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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 614 | 615 | (Page 616) | 617 | 618 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Compensation policy is ‘lip service’Compensation policy is ‘lip service’Farmers waiting since 2015 for payouts The second in command at the PDM, and a farmer in the Kunene Region, Kazeongere Tjeundo, says government must put action to its promises of compensation for wildlife conflict. The vice-president of the Popular Democratic Movement, Kazeongere Tjeundo, has labelled the recently approved compensation policy by the National Council as mere lip service by the authorities. Tjeundo, who is also the Opuwo urban constituency councillor, said he is also a victim of the recent human-wildlife conflict reported in the Kunene Region. He said the policy leaves more questions than answers when addressing the issue at hand. Tjeundo, who Tjeundo’s sentiments were echoed by the chairperson of the Otuzemba Conservancy, Karee Mupya, who said there is already a dragging of feet by the relevant authorities to release the compensation money of farmers who have already fallen prey to human-wildlife conflict. Both Mupya and Tjeundo said there are farmers waiting for their compensation from as far back as 2015. “Government has to come clean on who will be having the compensation mandate as most farmers have to date not gotten a single cent, because conservancies would tell farmers that the relevant ministries have not yet released the money,” Tjeundo said. Supporting Tjeundo, Mupya acknowledged that the N$60 000 given to conservancies per year is not always dispensed on time, resulting in conservancies not being in a position to execute their required responsibilities such as compensating victims. The new policy, according to media reports, states that N$100 000 will be paid as compensation for loss of human life, while for injuries depending on the severity thereof, government will compensate between N$10 000 and N$30 000. Victims of human-wildlife conflict left disabled will be paid N$50 000. An amount of N$3 000 will be paid in the loss of cattle, while N$500 will be paid for a goat, N$700 for a sheep, N$800 for a horse, N$500 for a donkey and N$700 for a pig. Crop production will, according to the policy, be compensated N$250 for a quarter of a hectare and N$1 000 for a hectare. The regions most affected, according to reports, are Kunene, Zambezi, Kavango East and West, Ohangwena, Erongo and Omusati. Communal farmers in the Torra Constituency in Kunene recently lost 86 small livestock to a pride of lions while another farmer in the same area lost 145 goats and sheep to the same pride of lions. A man was also attacked by a lion a few months ago in the Sesfontein Constituency at Onguta village.

    NAMPA

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    Double killer's appeal bid failsDouble killer's appeal bid failsJudge says sentence was appropriate The High Court is not satisfied that there is prospect of success on appeal. The application for leave to appeal by a double killer against his 20-year sentence was dismissed by the Windhoek High Court on Tuesday.

    Judge Albert Siboleka ruled on the application that the cumulative sentence of 20 years imposed against the double murderer Eliakim Nampindi was appropriate. He appeared in person in his appeal bid.

    The judge emphasised there is no prospect of success on appeal in view of the brutal manner in which the two deceased, and the victim on the third count of attempted murder, were savagely stabbed with a knife.

    The convict was 52 when he murdered a fellow farmworker Paul Fredericks, 46, at a farm in the Hoachanas area north of Mariental on 5 March 2009.

    Fredericks was stabbed in the chest with a knife after he and another employee at the farm had told Nampindi that they did not want to drink with him.

    Nampindi was released on bail in January 2010 and failed to appear in court on the charge stemming from the killing of Fredericks.

    He was only rearrested a year and four months later. This was after he was again involved in a fatal stabbing on 3 August 2011 at Schlip, situated to the west of Kalkrand.

    This time he killed his former girlfriend Annetta Jantjies, 38, by stabbing her six times with a knife. During the same incident he also stabbed Salmon Rooinasie, in the back.

    Rooinasie was visiting Jantjies.

    On 22 July last year Siboleka sentenced Nampindi to 20 years in jail for murder of Fredericks, and a further 35-year prison term for the murder of Jantjies and eight years for attempting to murder Rooinasie.

    He ordered that the sentences for the second murder and that of attempted murder to run concurrently with the 20-year prison term.

    Siboleka said during Nampindi's sentencing that the brutal manner in which he took the lives of the two people he killed in March 2009 and August 2011 respectively, outweighed the mitigation circumstances, including his age.

    Nampindi's grounds of appeal was based on allegations that the presiding judge in his trial erred in law or on facts in that he failed to strike a balance between the seriousness of the offence and interest of society to demand that courts imposed harsh sentences upon perpetrators making themselves guilty of serious offences.

    He had also alleged that court erred in law or on facts in failing to apply the cumulative effect of sentences.

    The judge said the application for leave to appeal generally requires a presence of reasonable prospect of success on appeal.

    “Such a prospect is not apparent in this matter in view of the brutal manner in which the two deceased and the victim were attacked,” the judge concluded.

    He added that despite the severity of the offences the court nonetheless still ordered the concurrent running of sentences in the first and third counts respectively.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Cops accused of dumping rotten meatCops accused of dumping rotten meat A number of residents from the Oshikango location in Oshakati were spotted collecting dumped, rotten meat from an open area which was discarded nearby their homes on Sunday.

