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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 662 | 663 | (Page 664) | 665 | 666 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Storm lashes northern villageStorm lashes northern villageBrings misery to businesses and homesteads The blessing of much-needed rainfall turned into a catastrophe for residents of Oshimwaku village in the Ohangwena Region. Residents of Oshimwaku village in the Ohangwena Region took a beating when severe winds and heavy rains destroyed a lot of property.

    On Monday evening, villagers were pleased with the rain but by the early hours of Tuesday, catastrophe struck as businesses and homesteads were destroyed and roofs ripped off. Trees and electricity poles also suffered the effects of the storm.

    One of the residents, Fillemon Ngenokesho, a welder with his own business in the informal settlement, spoke to Namibian Sun.

    “My building has collapsed and most of my equipment is soaked with water,” he said, adding that he has lost his income to sustain his family.

    “I do not know how I will get my shop up and running again.

    “Through my loss the community will also be affected because they will now have to travel long distances to get welding services elsewhere,” Ngenokesho said.

    “I have to start from scratch now. The building already had cracks in which I was planning to fix, but now the only option I have is to demolish the structure and start all over again,” Ngenokesho said. Ngenokesho said he could not test his equipment because the power was still off.

    His estimated the damage at N$50 000 for the building alone.

    Contacted for comment, the councillor for the Engela constituency, Jason Ndakunda, said he had spoken to all the relevant stakeholders. He added that assessments of the damage still had to be done.

    “At the moment we have sent a team comprising of Red Cross Society of Namibia, medical staff and police officials, along with the disaster risk management unit of the Ohangwena Regional Council, to assess the extent of the damage,” Ndakunda said. He said once a comprehensive report was received, it would be sent to the office of the prime minister.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Vision 2030 a pipedream – RDPVision 2030 a pipedream – RDP The Swapo-led government is said to have little or nothing to show for its Vision 2030 industrialisation plan, a mere 12 years before the deadline.

    The secretary of information and publicity of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Nghiningiluandubo Kashume, says Vision 2030, adopted in 2004, has “completely failed to show tangible results”.

    He says Swapo introduced Vision 2030 “just to keep high the hopes of unsuspecting citizens while the elites are busy looting to enrich themselves and their praise-singers”.

    “When we look at some fundamental key aspects for Vision 2030 to be successfully implemented, you will find that knowledge and technical skills are not fully developed.

    “The education system we have leaves much to be desired in terms of mathematics, science and English. Moreover, the standard at which schools are graduating their learners is far too low.”

    Kashume says it is a “sick joke” that Namibian learners commonly get promoted to the next level if they score less than 50%.

    “Which country achieved industrialisation of its economy with such a poor pass rate percentage?” he asks.

    With anomalies such as these, Kashume says quality education in the country is being compromised.

    He says the education sector is instead characterised by mismanagement, dilapidated schools, pervasive incompetence, overcrowded classrooms, ill-disciplined teachers and learners, chaotic governance, lack of educational materials, poor understanding of the curriculum, and rampant corruption as manifested by ghost teachers and unqualified teachers allowed to teach.

    “Under these circumstances, how in our right minds would we expect the products of such education to turn Namibia into an industrialised country? Even God wouldn't know,” he says.

    Kashume says the vocational training sector is impaired because it is run by unqualified managers, administrators and instructors.

    He says if the ruling party was serious about moving the country forward it would have embarked upon massive intensive teacher-training in English, mathematics and science, as well as investing sufficiently in infrastructure and education materials.

    “There should be no excuses by now if they really mean business,” Kashume says.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Namibia a 'flawed democracy'
  • Namibia a 'flawed democracy'Namibia a 'flawed democracy' Namibia has for the third consecutive year been labelled as a 'flawed democracy' by a global report that ranks countries by how functional their political systems are.

    Namibia ranked 71st out of the 167 countries that are assessed annually by British research company, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

    It released its 2017 Democracy Index this week, in which it says that less than 5% of the world's population lives in a 'full democracy'.

    The index ranks countries on a scale of 0 to 10 and only countries with scores above eight are categorised as 'full democracies'.

    With an overall score of 6.31 out of 10, Namibia retained its status as one of 57 'flawed democracies' and was rated on par with Hong Kong and Paraguay.

    Namibia has shown no improvement in its average score since 2015.

    In 2006, Namibia scored 6.54, but since then the country's score has gradually decreased, until 2014 when it received its lowest score of 6.24.

    The Democracy Index rates countries in five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

    The report indicates that Namibia received its lowest points in the category of a functional government (5.36), political culture (5.63) and for its electoral process and pluralism (5.67).

    The country, however, scored better in political participation (5.63) and civil liberties (8.24).

    The main theme of this year's report was the state of media freedom and the challenges facing freedom of speech around the world.

    “Media freedom around the world has fallen to its lowest level since we began producing the Democracy Index in 2006, and restrictions on freedom of speech have become commonplace even in developed democracies,” EIU said.

    According to the research, Namibia has a partially free media, and was ranked 31st out of 167 countries.

    Regionally, Namibia ranked seventh for its democracy.

    Mauritius (ranked 16th globally) came in first regionally, followed by Cape Verde (23), Botswana (28), South Africa (41), Ghana (52) and Lesotho (56).

    Globally no region has recorded an improvement in its average score, compared to 2016.

    The list of flawed democracies also includes Singapore (ranked 69th), Taiwan (33), South Korea (20), Japan (23), France (29) and the United States and Italy, which tied at number 21.

    'Hybrid regimes' – scoring greater than four and less than or equal to six – include Thailand (107) and Bangladesh (92).

