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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 12/05/17--14:00: Ramaphosa takes the lead
  • Ramaphosa takes the leadRamaphosa takes the leadVictory is not guaranteed South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the bulk of the ANC's regional endorsements but, an overall win is not in the bag yet. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa won endorsement from most African National Congress branches to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ruling party leader, giving him an edge - but not a guarantee of victory - in this month's election.

    Ramaphosa was nominated for the presidency of the ANC by 1 862 branches, while 1 309 backed his main rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, tallies released by the party's nine provincial structures and collated by Bloomberg show. The branches will account for 90% of the 5 240 voting delegates at the ANC's national elective conference that's due to start on December 16, while the rest will come from the party's leadership structures and youth, women and military veterans leagues.

    The ANC's new leader will be its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, which will bring an end to Zuma's second term. While the branch nomination numbers are the best available indicator of who's likely to win, they aren't conclusive because some bigger branches can have more than one delegate and there's no guarantee delegates will vote as instructed.

    “The fundamental fault line in the ANC process is that the individual delegates will vote in secret and so the numbers from the provincial general councils are only an indication,” Melanie Verwoerd, an independent political analyst and former ruling party MP, said by phone from Cape Town. “There are a number of factors that will come into play to affect the individual delegates in their vote. This includes strong lobbying and even bribery.”

    Party rift

    The election has caused deep rifts within the 105-year-old ANC, weighed on the rand and nation's bonds and unnerved investors seeking political and policy clarity. The process of deciding who will get to attend and vote at the conference has been marred by court challenges, allegations of rigging and outbreaks of violence, casting doubt over whether the party will be able to stage a credible ballot.

    Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's secretary-general, said most nomination disputes have been resolved and the lawsuits that have been filed were ill-considered and will be forgotten once the elective conference is over.

    “We have a national conference that is going ahead,” Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.

    “We are working very hard to make sure that conference is successful and stable.”

    The final two of the nine provinces released their nomination tallies on Monday. Ramaphosa secured backing from 391 branches in Limpopo and Dlamini-Zuma 104, while in KwaZulu-Natal Dlamini-Zuma won endorsement from 433 branches and the deputy president 193.

    Ramaphosa also won the most nominations in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, while Dlamini-Zuma was backed by the Free State and North West, and by a small majority in Mpumalanga who stated their preferences. Zuma, who has led the ANC for the past decade and had been implicated in a succession of scandals since taking office, has been campaigning for his ex-wife Dlamini-Zuma, 68, to succeed him. She's echoed his call for “radical economic transformation” to place more of the country's wealth in the hands of the black majority.

    Most investors would prefer that Ramaphosa, 65, a lawyer, former labour union leader and one of the wealthiest black South Africans, get the top job.

    He's pledged to revive the ailing economy, reduce a 28% unemployment rate and combat corruption if elected.


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    Teen gets a year, suspended, for Auschwitz graffitiTeen gets a year, suspended, for Auschwitz graffiti A Polish court on Monday handed an American teenager a suspended one-year prison sentence for etching his name on a barrack at the former Nazi German death camp at Auschwitz, a local news agency reported.

    Identified only as Raphael A., the 17-year-old rabbinical school student was arrested in early July after an employee of the Auschwitz Museum saw him use a rock to scrawl his name inside one of the barracks.

    The student explained that he had seen several other words etched on the wall.

    Konrad Gwozdziewicz, the presiding judge at the court in Oswiecim, southern Poland, said he had taken into account the fact that the accused was young, had expressed his regret and had no criminal record.

    But he also expressed astonishment: “This act was committed by a student of a religious school for future rabbis, so by someone who should be fully aware of the importance and nature of the former Auschwitz camp,” he said.

    Last February, the Oswiecim court also handed similar suspended sentences to two 17-year-olds from Portugal for vandalism at Auschwitz.

    Nazi Germany built the camp after occupying Poland during World War II.

    The Holocaust site has become symbolic of Nazi Germany's genocide of six million European Jews, one million of whom were killed at the camp from 1940 to 1945.


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    Putin hits back on RT restrictions in USPutin hits back on RT restrictions in US Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed amendments into law that will enable foreign media outlets operating in Russia to be listed as “foreign agents”. The country's justice ministry list includes Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, Reuters reported yesterday.

    Late in November, Putin signed the amendments in retaliation to the US government ordering Russian TV network Russia Today (RT) to register its American office under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to Russian officials.

    The move had earlier been described as an “attack on freedom of speech” by Putin.

    RT has claimed it is being forced out of the US media market.

    Under the new law, media outlets that receive financial assistance from foreign states or organisations may be recognised as foreign agents.

    Russia's justice ministry at the time said it will make the decisions on which outlets will be classified as “foreign agents”.

    The US law now implies that media outlets classified as foreign agents will be made to publish a notice that their materials are provided by a foreign agent, report on their activities, submit information about the composition of their management and provide expense reports.

    The Russian justice ministry had previously said that it had told Voice of America, the Current Time broadcaster, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and others that they may be included in the foreign agents list.

