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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Urban poverty ravishing WitvleiUrban poverty ravishing Witvlei The lack of employment opportunities for residents, especially the youth, at Witvlei in the Omaheke Region continues to haunt the close-knit community.

    Residents bemoan the fact that with the exception of a primary school, a clinic and the village council offices, no major employers exist here. The closure of the Witvlei abattoir in November 2014 has affected the community of less than 5 000 and the entire region negatively. The abattoir employed 165 people which made it the biggest employment provider within the private sector in the region, at the time.

    In separate interviews, the residents said the situation has become so bad that many young people are often forced by circumstances into committing petty crime.

    Piet Titus, an elderly resident of Witvlei, said the situation at home has driven his children out of the house to fend for themselves as he is unable to feed them on his meagre old age pension. He said while most of his children dropped out of school at primary school level, it was disheartening to see them going in and out of jail for the petty crimes they so often commit.

    “It is not easy for a parent to see your kids going to jail, but it is even more difficult seeing them starving in front of you,” he said.

    The more than 20 shebeens that thrive in the small community do not make the situation any easier.

    “Alcohol seems to be the only thing that is freely available at this town. No wonder our children are drunk almost any given day and time,” another elderly resident, Albertina Cloete said.

    Other issues that are rife in the community, according to residents, include a high rate of teenage pregnancy and school dropouts. Many children drop out of school because parents cannot afford to send them to high school elsewhere.

    As a result, most children drop out of school after Grade 7.

    According to the regional profile of Omaheke, as provided by the Office of the Governor, urban poverty remains a huge problem in Witvlei, Leonardville, Otjinene and Gobabis.

    At the end of April 2017, 7 756 beneficiaries were registered for social grants in the Omaheke Region. A total of 5 964 beneficiaries received old age grants and 1 792 are registered for disability grants.

    – Nampa

    Charles Tjatindi

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    Hugh Masekela's train comes to a haltHugh Masekela's train comes to a halt Legendary South African trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela has died, his family has confirmed. A statement released yesterday said the jazz legend died peacefully surrounded by family. Masekela lost his battle with prostate cancer, for which he had been treated since 2008.

    In a career spanning more than five decades, Masekela, often called 'Bra Hugh' gained international recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hits such as 'Soweto Blues', which served as one of the soundtracks to the anti-apartheid movement. Masekela learned to play the trumpet at age 14 and gained fame for his bright, lively playing. He went into exile after the 1960 Sharpeville killings in which 69 protesters were shot dead.

    A statement from his family said Masekela “passed peacefully” in Johannesburg, where he lived and worked for much of his life. “A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with a profound loss. Hugh's global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memories of millions across six continents,” the statement read.

    The arts and culture minister, Nathi Mthethwa, described Masekela as one of the great architects of Afro-Jazz.

    “A baobab tree has fallen; the nation has lost a one of a kind musician with the passing of Jazz legend Bra Hugh Masekela.

    “We can safely say Bra Hugh was one of the great architects of Afro-Jazz and he uplifted the soul of our nation through his timeless music,” he said. South African president Jacob Zuma said the nation would mourn a man who kept the torch of freedom alive. “It is an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large. His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten,” Zuma said in a statement.

    Local artist Big Ben said Masekela's impact was that his music meant something and this, he said, “is a trait I want to copy and still emulate”.

    He continued saying that he knew Bra Hugh long before he met him and added that he was not just an icon of music but was also an activist, a “politician of sorts” and said he will leave a major gap in the industry.

    Staff Reporter

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: Furore over acting 'kaptein'
  • Furore over acting 'kaptein'Furore over acting 'kaptein' The United People's Movement has rejected the inauguration of Martin Dentlinger as the acting Rehoboth Baster Kaptein.

    Dentlinger's inauguration was confirmed by a UPM councillor of the Rehoboth town council, Lennie Pienaar, who said that former Kaptein John McNab had appointed Dentlinger as his successor.

    Dentlinger in the past served as advisor to the kaptein.

    The UPM however disputed this, saying it was not done according to the paternal laws of the Rehoboth Baster people.

    The paternal laws are a set of laws enacted by the Rehoboth Baster community in 1872.

    According to UPM Member of Parliament Jan van Wyk, McNab was supposed to officially inform the community of his intentions.

    “With this illegal action he (McNab) has now voluntary relinquished his position as kaptein,” said Van Wyk.

    Last week, Dentlinger on Facebook invited Rehoboth Baster community members with “pure motives” to attend a meeting on Sunday, 21 January.

    According to his post the meeting was an initiative of the Kapteinsraad (Kaptein's Council) where the kaptein was expected to make some announcements regarding the way forward.

    Dentlinger stated on Facebook that a Rehoboth Baster community member can become a member of the association through private contracts at the age of 18. This membership is inalienable.

    According to him, this is established by an English law dating back to 1872, which reportedly gives members a safe haven under the Kapteinsraad.

    “This confirms that a community may determine its own jurisdiction as belonging to the public system. As a private community, RBG has the right under English law to own their own court ('Basterhof'), 'Treasury' as a private bank, their own legal form and jurisdiction. Their knowledge of the law offers them the right to create their own environment that provides protection and immunity for their private members,” he said.

    Dentlinger has refused to comment.

    This, however, did not sit well with some members of the Rehoboth community, and prompted the United People's Movement to reject Dentlinger's announcement on behalf of its members.

    In a statement signed by Van Wyk, the movement said the planned meeting was an attempt to call for an independent republic within Namibia.

    Van Wyk said it appeared from information gathered that this meeting was open only to those who “registered with their blood” in an attempt to gain back “their property” from the government.