    'Authoritarian regimes' – with scores less than or equal to four – include North Korea (167), China (139), Russia (135), Cambodia (123) and Myanmar (120). Norway is ranked as the best democracy, followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark in the top five.

    Chad, Syria and North Korea were ranked as the world's worst democracies.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Capitec rating not hurt by Viceroy

    Capitec said its credit rating by S&P Global Ratings had not been affected by a report from Viceroy Research accusing the South African lender of overstating its income and assets.

    S&P has rated Capitec BB/B with a stable outlook, which falls within the speculative range.

    The US firm Viceroy published a report on Tuesday which said Capitec was a "loan shark with massively understated defaults masquerading as a community microfinance provider", triggering a brief slump of 25% in its shares.

    Capitec has dismissed the allegations calling the report "flawed with inaccurate statements". – Nampa/Reuters

    Fujifilm to take over Xerox

    Japan's Fujifilm Holdings is set to take over Xerox Corp in a US$6.1 billion deal, combining the US company into their existing joint venture to gain scale and cut costs amid declining demand for office printing.

    Xerox has been under pressure to find new sources of growth as it struggles to reinvent its legacy business amid waning demand for office printing. Fujifilm is also trying to streamline its copier business with a larger focus on document solutions services.

    Consolidation of R&D, procurement and other operations would enable Fuji Xerox to deliver at least US$1.7 billion in total cost savings by 2022, the two companies said.

    The combined company will keep the Fuji Xerox name and become a subsidiary of Fujifilm, with dual headquarters in the United States and Japan, and listed in New York. – Nampa/Reuters

    Nokia’s profit buoyed by patent

    Nokia reported better-than-expected quarterly profits as a one-off patent payment from China's biggest smartphone maker Huawei offset weak global sales of its mainstay network equipment.

    Nokia's fourth-quarter group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased 7% from a year ago to 1.0 billion euros (US$1.2 billion).

    Chief executive Rajeev Suri cautioned that its worldwide network sales were expected to remain weak, but a potential rebound of spending by operators in the Americas could help.

    He said he expected market conditions to improve markedly in 2019 and 2020 due to rollouts of next-generation 5G networks. – Nampa/Reuters

    Microsoft's cloud business grows

    Microsoft Corp beat Wall Street's profit forecast on Wednesday, helped by growth in its cloud computing business, but took a US$13.8 billion one-time charge due to the new US tax law.

    The quarter was the 10th in a row of more than 90% revenue growth for its flagship Azure cloud computing service, which directly competes with Amazon.com Inc's Amazon Web Services.

    Revenue from what Microsoft calls its intelligent cloud segment rose 15.3% to US$7.8 billion in the company's fiscal second quarter, including 98 percent growth for Azure.

    Microsoft's tax charge lead to a net loss of US$6.30 billion, or 82 UScents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a profit of US$6.27 billion, or 80 US cents per share, a year earlier. – Nampa/Reuters

    Facebook forecasts rising ad sales

    Facebook Inc offered reassurances to investors on Wednesday that its digital ad business would remain highly profitable, despite a dip in usage on the social media network and an overhaul of its flagship News Feed.

    The company said in an earnings report that quarterly revenue jumped 47% from a year earlier, and executives said on a conference call that they saw more chances to make money even if people spend less time on Facebook.

    At the end of last year time spent by users had fallen by about 50 million hours a day.

    Total revenue, though, showed little impact, rising to US$12.97 billion and beating analysts' estimate of US$12.55 billion. – Nampa/Reuters

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    When is workplace stress too much?When is workplace stress too much? Techniques for Dealing with Stress Stress isn’t always bad. A little bit of stress can help you stay focused, energetic, and able to meet new challenges in the workplace. It’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation or alert to prevent accidents or costly mistakes. But in today’s hectic world, the workplace too often seems like an emotional roller coaster. Long hours, tight deadlines, and ever-increasing demands can leave you feeling worried, drained, and overwhelmed. And when stress exceeds your ability to cope, it stops being helpful and starts causing damage to your mind and body—as well as to your job satisfaction.

    If stress on the job is interfering with your work performance, health, or personal life, it’s time to take action. No matter what you do for a living, or how stressful your job is, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your overall stress levels and regain a sense of control at work.

    Common causes of workplace stress

    · Fear of being laid off

    · More overtime due to staff cutbacks

    · Pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction

    · Pressure to work at optimum levels—all the time!

    · Lack of control over how you do your work

    Source: www.helpguide.org

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    Ondonga community welcomes peace talksOndonga community welcomes peace talksThere is no place for division King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas is expected to reinstate the senior traditional councillors that he had fired last year. The Ondonga community has welcomed the decision by King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas to reinstate the senior traditional councillors he had axed last year, saying that it was long overdue.

    The warring factions within the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) have reportedly buried the hatchet, which will lead to the reinstatement of senior councillors fired by the ailing king.

    The senior and some ordinary councillors, including the king's long-serving top aides, traditional authority chairperson Peter Kauluma and former secretary Joseph Asino, were fired following the tensions that arose when the royal family rejected Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the designated successor to Elifas.

    They were replaced with officials close to the royal family.

    In an interview with Namibian Sun, Ondonga community group spokesperson Pendapala Nakathingo welcomed the new developments in the OTA, saying that was what they had wanted all along.

    Nakathingo and his group had organised several demonstrations, with the purpose of restoring peace and unity among the Ondonga traditional leadership.

    “This is not a surprise to me, because I know all the processes that were taking place. Those are the initiatives we were fighting for and pursuing.

    “We are so very grateful for our royal family and the senior Ondonga members and the traditional councillors, to really see the necessity of unity in the Ondonga Traditional Authority and the entire Ondonga community,” Nakathingo said.

    “We want this crisis and issue of factions and divisions to be done away with by each and every individual in Ondonga.”