    A Kremlin spokesman had stated that any violations against Russian journalists “shall not remain unanswered”.

    Last month, Vladimir Putin threatened to hit back if the US tried to crackdown on its media outlets in the country.

    The Russian President said: “In this case we will do it only in kind and quite quickly.

    “As soon as we see concrete steps limiting the activities of our mass media, a tit-for-tat response will follow immediately.”

    News of the new law used against RT came after claims Russia interfered in the US presidential election and repeated allegations of ties between Russia and Donald Trump's campaign team.

    Russia has repeatedly denied US intelligence agencies' conclusions that Moscow meddled in the election.

    Donald Trump has also denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.


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    Driving tips during school holidaysDriving tips during school holidays As the school year has come to an end, motorists can expect to see more children walking or riding their bikes on the roads.

    Along with the usual challenges we face on our streets, this creates additional factors to consider. This is what you can do to ensure all road users, young or old, remain safe during the holiday season.

    Always drive more cautiously when sharing the road with children. According to a study conducted in the USA, children up to the age of 14 find it more difficult to safely cross a road as their perceptual judgment and fine motor skills are still developing. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, recommends increasing the space you leave around children and slowing down when you spot them on the roads.

    “If a child misjudges the distance between themselves and you and darts across the road in front of you, you will have more time to slow down and take evasive action. For children riding their bikes, leave a larger block of space around them when passing to account for riders who may not be as confident or for the greater chance of a young rider making a mistake,” advises Herbert.

    Drivers should also not take any risks when driving in residential areas where children are more likely to be. “Pay extra attention when reversing out of your driveway. Resist the urge to go faster than the speed limit in these areas. Go even slower when going around corners as this is where you may come across children unexpectedly.

    “Another instance where caution is advised is when going around public transport. Even though the speed limit may be 60km/h, slow down to 30km/h to be prepared for children who may pop out from in front of a bus or taxi without warning. Parking lots are another potential hazard with children. They are more difficult to see between parked cars. Children may also perceive parking lots as less dangerous because of lower speeds but these areas are actually one of the most common sites of accidents.”

    More children on the roads should also provide more motivation to avoid distracted driving. A few seconds adjusting your radio or talking on your phone is all it takes to miss a child on the side of the road who is about to run across. Even as you wait at intersections be aware of children who may be trying to cross the road and who may not know how things like three phase traffic lights work. Do not remove your attention from the road for a second.

    Let’s start next year with all children returning for their new school year.

    “Wherever children may be on the roads, always drive with extra caution. Children are not accustomed to judging speeds, others may not be used to being pedestrians and all children may struggle to make safe road decisions. Motorists need to drive in a way that accounts for this,” says Herbert.

    Tips for the parents

    If you know your child will be on the roads, you can do the following to help keep them safe:

    • Where possible do not let them walk or ride on busy roads

    • Dress them in bright or reflective clothing

    • Brush up on their road safety skills

    • Get off public transport with children in front of you

    • Always encourage children to be aware in parking lots and to not run

    • Teach them to be overly cautious when crossing roads – Motorpress.co.za

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  • 12/05/17--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day TALENT: Gift Santos, a member of the South Sudanese refugee dance group “The White Family”, performs during Bidibidi's Got Talent auditions at Bidibidi refugee settlement in the Northern District of Yumbe, Uganda, on 25 November 2017. Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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    One life lost is one too many One life lost is one too many It has been a sad and bloody start to the festive season once again considering the number of road fatalities reported in the last week or so. According to the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, over 3 600 crashes have reported since the beginning of January this year until this past Sunday. The frightening part is that 695 people have been killed in these accidents, while 6 420 have escaped with an assortment of injuries. Since the start of the 2017/18 festive season road safety campaign on 22 November, 27 people have died and 184 were injured in 111 crashes. Despite interventions here and there seeking to bring an end to road deaths, it appears road safety messages are falling on deaf ears. Most of these road accidents are avoidable. Our roads are just fine. There is absolutely nothing with our infrastructure. At the end of the day it still boils down to the attitude exhibited by motorists. If road users can't change and improve their driving patterns we will continue to battle carnage on our roads. The scale of emotional, social and economic devastation caused by road crashes is huge as we continue to be robbed off not only our loved ones, but productive citizens who could have contributed immensely to our country's development. In most cases it is the economically productive people aged between 16 and 35 that make up over 40% of the total fatalities. The responsibility of ensuring safety on our roads rests upon all of us, and not only law enforcement agencies, the MVA Fund, the National Road Safety Council and other stakeholders. We should all become road safety ambassadors by making a personal commitment to change, among others, the attitude of those making use of our roads. We should learn to consider for a minute that a fellow road user also has a desire to live and arrive safely at his or her destination. We must at all times observe speed limits, while being considerate to other equally important road users because one life lost is one too many.

