4 storm swept the US island territory in 1932, Hurricane Centre spokesman Dennis Feltgen said. The last major hurricane to strike Puerto Rico directly was Georges, which made landfall there as a Category 3 storm in 1998, he said.

    The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, urged island residents on Twitter to brace for the storm's arrival, saying, “It is time to seek refuge with a family member, friend or head to a state shelter.”

    Puerto Rico narrowly avoided a direct hit two weeks ago from Hurricane Irma, which reached a rare Category 5 status and ranked as the most powerful Atlantic storm on record before devastating several smaller islands, including the US Virgin Islands of St Thomas and St John.

    Prayers and mattresses

    US Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp said Maria was due to pass within some 22km of the island of St Croix, which escaped the brunt of Irma's clout on 6 September. The island is home to about 55 000 year-round residents, roughly half of the entire territory's population.

    Mapp warned that hurricane-force winds were expected to howl across St Croix for eight hours, accompanied by up to 46 cm of rain that would be followed by nearly a week of additional showers.

    At an evening news conference, he predicted most islanders would be without electricity for weeks, and that “some folks will not get power in months”. A curfew was due to be imposed starting at 10:00 local time yesterday, he said.

    Mapp asked the public for prayers and urged St Croix residents to take cover in one of three emergency shelters on the island. For those choosing to stay in their homes during the storm, he said, they might consider climbing into a second-floor bathtub and pulling a mattress over them to stay safe in the event they lose their roofs.

    Forecasts predict Maria will be the worst storm to hit St Croix since Hugo, a Category 4 storm, in 1989. The territory's two other main islands, St Thomas and St John, which lie to the north of St Croix, sustained widespread heavy damage from Irma, which killed more than 80 people in the Caribbean and the US mainland.

    Maria was expected to whip up storm surges - seawater driven ashore by wind - of up to 2.7 m above normal tide levels, the NHC said. Parts of Puerto Rico could see up to 64 cm of rain, it said.

    Puerto Rico, an island of about 3.4 million inhabitants, opened shelters and began to dismantle construction cranes that could be vulnerable to Maria's high winds as residents rushed to buy plywood, water and other supplies.

    Maria marks the 13th named Atlantic storm of the year, the seventh hurricane so far this season and the fourth major hurricane - defined as Category 3 or higher - following Harvey, Irma and Jose, the NHC said. Those numbers are all above average for a typical season, which is only about half over for 2017.



    NAMPA/REUTERS

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    Rhino horn smuggled as trinketsRhino horn smuggled as trinkets International traffickers have tried many ways to smuggle African rhino horns to Asia, concealing them inside wooden Buddha statues, stashing horn pieces in lobster heads kept in a refrigerated container and disguising horn portions as the bases of painted statues.

    Now, conservationists say, some criminal groups are processing rhino horns into powder and trinkets before export, a trend that could reflect changing consumer tastes and make it harder for police to intercept the illegal cargo.

    The development highlights the difficulty of countering criminal syndicates, some of which include Chinese nationals, which show versatility in the face of periodic anti-poaching successes by security officials, who have reported confiscations of intact rhino horns at OR Tambo International Airport in past months.

    South Africa, which has about 80% of the continent's rhinos, has experienced record levels of poaching in the past decade.



    TRAFFIC

    Recent investigations by police discovered small, home-based workshops where rhino horns were cut into small pieces, beads and bracelets, or packaged as powder, TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said in an analysis released on Monday.

    The development will test overstretched law enforcement agencies if traffickers expand such operations, and growing evidence that swindlers are making fake rhino horn products out of cow horns adds to the challenge, the report said.

    “If someone walks through an airport wearing a necklace made of rhino horn, who's going to stop them?” said Julian Rademeyer, who co-wrote the report and is the author of “Killing for Profit”, a book about the illegal rhino horn trade.

    Rademeyer said he had been aware of the increasing phenomenon of locally manufactured rhino horn products destined for export since last year. Similarly, elephant ivory products have also been produced in Africa before shipment to illegal markets elsewhere.

    The TRAFFIC report cites a June case in which police raided a house east of Johannesburg and found a workshop containing large rhino horn beads, some of them polished, and horn pieces cut into cylindrical shapes.

    Two Chinese nationals and a Thai woman were arrested.