    Responding to the 'blame game' that was seen during the peak of the infighting, Nakathingo said that all humans make mistakes.

    He said all they wanted was peace and unity to prevail in the traditional authority.

    “As humans, everyone makes mistakes, whether on purpose or unknowingly. What we want to see is peace and unity being returned in Ondonga.

    “The counter-accusations and allegations of theft serve no purpose. Material things can be replaced, but peace, once lost, is difficult to get back,” Nakathingo said.

    Earlier this week, the current OTA secretary, Nepando Amupanda, pleaded ignorance when contacted for comment, saying he was unaware of the new developments.

    He said he only knows about a committee that was tasked to deliberate on OTA leadership issues.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Paying lip service to learningPaying lip service to learning The deputy education minister, Anna Nghipondoka, says the “dreaded double-shift system” at schools pays lip service to the education of children.

    Nghipondoka was speaking at the handing over of classrooms donated by the Pupkewitz Foundation to Groot Aub Primary School this week.

    She said children who attended afternoon classes because of overcrowding at schools were always tired, as they spent the first part of the day playing.

    “A child cannot be contained in bed after 07:00, so they wake up and play and when they get to school they are tired.

    “This system is ineffective,” she said.

    Nghipondoka said the ministry was forced to use this system because there was just not enough space at schools.

    She called on business people to assist the government in addressing the issue.

    “All our business people, wherever you find a school with this system, please intervene where you can and build a classroom or two so we can lift our schools out of this system,” she said.

    Under the double-shift system one group of teachers and learners attend school in the morning from 07:10 to 12:30 and another group of teachers and learners attend school from 13:00 to 17:00.

    Nghipondoka said in the Khomas Region nine primary schools used the double-shift system for Grade 3 and 4 learners.

    Digressing from the speech she was delivering on behalf of education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, she explained that the system had been necessitated by the influx of people into regions such as Khomas, Erongo, Oshana and Zambezi, which overburdened the existing infrastructure.

    “The unfortunate spin-off was high maintenance costs and a negative teaching and learning impact, especially for learners attending school in the afternoon,” she said.

    The scorching Namibian heat also does not make optimal learning and teaching possible in the afternoon, Nghipondoka said.

    NAMPA

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Banker jailed for six years
  • Banker jailed for six yearsBanker jailed for six years A senior staff member at Standard Bank Namibia's Gobabis branch, who admitted that he was tempted to steal from his employer because of the laxity of the security system at his workplace, has been sentenced to an effective six years in prison by the Windhoek High Court.

    Mark Wayne van Wyk, who pleaded guilty to 288 counts of fraud involving N$1 604 217.60, was sentenced to eight years this week of which two years were conditionally suspended.

    He was employed at the bank's Gobabis branch as a team leader and committed the fraud by using the user IDs and passwords of his colleagues.

    The accused transferred money into his account and those of his friends, relatives and acquaintances. Van Wyk later withdrew the money for his benefit. “The accused took advantage of the position of trust bestowed upon him and engaged in fraudulent activities over a period of two years and seven months. The offence was premeditated,” Judge Naomi Shivute emphasised during sentencing. She said these are aggravating factors, but added that his plea of guilty, coupled with the genuine remorse he had shown, weighed heavily in his favour, and led to a reduction of his sentence.

    However, the judge added that white-collar crimes are seen in a serious light by the courts, and that the sentences imposed should therefore act as a deterrent.

    “The accused committed a white-collar crime. He committed the crime while in a position of trust,” she said.

    According to Shivute, the accused bore the responsibility of supervising other employees, to ensure that they perform their functions with diligence and honesty. Yet, the judge added, he had the audacity to tell the court in its face that he was tempted to steal from his employer, because of the laxity of the security system at his workplace.

    “This lame excuse is unacceptable and adds insult to the reputational damage and financial harm the accused caused his employer. It deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms,” Shivute said, adding that Van Wyk had decided to breach the trust that his employer had placed in him.

    She emphasised the crimes committed by the accused were premeditated, as they were committed over a lengthy period of time. Shivute said that Van Wyk had ample time to reflect, come to his senses and stop his fraudulent actions, before they were discovered, but he opted to continue with his activities.

    “All these are aggravating factors that weigh heavily against him,” the judge added. Shivute said she had been left with no other option, but to impose a custodial sentence, part of which is suspended.





    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Africa Briefs
  • Africa BriefsAfrica Briefs Zim white farmers to get 99-year leases

    Zimbabwe will issue 99-year leases to white farmers, according to a government circular, after new President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he would end discrimination along racial lines in agriculture.

    Fewer than 400 white farmers are still operating in the country, after former president Robert Mugabe's government evicted more than 4 000 under an often violent land reform programme.

    Those who remained were issued with five-year renewable leases by the state compared to 99-year leases for black farmers, leaving their land vulnerable to expropriation by the government.

    Earlier this month a government document showed that Zimbabwe is considering establishing a special tribunal to determine the value of compensation and how to pay it to white farmers who have lost their land since 2000. – Nampa/Reuters

    SA maize planting area down over 12%

    South African maize farmers are expected to plant 12% less of the staple crop this season in the face of a dry, hot spell along the western growing areas, the government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) said.

    Farmers are believed to have planted 2.309 million hectares of maize compared to the 2.629 million hectares planted last season when favourable weather conditions boosted yields.

    White maize plantings are down almost 22% while those for yellow are up 4%, the CEC said. – Nampa/Reuters

    Botswana power expansion plan stalls

    A planned US$800 million expansion of a coal-fired power plant in Botswana by Japan's Marubeni Corp and South Korea's Posco Energy has been put on hold due to a disagreement over terms.