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  • 12/05/17--14:00: No relief for haunted family
  • No relief for haunted familyNo relief for haunted family The troubled Mukwiilongo family in Omusati Region suffered yet another torment from mysterious fires when their homestead caught fire a fortnight ago.

    The fire destroyed all the items that were donated by the regional council and Good Samaritans after the previous fire on 18 November.

    Shock and panic have gripped this family that appears to be troubled by repeated mysterious fires which in July this year, claimed the life of an 88-year-old pensioner.

    Otamanzi constituency councillor Johannes Iiyambo confirmed the incident to Namibian Sun, adding that all the donated items such as food, bedding and clothes that his office donated, have been destroyed.

    Iiyambo said the family currently lives under a tree outside the house for fear of their lives.

    “For now the only option we are left with is to organise prayers for this family and we are planning an event for Wednesday. The constituency office donated many items such food, mattresses, blankets and clothes but they were all destroyed,” Iiyambo said.

    Albertina Iita Mukwiilongo's daughter Christofina Shetunyenga said the latest incident was the 12th strange fire at their homestead since 6 July this year.

    She said on 24 November there were clouds and they thought it would rain. They decided to put all the items that were donated in one of the rooms.

    “A few moments after we placed everything inside, we saw smoke coming from the room and everything was already on fire,” Shetunyenga said.


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    Ruacana sets development targetsRuacana sets development targetsLaunches five-year growth plan Ruacana is working hard at luring investors, tourists and residents with a well-thought-through plan. The Ruacana Town Council on Friday last week launched its five-year strategic plan aimed at transforming the town into a place of excellence in tourism attractions, cultural diversity and service delivery.

    According to the town's mayor Linea Shikale, this strategic plan was developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders and captures local, regional and international trends, and emerging issues in the provision of municipal services.

    She said this is a third strategic plan since Ruacana became a town in 2010 targeting key strategic areas of planning and infrastructure development, economic development, legal frameworks, capacity building and financial mobilisation and management.

    “I warmly welcome you all to Ruacana as we are gathered here today to witness a major milestone in the development of the Ruacana Town Council, the launch of its third strategic plan from 2017 to 2021. This is our roadmap in ensuring that Ruacana becomes a town of excellence in tourism attractions, cultural diversity and service delivery,” Shikale said.

    “The strategic plan clearly reminds us of the vision, mission and core values that the council will continue to pursue in the next five years. During this strategic plan period, the council will focus on five key strategic result areas (KRAs) namely planning and infrastructure development, economic development, legal frameworks, capacity building and financial mobilization and management,” she said.

    Shekale said that objectives and activities have been formulated under each strategic goal and their implementation will contribute in transforming Ruacana into a town of excellence in service delivery.

    She said that the first strategic plan was formulated from 2010 to 2012 and it was aimed at establishing governance and management structure.

    The second was from 2013 to 2016 where the town achieved the following successes: Extension of boundaries, construction of wet services at Omonawatjihozu, Okondeka and Extension 3, construction of gravel and tarred roads, Omonawatjihozu, Oshifo and Extension 3, electrification at Oshifo, Omonawatjihozu, Okondeka and Extension 3, construction of a taxi rank and open market, construction of municipal bungalows and the renovation of swimming pools.

    Shikale said that implementation of the 2017 to 2020 strategic plan is likely to encounter challenges unavailability of serviced land, limited resource, slow economic growth and unavailability of serviced land.

    She said the council will seek to raise funds internally and externally through public-private partnerships, project proposals to development agencies; and central government, in order to overcome these challenges.

    “I therefore appeal for support from all our stakeholders in this endeavour as we are setting a great goal for our town,” she said.


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    Vivo Energy to spread networkVivo Energy to spread network300 branded service stations to be added The transaction does not affect Namibia as it is not included because the South African subsidiary of Engen Holdings will remain as is. STAFF REPORTER

    Vivo Energy has announced that it will enter into a share transaction with Engen Holdings Mauritius. Upon completion of this transaction, nine new countries and over 300 Engen-branded service stations will be added to Vivo Energy’s network, taking Vivo Energy’s total presence to over 2 100 service stations, across 24 African markets.

    The transaction does not affect Namibia as it is not included as the South African subsidiary of Engen Holdings will remain as is.

    The new markets for Vivo Energy included in the transaction are DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Réunion, Zambia, Gabon, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi. Engen’s Kenya operations where Vivo Energy already operates are also part of this transaction.

    Engen Holdings will retain its interest in Engen Petroleum Limited which includes the South African business and refinery and Engen’s businesses in Mauritius, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho, which are not part of this transaction.

    Commenting on the transaction Christian Chammas, CEO, Vivo Energy said this it will increase its network in new markets.

    “In our first six years our shareholders have invested to grow Vivo Energy, increasing our network from around 1,300 to over 1,800 service stations and adding over 400 new and refurbished shops and quick service restaurant offers. I am delighted with today’s agreement with Engen which, subject to regulatory approval, will add a number of new African markets to our business so that we can offer high quality products and services to significantly more customers.”