    In a 2016 case, the report said, police conducting a raid in Johannesburg with a large Chinese community seized a bag of rhino horn powder, a large number of ivory bangles and carvings, pangolin scales and other illegal items.

    Two suspects were arrested.

    Vietnam and China have the main illegal markets for rhino horn, which is viewed by consumers as a treatment for cancer, hangovers and other ailments, even though it is made from the same substance as human fingernails and there is no evidence that it has medicinal value.

    Wealthy consumers perceive a horn as a status symbol and there is also a growing market for rhino horn jewellery and other trinkets of the kind being produced in South Africa before export.

    A researcher who was not involved in the TRAFFIC study said the local manufacture of rhino horn products was a “fairly new” development because horn processing usually occurred in Asia.

    “This obviously creates a different problem for us to detect it and to stop the trade,” said Melville Saayman, a professor in tourism management and economics at North-West University, who led a survey of rhino horn consumers in Vietnam.

    “A large number of people prefer the powder, but there are those who use it for lucky charms. So they would like a piece of the horn,” Saayman said.

    He added that Asian distributors and sellers traditionally prefer to receive intact horns from Africa because then they can chop them into whatever form to meet consumer needs.

    TRAFFIC's China team have noted rhino horn beads and bracelets for sale on the internet, indicating that rhino horn is “morphing into a luxury product trade” in addition to its use in traditional medicine, said Tom Milliken, a rhino expert at the wildlife trade monitoring network.

    “Also, no one along the trade chain from Africa to Asia is really looking for rhino horn products, the law enforcement focus is completely on horns or pieces of horns,” Milliken said.

    “Thus, the production in Africa probably achieves a dual purpose: It's cheaper to produce the products and the products are more likely than horns to be smuggled with impunity.”



    NAMPA/AP

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day HOMELESS: A woman stands at the door of her partially collapsed house as she prepares to evacuate it, in Tonala, Chiapas State, Mexico, on 9 September 2017 after a powerful earthquake struck Mexico's Pacific coast late on September 7. Police, soldiers and emergency workers raced to rescue survivors from the ruins of Mexico's most powerful earthquake in a century, which killed at least 61 people, as storm Katia menaced the country's eastern coast with heavy rains. Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: China must not dictate terms
  • China must not dictate termsChina must not dictate terms It is true that the Chinese are our good friends with strong historical links to our liberation struggle. China, as one of the leading world economies, has since expanded its operations in both Africa and in Namibia particularly, the Chinese businesses have picked up in all major towns through the opening up of new markets. Chinese construction companies continue to enjoy government tenders, a phenomenon which has seen the Asian giant importing a significant number of their labour force to work on local projects. Despite widespread accusations such as unfair labour practices by Chinese companies in the country, the scales continue to tilt in their favour as they continue to rake in millions each year. During the past decade, there has been an impressive increase in Chinese investment in Namibia, which arguably confirms their determination and mission to expand trade across the whole continent. Now that China has positioned itself strategically in Namibia extremely well, the question remains whether the seizing of local industries has really benefitted the locals. It is true that China will never abandon its national interest and promote the interest of a foreign country. It will never happen. However, we must evaluate our relations with the Chinese to ensure that we don't get the wrong end of the stick from our Asian counterparts. The strategy of striking deals with corrupt officials must come to an end. Our national interest must take precedence over that of China. They should not dictate the terms and conditions to us. We have so many Namibians roaming the streets unemployed and yet we allow the Chinese to import labour to work on local projects at the expense of our own. It just doesn't make sense and it is unpatriotic on the part of those who allow this in the first place. They have also been awarded huge tenders by government, without really adding value to the local economy as they continue to import labour and equipment. What we want is equal trade deals and a win-win cooperation.

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    Kavango East to discuss barriers to quality educationKavango East to discuss barriers to quality education A 'Generation of Africa Intellectual Trust' youth organisation plans to hold a panel discussion on barriers to quality education in the Kavango East Region next month.

    The panel discussion, billed for 12 October 2017, will take place in the Kavango Regional Council auditorium and will form part of a series of educational discussions the organisation envisions for the region.

    Co-founder and managing trustee of the organisation, Maxwell Nghidinwa told Nampa in an interview this week the aim is to bring together intellectuals to find innovative solutions to problems in the region's education sector and promote an active pro-education society in Kavango East.

