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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 04/11/18--16:00: Okangoho crush pen is ready
  • Okangoho crush pen is readyOkangoho crush pen is ready Construction of the Okangoho crush pen, an initiative of the Meatco Foundation and partner UNIL (Norwegian Group), will be handed over to the community this month.

    According to Meatco the crush pen is nearing completion and will soon be operational.

    A crush pen is defined as a passage of fence with one narrow end that is used to handle large domestic animals, such as cattle or sheep. It is critically important in the management of livestock.

    The Okangoho Multipurpose Cooperative, with over 250 members, is looking forward to conducting business in the first modern crush pen of its kind in the Okakarara area. Chairperson of the co-operative, Job Katjitae, said the crush pen will not only serve as a livestock marketing hub for the area, but will also be crucial in the treatment of injuries and the vaccination of livestock.

    The Meatco Foundation together with UNIL expect to officially handover the crush pen to the settlement's farmers' cooperative and the entire community at an event coinciding with the first scheduled Permit Day in April.

    Farmers will be expected to bring their cattle to the facility for marketing and they will receive immediate cash for cattle sold on the day.

    The cooperative normally hosts an auction every second month, which translates to six auctions per year. Auctions usually attract anything between 80 to 200 cattle, however, the co-operative is hopeful that the number will increase to 300 cattle because of the new facilities. Treasurer of the cooperative, Abiud Katuutja, could not hide his excitement because of the pace at which the crush pen is taking shape. He said he is pleased that construction work is moving forward as planned.

    The crush pen will improve the socio-economic conditions of the community, because on auction days not only livestock owners descend on it, but other individuals who set up their businesses to sell other products, so it is a welcome development.

    Okangoho is a rural settlement located 46km northeast of Okakarara at an intersection leading to places such as Otjituuo, Coblenz and Okamatapati.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    Court rejects Caprivi 8's special pleaCourt rejects Caprivi 8's special plea The allegations by eight men, currently on trial for treason, that the former Eastern Caprivi Zipfel, now Zambezi Region, is not part of Namibia is a challenge against the constitution and as such, it is incompetent, invalid and a nullity.

    High Court Judge Petrus Unengu made this finding and rejected the special plea of the eight men accused of high treason, sedition, public violence, and the illegal importation, supply or possession of firearms and ammunition.

    The State alleges that during the period from September 1998 to December 2003, they had been involved in a plot to overthrow the Namibian government in the then Caprivi Region, and to secede the region from Namibia.

    “This court has the jurisdiction to try the accused for the offences listed in the indictment and the prosecutor-general has a title to prosecute the eight accused with the offences against them listed in the indictment,” Unengu ordered.

    He stated there is no doubt in his mind, considering the oral evidence supported by documentary evidence handed in as exhibits, among others an official United Nations map, that the State had managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Zambezi Region forms part of the national territory of Namibia as defined in Article 1(4) of the Namibian constitution.

    “This grants this court the territorial jurisdiction and the prosecutor-general a competent title to prosecute the accused with the offences listed in the indictment,” Unengu emphasized.

    The accused are Progress Munuma (57), Shine Samulandela (52), Manuel Makendano (66), Alex Mushakwa (55), Diamond Salufu (57), Frederick Ntambilwa (55), Hoster Ntombo (54), and John Tembwe (50).

    The eight claim that the former Caprivi Region was never part of the German and South African colony of South West Africa, and also did not form part of the territory that became an independent Namibia.

    Hence they cannot be charged and prosecuted by Namibia's prosecutor-general and put on trial in a Namibian court over crimes alleged to have been committed in an area that is not part of Namibia. They alleged in their plea that the court did not have the jurisdiction to try the offences and alleged that they were abducted in Botswana and unlawfully brought into this jurisdiction by the Namibian police and defence force with the full knowledge of Botswana government.

    Unengu further said the special plea was dealt with during the earlier proceedings by the High Court and the Supreme Court and that therefore the accused are barred by the principle that “a matter that has been adjudicated by a competent court and therefore may not be pursued further by the same parties”. He added that this was a repeat of previous proceedings the courts have pronounced themselves upon more than once.