    Energy security minister Sadique Kebonang said the government failed to agree with Marubeni and Posco Energy on a number of issues, notably a proposed $800 million state-backed guarantee to protect the companies' investments.

    Marubeni and Posco Energy were due to start work in January last year on a project to add 300 megawatts to the current 600 megawatt Morupule B plant, which was built by the China National Electric Equipment Corp at a cost of US$970 million.

    “The Power Purchase Agreement has now expired since the project failed to take off within a year from the date of signing as stipulated in the agreement," Kebonang said. – Nampa/Reuters

    Egypt's Zohr gas field inaugurated

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday inaugurated the offshore Zohr gas field, aimed at making the Arab world's most populous country self sufficient in natural gas by the end of 2018.

    In December, the oil ministry said it was starting production from the field discovered in 2015 by Italian energy giant Eni with an initial 10 million cubic metres a day.

    The Egyptian government is trying to roll back the impact of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak and led to years of political, security and economic turmoil. – Nampa/AFP

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    Local farmers take advantage of SA droughtLocal farmers take advantage of SA drought Vegetable producers in Namibia will reap benefits from the catastrophic drought in South Africa, specifically the Western Cape.

    South Africa is battling one of its worst droughts ever, which started in early 2015.

    The drought has caused devastation in the South African agricultural sector, with dams in the Western Cape expected to run dry by April.

    According to Lesley Losper of the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), there has been an increase in vegetable exports from Namibia to South Africa because of water shortages there.

    “We have seen more movement in certain vegetable products recently due to the drought, specifically to the Cape.”

    Losper said the exports were mainly of butternut, watermelon, sweet potato and potato grown in the Stampriet area.

    Statistics on produce exported to South Africa for this year are not yet available from the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA). They are expected at the end of February.

    According to the latest figures from AMTA for the 2016/17 financial year 41 412 tons of horticulture produce were exported.

    These included 1 700 tons butternuts, 911 tons watermelon, 764 tons sweet melon, 339 tons pumpkin, 2 930 tons tomatoes and 1 542 tons green pepper. This was all exported to South Africa and is expected to increase.

    A total of 349 tons potatoes and 8 807 tons onions were exported to South Africa and Angola.

    The horticultural market value was N$680 million, however this also includes dates and grapes that were exported.

    Meanwhile it is reported that vegetable and fruit prices in the Western Cape have risen as farmers were forced to cut production because of water shortages.

    Last year reports indicated that the impact on the agricultural sector was already significant in the Western Cape. At Ceres 50% fewer onions and potatoes had been planted.

    The Western Cape grows a wide range of fruit and vegetables under irrigation. The province's top three export destinations were Namibia (N$12.27 billion), the UK (N$9.17 billion) and the US (N$8.98 billion).

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Germany in 'honest' dialogue
  • Germany in 'honest' dialogueGermany in 'honest' dialogueCosting the incalculable still on table Several proposals have been made in the genocide negotiations, including infrastructure development, the German ambassador to Namibia says. The German ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga, says Germany is confident that the Namibian government is in discussion with communities affected by the 1904 to 1908 genocide about their participation in the bilateral reconciliation dialogue “in a productive manner”.

    Schlaga was responding to a document leaked on proposals made in September last year, which have drawn the ire of certain groupings of the affected communities.

    The proposals outlined in the document include interventions in vocational education, land reform, housing, rural electrification, as well as regional development and support measures.

    “Yes, Germany is engaged in honest negotiations with the Namibian government,” Schlaga said.

    He said the Namibian delegation to the talks had presented its position paper.

    “Germany has studied it very carefully and has responded. As one element of that, Germany made several proposals about how some infrastructure development projects could be realistically included. This is also due to the fact that the affected communities often underlined in meetings with the German delegation the need for further infrastructure development,” Schlaga said.

    The head of the Namibian negotiating team, Dr Zed Ngavirue, said Namibia's position paper was confidential.

    Ngavirue said proposals were still being hashed out and the leaked document did not represent the outcome of the discussions.

    “Germany has agreed to repair the wounds. We are still deciding how to get over the hill regarding the healing of wounds vis-à-vis reparations,” Ngavirue said.

    He said the parties had agreed to get working groups of experts on both sides to discuss the reconstruction of devastated societies.

    That would include considerations of how to address poverty, restore dignity and other related matters. Ngavirue said Namibia had proposed an amount which Germany thought was unrealistically high.

    “Germany is willing to extend an apology, but the question of paying reparations remains a sticking point.

    “Of course, loss of life, loss of land, slave labour, and so on, are incalculable but there must be something realistic regarding reparation quantum,” Ngavirue said.

    The working groups, which would include input from affected communities, would be starting soon, Ngavirue said.

    Ngavirue said the experts could not prescribe what should be done, but would explore the socio-economic impact of possible interventions.

    “They need to know the depth of the wound and that you can only get from the patient,” Ngavirue said.

    Ngavirue and his team are conducting an outreach programme and have had meetings with communities at Lüderitz, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Vaalgras, Otjinene, Epukiro, Okakarara and Swakopmund.

    “This should serve as evidence that there are consultations,” he said.

    Contrary to what was claimed by certain groups, Ngavirue said affected communities had always been represented on the technical committee and participated on the negotiating team.

    He said they were also represented through the traditional chiefs' forum, chaired by vice-president Nickey Iyambo. This forum gets regular briefings on the negotiations and communities can give their input.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Union to act against security companiesUnion to act against security companies The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) has threatened to report, name and shame and possibly sue security companies who are still not compliant with the new minimum wage gazetted last year.

    Tucna president Paulus Hango yesterday condemned security companies who have refused to implement the agreed minimum wage for security guards and demanded that all companies implement it.

