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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 679 | 680 | (Page 681) | 682 | 683 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Endopo olyo tali yi moshipala aanonaEndopo olyo tali yi moshipala aanonaElongo lyaanona moondondo dhopetameko oshinima sha simana noonkondo Gumwe gwomaanona yatano mboka yeli mondondo yotango oha endulula ondondo ye yotango moskola muule woomvula heyali dha piti, omanga oopresenda owala 30 dhaanona mboka yeli mondondo onti 5 sigo ontihetatu haya endulula oondondo ndhoka muule woomvula dha faathana. Uuyelele mboka owa hololwa dhomomiyalu tadhi halutha, dhoka sha pitithwa mOmaandaha komisnita yelongo, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa pethimbo kwa tamekithwa omutumba guule womasiku gatatu gwoNational Integrated Early Childhood Development Conference, ngoka tagu ningilwa moshilandopangelo. Minista okwa koleke kutya eendululo lyondondo yotango moshilongo olya thikama poopresenda 21 muule woomvula heyali monena okuza poopresenda 19.8.

    Hanse-Himarwa okwa holola woo omaiyuvo ge omolwa omwaalu gwaanona taya thigi po ooskola ngoka tagu londo pombanda moshilongo.

    Okwa popi kutya oopresenda 30 dhaanasakola oya thigi po ondondo 10 omanga oopresenda dhili pokati kahamano naheyali ya thigi po ondondo onti 8.

    Oshinima shimwe shoka tashi patele pondje aanona opo yamone elongo, onkalo yaanona itaya taambelwa mooskola molwaashoka kaye na oonzapo dhomavalo.

    Aanona oyendji natango inaya mono endungiko lyopetameko omanga mboka aakwanaluhepo haya yi nondjala kooskola dhiikunino.

    Omiyalu ndhoka dha monika po koUnited Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) mo 2015 odha mono kutya aanona ya thika po 103 768 yoomvula dhokuya koskola ihaya yi kooskola omanga ya thika po 99 200 oye li moshiponga shokuthiga po ooskola.

    Minista okwa popi kutya onkalo ndjoka otayi etithwa woo sho aavali yamwe kaye na eyambidhidho lyaanona yawo, omategelelo mokati kaanona yoskola, iinano iile okuya nokuza kooskola, oluhepo nokwaahena iilonga, omaupyakadhi ga taalela aanona, eendululo lyoondondo, omaulema oshowo ompumbwe yomeya nuuyogoki.

    Pahapu dhaHanse- Himarwa okwa totwa ongundu ndjoka ya pewa oshinakugwanithwa shokukwashilipaleka kutya ooskola odha ninga omahala omawanawa okukala aanona, pakutula miilonga oNational Safe Schools Framework nokutalulula oIntegrated School Health Policy.

    Minista okwa kunkilile kutya nonando onkalo ndjoka otayi vulu owala okuyambulwa po ngele tagu gandjwa omiyalu dhomondjila.

    Okwa popi kutya uuministeli owa hala woo okuyambulapo elongo lyopetameko moshilongo, onkene iimaliwa yoomiliyona 52 otayi ka gandjwa kiitopolwa opo yi vule okuyambulapo elongo lyopetameko.

    Oomiliyona mbali odha gandjwa mokulanda iikwaniipangitho yooskola dhowina.

    Okwa pula elongelokumwe ewanawa naakuthimbinga moshikondo shelongo. Opo ku yambulwepo eyambulepo lyaanona moondondo dhopetameko.

    Hanse-Himarwa, okwa popi kutya, etaambelo lyaanona moondondo dhopetameko olya yambukapo okuza kaanona 17 000 ya taambelwa moondondo ndhoka mo2011/2012 okuya paanona 40 000 mboka ya taambelwa moondondo ndhoka nuumvo.

    Minista okwa popi kutya epungulo melongo lyaanona yomoondondo dhopetameko oshinima sha simana noonkondo onkene osha pumbwa okutulwa miilonga nokukalekwa po.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: Olugodhi lwaJob naSacky
  • Olugodhi lwaJob naSackyOlugodhi lwaJob naSacky Job Amupanda ngoka ta futithwa oshimaliwa sha thika pooN$500 000 omolwa enyateko lyedhinlya Sacky Shanghala, okwa pula Okomisi yOkulwitha Uulingilingi opo yi gandje uuyelele kombinga yiipotha yontumba yuulingilingi.

    Amupanda okupitila muhahende gwe, okwa pula omukomeho gwoAnti-Corruption Commission, Paulus Noa, opo a gandje uuyelele noondokumende dhi na sha nuulingilingi mefuto lyoohahende dhopondje, ndhoka dha li dha gandja omayele kepangelo nkene li na okupula iifuta okuza kepangelo lyaGermany omolwa omadhipago ga ningilwa aakwashigwana yAaHerero nAaNama pethimbo lyuukoloni, kepangelo lyokatongotongo lyaGermany.

    Amupanda okupitila muhahende gwe, Kadhila Amoono, momasiku 16 gaFebruali okwa shanga ombaapila ndjoka tayi pula opo ya pewe oondokumende dhi na sha niipotha ayihe yuulingilingi mbyoka ya konaakonwa kokomisi yoACC shi na sha niifuta mbyoka ya futwa oohahende ndhoka dhopondje.

    Noa natango okwa pulwa a holole ngele oku na owino yokugandja uuyelele mompangu yopombada.

    Shanghala ota futitha Amupanda omolwa enyateko lyedhina lye sho a li nale hahende-ndjai gwepangelo, na okwa tulilemo Amupanda oshipotha muDesemba omolwa omapopyo ga ningwa kuAmupanda pethimbo lyomutumba gwoohahende ndjai ngoka gwa ningilwa moDoha sha Qatar.

    Amupanda natango okwa hala Noa a gandje oondokumene dhiipotha yilwe yuulingilingi ngaashi omakonaakono ga ningwa mo 2017 giimaliwa ya gandjwa ya nuninwa oKora Awards; etsokumwe lyaNamcor noNamibia Liquid Fuel; Namibia Airports Company shi na sha nelongo lyokapale koodhila mOndangwa, Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) ndjoka ya kaleke iifuta kehangano lyiikwaveta lyaSouth Afrika; etsokumwe lyaTransNamib nehangano lyoD&M Rail melongululo lyelila lyomashina gokolutenda pokati kaKransberg-Tsumeb; etsokumwe pokati kaNamibia Desert Diamonds (Namdia) oshowo ehangano lyaDubai, oonkundathana pokati komupanguli ndjai, ACC oshowo hahende ndaji gwepangelo kombinga yiifuta yohotela yominista Penda Ya Ndakolo oshowo etsokumwe lyiifuta pokati koExpedite Aviation Close Corporation nelelo lyondoolopa yaTsumeb. Noa okwa pulwa a yamukule muule womasiku gaheyali giilonga.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    !Naruseb welcomed in agri sector!Naruseb welcomed in agri sector Minister Alpheus !Naruseb was last week welcomed as the new agricultural minister by stakeholders in the sector, and staff members.