    He stated that Phil ya Nangolo, a human rights activist who gave evidence on behalf of the accused on boundaries of Namibia, is not an expert witness with regard to Namibian boundaries.

    The eight were arrested between July 2002 and December 2003. They went through a first trial in the High Court between 2005 and 2007, and were convicted and sentenced to prison terms of either 30 or 32 years each in August 2007. The Supreme Court however set aside their convictions in July 2013 and sent their case back to the High Court for a retrial.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    14 years for girlfriend's murder14 years for girlfriend's murderThe killer was a mere 22, the victim 19 Yet another gruesome intimate partner killing has ended in a jail term after almost four years of legal processes. A 22-year-old man has been sentenced to an effective 14 years in prison for strangling his girlfriend, 19-year-old Janetta Babiep, to death at farm Warmfontein on 21 September 2014.

    Willem Freddy Eksteen was sentenced on Monday to a 20-year jail term in the Windhoek High Court, of which six years were suspended.

    Judge Dinnah Usiku suspended six years of the sentence for five years, on condition that Eksteen is not convicted of murder or any offence in which violence is an element during the period of suspension. Eksteen was convicted in February of Babiep's murder, read in conjunction with provisions of the Domestic Violence Act.

    He and Babiep had been involved in domestic relationship at the time of her death.

    “The seriousness of the offence the accused had been convicted of calls for a lengthy custodial sentence,” Judge Usiku said when sentencing Eksteen.

    Eksteen arrived on the night of 21 September 2014 on farm Warmfontein, where the deceased was also employed. They met and later in the evening they retired to bed. The following morning she was discovered dead with a rope around her neck.

    Eksteen later reported to the deceased's brother, Piet Babiep, that she had committed suicide.

    According to medical examination the deceased died as a result of strangulation.

    Eksteen vehemently denied killing Babiep, claiming the deceased took her own life by hanging herself with a rope in the room.

    However, the court rejected his claims as false and mere afterthoughts, in order to evade prosecution.

    “There is no doubt that the crimes of violence against women are on the rise in the country and it is therefore desirable that courts pass sentences that have a retributive effect, and with that, a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated,” Usiku said.

    According to her Eksteen showed no remorse.

    Usiku said the results of the medical examination showed that lot of force must have been applied during the strangulation, which caused internal bleeding, as evident from the photo plan.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Mushelenga lays into lazy public servantsMushelenga lays into lazy public servants New housing minister Peya Mushelenga has scolded his staff for watching the clock instead of dedicating themselves to serving the public.

    At his first staff meeting since his appointment, the minister said it was unacceptable that people opened their office doors at 08:00 sharp, when they should already be behind their desks ready to start working.

    Mushelenga took over as minister of urban and rural development when his predecessor, Sophia Shaningwa, left to take up the full-time Swapo secretary-general position.

    The former deputy international relations minister also rebuked staff members for leaving work before 17:00, and then claiming overtime when asked to work late or on a Saturday.

    “I also do not know where the rule is written that the last Friday of the month must be a half day. I can tell you 50% of the officials are gone by 15:00, but you are supposed to be in your offices,” he lashed out. The minister also reprimanded the staff for faking illness to take sick leave. “When you are on sick leave you are not supposed to travel out of town – you can be in trouble,” he warned. Mushelenga emphasised that staff must become versatile and know everything the ministry is doing.

    He also urged staff, irrespective of their politician affiliations, to “internalise” the Swapo Party manifesto, which is now the government agenda. The minister said it appeared that very few civil servants, with the exception of management, have read the fifth National Development Plan.

    “It sets the targets for this ministry and others. It tells you for example how much land must be serviced in every town in a certain financial year. You will only know whether towns have met their targets if you have read what is expected,” he said.

    He also told directors not to finalise any plans for the proclamation of towns unless sanitation was addressed.

    “We need to make sure provisions for public toilets are made when we proclaim or extend the borders of towns,” he said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Debmarine supports environment studyDebmarine supports environment study Fisheries experts from the University of Namibia (Unam) and the ministry of fisheries will gain a better understanding of the marine environment following a sponsorship by Debmarine Namibia of benthic material collected over a span of three years.

