Articles on this Page
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Dairy industry in d...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Mugabe 'has 21 farms'
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Trump says he spoke...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _The battle for poli...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Shot of the day
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Company news in brief
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Nam, Russia uranium...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Nudo distances itse...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Cameroon startup la...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Flood warning for Z...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Sex workers stand u...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Private sector cred...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _SA economic growth ...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _AMTA, Fysal deal cr...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Wife's murder confe...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _No listeria risk, M...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Mystery as Nelongo ...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Focus magazines hit...
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Fuel storage scramble
- 03/06/18--14:00: _Budget: Jobless loo...
- 03/06/18--14:00: Dairy industry in deep water
- 03/06/18--14:00: Mugabe 'has 21 farms'
- 03/06/18--14:00: Trump says he spoke to North Korea
- 03/06/18--14:00: The battle for political relevancy
- 03/06/18--14:00: Shot of the day
- 03/06/18--14:00: Company news in brief
- 03/06/18--14:00: Nam, Russia uranium projects to start
- 03/06/18--14:00: Nudo distances itself from Kandorozu remarks
- 03/06/18--14:00: Cameroon startup launches drones for global market
- 03/06/18--14:00: Flood warning for Zambezi
- 03/06/18--14:00: Sex workers stand up for their rights
- 03/06/18--14:00: Private sector credit up 5.7%
- 03/06/18--14:00: SA economic growth beats expectations
- 03/06/18--14:00: AMTA, Fysal deal criticised
- 03/06/18--14:00: Wife's murder confession admissible
- 03/06/18--14:00: No listeria risk, Meatco promises
- 03/06/18--14:00: Mystery as Nelongo fails to appear
- 03/06/18--14:00: Focus magazines hit the shelves
- 03/06/18--14:00: Fuel storage scramble
- 03/06/18--14:00: Budget: Jobless look to Calle
A special meeting was recently held between the management of the Dairy Producers Association and the representatives of the processor with regard to a raw milk price reduction for Namibian producers of 10 cents per litre. This will be the second price reduction in the last seven months for producers.
A further 10-cent reduction is possible by the end of April 2018.
According to the Namibian Agricultural Union these price reductions could potentially mean the end of business for some dairy farmers.
The union said in addition to a price reduction, payments of producers are being deferred on a monthly basis. Producers have also been warned not to increase any milk production, as excess milk will most probably not be taken up in the market.
“This critical situation in the dairy industry can be ascribed to mostly the influx of cheap UHT milk and closely related other dairy products into Namibia.”
According to the union, imported UHT milk, mostly from South Africa, was selling in Namibian shops for as little as N$10.99 per litre in the past two weeks.
It said in reality this milk is cheaper than a litre of bottled water sold at the same shop.
In addition, imported UHT milk found on Namibian shelves is cheaper than the same product in South African shops, it claimed.
The NAU said the long-awaited bill to control imports and exports of dairy products is essential and it is due to be tabled in parliament this year.
The source was quoted by the newspaper as saying that Mugabe amassed the 21 farms during his reign as president of Zimbabwe, and was likely going to be “forced to surrender some of them”.
The source also revealed that the former president had leased some of his farms to white farmers, in a move that was viewed as being “hypocritical” of his rhetoric.
“There is an issue of farms that they (Mugabes) have been leasing to whites.
Here was a president who was preaching one-person, one-farm, but who has 21 farms.
But a good number which was being leased to white farmers.
And he knows that the new government will want him to choose one out of the 21,” the unnamed sources were quoted as saying. The revelation came amid reports that the veteran politician was linked to a new political party that was set to wrestle power from his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mugabe, who was ousted in November last year, reportedly criticised Mnangagwa and his allies last month, saying that they were “wrong” in removing him from power in November.
During a private birthday party at his Harare mansion, the 94-year-old ex-president demanded an apology from Mnangagwa for last year's military operation that saw his 37-year rule coming to an end.
Mugabe claimed that the ruling Zanu-PF party still wanted to work with him but he was concerned over trusting his former comrades after they “shredded the [country's] constitution”, reported The Standard. “Can they be trusted again? Can our people vote for such a Zanu-PF, a Zanu-PF which shredded the constitution? I don't know,” Mugabe was quoted as saying.
But, according to reports, Mugabe was now behind a former army brigadier, who quit the ruling Zanu-PF party last week to lead a new political party whose aim was likely to protect the nonagenarian's “legacy”. Ambrose Mutinhiri, a veteran of the 1970s war against white minority rule, reportedly met Mugabe on Sunday before announcing that he had formed an opposition party named the National Patriotic Front.
Mutinhiri resigned from parliament last week, citing the military intervention that pressured Mugabe into stepping down as his reason for cutting ties with the Zanu-PF party.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, Mugabe's move had angered some within the ruling party, with some saying that the development may lead to him losing his farms and pension.