    !Naruseb, who is the former works minister, said he is particularly interested in improving the livelihoods of farmers and in increasing the growth and development of the agriculture, water and forestry sectors. He said that he does not intend to “re-invent the wheel”. The departments within the ministry that operated well will not be changed, an in addition, will be supported strongly to do even better. An attitude of “business as usual” in a department that did not function optimally, will, however, not be tolerated. It is the intention of !Naruseb to promote an environment of teamwork within the ministry. He said that although there might be more qualified people in the country that could be better equipped than the employees of the ministry, it is the latter that hold these jobs and must therefore do the work. He made it clear that there will be no space for employees with a negative attitude that could lead to complacency and overconfidence. !Naruseb also said he expects of the ministry to contribute to a decrease in costs by cutting out uncoordinated travel, accommodation and daily allowance costs. Lastly, he insisted on an open-door policy not only with regards to his own office, but also to the offices of the top management. He also emphasised the good relations he has had with the Namibia Agricultural Union so far during his previous positions and that he regards the NAU as his friend.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: Dairy industry faces dilemma
  • Dairy industry faces dilemmaDairy industry faces dilemmaSales are down, producer to see production price cuts The weak economy, coupled with cheap South African milk imports, is slowly hampering the sustainability of the local dairy industry. The grim situation that the dairy industry in the country is facing was recently discussed at the Dairy Producers' Association.

    According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), the meeting was held on 8 February and during this, the status quo in the sector became very clear during in-depth discussions with representatives in the sector.

    Sales of Namibian produced milk are down and this can be ascribed to a struggling economy, together with the import of cheap milk from South Africa.

    The growth of the industry is hampered by this and producers are staring a producer price reduction in the face. Producers are also warned not to produce more than a certain quota as this milk will most probably not be taken up in the market.

    According to the NAU, on the one hand, local produce and value addition is high on everyone's agenda, but on the other hand cheap milk is allowed into the country with which Namibian producers cannot compete.

    All the eyes and hopes of Namibian dairy producers are now on a draft amendment bill that is long overdue to be submitted to parliament this year in order to address the control over the import of dairy products into Namibia.

    Meanwhile, the management of the Poultry Producers' Association last week held a meeting to discuss matters in the industry including a members' meeting and information day that is planned for next month.

    According to the NAU this will take place on 15 March in Windhoek.

    The information day not only targets current established poultry and egg producers, but also new and upcoming farmers.

    The theme of this year's information day deals with the vision of the poultry industry to become self-sustainable within in line with Vision 2030 of the government.

    Topics of the day will touch on diseases such as Avian flu, biosecurity matters, SME development programmes of Feedmaster, as well as action steps that have been taken in the industry so far to become self-sustainable.

    The final programme will be communicated to members and will be posted in the media. Limited seats are available and interested persons must contact Rina Hough at 061-237838 or send a mail to rina@agrinamibia.com.na.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: Students lash out at Trump
  • Students lash out at TrumpStudents lash out at TrumpAccused of ambiguous response American school children who survived the Florida shooting are accusing Trump of a divisive response. Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger on Sunday at US President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive.

    “You're the president. You're supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, speaking on NBC's “Meet the Press”.

    “How dare you,” he added.

    Hogg was responding to Trump's tweet on Saturday that Democrats hadn't passed any gun control measures during the brief time they controlled Congress with a supermajority in the Senate. Trump also alluded to the FBI's failure to act on tips that the suspect was dangerous, while bemoaning the bureau's focus on Russia's role in the 2016 election.

    Trump was at his Florida estate on Sunday but did not mention the attack in a series of tweets. After more than a day of criticism from the students, the White House said the president would hold a “listening session” with unspecified students on Wednesday and meet with state and local security officials on Thursday.

    Florida politicians, meanwhile, scrambled to produce legislation in response to the

    14 February attack that killed 17 people. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder.

    Emma Gonzalez, another student who survived the attack, cited Trump by name in a warning to politicians who are supported by the National Rifle Association.

    “Now is the time to get on the right side of this, because this is not something that we are going to let sweep under the carpet,” she said on “Meet the Press.”

    The students' pointed comments are the latest signs of increased pressure for gun control after the massacre.

    The students have vowed to become the face of a movement for tighter firearm regulations and plan to visit the state capitol in Tallahassee this week to demand immediate action. They are also calling for anti-gun violence demonstrations in Washington and other cities 24 March.

    Organisers behind the Women's March, an anti-Trump and female empowerment protest, called for a 17-minute, nationwide walkout by teachers and students on 14 March.

    The Network for Public Education, an advocacy organisation for public schools, announced a day of walkouts, sit-ins and other events on school campuses April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that left 12 students and one teacher dead.

    Not every student at the Florida school was calling for more gun control. James Ciaramello, a freshman in the school's JROTC programme, on Friday paused at a memorial in a park in front of a photo of one victim, 15-year-old Peter Wang, another JROTC student who was killed after holding open a door so others could escape.

    “He's just messed up,” Ciaramello said of Cruz, who was also in JROTC. “I mean, tighter gun control, it's not gonna help. There's always a way around it.”

    School and government records obtained on Sunday show Cruz was diagnosed as developmentally delayed at age three and had disciplinary issues dating to middle school. In February 2014, while in 8th grade, Cruz was transferred to a special school for children with emotional and behavioural issues.

    He stayed there until 10th grade, when he was transferred to Stoneman Douglas. A month after arriving, Cruz was written up for using profanity. Last year, Cruz was expelled.

    On 28 September 2016, an investigator from the Florida Department of Children and Families visited Cruz and his mother, Lynda Cruz, after he posted video on Snapchat showing him cutting himself.

    The report showed that Cruz had written a racial epithet against African-Americans and a Nazi symbol on his book bag, which his mother had forced him to erase. The investigator said Cruz was suffering from depression and on medication and had told Lynda Cruz he planned to buy a gun, but she couldn't determine why.

    She said he had been depressed after breaking up with a girlfriend who had been cheating on him, the investigator said.

    A school counsellor told the investigator that Lynda Cruz had always tried to help her son and followed through on his therapy and medication, but the counsellor was concerned about the youth's desire to buy a gun.

    NAMPA/AP

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day TRASH LIFE: A man collects plastic from a waste water evacuation canal at Ebrie Lagoon in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 19 February, before hawking his 'catch' for the equivalent of N$1.20 per kilo at a local market.

    Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: A fishy blame-game
  • A fishy blame-gameA fishy blame-game In February last year, fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau reassured the country there were sufficient pilchard stocks to justify his decision to issue a 14 000-tonne quota.

    Then - a mere ten months later - the same minister announced a three-year pilchard fishing ban, which was welcomed by scientists, but has effectively thrown the industry and thousands of jobs into disarray.

    Esau went further, sowing a few choice blame-game seeds, by saying that besides the historical overexploitation by the South African apartheid government before Namibia's independence, scientists also suspect that the depletion of the country's pilchard stocks was due to Namibia's seal population.

    Scientists said at the time that the moratorium might be a case of too little, too late to save the country stocks.