    According to a resident who preferred not to be named, a police van reportedly dumped the meat on Sunday afternoon.

    “It was around 15:00 when a police van stopped near our shacks. Two police officers got out and dumped a big box and two municipal plastic bags and then they left,” the resident said.

    After he went to look what it was he saw it was rotten meat and so he returned home while neighbours were making their way their to collect the meat.

    “While I was sitting outside my home, I saw a number of people from our collect the meat.”

    He questioned why police officers would dispose of rotten meat in an open area while the town has a dumpsite.

    “Why would they dispose of these things here? Is it because we are living in a poor neighbourhood? This is unacceptable and the perpetrators should be dealt with,” he said.

    When approached for comment, Oshakati Town Council's health manager Kornelius Kapolo confirmed that the matter was brought to council's attention.

    Kapolo said council was tipped off by a community member who reported the matter to them. His team was dispatched that the remaining meat was properly disposed of by Monday afternoon.

    He said council however could not determine who the perpetrator was.

    “When we were tipped off, it was alleged that the meat was disposed of by the police. I called the police and they informed me that they are not aware of such an incident,” Kapolo said.

    Kapolo however cautioned members of the public not to dispose rotten food except at the dumpsite of the town.

    Oshana police's regional commander, Commissioner Rauha Amwele said she was not aware of such an issue saying its “news” to her.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Vehicle disappears from dealershipVehicle disappears from dealership A Ford Ranger double-cab that was parked in the show area outside a car dealership in Walvis Bay was allegedly stolen last week.

    Employees of the Novel Ford Motor Company, however, allegedly only noticed the vehicle was missing five days later. According to the Erongo police's crime investigations coordinator Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, one of the employees removed the brand new vehicle valued at N$323 317 and parked it outside on 29 November.

    “During closing time, the workshop foreman reportedly checked around outside to see whether there were any vehicles that were not brought into the workshop, but he found none,” said Iikuyu.

    According to him, it was only noticed on 4 December that the vehicle was gone. The vehicle has not been recovered yet and no arrests have been made.



    Cannabis possession

    Meanwhile, a 19-year-old man who cultivated cannabis at his house in Henties Bay was arrested on Tuesday.

    Iikuyu said he was found in possession of 10 cannabis plants in flower pots and five small bags containing 86 cannabis seeds.

    The value of the plants and seeds has not yet been established.

    The accused will appear in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court today.



    JESSICA BOTES

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    AB InBev encourages responsible drinkingAB InBev encourages responsible drinking AB InBev Namibia has taken up the challenge to work towards creating a better world, particularly focusing on promoting healthier and safer consumption of alcohol through its Global Smart Drinking Goals.

    The harmful use of alcohol remains an issue of significant concern to governments and societies across the globe. To address this universal issue, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set a target to reduce the harmful use of alcohol by 10% by 2025. This is also an area of focus within the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Aligning itself with these global goals, AB InBev Namibia has begun promoting its Global Smart Drinking Goals.

    At the core of its goals is the knowledge that in order to ensure a long term and sustainable reduction of harmful drinking, consumer behaviours need to change.

    These goals capture the organisation's efforts to make a deeper investment in programmes that measurably shift social norms and behaviours around harmful alcohol use.

    Understanding that social responsibility is integral in any truly successful enterprise, AB InBev Namibia has partnered with the MVA Fund to run the 'Break the Habit' campaign, which includes public lectures and other programmes designed to educate consumers to make smart drinking choices.

    The company also commissioned a song entitled 'Break the Habit' performed by local Namibian artists as part of the strategy to create awareness of the hazards of reckless alcohol drinking and the importance of having safer drinking habits.

    To empower consumers through providing choice globally, the conglomerate intends to ensure that alcohol-free or lower-alcohol beer products represent at least 20% of the AB InBev's beer volume by the end of 2025.

    It also aims to increase alcohol health literacy by the end of 2025, along with ensuring that all beer products have a guidance label by 2020.

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    Aluta Fishing opens its heartAluta Fishing opens its heartN$300 000 donated to charity Twelve beneficiaries in the categories of education, social development, and sports and recreation have been supported by Aluta Fishing. Aluta Marine Fishing recently hosted a corporate social evening where diverse non-profit organisations benefited.

    During the handover ceremony, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries ad Marine resources, Moses Maurihungirire, applauded the initiative of the Aluta Marine Fishing Group for reaching out to the needy.

    Maurihungirire informed the beneficiaries that the financial contribution they received was part and parcel of the government's service delivery initiative. Therefore, they should not divorce the grants they received from the ongoing efforts of the government to continue to provide service to the Namibian nation.

    The beneficiaries were in the categories of education, non-profit organisations, sports and recreation, and community development.

    The chairman of Aluta Marine Fishing, Ralph Blaauw, thanked the shareholders, in particular Cadilu Fishing, for the strategic partnership that was instrumental in the growth of the Aluta Marine Fishing Corporate Social Responsibility Investment Fund.