    Yusa Hassan, managing director and CEO of Engen, commented on the transaction saying both companies will build on each other’s strengths.

    “Engen is excited to enter into this strategic undertaking with Vivo Energy, which is clearly aligned with our growth aspirations in Africa. We will seek to build on each other’s strengths from this collaboration for the benefit of our customers across the continent.”

    Currently with over 1 800 service stations across 15 African markets Vivo Energy sources, distributes, markets and supplies Shell-branded fuels and lubricants to retail and commercial customers across the continent. Vivo Energy is jointly owned by the energy and commodities company Vitol and the Africa-focused private investment firm Helios Investment Partners.

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    US$6.5 million diamond sale to aid reliefUS$6.5 million diamond sale to aid relief THOMSON REUTERS

    One of the world's largest diamonds was sold for US$6.5 million by Sierra Leone on Monday to fund local development projects, dealing a blow to smugglers in the West African nation.

    The egg-sized, 709-carat diamond found by a Christian pastor was bought at auction in New York by Laurence Graff, a British billionaire and jeweller, according to the Rapaport Group, an international diamond trading network that handled the sale.

    Of the proceeds of the stone dubbed the ‘Peace Diamond’, the government will get 59 percent or about US$3.9 million in tax revenue to fund clean water, electricity, schools, health centres and roads, said Martin Rapaport of the Rapaport Group.

    “As a government, particularly in Africa, it has always been the narration of corruption, and the mineral wealth is not benefiting the people", said Abdulai Bayraytay, a spokesman for Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, at a news conference.

    The auction marked the first time a diamond found in Sierra Leone was put up for public sale, and state officials said they hope it will be a step toward ending the illicit diamond trade.

    Diamonds fuelled civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, when rebels forced civilians to mine the stones and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term 'blood diamonds'.

    The United Nations lifted a ban on diamond exports from Sierra Leone in 2003, but the multimillion-dollar sector is still plagued by smuggling.

    The balance of the proceeds will go to a local group overseeing the development projects, the pastor and other miners who found the gem and gave it to the government, Rapaport said.

    "It will encourage all the diggers back home," Chief Paul Ngaba Saquee, head of Sierra Leone's eastern Kono district, where the diamond was found in March, told the news conference.

    "Instead of being ripped off in some dark corners when they find their diamonds, that they will bring it and put it on the table in front of the government," he said in New York. "Maybe this is going to be the beginning of a new day in Sierra Leone."

    A first effort to sell the diamond failed in May when Sierra Leone rejected the highest bid of $7.8 million.

    This time, the stone was shown to some 70 potential buyers and seven bids were submitted, according to Rapaport.

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    Helao Nafidi, Ondangwa mayors retainedHelao Nafidi, Ondangwa mayors retained The status quo remains as no changes were made to the structure of the office-bearers following elections at both the Helao Nafidi and Ondangwa town councils.

    Both Ondangwa and Helao Nafidi held their elections on Monday which saw no changes made.

    In Ondangwa, Paavo Amwele retained his position as mayor, deputised by Saima Namkwambi, while Andreas Kalumbu remains the chairperson of management committee.

    Anna-Helena Itope and Abed Paulus Matsi were yet again elected as members of management committee while councillors Leonard Negonga and Johannes Martin remain ordinary council members.

    At Helao Nafidi, Eliaser Nghipangelwa retained his position as mayor, deputised by Panduleni Hainghumbi.

    Hilya Hashoongo remains the chairperson of the management committee and is deputised by Hainghumbi.

    The other members of the management committee are Paulus Haikali and Tomas Kandjebo.

    Ester Ndatala Nghidimbwa was elected as the additional member to the management committee while Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) councillor Vilho Shimwooshili remains an ordinary council member.

    In his acceptance speech, Nghipangelwa thanked his fellow councillors for entrusting him to once more lead them as the mayor.

    Being one of the youngest among all the councillors in Helao Nafidi, he thanked his counterparts for allowing a younger person to be the mayor.

    “I would like to thank the leadership of Swapo for their trust in me and for uplifting the youth.

    “You are giving us an opportunity to lead while our elders are still around.

    “Some of you have been in the local authority for many years and yet, you grant us permission to take the reins,” Nghipangelwa said.


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  • 12/05/17--14:00: Poverty down, joblessness up
  • Poverty down, joblessness upPoverty down, joblessness upThere is progress but many areas of concern remain Namibia has made some progress in poverty reduction in line with the SDGs but, gender-based violence and the vulnerability of children, remain. While Namibia has made considerable progress in achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there are notable challenges that must be addressed. More than 7 500 pregnant schoolgirls dropped out of school between 2014 and 2016, while domestic violence cases have increased sharply by 23% for 2016/17. Thus, despite national efforts, Namibia still faces high levels of gender-based violence, increasing levels of teenage pregnancy and lower representation of women in decision-making positions in both the public and private sectors. The Standing Committee on Gender, Youth and Information Communication Technology held a workshop earlier this year covering the SDGs specifically focussing on No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Gender Equality. It submitted a report to National Council about the outcomes of the workshop, along with its recommendations. According to the committee, there has been remarkable progress in the education sector where gender gaps have been closed at primary and tertiary levels. However, there was concern about the growing dropout rates of boys in schools, low school completion rates of males and limited representation of males as staff in the two education ministries, as well as in adult classes, in almost all the regions. The committee further found that during the past few years Namibia has witnessed a considerable reduction in absolute poverty and significant improvements have been made in the living conditions of people across the country.