    “This is something the UPM and its members will never support. Information given by the organisers is misleading, false and clearly a decision taken by a small faction without the knowledge of the majority of the Rehoboth Basters.

    “According to them, the Baster court has already summonsed the Namibian government in an attempt to get back land and other properties. The UPM wants to make it clear that no such institution exists currently, as no 'Volksraad' is in place as required by the Paternal Law.

    “The organisers do not have any powers in terms of the Paternal Law to deny members of the Rehoboth Baster community the right to attend meetings of the Rehoboth Baster community and to elect a kaptein,” he said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: Out of our bedrooms!
  • Out of our bedrooms!Out of our bedrooms!MP says states must not dictate how people have sex SADC countries have come under fire for focusing more on who has sex with whom than working to combat HIV and Aids, and upholding rights, amongst others. A parliamentarian has said SADC member states should desist from trying to dictate what happens in peoples' bedrooms so that they spend more time actually upholding the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of all of their citizens.

    Dr Jessie Kabwila, an MP from Malawi, says it is disheartening that the rights of key populations are not fairly upheld in many countries despite the fact that many member states were party to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) which brokered consensus over the need to uphold the dignity and human rights of all people. The ICPD Plan of Action recognises that halting and reversing HIV and Aids would involve recognising and integrating issues that affect key populations that include people who use drugs, men who have sex with other men, women who have sex with other women, and sex workers.

    The Global Fund has been giving out large sums of money to many countries that have programmes that cater for the needs of key populations. It remains largely touch and go how much of these funds have actually been reaching population groups that activists say face serious attitudinal barriers in some countries.

    As chairperson of the Regional Women's Parliamentary Caucus of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Kabwila works closely with the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, HIV and Aids Governance Project of the forum which Sweden and Norway are funding. She has been relentless in calling for SADC countries to take full advantage of the project, which is being implemented in seven SADC states so that their citizens are not left out as the world strives toward ending Aids by the year 2030.

    At the recent 42nd Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF in Windhoek, Kabwila took her advocacy for no-one to be left behind a notch higher, saying countries that get money in the name of key populations must be held accountable.

    “Some of us tend to forget that our job is to legislate for the different people who are in this world and not for people who are like us (heterosexual). Many of us tend to think we are [in parliament] to reproduce who we are or what we believe. That is not the job of a legislator,” she said.

    She gave the example of her own constituency, Salima North West in Malawi, which is home to masked, non-Christian dancers.

    “I am also an MP for those masked dancers. They come to me with their issues and I cannot say I will not legislate on their behalf because I don't believe in what they do.”

    She took a swipe at countries that had policies barring school girls that fall pregnant from re-joining school, or those in which organisations that try to assist key populations, were being persecuted. The MP said while she fully appreciates the fact that there were different views on issues such as safe abortion and the rights of gay people, her view was that MPs should preoccupy themselves with knowledge production and legislation.

    “If we are signatories to ICPD, it means you have freedom to have sex with who you want, for what you want, how you want it and when you want it as long as it is not a minor, an animal or a child,” she said to applause. She commended the SADC forum on sexual rights as well as the HIV and Aids Governance Project for striving to “embrace difference in identity and sexuality,” and said the duty of all MPs was to work toward meeting 90/90/90 target on HIV and Aids. Kabwila spoke as the Plenary Assembly Session of SADC PF noted efforts by the forum to start work toward the development of a SADC model law on the key populations.

    Experts say that in many SADC states, HIV and Aids affects the general population but is concentrated in key populations, who are prone to marginalisation given that law and practice often do not recognise their status and they are denied socio-economic opportunities. Additionally, because of poverty or other factors symptomatic of societal marginalisation, key populations cannot have access to HIV prevention and treatment services, including access to life-saving medication. Attitudinal barriers in many SADC countries have driven key populations underground and far from services and commodities related to SRHR, HIV and Aids.

    Experts and activists say SADC countries do not have a uniform and harmonised approach for the protection of the sexual and reproductive rights of key populations through the SADC model law on HIV in southern Africa and that on eradicating child marriage, which are deemed as insufficient in addressing particular infringements faced by key populations.Expectations are that a law on key populations would serve as a guiding legal document for all of SADC as they ensure that all their citizens enjoy sexual and reproductive health rights. The SADC PF project is scheduled to end in March. Implementing countries have appealed to Sweden and Norway to extend it, saying it had enabled them to achieve what they would otherwise had not achieved in SRHR, HIV and Aids governance.

    Kabwila added her voice.

    “I think ending it is tantamount to closing a lid on an issue that needs to be talked about. Our region is seriously hit by HIV and unless we are able to engage everyone without discrimination and prescriptions, we will not win the war on HIV,” she said.

    *Moses Magadza is Communications and Advocacy Specialist at SADC PF.

    Moses Magadza

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: Africa Briefs
  • Africa BriefsAfrica Briefs Zim cuts import tax on fuel

    Zimbabwe has cut its import tax on petrol and diesel by as much as 17%, the first time it has done so since it adopted the US dollar in 2009, in a bid to lower the pump price for motorists.

    Motorists in Zimbabwe pay more for petrol and diesel than most southern African nations. The price of petrol is US$1.41 a litre while diesel costs US$1.33.

    The import duty for petrol was cut by 6.5 US cents to 38.5 US cents a litre and 7US cents to 33 US cents for diesel with effect from midnight on Monday.

    "This will also have the impact of reducing the impact of fuel costs in the economy's overall production cost structures across all sectors," finance secretary Willard Manungo said. – Nampa/Reuters

    IMF cuts SA's growth forecast

    The International Monetary Fund cut South Africa's economic growth forecast for the next two years on Monday, citing rising political uncertainty that has dented investor confidence.