    He remains optimistic that the leadership of this company will always push forward an agenda of inclusivity of all Namibians, to benefit from the natural resources of the country.

    He further committed to grow the fund in order to assist NGOs that directly benefit vulnerable communities. He called upon all 12 beneficiaries to utilise the financial assistance they have received for the intended purposes and not to divert the payment. An amount of N$300 000 was paid out to the 12 beneficiaries.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Mercosur sees more than 70% chance of EU trade dealMercosur sees more than 70% chance of EU trade deal South America's Mercosur trade bloc is confident a framework agreement with the European Union will be announced next week despite resistance from farmers in Europe to permit tariff-free beef imports, a Mercosur official said on Tuesday.

    “There is more than a 70% chance of reaching a deal,” said the official close to the negotiations that have dragged on for almost two decades. He asked not to be named due to the sensitive stage the negotiations are at.

    The EU-Mercosur accord would be announced on the sidelines of next week's World Trade Organisation meeting of ministers in Buenos Aires and could be signed in mid-2018 once all the legal technicalities have been checked, he said.

    Negotiators exchanged improved offers in Brussels on Tuesday, though they did not include new offers by the EU for access for South American beef and ethanol, the biggest hurdles to an agreement.

    Those offers will be made in Buenos Aires, most likely on Sunday before the WTO meeting gets off, the official said.

    - NAMPA/REUTERS

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    Ruling in N$36.7m lawsuit deferredRuling in N$36.7m lawsuit deferred The ruling in the N$36.7 million lawsuit against the State, lodged by a former Caprivi treason accused, for malicious prosecution and illegal detention was yesterday postponed to 6 March 2018.

    Judge Shafimana Ueitele informed the parties that the judgment was not yet ready. He had in early June postponed the matter after counsel for both Mukendwa and the respondents concluded their arguments at the end of the hearing.

    The 73-year-old Kasika Rodwell Mukendwa is suing the government for infringement of his constitutional rights. The former treason accused is suing the safety and security ministry, the Office of the Prosecutor-General and the government.

    Mukendwa is among those freed in 2012, 13 years after his arrest, after the State conceded that the charges levelled against him had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    His argument is that if the prosecutors had exercised diligence, care and objectivity, they would have stopped his prosecution on 18 November 2005. According to him, the State continued prosecuting him to 10 August 2012, without a single witness testifying against him.

    He is arguing that this was done by the prosecution team to deliberately punish him for crimes he did not commit and added that his prosecution was wrongful and malicious, saying there was no probable and reasonable cause for it. The State should have halted the prosecution in terms of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act on 18 November 2005 or 6 March 2006, or within a reasonable period, he argued. The applicant claimed that he was arrested without a warrant and in circumstances where there was no probable cause for his arrest, and that the police also wrongfully and maliciously set the law in motion against him by laying false charges without reasonable and probable cause. Mukendwa was the first person to be acquitted on 10 August 2012 in the nine-year marathon trial. He was accused number 106 in the trial in which the remaining 110 men face 278 charges of high treason, sedition, murder and attempted murder in connection with a failed August 1999 attempt to secede the then Caprivi Strip from Namibia by force. The State had admitted in 2015 that Mukendwa was arrested without a warrant and that he was held in a place of detention while awaiting trial. However, the State argued that there was reasonable suspicion that he committed serious crimes and was involved in the unlawful attack on government installations on 2 August 1999 at Katima Mulilo. There was information that allegedly implicated Mukendwa and constituted probable cause, justifying prosecution in terms of the country's laws. The defendants further added that Mukendwa's trial started within reasonable time.

    He was arrested on 26 August 1999 at Katima Mulilo and spent almost 13 years in detention before he was released on 10 August 2012 after the prosecution conceded it did not prove his guilt on any of the 278 charges on which he and 120 others were co-accused. All of them were alleged to have taken part in a plot to take up arms to secede the then Caprivi Region from Namibia in the late 1990s and stood trial before Judge Elton Hoff.

    FRED GOEEIMAN

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  • 12/06/17--14:00: March of the jobless coming
  • March of the jobless comingMarch of the jobless comingVenaani champions the cause of fired fishermen The leader of the official opposition says he is planning a national march of unemployed people. Plans to organise a national march for unemployed people are at an advanced stage, says Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani.

    Venaani told a group of Walvis Bay fishermen, who went on strike in November 2015 and lost their jobs, that the march would materialise in February next year.

    “Ministers, who I am prepared to name, have fishing rights and are being dictated to by their foreign bosses to make use of temporary workers who are cheaper,” he claimed yesterday.

    “We cannot listen to ministers who are compromised. They and their families are co-owners of the fishing industry and are not listening to workers. We are going to march to the National Assembly and fishermen will be provided with an opportunity to highlight and present their plight. The prevailing situation cannot be allowed to continue.”

    Venaani emphasised that the striking fishermen and the PDM would approach the High Court to test the constitutionality of workers' rights and their demand for fair working conditions. Venaani further said that the two-thirds majority enjoyed by President Hage Geingob should be broken because he (Geingob) simply does not listen anymore.