    They rightfully argued that given the fact that Namibia's sardine stock is a mere fraction of what it used to be, and the ecosystem's dependence on this species, there is considerable doubt whether a three-year moratorium will be enough to turn the situation around.

    This raises immediate questions around why the advice of marine scientists was effectively ignored during the February announcement and what role the Benguela Current Commission (BCC) is playing.

    The commission is a multi-sectoral inter-governmental, initiative of Angola, Namibia and South Africa, which promotes the vision of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME), which is sustaining human and ecosystem wellbeing for generations to come.

    Namibia's pilchard debacle has effectively highlighted the conflict between the fishing ministry's roles as both the protector of marine resources and the patron of the fishing sector.

    Rightfully, unions are deeply concerned about the retrenchment of workers in the pilchard industry, while also raising the awful situation that workers find themselves in, including living in shacks after years of service. We would, in this light, support horse mackerel fishing rights being given to worker groups in the near future.

    It remains critically important that the sustainable management of the country's fishing resources must be prioritised, while being finely balanced with curtailing job losses in the sector.

    The naked truth is that without healthy fishing resources, there will be no long-term fishing businesses and no long-term jobs.

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: Ranger Raptor unleashed
  • Ranger Raptor unleashedRanger Raptor unleashedDemand for high-performance bakkies increasing New era for both production and aftermarket high-performance pick-ups The recent global launch of the new Ford Ranger Raptor promises a new era for both production and aftermarket high-performance pick-ups in South Africa, says Tiaan van Wyk, marketing manager of Steves Auto Clinic South Africa (SAC).

    Van Wyk said: “Following the global reveal of the Ranger Raptor, we have seen a significant increase in enquiries from pick-up owners who would like to apply a similar conversion to their existing Rangers or other bakkies.”

    Plug-and-play

    The Raptor opens the door to high performance bakkies thanks to its unique, high-performance suspension and 157kW turbodiesel engine. It is expected in Southern Africa in 2019, when it will join other powerful bakkies such as the 165kW Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate V6 and 190kW Mercedes-Benz X-Class X350d.

    SAC is one of the country’s largest installers of Unichip performance upgrade systems on pick-ups. Fitted to a Dastek Power wiring loom, the Unichip becomes a powerful plug-and-play system that can be easily installed and removed and which features a number of pre-set engine maps for different applications.

    He said: “Unlike other plug-and-play systems, the Unichip / Dastek Power system does not simply increase fuel pressure for more performance. Each unit monitors over 120 inputs, is programmed for a specific engine and tested on a dynamometer to ensure that it safely extracts the latent power in each engine.”

    In the Ford Ranger, a fitted Unichip / Dastek Power system will increase power from 118kW and 385Nm on the standard 2.2 TDCi model, to 140kW and 450Nm.

    On the 3.2 TDCi, the power is safely boosted from 147kW and 470Nm to 170kW and 570Nm, making it one of the most powerful pick-ups on the road today.

    Van Wyk said: “With each of our Elite units, the owner receives a remote control with five pre-programmed engine map settings. The owner can change the engine power and driving characteristics for in-city driving and improved fuel consumption, for towing, normal driving, and of course for more performance. There is even a safe mode that renders the engine powerless and is a powerful anti-theft solution.”

    Some of the most popular fitments of Unichip / Dastek Power systems are on the Toyota Hilux, which sees the 2.8 GD-6 engine boost its power to 170kW and 575Nm. The smaller 2.4 GD-6 delivers 140kW and 500Nm, when fitted with a Unichip and Dastek Power loom.

    Also highly popular is the VW Amarok. Once fitted, the 2.0 VW Amarok BiTDI-engine jumps in power to 180kW and 450Nm. – Words and images Motorpress.co.za

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    Empower youth on contraceptive useEmpower youth on contraceptive use Young people should be empowered on the use of family planning, health minister Dr Bernhard Haufiku said at the launch of the Integrated Early Childhood Development Framework ongoing in Windhoek.

    Haufiku said the youth should be empowered with the knowledge and skills to be able to make decisions on when to start a family.

    “I believe that if there is proper planning on the youth side on when to have a family, there will be less unwanted children and abortions.”

    He said there will also be more parents who are aware that up to four years of age, a child needs to be in Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes.

    He further stressed that many people who have unplanned children do not consider ECD programmes as the idea is to merely survive.

    Coupled with that, many of the unplanned children are either in the care of one single parent, mostly the mother, or the grandparents.

    “We need to face the empowerment of contraceptives head-on because if we do not, we will keep on making policies without tackling the bottom cause of what leads us to those policies,” he said.

    Speaking at the same event, First Lady Monica Geingos echoed the health minister's call, adding that education on contraception will help curb the level of poverty in the country.

    Geingos emphasised that government cannot plan for enough schools if there is no guideline on what it is planning for.

    “When you look at teenage pregnancy statistics and the number of unplanned children, it shows when it comes to government having to provide for sufficient infrastructure,” she said.

    Namibia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the launch of the ECD Framework served part of a three-day coordination conference with government ministries and agencies as well as development partners in support of the framework.

    The event, which ends on Wednesday, is being held under the theme 'Act together – Investing in the Early Years of our Children for a Prosperous Nation'.

    NAMPA

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    Diplomats involved in slaveryDiplomats involved in slaveryDomestic worker trafficking a common crime Authorities have found that globally, diplomats are often guilty of domestic worker trafficking in the countries of their posting. A lesser-known, but not uncommon human trafficking problem that has gained increased publicity in recent years, is domestic worker trafficking by foreign dignitaries.

    At a recent briefing with foreign press centre journalists in Washington, DC, Martina Vandenberg, a human rights lawyer who has fought extensively to address the issue, said the problem is not limited to the United States. “This isn't happening just in the United States. Trafficking by diplomats in capitals is a problem across the world.” Towards the end of 2017, in what was described as a landmark in the United Kingdom, the Supreme Court found in favour of two domestic workers who accused their diplomatic employers, from Saudi Arabia, of a range of abuses and labour trafficking.

    The ruling was hailed as a 'major breakthrough' for low-paid domestic workers in diplomatic households there, when the court gave the green light to the domestic workers that they could take their claims to an employment tribunal.



    Substantial problem

    Vandenberg noted that of the forced labour cases involving foreign workers her firm has tackled, 80% of cases involved either foreign diplomats or people from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other international organisations.

    She said the pattern is the same in New York.

    “It's not thousands, or even hundreds, but in terms of the forced labour cases we see, it's a significant proportion.”

    Many other similar cases are resolved behind the scenes where settlement agreements are sealed from the public record.

    Many diplomats and their countries of origin have used immunity to shield the accused dignitaries from prosecution, but lawyers have increasingly found ways to navigate around the seemingly solid immunity barrier.

    “The audacity of diplomats to think that they can come to the United States and have no accountability is obnoxious,” Vandenberg noted.

    She has worked on cases where diplomats owe tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of US dollars in back wages, in addition to the often mental and physical abuse suffered by the domestic worker.