    The fund said it expected SA's economy to grow by 0.9% this year, down from an earlier projection of 1.1% given in October. Economic growth was seen at 0.9% in 2019 from 1.6% earlier.

    Markets have rallied since Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's election as the ruling ANC leader in December, as investors have warmed to his promises to root out corruption and kick-start economic growth.

    Ramaphosa is likely to become South Africa's next president after elections in 2019, because of the ANC's electoral dominance. – Nampa/Reuters

    Botswana invests big in power grid

    The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) on Monday launched a 4.8 billion pula (US$495 million) project to build an electricity transmission line to connect the northwest of the country, a centre of copper mining and tourism, to the national grid.

    "The project will open an opportunity to reduce dependency on power imports from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia as we shall have our own infrastructure to meet the local demand for electricity," said BPC chief executive Stefan Schwarzfischer.

    The new line is expected to be completed in 2020. – Nampa/Reuters

    Kenya fiscal deficit to fall

    Kenya's fiscal deficit is projected to fall to 7.2% of GDP in the financial year to the end of June, from 8.9% in the previous period, the Treasury said in a draft budget policy statement seen by Reuters.

    The East African nation has been criticised for failing to cut borrowing, after ramping up debt in the past five years to fund a range of ambitious infrastructure projects, including a modern railway line.

    The deficit was expected to fall further to 6.0% of GDP in the 2018/19 (July/June) financial year, the Treasury said.

    The government would cut its expenditure in order to reduce the deficit, the ministry of finance said in the document. – Nampa/Reuters

    Ghana keeps policy rate unchanged

    Ghana's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 20% on Monday, citing the need to keep inflation within its medium-term target of 8% plus or minus two percentage points, governor Ernest Addison said.

    The central bank has eased rates by 550 basis points in the past year to foster growth.

    Net international reserves stood at US$4.52 billion, or 2.5 months of imports cover at the end of 2017, compared to two months cover of US$3.4 billion at the end of 2016. Total public debt stood at US$31.4 billion, representing 68.7% of GDP as of November 2017 , compared to 73.3% at the end of 2016. – Nampa/Reuters

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: Aranos farmer guilty
  • Aranos farmer guiltyAranos farmer guiltyCourt finds Willem Barnard murdered his wife A fight over the funeral of Eugène Terre'Blanche combined with alcohol and prescription drugs led to the fatal shooting of Anette Barnard in 2010. A farmer of the Aranos area who killed his wife in an argument over the funeral procession of the late South African AWB leader Eugène Terre'Blanche was found guilty of murder with direct intent.

    Willem Visagie Barnard shot and killed his wife, Anette on 10 April 2010 at their farm near Aranos, in the district of Mariental.

    At the time of the incident the couple were married and alone at the farmhouse.

    Barnard denied criminal responsibility based on the defence of non-pathological criminal incapacity and said this was supported by medical reports which stated that with the combination of alcohol, Alprazolam, Zopiclone on that day, he would have been likely to have suffered from memory loss for several hours.

    His defence further argued that Barnard might not be able to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions due to the timing, amount and combination of psychoactive substances he and his wife consumed during the course of the day the shooting took place.

    However, Judge Naomi Shivute in her judgment emphasised that although the substances taken are capable of causing loss of memory which could result in a temporary non-pathological criminal incapacity, the evidence revealed that Barnard was in control of his mental faculties.

    “He was able to remember most of what happened but conveniently had lapses of memory of the crucial event,” Shivute said. She, therefore, came to the conclusion that Barnard was hiding behind the defence of non-pathological criminal incapacity in order to escape the liability for his actions. Shivute said he could not tender an explanation of how the gun residue came onto his hand and for it to be on both his hands, both were adjacent to the firearm at the time of shooting. Anette had residue on one hand.

    “A link has been established between the firearm, Barnard and Anette.

    The only reasonable inference that can be drawn is Barnard is the one who shot the deceased,” she said and added that she is satisfied that the state proved its case beyond any reasonable doubt.

    She found Barnard guilty of murder with direct intent.

    Barnard told the court that on the afternoon of that fateful day he went to one of the posts on his farm to start an engine but experienced problems and returned home in the dark.

    He and his wife continued to drink two bottles of brandy and 2.5 litres of Johannesburger wine.

    They were watching the funeral of the late Terre'Blanche on television.

    It is during this time the state says an argument erupted between them over the South African political leader and this is when Barnard shot his wife in the head. Barnard said he took alcohol combined with the prescribed drugs, Alzam and others.

    He used Alzam for the purpose of calming him down as he was nervous and used to stutter.

    He went to bath and returned to the lounge where he found his wife still sitting in front of the television.

    He said he had wanted to smoke but passed out and when he woke up he saw his wife lying with her head down on the coffee table.

    He said he saw a mark on the table but then realised it was blood although he initially thought it was coffee spilled on the table.

    He was shocked and when he saw a phone, he took it and saw the number of his daughter. He dialled and his son-in-law answered.

    “Your mother was shot,” he said he told him. However, Hermanus Leeb, Barnard's son-in-law testified that Barnard said, “I shot your mother. I had enough of that.”

    He further said Barnard had added: “I lost control. I snapped.”



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: Onawa development is on
  • Onawa development is onOnawa development is on The Oshakati Town Council says it will go ahead with its plan to turn Onawa into a reception area although there are community members who refuse to vacate the land.

    The establishment of the reception area is to address the issue of people flocking from rural areas to Oshakati in search of jobs. According to the CEO of the Oshakati Town Council, Werner Iita, council will not shelve its plans to develop Onawa into a township simply because an insignificant number of people are complaining. Iita said that more than 90% of the homestead owners in Onawa were compensated therefore council will go ahead with its plan.