    “This thing of no Namibian should be left out is a fallacy.

    Why are the striking fishermen being left out and why has no solution been found? Some fishermen never received their severance pay and government is quiet about it. Houses owned by black people are being demolished by black people in Katima Mulilo. Look what happened to Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. His arrogance and stubbornness caused him his presidency. Zuma is also worried about losing power in South Africa. Leaders must respect the people otherwise they will turn against them.” According to Venaani, Geingob was scared of the truth and therefore not willing to meet with him. “I wrote letters and requested an audience with the president on three occasions. I am the only opposition leader and he is refusing to meet with me. This could be due to me not being part of Harambee.”

    Venaani first issued a 30-day ultimatum to the government to resolve a long-standing impasse between striking fishermen and their respective employers on 5 September 2016 during a visit to the striking fishermen in Kuisebmond.

    On that occasion, he demanded that all workers be re-employed and commended them for conducting themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner throughout their ordeal.

    He also called on Geingob to do the right thing and said the government, companies and the striking workers should head back to the negotiating table to resolve the impasse.

    “This is a national and not a political issue, which is now beyond the point of no return and it must be resolved. It is affecting more than 30 000 people and not only the approximately 2 000 striking fishermen alone.

    “Negotiations to ensure all striking fishermen are re-employed should be initiated with immediate effect.

    “The striking fishermen are not the unemployed and a solution to resolve this prevailing situation is easy.

    “Everyone must be re-employed. Unemployment is a crisis in the country with more than 30% of Namibians not having jobs.”

    OTIS FINCK

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    MVA fund pleads for safer drivingMVA fund pleads for safer drivingReckless driving the main killer Accident statistics show that aggressive, reckless, tired or drunk drivers cause the majority of fatal crashes in Namibia. Twenty-two people died and 38 were injured in 31 crashes last weekend, the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund announced yesterday.

    The weekend of 1 December to 3 December accounted for 54% of the total number of crashes last week.

    The 22 fatalities over the weekend represented 96% of the total fatalities recorded during that week, the MVA Fund stated.

    The majority of crashes, including the one that claimed the lives of ten people near Okahandja on Sunday night, were collisions and roll-overs.

    Collisions killed 12 people and injured seven, while roll-overs killed nine people and injured 15.

    “These figures point to the inability of motorists to control their vehicles owing to inadequate driver fitness, with attributes such as fatigue, speed, driving under the influence, inconsiderate and aggressive driving and dangerous overtaking being associated with collisions or roll-over crashes,” the MVA Fund stated.

    It urged all drivers to desist from risky behaviour and to be mindful of not just their own safety but that of other road users.

    Road users were also urged to exercise “the highest level of tolerance, patience, willingness to share the road as well as to adhere to road signs and regulations.”

    On Monday, the MVA Fund confirmed that since the start of the festive season campaign on 22 November, 27 fatalities had been recorded compared to 23 in the same period last year.

    The Fund also confirmed that since the beginning of January, 3 660 crashes had resulted in 6 420 injuries and 695 deaths.

    The Namibian police on Tuesday confirmed that 5 888 crashes were recorded between April and November, including those without casualties. Over that period, 278 deaths and 1 902 injuries were recorded.

    The Fund stated that it would continue to support the families of the deceased.

    It requested families to contact the Fund for relevant claims such as funeral grants and loss of support for the dependents of the deceased, as well as loss of income, injury grants and medical expenses for the injured.

    The public can report crashes to the MVA Fund accident response number 081 9682.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Namibia not a tax haven – SchlettweinNamibia not a tax haven – Schlettwein Minister of finance Calle Schlettwein has rejected claims made by the European Union that Namibia is a tax haven.

    The European Union (EU) this week published a list of tax havens which included Bermuda, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Namibia.

    An Oxfam paper released in 2015 defines tax havens as mediums through which corporations can cheat countries out of tax income. According to an article that appeared in the British newspaper The Guardian this week, Namibia and 16 other countries were grouped together and labelled as tax havens.

    “The EU said the countries failed to match up to international standards and had not offered sufficient commitments that they would change their ways during talks in the months leading up to publication of the list,” The Guardian wrote. Part of the reason for Namibia's presence on the EU blacklist has to do with failing to meet a deadline to implement proposed actions on how the local tax system could be strengthened to be on par with EU standards.

    Tax officials from the ministry of finance and the EU embassy had met to discuss the criteria. Schlettwein said because questions asked by the ministry of finance were not satisfactorily answered both parties felt the need to extend the EU deadline.

    “Due to miscommunication we missed that deadline but that does not make Namibia a non-compliant country or tax haven,” Schlettwein said.

    “We are perplexed to learn that the European Union has revealed the names of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes which include Namibia,” he said.



    Schlettwein added that the Bank of Namibia was always aware of money coming into the country and leaving it.



    EU tax expert Bill Fraser, who was seconded to the ministry of finance to help ensure that Namibia's tax regime complied with EU standards, was just as surprised to hear about the blacklisting.



