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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: First Lady takes on violence
  • First Lady takes on violenceFirst Lady takes on violence The One Economy Foundation in partnership with the Namibia Health Plan on Saturday held an anti-violence walk to mark the start of an anti-violence campaign called '#BreakFree2BeFree'.

    More than 150 members of the public took part in the five-kilometre walk led by First Lady Monica Geingos, who is the executive chairperson of the One Economy Foundation.

    The one-year campaign which will be launched today, aims to raise awareness and end violence in Namibia.

    Speaking at a breakfast session held immediately after the walk, Geingos said the high level of violence in Namibia is a manifestation of how dysfunctional the society is.

    “We would not consider this as normal behaviour and we must work together to bring about change,” she said. Geingos said Namibia is a very judgemental society which needs to stop being insensitive about issues surrounding violence and rather work together to raise awareness and end the violence.

    She urged the media to avoid sensationalising information on violence.

    “Let us rather use our access and power to information to shape and guide against violence as sensationalising of events does not take us anywhere. Often [news] papers write 'she was killed because she did this'; that is justification!” said Geingos.

    She emphasised that Namibians should stop being insensitive about issues that impact a certain group of people more than others, saying this leads to tribalism. The campaign will include a call to action through a pledge which gives members of the public an opportunity to end complacency and get involved. The Office of the First Lady seeks to obtain 100 000 signatures to the pledge before the end of 2018.

    The One Economy Foundation was established in May last year and aims to contribute to ensuring that Namibians fully utilise their talents in one economy.

    NAMPA

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    Agriculture tightens its beltAgriculture tightens its belt The agriculture ministry is on a drive to cut costs. This follows the tabling of the mid-term budget review delivered in the National Assembly at the beginning of the month.

    The ministry was allocated N$1.5 billion in its operational budget for the remainder of the financial year. This is an upward revision of N$200 million from the N$1.3 billion originally allocated in March.

    Announcing a series of savings measures to see the ministry through the remainder of the financial year, its permanent secretary, Percy Misika, said invoices would be scrutinised to ensure the ministry got value for money from goods and services.

    There were discrepancies in invoices issued for work performed on the ministry's vehicles which was actually not done, and several former employees were still receiving cellphone benefits, Misika said.

    “One of the areas we are looking at is the cost of utilities as these costs are astronomical. The director of internal auditing will scrutinise all our invoices to ensure that we get value for money,” said Misika.

    The use of ministerial vehicles was also an area of concern, Misika said.

    “Another committee will be looking at the utilisation of vehicles. This is a pertinent area of concern. Vehicles are standing but invoices are coming in for work done on vehicles. Invoices are being paid without any work being done on the said vehicles,” said Misika.

    The ministry will also try and consolidate the use of photocopy machines and scanners, he said.

    “The other issue is that of information communication technology. Let us have a network system for our IT.

    We want to be able to use a single photocopy machine for a cluster of offices to reduce costs and misuse,” he said.

    Misika said it was discovered that the agriculture ministry was still paying the cellphone bills of former employees who had retired, resigned or had been transferred to other ministries.

    He also announced that cellphone allowances would be cut from N$999 to N$400 a month. That would save about N$100 000 a month.

    The deputy permanent secretary for planning, Sophia Kasheeta, said the ministry would use empty warehouses owned by the ministry of works in an effort to cut further costs.

    “The ministry is looking at where we can share offices, especially buildings that are not being optimised. The ministry of works has many warehouses that are not optimally used,” said Kasheeta. According to her, money was being wasted by paying rent.

    “Why should the ministry pay landlords when the ministry of works has vacant land?”

    It is not clear at this stage how much the ministry will save as a result of its internal cost-cutting measures.

    Despite the cutbacks, Misika said the ministry would be required to recruit 300 'struggle kids' and the expense had not been budgeted for.

    There was also a pay increase for service technicians, backdated to 2013, Misika said.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: Kunene lions will be removed
  • Kunene lions will be removedKunene lions will be removedKraal was not strong enough, ministry says The environment ministry will catch and relocate the pride of desert-adapted lions that wiped out a kraal full of goats and sheep in the Kunene Region last week. The environment and tourism ministry is taking steps to capture and translocate a pride of 10 to 15 lions suspected of having killed 86 goats and sheep in the Kunene Region last week.

    The lions will be taken “to areas where they will not cause any conflict with people,” the ministry announced yesterday.

    “Only if there are challenges in capturing specific individual lions of this pride, then such individuals will be destroyed, but our first priority is to translocate these animals,” the ministry said. It emphasised that human-wildlife conflict management was a top priority for the ministry, and required striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of the people who live with wildlife.

    The ministry emphasised that it took human-wildlife conflict seriously.

    “It is a complex and serious problem that, if not addressed appropriately and treated with the necessary understanding and respect, and managed effectively, can harm if not destroy conservation efforts and tourism benefits for the country.”

    The statement was issued in the wake of reports that a Torra Conservancy farmer, Samuel Gawiseb, lost stock valued at more than N$100 000 last week after the group of lions entered one of his kraals during the night and killed most of the animals inside. Only eight kids survived.

    It is estimated that Gawiseb will suffer a financial loss of more than N$80 000, as the compensation programme for stock loss currently pays out merely N$200 for a goat and N$250 for a sheep, while their market value is more than N$1 000.

    The ministry noted that preliminary investigations had found that the kraal in which the goats and sheep were killed was not strong enough “and was not built in accordance with the predator-proof requirements”.

    The ministry recognised the role it plays in helping communities and farmers to reduce or manage conflict with wildlife, but said the responsibility does not rest with the government alone.

    “It is the responsibility of all citizens, farmers, organisations and organs of state that engage in land use and that can be affected by human-wildlife conflict to take measures to avoid such conflict,” it emphasised.

    “Every person has a general duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent or minimise damage being caused or to be caused by wild animals.”