    “We don't pay too much attention to the number of people who have been compensated, but 90% already have been and what is more, this does not hinder our plans to continue,” Iita said. Iita added that council recently appointed a consulting engineer company to prepare the servicing plans before a tender for the works is advertised. Last year the urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa broke ground for the project to commence. Some 400 plots are to be serviced by June this year and N$7 million was budgeted for it. Council's target is the construction of 3 000 low-income houses at Onawa. Since 2013, council began the compensation process and 89 out of the 97 homesteads in Onawa have been compensated for their land. However, there are community members, including some of those already compensated, who have refused to leave. They claim that all the necessary processes were not followed in terms of the compensation policy alleging that some of their items were not included and thus, they won't leave. This was also evident at the ground-breaking ceremony where close to 100 community members opted to leave the event and gathered under a tree in the field of Onawa headman, Job Sheehama. At that gathering community members indicated that thorough explanations were not provided in terms of when they should vacate their land and where they should go with their livestock. Thus they say, they will not leave.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: A Sunday of suicides
  • A Sunday of suicidesA Sunday of suicides Two suicides were reported to the Erongo police this Sunday. According to the regions's police crime coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, on Sunday at around 10:30, Caastro Sanagai (30) hanged himself in the room he was renting at house no 2633/10, Malgas, Naport suburb, Tutaleni.

    “He was discovered by a friend who is renting in the same house. The reason for suicide is not known but he apparently told a friend that he don't think he will make it to the end of this year. A suicide note was also found at the scene,” said Iikuyu.

    Iikuyu added that his next of kin were informed.

    In Swakopmund, it is alleged that on the same day at 18:45 an unidentified black man who is estimated to be between the age of 30 and 50 was found hanging outside an unoccupied house at the Mass Housing homes in the Matutara suburb behind DRC, by two security guards.

    According to Iikuyu, no suicide note or identity document was found at the scene.

    The body was taken to the Walvis Bay police mortuary for a post mortem examination.

    The man has in the interim been identified as Pinehas Nehale (30), a resident of DRC in Mondesa.

    ADOLF KAURE

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: New start for PDM
  • New start for PDMNew start for PDM The Popular Democratic Movement is starting a complete overhaul that would require existing members to re-register and pay a N$10 membership fee.

    This was announced by the party's president, McHenry Venaani, who said the movement planned to register 200 000 members in 2018.

    This means that existing party members will not be regarded as members until they re-register.

    The old membership books will be replaced by cards resembling bank cards.

    This follows the party's rebranding that saw it adopt a new logo and name. Only the party colours remained the same.

    According to Venaani, the new membership list will allow the party's leaders to have an effective database and will facilitate dialogue with members.

    “We will also establish a call centre for the party so that we can communicate with our members.”

    The PDM has also undertaken to test its internal democracy by hosting an elective congress during the second half of the year where its top six positions will be contested.

    According to Venaani, PDM also plans to establish 700 new branches as it restructures with the aim of holding regional conferences.

    Meanwhile, the movement is preparing to sit down with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to get a guarantee that the 2019 presidential and national elections will be free and fair.

    Venaani pointed out that although the ECN had promised that the electronic voting machines (EVM) would have a paper trail, this never materialised.

    He also accused the ECN of conducting “chaotic” elections and letting people stand in line for two days to vote.

    “We have never had a correct voter registration list; we want to make sure these variances must be addressed. We would like to have a roundtable discussion with ECN to iron out impediments that hampers a credible election,” he said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: Tourism driving jobs
  • Tourism driving jobsTourism driving jobsSupplies just under 7% of all direct employment Tourism remains a vitally important sector for Namibia carrying around 150 000 jobs and the industry continues to grow. The tourism industry in Namibia is projected to create close to 50 000 direct jobs and 123 100 indirect jobs by the end of 2020.

    Tourism directly supported more than 44 700 jobs in 2015 which represents 6.5% of the total employment in Namibia, while indirectly it supported 100 700 jobs, representing 14.5% of employment in the country.

    This is according to the Tourism Satellite Account (5th Edition) that was launched yesterday by the tourism minister, Pohamba Shifeta. The report analyses data from 2015.

    “The outlook for the sector over the next four years remains positive and robust,” said Shifeta.

    According to the report, the pace of job creation in the travel and tourism sector rose strongly by 11.9% in 2015 after consecutive declines in the previous two years.

    Direct employment in the travel and tourism industry which includes hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and car rentals is projected to increase to 49 422 by the end of 2020.

    The indirect contribution to employment will be more than 123 100 jobs which represents 16.4% of total employment.

    Meanwhile tourism directly contributed N$5.2 billion in 2015 to the country's GDP which is equivalent to 3.5% of the total GDP, while the sector indirectly contributed N$15.1 billion, representing 10.2% of the GDP.

    According to the report preliminary estimates for 2016 show an improvement in these figures with an indirect contribution of N$16.7 billion (10.5% of overall GDP) while in 2020 tourism related value added is expected to reach N$24.6 billion (11.7% of total GDP).

    In 2015 Travel and Tourism Demand generated N$28 billion. This includes all components of travel and tourism consumption, investment, government spending and exports.

    According to the report, the estimated real growth in Travel and Tourism Demand in 2016 was expected to fall by 10.6% while the outlook for 2017 was that it will show recovery with real growth of 4.9%.

    Shifeta said that the industry generated N$7.6 billion representing 60% of total service exports in Namibia, making tourism Namibia's largest earning industry.

    “After a sharp decline in 2013 of 38.6%, real growth in inbound tourism spending recovered strongly and is expected to continue its expansion at an annual growth of 7.3% over the period 2016 to 2020,” according to the report.