    Tax expert Cameron Kotze was also taken aback by the move.



    “A client of mine was surprised that Namibia was on the blacklist. To classify Namibia as a tax haven is completely incorrect. I really do not believe that Namibia is a tax haven,” Kotze said.



    Schlettwein called the move to blacklist Namibia partisan, discriminatory, prejudiced and unjust.



    “We believe that we have not been treated equally and call upon the EU to correct what has already caused serious harm to Namibia's outstanding reputation as a politically stable democracy with rule of law based institutions,” he said.



    Schlettwein said meetings would be held with EU representatives to try and correct the perception that Namibia was a tax haven.



    “We will find out from the EU mission here what can be done. We have arranged for a meeting with the EU ambassador. We will raise the issue at the diplomatic level to make sure our relationship will not be jeopardised,” Schlettwein said.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Ndeitunga mum on SME Bank probeNdeitunga mum on SME Bank probe Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga remained cagey on investigations into the disappearance of millions from the now liquidated SME Bank.

    Ndeitunga informed Namibian Sun in May this year that a criminal probe by the police under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, had been launched to investigate the disappearance of approximately N$200 million.

    “I do not have an update on that, maybe if you told me earlier I could have asked my people to provide me with an update, but I do not have an update,” he said when engaged on the matter last week.

    When called to comment on the matter, the Bank of Namibia said they were only a regulator and that it was not their responsibility to hold any individual to account.

    “The Bank of Namibia's responsibility towards the SME Bank is confined to the regulatory obligations and duties as set out in the applicable Banking Institutions Act,” its spokesperson, Kazembire Zemburuka said.

    According to him, it was now up to the Namibian police, the Master of the High Court, or the liquidators appointed in terms of the ruling delivered by the High Court, to decide whether they would be pressing any charges against the directors and management of the SME Bank.

    The launch of an official commission of inquiry is seen as a possible avenue to hold those to account responsible for the collapse of the SME Bank.

    This is the view of retired academic and legal expert Nico Horn who recently gave his opinion on what may happen now that the High Court has ruled that the SME Bank be liquidated.

    “It is for the shareholders to make that decision, [in fact] any individual can lay a criminal charge. If there is a suspicion of criminal activity,” Horn said.

    According to him, it was likely that an investigation will be launched by the minister of trade, under whose responsibility the SME Bank was previously.

    “I would expect that there be a full investigation. It is also possible that the minister responsible can request for a commission of inquiry. If a commission is appointed, that would be the route taken,” he said.

    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein would not comment on the matter although several requests were made.

    The SME Bank was placed under liquidation on Wednesday last week by High Court Judge Hannelie Prinsloo.

    The SME Bank was first placed under the curatorship of the Bank of Namibia when it was discovered that between N$181 million and N$196 million was invested in questionable financial instruments in South Africa.

    More than 200 people lost their jobs when the bank closed its doors.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 12/06/17--14:00: Crisis? What crisis?
  • Crisis? What crisis?Crisis? What crisis?Procurement Act blamed for medical shortages The health minister says there are enough medical supplies at the ministry's central store, while officials blame a new procurement system for delivery delays. A new central procurement system has been blamed for bogging down the supply of essential medical supplies at the Central Medical Store in Windhoek.

    Health minister Bernard Haufiku yesterday assured the public that there is stock at the medical store. This came after doctors recently decried a shortage of medical supplies at several state hospitals.

    Officials in the health ministry blame delays and shortages on the introduction of the Procurement Act earlier this year.

    Just last week the Central Procurement Board delayed yet another tender for medical supplies. The tender was for a year's supply of antiretroviral medicine. The closing date was originally set for 22 November and was extended to 17 January 2018.

    Management at the medical store pointed out that although they could buy short-term supplies, it would cost much more.

    Currently there are no long-term contracts in place with suppliers of medical supplies and the expectation is that contracts will only be set up by next year June. Long-term contracts are essential because a supplier can decide to cancel an order should another client place a larger order.

    According to the deputy director of pharmaceutical supplies, Lazarus Ndongo, the medical store has never been completely empty.

    Ndongo has been working at the ministry for 23 years and according to him the change in the Procurement Act caused huge problems at the Central Medical Store.

    The new public procurement system regulates the government's procurement of goods, works and services. This means that procurement from any government entity has to go through a committee where it has to justify its needs so as to curb overspending.

    The process has caused delays in the acquisition of medical supplies because the process is not in sync with the needs in hospitals.

    Under the new Public Procurement Act, all tenders above N$35 million must be awarded through the Central Procurement Board.

    “We are receiving stock as we are speaking and as it comes in it goes out into the Receivable Bay to the warehouses where it is then taken to the hospitals,” said Ndongo.

    He explained that there was stock available at the medical store although shortages of some items had been experienced recently.

    “If we do not have particular items they have to be ordered, but we can also offer alternatives to hospitals if they choose this.

    “There is no crisis. There was no mass shortage of medical supplies. Some items we had and others not. These had to be ordered,” he said.



    The procurement pharmacist at the facility, Fabiola Vahakeni, explained that the duration of the availability of stock varies.