    The ministry explained that human-wildlife conflict must be managed in a way that recognises the rights and developmental needs of local communities, promotes biodiversity conservation and self-reliance, and ensures that decision-making is quick, efficient and based on the best available information.

    The ministry said it recognised the threat posed by human-wildlife conflict and was finalising a review of the national policy on human-wildlife conflict management, under which the human-lion conflict management plan for north-western Namibia was developed.

    Criticism was levelled at the ministry over the past few days for failing to collar lions in conservation areas in order to provide farmers with a monitoring and early-warning system.

    On social media, many demanded that the lions be killed, though others warned that that would be a blow to conservation in the region.

    The ministry was also urged to help farmers make their kraals predator proof and to teach them how to prevent conflict with wildlife.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    N$3 million raised by the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple ProjectN$3 million raised by the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project The 2017 Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project has yet again set a new record after an astounding N$3 million was raised. Staff Reporter - The Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project was established in 2000 to create awareness about cancer and educate Namibians to protect themselves against this illness. With Bank Windhoek as the main sponsor, the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project continues to be the biggest national fundraising project in Namibia.

    “Bank Windhoek remains passionate about the Apple Project and is very proud to be associated with the Cancer Association. We will continue to seek new ways to add value to the lives of cancer patients and their families as we truly believe we are the connectors of positive change,” said Bank Windhoek’s Managing Director, Baronice Hans.

    “Thank you to the Namibian public and our project partners for supporting Bank Windhoek to enable us to make a positive change in the lives of those affected by cancer. Through this project we could once again expand the footprint of the National Cancer Outreach Programme and screen more than 5 000 Namibians free of charge,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Association of Namibia, Rolf Hansen.

    Due to the rapid expansion of the project, the Bank is constantly looking at ways to simplify it. The Entrepreneurial Challenge, introduced two years ago to increase the amount of money raised, was once again a huge success. In this Challenge the Bank Windhoek branches and departments received seed capital of N$4 500 from the Bank to organise fundraising projects in support of the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project. This year the winning branch was once again Omaruru, who generated N$55 850 in three months and Swakopmund branch who sold 62 306 apples.

    More than 540 schools competed in their respective categories and share in the prize money of N$45 000. Each winning school received a cash prize of N$7 000, while second place received N$5 000 and third place received N$3 000. The prizes were given in the categories of Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary and Combined Schools.

    “As a team we contributed to the fight against cancer, an illness that affects so many, regardless of age or gender,” concluded Hans.

    The winners of the school project are:

    Pre-Primary Schools:

    1st Prize Lüderitz Christian School

    2nd Prize Klouterskool

    3rd Prize Kelkiewyn

    Primary Schools:

    1st Prize Deutsche Privatschule Otavi

    2nd Prize Deutscher Schulverein Grootfontein

    3rd Prize Privatschule Otjiwarongo

    Secondary Schools:

    1st Prize Grootfontein Agri College

    2nd Prize Edugate Academy

    3rd Prize Mariental Gymnasium Private School

    Combined Schools:

    1st Prize Westcoast Educare

    2nd Prize Keetmanshoop Private School

    3rd Prize Omusheshe Combined School

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    Amos Meerkat Schools National pre-school project receives boostAmos Meerkat Schools National pre-school project receives boost Staff reporter

    The Amos Meerkat Schools National Pre-School Project received a boost from the FNB Namibia Foundation Holdings Trust to the tune of N$ N$635,235.

    Some of the many success stories include the Nelson Pre-primary School founded by Theresia Ndara. This school was established on 19 February 2010 with her own funds and only three children. Today Theresia looks after 72 children and has another two teachers and one caretaker. Theresia: “I saw many children walking long distances to schools and some even staying home because it was too far for them to walk. It is my desire to prepare the children for grade 1, setting a strong foundation and ensuring that children from the Ombili suburb are exposed to the same opportunities as the children from more developed suburbs. The Amos Meerkat Early Childhood development training programme equipped me with the necessary skills and also donated educational material for my pre-primary school. I encourage other pre-primary school to approach Amos Meerkat for assistance to better prepare our children for grade 1.”

    Magda Shamalaza, a mentor of Amos Meerkat for various schools advised that the Amos curriculum not only teaches children but also teachers. “Our mindset changed because of different training courses of the Amos Curriculum including trauma healing training, first aid training as well as character development. We chose Amos Curriculum for our schools because it is clear and understandable and has the potential of laying some very important spiritual and intellectual foundations. The behaviour of our children has also changed for the better and parents are proud to send their children to our schools.”

    This project provides every farmer or community in Namibia with the opportunity to start a pre-school on their farm or in their community, so that every pre-school child in Namibia is presented with the opportunity of being ready for school. A mother on the farm or in the community is equipped to run a small pre-school for the children on that farm or in the community or village.

    FNB Namibia has been part of this project and its many success stories for a number of years. Revonia Kahivere, Corporate Social Investment Manager at FNB Namibia: “We are extremely proud of our teachers and our children as well as all the communities and farmers that have lend a helping hand. It is truly inspiring to see how our small children receive the right tools and equipment to then take the next confident step into the mainstream school.”

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: Equiping the Namibian child
  • Equiping the Namibian childEquiping the Namibian child Octavia Tsibes

    In December 2003 an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement was signed between the Chinese Government and the Namibian Government.

    In the same year during the visit of the President of the Republic of China, His Excellency Hu Jintao announced that Namibia amongst others would receive a range of additional financial assistance in a form of grants and loans. It included inter alia, an interest free loan worth RMB Yuan Hundreds (100) million, for the construction of the national Youth Service Training Centre.

    The National Youth Service offers a three phase training programme to the Namibian youth for free namely civic training, voluntary service and skills training.