    One tool to hone in on high placed diplomats is to wait until their full immunity is downgraded to “residual immunity”, after they retire or switch posts. Residual immunity only applies during office hours, leaving the diplomat vulnerable to lawsuits after hours. “Every court in the United States who has looked at this, say that when you hold your domestic worker in forced labour, when you rape your nanny in your home, that is not part of your official duties,” Vandenberg, the founder and CEO of the Human Trafficking Legal Centre, said.

    Another move is to ask an alleged diplomatic trafficker's government to waive immunity. If this fails, US authorities can expel the dignitary from the country and pursue legal avenues to prosecute.



    What changed?

    Advocates agree that in many cases, domestic workers had previously worked for their diplomatic employers in their country of origin under decent circumstances.

    But, once they agree to join their employer at an official diplomatic posting, some diplomats cease the increased power imbalance between worker and employer, underscored by the safe cloak of immunity.

    “It's quite common. The reason the domestic worker chose to come to the United States and continue working for their employee, is because things were all right before and they believed they would be paid even more. But generally, they are not even paid what they were paid before,” Katherin Soltis, from Ayuda, a legal service for low-income immigrants, said.

    Advocates argue that the shift from just employer to abuser should highlight the “systemic” issues that pave the way for abuse by diplomats and others. Weak worker protections, isolation, and a state “unwilling or unable to protect the worker” are fertile conditions that “allow trafficking to flourish”, Jean Bruggeman, executive director of Freedom Network USA, argued.

    “In their home country, they had those connections that protected them. When they come to the US on an isolating visa that ties them to their employer and limits their opportunities, they are suddenly at risk, with nothing else changing, and an employer who has immunity.”

    She proposed that increased worker protections and visa flexibility, among other fixes, would decrease the risks of exploitation and trafficking.

    Still, in many case, diplomats are not held accountable, often because domestic workers fear, for varied reasons, to reach out for help.

    A report issued last year by the National domestic Workers Alliance and Institute for policy studies found that among all reported cases of human trafficking of domestic workers in the US, 78% of survivors were threatened with deportation if they reported abuse. Moreover, the seizure of passports, non-payment, long working hours, in addition to verbal, physical and sexual abuse, created a suffocating climate of fear.

    The report further slammed the immigration policies of the current administration, including increased raids, over-policing of immigrant populations and other issues as increasing the risks of human trafficking of vulnerable workers.



    Long-standing problem

    In a 2016 paper on diplomatic abuse of domestic workers and the legal hurdles posed by immunity, Vandenberg and her co-author, Sarah Bessel, noted that “trafficking of domestic workers by diplomats and international organisation employees is not a new phenomenon.” Vandenberg and Bessell wrote that while the United States has made significant improvements in recent years in prosecuting diplomats, challenges remain. “The United States is one of a few countries that prosecutes diplomats and other foreign officials for abuse and trafficking of domestic workers. In most countries, these cases are relegated to voluntary mediation panels or employment tribunals, if they are pursued at all.” Still, criminal prosecutions even in the United States are rare and when they happen, they often involve officials with a lesser status, and thus lesser degrees of immunity. The authors traced this hesitancy to tackle the problem to fear of souring relations between nations, or the “troubling conundrum that lurks at the heart of diplomatic relations.”

    The paper concluded that although the US government has “started down the path of prevention, prosecutions must also increase to deter would-be abusers. And while advocates look forward to a day when there will be no more diplomatic trafficking cases to prosecute or litigate, that day is a long way in the future.”

    *Namibian Sun journalist Jana-Mari Smith was in the United States on invitation by the US Department of State's Foreign Press Centre. She was joined 19 other journalists from around the world to take part in an international reporting tour to create awareness and gain insight into combating human trafficking through prevention, protection and prosecution.





    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    AMTA urged to please local producersAMTA urged to please local producers With efforts to establish a market for local producers, and arrange imports of much-needed fresh produce into the country, the Agro-Marketing and Trading Agency (AMTA) has entered into a public-private partnership agreement with Fysal Fresh Produce to operate from the national fresh produce hubs nationwide.

    A government entity, AMTA is ambitious that Fysal's experience in the trade of fresh produce will be beneficial to drive the agro-trading agency's mandate of assisting local producers to have a market for their products by targeting both the Angolan and South African markets where Fysal also operates.

    On Monday, AMTA launched their partnership with Fysal at the Ongwediva Fresh Produce Business Hub which was attended by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, the regional governors for Oshana, Oshikoto and Kavango West, and the business community of the north.

    Pohamba said that in order to encourage local farmers to produce, agents and AMTA must be able to pay farmers value for their products and not buy products at a giveaway prices.

    “If we are to encourage people of this country to produce let us make them happy.

    Whenever they produce they must get offers that will make them want to produce again.

    What is the point of people producing but their produce is going to be sold at giveaway prices?” Pohamba asked.

    Pohamba said that this year he has been told by mahangu farmers in the Kavango that they produced a many tonnes of mahangu but they decided not to sell this because AMTA was offering them a reduced price for their product.

    “If this is true, you do not expect these people to produce anything this rainy season because there is nothing motivating them to produce. Let this not to be true because it is against our national objectives,” he said.

    The AMTA CEO, Lucas Lungameni, said that by having Fysal on board, the hubs will be able to boost local production. It was also highlighted that the aim was to ensure that Fysal includes local produce whenever they are transporting fresh produce to Angola and South Africa, and when they return they bring along products which are not locally produced.

    “We are gathered here today as stakeholders of the fresh produce sector to witness the official welcoming of one of the biggest marketing agents launching their operations with us.

    Fysal will be our biggest agent that will be operating from our national fresh produce business hubs.

    We are confident in their rich and vast experience in the fresh produce industry and we believe it will boost local production, as well as consumption, of local fresh produce,” Lungameni said.

    AMTA has two national fresh produce hubs with modern storage facilities at Ongwediva and Rundu, and a collection point at Windhoek. The Ongwediva Fresh Produce Business Hub was inaugurated by Pohamba on 4 May 2013. Fysal has now joined three agents, Stampriet Fresh Produce, Afri Fresh and Olushandja Horticulture Producers, who are currently operating from the Ongwediva hub.

    After touring the Ongwediva hub on Monday, Pohamba said that he was happy to see that what the government thought when they were establishing the AMTA is moving in the right direction.

    Fysal's group chairperson Thomas Indji said that for the past two decades Fysal Fresh Produce has served the northern regions with pride and as they go forward, they seek to serve them even better by creating a ready market for the local producers.

    “This has been made possible by our strategic partner AMTA who have afforded us an opportunity to serve as a wholesale agent at Ongwediva, Rundu and Windhoek. Our aims are to extend economic benefits to the northern regions through the stimulation of the domestic fresh produce activities,” Indji said.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: No pangolins, no grass
  • No pangolins, no grassNo pangolins, no grass Unless the serious threat of pangolin extinction in Namibia is addressed, the country could likely see a critical reduction in the carrying capacity of rangeland for domestic stock and wildlife.

    Pangolins play a crucial role in maintaining the nutrient quality of soils and aid the decomposition cycle, providing a healthy substrate for the growth of vegetation.