    According to her there are 1 200 items that are kept at the Central Medical Store. “The essentials are in place.”



    According to Ndongo another problem is a staff shortage and because of cost-cutting the ministry could not appoint any new staff. Currently there are 58 employees working at the medical store and there are 12 vacant positions.



    He further said that enough supplies had been ordered for the December period.



    “Some suppliers are closing during this time so we had to make sure that there is enough stock during this time.”



    Meanwhile, another director at the health ministry, Axel Tibinyane, said everything was working the same as before at the medical store.



    “The only thing that has changed is the Procurement Act.”



    He said the transitioning to the new Act was not managed well.



    “The only reason why it is coming out here and not at other ministries is because it is impacting the lives of people. We are now coming to grips.”



    Tibinyane said before the new central procurement system was introduced in April this year the health ministry had received exemption to procure certain items without tenders. Under the new law there is no exemption.



    He said the new structures that had to be put in place in terms of the new Act, such as the procurement committee, caused a lot of delay.



    “It was new people that did not know the Act, new procedures that people did not know, and it caused delays. This transition has caused a lot of disruption. We are getting there, but unfortunately it has impacted the people.



    “Now we are making sure whenever there is not stock, we can at least keep the stock at a certain level and we are also trying to get contracts in place working together with the Central Procurement Board so the contracts are there so we do not need to keep asking for quotations, if the contracts are there, you have security of supply in the long term. But we have another bigger project to overhaul the supply chain management, that will take us another year.”



    Namibia makes up a very small part of the world pharmaceutical market. South Africa makes up 2% of the pharmaceutical market and Namibia accounts for only 2% of South Africa's market.



    Some of the medical supplies take six months to manufacture and therefore must be ordered in advance. Products are ordered internationally from places such as India and then have to be transported via South Africa.



    One consultant explained the process by saying people should think of it as a pipeline running from India via South Africa to Namibia with a tap dripping in Namibia. “Then somebody closes that tap in April (when the new law was introduced) and it is suddenly empty.”

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    SARS: Sorry, no VAT refunds SARS: Sorry, no VAT refunds Claims referred back Namibian traders importing goods from South Africa have been battling to get their VAT refunds from SARS. It could mean that we have to write off hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. – Namibian trader CATHERINE SASMAN - The South African Revenue Service (SARS) says the non-payment of value-added tax (VAT) refunds to Namibian traders – as well as traders in the Southern African region - is because of “a lot of non-compliance” with regulations that govern the refund processes.

    Sandile Ntoyi in the SARS international relations office in Pretoria, South Africa, said most businesses have been using South Africa’s vendor export codes on indirect exports “as though these were direct exports”.

    “As a result these have been rejected,” Ntoyi said.

    Ntoyi added: “There has been a discussion though to reconsider the rejected claims on the basis that some traders were not sure how to go about submitting their VAT refund claims. At the moment SARS is processing the resubmissions that were rejected from June 2017. The process of verifying such will still take place as usual and these will be refunded as soon as possible if all requirements are met.”

    He said traders were advised to register with customs and excise for importer and exporter codes.

    Ntoyi said all traders should get registered by the end of February 2018.

    “There is also a communication as to how the clearances should be done going forward to help alleviate the same problem from occurring,” Nyoti said.

    Nothing since March

    A SARS agent collecting and processing claims from Namibian vendors said there have not been any refunds from SARS since March.

    Alister Slamat, the Namibian manager of VAT Refund Administrator (Pty) Ltd, confirmed SARS’s explanation that claims have not been qualified because customs documentation was incorrectly filled in.

    This is the so-called RSA SAD500 document that indicates that claims are direct exports, which do not qualify for a VAT refund.

    South Africa’s Export Incentive Scheme, published in the Government Gazette of 13 November 1998, draws a distinction between direct and indirect exports.

    A direct export means that when a South African vendor supplies movable goods and consigns and delivers them to a recipient at an address in an export country, the supply will be zero rated.

    An indirect export is where a purchaser takes delivery of the goods in South Africa and then exports the goods via a designated point of departure himself or herself.

    The Export Incentive Scheme only applies to indirect exports.

    An official at Slamat’s office said there are “endless problems” and constant battles to get SARS to pay out the SARS refunds, ascribing the situation to, at best, sloppy administration, to haphazard governance and corruption within SARS.

    The South African media earlier this year reported that South African taxpayers have claimed that they were not being paid their VAT refunds timeously. This was confirmed when then minister of finance Pravin Gordhan admitted that SARS had N$20 billion in outstanding VAT refunds.

    Fed up

    Some Namibian businesspeople are also unconvinced by SARS’s explanation, arguing that the outstanding VAT refunds could not affect practically each and every trader, not just in Namibia but in the entire Southern African region.

    Traders importing goods from South Africa by road have been battling to get their VAT refunds from SARS, some from as early as January.

    Strangely, they say, the non-payment of the VAT refunds does not affect airport imports, given SARS’s explanation.