    Jobs lost

    It said there has been a drop of poverty levels from 28.7% in 2009/10 to 18% in 2015/16, while Namibia's unemployment rate increased to 34% of the working population last year from 28.1% in 2014. According to the committee the contribution of agriculture to employment has also decreased from 31% to 20%.

    “This is attributed to the effect of the persistent drought which impacted on agricultural productivity. This also contributed to urban migration in search of survival opportunities. However, this year's increase in production is more likely to reverse the trend.” It is not noted in the report during which periods the changes were recorded.

    A third hungry

    Food insecurity in Namibia stands at 28%, while lower income earners spend 57% of their income on food, the committee says. In 2016, food insecurity in rural areas stood at 34% and the regions that are the most food insecure are Zambezi (49.4%); Kavango West (49.4%); Omusati (49.1%); Erongo (43.3%) and Oshikoto (40.7%)

    It said Namibia imports 60% of its food consumed in the country and 83% of the population relies on the market to access food. It added that child stunting rates stand at 24% with the highest being in the Ohangwena, Hardap, //Karas and Omaheke and Oshikoto regions. The percentage of anaemic people aged between 6 to 59 months is at 48%, wasting in children stands at 6% and the region with the highest level is Omaheke at 10%. Recommendations by the committee included that parliament members engage with the National Planning Commission to conduct a comprehensive analysis of all organisations, ministries and agencies and recommend corrective measures to the SDGs. It was also recommended that the involvement of grassroots communities is increased, specifically with those measures that reform the SDGs so that woman and men, and girls and boys, in the regions are involved in the planning of these goals.


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    Urban reception areas to avert land grabbingUrban reception areas to avert land grabbing A National Council (NC) standing committee has proposed the creation of urban reception centres by local authorities to avert land grabbing.

    The proposal was made in a report tabled last week by the Standing Committee on Habitat discussing progress made on rural water supply and land servicing.

    The committee found that residents swooped in on certain territories and local authorities had to engage in relentless negotiation endeavours to convince squatters to vacate land.

    It further stated that the towns where new entrants were on the increase found it difficult to chase them away.

    According to the report, some of the occupied land is privately owned or earmarked for servicing by private partners.

    Reception areas are locations where people are temporarily settled while waiting for a place to be allocated.

    During the NC debate on the report, parliament member Nico Mungenga expressed concern about the proposal, questioning the impact reception areas would have in addressing the issue of informal settlements.

    He pointed out that a few years ago when the reception area idea was introduced, the places where it was adopted saw a mushrooming of informal settlements.

    “The money to create these reception area could be used to service land and have Build Together programmes targeting people in informal settlements,” he said.

    In response, MP Lukas Muha, who tabled the reports, said local authorities should learn from the Eenhana town council and Otjiwarongo municipality which he said were doing well in managing their reception areas.

    The proposal was directed to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.


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  • 12/05/17--14:00: COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

    Deutsche asset management to rebrand as DWS

    Deutsche Bank plans to rebrand its asset management arm as DWS, the name of its main retail brand, and put a structure in place that gives the group full control even after the unit's planned stock market listing.

    Germany's largest lender earlier this year announced plans to list a minority stake in Deutsche Asset Management, which sources say could achieve a total valuation of around €8 billion as part of a broader overhaul following costly lawsuits and trading scandals.


    Sterling skids on Brexit disappointment; data eyed

    The Pound Sterling skidded to its biggest fall since Nov. 2 on Tuesday after being whipsawed by disappointing Brexit talks.

    The British currency fell 0.53% to $1.3376 against the dollar as investors were disappointed after Britain fell short of securing a deal with EU officials on Monday before crucial trade talks begin next week. It slipped further after Scotland's leader Nicola Sturgeon said the failure by Prime Minister Theresa May to secure a Brexit deal on Monday could signal the moment for opponents to push to keep Britain in the single market and customs union.


    IATA seeks strong law enforcement to deter irresponsible use of drones

    Law enforcement authorities must play a strong role to ensure there are suitable deterrents in place for those flying recreational drones to prevent danger to passenger aircraft, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.

    Risks posed by the increasing use of drones were highlighted in October when a drone hit an aircraft landing at a Canadian airport and there have been several near-misses between drones and passenger planes in Europe.

    "This is something we do not want to see continuing," Rob Eagles, director of air traffic management infrastructure at IATA told journalists on Tuesday.