    Furthermore personal expenditure by Namibians totalled N$11.5 billion in 2015.

    The contribution of Namibian residents' travel and tourism spending to the overall GDP is estimated at around 11% of the total personal consumption in recent years. On the other hand business travel contributed N$1.4 billion.

    “Both personal and business consumption have grown steadily since 2010 supported by a vigorous expansion in overall economic activity.

    However after reaching a peak in 2015 this component was expected to have declined in 2016 and recovered moderately in 2017.”

    Meanwhile, in 2015 spending by visitors totalled N$7.6 billion representing 60% of total service exports in Namibia.

    This largely reflects travel spending and transportation. However exports of travel and tourism related goods, generally including exports such as petrol and suitcases, accounted for a low N$426 million.

    Furthermore the report says Namibia's travel and tourism capital investment contributed was N$5.6 billion or 11.3% of total investment in 2015.

    This includes the expansion of tourism facilities such as hotels and allowances for vital infrastructure. For 2016 a significant slowdown was predicted.

    Government travel and tourism spending was estimated at N$1.4 billion in 2015 and has remained constant since 2013. This includes individual and collective government spending specifically related to tourism.

    Shifeta said it is important to note that the Tourist Satellite Account is based on the World Travel and Tourism Council methodology. Namibia is to migrate to the UNTWO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) model going forward.

    He said to achieve this key initiatives will have to be completed which include a Tourism Employment Survey, Returning Residents Survey, Visit Exit Survey, a Domestic Travel Survey and a preparation of Tourism Forecasts.

    “The completion of these initiatives together with the existing tourism sector surveys will provide the tourism sector with a robust set of data to inform its development.”

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Suspected paedophile makes brief court appearanceSuspected paedophile makes brief court appearance A South African citizen, who was in December last year extradited to Namibia to face 13 charges of human trafficking and rape offences in the country, yesterday made a brief appearance in the High Court in Windhoek.

    The 46-year-old Marthinus Pretorius, said to be a former South African police officer, told the court that though he applied for legal aid on 14 December last year he had, to date, not received any response. Judge Nate Ndauendapo thus postponed the matter to 15 February for legal aid and meanwhile, remanded the former fugitive in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. The alleged paedophile also faces other charges which include assault by threat, common assault and malicious damage to property. The man, who was employed at Rössing Uranium mine at the time of the alleged crimes, is suspected of raping three minor girls, aged 13 and 14, at Swakopmund in 2012, before fleeing to South Africa. The 24-year-old convict Johanna Lukas, thought to be the first person in Namibia to be convicted of trafficking children for sexual exploitation, sold the girls to Pretorius between April and May 2012. She was sentenced by Judge President Petrus Damaseb in August 2015 to 13 years direct imprisonment on the counts of human trafficking and rape. Pretorius is said to have paid Lukas N$10 000 for the children.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 01/23/18--14:00: One escapee still elusive
  • One escapee still elusiveOne escapee still elusive Three of the five awaiting-trial detainees who escaped from the Oshakati police station's holding cells in April last year have been rearrested while one of the remaining two is said to have been apprehended in Angola but there is still no confirmation on this.

    One appears to have disappeared into thin air.

    The five escaped in the early morning hours of 1 April last year after cutting open the roof of their cell.

    The police, however, were then hot on their trails which led to the capture of three.

    This was confirmed by Oshana police spokesperson, Sergeant Frieda Shikole.

    The five that escaped were identified as Arsandri Wendelinus (27), accused of rape in 2013, Theodor Sebedeus (26), accused of murder in 2013, Lucas Simeon (26), who is facing charges of murder and rape in 2012, Johannes Haihambo (20), facing charges of robbery and assault in 2016, and Iipinge Gustav (28), also known as 'Tupac', who is accused of murder, assault and malicious damage to property dating back to 2015.

    Shikole said that the three were arrested last year. Simeon was nabbed on 2 May at Oshikango in Ohangwena Region while Haihambo was re-arrested on 16 May in Outapi in Omusati Region.

    Wendelinus was found in Oshakati on 30 July and is said to have been sentenced to two years in jail.

    Shikole said that Sebedeus is reported to have committed a crime in neighbouring Angola and was arrested. However, there is no trace of him.

    Police enquiries have come to naught but, authorities say he could be using another name in that country.

    As for Gustav, Shikole said investigations are ongoing.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Porous red line can't stop the beefPorous red line can't stop the beefAuthorities go into high alert Rumours of meat from outdoor slaughtering near Adolfi being transported across the country, have sharpened inspections at checkpoints along the red line. Authorities in Oshana Region are calling on butchers operating at the Adolfi settlement at Ekolyanaambo village near Omaalala along the Ondangwa-Ongwediva road, to establish a slaughterhouse or they will have their businesses shut down.

    Currently, butchers are slaughtering cattle and preparing the meat for public consumption in an open area under the trees. It is also reported that animals are not examined for health clearances before being consumed and this poses a serious public health threat.

    The areas are also not sanitised and more often than not, are surrounded by illegal dumping sites full of household and other waste.

    Of further concern is the fact that the meat is apparently also transported south of the red line, and sold and consumed in other areas of the country, putting at risk international agreements and enhancing the threat of the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in the rest of the country.

    The Ondangwa Rural Constituency councillor, Kaushiweni Abraham, told Namibian Sun the meat they prepare is consumed nationally.

    “The meat at Adolfi is being consumed by people all over Namibia. This means that strict health controls are needed.

    Butchers also need to change their methods of slaughtering and preparing the meat cuts. If we are to expose this to their customers, they will not buy their meat anymore,” Abraham said.