    “We want to make our position crystal clear that we have had enough of the companies that continuously violate the collective agreement which were agreed to by parties. It must be noted that the security guards are underpaid and are working under very difficult conditions and situations.”

    He said the refusal of the companies was unacceptable and violated the Labour Act and the Namibian Constitution.

    Hango warned companies that if they continued with the unfair labour practice the union would “take the necessary steps”.

    He warned that security companies that did not comply with the new minimum wage would not qualify for government tenders.

    According to him the labour ministry has been given a list of companies that have refused to implement the new minimum wage.

    Hango said all government-owned companies would be notified of the non-compliance and the union would take legal action against the security companies that failed to implement it.

    The union would also publish the names of companies that exploited their employees and all embassies and high commissions in Namibia would be asked not to employ them. The union wanted a wage commissioner to be appointed and said the minimum wage must be enforced by labour inspectors and the security industry must be regulated.

    Hango added that the Equity Commissioner would also be given the list of non-compliant companies so that their annual affirmative action reports would not be accepted. The Social Security Commission would also be notified so that it could deduct social security contributions at a rate of N$10 per hour, Hango said.

    “We will not rest until all security employees are paid a living wage,” he vowed.

    Last year the Security Association of Namibia (SAN), Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU), Namibia Security Guard and Watchmen Union (NASGWU) and Namibia Independent Security Union (NISU) signed a collective agreement on a minimum wage. However, according to Hango SAN withdrew from the agreement to continue being part of the Namibian Labour Forum.

    “This withdrawal and refusal to implement the collective agreement demonstrates that the security companies are determined to continue exploiting and paying employees starving wages.”

    The new minimum wage for entry-level security guards effective from 1 January last year is N$8.75 per hour. For guards who have been employed for more than a year, the minimum is N$10 per hour.

    “That means almost all security guards have to be paid N$10 per hour. Many security companies have failed to comply with the collective agreement,” said Hango.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Why is HR important?
  • Why is HR important?Why is HR important? Key functions of an HR professional The HR department in any company can be its ace in the hole, if used strategically. HR is a company’s human resource multiplier. The functions of an HR professional should focus on the company’s greatest resource of all - its employees. Without good employees, the best business plan and ideas will fail.

    In your business there are experts to oversee and advise you on various areas and departments. For example, your CFO’s sole purpose is to keep their eye on the financial functions and decision for the company. Without good accounting and insight on your cash flow, investments, and balance sheet you risk making poor business decisions and potentially going out of business.

    Likewise, there are many reasons why the role of HR in a company is important to its survival and success. The reasons why HR is important can vary depending on if you look at the issue from a manager or employee perspective. Below is a list of typical functions of a human resources department that will help you better understand the essential role of HR in a company.

    1. Management development and training

    One way to be a company resource multiplier is to help managers be better managers, which in turn will help prevent or eliminate distractions for your employees. Employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad bosses, according to Beverly Kaye, co-author of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay. Good managers are crucial to an effective organisation but most have to learn how to be effective. The role of HR in a company is to help develop and coach managers to do the best job possible. HR professionals have a lot of experience working with employees in all sorts of situations. HR’s role is to advise and assist management on how to manage employees and deal with difficult situations. The reason why HR is important in helping managers is if they are able to manage effectively, problems that arise won’t escalate to the point of distraction for employees.

    2. Keeping management focused on their job

    HR is important for managers so that they can stay focused on their job. There is a lot of new regulation that came out this year that affects businesses. One role of HR in a company is to unravel the byzantine employment regulations using their expertise and to advise management about how they affect the business. They then updates business practices so the company is compliant. This is no easy feat.

    3. Hire strategically, hire right

    Another way HR is important for managers is that it can assist with strategic hires; by this I mean hiring right. I believe recruiting is the number one way for HR to make an impact on the organisation.

    Hiring right means reduced turnover and increased retention. It means finding the high potential candidate who can do ten times as much as the average employee and then being able to convince them to work for you. It also means not hiring problem employees to start with. Most of us have heard of the Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule), which suggests that 20% of the employees take 80% of your time. Again, going back to the notion that HR is a human resource multiplier, by hiring right you can focus on growing the business not dealing with problem employees. To do this there should be a systematic interview process that probes for work ethic, attitude, aptitude and motivation, in addition to determining if they have the right skills for the job. HR can be an instrumental in the process.

    Why is HR important for employees?

    HR is an advocate for employees. The functions of an HR professional are to make sure that all employees are treated fairly and equitably and that the needs of the business are balanced against the needs of the employees.

    For the same reasons listed above, employees also make gains. Employees benefit when managers are trained well and know how to be good managers. Employees need their managers focused on getting work done instead of trying to figure out what new laws just came out this year. Employees also benefit when the company hires right because that means they have less co-worker issues to deal with themselves. They don’t have to take on extra work when poor performers are let go. They don’t have to train the new person. They can stay focused on their job.

    We have presented only the most essential reasons why HR is important. There are many more when you look at the day-to-day operations of a smooth-running, successful company. HR is more than someone who takes your new hire paperwork or files the benefit forms. The role of HR in a company affects all aspects of the organisation. Why? Because HR supports employees and employees are your most important resource.

    www.payscale.com

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    3 ways to deal with conflicting advice (that don't involve panicking)3 ways to deal with conflicting advice (that don't involve panicking) When it comes to your career, have you ever been on the receiving end of conflicting advice? I sure have - too many times to count.

    There are plenty of instances - from interview outfits to the quality of my major presentation - when people’s opinions about my career didn’t quite match up. But, nothing compares to when I was considering quitting my secure full-time job to pursue a freelance writing career.