    One trader preferring anonymity said her family business was waiting for a VAT refund amounting to more than N$350 000 for this year.

    She said the company used to get VAT refunds at least every three to four months. By now the company has submitted multiple claims and is still waiting for VAT refunds.

    “We have not received VAT refunds since January. We have not been refunded for the entire year. We have been told at the South African border that we have not completed our documentation properly. However, this has been told to all traders across the board,” this source said.

    Approval

    The non-payment of the VAT refunds in effect means that traders lose 14% on every transaction done and in effect means that traders are being taxed twice in the two countries for the same goods bought.

    “It really affects our cash flow. It is a hugely detrimental situation. It could mean that we have to write off hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. We have paid, but we are not being paid back,” she said.

    Another exasperated trader, also preferring anonymity, said: “They [SARS] have your profit and some. No business can operate like this. If you are financing SARS at zero per cent interest and they have your profit for a year or more you will go under. With the current economy profit margins are much smaller than South Africa VAT. We are paying their VAT and ours. It is impossible to make more margin than the VAT and enough to cover your overheads.”

    Slamat said after a long debate regarding the matter of direct or indirect exports, his company had received approval to forward claims back to SARS for payment and that they were now awaiting payment to be made on the claims.

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    No interest rate relief as BoN leaves repo unchangedNo interest rate relief as BoN leaves repo unchanged Staff reporter – Economic activity in key domestic activities which remained “weak” in the first ten months of 2017 compared to the corresponding period last year, convinced the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Namibia (BoN) to leave its repo unchanged at 6.75%.

    That means that the prime lending rates of commercial banks in Namibia will remain at 10.5%.

    Announcing the latest decision of the MPC yesterday, BoN Governor Ipumbu Shiimi said the weak economic performance was mainly reflected in the construction, wholesale and retail trade, as well as the transport sectors.

    Construction grew by a massive -51.9% in the second quarter of 2017 – its sixth consecutive quarter of negative. Wholesale and retail penned in -8.2%, having spent the last three quarters in negative territory. Transport recorded growth of 3.5% down from 5.1% in the corresponding quarter of 2016.

    The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) will release the gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the third quarter next week.

    According to Shiimi, other key economic activities such as mining, the number of livestock marketed, communication and manufacturing output have improved in the ten months to October 2017.

    “The momentum displayed by the latter activities, if sustained, would create better prospects and help with economic recovery going forward,” he said.

    According to the central bank’s Economic Outlook in July, the BoN expects GDP growth of 2.1% for 2017.

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  • 12/07/17--00:25: Tigers appoint Jacobs
  • Tigers appoint Jacobs Tigers appoint Jacobs Tigers FC have appointed Woody Jacobs as their new coach following the resignation of Lucky Kakuva.
    Jacobs' first task will be tomorrow night as his new club will battle it out against Civics at the Sam Nujoma Stadium at 20:00.
    Tigers Football Club public relations officer Hafeni Hivelua said: “We are only going to unveil the new coach today at around 14:00, but I can confirm now that Woody Jacobs is our new coach.”
    Jacobs’s appointment merits speculation and reports that he was unhappy at Orlando Pirates where he lasted just a few months in the job.
    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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    Trump flouting international law - NdaitwahTrump flouting international law - Ndaitwah In a statement issued by the interational relations minister Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah, Namibia has affirmed it recognises Jerusalem as both the capital of the state of Israel and Palestine.
    The minister wrote "Namibia notes with grave concern major change in US policy recognising Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel. Namibia wishes to unequivocally reaffirm its unflinching support for the UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions, 181 (1947) and 242 (1967), respectively. Both these and subsequent resolutions affirmed that Jerusalem would be the capital of the future Palestinian state and the state of Israel."
    According to the minister, the recognition by the Trump administration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel is a "flagrant violation of international law".
    The statement continues by saying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel undermines the prospects of a viable two-State solution and can ignite renewed conflict that has ravaged the Palestinian and Israeli peoples since 1948 when the State of Israel was created.
    "Namibia reiterates its longstanding position that Jerusalem remains the internationally recognised capital of the two states, and, that freedom of access to the holy sites should be protected and assured," Ndaitwah wrote.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    US blasts Maduro move to sideline oppositionUS blasts Maduro move to sideline opposition The US accused Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Monday of a dictatorial bid to wipe his opponents off the political map following his latest poll victory, after he announced the main opposition is barred from next year's presidential election.

    Maduro's ruling socialists triumphed as expected in mayoral polls Sunday, taking 300 of the country's 335 mayorships after a boycott by the main opposition parties.

    But the president insisted that boycott would cost the opposition dearly: “A party that has not participated today and has called for the boycott of the elections cannot participate any more. That is a criterion of the National Constituent Assembly... and I support them.”

    That removes from the electoral fray key figures such as Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo Lopez and others, and led the United States to say Maduro was seeking to consolidate his “dictatorship.”

    “Maduro's attempt to ban opposition parties from presidential elections is yet another extreme measure to close the democratic space in #Venezuela & consolidate power in his authoritarian dictatorship,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert tweeted.