    Debmarine recently handed over the material it had collected for use by Unam and the ministry.

    Benthic material is collected by Debmarine on an annual basis during the period October to December, from designated control, impact and natural sites across its mining one licence area off the coast of Oranjemund. Speaking at the handover of the material, Debmarine Namibia CEO Otto Shikongo said the miner was honouring its commitment to capacity building.

    “Through the Debmarine Namibia social responsibility fund, we are honouring our commitment to education, capacity and skills development through the sponsorship of N$250 000 to Unam, towards the school of marine engineering and maritime studies as well as towards the centre for mining and metallurgical research and training that will be in the Erongo region,” Shikongo said. According to him, the samples provided by Debmarine can be used to build up a reference collection or may be used as teaching aids.

    Unam vice-chancellor for academic affairs, Professor Frednard Gideon welcomed the sponsorship and said it was important, especially because mining contributed significantly to the economy.

    “The two institutions, that is, the centre for metallurgical research and training and the school of marine engineering and maritime studies, are important because mining contributes close to 25% to the nation's gross domestic product while the fisheries sector contributes more than 15%,” Gideon said.

    According to him, the two sectors contributed significantly to the economy through the creation of jobs.

    The benthic material will be transported to the national marine information and research centre in Swakopmund, the Sam Nujoma campus in Henties Bay and to the department of biological sciences department at Unam's main campus.

    The material donated by Debmarine was extracted at a total cost of N$9.9 million.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Tourists should respect local rulesTourists should respect local rules The education minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, has expressed her disappointment in tourists who do not obey rules and regulations at designated tourist sites.

    Speaking at the inauguration of the Namib Sand Sea as a World Heritage site at Sossusvlei at the close of last week, Hanse-Himarwa said some tourists leave prohibited areas and do things that are forbidden at national heritage sites.

    “It is not always about money. It is important for tourists to respect local rules as we need to preserve our heritage for future generations,” said Hanse-Himarwa.

    She stressed that some sites, such as the Namib Sand Sea, are cultural and national heritage sites that possess a rich history and should be preserved.

    “My call to the tourists is to respect, appreciate and value the importance of heritage sites with us so that we can preserve the pride for many years,” she added.

    At the occasion, the Unesco country representative Dr Jean Pierre Ilboudo said Unesco's 1972 World Heritage Convention focuses on the preservation of cultural sites and deals with the conservation of nature.

    “Namibia possesses a rich source of culture tourism for both international and local communities; hence it is important for everyone to embrace the culture and environment while protecting it,” said Ilboudo.

    He further noted that culture is both an enabler and a driver of the economic, social and environmental dimension of sustainable development which need to be kept alive and should be continuously transmitted from one generation to another.

    The Namib Sand Sea, situated in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog, covering an area of over three million hectares.

    It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2013 by Unesco.

    The site is the second world heritage site in Namibia after Twyfelfontein in the Kunene Region, which is home to the world's largest concentration of rock art. It was inscribed on the World Heritage Site List in 2007.

    NAMPA

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    Rape accused doctor in hospitalRape accused doctor in hospital A bail application by a doctor charged with raping a 20-year-old student could not be heard by the Oshakati Magistrate's Court yesterday.

    Bernhard Shitende Mulumba (40), who is employed at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital, could not appear before Magistrate Makapa Castro Simasiku because he had been admitted to the same hospital for treatment, the prosecutor informed the court. His ailment is unknown.

    Mulumba is charged with rape, assault with intent to cause bodily harm and assault by threat.

    He was arrested on 3 April, accused of raping a 20-year-old student at Ongwediva.

    According to the State, Mulumba offered the victim transport home to Omayanga village on the evening of 2 April.

    It is alleged that Mulumba drove the complainant to another village instead, where he raped her in his car.

    The woman then went home and informed her family, after which she was taken to hospital before reporting the incident to the Ongwediva police station. Yesterday, after informing the court about the whereabouts of the accused, prosecutor Mpule Siyomunyi requested that the bail hearing be postponed to next week Tuesday.

    Magistrate Simasiku granted the application.