    “The last meeting we had with these butchers was in July last year and it was attended by, amongst others, the regional primary healthcare division, the regional police, the traditional authority and regional council. It was well deliberated that to meet the primary healthcare targets, these butchers must establish a slaughterhouse. The traditional authority said it is willing to allocate land for this purpose,” Abraham said.

    There are five butchers slaughtering cattle and selling fresh meat to travellers along the Ondangwa-Ongwediva main road. They also supply meat to the open market vendors at Oshakati, Ongwediva, Ondangwa and many other places in the north. Abraham said that his office, together with the Oshana health inspector, Abner Niiwale, held several meetings with these butchers explaining to them the issue of public health and a resolution was agreed upon for the butchers to establish their own slaughterhouse which they will manage and operate privately.

    Abraham said the traditional authority has done its part by making sure that all cattle being slaughtered are registered and identified. He said this is done to control stock theft.

    He, however, added that up to now, veterinary services are not involved to examine animal health. He also said that butchers have not yet indicated whether they are willing to establish a slaughterhouse or not.

    When contacted, the agriculture ministry's chief veterinarian for the north-west subdivision, Dr Kenneth Shoombe told Namibian Sun that slaughtering under trees falls under the mandate of the health ministry. “We do not have the mandate to go around inspecting animal slaughtering under trees, at weddings or funerals. Our task is to issue animal movement control permits from one area to another. We are also tasked with the inspection of meat that is being exported.”

    He continued by saying that “red meat is prohibited from crossing the red line and if there are those smuggling it these individuals need to be prosecuted and become examples for others. The north is not cleared as a 'free zone' from foot-and-mouth disease. We are not aware that there are people smuggling meat there because we have officials operating there all the time.”

    Following enquiries with the Meat Board, the organisation informed Namibian Sun that alerts would be immediately issued to sharpen searches and checks on vehicles travelling to the south of the red line.

    According to Dr Shoombe, the ministry is considering putting up strict measures “as we have acquired sniffer dogs”.

    The concern is the risk to the EU and other international agreements which have just been concluded including exports to Hong Kong, Norway and the United States. Other export markets, including South Africa, will also be at risk.

    “The effect will be devastating for Namibia if it loses its red meat import agreement with other countries,” Shoombe said.

    'They are jealous'

    A butcher, commenting on the condition of anonymity, claimed that authorities are plotting against then and are only envious because they are making a lot of money.

    “It is a very difficult thing to do business among the black community. The moment they see you prosper in your business they are already putting you in the spotlight and trying to make things difficult for you. When we started this business they were laughing at us. Now that we are progressing well, they are trying to make life difficult for us.”

    The Adolfi butchers speculators buy cattle, slaughter them and sell the meat. They have been in this business since the 1990s.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 01/24/18--14:00: NRU to introduce new CEO
  • NRU to introduce new CEONRU to introduce new CEO The Namibian Rugby Union is expected to introduce its new chief executive officer, Mervin Green, in Windhoek today.

    The union has appointed the South African Green as its new CEO on a three-year contract.

    Acting CEO Elizma Theron has been at the helm of Namibian rugby for nearly two years.

    Green has held various positions at the South African Rugby Union (SARU).

    “There is nothing much to say about the appointment now given that everything will be said at a press conference today.

    “I am however happy and relieved to step down as the acting CEO after nearly two years.

    “I will still remain in the structures of the Namibia Rugby Union,” Theron said in a telephonic interview.

    Green's appointment come in a time when the country begins its quest to qualify for the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

    The NRU has also set up plenty of development programmes and a high-performance centre in order to improve the national team's chances of qualifying and winning their first match in the World Cup.



    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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  • 01/24/18--14:00: Hitman honoured with ring
  • Hitman honoured with ringHitman honoured with ringMTC spoils loyal boxer MTC and Nestor Sunshine Promotions honoured Paulus 'Hitman' Moses in Windhoek yesterday with a custom-made gold ring three weeks ahead of his fifth world title fight. Moses will be fighting Ray Beltran for the vacant WBO lightweight world title, a new record for Namibia, on 16 February in the US.

    The ring is a sign of honour and respect for the boxer's outstanding achievement in the world of boxing.

    At a press conference yesterday, promoter Nestor Tobias spoke highly of his boxer, saying that he was one of the first boxers signed by the Academy in 2000.

    Moses joined the Academy after hearing Tobias on radio talking about boxing. He phoned the promoter and asked if he could join his training. At the time Tobias only had three boxers, namely Rambo Anhindi, Siegfried Kaperu and Leonard Phillipus.

    “He is Namibia's most successful boxer with many fights and he is also rated top. He is disciplined and dedicated to the craft of boxing and our first world champion under the Academy which became our breakthrough on the international boxing scene.

    “Moses is hardworking and disciplined, a role model to the youth and a very grateful and humble person,” Tobias said.

    Tim Ekandjo of MTC also had positive things to say about the boxer. “We all know the hall of shame in Namibia is crowded and the hall of fame and appreciation is almost non-existent. This is commendable, showing appreciation to an outstanding individual, sportsman and a role model to many who has built a successful life through boxing.”

    Ekandjo added that Moses should remember that he is a legend, the best of the best, a true ambassador for Namibian sports and Namibia is proud of him.

    Moses thanked boxing fans who always turn up in numbers to watch his fights, as well as his sponsor, MTC, and previous sponsor, NamPower.

    He encouraged aspiring professional boxers to be patient, disciplined and not to run after money in their pursuit of greatness.

    The boxer, who holds the rank of chief inspector in the Namibian police, started out as a warrant officer and climbed the ranks in his career through the years.