    But, in recent years, Namibia has witnessed a severe spike of illegal trade in pangolins for the Asian market.

    Globally, all eight species of pangolin face extinction, including the only species of pangolin that occurs in Namibia - the Temminck's ground pangolin Smutsia temminckii, also known as the Cape pangolin or scaly anteater.

    While research into population numbers is scant in Namibia and elsewhere, many worry about the impact of their loss on the environment.

    In response, a public-private initiative to raise awareness of pangolin poaching and their ecological value was launched in July 2017.

    Partners of the outreach programme include the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE), and the Wildcat Foundation.

    In addition, a police and defence force offensive was launched to curb trafficking.



    Threat to species, threat to farming

    “Pangolins are far more valuable in our environment than killed for illegal Asian markets,” says Dr Chris Brown of NCE.

    Pangolins eat billions of ants and termites thereby minimising the impact of these insects on grasslands and crops, as well as on fence poles, homesteads and other infrastructure.

    Brown says research has shown that one pangolin can consume around 70 million termites per year.

    Without pangolins, those 70 million termites are estimated to consume 7 000 kilogrammes of grass annually.

    “That is equivalent to the amount of grass that two beef cows would consume in a year. So, a farm with 10 pangolins could run 20 more cows more than a farm where the pangolins have been removed.”

    The value of the additional cows would be around N$200 000, Brown estimates.

    “Extrapolated to the central and north-eastern regions of Namibia where pangolins are most common, the national impact could be at least N$600 million in reduced production by the agricultural and wildlife sectors.”

    Brown points out that these are preliminary figures and that more detailed research is needed to better understand the economic impact of killing pangolins.

    The NCE has teamed up with the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) to study pangolin biology.

    But quantitative assessments of the ecosystem services provided by pangolins are urgent, as is an in-depth analysis of the economic implications of extinction or a severe population reduction.

    “It is a general trend, however, that we significantly underestimate the role that individual species play and only appreciate the extent of the impact of their loss after they have gone,” Brown says.



    Police work pays off

    An anonymous 24/7 hotline and SMS service (081 413 2214 or 081 423 2231), launched six months ago, have led to more smugglers being arrested and more live pangolin being rescued.

    Compared to past years in which an average three to five cases of pangolin smuggling per year were reported, 37 cases of pangolin trafficking have been reported in the Kavango East and West, Khomas, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa and Oshana regions in recent months.

    A total of 81 suspects were arrested and 20 live pangolins were seized and released at safe sites.

    The animals are usually kept in atrocious conditions by poachers and must be rehabilitated and monitored prior to release.

    Thirty-four pangolin skins have been confiscated.

    A number of investigations into wildlife crime syndicates, international links and trade routes are ongoing.

    Posters and information cards advertising the pangolin hotline (call or SMS 081 413 2214) have been distributed widely among rural communities, especially in north-eastern Namibia, backed up by radio discussions in local languages and articles in the print media.



    Serious threat

    Pangolin populations across the globe have been decimated by poaching and illegal trafficking.

    All eight species are categorised as threatened in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data lists.

    Pangolins are killed for similar reasons in Namibia and Asia: meat, traditional potions, ornaments and good-luck charms.

    The surge in pangolin trafficking in Namibia has been linked primarily to the high demand in Asia.

    The pangolin is the most trafficked wild mammal in the world, with an average of 20 tonnes of pangolins and pangolin parts being trafficked each year.

    Pangolin scales have no proven medicinal properties.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Steinhoff must amend 2016 accounts

    A Dutch court has ordered Steinhoff International to amend its 2016 accounts, handing victory to a former business partner in a dispute over the ownership of discount furniture store chain POCO, the crisis-hit retailer said yesterday.

    The Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeals ruled that Steinhoff must change its accounts to show it held a 50% controlling interest in POCO, not 100%, to reflect the part-ownership of Andreas Seifert.

    The case brought by Seifert, the owner of German furniture chain XXXLutz, predates Steinhoff's admission in December that it had found "accounting irregularities"– a revelation that helped to wipe out about 85% of the South African retail group's market value.

    Seifert claims half-ownership of POCO, while Steinhoff says he had to be bought out due to unspecified actions by his company, Seifert Enterprises. Steinhoff said it would pay Seifert for his half of POCO as soon as a separate ongoing legal case in Germany over the ownership of POCO was settled.

    The Amsterdam court also ordered Steinhoff to revise the contingent liabilities in its 2016 accounts to remove a reference to the payable liability to Seifert for the holding in POCO. – Nampa/Reuters

    BHP boosts dividend, profit jumps

    Global miner BHP Billiton reported a 25% rise in underlying half-year profit yesterday, helped by robust metals prices, and handed an extra US$800 million to shareholders as it forecast rising cash flows in the second half.

    The payout echoes a similar move by rival Rio Tinto earlier this month as big miners recovering from the commodity crash two years ago look to cut debt and reward investors rather than spend.

    Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said the miner expected to boost free cash flow to around US$7 billion in the second half, up from US$5 billion in the first half if spot prices for its commodities stay at current levels.

    Underlying profit for the half year ended Dec. 31 rose to US$4.05 billion from US$3.24 billion a year ago. The interim dividend of US$0.55 per share, equivalent to a 72% payout ratio, was well up on US$0.40 a share a year ago.

    BHP, facing calls from activist investor Elliott Advisors to make changes to its business, said the sale of its onshore US shale assets, which it has on its books at US$14 billion, was on track with initial bids expected in the June quarter. – Nampa/Reuters

    Imperial sees H1 profit spike

    South Africa's Imperial Holdings Ltd reported record half-year revenue and a 16% jump in earnings yesterday, buoyed by acquisitions, increased vehicle sales and a strong performance from its Imperial Logistics unit.

    Imperial, which is also involved in transportation, warehousing and distribution management, has undergone an aggressive disposal and acquisition programme since 2014.

    As of last June it had disposed of 42 businesses and 52 properties while investing billions of rand to acquire more than 15 companies.

    Imperial, which also has operations in Europe, reported basic headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the half-year to December 31 of 717 cents, up from 618 cents a year earlier.

    Operating profit rose 5% to R3.1 billion on group revenue up 11% to a record R66.5 billion. – Nampa/Reuters

    HSBC annual profit disappoints

    HSBC Holdings reported a jump in annual pre-tax profit that missed expectations and unveiled a plan to raise up to $7 billion over the next four months to bolster its capital base, as the bank prepares for growth under a new leadership.

    HSBC yesterday reported a profit before tax of US$17.2 billion for 2017, compared with US$7.1 billion the year before but below the US$19.7 billion average estimate of 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

    Those estimates did not all take into account a US$1.3 billion writedown for 2017 that HSBC took, triggered by cuts in the US corporate tax rate which meant banks had to book losses on deferred tax assets they built up during loss-making times.

    Its year-ago profit figure reflected a US$3.2 billion impairment of goodwill in the global private banking business in Europe and the impact of its sale of operations in Brazil.