    Mulumba is represented by Silas Kishi Shakumu.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Lukato defends Dukwe refugeesLukato defends Dukwe refugees National Democratic Party (NDP) president Martin Lukato says if Namibians living at the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana were forcefully deported, it would be tantamount to a breach of international laws on the status of refugees.

    Lukato called upon the presidents of Botswana and Namibia to abide by international laws.

    Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said during a meeting with President Hage Geingob this week that Namibians living at Dukwe were no longer regarded as refugees by his government, but as illegal immigrants. Concerted efforts by the Namibian government and the United Nations to repatriate the refugees and integrate them into society have had little success, with the remaining 880 of them refusing to return home.

    Thousands of people from the then Caprivi Region fled to Botswana in 1999 after a botched attempt to secede the region from Namibia.

    The Botswana High Court in January 2016 halted the deportation of the remaining 880 refugees after the deportation deadline of 31 December 2015 had passed. Masisi said his government would exhaust all avenues to ensure that the group left Botswana.

    “We will follow procedure and exhaust all we can. But you see they are not Batswana, they are Namibians. They are not refugees - they have become illegal immigrants.”

    Lukato said refugees at Dukwe should not be deported to Namibia if they were unwilling to return.

    “I am seriously advising these two state leaders that they should not attempt to violate the international laws when it comes to the status of refugees.”

    He said Masisi should not attempt to predict the outcome of a pending appeal by the refugees to the Botswana High Court against being deported.

    Lukato said if the Botswana government tried to deport the refugees to Namibia after the High Court ruling, under international law the refugees could seek refugee status in a third country because they had fled from their country of origin and “continue to flee as result of a war or economic situation”.

    “The United Nations high commissioner for refugees in Botswana will intervene and request a third country to receive and accommodate the exile refugees who have lost their refugee status in Botswana in accordance with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) treaty and act on behalf of their protection as stated in the UN treaty,” he said. According to Lukato refugees could only return voluntarily and not through forced deportation.

    NDP also appealed for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Namibia so that both the former South African apartheid government and the Swapo government could be brought before the commission.

    “Those who committed atrocities inside Namibia and outside during the liberation struggle of independence of Namibia and after independence of Namibia, they should publicly apologise to the victims,” Lukato said.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 04/11/18--16:00: Son appears for matricide
  • Son appears for matricideSon appears for matricide Fillemon Uupindi, who allegedly killed his 66-year-old mother in the Omusati Region over the weekend, briefly appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court on a charge of murder on Tuesday.

    Uupindi's case was postponed to 20 June this year for further police investigations and so he can acquire a government-sponsored lawyer. He was remanded in custody until his next court appearance.

    The 38-year-old Uupindi is accused of attacking his mother, Maria Akwiilinus, with a machete at the Ongali village in the Omusati Region's Oshikuku Constituency on Sunday. Akwiilinus died on the scene.

    Warrant Officer Linekela Shikongo of the Namibian Police Force's Public Relations Unit in the region on Tuesday told Nampa it is alleged that Uupindi got angry when his mother reprimanded him and told him to stop hitting his girlfriend.

    Uupindi fled the scene but handed himself over to the police at Oshikuku later that day.

    Magistrate Helena Ekandjo presided over the case, while Prosecutor Chrisna Masule represented the State.

    NAMPA

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  • 04/11/18--16:00: Mutorwa wants assets list
  • Mutorwa wants assets listMutorwa wants assets listMisuse, waste and theft a scourge of SOEs Works minister John Mutorwa has cast his focus on state-owned assets and properties, saying the government has no idea of what it owns. Newly appointed minister of works and transport John Mutorwa has said that he would like to be provided with a complete list of assets owned by the government and urged officials in his ministry to expedite the process.

    He made the comment during a briefing session which included the heads of various parastatals falling under his ministry.

    According to him, there was no indication at present whether the government had an idea of all the assets that it owned and said he wanted to be ready to brief President Hage Geingob in case he was asked to give a report of what the government owned.

    “I am not sure whether government is sure how many assets government has …I don't know whether the assets register is updated,” he said. Mutorwa also spoke about the condition of government property, particularly houses.