“Mugabe will be forced to choose one out of 21 farms that he owns, and his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa might have a rethink of the ex-Zanu-PF leader's benefits,” the report said.
“They, by the way, called up a couple of days ago and said, 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'so would we, but you have to de-nuke, you have to de-nuke','” Trump told attendees at the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, DC.
A call from Pyongyang to the US president would have been a big deal, of course. It would have been a significant outreach (paywall) amid a tense standoff over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. One of the world's major fears of late has been war possibly breaking out on the Korean peninsula.
But the person Trump spoke with was South Korean President Moon Jae-in, reports South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing an official from the National Security Council. In the call on 1 March, Moon briefed Trump on North Korea-related developments, and the leaders reaffirmed their stance that any talks with Pyongyang must have verifiable denuclearisation as the goal.
It's worth pointing out that Trump was rattling off a number of jokes in his monologue. Still, a closer look at his words seemed to suggest he was speaking seriously: “I won't rule out direct talks with Kim Jong-un. I just won't. As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that's his problem, not mine… He must be a fine man.
“Do you think he's a fine man? Although, we did save the Olympics. President Moon gave us a lot of credit, said, 'It was - it was President Trump that made the Olympics successful', because there were a lot of people that wanted to go into that stadium with the potential of a problem - a big problem -and he gave us all a lot of credit.
“He said, 'Without President Trump and his strong attitude they would have never called up' and said, 'hey, we'd love to be in the Olympics together.'
“And that's true… Whether people want to hear it or not, they had a very successful Olympics.
That was heading for disaster. They weren't selling tickets… It was heading for disaster and now we're talking. And they, by the way, he called up a couple of days ago and said, 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'so would we, but you have to de-nuke, you have to de-nuke.' So, let's see what happens. Let's see what happens.”
It is possible Trump was referring to South Korea when he said “they… would like to talk”, but that would make little sense, because the Moon administration can talk to the White House as necessary and because South Korea has no nuclear weapons.
It seems clear, then, that Trump believed, in the moment, that he had actually spoken to North Korea. -qz.com
Shares in South Africa's biggest consumer foods producer Tiger Brands and RCL Foods fell on Monday after the government linked a deadly listeria outbreak to cold meat products known as polony made by Tiger unit Enterprise Food.
Shares in Tiger Brands sank as much as 13%, before recouping some losses to trade 7.5% lower at R392.98. RCL Foods fell more than 6% but later recovered to trade down 3.5% at R16.60.
Both firms suspended processed meat production at their plants after health authorities ordered a recall of cold meats linked to a deadly listeria outbreak from both domestic and international outlets.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Sunday the outbreak had killed 180 people since January 2017 and that it had been traced to polony from a Tiger Brands factory in the northern city of Polokwane. He said a plant owned by RCL Foods was being investigated.
South Africa's processed meat market grew about 8% in 2017 to a retail value of US$412 million, according to Euromonitor International. Tiger Brands has a 35.7% market share, followed by Eskort Bacon Co-Operative with 21.8%. Rhodes Food, Rainbow Chicken (RCL Foods) and Astral Foods each have less than 5%. – Nampa/Reuters
Eskom to appoint CEO by end of April
South Africa's cash strapped state-run power utility Eskom will appoint a permanent chief executive by the end of April to begin the process of reforming the ailing utility, which may include reducing job numbers, its chairman said on Monday.
"We will be appointing a new chief executive by the end of April and hopefully weeks thereafter we will appoint a new CFO," newly appointed chairman Jabu Mabuza told a labour union conference. – Nampa/Reuters
Harley-Davidson slams retaliatory tariffs
Harley-Davidson Inc said on Monday that a punitive, retaliatory tariff on its motorcycles in any market would have a "significant impact" on its sales there.
The European Commission's president last week threatened to impose tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorbikes if US President Donald Trump followed through on a plan to impose global duties on aluminum and steel.
Harley said in a statement that it supports free and fair trade, and the proposed US import tariffs will drive up costs for all products made with aluminum and steel, regardless of their origin. – Nampa/Reuters
Kobe Steel CEO to step down
Kobe Steel Ltd chief executive officer Hiroya Kawasaki will step down in connection with a quality lapse scandal that shook the Japanese manufacturing industry last year, the Nikkei reported on yesterday.
The report came hours before results of a 4-month-long external investigation into the scandal were expected to be released.
Japan's No.3 steelmaker, which supplies manufacturers of cars, planes and trains across the world, said last year that it had supplied roughly 500 customers products with falsified specifications, throwing global supply chains into turmoil.
Kobe also admitted that its executives were aware of the cheating and that the scandal was likely to reduce its recurring profit by 10 billion yen (US$94.14 million) this year.
Shares of the company, which nearly halved after news of the scandal broke in October, has recouped some of the losses, partly helped by Japanese automakers vouching for the safety of the company's aluminium parts. – Nampa/Reuters
This is according to international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who was speaking during a three-day visit by Russian foreign affairs minister Sergey Lavrov, which ends today.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said in this context, negotiations between Namibia and Russia are ongoing to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Russia is an important and permanent member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors and an important player in nuclear technology.