    The lender said it was planning additional tier 1 capital issuance of between US$5 billion and US$7 billion during the first half of 2018, and that it would undertake share buybacks "as and when appropriate". – Nampa/Reuters

    Deutsche Bank slashes banking jobs

    Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank is letting hundreds of investment bankers go, Bloomberg News reported Monday, the latest round of deep cuts in a years-long battle for profitability.

    "At least 250" and perhaps as many as 500 "senior and mid-level" bankers in London and the US have been shown the door in the past two weeks, Bloomberg said citing people familiar with the decisions.

    Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP.

    In early February, executives acknowledged that 2017 had been on of the investment bank's worst years yet, with revenues sapped by low volatility on financial markets and limited client activity.

    Revenues at the division fell 16% to 14.2 billion euro (US$17.6 billion) last year, leaving Deutsche lagging behind competitors in the US and Europe like Santander or BNP Paribas. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Muharukua maternity home brings hopeMuharukua maternity home brings hopeKunene women get a helping hand The health ministry yesterday inaugurated a 35-bed maternity home at Opuwo to improve the health status of the Kunene Region. The establishment of a new maternity waiting home at Opuwo will make it possible for women to stay closer to a hospital before and after giving birth.

    The Kunene Region was rated lowest by the demographic and health survey of 2013 because less than half of pregnant women there gave birth in health facilities.

    The reason for this was that many people in the region live in remote communities far from health facilities. The maternity home was built with the help of the health ministry, the Programme for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PARMaCM), the European Union and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    The 35-bed maternity home cost N$3.5 million and has been named after the late regional governor Kazetjindire Angelika Muharukua, who died last year.

    It was inaugurated by health minister Berhard Haufiku yesterday.

    At the ceremony, the local WHO representative, Dr Charles Sogoe-Moses, said one of the key activities within the PARMaCM was the construction of maternity waiting homes. “These homes were critical to help pregnant women living in remote communities far from health facilities, move closer to the service delivery point around the time of delivery to enable easier and prompt access to care when in labour,” Sogoe-Moses said. He added that only 50% of the women who delivered received post-natal care within two days of delivery as recommended by the WHO.

    “This will contribute to the reduction of deaths of mothers and newborns and have a positive impact on the lives of women, children and the entire community in the region,” he added.

    Haufiku said Kunene was one of the regions where patients must travel long distances to get to healthcare facilities. He said the home would reduce complications during labour and would also reduce infant mortality rates.

    “This has resulted in low performance in maternal and child health indicators. Moreover, the region has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and lowest deliveries at facilities,” Haufiku said.

    The governor for the Kunene Region, Marius Sheya, said he did not want the new home to be run like other health facilities in the region.

    Sheya said he had observed during visits to all seven constituencies of the region that residents were unhappy with services offered by clinics in the region.

    The region was also rated last by the Namibia University of Science and Technology's (NUST) Customer Care Satisfaction Survey.

    He urged regional director of health Thomas Shapumba to make sure that the maternity ward is customer oriented.

    “I am sending a strong warning to those who are going to be in charge of this maternity home not to bring their household problems here. This institution must give hope to our people of Kunene and not like other health institutions in the region. Users are also expected to come with positive attitudes and not to stress those running the institution,” Sheya said.

    He said the health minister could not always drive from Windhoek to ensure service delivery in the regions. Haufiku concured with Sheya and urged health officials to be extra careful because their actions cannot be undone.

    “I have observed that many accidents in the ministry are due to personal attitudes. We need to be more careful because we are dealing with the lives of people. Lawyers can appeal cases for their clients once they lose, but for us nothing can be done once a life is lost,” he said.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Shifeta mulls plastic bag banShifeta mulls plastic bag ban Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says the days of plastic bags being used unabated in Namibia are swiftly coming to an end.

    Shifeta confirmed yesterday that his ministry is looking at ways of banning plastic bags in the country.

    Each year, more and more plastic bags end up littering the environment. Once they become litter, plastic bags find their way into waterways, parks, beaches and streets. And, if they are burned, they infuse the air with toxic fumes.

    Many animals die after ingesting plastic bags, while mistaking them for food, while one of their worst environmental effects is that they are non-biodegradable and decomposition takes hundreds of years.

    According to Shifeta, one of the ways of getting rid of plastic bags is introducing a levy, while another is totally banning their use.

    “Other countries have done it, why not Namibia? Plastic is an eyesore and it is a concern for the environment. In the same vein, Shifeta said littering has become a serious concern in the country and therefore it needs to be addressed urgently, before it gets out of hand.

    “Littering is becoming a trend that needs to stop. We are coming up with regulations and the laws will be changed.” Shifeta added that if a person, for instance, throws something out of a car they will be stopped and will have to clean up the area.

    With regard to littering in the national parks, he said that strict measures must be put in place to keep these facilities clean. “These are lenient fees we are charging people, we have to do something to stop this.”

    Shifeta referred to the past New Year celebrations, when litter was strewn in the Dorob National Park.

    “It takes almost two weeks to clean up and we do not want to keep people away from the area, therefore measures have to be put in place.”

    Shifeta also confirmed that dumping sites must be declared and inspected by his ministry, otherwise they are illegal. He said there are many dumping sites that have not been declared by towns and these may pose a health hazard to people living around them, and will be closed. “We need to do something because it can be a health hazard and they must be closed down.”

    Shifeta warned town councils and municipalities to declare dumping sites, and if this does not happen, they are illegal. He said undeclared dumping sites can pose a serious health risk and even result in deaths.

    He added that most people in Namibia do not understand the significance of the Environmental Management Act, which is designed to protect the environment.

    According to Shifeta, many activities are taking place in Namibia that are not in line with the Act.

    “Non-adherence with the Environmental Management Act will not be tolerated any longer. We should ensure that all listed activities have Environmental Clearance Certificates (ECCs) and that Environmental Management Plans are strictly complied with.”

    According to Shifeta, this year illegal sand mining will not be tolerated, as it continues to degrade the environment.

    “We have all this construction of roads taking place and there is a need to restore our environment.”

    He said all organs of state under which some of these activities occur should ensure that they do not take place without ECCs.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Vedanta seeks to expand zinc output after price rallyVedanta seeks to expand zinc output after price rallyWants to stay in Namibia Vedanta is investigating whether it could mine underground in Namibia. The market is in deficit for both zinc concentrate and metal. – Deshnee Naidoo, CEO: Zinc International Africa Barbara Lew – Vedanta may accelerate expansion of its African zinc operations to take advantage of prices that have reached their highest levels in a decade because of a shortfall following years of under-investment, its international zinc head said.

    The rally in zinc prices to their highest since 2007 has helped to boost the overall profits of Vedanta, which has zinc projects in India, South Africa and Namibia.

    It also has licences in Ireland and is discussing possible joint ventures to develop them following the closure in 2015 of the Lisheen mine it operated in the country, Deshnee Naidoo, chief executive officer of Zinc International, which groups Vedanta's assets in Africa and Ireland, said.

    She said she was bullish about zinc prices and bullish about South Africa after Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Jacob Zuma as president last week.