    He said the dialogue will serve as a platform to engage the public by engaging the relevant stakeholders such as learners, teachers and parents.

    Nghidinwa also said they hope to implement programmes that will empower stakeholders to contribute to inclusive and equitable quality education in the region.

    The panel discussion will be held under the theme 'A dialogue on the progress and barriers of access to quality education in the Kavango East Region after 27 years of independence.'

    It will, amongst others, discuss skills development programmes for under-qualified teachers, parental involvement in learner education, after-school supplementary programmes as well as the learners' pregnancy policy.

    The dialogue will be facilitated by Nampa journalist, Sawi Hausiku and the panellists will include several role players in education in Kavango East. The keynote speaker will be the director of education in the region, Fanuel Kapapero.

    The trust is a non-profit, non-political organisation that advocates for social change in Africa. It was registered with the Master of the High Court in 2014.

    NAMPA

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    Ministry responds to tourism crimeMinistry responds to tourism crimeAppeals to public to help protect visitors Following yet another robbery of tourists this weekend at Dune 7, the tourism ministry has urged the public to rededicate itself to the protection of tourists. The tourism ministry has appealed to the Namibian nation to rededicate itself to protecting its international visitors, its economy, international image and its ranking as one of the top five safest countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

    In a statement yesterday, the ministry's public relations officer Romeo Muyunda said in light of the recent spate of attacks on tourists Namibia is struggling to uphold the image as a safe destination.

    “The success or failure of a tourism destination depends on being able to provide a safe and secure environment for travelers.

    “The ministry believes that changing the growing negative perception must be of priority and we must collectively and aggressively work on that.

    “The cost implications for not taking care of our visitors will result in unrecoverable damage as a tourist destination, loss of jobs and revenues. It is therefore vital that we all work together to combat crime so we create a safe heaven and memorable moments for visitors to our beautiful country,” he urged.

    Muyunda added that although these attacks are regrettable they are not unique to Namibia at all, but the Namibian government remains committed to the safety of its international visitors.

    “The ministry together with the police and other stakeholders are working to put in place all necessary interventions to curb crime against tourists' attacks and road accidents. The government has already put a number of measures in place to protect tourists, such as establishing dedicated Tourism Police Units. Police presence on the ground may be insufficient at present but plans are in place to increase the coverage of tourist hotspots in and around towns in all regions and the country at large.”

    Muyunda added that while statistics are currently not available to do a proper comparison, the fact remains that tourism has grown phenomenally in Namibia over the past ten years.

    He noted however that until such statistics are available, care must be taken not to create undue alarm.

    “These tourists go back to their country and write stories in their own words about the natural beauty, the wildlife, historical places and the people of Namibia.

    “Their praise of Namibia's natural diversity and uniqueness in their own countries helps grow tourism to Namibia. Nobody should be allowed to spoil such experiences,” he urged.

    Efforts that have been implemented to curb the recent attacks on tourists include the introduction of closed circuit cameras by the City of Windhoek in and around the city.

    Highway patrols are increased and are conducted around the clock.

    “Further work is currently being done to formalise a joint strategy to further improve tourist safety, involving a significant number of stakeholders.

    “New initiatives under consideration include the improvement of security at airports; stricter measures concerning taxis and other public transporters; providing for a reward system for information about crime against tourists; creating a hotline for reporting incidents; improve signposting at tourist hotspots; and further expansion of patrolling and surveillance,” said Muyunda.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    High Court finds for Tender BoardHigh Court finds for Tender Board The Tender Board did not act unfairly when it cancelled the tender for the supply of food to school hostels in eight regions without affording two tenderers an opportunity to be heard.

    Windhoek High Court Judge Shafimana Ueitele on Friday said the Tender Board, due to the failure to observe standards of honesty and corruption that marred the tender evaluation process, had to take the decision to cancel.

    The tender was for the provision of catering services to government school hostels in eight regions and there were 91 interested parties.

    The two applicants in the review application in the High Court, PAMO Trading Enterprises and Circle Hospitality Services were the successful tenderers for the Khomas and Otjozondjupa regions. The chairperson of the Tender Board, the education ministry and the prime minister office, along with 88 tenderers, were cited as respondents in the matter.