She therefore thanked Russia for supporting Namibia's application to the nuclear suppliers group.
According to her Namibia continues to address its skills deficit and is therefore grateful for the scholarships offered by Russia to Namibian students, who are currently studying at various universities in that country.
She said in August, Namibia will assume the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and looks forward to further strengthen cooperation between the regional bloc and Russia, as per the signed MoU on SADC-Russia Cooperation. This signing of this agreement was approved at the 37th SADC summit of heads of state and government held in South Africa. The agreement is with regards to military and technical cooperation.
Furthermore, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the maintenance of international peace and security is an important United Nations Charter obligation.
“Both Namibia and the Russian Federation attach great importance to the reform of the UN Security Council. Hence, for Namibia, the common African position as outlined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, continue to remain the only viable option to redress the historical injustice done to the African continent and to ensure that Africa takes its place in the UN Security Council, including in the permanent category with the right of veto.”
Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia is counting on the support of Russia for Africa's position to correct the historic injustice of the non-permanent representation of Africa on the UN Security Council.
She also said the issue of self-determination is of great importance to Namibia, and therefore the country's unwavering support to the Palestine people in their pursuit to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination and establish an independent state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. “Likewise, we reaffirm Namibia's continued support to the Saharawi people in their just struggle to determine their own future destiny and national independence. The Russian Federation, as a member of UN Security Council, has a great role to play in ensuring that relevant UN resolutions on Saharawi are implemented.”
Nandi-Ndaitwah said with regards to Syria that Namibia supports its territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty.
“Namibia further supports a negotiated peaceful solution and call for the respect of ceasefire to allow for humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.”
Kandorozu is said to have stated that Nudo intends to demand that Namibia be divided according to tribal lines, reminiscent of the erstwhile Bantustan system used by the then South African colonial regime to segregate Namibians.
The remarks were reportedly aired on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation in its primetime news slot on 26 February.
Kandorozu, according to Nudo president Asser Mbai, also demanded in the same news insert that people from northern Namibia must be kept beyond the Red Line (veterinary cordon fence) and that other tribes must be kept in their areas of birth.
Mbai, in a media statement on Monday, distanced the party from the remarks attributed to Kandorozu.
“I, as president of this party, want to make it categorically clear that those sentiments attributed to the said councillor are his own views and in no way reflect the position of Nudo at all. At no point did Nudo and its leadership take a decision to demand that Namibia must be divided along tribal lines,” he said.
Mbai said the party's manifesto is clear that Nudo is a national party that welcomes all Namibians into its fold, and that the party will never want Namibia to go back to the policies of apartheid and that their movement be restricted in one way or the other.
“Nudo strongly believes that such sentiments are at best thoughts of the said councillor, perhaps in his capacity as a regional councillor, but in no way is an official position of the party.”
The Nudo president, as such, urged all Namibians to continue treating Nudo as a national party that welcomes every person, irrespective of their tribal origin, sex or religious beliefs.
Mbai did, however, not state what type of action, if any, will be taken against Kandorozu.
The 25-year-old, known as a high-flyer after being named one of Forbes' most promising young Africans under 30, is enthusing about his new unmanned aerial drones and keen to promote his company and Africa as a place where IT and new tech can flourish.
We must "get out of the Afro-centric vision of business" to "understand that when one has a global vision, worldwide, this includes Africa," Elong says in a discussion of future technologies.
Elong has no degree in IT or robotics but studied strategy and competitive intelligence in France, becoming the youngest-ever graduate from Paris' Economic Warfare School.
He founded his startup Will & Brothers in 2015 with a main project called Drone Africa, which aims to provide drones for civil purposes to businesses, the state in Cameroon and elsewhere.
With a top range of up to 20 kilometres, the drones can be used for purposes as different as cartography, media coverage, support for agriculture and detecting gas in mines to reduce the risk of accidents.
"The know-how is here, in Cameroon," says Elong, who is aware young African talent often seeks employment in Europe and elsewhere. He says at this stage his firm's capital of US$200 000 has come from Western backers.
Also supported by the government of President Paul Biya, Elong hopes eventually to raise US$2 million to expand the business but he regrets that "not many Africans are involved" in the project, which features two airborne types of drone and one terrestrial model.
The commercial market in Africa is expanding with unmanned aircraft already whizzing across the skies delivering items like medicine and food, and even helping farmers sow seeds.
In Rwanda, drones get medical supplies such as blood and vaccines to remote areas. Tanzania is launching a similar programme. And drones equipped with night-vision cameras help to detect and track poachers in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Elong presents the two airborne prototype models on a table inside his assembly shop. The first "flying wing that we've baptised Algo" has the furthest range and could prove an economical solution to the costly task of making maps, he suggests.