    Japan Airlines invests US$10m in supersonic jet company Boom

    Denver-based start-up Boom Supersonic said on Tuesday Japan's No.2 carrier Japan Airlines Company Limited has invested $10 million in the company, which is building a supersonic passenger aircraft it claims will be faster, quieter and more affordable to fly than Concorde.

    Boom is developing a 55-seat plane that it says will be able to more than halve the flight time from New York to London to just three hours and fifteen minutes.

    The firm has said its jetliner, expected to enter service by the mid-2020s, will fly at speeds of Mach 2.2, 10% faster than Concorde, which popularised supersonic jet travel in the 1970s.

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    Geingob defends travel, urges transparencyGeingob defends travel, urges transparency At the final cabinet meeting for the year, President Hage Geingob spoke about transparency and accountability and said that Namibians should “count their blessings” to be living in such a peaceful country.

    Geingob yesterday referred to the current situation in Libya where close to 30 000 African migrants are reportedly being auctioned as slaves, saying he could not believe that slavery was still occurring.

    “What are we becoming? We should appreciate the good governance that we are enjoying here and not take it for granted.”

    He said in Namibia people could walk around freely and did not have to be afraid and flee to another country.

    “We enjoy peace. People are running away from their countries. However, any country can at any time be put in a mess. Namibia is peaceful and peaceful is boring, but count your blessings for this.”

    He added that Africa would always suffer if it was not an integrated continent. “Either we are part of Africa or we are not. Make up your minds.”

    Geingob further said that although it had been a challenging year the government remained steadfast in its objectives.

    He said it was important to improve both the efficiency and transparency of government.

    “We have to look at processes, systems and institutions. If you focus on the individual, when they are gone, what happens then?

    “From next year there has to be transparency and accountability in everything you do.”

    Geingob also said the government's wage bill had to be reduced, but laying off people would only exacerbate the situation.

    “The economic crisis has helped us look at how we are wasting money in government. A crisis will always provide a solution.”

    He admitted that there were irregularities with government contracts, where some contractors were paid in advance for services not yet delivered, while others overcharged.

    He also addressed complaints about his foreign trips, saying that it was his job to put Namibia on the map.

    “Firstly, at my age I can afford my own trips and I will pay my own way. Do you think I enjoy travelling at my age? No, but I must do it,” he said. He insisted that if he felt like travelling he would prefer going to places that he enjoys.

    “This is work. You cut a delegation from 40 to 16 people. You work like hell to go to meetings. You do not even stay in a hotel, all to put Namibia on the map. That 'Nambia' thing that happened put the country on the map. You meet with Trump, and I discovered that he has been in the country before and he told me it is a good country, his children have been here hunting.

    “But still people say you are wasting money, but this is your job, to put the country on the map.”

    Geingob further elaborated on some of the major policy initiatives considered and adopted by his cabinet during the year.

    With regard to the revised national policy on human-wildlife conflict management, he said conflict between people and wildlife was of great concern.

    “Shifeta, are you managing this conflict? Are you succeeding… because this is a big problem.”

    He warned environment minister Pohamba Shifeta that if the conflict was not properly managed, he was not doing his job.

    He added that many policy initiatives had been implemented addressing social progress. These included the Hunger Strategic Review Report. “We do not want any person to go to sleep hungry, but this is still happening.”

    According to Geingob, 21 deliberative and 21 decision-making meetings were held since February 2017. That added up to 42 cabinet meetings, resulting in 240 cabinet decisions issued to offices, ministries and agencies for implementation.

    “Our ability to work in unison, driven by the common purpose of developing our Namibian House, has been the driving force behind the successes we have achieved during the cabinet sessions of 2017,” he said.


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    Traffic court to open next yearTraffic court to open next year A traffic court under the administration of the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Office of the Judiciary and the City of Windhoek, is to be established next year.

    According to media reports, the establishment of the traffic court comes after City Police chief Abraham Kanime approached the Ministry of Justice on the possibility of having courts that would solely focus on traffic violations in the Khomas Region.

    The City was then tasked to construct the court building and hand it over to the Ministry of Justice.

    City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said the court would be situated at the City Police premises at the intersection of Bismarck Street and Sam Nujoma Drive.

    “The building has been renovated and handed over to the Ministry of Justice,” Amutenya said.

    The spokesperson in the Office of the Judiciary, Yvette Hüsselmann, said the court was expected to become operational next year.

    “His Lordship Peter Shivute, Chief Justice of the Republic of Namibia, has expressed his hope that the envisaged traffic court shall be fully-functional by the very latest March 2018,” she said.

    She added that the logistics team, comprised of staff members from the Office of the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice and the City of Windhoek, would have their work cut out for them to ensure that the deadline is met.

    The deputy chief of the City Police's Traffic Management Unit, Adam Eiseb, said there were currently 47 315 warrants of arrest pending in Windhoek alone, of which 17 000 are outstanding warrants for the arrest of taxi drivers.