    "Some of the aged mines are starting to close, demand is growing. The market is in deficit for both zinc concentrate and metal," she said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

    Price

    Analysts also see a shortfall this year of the metal, which is used to galvanise steel and which potentially can be used in batteries, although the technology is still being researched.

    Vedanta's Zinc International complements the group's Hindustan Zinc Limited, which makes it India's biggest zinc producer.

    The group says its appeal for investors is the access it provides to the huge potential of the Indian market, but it has also made clear its ambition to diversify internationally and has long been enthusiastic about South Africa.

    Its chairman has acquired a roughly 20% stake in South African-focused major Anglo American.

    Vedanta is already bringing on new production at Gamsberg in the Northern Cape region of South Africa, where output should start around the middle of this year, ramping up to full production of 250 000 tonnes annually in around a year's time.

    In view of the strengthened zinc price, Naidoo said a second phase to bring production to around 400 000 tonnes per year could be accelerated. She said a decision would be taken "over the coming months".

    Skorpion

    Vedanta is also investigating whether it could mine underground in Namibia when its open pit operations at Skorpion Zinc will be exhausted around 2020.

    This year, Skorpion is expected to produce approximately 90 000 tonnes of zinc, reaching approximately 130 000 tonnes by 2020.

    If Vedanta decides underground operations would not be viable, Naidoo said the company would convert the Skorpion refinery, whose current capacity is 150 000 tonnes per year, to treat different ores, meaning it could process third-party material, thereby maintaining a foothold in Namibia.

    "We really do not want to leave Namibia," she said. – Nampa/Reuters

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: Africa Briefs
  • Africa BriefsAfrica Briefs Ghana gets Asian interest in sovereign debt

    Ghana plans to issue a sixth Eurobond of up to US$2 billion by June and has received keen interest from Asian investors, finance minister Ken Ofoti-Atta said on Tuesday.

    Ghanaian officials last week met investors in Singapore and Hong Kong to seek favourable terms for the bond, originally envisaged at US$1 billion in the 2018 budget.

    The government is also considering a green bond sale, Ofori-Atta said, but did not give details.

    Ghana's 2018 Eurobond sale comes amid market uncertainty fuelled by the likelihood of a US Federal Reserve hike that could render sub-Saharan African debt unattractive.

    Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil is in its final year of a US$918 million credit deal with the International Monetary Fund under which it is aiming to reduce the budget deficit, inflation and public debt, which hit 68% of GDP last year. – Nampa/Reuters

    Egypt to buy billions of Israeli gas

    An Egyptian company will buy US$15 billion of Israeli natural gas in two 10-year agreements announced on Monday, a major deal that Israel hopes will strengthen diplomatic ties.

    The partners in Israel's Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields said they would supply the private Egyptian firm Dolphinus Holdings with around 64 billion cubic metres of gas over a decade – with half coming from each field, and the proceeds shared equally.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreements would "strengthen our economy [and] strengthen regional ties".

    His energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, called it the most significant export deal with Egypt since the neighbours signed their historic peace treaty in 1979. – Nampa/Reuters

    Dividend restriction worries Nigerian lenders

    Shares of Nigerian mid-tier lenders fell on Monday as worries set in over a restriction set by the central bank on dividend payments at banks with non-performing loan (NPL) ratios above the regulatory minimum, traders said.

    Commercial banks with NPL ratios above 10% will not be allowed to pay dividends, the central bank said in a circular seen by Reuters. The regulatory minimum for NPLs is 5%.

    Two central bank officials have said that four lenders are operating with too many non-performing loans on their books and with liquidity ratios below the minimum requirement.

    The central bank said the NPL move was necessary to facilitate sufficient capital build-up for banks in line with their risk appetite. It bank added that lenders whose capital ratios are short by more than 3% would also not be allowed to distribute dividends.

    It exempted banks with capital ratios and NPLs within the regulatory minimum and asked lenders to submit approved dividend payout policies before payment is made.

    UN warns of rising food insecurity across Africa

    About 224 million people are under-nourished in Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday.

    The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030.

    "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21% to nearly 23% between 2015 and 2016," Bukar Tijani, FAO's assistant director general for Africa, said at the regional conference that opened on Monday in Khartoum.

    "Over the same period, the number of under-nourished rose from 200 million to 224 million in Africa. This is a cause of concern for all of us."

    The rise in under-nourishment and food insecurity was related to climate changes and natural disasters, Tijani later told AFP on the sidelines of the forum. – Nampa/AFP

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    Shaningwa flabbergasted by congress gripesShaningwa flabbergasted by congress gripesFour Swapo members want election audit The Swapo SG says there is no need for an audit, since election observers declared the elections at last year's party congress free and fair. Swapo secretary-general (SG) Sophia Shaningwa is flabbergasted by calls for the 2017 ruling party elective congress to be probed and for the results to be independently audited.

    The November congress elected President Hage Geingob as party president, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as vice-president, Shaningwa as SG and Marco Hausiku as deputy SG.

    According to Shaningwa, the candidates who lost accepted the outcome and even “congratulated the winners” when they were asked to raise concerns or grievances after the elections.

    She was responding to a demand for an independent audit by four Swapo members - Nambata Angula, the daughter of congress presidential candidate Nahas Angula, as well as Mirjam Shituula, Selma Nambago and Seth Boois.

    Shaningwa said she had never seen the letter dated 12 February 2018, in which the four party members set out their demands and gripes.

    She emphasised there was no need for an audit, since election observers had declared the elections free and fair.

    The authors of the letter, however, said it would be historically wrong if they allowed the party to sweep under the carpet “so many irregularities” that took place at the congress.

    “We do take note that before the sixth congress there were many complaints of constitutional violations. These complaints are well documented. In short, many things were done unconstitutionally including the composition of some Swapo district conferences, regional conferences and even the wings, such as the elders' council and the youth league.

    “The incumbent SG (Nangolo Mbumba), on the direction of acting (party) president Hage Geingob seem to have taken a decision that the only way victory would be secured is to ensure that the rules must be broken and the constitution being violated (sic),” the letter states.

    They further said that Aranos never held a district conference to elect congress delegates, and that delegates from some regions were handpicked.

    “It was summed up by one member of the incumbent team Mandela Kapere in a newspaper, when he boasted about (how they had) secured victory through police intimidation and (the) harassment of Swapo Party Youth League Congress, saying 'we have a strategy for (the) Swapo Party Congress too',” the letter added.

    The group also accused former President Hifikepunye Pohamba of openly campaigning for Team Harambee, as Geingob and his slate were known, while “rubbishing Team Swapo”, which was the opposing faction at the congress.

    The group said despite all this, they had made peace and wished to move on, but they were upset by Geingob firing two Team Swapo members, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Jerry Ekandjo, from his cabinet because of their lack of loyalty.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Retail struggles: Volume down, no bonuses paidRetail struggles: Volume down, no bonuses paidBudget cuts run deep Fiscal consolidation hasn’t just mean less spending power by the government, by also by the man in the street. I had to pay in a lot of money just to keep the company afloat. - Robert Swiegers: Auto Swiegers Windhoek Stefan Fischer - The national budget for 2017/18 has affected the retail sector too, since the man in the street has experienced less disposable income and therefore reduced spending.