The second type, known as Logarythm, has four arms forming a propeller, can reach an altitude of up to 500 metres and is fitted with high-definition cameras, which would be useful in high-risk zones and for precision work, Elong adds.
Crucially, he argues, manufacturing costs are lower than those of foreign manufacturers, so the drones produced will be priced competitively across the African marketplace.
He envisages "selling drones to Vietnam, to Venezuela, to Denmark for example, and becoming one of the biggest global enterprises in this sector."
Elsewhere, two young engineers in white lab coats are carefully building a prototype. "When all the components are available, we are able to assemble a drone like this in 24 hours," says engineer Louis Ekani.
Some of the parts are made in Cameroon, while others are supplied from abroad.
"The start was extremely complicated," says young technical director Yves Tamu, who is described on the company website as an entrepreneur, digital champion and inventor. "But we have a dynamic, autonomous and state-of-the-art team thanks to which we found the solution [to assembling drones]."
The average age of employees is barely 22 and the team comprises mainly engineers and developers who have spent two years building airworthy drones.
‘Pride of Cameroon’
"Will & Brothers is the pride of Cameroon," gushed the minister of posts and telecommunications, Libom Li Likeng, at a government ceremony to present the drones in early February.
Their design demonstrates "the innovative capacity of Cameroonian youth", she added.
Elong's firm is represented in Ivory Coast and plans to open offices in France and the United States, but he stresses the development of artificial intelligence is his primary goal.
Will & Brothers has worked on an AI known as Cyclops, which enables drones to detect people, objects and vehicles and to identify different types of animal at specific sites.
"Artificial intelligence is the future of humanity," Elong says, confident that Africa can at least try to compete with the big tech giants in California. "It knocks me out that so many people here take no interest in technology."– Nampa/AFP
Thousands of villagers in the flood-prone areas of the Zambezi Region are advised to prepare for evacuation to higher ground because the level of the Zambezi River is rising rapidly.
The hydrology department of the agriculture ministry has issued a flood warning for the Zambezi Region, saying that the river has reached an alarming level and the region may expect heavy floods for the first time in four years.
It said high rainfall in the catchment area made it likely that the river would continue rising.
By Tuesday afternoon the river level stood at 5.45 metres in comparison to the previous year’s 2.78 metres. Only a week before, the level was 4.06 metres. The normal level of the river for this time of the year is 3.20 meter.
Zambezi Governor Lawrence Lawrence Sampofu said the flooding was still manageable but the river was rising fast and the worst flood in years was expected.
He said schools in the flood-prone areas of Kabbe South and Kabbe North were inaccessible by road.
Using dugout canoes comes with its own set of dangers because there are crocodiles and snakes in the river.
“We already had an incident about two weeks ago where a child was attacked by a crocodile, but luckily survived.”
He appealed to parents to accompany their children to school and keep them safe.
Sampofu said it had been agreed to keep the schools open as long as possible. Classes would likely continue until about two weeks before the end of the term on 27 April and teachers would catch up with the extra work during the holidays.
The areas worst affected by flooding include Muzii, Nankuntwe, Namiyundu, Ivilivinzi, Mpukano and Masikili. According to Sampofu 13 schools are surrounded by water.
“Clinics, schools and villages are all surrounded by water, but communities do not want to be relocated,” said Sampofu.
The regional disaster risk management unit has identified three relocation camps at Kabbe, Katima Mulilo Holy Family Mission and Lusese.
At Rundu, the level of the Okavango River has subsided since last week and on Tuesday stood at 5.79 metres. That was still higher than it was at the same time last year.
The river’s level at Nkurenkuru (2.94m) has been rising since Monday following rain in the catchment over the weekend.
Water levels in the Cuvelai Iishana are also rising due to good rainfall in the catchment.
Poverty, abuse and being shunned by a homophobic and trans-phobic community were some of the push factors named by three women as their gateway into sex work in Namibia.
But despite the dangers and the discrimination they face daily, Bella (23) says she treats her work just like any other profession.
“I see it as any other job. It's just what you do, not who you are. I am still a sister, a brother, a friend.”
For her, being paid for sex is “just a job like any other job.”
She further noted that sex is part of everyday life, for the majority of humans.
“Married people have sex, girlfriends and boyfriends have sex. People have sex. Everyone has sex. So it's normal.”
For Bella, the path to sex work was nevertheless rocky, marred by severe poverty, homophobia, intolerance and abuse.
Ultimately, however, she found the profession can be embraced.
Growing up in a poor household, and knowing early on that she was gay (she later transitioned to a trans-woman), she knew she would struggle to find acceptance.
“But that is who I am. That is who I want to be.”
At 14, she was raped. She told no one, because she did not think she would be believed.
The incident, while traumatic, underscored the importance of forging a life independent of having to rely on others.
After her first client, in high school, she realised she could achieve independence.