    Moses, who has had 43 professional fights, 40 wins and 3 losses, made his debut on 8 November 2002 against Aaron Vilane, whom he defeated by technical knockout.

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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    South Africa aims to become winter wonderland for skiersSouth Africa aims to become winter wonderland for skiers South Africa may be more associated with sun than snow, but the country has made strides in recent years as a popular destination for professional skiers to compete in the European summer.

    The winter months in the country's interior provide enough snow on the slopes of the Ben Macdhui Mountain in South Africa's Eastern Cape, near the Lesotho border, for international quality competition that is attracting a growing number of Olympic hopefuls.

    “In 2017 we had over 80 international skiers from 18 different nations compete in races alongside our local entrants,” president of Snow Sports South Africa, Peter Pilz, told Reuters.

    “We have become a popular alternative to New Zealand and South America, where skiers from Europe have traditionally travelled in the European summer.

    “South Africa offers a cost-effective option that is on a similar time-zone to Europe, so skiers don't lose days with travel, and the snow during July and August especially is fantastic.”

    The International Ski Federation had a series of events at South Africa's only Alpine Ski Resort, Tiffindell, last year that allowed competitors to secure points for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Included in the field was Vanessa Vanakorn, known more popularly as British-born violinist Vanessa-Mae, who had hoped to compete at the Games for Thailand but last week, ended her bid after a shoulder injury.

    “There were also other skiers from Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium and many other nations. It was a fantastic competition,” Pilz said.

    It was also a chance for South Africans to compete without the expense of travel to Europe, including Sive Speelman, who is hoping to become the country's first black Alpine Skier to go to the Olympics this year.

    “For both international and local skiers it is a great opportunity to get points before the European season even starts,” Pilz says.

    “Our skiers can gain so much by competing with these international racers and you can see the standard is getting better and better.”

    But away from the professional snow sports scene, Pilz says skiing and snowboarding in particular have an important role to play in the tourism industry and as a boost to job creation in a country where the unemployment rate is rising and currently stands at 27.7 percent.

    “Can you imagine tourists from all over the world having the opportunity for high-quality skiing in Africa, then head for a safari at one of the national parks and after that surf in the sea in Cape Town or Durban,” Pilz says.

    “Snow sports can play a bigger role in the tourism economy and we are starting to do that.

    “ That is probably where the biggest benefit of having quality skiing in South Africa will be felt in the long-term. People think we don't have snow here, but we do.”

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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    Mascherano leaves Barcelona, linked with China switchMascherano leaves Barcelona, linked with China switch Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano will leave the club after seven and a half years at the Nou Camp, the La Liga leaders said on Tuesday.

    The Argentinian made 334 appearances for the Catalan side, lifting 18 major honours, including two Champions League triumphs in 2011 and 2015 and four La Liga titles.

    Spanish media have reported that Mascherano will link up with compatriot Ezequiel Lavezzi at Chinese side Hebei China Fortune, who are coached by former Real Madrid and Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini.

    “Javier Mascherano is leaving FC Barcelona after seven and a half seasons. The Argentinian will be receiving an institutional farewell from the club on Wednesday,” Barcelona said in a statement.

    The club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and the first team squad will be present. The player will say goodbye to the fans on the pitch ahead of the club Kings Cup tie against Espanyol today.

    Mascherano, 33, joined Barca from Liverpool in 2010 for a reported fee of 22 million euros ($27 million) and was immediately converted by coach Pep Guardiola from a holding midfielder into a centre back, frequently deputising for injury-plagued former captain Carles Puyol.

    His departure also frees up the number 14 jersey made famous by Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

    Spanish media have reported that new arrival Philippe Coutinho who signed for a club record 142 million pounds ($199 million) earlier this month will be given the prestigious squad number.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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    Kudu rugby club invites sponsorsKudu rugby club invites sponsorsClub needs money to stay afloat Kudu Rugby Club (KRC) urgently needs N$295 100 to ensure its continued existence and competitive participation in the Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) leagues. The chairperson of KRC, Allister Carolissen, told potential sponsors during a presentation of the club's budget for 2018 that there are many costs involved to participate in the leagues.

    Carolissen provided a detailed breakdown of the likely income and costs the club will incur for the upcoming season. He listed funds required for playing kits (four sets of home and away kits for the premier and first league teams) at a cost of N$120 000, fees to cover the renting of the field (N$2 500) from the municipality, training equipment (N$32 000) and players' transport fees from Swakopmund (N$15 000) as the most critical items on the budget.

    “League activity could possibly start after eight weeks and it takes an expected six weeks to manufacture the playing gear. We need to pay a deposit so that the manufacturer can start with production and have it completed it before the league commences.”

    He added that it will be the fourth year that the club will not receive any travelling assistance from the NRU and said there are seven away games scheduled for both teams.

    “Travelling, accommodation and food expenditures for the envisioned trips are huge and could cost approximately N$146 600. We will solely rely on funds generated from fundraising events and support received from businesses to grow rugby at the coast.”

    Carolissen said the club would try to generate more than half of its N$ 612 100 envisioned budget for 2018 (N$317 000) from gate fees, kiosk sales and by organising a number of planned functions.

    “We are looking at initiatives such as raffle booklets, increasing our supporter base, hosting a music concert and could also strike a deal with Club Nitro to generate income for the club. In addition to that we also want to increase the number of quality players and certified coaches at the coast.”

    Carolissen added that the club aims to reach the semi-final stage this season, to qualify for the finals in 2019 and to win the Premier League in 2020.

    The KRC Premier League team collected 33 log points. The team scored 45 tries, 30 conversions and 17 penalties for a total of 336 points and finished in fifth position last season.