    Mentors in my existing industry thought I was insane, while the people I looked up to in the writing field were practically pushing me off the cliff. My manager stared at me like I said I was going to join the circus, while my parents were endlessly supportive. My close friends told me I could do anything, while random networking acquaintances told me it would never work.

    The thought alone makes me short of breath.

    Can you relate? People have a lot of opinions, and they don’t always complement each other. In fact, sometimes they’re plain old contradictory.

    You’re taught to seek the counsel and guidance of others - particularly when it comes to your career. But, where can you turn when all of that advice doesn’t serve to push you in one clear direction?

    Here’s what I learned through my own (oftentimes stressful and sweat-inducing) experience.

    1. Consider the source

    People don’t just form opinions out of thin air. Instead, their viewpoints are shaped by their own unique backgrounds and experiences.

    Your beloved grandma might feel confident that a career change at this point would certainly be a detriment - but, that’s likely because she comes from a generation when career exploration wasn’t necessarily a norm.

    So, when it comes to receiving advice, remember to think about what sorts of circumstances could lead that person to feel that way. Is this someone with a solid handle on your particular situation, or is he or she coming at it with a certain bias or lack of understanding?

    Adding some conditions to whose suggestions carry weight isn’t always a bad (or insulting) thing. Remember, it’s totally possible to trust someone without trusting his or her expertise in every single scenario.



    2. Know your values

    When I would tell people that I was planning to bid adieu to my co-workers in favour of working totally alone, many had responses that looked something like, “Ugh, I couldn’t stand having to do everything myself!”

    I’ll admit that sentiments like those planted a few seeds of doubt in my brain. But, then I realised something: To me, forging my own path and doing things totally alone was one of the things that excited me most about my new adventure.

    Tying back to the fact that people have their own individual outlooks, it’s important for you to get a solid handle on your own passions and ambitions. What do you think? What do you want?

    With that information in your back pocket, you’ll be able to better consider other people’s recommendations through your own lens. When I discovered that I valued a sense of stability in my career, for example, people’s warnings that the freelance life came with a lot of uncertainty carried a little more weight in my decision-making process.

    Be forewarned, this step doesn’t mean that your values and priorities can never shift and evolve. However, it’s important that you take the time to get in tune with your own desires before you confuse yourself too much with the fears and yearnings of everybody else around you.

    3. Give yourself a gut check

    Oftentimes, you already know what you want to do with those major career decisions. You’re just waiting for everybody to leap to their feet and offer a rousing, “Yes! That’s the right move!”

    But, what should you do in those situations when you really feel lost as to what advice to follow and which route to choose? Well, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned gut check.

    I’m serious - narrow down your two options and then flip a coin. Here’s the tricky part: You don’t actually have to stick with what the coin lands on. But, as it’s tumbling through the air and your whole life seems to move in slow motion, you’ll likely get a pretty strong inkling as to what side you want to be face up.

    When that happens? You, my friend, have just made your decision - conflicting advice and all.

    In the world of career questions, there aren’t a lot of black and white answers - that’s exactly why there are so many contradictory opinions and suggestions out there.

    Should you quit that job? Make that career change? Go for that promotion?

    It’d be nice if there was a one-size-fits all answer to those sorts of questions. But, there isn’t. Ultimately, the best you can do is consider as many perspectives as possible (yes, even when they don’t perfectly line up!) and decide on the right way forward for you. You’re the only one who actually knows what that is.

    Still struggling to see your way to the other side? Take this decision-making advice and pretend you’re counselling a friend in your exact same situation. I promise - it works!

    -www.muse.com

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Unam deposit reduced to 20%
  • Unam deposit reduced to 20%Unam deposit reduced to 20% The University of Namibia will now allow local students to register with a minimum deposit of 20% of their tuition fees.

    The remaining 30% of the first-semester tuition must be paid before or during May 2018, the university said in a statement yesterday.

    “Returning students with outstanding fees for 2017 are allowed to register by paying the 20% deposit on the 2018 tuition fees. However, these students will have to clear their outstanding balances for 2017 in addition to the remaining 30% of the 2018 tuition fees, before the regular examinations commences during May 2018.”

    The minimum deposit for SADC and non-SADC foreign students has been reduced to 50% and 60% respectively.

    According to Unam, Namibian students must pay 20% of the remaining tuition fees for the 2018 academic year at the start of the second semester and the final 30% must be paid before the final examinations in October.

    Last month Unam demanded a 50% deposit on tuition fees from Namibian students, in addition to the mandatory N$2 000 registration fee.

    SADC residents were then expected to pay 60% of their tuition fees upfront, while non-SADC foreigners had to pay 70% upon registration. The hefty registration fees were even justified by the minister of higher education, who said at the time that she could not interfere.

    In the past, Namibian Unam students were only required to pay N$6 650, which included a N$1 650 registration fee and a N$5 000 tuition fee deposit.

    However, over the years the university has been unable to recover all the fees from students and eventually sat with a big financial burden which compelled it to demand sizeable down payments.

    Unam registration kicked off on 22 January and will end today. Late registration starts on Wednesday, 7 February and will end on Friday, 9 February.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: SOS housemothers fed up
  • SOS housemothers fed upSOS housemothers fed upComplaints 'ignored by management' Housemothers at three SOS Children's Villages claim that the organisation ignores the Labour Act. Unhappy housemothers at SOS Children's Villages Namibia in Windhoek, Tsumeb and Ondangwa handed over a petition to their respective offices yesterday morning, detailing a litany of complaints, which they say have been ignored by management.

    In Windhoek, the petition, handed over by Christina Nowases to the centre's director Rodney Cloete, states that their complaints have been brought to the attention of management several times, but they have never received any response and neither have any of the complaints been addressed.