    Robert Voigts, managing director of Wecke & Voigts, noted “mixed effects”.

    He explained: “The supermarket side of our business has still shown steady, above inflation growth versus the previous year (July - December). However, this is not reflected in many other stores and - from the information available to me - our growth is higher than the majority. This might indicate a bias towards the lower-income groups that are suffering more due to lesser disposable income, fewer breadwinners (construction industry) etc.

    “Sugar sales by volume are supposedly down by 10% countrywide, again indicating that the lower LSM groups are harder hit than the rest.

    “The luxury goods (non-food items) are definitely affected by the current climate, but how much can be attributed to the budget cuts is questionable.

    “We have definitely received fewer orders from government agencies than previously but in general this area of business has been struggling for the last few years.”

    He said the wholesale sector has also seen restricted growth, “in part due to the decline of purchases from the informal market in staple goods (sugar, maize meal, rice etc.)”.

    Widespread

    There is no doubt that the economic crunch also filtered down to them, said Hartmut Fahrbach from family-owned shop Otto Günther at Swakopmund.

    “Our quality product range, however, still has a regular market. We also have an increasing customer base throughout Namibia that order from our online shop, being either individuals in Lüderitz or remote lodges.

    “Our venture into e-commerce has proven that we reach many more establishments on a regular basis in the country’s hospitality industry now than before.”

    Fahrbach explained the bigger picture: “If one looks around in Swakopmund, one notices a decrease in spending money on smaller and bigger scale.

    “Budgets are tight; customers seek more in-depth knowledge about products that draw their interest before they make a decision. Many premises are for rent or sale - in town, in the suburbs and around the industrial area.”

    Asked what he foresees in the future, he said: “It is our opinion that we still have a difficult time ahead of us, but the political changes that occurred during the last months throughout southern Africa will have a positive effect on our economy. We will benefit from it and it surely will also let our international rating go up again.”

    Construction

    The downturn in the construction sector had an effect on suppliers, said Marc Egner, managing director of E-Hardbuild at Swakopmund. “We experienced after years of spending money on projects without secured funding and/or proper control from the ministries involved, contractors and subcontractors were not paid in time or not at all, causing a delay of payments to their employees and suppliers or no payments at all,” he said.

    “New project monies received in 2017 were used to settle old debts. In many instances, year-end expenditure like bonuses could not be paid, which had a detrimental effect on spending especially during the Christmas season.

    “Order books are not as full as in previous years and retrenchments followed during the year of 2017 and most probably also 2018.”

    Motor industry

    Robert Swiegers from Auto Swiegers Windhoek was very frank: “I had to pay in a lot of money just to keep the company afloat, which affected my cash flow in a very negative manner.

    “I am a small company and I had to let five [employees] go. We had to cut a lot on advertising and basic necessities. We cannot afford to pay bonuses or give salary increases for workers. We usually take in trainee workers for practical experience, for instance mechanics or auto-electricians. That we can no longer do, so the impact was massive.”

    Agra

    One of the biggest retail and wholesale businesses in Namibia is Agra. Helga Busing-Volschenk, general manager: marketing and business development, elaborated on the company philosophy: “In an ever-evolving business environment, the only constant is change. Agra embraces any challenges that the company might face due to economic and climate fluctuations.

    “Management is committed to adapt to change as efficiently as possible and strive to deliver the best service to our clients at all times.”

    She further stated: “Agra will support any initiative that the government plans to implement in order to support economic growth and environmental sustainability. The only solution to changes that are challenging, especially to the agricultural community, is to adjust operations as well as your strategy in order to maximise other potential avenues that might present themselves.”

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  • 02/20/18--14:00: 'Cops won't halt us'
  • 'Cops won't halt us''Cops won't halt us'Ex-soldiers will march 'with or without permission' Former SWATF soldiers say any harm to them would trigger a 'Namibian Spring'. The Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet) called off its planned march to parliament and State House this week, but vowed to march within the next seven days - to State House – even without police clearance.

    The chairperson of Namvet, Jabulani Ndeunyema, said the group wanted to march to State House to meet with President Hage Geingob, as he is the only person in government the group will consult with in future.

    Ndeunyema said Namvet took this decision after former vice-president Nickey Iyambo allegedly called them “killing machines” during one of his consultations with them late last year.

    “Was that President Geingob's message to us through Dr Iyambo?” Ndeunyema asked.

    “If we are in the Namibian house something must be on the table for us or else President Geingob must tell us that we are not welcome.”

    In the last two weeks police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga has written to Namvet several times to explain why the group could not stage protest marches.

    On 13 February they were not allowed to march because of the opening of parliament. A planned march to State House on 14 February was not permitted “under any circumstances due to the threat of safety to such a high office”.

    Ndeitunga further said a march to the Evangelical Lutheran Church would be subject to the church's willingness to receive a petition.

    Ndeitunga wrote that those marches could have threatened public order because there was a “high possibility of causing, encouraging and fomenting feelings of hostility between different sections of our society”.

    On 17 February Ndeitunga wrote that the 19 February march would not be allowed because Geingob had not agreed to meet with the ex-soldiers.

    Ndeitunga said the ex-soldiers would be allowed to march to an open space between Maerua Mall and the Windhoek showgrounds, should State House agree to meet with them.

    This would be on condition that they do not carry any weapons, including knobkieries, or posters or pamphlets containing hate speech, or any material that might “reasonably incite violence” against anyone.

    Ndeitunga further said that no organiser, speaker or participant at the public gathering may “make any utterances that are subversive to the authority” of the Namibian government.





    Ndeunyema said after receiving the last letter from Ndeitunga on Friday he received a video on WhatsApp from a “high-ranking government official” of PLAN fighters who were killed inside the country on 1 April 1989.

    “Was this person [high-ranking official] trying to remind me that I am asking for benefits while we have killed people? What if I send out pictures of Geoffrey Mwilima or Lubango survivors? They forget former SWATF/Koevoet members are Namibians first,” Ndeunyema said.

    Ndeunyema said the Namibian police, NDF and state security had met with Namvet practically every week since December. “What does this mean? Our issue has nothing to do with the police or the army. Our issue has to do with politicians; we want to meet with politicians. Why are the police and army trying to prevent us from seeing our politicians? Are they being used by politicians?” Ndeunyema commented.



    'GAME CHANGER'

    Ndeunyema said Namvet would proceed with its planned march to State House next week, with or without police permission, and it would be a “game changer”. “We have already consulted with Inspector-General Ndeitunga but we will not meet President Geingob in the bush,” he said, adding that the group would only request a meeting with Geingob.

    “Ndeitunga will try to stop us from going to State House. If he does and if anyone of us gets killed, beaten or jailed, our blood will change the face of Namibia. That will trigger the Namibian Spring because if you kill me, my children will come,” Ndeunyema said. He gave the assurance that the ex-soldiers would march in peace and would not carry any weapons whatsoever.

    soever.



    CATHERINE SASMAN

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