    “A presidential election cannot be legitimate if candidates and parties cannot freely participate,” she added in a statement. The Venezuelan president based his assertion on the rules of the Constituent Assembly, a controversial Maduro-allied special powers legislature whose legitimacy has been widely questioned in the international community.

    “If they don't want elections, what are they doing? What's the alternative? (Civil) war?” the president asked.

    The main opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition has been battered by crushing defeats in regional and municipal polls and in-fighting over how to deal with Maduro, following months of violent protests that failed to unseat him and left 125 people dead.

    The main parties in the coalition boycotted the mayoral polls, citing widespread fraud in the regional elections in October, and had set their sights on regrouping for the presidential election.

    Now, that avenue appears to have been closed off by Maduro, who prevails in the OPEC-member despite flirting with a default on huge debts, amid a worsening economic and social crisis marked by hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine.

    “It's clear that the result of the municipal elections does not reflect the political preferences of the majority of Venezuelans, but it dramatically worsens the opposition's ability to fight and motivate, something that Chavismo will surely know how to take advantage of,” said analyst Luis Vicente Leon.

    Chavism, the populist left-wing ideology left behind by late president Hugo Chavez, can count on a huge vote-getting apparatus that is largely loyal to Maduro.

    “Maduro will insist on a strategy of bringing forward as much as possible the presidential election to prevent the opposition from regrouping,” election expert Eugenio Martinez told AFP.







    NAMPA/AFP

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    Fears over rising Rio violenceFears over rising Rio violenceStray bullets give innocent nowhere to hide Police are also hampered by funding problems and falling morale in the wake of the Olympics spending splurge. While the fighting in Rio de Janeiro's crime war is done by commando-style police and heavily armed drug traffickers, a growing number of the victims look quite different: innocent, joyful children like Maria Eduarda.

    Firefights erupt in densely packed, poor favela neighbourhoods, leaving thousands of people with nowhere to hide each time the shooting, involving Kalashnikovs and other military grade rifles, begins.

    AFP has investigated the stories of those caught in the middle, like 13-year-old schoolgirl Maria Eduarda, in a new multimedia report: “Stray Bullets: violence and broken lives in Rio.”

    With around 60 000 murders a year, Brazil is among the world's most dangerous countries. Rio, host of the 2016 Olympics, has long been one of the hotspots.

    But as AFP's investigation highlights, stray bullet incidents add a cruel twist to the wider crisis.

    People are shot outside church, in parks or in restaurants, in daytime or at night. Since the cheap construction of favela houses will not necessarily stop a bullet, even staying at home can be dangerous.

    Official figures for stray bullets are not released, but reports of incidents come in steadily. A count by Globo newspaper found that 632 people were shot by stray bullets in Rio state, at least 67 of them killed, in the first half of 2017 alone.

    For Maria Eduarda Alves da Conceicao, sudden death came at the northern Rio school where she was known as a diligent student and mad keen basketball player. In a tough city, she was doing everything right.

    On March 30, though, everything went wrong.

    Just outside her school gates, police with automatic rifles were firing on drug dealer suspects.

    It was the type of violent operation that would make top news in many cities around the world but is so common in Rio that it passes largely unnoticed.

    One burst of bullets tore past the school fence, hitting Maria Eduarda as she went to fetch water during gym class.

    The police officers almost certainly didn't realise what had happened. They were busy wrapping up their operation outside: on a bystander's cellphone footage, they can be seen executing two apparently wounded suspects on the sidewalk in an almost casual manner.

    Inside, Maria Eduarda already lay dead.

    “I hugged and hugged her,” the girl's mother Rosilene Alves Ferreira told AFP, recalling her arrival at the scene shortly after the tragedy.

    “She was still all warm. I hugged her and there was so much blood,” said the 53-year-old mother, creases of worry etched across her forehead. “Two of the bullets had hit her little head.”

    Despite the lack of transparency on overall stray bullet casualties, an NGO called Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) has kept a careful count of child victims since 2007.

    In just over a decade, the toll is 42 killed, including babies, toddlers and adolescents. Some died in the family car, some playing football, or while asleep.

    The rate is rocketing: 10 children died in 2016 and 10 so far this year, a steady increase on the seven slain in 2015, and a huge jump from the combined total of 10 in the five previous years.

    Antonio Carlos Costa, founder of Rio de Paz, says the combination of dense populations, powerful rifles and ceaseless turf wars between different drug factions makes a lethal cocktail in the favelas.

    But he reserves his harshest criticism for the police, who treat the areas as war zones.

    “Police operations follow the logic of death, the logic of shooting first and finding out who it was afterward,” Costa said. “They've lost sight of the risks they impose on civilians.”

    The police answer that ruthless drug traffickers, ruling entire neighbourhoods at the point of a gun, are to blame. So far this year, 126 officers have been killed in Rio state this year, so they have reason to feel they are in a war.



    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 12/12/17--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day MAGICAL: A picture taken on 3 December 2017 shows a “supermoon” rising over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. Photo: NAMP/AFP

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