    The centre was to be constructed in two phases, phase one of the project begun in 2011 and completed in 2015. The first phase includes five workshops, administration block with a resource centre ,a kitchen and dining hall, trainees sleeping quarters which provide accommodations for 800 trainees, 16 classrooms, 16 staff houses and netball and basketball courts.

    Phase two is anticipated to commence towards the end of October 2017 and it will include one workshop, a health clinic, and accommodation facilities for 800 trainees, fencing off of these additional infrastructure and a FIFA standard sport stadium with a pavilion. This phase is estimated to cost around RMB 84.89 million and will be funded through a grant by the government of the People`s Republic of China.

    “ In order to benefit more Namibian youth and emphasize the importance of career training, in August, 2015 both Government signed the exchange of letters, agreeing to do the phase 2 for this NYS centre using Chinese grant of around N$170 million,” Liu Huabo, Economic and Commercial Counsellor said.

    Huabo further says that China values its friendship with Namibia, and the Chinese government. “Since the founding of diplomatic ties between us in 1990, our bilateral relations have made much headway, with growing trade and economic cooperation and fruitful exchange and coorperation in education, infrastructure, fishery, public health, agriculture and other fields,” Huobo said.

    “The National Youth Service is a very important institution for our country because of its mandate,”Otto Iipinge the governer of Otjozondjupa said.

    He further says that as a region they continue to embrace the presence of the national youth training centre in their region. The training centre is contributing greatly to the social and economic development of Namibia.

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: Taking a break!
  • Taking a break!Taking a break! Shona Ngava

    I’m going on leave for about month. I’ve worked hard enough now and I think I deserve the leave, okay maybe I’ve been a bit lazy at work too but still I owe myself the leave and the huge break from the crazy world of media politics. I hardly ever take leave; this is actually the first time that I am taking leave in my four year stint in the media industry.

    It has come to my attention that I’ll be having way too much time on my hands so I don’t know how I am going to spend most it. I’ve given it thought and I actually need to rest although I tell myself otherwise. So I’ll be taking a break, I am going to take a break from social media, I am deactivating my social media accounts and then I will disappear into the abyss of life. My friends are convinced that I cannot take a break from social media because I am a “social media influencer” and that I don’t have the backbone to cut it out of my life. But it’s already decided, the moment my leave kicks in I shut myself off completely from the world and no I don’t have any issues, I just feel like it’s the right thing to do.

    I am going to pack my bags and then just hit the road. I initially wanted to go to a certain place but I’ll just pack my bags and go on an adventure. Not sure where I am going but I know I want to go to three destinations around Namibia. That’s the beautiful nature of life, it takes us to a place we don’t expect and that is what I want to experience. The point of my break is to learn as much as possible about myself and my beautiful country. I want to do so many things while on leave, things that I wouldn’t normally do, but not the bad stuff. I’ve contacted a few places that I want to go to and just enjoy myself. You might never know what I might do; I might go and work as a car wash guy in Otjiwarongo, go on a fishing excursion in Henties Bay or be a waiter at a restaurant in Karibib. I am going to use this break as much as possible to learn about other people and what they do and what inspires them. I’ve made myself a priority and I can’t wait to go out there and just create beautiful memories for myself.

    I’ll be back after a month to give you and update. Stay safe and out of trouble.

    Until next time. Peri nawa

    shona@namibiansun.com

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    San women fight for their own San women fight for their own Cost-cutting could erase gains San women recently shared their own stories to illustrate the many developmental, economic and social issues that continue to plague the San people in Namibia. JANA-MARI SMITH



    As more San women become empowered to speak up about the long-standing injustices their communities face, there is concern that the economic woes facing the country and slack government leadership will stall the hard-won progress the communities have attained and worsen already dire conditions.

    During a frank discussion hosted by the Women’s Leadership Centre (WLC) last week, 15 San women from around the country took the opportunity to share their own stories to illustrate the many developmental, economic and social issues that continue to plague the San people in Namibia.

    Issues cited by the women, all who have participated for the past six years in the WLC programme, Speaking for Ourselves – Voices of San Young, ranged from a lack of or substandard healthcare facilities, education, policing, housing and many other issues, in addition to wide-ranging discrimination from outsiders.

    Although all of the women praised the government and NGOs for their help over the years, they agreed that many issues remain unresolved and solutions are urgently needed.

    Some of the problems include lack of safe and clean bathrooms in communities.

    Women and girls are forced to walk long distances to reach the bathrooms, heightening the risk of rape and other abuses.

    One woman claimed that a school at Witvlei has no functioning toilets and children and teachers are forced to relieve themselves in the veld.

    Teachers who are unable to speak in the local San languages, as well as a lack of resources and corporal punishment at some schools, lead to high dropout rates, another woman said.

    Many women said that ambulance drivers insist on being paid before they agree to take sick people to hospitals and some health and police officers refuse to help because of language barriers.

    Local job opportunities for cleaners or gardeners are given to outsiders, denying the San an income in their own communities.

    Some of the women complained that drought-relief food parcels are delayed, or spoiled, when they arrive in their communities.

    Discrimination against the San is rife.

    “The attitude of the people, often government employees, such as the police and nurses and teachers, is really bad. They don’t respect us and they treat us however they want,” Dinyando Patricia told the audience.

    Talk to us

    Tertu ‘X’aga’ Fernandu, a San activist and co-founder of the //Ana-Jeh San Youth Project, said a critical issue is that the community themselves have had little say in programmes ostensibly designed to help the San.

    She also questioned the effectiveness of government departments tasked to help marginalised communities.

    “They are claiming that we have a deputy minister for the San people. What has happened since he was appointed as the leader for us? We don’t see anything, we don’t see any development.

    “People don’t even tell us how much money is budgeted for projects for the marginalised communities. We don’t know where the money is going. We don’t know about the projects that are there. We don’t know where to go.”

    She added that although a lack of funds is cited as a reason for donor and state programmes being halted, the truth is that “these issues have been here with us for so long”.