    “There are reports that government houses have ended in private hands. I am waiting for a report and that report will give me an answer about these things,” Mutorwa said.

    Works permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann said the ministry was verifying data gathered in the regions in terms of the national assets register.

    The ministry's housing committee has in the meantime been instructed to submit a report by 30 April 2018 on the number of houses owned by the government.

    Once complete, the report will list what properties belong to the government, their value and where they are located.

    “The economy of a country can only be maintained by reliable transportation – vehicles, ships and trains. But if they are all grounded, what are we doing?” he asked.

    Mutorwa said he was also concerned about the exorbitant payments the ministry had to make for poorly constructed public infrastructure including roads, clinics, airports and houses.

    “Many valid complaints are received on a daily basis about poor construction of public infrastructure and poor supervision of the construction process of these infrastructures,” he said.

    Misuse, wastage and theft of public resources, as well as favouritism, nepotism, corruption and abuse of positions were the other scourges facing the ministry and state-owned enterprises, he added.

    The allocation of government houses to its employees was not done in a fair manner, while some houses were dilapidated or breeding grounds for criminals, Mutorwa told reporters, calling for stronger accountability.

    -Additional reporting by Nampa

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Shift focus from housing to tenureShift focus from housing to tenureA free house for everyone is unrealistic Thoughts of the state providing everyone with a complete house should be abandoned in favour of providing property ownership and basic services, an analyst recommends. An urgent reframing on the way the authorities are addressing the issue of housing in order to address informal settlement growth is needed.

    In a review published by John Mendelsohn of Raison on the recently published results of a study on the supply of land and homes to low-income residents by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), the author highlights that discussions on the crucial topic need to shift focus, especially when it comes to the “pervasive use of the term housing.”

    Mendelsohn argues that the term is misdirected, and immediately “invokes aspirations, or conversely, misgivings that housing programmes aim to provide everyone with a complete house”.

    This, he says, is an unrealistic goal.

    “The cost of doing that would be unaffordable if the taxpayer is to foot the bill, or beyond the reach of the homeless people. Quite simply, thoughts of the state providing everyone with housing should be put to rest.”

    Mendelsohn writes that another problem of focusing on the term housing is that it attracts property developers “and all those who stand to gain commissions and profits from large amounts of money being directed to public housing development”.

    Mendelsohn's review argues that ultimately the “focus on housing may have significant disadvantages, and the implementation of a 'Right to Housing' programme is probably unrealistic”.



    Look at it this way

    Instead, a more practical and achievable way to address the issue would be a step-by-step strategy that begins with the right to property ownership.

    Secondly, the problem should be addressed with a strong focus on the right to basic services: first water, then sewage, waste removal, electricity and education, Mendelsohn writes.

    “With a practical and attainable approach on land and services, land owners would then be able to build and develop both their houses and their homes. This is what policy and programmes should facilitate.

    “Like everyone else, lower-income families require social and financial capital, food and cash security, and resilience. Getting those assets is more likely to come from building a home, rather than being handed a state-built concrete box.”

    He adds that land ownership is linked to multiple benefits, not just collateral, which he argues is “either over-valued or under-valued by commentators, depending on their leaning”.

    As reflected in the IPPR housing study, land ownership provides the value of secure tenure, the role of tenure property in gaining access to public services and the use of property for investment.

    Mendelsohn argues that the value of ownership of property should be “widely aired and understood in Namibia, not least because they help disarm some of the prejudice that bedevils our thinking on property for low-income Namibians.”

    He further notes that the cumulative value of these benefits “helps improve living conditions at the household level”.

    Other benefits on a social level are that ownership provides “confidence, a sense of permanence and greater options to plan for the future”.



    A pervasive issue

    Mendelsohn's review is based on the recently published 'Namibia – the Right to Housing' study by the IPPR.

    Mendelsohn states in his review that there is optimism that the enactment of the new Urban and Regional Planning Bill would increase the efficiency of low-income housing development, as indicated in the IPPR's housing study.

    He agrees with the IPPR's findings that “some new procedures may not improve on the old stifling measures which have attracted much criticism”.