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    Shifeta steps into salt pan frayShifeta steps into salt pan frayMinister to visit Otjivalunda The environment minister and environmental commissioner will visit an ecologically sensitive salt pan north of Etosha to review a decision to bar salt mining there. Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta, along with the environmental commissioner, Teofilus Nghitila, will assess the Otjivalunda salt pan situated north of Etosha National Park on Friday.

    Shifeta is expected to pronounce himself on the issue after Gecko Namibia appealed against Nghitila's refusal to issue an environmental clearance certificate for a proposed salt mine in 2014.

    Gecko Namibia started pursuing its plan to mine salt at Otjivalunda during 2012.

    According to their company's managing director, Pine van Wyk, they would like to establish a salt mining and soap production company. The project has the support of regional governor Clemens Kashuupulwa, but it has been rejected by the community of Otjivalunda and the Iipumbu yaTshilongo Conservancy.

    The project is envisaged to be a partnership between Gecko Namibia, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Gecko Otjivalunda Holdings, which has the financial and technical know-how, and the Ondonga Community Trust Fund and the Uukwambi Community Trust Fund operating as Ondonga-Uukwambi Mining Enterprises (OUME), which is the holder of exclusive prospecting licence (EPL) 4365, which covers 20 650 hectares.

    According to Van Wyk, during 2013, Gecko Namibia and OUME, assisted by Enviro Dynamics, conducted a comprehensive environmental impact assessment (EIA) in relation to the proposed salt mining operations and the construction of a production plant at the Otjivalunda salt pans.

    The EIA was submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism on 6 December 2013 for environmental clearance, which the environmental commissioner formally declined on 25 July 2014.

    The commissioner, Teofilus Nghitila, said the scope and extent of the proposed project would trigger the forced migration of bird colonies and other wildlife species.

    He also stated in a letter to Gecko that salt mining might result in the pans drying up. The area had the potential of being recognised as an ecosystem of international importance, he pointed out.

    In accordance with the Environmental Management Act, it was sensible and reasonably fair to protect the ecosystem of the proposed site from any destructive human interventions, the commissioner said.

    Nghitila also cited the local tradition of fetching salt as an initiation rite for young men, and the importance of salt as a 'hard currency' used for trading and barter by the native Hai//om San and Aawambo for centuries.

    Gecko appealed to the minister on 7 August 2014 and Van Wyk said last week that they were still waiting for the outcome.

    Nghitila's decision was also taken as a slight by Kashuupulwa, who claimed that he was never consulted by Nghitila. He said Nghitila and his team only consulted a few traditional leaders and residents of Otjivalunda, who are against the project on the basis of cultural heritage.

    In 2015, Kashuupulwa complained about the decision to prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and to deputy mines minister Kornelia Shilunga.

    Shifeta, who will be accompanied by the chief control warden for the northern regions, Rehabeam Erki, will hold a community meeting at the Eengombe centre at Uuvudhiya.

    Apart from Otjivalunda, Shifeta is expected to pay a visit to the Uukwaluudhi, Sheya Shuushona and Epupa conservancies, where he will hold talks with traditional leaders and community members.


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    Agribank gives more time for loan repaymentsAgribank gives more time for loan repayments NAMPA

    The Agricultural Bank of Namibia has adopted new credit evaluation norms and now offers longer grace periods for loan repayments, effective 1 December 2017.

    According to a media statement issued on Monday by chief executive officer Sakaria Nghikembua, the production standards in the cash-flow assumptions used in the credit evaluation process have been aligned to the prevailing market rules and production environment.

    The bank has further aligned the instalment repayment to the operational cash flows of the farming activities being financed.

    Nghikembua said the bank had adopted a new pricing structure in its credit assessment assumptions for livestock, which is linked to the prevailing market conditions.

    For the crop production sector, the main cash-flow assumptions are the potential yield and production cost per hectare.

    “These assumptions are not fixed and fluctuate across farm units and production areas owing to variation in soil profiles, technical capacity and water availability,” said Nghikembua.

    He said the new prices would be beneficial to existing and prospective clients as they were much higher than the previous ones, while increasing the scope of the quality amounts for clients with improved cash-flow projections.

    For short-term farming activities such as horticulture production and grain crop under irrigation and dry land, the bank now offers a grace period of eight months before loan repayment begins.

    The grace period for medium-term activities such as livestock for speculation is now 18 months compared to 12 months previously.

    “Repayments for livestock weaner production loans for beginners will now be due in 24 months with a reduced loan term of eight years instead of the previous 12 months over a 10-year loan term,” he said.

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  • 12/05/17--14:00: Capricorn affirmed AA rating
  • Capricorn affirmed AA ratingCapricorn affirmed AA ratingGroup’s resilience lends it appeal Global Credit Ratings is of the opinion that Capricorn Investment Holdings is a quality company. STAFF REPORTER

    Global Credit Ratings has affirmed Capricorn Investment Holdings a AA ratings on its scale, saying its comfortable liquidity position, risk capitalisation and strong domestic market share boded well for the localised lender.