    “It seems to me that so many projects have come to Namibia in the name of the San people, but people don’t consult us. They talk to the leaders, and then the leaders give them authority to do the projects, but it’s not to the benefit of the people, they are creating the projects for their own benefit.”

    The lack of government and donor funding has increased anxiety over the future of the San, Fernando said.

    “Where are we going now? Where will we get money to help ourselves? We as the San people are standing up trying to do something for ourselves, but now we don’t have the money to do it. When we ask for money, we are told there are no funds.”

    We will not give up

    Maria Garises, and outspoken San activist from Drimiopsis in the Gobabis area, said the WLC programme has helped her learn about her and her community’s human rights and has strengthened her resolve to fight on behalf of her people.

    “Now, I can look people in the eye and talk. I have learned we are all equal.”

    Since joining the WLC programme, Garises has become a school board member and has become a facilitator for a San youth group, among many other positions from where she is able to speak on behalf of her community.

    She says the she has learned to take pride in her culture and heritage and despite the long and challenging road ahead. “I will not give up. I know my rights and I know that if you don’t talk for yourself, no one will listen.”

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: Shack Dwellers on the move
  • Shack Dwellers on the moveShack Dwellers on the move The deputy minister of urban and rural development, Derek Klazen, says the challenge of providing land and housing is not only the government's concern.

    Klazen made this statement at the commissioning of the construction of 100 homes by and for the Shack Dwellers' Federation of Namibia at Walvis Bay.

    He believes that both the private sector and the community have an important role to play in this regard.

    “Housing has gained prominence as one of the key national development priorities and is an important vehicle for addressing poverty and inequality, as well as for bringing about social harmony, economic advancement and ensuring political stability.

    “It is my conviction that the housing challenge is not insurmountable if we, government, the private sector and the community pool our resources and efforts together and develop inclusive, equitable and innovative strategies, such as this initiative,” said Klazen.

    He said the government, through the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and local authorities such as the Walvis Bay municipality, would continue to support organisations such as the Shack Dwellers' Federation of Namibia, “who have demonstrated their commitment and ability to contribute to the national drive towards providing affordable housing and proper sanitation to the community, especially those in the ultra-low and low-income categories”.

    “The federation's solution to housing is unique and worth supporting in that it is a case of the community itself taking action to address its own developmental needs. This is a clear testimony of sustainable and people-centred development, and I hereby pledge our continued support.

    “To date, the government's support for housing amounts to N$37.6 million. Under the current financial year, there is a provision for an amount of N$7 million to assist the federation to enable its members to build affordable houses for themselves through initiatives such as the one whose commissioning we are here to witness. This support will continue in the future.”

    He thanked the Walvis Bay municipality for making 100 plots available to the federation.

    Housing has become a critical issue in Namibia and the provision of decent housing has been made a key developmental priority as encapsulated in Vision 2030, National Development Plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

    ADOLF KAURE

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    GDP projections based on false assumptions: SmitGDP projections based on false assumptions: Smit The foundations of the gross domestic product (GDP) projections made by the minister of finance, Calle Schlettwein, are based on weak and false assumptions, Nico Smit, a member of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has said.

    Making his contribution on the Mid-Term Budget Review in the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday, Smit said the finance ministry did not make any progress in addressing issues that landed the country in financial trouble.

    Schlettwein during his Mid-Term Budget Review recently said Namibia’s GDP registered slow growth of 1.1% in 2016 due to a contraction in primary and secondary industries.

    He indicated that GDP growth would be led by a recovery in the primary industries, particularly mining and agriculture.

    The finance minister further said tertiary industries which account for over 50% of the GDP, would continue to support the regional economic outlook from the transport, tourism and telecommunication sub-sectors.

    Smit, however ,felt that the agriculture sector was too small to make a significant impact.

    “Unfortunately, earnings from fish and agricultural commodities are too small to counter the relatively large swings in mineral commodities,” he said.

    He added that if Cabinet does not realise the severe constraints the country is facing from a budgetary and financing point of view, the government debt will escalate.

    “Interest payments will continue to rise, [whilst] our government debt will become more expensive and we will eventually no longer have access to funding,” Smit said.

    He further stated that the public sector wage bill has continued on its “vastly inflated” trajectory and is budgeted to increase every year in the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework.

    Smit declared that there was no reduction of the bloated civil service this year and that references by the finance minister to the public sector wage bill was intended to appease the ratings agencies, Fitch and Moody’s. - Nampa

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    Daylight robbery in PioniersparkDaylight robbery in Pionierspark Two armed assailants robbed a G4S cash-in-transit van at the Westlane Lifestyle Centre in Pionierspark Extension 1 yesterday morning around 09:00. The robbers got away with N$487 320.

    “I was looking for a parking spot and as I stopped at the pedestrian crossing, I saw the G4S truck parked at the entrance,” a witness said. “I saw how one of the robbers tackled the security guard and pushed him to the floor. The driver of the vehicle was still behind the wheel and I saw one of the robbers fire at the window on the driver's side. The window shattered.

    “The robbers then grabbed two boxes, one black and one blue, from the back of the vehicle and ran right past my car, aiming their weapons at me.”

    The witness said they jumped into a gold-coloured vehicle that “looked like a Toyota Yaris”.

    He told Namibian Sun that one of the robbers hit another vehicle with the blue box, which then fell. However, the getaway car was already in motion and the second robber left that box, jumped into the car and they drove in the direction of the city.

    He said the robbers were brazen enough not to wear balaclavas and their faces were visible.

    “If there are security cameras they should be easy to catch.”

    Dries Kannemeyer, the managing director of G4S, confirmed the robbery and police spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi yesterday confirmed that almost N$500 000 was taken.

    The police also confirmed that one shot was fired but that no one was injured.