    Ueitele in his judgment emphasised that the mandate of the board did not expire due to the non-communication of the outcome of the award of the tender to any of the 91 tenderers.

    “The Tender Board was not functus officio (board's mandate did not expire) and the reasons advanced by the board for the cancellation of the tender were reasonable,” the judge ruled. However the education permanent secretary, after the Tender Board accepted recommendations from the ministry as to which parties were successful, requested the board to cancel the entire tender. The board acceded to the request and cancelled the tender on 8 October 2014 and set to re-advertise it as soon as possible.

    “The reason for the request is due to endless criticism which prompted the leadership of the ministry to request the cancellation. This will be prudent and in the best interest of the ministry, the children and that of the entire nation to request a cancellation and re-advertisement of the tender,” the education permanent secretary wrote.

    PAMO Trading Enterprises and Circle Hospitality Services were aggrieved by the decision and approached the court on the grounds that they were not given the opportunity to be heard before the Tender Board decided on the cancellation and also said the mandate of the board had expired.

    A further impropriety cited was the involvement of the permanent secretary in the allocation of a tender to the tune of N$47 million to a company in which his wife had an interest without having declared this to the Tender Board. The tender was cancelled on 13 October 2014 and a letter to all the tenderers informing them of the cancellation was sent.

    Judge Ueitele dismissed the application with costs.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    N$70k cash stolen from Ya Toivo's widowN$70k cash stolen from Ya Toivo's widow The wife of former Robben Island prisoner and icon of the Namibian national liberation struggle, Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, has fallen victim to theft after a cash amount of over N$70 000 was stolen from her.

    A 49-year-old suspect, Elia Shoopala Kapofi, yesterday appeared in the Magistrate's Court on charges of theft. He was not asked to plead on the charges.

    It is alleged that Kapofi on 2 February this year in Windhoek stole cash to the tune of N$71 700 which was in the lawful possession of Vicki Erestein Ya Toivo. The accused is out on N$10 000 bail and wants to be represented by a lawyer of his choice.

    Magistrate Gerrit Brand Pletzen postponed the case to 2 October 2017 for legal representation and further investigation by the police.

    Vicki, who is still grieving the loss of her husband in June this year, was not prepared to discuss the issue. “For me it is a private matter,” she said.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: Biosafety workshop underway
  • Biosafety workshop underwayBiosafety workshop underway A three-day mock application evaluation training workshop on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) was held yesterday at the fisheries ministry's auditorium in Swakopmund.

    The workshop, which was facilitated by the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), an agency of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), was convened to look into the importance of environmental safety, food safety and economic considerations pertaining to GMOs and GMO products.

    Speaking at the launch, the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) manager of biotechnology, Paulus Mungeyi, said concepts of handling and assessing GMO applications have to be understood before decisions are made.

    “Indeed, advancement in modern science and technology offers tremendous opportunities for improving the well-being of people and environment. However, it also embodies risks.

    “Therefore, there is a need to ensure that adequate care is taken consciously to inform the citizenry of the benefits and processes related to this innovation,” Mungeyi said.

    Namibia is in the process of ensuring that its biosafety regulations conform to international standards. According to Mungeyi, the Namibian government has long recognised the importance of biotechnology because of the enactment of the Biosafety Act, 2006 (Act no 7 of 2006), which is administered by the NCRST.

    The process of drafting of regulations was undertaken in a participatory manner involving extensive stakeholder consultation and the regulations that support the implementation of the Biosafety Act of 2006 came into operation on 1 November 2016.

    The objectives of the Biosafety Act include introducing systems and procedures for the regulation of genetically-modified organisms in Namibia in order to provide an adequate level of protection to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The Act also takes into account potential risks to the health and safety of humans and harmful consequences to the environment posed by genetically-modified organisms or genetically-modified products and social, cultural, ethical and economic considerations.

    In addition, the Act aims to provide a framework for responsible research, development and the use of genetic engineering, and to manage the risks posed by or those that are the result of gene technology by regulating activities involving the development, production, use, import, export, transport, release into the environment, marketing and other uses of genetically-modified organisms and products.

    The workshop was attended by several national and international experts.

    Adolf Kaure

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: Ailonga to lead EFN
  • Ailonga to lead EFNAilonga to lead EFNEditors' forum elects new exco The local editor's forum recently held its annual general meeting to elect new members to its executive. The Editors' Forum of Namibia (EFN) has retained the services of Joseph Ailonga who retains the position of chairperson.