    The First League team recorded 24 tries, 17 conversions and 9 penalties for a total score of 184 points and finished in sixth position.

    Several Kudu players represented the country. Chryzander Botha was the flag carrier for the club in the national 15's squad. Aurelio Plato, Daniel Bok, Bevan Botha and Chad Plato were called up for duty in the national sevens outfit. Luke Jansen, Lizardo Vos and Chad Plato represented the country at under-20 level at various tournaments.

    OTIS FINCK

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  • 01/24/18--14:00: New hunt for MH370
  • New hunt for MH370New hunt for MH370 After years of futile efforts, a fresh hunt for MH370 has set off for the remote Indian Ocean - and the top Australian scientist who helped pinpoint the new search zone is hopeful the missing jet can be found within weeks.

    Armed with oceanographic analyses and a high-tech search vessel, the latest search for the Boeing 777, which vanished in March 2014 carrying 239 people, kicked off on Monday, 22 January, run by private exploration firm Ocean Infinity, in the hope of solving one of aviation's most enduring mysteries. An earlier Australia-led search - the largest-ever in aviation history - scoured 120 000 square kilometres far off the island continent's west coast for 28 months but found no trace of the aircraft, and the hunt was suspended last January.

    “We're hopeful that they (Ocean Infinity) could find the aircraft within the first month of the search,” oceanographer David Griffin of CSIRO, Australia's leading national agency for scientific research, told AFP.

    “Malaysia has given them three months to complete the search. So we're into the first week now. We could hear something from them in the next couple of weeks,” says Griffin, who met with the Ocean Infinity team in London last month.



    No find, no fee

    Ocean Infinity has a huge incentive to find the plane. As part of the deal, the private team will only be paid if they find the jet or its black boxes, with up to US$70 million on offer if they are successful.

    The search relies on a multitude of evidence and analysis that has allowed scientists over the past four years to zero in on likely crash sites. A 25 000-square-kilometre zone north of the previous probe area was first identified by experts in late 2016, and the team worked to reduce it further.

    But the light-bulb moment came when they realised the absence of debris washing up in Western Australia was also a key clue, Griffin says.

    Only a Malaysia Airlines towelette was found on Australia's west coast in July 2014, but authorities said then it could not be conclusively linked to MH370.

    “It's fairly specific advice about where the plane crashed (as) there aren't many places along that arc which are consistent with the absence of debris on the Australian coast,” Griffin told AFP. Ruling out areas north and south along or near the seventh arc that were already searched, they analysed the middle band of latitudes and found only 35 degrees south had a current flow that was to the west towards Africa. The refined search zone also fitted in with four French satellite images taken two weeks after the crash that showed at least 70 identifiable objects floating close by.

    Although analyses of the satellite imagery did not conclusively identify the objects as coming from MH370, Griffin says it showed an unusually high number of large pieces of floating debris.

    “We saw all these large white objects, some of them 60 square metres... right at the location where you would expect them to be if the aircraft had crashed at 35.6S 92.8E,” he says.



    High-tech hunt

    The satellite analysis fuelled calls from grieving relatives for a new search, with the Malaysian government eventually commissioning Ocean Infinity.

    Hopes that the new mission might finally find the wreckage have also been raised by the high-tech tools being used.

    Seabed Constructor carries eight autonomous drones equipped with sonar and cameras that can operate in depths of up to 6 000 metres. They are “free flying” vehicles, allowing them to move deeper and collect higher quality data than the tethered drones used in the earlier search. This means the priority search areas are likely to be scoured and the data collected much faster.

    But Griffin warned that even if the new search area contains the final resting place of MH370, the most visible parts of the wreckage such as the engines could be in areas that are difficult to see or embedded deep in the ocean floor. Australia's former transport minister Darren Chester, who was in charge during the previous hunt, likewise cautioned that the difficult underwater conditions in treacherous waters could throw up challenges.

    “I'm hopeful for a successful search in the weeks and months ahead but let's not pretend it's going to be easy,” he told Sky News Australia.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/24/18--14:00: Museveni hails Trump
  • Museveni hails TrumpMuseveni hails TrumpSays he speaks frankly to Africa After Donald Trump's 'shithole' comments about Africa, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni hailed him, saying it is Africa's own fault that it is weak. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday hailed Donald Trump for speaking “frankly” to Africans, after the US president unleashed a storm by reportedly describing African nations as “shithole countries”.

    “I love Trump because he speaks to Africans frankly. I don't know if he was misquoted or whatever.

    “He talks about Africans' weaknesses frankly,” Museveni said in the capital Kampala to members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

    Trump reportedly used the language at a private White House meeting on 12 January, which led to condemnation in the US and around the world.

    He has denied using that term, but admitted to using “tough” language at the meeting, and rebutted accusations of racism.

    Museveni also turned to Twitter to show his appreciation for Trump's use of language.

    “Donald Trump speaks to Africa frankly.

    “Africans need to solve their problems. You can't survive if you are weak. It is the Africans' fault that they are weak,” he wrote.

    His comments were in stark contrast to the outrage expressed by other African leaders.

    Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted that Trump's language was “extremely unfortunate”. Namibia said the president's language had “no place in diplomatic discourse” and was “contrary to the norms of civility and human progress”.

    The African Union, which represents African countries, demanded that Trump apologise.

    The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), meanwhile, described the reported comments as “racist”, “shocking and shameful”.

    Museveni, 73, has been in power in Uganda since 1986 and could potentially seek a sixth term in office in 2021 if a bill to remove presidential age limits is passed.

    No stranger to controversy, on Monday he described Uganda as a “pre-industrial society” and said he regretted removing the death sentence, saying the move had been “a recipe for chaos”.

    NAMPA/AFP

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