    TANJA BAUSE

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    Murder victim hidden near Fish RiverMurder victim hidden near Fish River A Berseba man was arrested on a charge of murder on Sunday, after the police discovered a body hidden near the Fish River between Berseba and Tses belonging to a man reported missing about a week ago.

    Yesterday, the Namibian police said Josef Olifant's, 44, body was discovered after he was murdered, likely with a heavy object like a hammer.

    Evidence indicates that Olifant's body was tied to a car, likely his own vehicle, at some point and the body dragged to a remote spot after his murder.

    On Sunday, a passer-by notified police of the body, but when they arrived at the scene, it appeared that the scene had been tampered with and the body moved again.

    Police, however, located the body, which had been concealed under stones.

    A suspect, who lives in Berseba, is due to appear at the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court today.

    The police say it is suspected that an argument related to drugs led to Olifant's murder.

    In the early hours of Monday morning, a resident of the Rundu State Hospital's psychiatric ward was killed after an assault by two other patients. The victim, 48, was identified as Pontanius Hausiku. Police are still investigating what transpired. Hausiku's next of kin are informed.





    On Sunday, a shop owner in Onayena in the Oshikoto region was held at gun point and assaulted by a number of suspects who eventually fled with N$30 000 in stolen cash.

    No arrests have been made to date, the police said.

    In another violent robbery, in Ondangwa that was reported on Friday, a suspect hit the shopkeeper's head against the wall and then “threatened her with an iron bar”.

    After demanding the keys for the safe, the suspect stole N$700 worth of recharge vouchers, a Samsung phone valued at close to N$54 000, another phone valued at more than N$1 600 and N$3 685 in cash. No arrests have been made to date, and police investigations continue.

    On Saturday, police were informed that five unidentified suspects, pretending to be police officers, gained unlawful entry to a house in Brakwater in the morning hours, owned by a 37-year-old Chinese national.

    After gaining entry into the home, the men handcuffed the owner and tied up his wife and three other persons, before stealing N$500 000 cash, weapons, cameras, watches, cell phones, wedding rings and other jewellery as well as Chinese currency. The total value of the stolen items has not yet been determined, and no arrests have taken place, but police investigations continue.

    In an Ongwediva housebreaking reported on Friday, three suspects managed to break and flee with items valued at close to N$30 000. The police reported that the suspects were arrested and the stolen items retrieved and returned to the owner.

    On Friday, a Portuguese tourist, Natacha Ferreira Alves (26), died after she was hit by a passing vehicle only five kilometres away from the airport.

    Alves had only arrived in Namibia, along with her father and boyfriend, a few hours before, for a trip around Namibia.

    Police say Alves had gotten out of the vehicle after she spotted a tortoise crossing the road. On her return to the car she “was knocked down by a passing vehicle. She died on the spot.”





    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: I was DTA, notPDM – Kaura
  • I was DTA, notPDM – KauraI was DTA, notPDM – KauraEx-opposition leader says he is no stomach politician Former DTA leader Katuutire Kaura has joined the ruling Swapo Party. Former DTA leader Katuutire Kaura said he was left without a political home when the country's main opposition party decided to rebrand as the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) a few weeks ago.

    That, he said, prompted him to seek refuge outside the party by joining Swapo. Kaura said he was never consulted when his former party embarked on a rebranding exercise.

    “On 4 November this year, DTA was abolished and they came up with PDM. After that I was left without a party,” said the 76-year-old politician.

    “Now that DTA is no more I was free to join any party of my choice. Since I believe in the principles of President Hage Geingob of building the Namibian house, I decided to join Swapo.”

    Kaura's defection to Swapo was announced during a campaign event at Grootfontein where Geingob addressed delegates and the ruling party's faithful ahead of this month's watershed elective congress.

    Geingob is one of the three candidates vying for the Swapo presidency. The other two candidates are veteran politicians Nahas Angula and Jerry Ekandjo.

    PDM national chairperson Jennifer van den Heever told Namibian Sun that Kaura never resigned from their party.

    Geingob told the gathering that Kaura had informed him via a text message that he was joining the ruling party, which he had sharply criticised during his days in the opposition.

    Kaura lost out on the DTA presidency to youthful leader McHenry Venaani in 2013 during an elective central committee meeting.

    He later turned against his own party by publicly criticising the new leadership. He was later hauled before a disciplinary hearing and expelled from the party in February 2014.

    He also lost his seat in the National Assembly but successfully challenged his expulsion in court and was reinstated as a DTA parliamentarian and by default as party member.

    Kaura left the National Assembly at the end of his term in March 2015 and was immediately named as special advisor to the late Kunene governor Angelika Muharukua.

    Van den Heever said her office was yet to receive Kaura's letter of resignation, saying the party only learned of his resignation on social media.





    “We do not know why he joined Swapo. In fact he left the party in 2013 when he lost the party presidency to Venaani, which was done in a democratic way.

    “Ever since then we have been inviting him to our party events, but he never attended,” Van den Heever claimed.

    “As PDM we are wishing Honourable Kaura all the best in his future endeavours. It is his democratic right to join Swapo. We have nothing much to say about it.”



    Saw it coming

    In 2014 following his short-lived expulsion from the then DTA, Kaura hinted in an interview with Namibian Sun that he was free to join a political party of his choice. He never ruled out the possibility of joining Swapo.

    “When you dismiss me from the party, you've also dismissed my wife. All 14 people in my house have registered to vote in this year's election but they certainly won't vote for the DTA which I am not a member of. From that perspective, the party has effectively dismissed 14 of its members,” he was quoted as saying.

    There have been mixed reactions to Kaura's defection to Swapo, with some labelling his move as “politics of the belly”, while others claimed he was eyeing the vacant Kunene governor's position.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: Working and thriving
  • Working and thriving Working and thriving Surviving a harsh environment A young entrepreneur shares with The Zone about her business journey and what it takes to make it in the industry as a start-up company.Ester Hamukoto is a strong willed and ambitious business lady. She has been making a name for herself in the business industry over the years through... Shona Ngava

    For Hamukoto it is simple, she is fervent about business and having a positive impact in her society through her business initiatives. “I am very passionate about business, as I grew up seeing my grandmother turn her day care business into a successful pre-primary which has been in existence for more than 18 years,” she says.