    Ailonga was re-elected unopposed during a special annual general meeting held last week for a second two-year term.

    “The work continues,” Ailonga stated after his re-election.

    He stressed the importance of jealously guarding media freedom in Namibia and to restore the country's international rating to previous levels.

    Namibia ranks 24th globally out of 180 countries, according to the just released 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

    Facilitating training for journalists and broadening the membership base of the EFN will, according to Ailonga, be the key objectives of the new executive committee.

    Other members of the executive committee are Wilfried Hähner (Hitradio Namibia) as vice-chairperson, Alna Dall (One Africa Television) as secretary and Christof Maletsky (The Namibian) – treasurer (re-elected but to a new portfolio).

    The new additional members are Ronelle Rademeyer (Republikein), Willem Steenkamp (One Africa TV) and Peter Denk (NBC).

    The executive committee was tasked by the AGM to co-opt two additional members, one each from community broadcasting and online media respectively.

    Two AGMs held on 11 August and 13 September this year elected new people to serve as representatives of the public and the media on the Media Complaints Committee and the Media Appeals Committee.

    The process was completed after public nominations were requested through the media and whose deadline was 30 June 2017.

    These two committees will assist the new Media Ombudsman, John Nakuta, during the adjudication of a dispute or will hear any appeal against a ruling by the Media Ombudsman.

    The EFN is a member of the Southern African Editors' Forum (SAEF) as well as the African Editors' Forum (TAEF). TAEF's joint forum with the AU Commission was attended by EFN in Kigali in June 2016. The launch of the ACP Press Club Federation was also held in Kigali in October 2016.

    During the period 1 January 2016 to 14 July 2017, a total of 12 complaints were received by the Media Ombudsman.

    The Media Ombudsman will no longer adjudicate complaints against non-members.

    All media institutions are thus requested to sign up in order to benefit from the speedy and inexpensive dispute resolution provided by an internationally recognised model of self-regulation.



    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: Ex-manager pleads not guilty
  • Ex-manager pleads not guiltyEx-manager pleads not guilty The State yesterday put charges to the former marketing manager of MultiChoice Namibia and she promptly denied that she had defrauded the company of more than N$2 million.

    Manga Nawa-Mukena, a local socialite who excelled as a model, yesterday pleaded not guilty after the investigations into the charges against her were finalised.

    It is alleged that between the period of 1 April 2013 and March 17 this year, she had acted wrongfully, unlawfully, falsely and with the intent to defraud MultiChoice Namibia.

    She allegedly used her position as marketing manager at the company to entice her employer to pay Kundana (Pty) Limited for services that were never rendered.

    She is alleged to have falsified a total of 80 invoices for advertising services by presenting them together with banking details that were not that of Kundana but allegedly, her own.

    According to the State, she, over a period of three years with the 80 invoices managed to pocket an amount of N$2 088 071 at the expense of MultiChoice Namibia.

    The prosecution states that the accused knew very well that the 80 invoices were falsified and no advertising services were ever rendered to her employer by the entity in question.

    She was released on N$50 000 bail with very stringent conditions.

    Magistrate Gerrit Brand Pletzen postponed the matter to 17 November for the decision of the prosecutor-general.

    Tatelo Cuthbert Lusepani prosecuted while Obed Sibiya is representing the accused.





    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Stepfather arrested on rape chargeStepfather arrested on rape charge The Omusati police have arrested a 59-year-old man from Okalongo who is accused of having slept with his 17-year-old stepdaughter.

    Namibian Sun on Monday reported that the girl had reported the matter to the police earlier this month but refused to file charges against the man.

    Because she is not a minor the State could not open a case on her behalf.

    Attempts by the police and social workers to encourage her to file charges proved futile.

    Her mother also refused to open a case on her behalf.

    But on Monday the police did open a rape case against the man, based on the fact that the girl had indicated in her statement that the sexual relationship with her stepfather has been going on for over a year.

    “The State opened the case of rape against the accused as the child indicated that he had been sleeping with her when she was a minor,” the Omusati police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Linekela Shikongo said.

    It is alleged that the accused raped the girl on several occasions between December 2016 and August this year. It is further alleged that the incidents happened while the girl's mother was not home.