    The housemothers say they work 24 hours a day, in contravention of the Labour Act of 2007.

    “Even though it is said that children sleep at night, and thus there is little to no work, it is a fact that mothers work throughout the night. If a child falls ill, the mother must take the child to hospital, and if a child fails a grade, the mother is held responsible. We demand that SOS immediately complies with the labour law.”

    According to the petition, housemothers are not allowed to receive visitors and are forced to stay in the SOS village.

    “On 11 May 2016, we sent a letter to the board, which stated that SOS facilities may receive visitors daily between 19:00 and 21:00. This is not a good time, as we are busy with the children during those hours. We are cooking, helping with homework and readying the children for bed. The board indicated that we can select our own visiting times, but this has not been implemented. Visitors are chased away.” Furthermore, the mothers say in the past, they were able to take the children away for a weekend or for holidays without having to put in for leave. Management, however, has instituted a new rule, which the mothers say was not discussed with them, that any person who takes a child out has to apply for leave.

    “This has discouraged us to take them out and it has a negative effect on the children. We demand that housemothers can take children out without having to apply for leave.”

    The workers have also demanded that the board be introduced to them, and say further that they are not permitted to register with the Social Security Commission immediately after being employed. They also allege that contributions to medical aid and pension funds are not made on time. They further say their position held and available leave days are also not indicated on their payslips. “Children with disabilities are placed in our care and we have not been trained to work with these children. This places them in danger and we demand training in this regard,” the workers said.

    The housemothers say they have brought these grievances to the attention of the national director of SOS Children's Villages Namibia, Simonee Shihepo Mulamata, but nothing has been done.

    They demand that Mulamata respond by 12:00 on 15 February or further steps will be taken.

    TANJA BAUSE

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    Simataa ­clarifies PSC, RC ­arbitration matterSimataa ­clarifies PSC, RC ­arbitration matter The secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa, has clarified that the matter between the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Regrading Committee (RC) at the Labour Commission (LC) remains sub-judice.

    Responding to a notice in a local newspaper inviting civil servants who were adversely affected by the Job Evaluation and Grading (JEG) to a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Simataa said the RC, as the litigant, launched an appeal to the LC's ruling on the matter on 22 January 2018.

    “The JEG System was developed and approved by the Prime Minister on the recommendations of the Public Service Commission and was implemented on 01 April 2013,” Simaata said in a statement.

    “The litigant, 'the so-called Regrading Committee' instituted proceedings legal at LC challenging the regrading outcome.”

    The conciliation process was started, but was however unsuccessful and the matter went to an arbitration hearing that was held on 27 November 2017, resulting in the litigants' application being dismissed by the LC, he added.

    “The litigant thereafter filed a notice of appeal to court on 22 January 2018 and the matter remains sub-judice,” the statement concludes. – Nampa

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    5 Must Have Characteristics of a Successful Business5 Must Have Characteristics of a Successful Business There are many qualities and characteristics delineating what separates highly successful businesses from those which are more mediocre. So how can you determine what makes a successful business?

    When you look at big businesses that have grown from being a start-up, you can notice similarities about the businesses. For example, their work ethic and their approach. But even the greatest of ideas can struggle to take off without a strong leader within the business. Similarly, a great entrepreneur can take an idea and transform it into something legendary.

    Although there is no ‘one size that fits all’ theory for how to develop and run a successful business, there are a few guidelines that can help those with great ideas to evolve into successful entrepreneurs. Here are ten must have characteristics of a successful business.

    1. Have a clear vision

    Of course the first important characteristic is to have a clear vision. If you don’t have a clear vision of the business that you are trying to create, then how can you be successful in creating it? First of all you need to figure out exactly the type of company you are looking to build. For example, where do you see it l being in five years’ time? Do you have a goal for the number of customers you’ll have? The number of employees? Having a clear vision of where you want your business to go will help to contribute to its success.

    2. Have a business plan

    As well as having a clear vision of what you want your business to achieve, you should also have a plan detailing exactly how you will make your business successful. Writing out your business plan forces you to review everything at once; your marketing assumptions, operations plan, financial plan and staffing plan, helping you to spot connections you otherwise would have missed. Within your business plan you should identify what you want to accomplish in the next twelve months to ensure you’re on the right path to achieving your long-term goals for your business.

    3. Create short-term goals

    As well as having a business plan for long-term goals, the most successful businesses are those which have measurable short-term goals. Specifically, they identify what the company needs to achieve in the next quarter, month and week to ensure that they meet their annual goals. Goal setting is not a one-time event when formulating your business plan, but an ongoing process. It’s important to remember that goal setting shouldn’t solely be about how much revenue you want to generate. It could relate to your service offerings, business growth, or anything that is important to enhancing the business.

    4. Skill development

    As well as setting goals for the business, you should ensure that your skill development is continuous. Success is the result of expanding your knowledge and developing those skills to the best of your ability, providing investment in your brand and quality assurance. To be successful, businesses should commit resources and time to training their employees to ensure that everyone can work as effectively and efficiently for the business. With the changing nature of businesses, you should provide continual training for your employees, something which you should include within your business plan. You should implement frequent assessments of your training and operations and, if you uncover a weak area, address it through revising your methods.

    5. Be a great marketer

    Businesses usually receive the most success through their marketing efforts, so ensure that your business has a clear marketing plan in place. Of course, if you’re providing a good service to your customers you will benefit from word of mouth recommendation, but usually you want or need your business to grow faster. The key to your marketing plan is to utilise as many marketing channels as possible. For example, attracting customers through pay-per-click advertising, newsletters and social media is likely to attract more customers than it would from using just one of these channels.