    She holds an honours-degree in Business management from the University of Namibia (Unam) and she registered her consulting business in 2011 and they offer business consulting services to start-up entrepreneurs as well as secretariat services to established businesses,” she says. She says when she started her business she had to overcome challenges such as cash flow and competing against established business. “Getting clients to trust us as an SME was not easy at the beginning as we were competing with bigger firms and cash flow to meet monthly payment obligations and dealing with the unknown or overcoming unpredictability and uncertainty are some of the challenges we are overcoming at the moment.

    She says she uses the education she had in university to run her business and says that sometimes it is not about being business savvy but using education as a means to excel ones business. “Education opens one mind to leadership skills and when you are educated your thinking capacity broadens and can help you gain knowledge in a certain area of your business,” she says. The entrepreneur is self-employed and says running her own business is no easy task because the success of the business depends on how hard she works. “Being self-employed comes with high risks but also with high returns. One can say being self-employed is not for the faint of heart. But with passion, drive and discipline you can reap some serious financial benefits that is why we are all in business,” says Hamukoto.

    She cautions potential entrepreneurs who are trying to start their own business to ensure that they do proper research with regards to their area of focus and advices they just need an idea to start a business even if they do not have funding for one. “Entrepreneurs must research the market they want to operate in beforehand, this will help them to analyse if the industry is ready to accommodate them. Doing research allows you to determine whether your business will survive or not,” she shares. She says that the business world is very tough on women but women are capable of doing what her male colleagues in the industry can do. “It is not easy to work in this industry as a lady but you need to be tough and confident to make it because you do not want people to push you over. Women are more than capable of running successful businesses,” she shares.

    She intends on growing her business and furthering her studies in the future and wants to be a key player in the business industry. “I am working on expanding my holdings company and I want to venture into other sectors of the business industry and just to expand my knowledge and to contribute towards the countries development,” she says.

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    Female leaders make local youth innovators competitive on an international stageFemale leaders make local youth innovators competitive on an international stage Staff reporter

    Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and FABlab believe that technology and innovation are the way to develop, inspire and motivate young Namibians. A means to get them to be competitive locally, regionally but also globally. Technological innovations can come from anywhere and given the right encouragement, mentorship and self-belief, nothing is impossible. This is certainly the case for girls, young woman and anyone aspiring to better themselves.

    By supporting youth owned business and local innovation we can achieve this positive vision of the future and in turn help achieve Namibia’s goals of being a knowledge-based nation, with technology, innovation and entrepreneurship being major pillars and drivers of its economy. Recently we took this vision a step further and with our stakeholders and partners we created a session where a very accomplished and impressive all-female group joined forces to mentor and coach two of Namibia’s most promising young start-up enterprises.

    FABlab, the innovative technology and design hub of NUST, hosted the mentoring session together with the Finnish SAIS programme in order to prepare the two teams representing Namibia on the international stage in Helsinki, at Europe’s biggest start-up event, SLUSH in December 2017.

    Mr. van Wyk, Founder of Namibia’s first low-cost computing device, PEBL, emphasized the importance of a stimulating and motivating environment and acknowledged that through FABlab, PEBL had gotten a major boost; “This Is what dreams are made of, the experts were amazing and I could sense that they really want us to do well. Their comments and advice is just priceless!”

    The female leaders represented private industry and equity as well as intergovernmental organisations, academia, public sector, local development support. Their power lies within the fact that they are all working at the top levels of their respective industries and know the trials and pitfalls of success. The fact that they are willing to invest their time and share their knowledge with aspiring entrepreneurs is truly inspiring and valuable. The two winning innovators practiced their pitches and were given vital feedback by the women, nurturing their notions and asking tough questions which they need to be ready to answer. They created a high-pressure environment for the entrepreneurs, just like they would face with ‘potential’ investors on the international stage. Ms. Kirstin Wiedow, Co-founder and Director of NUST FABlab said; “This is truly remarkable, to see such amazing women leaders in their respective fields coming together to support local innovators, face-to-face, giving of their valuable time, sharing their wisdom and guiding out new generation of leaders to be the best that they can be. This is how we make change, you can feel that it’s something truly special.”

    Supporting local micro, small and medium sized enterprises is a hot topic on everyone’s agenda from Government and in every industry. Namibia can only truly move forward when our leaders become actively involved from a grassroots level, not just on paper or by paying lip service. This event shows that our leaders are getting involved and are the catalysts for change that we need to make Namibia’s aspirations, goals and vision come to fruition.

    Today’s leaders need get involved and be engaged with the youth who have great ideas and are willing to put in the hard work and commitment to make these ideas into a reality with the support of inspirational achievers like these ladies, it is a big step in the right direction.

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    Foreign capital can develop local infrastructureForeign capital can develop local infrastructure AUGETTO GRAIG - “There is an international appetite for investment in infrastructure but it is important that projects are bankable.” This was the message delivered last week at the third annual public-private partnership conference by the former mayor of London, Sir Michael Bear. The conference was hosted by the ministry of finance, PwC Namibia and Standard Bank Namibia.

    Bear presented lessons learned from the United Kingdom’s infrastructure financing and public-private partnership (PPP) experiences over the last 20 years.

    In that period the British government has partnered with the private sector to sign agreements for 722 projects worth £57.7 billion (N$10.9 trillion), he said. Of these 679 are already operational.

    According to Bear the UK has become a leader in modernising the way in which public infrastructure and services are delivered and in finding new ways for the government to work with the private sector.