“I chose this. Since I was gay, and now a trans-woman, I needed to look after myself. So that is how I ended up here.”
Severe poverty brought me here
“I was raised by a single mother and we weren't financially stable. I had to assist with my younger siblings, with food. I became involved with friends who were in the trade, older women. They told me what to do,” Memory (27), a Walvis Bay-based sex worker told Namibian Sun last week.
Aware of the widespread prejudice and discrimination by the wider public, including health and police workers, she says it's time Namibians “give us a chance.”
Memory said people have to look beyond their judgement.
“It's not always that you do this job out of your own free will. Sometimes it's a life situation that brings you to this point.”
Ultimately, Memory has made peace with the job, despite having experienced harassment from many sectors of society.
Another Walvis Bay sex worker, who declined to be named, said poverty, and sexual abuse, pushed her into the profession.
Now 30, she is concerned about the ongoing high levels of abuse and discrimination, often at the hands of those tasked to assist the public.
“I think for us as prostitutes, we don't have access to proper health care. So if something happens, you don't go to the hospital or the police. You just stay home. You deal with it.”
Bella, like all sex workers interviewed by Namibian Sun, is in favour of decriminalising the profession.
A book she discovered as a teenager showed that sex work was “not only about bad things, there are also good things.”
And, as a poor, gay teenager, and later as a trans-woman, she found that sex work could help achieve her goal of being self-dependent, as well as allowing her to be who she wanted to be.
Now, she works part-time as a sex worker, and she believes there are benefits to the job, such as luxurious gifts and other treats from customers who are happy with her service. She says it's important to always “go the extra mile.”
“Sometimes you have to hide what you do. People discriminate. You are stigmatised, which puts you in a vulnerable position.”
She has, like most sex workers, faced an uphill battle accessing services from police and health workers.
After she was severely beaten by a client, she claims the police taunted her, accusing her of “asking for it”. She has been forced to beg for medications at a health clinic.
Further, as a trans-woman, the discrimination is rife.
“It's not easy darling, I guarantee you.”
Memory, Bella and their co-worker spoke to Namibian Sun at the International Sex Workers Rights Day attended by more than 60 sex workers from across the country last Friday.
The Namibia Diverse Women's Association (NDWA) noted after the event that “sex workers in Namibia face numerous and unacceptable levels of violence, stigma, prejudice, discrimination and other human rights violations.”
Programming and interventions currently under way are focused on female sex workers whilst other sex workers such as male sex workers and transgender sex workers are not targeted, which again marginalises them, NDWA warned.
Data reveal that total private-sector credit rose to N$90.25 billion in January 2018 from the N$89.9 billion recorded in December 2017.
On an annual basis, January saw an increase of N$4.8 billion during the month under review from a total PSCE amount of N$85.4 billion recorded in January 2017. This represents an annual increase of 5.7% and shows that there was a 0.6 percentage point increase in the annual growth of the total credit extended to the private sector, as the total Private Sector Credit Extended (PSCE) recorded an annual increase of 5.1% in December 2017.
This shows a fluctuating private credit situation annually, as well as a growing monthly trend of PSCE annual growth, as November recorded a lower annual PSCE increase of 4.7%.
Individual credit stood at N$53.6 billion in January, a monthly increase of N$241 million from N$53.4 billion recorded in December 2017, and an annual increase of N$3.6 billion from N$49.9 billion recorded in January 2017. Overall, individual credit saw an annual increase of 7.4%, which is 0.7 percentage point higher than the 6.7% recorded in this category the previous month.
Loans and advances, overdrafts, mortgage loans and other newly introduced loans did not only drive the increase in the individual credit category but in the whole total PSCE, with monthly increases of N$187 million, N$115 million, N$66 million and N$5 million. Other types of credit in this sector saw an N$80 million monthly increase in January 2018.
While individual credit drove the overall PSCE, instalment credit in this category went down in January 2018 to N$7.14billion from N$7.17 billion the previous month, which represents a N$26 million drop on a monthly basis. Instalment credit also realised an annual drop from N$7.33 recorded in January 2017.
Another notable highlight in individual credit trends is that while leasing transactions went up by N$100 000 monthly from N$19.3 million to N$19.4 million in January 2018, it realised an annual drop of N$1.6 million from the N$21 million recorded in January 2017.
January’s overall increase in business credit is much lower than that in individual credit, with many types of credit in this category recording both a monthly and annual decrease in January 2018.
Total credit to businesses stood at N$36.396 billion, a N$96 million monthly increase from the N$36.300 billion recorded in December 2017.
In this category, overdrafts, loans and advances, and leasing transactions went up in January 2018 by N$433 million, N$196 million and N$14 million respectively. The rest of the credit in business category saw a decrease, which helped calm down the total increase, which is highly driven by overdrafts and loans and advances.