    The suspect is expected to appear before the Outapi magistrate's court today.

    Namibian Sun understands the girl has moved out of the house and is staying with relatives in the same area.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Car crashes kill over 500 in 2017Car crashes kill over 500 in 2017 More than 500 people have died in car accidents since January, according to the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund.

    With three months to go until the end of the year, this figure is 201 less than the total deaths recorded on Namibian roads at this time last year.

    This information was announced by MVA Fund's Eva Amakali at a road-safety conference in the Ohangwena Region yesterday.

    She said the leading causes of road accidents were ignorance, reckless driving and drunken driving.

    Amakali said the Fund spent about N$200 million a year to cover the funeral costs and medical expenses of accident victims and to take care of families affected by crashes.

    “If you look at the amount we spent on an annual basis, that money could have been used for the construction of proper roads,” Amakali said.

    The number of people killed in Namibia last year amounted to 34 per 100 000.

    The MVA Fund hoped to reduce this number to 16 per 100 000 by the year 2022.

    Amakali said this could only be attained if all stakeholders took the fight against road accidents seriously.

    National Road Safety Council spokesperson Ambrosius Tierspoor said young people needed to be educated about the dangers of reckless driving.

    “Some parents have driving experience of up to 55 years but they would give their car keys to their child, whom they have never seen driving, just because he or she has a driver's licence and this is wrong,” Tierspoor warned.

    He said all platforms to engage and sensitise people should be exploited, even church services.

    During the conference, concerned members of the local community criticised the Roads Authority for not maintaining the roads properly.

    They also complained about an absence of road signs and speed bumps. Concern was also raised about the poor state of gravel roads in the region.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: Govt explains UN vote
  • Govt explains UN voteGovt explains UN voteNamibia will state its position during debate The Namibian delegation to the UN will explain the country's stance on genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity during the debate that it did not want on the General Assembly's agenda. The government has reiterated its commitment to the cause of human rights and ending suffering, and that it must be done through recognised bodies such as the United Nations Security Council.

    This reassurance comes after the country's leadership was reproached for voting against a motion to discuss “the responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” during the 72nd General Assembly Session in New York.

    In a statement issued yesterday, international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasised that it was merely a “procedural vote” and not a reflection of Namibia's stance on human rights.

    “Namibia will express her views and position on this issue during that debate, and will then decide on how to vote depending on the content of the resolution,” she said.

    “Namibia remains committed to defend human rights and to end human suffering, but through globally supported and internationally recognised multilateral bodies and institutions. We support the premise of the Responsibility to Protect, but through the UN Security Council.”

    The minister further said like many other countries, Namibia was concerned that this concept could be used to undermine the UN Security Council, which had the mandate to “maintain international peace and security”.

    “Furthermore, to date there is no legal instrument in place to back R2P. The United Nations relies on its Human Rights Council and other international mechanisms to deal with issues of gross human rights abuses, war crimes and genocide.”

    According to a report by the UN Security Council, the concept commonly referred to as R2P recognises that states have the primary responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

    “One of the principal ways in which we can do so is by strengthening accountability for the implementation of the responsibility to protect and by ensuring rigorous and open scrutiny of practice, based on agreed principles. Accountability ties authorities to their populations and individual states to the international community,” Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasised.

    Only 21 countries voted against the motion while 113 countries pushed for the discussion to be placed on the General Assembly's agenda. Seventeen countries abstained from voting, which means the discussion will take place.

    The R2P also recognises that there is a collective responsibility to encourage and assist countries to fulfil their primary responsibility and to use diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the United Nations Charter to protect populations from atrocities.

    Meanwhile, the Unite to End Genocide website stipulates that the R2P expects international communities to prevent, react, and to rebuild afflicted countries.

    This essentially means Namibia, like the rest of the world, will be obliged to spend time and resources on ensuring that conflicts and crises are prevented or halted before genocide or mass atrocities occur.

    Unite to End Genocide further emphasises that when reacting to a mass atrocity, the international community is always expected to start out with the least intrusive and coercive measures possible.

    “Military intervention should not be used unless absolutely necessary. R2P does recognise that sometimes military intervention is necessary, but asserts that military intervention should only be used if there is just cause and all precautionary principles are observed.