    “Successful public-private partnerships enable the public sector to access the discipline, skills and expertise of the private sector in delivery of infrastructure and public services,” he said.

    Preferred models for the achievement of these goals have shifted from privatisation to joint risk sharing and the development of private finance initiatives.

    ‘Significant’

    Since 1990 when Britain instituted only a couple of these projects each financial year, the appetite for such partnerships shot up in 1995 and peaked in 2003 with close to 70 partnership agreements implemented, and in 2008 when the total value of ongoing agreements surpassed £8 billion for the year.

    Recently there has been a significant decline in both the number and value of such projects.

    However, according to Bear, the role of the British Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) is still very significant in providing infrastructure in the UK.

    The authority reports directly to the British cabinet office and treasury and is similar to the PPP Unit which has been created in Namibia’s finance ministry.

    “The IPA is the government’s centre of expertise for infrastructure and major projects. We support the successful delivery of all types of infrastructure and major projects, ranging from railways, schools, hospitals and housing, to defence, IT and major transformation programmes.

    “Our purpose is to continuously improve the way infrastructure and major projects are delivered, in order to support government priorities and improve people’s lives.

    “We aspire to create the best-performing project system of any country in the world,” said Bear.

    Priorities

    He elaborated that the priorities followed by the IPA in implementing projects start with the set-up.

    “Success or failure of a project is often determined by how it is set up. We help set up projects for success by influencing the policy environment, deploying our expertise as early possible, developing tools and standards to ensure realistic project objectives are established at the outset and helping projects access the resources they need,” he said.

    The next step is creating confidence in the project.

    “We need a confident private sector to help deliver and invest in infrastructure and major projects. We create confidence by providing foresight and transparency on the future pipeline of projects, establishing financial policies and products to support private investment and ensuring government priorities are consistent and clear so the market can plan.”

    Ensuring great project leadership is essential.

    “Great project leaders deliver great projects. We develop project leadership in government and build delivery capability by providing world-class leadership programmes, developing career pathways, leading the project delivery and project finance professions and developing government to act as an exemplary client,” Bear said.

    Finally, the need to measure and continually improve on performance is paramount.

    “We do all we can to help infrastructure and major projects deliver their intended benefits for society and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

    “We seek to measure the performance of projects over time, to understand what is necessary to improve performance of the system and adjust the system accordingly,” said the former mayor of London.

    Lessons

    In terms of lessons learned over the years, Bear highlighted the need for proper sharing of risk versus reward in terms of equity and finance.

    Competitive terms are a must while appropriate risk allocation helps optimise value for money.

    Accelerating delivery to be faster and cheaper is important while flexible service provision can be achieved through efficiency and an open-book policy.

    “Greater transparency improves the flow of information and finances,” Bear said.

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    Thousands of local SME registrationsThousands of local SME registrationsMajor challenges still prevail A total of 1 719 registered SMEs closed down during 2015 to 2016. Staff reporter - More than 15 000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were recorded by the ministry of trade and industry between 2000 and 2016.

    Of these, 605 were financed by commercial banks, Bank Windhoek said in a statement.

    Current statistics reveal that a total number of 1 719 registered SMEs closed down during 2015 to 2016.

    “This necessitated debates among various scholars,” said Joseph Sheehama, manager of Bank Windhoek’s Katutura Branch.

    Sheehama presented the findings on his study, titled “Exploring Sustainable Economic Challenges and Opportunities Experienced by the Funded Small and Medium Enterprises at a Selected Commercial Bank in Namibia”, at the recently concluded Sustainable Economic Growth and Social Development Conference.

    Overall findings revealed that SMEs were experiencing challenges that impeded their operation - access to finance, employee turnover and availability of affordable business premises.

    The study’s findings on the socio-economic demographic data had a 100% response rate – 40% female and 60% male. The majority operated from the SME Incubator Centre in Windhoek. Forty participants out of a total of 70 specialised in the manufacturing and construction sector. Only eight conducted business in the education and training sector.

    Opportunities available

    There are various sustainable opportunities available to SME owners. “Major employers of unskilled or semi-skilled workforce need to be supported in order to recruit citizens, especially the youth,” said Sheehama.

    There is also an essential need for monetary assistance from financial institutions.

    The study provides recommendations that can serve as guidelines. Firstly, training programmes need to be strengthened in SME divisions. Topics such as managing work diversity, stress management and integration of technologies in businesses for improved performance need to be prioritised.

    Secondly, stakeholders need to introduce leadership and management programmes.

    Conclusions

    The study concluded that the majority of SMEs are in the manufacturing, construction and agricultural sector. Most of them are experiencing major economic challenges, such as access to finance, high employees turn over, lack of start-up capital and management skills deficiency.

    Sheehama said that in order to achieve sustainability, these issues should be addressed. He also pointed out that the education and training sector needs to be explored as they can contribute to the country’s economy.

    Sheehama was part of a group of MBA students selected by economic professors from the University of Namibia (Unam) and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

    His study will soon be published on the website of the International Journal on Current Research (IJCR).

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  • 11/13/17--14:00: Africa Briefs
  • Africa BriefsAfrica Briefs Zuma has no plans for free education

    South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has no plans to announce a programme for free higher education until he reviews the report of a commission studying the feasibility of such a programme, his office said in a statement on Sunday.

    Zuma's office rejected a report by the Sunday Times that he had planned to announce a R40 billion education plan during his State of the Nation Address last February.

    The Mail & Guardian said on Friday the government was considering a range of budget cuts to pay for free tertiary education. Those cuts might include social grants for the most vulnerable and the budgets for housing, infrastructure and the armed forces, the newspaper said. – Nampa/Reuters

    Nigerian lawmakers want oil savings account scrapped

    Nigerian lawmakers last week called on the government to scrap a sovereign wealth fund that the Natural Resource Governance Institute, an international watchdog, has called one of the world's most opaque and poorly governed.