Mortgage loans, newly introduced loans and advances, instalment credit and other claims all went down in January by N$102 million, N$135 million, N$97 million and N$16.8 million respectively.
Overall, claims on non-resident private sector went up by N$6.1 million in January 2018 to N$ 522.5 million from the N$516 million recorded in December 2017.
The improved economic performance "was partly driven by an agriculture industry bouncing back from one of the worst droughts in recent history", it said.
"After a wobbly start to 2017, which saw economic activity contract in the first quarter, the economy saw sustained growth for the remainder of the year. The fourth quarter experienced the highest growth rate of 2017, with the economy expanding by 3.1% quarter-on-quarter," Stats SA said in a statement.
The trade sector also contributed to yesterday's good news, Stats SA added, and was the second largest contributor to fourth-quarter growth.
South Africa's economy has experienced sluggish growth in recent years with the jobless rate rising to 27.7%.
In April, the country lost its investment grade credit rating when the world's two major agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor's, downgraded its sovereign debt to junk status.
Their move was partly blamed on former president Jacob Zuma's sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March.
Since President Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma last month, the stock market has rebounded and the local rand currency has reached its strongest level against the US dollar in three years on hopes he will reform the economy. – Nampa/AFP
AMTA managing director Lungameni Lucas has urged the SPYL regional leaders to organise the youth so that they can utilise the remaining space available at the hubs instead of criticising efforts aimed at national development.
Israel also questioned AMTA's initiative to establish a new hub at Tsumeb.
AMTA last month entered into a public-private partnership agreement with Fysal Fresh Produce to operate from its national fresh-produce hubs nationwide.
Israel criticised this deal, saying Fysal was an established business empire while AMTA's hubs were established to help small-scale farmers to sell their produce.
He said AMTA was slowly losing its focus. “AMTA's establishment was a great opportunity for small and medium enterprises in the agronomic business. By involving established companies like Fysal it will only create a monopoly, which is not good for our smaller businesses,” Israel said.
He said Fysal, whose products mainly come from South Africa, will end up selling the produce of South African farmers at AMTA's hubs.
AMTA was established in 2013 and according to Israel it has failed in its purpose.
“The place is a hub and it needs to be marketed for it to become viable and the government does not have money for that.
“Do they want the place to become a white elephant or what? Where are we going to get people to manage that facility if we do not have the capacity? We tried for the past four years but it could not work,” Lucas said. Lucas said the hubs could not source enough produce and were operating at a loss.
He said Fysal was there to help small traders who represent farmers, since it had the capacity.
“We still have two places available at Ongwediva hub, let them come on board and see how they can help build the nation. Fysal has trucks that go empty to South Africa, what if we use them to transport our products to South Africa or Angola?” he asked. Israel said the money AMTA planned to spend on a new hub at Tsumeb could be used to construct value-addition facilities at one of the existing hubs.
According to Lucas, however, the hub at Tsumeb is not being constructed by AMTA. He said a private investor wanted to establish a storage facility there.
“AMTA does not have money to establish this facility. These are private investors and their interests are not in value addition but in storage facilities. At AMTA we do not have storage facilities, but what we have are marketing hubs. Investors want to be keeping their products for longer periods but we do not have such facilities,” Lucas said.
He said there were many producers in the Tsumeb area and they would like to establish storage facilities there.
Acting Judge Johanna Sailonga ruled further that Anastancia Nalucha Lubinda (36), David Kondjara (36) and Donald Hindjou (28) made their confessions freely and voluntarily and that she is satisfied that they each had their rights explained to them.
In a dramatic twist, the accused then asked for Sailonga's recusal, who is said to still be a magistrate.
She immediately postponed the matter to 26 March for arguments, which will also be heard from the lawyers of four other accused in the matter.
Lubinda is accused of conspiring with the two men, as well as with David Likando Matali (47) Abiud Uazeua (37) and Dollam Dollam Tjitjahuma (29) to kill her husband, 39-year-old Peter Rischo Muleke in the Goreangab Dam area between 29 and 30 March 2015.
Salionga found that there is a difference between a promise and expectation that Lubinda would be granted bail and a lenient sentence if she made a confession.
She added the investigating officer advised the accused to go to a magistrate, because he cannot take a confession.
The acting judge emphasised that the magistrate correctly proceeded with the confessions and that all the accused were not unduly influenced.
She, however, added the court will consider the replies of the accused in the pre-trial memorandum and agreed with the defence lawyers that it is an issue of credibility, before adding that she intends to deal with it in detail in the main trial.
Regarding the allegations of assault claimed by the three accused, Salionga said the three police officers, who were members of the investigation team on the dates of arrest and during the interviews conducted, denied the claim. She said the police did not observe any injuries to the accused and that they also never informed the magistrate that they were assaulted.
“It is my respective view that the version of Lubinda, Kondjara and Hindjou that they were assaulted before they were taken to make confessions are mere fabrications and I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused were not assaulted and gave the confessions freely and voluntarily and without undue influence,” Salionga ruled.