    “Should military intervention occur, the global community has a responsibility to rebuild after the intervention has occurred and aid in recovery and reconciliation, as well as directly address the cause and necessity for military intervention in the first place,” the lobby group says.



    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: Topnaars fear donkey theft
  • Topnaars fear donkey theftTopnaars fear donkey theftAnother voice against proposed Chinese abattoirs The chief of Erongo's Topnaar community says they fear losing their transport if people start stealing donkeys to sell to abattoirs. The Topnaar community living along the Kuiseb River in the Erongo Region is concerned that proposed donkey abattoirs could lead to an increase in donkey theft.

    “My people are hearing stories regarding this matter and some are concerned,” said the chief of the Topnaar Traditional Authority, Seth Kooitjie.

    He told Nampa that they use donkeys for transport and sometimes sell them to those who slaughter the animals for their meat.

    Kooitjie said they do not have a good understanding of the abattoirs' effect on their animals as yet.

    “It might not be a bad business but if it has disastrous consequences, the government must put in place strict laws and procedures to control such businesses,” he suggested.

    Kooitjie's comments follow plans by Chinese investors to establish donkey abattoirs at Outjo and Okahandja.

    Each abattoir plans to slaughter at least 70 donkeys per day, which is over 25 000 donkeys per year.

    There is a large market for donkey skins in Asia. The hides are used to manufacture gelatine, known in China as “e'jiao”, believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing abilities.

    Apart from providing transport, donkeys are also used to plough fields in Namibia. The 2016 Animal Census conducted by the Directorate of Veterinary Services indicates that there were 144 647 donkeys at the time.

    Approached for comment, Outjo mayor Marius Sheya said the council would not impose the proposed abattoir on the community, especially if there was evidence that it would affect their livelihood.

    Sheya said an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was under way, after which the council would consult the companies involved and the community. “The companies applied for land to establish the abattoir but it was not approved as yet; nothing will be started before all the views and the final findings of the EIA are thoroughly considered,” he said.

    Okahandja mayor Congo Hindjou said the council had informed the abattoir stakeholders to consult the public first. “Our position is to bring them together with the community and hear their objections,” he said.

    Kenya is the only African country with an operational donkey abattoir. Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda and Ethiopia closed their abattoirs, Alex Mayers of the British charity Donkey Sanctuary said on Saturday.

    Mayers, who is in Namibia to assess the views of the public on the matter, told Nampa that donkeys represent access to clinics, water, markets and fields for people across Africa, who are often vulnerable to drought and floods. He said town councils had a great opportunity to safeguard the livelihoods of many people who depend on donkeys. “Namibia is at an interesting moment in time where strong leadership and good decision should be made before it loses a key resource,” he said.

    -Nampa



    PAULUS SHIKU

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  • 09/19/17--15:00: 'Teachers are overworked'
  • 'Teachers are overworked''Teachers are overworked' The Teachers' Union of Namibia (TUN) has accused the government of deliberately overburdening teachers in order to save money while high-ranking officials are living in luxury.

    Addressing the media yesterday, TUN president Mahongora Kavihuhua alleged that under the circumstances, unqualified male teachers are forced to teach needlework, while teachers who must stand in for maths teachers barely have grade 5 mathematics themselves.

    He added that because a number of teachers have been boarded because of ill health and others have left for greener pastures, children are sitting in classrooms unattended and are not being taught.

    According to him this is as a result of delays and a failure to appoint teachers who have already been interviewed for positions, as well as the government's delay in releasing the vacancy bulletin for next year.

    “We demand that the bulletin be released before or during the first week of October. Failure to do that will leave the TUN and student teachers with no other option but to come up with unspecified action,” he said.

    According to him, there is currently an “exodus” of teaching staff from government schools because teachers feel overworked and burnt out.

    “This exodus and accompanying delay in releasing the vacancies has caused the workload on the teachers to increase and the school management covers up for government's negligence. Teachers, being responsible and national service cadres, cannot sit watching Namibian children sitting without being taught,” he said.

    According to education spokesperson Absalom Absalom, the vacancy bulletin will be released shortly.

    “We are working tirelessly to release the bulletin and will make an announcement this week in this regard.” Attempts to reach the minister of education, arts and culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, and her permanent secretary, Sanet Steenkamp were futile.



    JEMIMA BEUKES

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