    - www.mycustomer.com

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    Determined to make a change Determined to make a change She won’t settle for a degree Octavia Tsibes

    Gaweses recently graduated and feels she can change the mind-sets of a lot of Namibian people to take dentistry seriously.

    Sarah Gaweses is a 28 year old oral hygienist at City Dental in Windhoek. An oral hygienist is also known as a dental hygienist. They are licensed dental professionals, registered with a dental association or regulatory body within their country of practice.

    They are primary healthcare professionals who work self-sufficiently or alongside dentists and other dental professionals to provide full oral health care.

    They have the training and education that focus and specialize in the prevention and treatment of oral disease.

    “Oral hygienists don’t need assistants like dentists do, we do our job independently which is a great thing especially if you like your own space,” Gaweses said. She further added that her day to day routine is more or less the same the only thing is that you meet different patients every day which allows you to form a bond.

    “I love to teach and at the same time engage with people that guided me to pursue oral hygiene. My job allows me to teach the clients to explain to them what I am doing in their mouth,” she said.

    “To most people, it is pretty disgusting but the clients have to know,”Gaweses said.

    She was inspired to study oral hygiene because she had braises and visiting the dentist for her regular check-ups motivated her to pursue something in the dental industry.

    Gaweses studied towards a degree in oral hygiene and obtained her degree after 3 years. “Before actually getting into my degree, I did a lot of assisting in house training at private dental practices to build my self-esteem.”

    If you want to go in the dental industry one should have a passion for it and definitely be soft-spoken, “Besides these qualities, don’t feel limited, if you are a go-getter then oral hygiene is for you,” she said.

    The highlight of her job is, that the patient can make you day and the lowlight of an oral hygienist is that, your ability can be underestimated.

    She further says it takes a lot to be an oral hygienist but one of the exceptional character traits one should have is Be a go-getter, must be able to communicate well with their patient and Must be ambitious and ready to transform. “I can manage my 30 minutes for each patient and still bond with them,” she says.

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  • 02/01/18--14:00: Major cabinet shakeup
  • Major cabinet shakeupMajor cabinet shakeupEkandjo, Ithana first casualties of congress fallout In what can be seen as a clear pointer to an imminent massive cabinet reshuffle, President Hage Geingob yesterday unceremoniously dumped two of the leaders of 'Team Swapo' from his executive. Youth and sport minister Jerry Ekandjo, along with his home affairs colleague Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, were fired from their cabinet positions with immediate effect yesterday.

    The day of reckoning came barely two months after Ekandjo had lost the Swapo presidential race to head of state Hage Geingob, while Iivula-Ithana was soundly defeated by deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah in the vote for the party vice-presidency.

    The axing of the two senior cabinet members has long been anticipated following their utterances ahead of the congress, in which they criticised both Geingob and some of his initiatives, such as the food bank programme and his handling of the country's economic meltdown.

    At the time, Iivula-Ithana and Ekandjo had emerged as the leaders of a faction calling itself Team Swapo, which had fought tooth and nail to stop Geingob and his running mates from Team Harambee from securing the top leadership of the ruling party.

    While Iivula-Ithana's tenure at the formerly troubled home affairs ministry has been widely praised by friend and foe alike, Ekandjo has overseen a woefully run sport ministry beset by financial challenges.

    In a last-ditch effort to save face shortly before the Christmas holiday, Ekandjo had pledged his “unconditional loyalty” to the head of state, after Geingob had asked him to explain some of the comments he had made on the congress campaign trail.

    “I am duty bound to direct you to advise how your utterances can be reconciled with your duty to serve as a member of my cabinet and as my appointee, whom I expect to serve with due diligence, loyalty and objective support when you stated that I am weak,” the president wrote to Ekandjo.

    In response, Ekandjo denied he had breached any ministerial obligations, among other excuses.

    “Nor have I in any manner or form breached my ministerial obligations and accountability in relation to the ministry I head and/or any cabinet decisions that may have been taken to which I am bound by collective responsibility to adhere [to] even if I held an adverse view,” Ekandjo wrote.

    At his year-end media briefing last year, Geingob explicitly warned that 2018 would be the year of reckoning.

    Geingob's letters to the two ministers appear to have been copied and pasted, as he at one point referred to Ekandjo as home affairs minister.









    “By virtue of the powers vested in me by Article 32 (6) of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, I have decided to relieve you of your duties as minister of home affairs and immigration with immediate effect,” Geingob wrote.

    “The termination of your appointment should in no way be interpreted as a blight on the immense personal sacrifices, as well as the immeasurable contribution you have made in the interest of the Republic of Namibia, during our struggle for independence, as well as after independence. These are feats for which the people of Namibia shall always hold you in the highest regard.”



    Cabinet vacancies

    The dismissal of the two ministers now opens the door for Geingob to make wholesale changes to his cabinet, given that he already has to replace urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa, who is now the full-time Swapo secretary-general following her victory against Armas Amukwiyu in November.

    There was no immediate comment from the two fired ministers as both their cellphones went unanswered.

    Political commentators said the firing was long overdue but were quick to caution the president against angering the two ministers' political constituency.

    “This is definitely a politically motivated firing,” said Ndumba Kamwanyah.

    “Given the context of the campaign, which was vicious and personal, it is long overdue.”

    Constitutional law expert Nico Horn said despite Namibia being a democracy, the president has the right to surround himself with people that he can trust in his cabinet.

    In fact, Geingob repeatedly made it clear during the congress battle that he could only work with people he trusted.

    “The fact that they stood up during their campaign trail is not so bad, but the fight was not so smart. Pendukeni said very ugly things and sometimes she was very angry. The trust relationship is definitely broken and their levels of competency are not relevant,” said Horn.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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