It said it was “greatly shocked” by an image of its Eloolo canned beef product being circulated along with articles on the scare in South Africa and products unrelated to Meatco.
On Monday, Namibia recalled all products linked to listeria contamination in South Africa and also cancelled all import permits granted to the manufacturers of these products. At the weekend South Africa recalled ready-to-eat processed meat products from shops nationwide after scientists had traced the source of the contamination to factories belonging to Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken. These products are also imported into Namibia. The main culprits were found to be Enterprise polony, cold meats and vienna sausages.
“Meatco would like to categorically caution the public to stop spreading the image of our Eloolo canned beef product because the product and all other Meatco products pose no threat connected to listeria or the articles relating to news in South Africa,” the company said.
Meatco said it would “vigorously monitor” social media and other platforms to protect the good image of its meat products.
“Given all the processing in the abattoirs, it is essential that quality assurance is maintained. All Meatco's processes are in keeping with international standards, and testing of the meat is done daily at Meatco's internal laboratory,” said Meatco's quality assurance executive, Rosa Katjivena.
She gave the assurance that because of stringent quality assurance methods, Meatco guarantees the safety and quality of its products.
Namibia's agriculture ministry has suspended imports of all ready-to-eat processed meat products - such as polony, russians, frankfurters, viennas, ham, salami and liver spread - produced by Rainbow Chicken and Enterprise Foods in South Africa.
All import permits and transit permits issued prior to the suspension have also been cancelled.
Local retailers have also removed the products from their shelves.
According to the ministry the symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhoea, headache, stiff neck, confusion and loss of balance.
The disease is treatable and people experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor.
Nelongo, who was arrested on stock theft charges last month, was rearrested on similar charges on Monday morning and was set to appear yesterday in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court.
Control prosecutor Surrey Petrus could not explain why this did not happen, although the police had brought Nelongo to court early in the morning.
Information obtained by Namibian Sun from court officials is that his recent arrest may have been unlawful and his case was removed from the court roll.
“Police officers were informed in the morning to release him because there is no case, but we were informed that a certain police officer took his docket and went with it to his official duty at Omungwelume. That is the only reason he is at court until this time in the afternoon,” a source said.
When contacted for comment Petrus said, “All inquiries that have to do with Nelongo must be directed to my supervisor advocate Shileka at the Oshakati High Court.”
When contacted, Shileka said he was not in his office.
Nelongo's lawyer Sisa Namandje said that he does not know or care why Nelongo did not appear in court. “There is no reason for my client to appear in court again,” Namandje said.
On Monday Namandje questioned the motives of the Oshana police. The seasoned lawyer compared the conduct of the police to that of the apartheid regime.
“The way those police officers acted is like makakunya (Koevoet). Two weeks ago they were saying they have no fear that he will run away, now they are rearresting him again instead of compiling everything together. They are acting maliciously and they are acting like Koevoet,” Namandje charged.
Nelongo's rearrest follows a series of police investigations after he was first nabbed while transporting suspected stolen cattle with a party vehicle in the Oshikoto Region on 11 February.
Nelongo appeared in the Ondangwa Magistrate's Court before Magistrate Ilge Rheent on 13 February and was formally charged with stock theft. He was granted N$2 000 bail and the matter was postponed until 9 April.
The Oshana police have also reportedly been investigating Nelongo on allegations of stock theft. The alleged crimes were committed between 2016 and 2017.
“There have been rumours that cattle were missing in the Uukwiyu-Uushona grazing area and Nelongo has been linked to this. People have been monitoring him, together with the police,” a source, who requested anonymity, told Namibian Sun.
Startling claims emerged last month linking Nelongo's arrest to the bitter factional battles that characterised the run-up to last November's Swapo elective congress.
Nelongo was said to have been a supporter of a faction that called itself Team Swapo, which opposed President Hage Geingob and his slate.
Namcor spokesperson Utaara Hoveka said although no official confirmation had been given that the national oil company would be mandated to manage the fuel-storage facility, discussions held with the government were progressing.
“High-level engagements between Namcor and the Ministry of Mines and Energy on the bulk fuel project are ongoing. Discussions have been largely fruitful, although nothing has been concluded yet,” Hoveka said upon enquiry. He said although there had been talk that the national oil company was poised to operate the facility, Namcor was still waiting to be briefed on whether it would play a role. “There has not been any official communication from government to Namcor regarding the management of the facility. Namcor, however, is represented on the facility's steering committee,” Hoveka said.
The ministry asked for more time before providing an update on the construction and management of the facility. Vitol SA submitted a proposal to finance minister Calle Schlettwein last year, who then submitted it to cabinet for discussion, according to The Namibian.
The Swiss company is alleged to have offered the government US$1 per annum and an additional N$160 million to rent the storage facility for ten years. Vitol promised to supply 19 000 cubic metres of diesel and 12 700 cubic metres of unleaded petrol to Namibian fuel stations, a proposal described by a source as a move that could hand the Swiss company 45% of the Namibian fuel market.