    The Excess Crude Account (ECA), which as of September held US$2.31 billion, is a rainy day fund that in theory takes money from oil sold over and above the finance ministry's benchmark price, and can be used to plug emergency gaps in spending.

    The upper chamber of parliament passed a motion calling for the operation of the ECA to be suspended, saying it was in violation of the constitution.

    A committee will be set up to investigate the movement of money in and out of the account and identify any infractions, the senate motion said. – Nampa/Reuters

    US signs massive compact with Ivory Coast

    The Millennium Challenge Corporation, the US government's main development fund, has signed a US$524.7 million investment compact with Ivory Coast to build schools and improve roads around the busy port in the commercial capital Abidjan.

    The MCC said its grant funding would help build 84 secondary schools and train teachers to boost education in a country where roughly 40% of the population is under 14.

    It said its investments in the Abidjan Transport Project will help rebuild the road network around Abidjan's port, among the busiest in Sub-Saharan African, and reduce transport costs. – Nampa/Reuters

    DRC: Election pressure due to foreign 'greed'

    The Democratic Republic of Congo last week said foreign "greed" for its cobalt lay behind the "malicious" pressures weighing on the country's electoral process.

    The DRC is in the grip of a crisis over plans to hold presidential elections. A mineral-rich country a quarter the size of Europe, but mired in poverty and corruption as well as scarred by ethnic divisions and fighting in its east, DRC is one of Africa's most volatile nations.

    Western countries, as well as the influential Roman Catholic church, have led the effort to prevent the crisis over Pres. Joseph Kabila's departure from erupting into bloody violence. – Nampa/AFP

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    Marenica challenges mining conventionsMarenica challenges mining conventionsStudy on uranium processing technology The use of the technology could come at an opportune time as the spot level of uranium on the commodities market is very low. Ogone Tlhage - The results of a study on the use of uranium processing technology are expected to be released in December by its promoters, Marenica.

    The prospective miner is currently testing its technology, which it says has the potential to reduce the cost associated with uranium mining.

    The use of the technology could come at an opportune time as the spot level of uranium on the commodities market is very low owing to reduced demand for the resource, particularly in Japan.

    The technology is currently on trial using Namibian ore from the Langer Heinrich mine, as well as ores from Deep Yellow and Marenica itself.

    Both Marenica and Deep Yellow hold local mining concessions.

    Marenica managing director Murray Hill said the results would be released before the end of the year.

    He remained tight-lipped about the provisional test results but said Marenica was still engaging actively with potential buyers of its processing technology.

    Upbeat

    “We are speaking to a number of resource owners about the application of the groundbreaking U-pgrade process technology to their resources. We have a technology licence agreement in place with Deep Yellow Limited on the Tumas deposit,” said Hill.

    The Langer Heinrich mine was equally upbeat about the use of U-pgrade processing technology to process its low-grade ore stockpiles.

    “It is not unlikely that the [technology] could be used to upgrade all of LHU’s low-grade ore stockpiles,” mine spokesperson Bernadette Bock said in her brief discussion with Market Watch.

    In 2012 Marenica embarked on a research and development programme to develop a uranium concentration process that was unique and groundbreaking and lowered the extraction cost of uranium at the Marenica uranium project.

    Since that time Marenica has undertaken considerable test work and analysis of its ore to refine the process. This initial test work cost over US$3 million, and included successful tests on three tonnes of ore from the Marenica Project.

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    Fitch rates Telecom Namibia slightly betterFitch rates Telecom Namibia slightly betterSOE still branded as ‘speculative’ Fitch maintained its negative outlook for Telecom Namibia (TN) in its recent rating. TN's fixed-mobile convergence strategy will not be the key driver for growth. – Fitch Ratings Jo-Maré Duddy – Although Fitch Ratings has upped Telecom Namibia’s long-term local-currency issuer default rating (IDR) from BB to BB+, the creditworthiness of the local SOE is still regarded as speculative.

    In Fitch terms, all BB ratings “indicate an elevated vulnerability to default risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time”. BB ratings also mean that “business or financial flexibility exists that supports the servicing of financial commitments”. The latter reflects the strong ties between TN and the Namibian government.

    An equity injection of N$400 million from the government in TN’s 2015 financial year, coupled with the implementation of an eight-point turnaround strategy counted in the SOE’s favour. TN's ownership links with the West African Cable System's (WACS) sub-sea cable landing rights, the potential transfer of property from Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings Limited (NPTH) to TN in the 2018 and 2019 financial years, and important network links to local government departments, schools and hospitals also helped.

    “However, the legal links are limited, with no sovereign-guaranteed debt and no cross-default clauses with the sovereign,” Fitch says.

    Standalone

    TN’s standalone rating at Fitch was upgraded from B- (highly speculative) to BB-.

    Fitch credits the move to the turnaround strategy, “which focused on improving cash flow, reducing debt and improving coverage and customer service while stabilising the billing platform”.

    The N$400-million injection by the government was used to reduce TN’s debt. In addition, the N$200 million proceeds from the sale of a 10.5% equity stake in Neotel (Pty) Ltd to Liquid Telecom were received in the 2017 financial year and also applied to debt reduction, Fitch says.

    “At end-September 2016, about 75% of TN's debt was short term, which we now expect to reduce to about 30% in FY18,” the rating agency says.

    Fitch says it believes the refocused strategy has reflected a turnaround for TN. “We estimate ebitda margin to average 18% over 2017-2019.”

    TN has returned to positive free cash flow (FCF) in its 2016 financial year and Fitch expects this to be sustained in the rating case for 2017 to 2019.

    According to Fitch, TN continues to focus on its fixed-line network and broadband services based on the strength of its national fibre backbone infrastructure.

    “We expect most revenue growth to come from TN's fixed-data services, supported by its fibre backbone. TN's fixed-mobile convergence strategy will not be the key driver for growth,” Fitch says.

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