    The good credit score was further bolstered by the acquisition of equity by the Government Institutions Pension Fund, the largest institutional investor in Namibia, GCR said.

    “The ratings also reflect Capricorn Group’s risk-appropriate capitalisation, comfortable liquidity, resilient earnings performance, as well as further earnings and geographic diversity from recent acquisitions of banking operations in Zambia and Botswana, contributing a combined 17.9% to group consolidated assets following the release of its 2017 financial year end results and 3.8% of pre-tax profits,” GCR said in its ratings review.

    While Capricorn was expected to remain resilient, the prevailing economic challenges and an uncertain global economic outlook would continue to put pressure on its earnings and asset quality metrics, GCR felt.

    “The South African national scale rating may also be influenced by the relative sovereign ratings of South Africa and Namibia and the Group’s credit quality relative to the South African peer universe,” GCR said.

    Further underpinning the ratings, GCR said, was the potential support from the Group’s largest shareholders, Capricorn Investment Holdings Limited (CIH), with a 40.7% stake, and Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), with 26% shareholding.

    The GIPF acquired 25% of the Group’s shares in May 2017. The GIPF, together with CIH, became shareholders of reference for the Group. GIPF showed its commitment as Capricorn Group’s reference shareholder by extending long term senior debt funding of N$1.3 billion to the Group.

    Likewise, CIH also committed to provide 10-year debt funding amounting to N$900 million. The funding lines enabled the Group to make available committed contingent funding facilities of approximately N$1 billion to its three operating banks, significantly mitigating liquidity risk within the Group.

    “GCR believes that timely financial support would be provided by GIPF and CIH in their role as reference shareholders, or ultimately by the Bank of Namibia due to Bank Windhoek’s status as a systemically important financial intuition,” it said.

    The Group’s leading operating subsidiary, BW, is the largest locally owned bank and second largest commercial bank in Namibia. BW contributed a lower 80.1% of the Group’s consolidated assets at and a marginally higher 87.0% of pre-tax profit following recent acquisitions.

    Other non-banking subsidiaries which offer asset management, unit trust management products and services, property development and long and short term insurance, contributed 2% of consolidated assets and 10.6% of pre-tax at FY17. While the Group’s ratings have largely replicated BW’s ratings, GCR has taken cognisance of added diversification benefits from recent acquisitions at Group level.

    Pre-tax profit grew by a modest 0.3% in the financial year 2017 on the back of a challenging economic climate. Key profitability indicators remained sound with the Group reporting a return on equity and a return on assets of 19.5% and 2.4% respectively.

    “Strong liquidity and loss-absorption buffers and steady financial metrics throughout the economic cycle, as well as further enhancement of geographic and earnings diversification benefits, would be positively considered. A sharp deterioration in the capital position, liquidity, earnings and asset quality, could see the ratings come under pressure,” GCR said.

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  • 12/05/17--14:00: Toddler succumbs to burns
  • Toddler succumbs to burnsToddler succumbs to burnsDied hours before seeing a specialist surgeon Three-year-old Clinton Swartbooi who suffered extensive burns to his feet three months ago, died hours before he was due to be treated by an orthopaedic surgeon. A small boy from the south of Namibia died a few hours before he was due to be treated by an orthopaedic surgeon.

    Clinton Swartbooi, 3, from a farm between Mariental and Gibeon, suffered extensive burns to his feet in September when he stepped in what he had assumed was cold ash.

    For two months, the child was treated at the Mariental and Katutura state hospitals. His mother, Anna-Lise, eventually contacted a private doctor in Mariental, Dr Francois Pienaar, who made arrangements for an appointment with a Windhoek-based orthopaedic surgeon Monday.

    The cause of death is as yet unknown although Clinton did suffer from various infections.

    Clinton gained some level of fame when Jomien Slabbert, employed at Pienaar's Mariental practice, created a Facebook page 'Voetspore vir Clinton' in a bid to raise much-needed funds for his medical treatment. The money collected to date will be used to cover his funeral costs.

    “He was our radio. He was always chatting away, even after he was so badly burned,” his mother said.

    Clinton suffered the burn wounds on 7 September.

    “He did not see that the ash was still glowing red inside and was still very hot.”

    After he was rushed to the Mariental hospital he spent the rest of the month there and the staff eventually told his mother they were unable to treat him and that he should be transferred to Katutura State Hospital. At Katutura, he spent another month.

    According to Anna-Lise, she was told her son's feet would have to be amputated. She said he suffered a lot of pain but, only received medicine to treat fever while in hospital.

    At the beginning of November, Anna-Lise decided to take her son back to the farm and treated him with traditional Nama medicines and herbs.

    After opting to get help from a private doctor, Pienaar arranged for the appointment in Windhoek.

    A few hours before they had to travel with the state's patient bus, Clinton died in her arms, Anna-Lise said.

    She added that while waiting for transport, her son was in tremendous pain but he was not given any medication.

    “He was my youngest and he was always with me.”

    Anna-Lise is unemployed and lives with her mother, 77, on the farm. She has four other children.


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