The offer also states that the government would have to buy petroleum products at market prices from its storage facility.
Vitol spokesperson Andrea Schlaepfer denied claims that their offer was “peanuts”.
“Any proposal made by Vitol would be in line with current commercial arrangements. In case this is unclear, this means in line with what is currently charged for the same service by other storage companies,” she said.
Schlaepfer said Vitol was committed to following due process, as directed by the relevant authorities, and had done so in this instance.
“The process is completely open and other parties are able to put forward alternative proposals,” she said.
Once completed, the fuel storage facility will increase Namibia's storage capacity to 30 days, up from the current 14 days, according to Namcor.
The costs associated with the construction of the fuel storage facility skyrocketed from N$780 million in 2008 to N$5.6 billion in 2016, drawing the ire of the government.
The escalation was attributed to a lack of exchange risk insurance taken out by ministry of finance officials, a delay in appointing a contractor and a delay in payment made to the successful contractor, it was earlier reported.
The permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, Ericah Shafudah, former permanent secretary in the National Planning Commission Leevi Hungamo and chief legal advisor in the attorney-general's office Chris Nghaamwa were blamed for the blunders.
Bearing the brunt of the government's anger, Shafudah was given a final warning while Nghaamwa and Hungamo were exonerated.
Shafudah's warning stemmed from her alleged failure to attend technical committee meetings, which created the impression that the government would be able to foot the bill for the construction of the facility regardless of escalations caused by exchange rate fluctuations.
The advent of government's cost-cutting measures in 2015 signalled the start of massive job losses in the construction sector, with the Metal Allied and Workers Union reporting that it had seen up to 5 000 workers lose their jobs in 2017 alone as a result of spending cuts introduced to stave off the possibility of a downgrade.
With the release of the fourth-quarter growth figures for 2017, the Namibia Statistics Agency reported that the construction sector had contracted for a record seventh time, recording a huge decline of 36.9%.
The secretary-general of the Metal and Allied Workers Union, Justina Jonas, is hopeful that Schlettwein will address the issue of job losses in the construction sector.
The unionist said the construction sector was keen to see how the government planned to resuscitate a sector that had borne the brunt of massive job losses as a result of government's cost-cutting measures introduced to avert the risk of a downgrade by ratings agencies Moody's and Fitch.
“The issue of job creation in the construction sector must be addressed. Our focus will be on how do we bring back those jobs that were lost in the construction sector last year?” Jonas said.
According to a survey conducted by MANWU last year, 5 000 jobs had been lost as a result of the cost-cutting measures, Jonas had previously told Namibian Sun.
“The issue of the budget is affecting the workers. We do not know how long these budget cuts will be. Many workers have been retrenched and this is now also having the effects on the supply side. Many companies that supply building material are now also starting to retrench,” Jonas said.
The Construction Industries Federation (CIF) indicated last year that between 1 September 2016 and 31 March 2017, 30% of the workforce in the construction sector was retrenched.
Another point of interest to Jonas was how the Procurement Act would help support growth in the construction sector.
According to her, an evaluation would have to be carried out in the current financial year to ensure compliance with the new Act.
“It will be interesting to see how the new Procurement Act will be implemented. We want to know how the ministry plans to implement the new Act and how it plans to monitor the Act to ensure compliance. We have had these discussions with the minister,” said Jonas.
Independent analyst Klaus Schade said he was hopeful that the government would increase its social welfare spending in the new fiscal year while also maintaining spending in the infrastructure space.
“Government needs to continue prioritising expenditure in areas that address issues such as poverty and inequality through social grants and other social protection schemes, in areas such as health and education since these are investment into the future development of the country, and in infrastructure since investment in infrastructure will attract private sector investment and will create jobs not only temporarily, but permanently,” said Schade.
He also appealed to the government to increase spending on the provision of essential services.
“Sufficient funds need to be allocated to the purchase of essential goods and services such as medication, textbooks and stationery,” said Schade.
Sharing his thoughts on the new Procurement Act, he said it had to be used as a vehicle to provide greater support to local service providers.
“The new Procurement Act should be used to support Namibian businesses to the extent possible as long as they deliver quality products at competitive prices,” said Schade.
According to him, tentative reforms to address the government's wage bill needed to be introduced although he admitted that such measures would take time to yield desirable outcomes.
“More efforts are needed to reduce the wage bill. This should include a thorough review of the current structure of the public sector. Any adjustments to the number of civil servants, however, will take time,” said Schade.
Another area that would warrant a review was the contribution civil servants paid to be members of the Public Sector Employment Scheme, said Schade.
“There are other areas that warrant a critical review such as the Public Sector Employee Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS), since public servants contribute only about 14% to the total costs of PSEMAS,” said Schade.