    The IPPR's findings indicate that in total 59 000 houses, beneficiaries and plots have been provided since 1998.

    Of those, 30 4000 were provided by the government, at a rate of almost 1 100 per year.

    Mendelsohn points out that this is 14 times lower than the annual growth of informal housing in urban areas, which now amounts to about 15 000 new informal shacks per year.

    “The numbers demonstrate how little government has achieved with public funds,” he writes.

    In contrast to “the rather modest performance of government, a number of local authorities have been innovative and energetic in seeking ways to increase the availability of land and housing” for low income communities, Mendelsohn notes, reflecting similar findings in the IPPR's housing study.

    A critical task is to review more of these local efforts, Mendelsohn notes, in order to gain an understanding of the “underlying motives and incentives that led to these initiatives”.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    25% NEEEF ownership pillar falls away25% NEEEF ownership pillar falls away The government will do away with the 25% equity provision forming part of the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF).

    Instead, it will push for the adoption of employee share schemes as a policy tool to address poverty and balance the scales of wealth.

    This bombshell was dropped during the delivery of the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Hage Geingob in the National Assembly yesterday.

    Geingob said: “Let me use this opportunity to put the equity pillar of NEEEF into perspective. The 25% equity stake will not translate into broad-based empowerment and is done away with.”

    According to him, cabinet in its decision to do away with the contentious condition took cognizance of the fact that most Namibians, especially the previously disadvantaged, do not have enough resources to invest in empowerment transactions, nor are they able to obtain access to funding to participate in such transactions. “Some sectors such as mining are particularly capital intensive and come with huge risk during the exploration phase. “We must strive towards inclusive broad-based empowerment focusing on the plight of farmworkers, domestic workers, women, the youth and all disenfranchised Namibians,” the president said. Mentioning one possible solution, Geingob cited employee share schemes as an effective broad-based policy intervention under NEEEF.

    “Employee share schemes are one of the most effective forms of broad-based empowerment. I encourage such an approach,” said Geingob. Outcomes from the NEEEF consultations were presented to the cabinet in February 2018 and the office of the prime minister is expected to provide feedback in May. The development was welcomed by economist Klaus Schade, who said this would send positive signals to investors. “The move was expected and sends a positive signal to all investors, domestic and foreign direct investors.

    It also shows that government is listening to comments from the private sector and could signal a continuation of closer consultation and cooperation between the two sectors,” Schade said.

    He hoped a revised version of the draft framework would be shared soon. “We would need to see the final revised NEEEF in order to assess the impact on achieving the objectives of reducing inequality and poverty, since there were other concerns, such as the composition of boards and management,” Schade said.

    Economics professor Roman Grynberg said the government would have to devise a list to track compliance with NEEEF. The academic also welcomed the idea that the government was considering employee share schemes.

    “The most effective way to assure NEEEF compliance is to use it as an instrument to assure that firms cannot tender for government contracts without some sort of NEEEF compliance. Having dropped the 25% equity requirement, the government will have to devise some sort of checklist or criteria to assure that firms are NEEEF compliant,” said Grynberg.

    “The president has endorsed the idea of worker share ownership schemes as they exist in Europe and the existence of these may be one of the criteria used by government to assure NEEEF compliance, amongst others,” said Grynberg.

    Namibia Stock Exchange CEO Tiaan Bazuin said it was a positive development.

    “I believe one of the drivers to economic inclusion is economic growth and foreign investment is needed for such growth. However since the NEEEF discussions have started, the ownership stake has held some of the foreign investment back. With this statement I believe we can get those investments back on track,” said Bazuin.

    A few weeks ago, the chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission, Yvonne Dausab, who is driving the legal process behind NEEEF, would neither confirm nor deny that the government was looking at doing away with the 25% clause and said the cabinet was still deliberating on all aspects of NEEEF.

    The Chamber of Mines of Namibia has also in the past voiced its concerns about the planned implementation of the framework.

    “The outcome of NEEEF is still uncertain, though we have it in good faith that government is cognisant of the sector's concerns with the current version of the bill. The chamber is concerned that the continued uncertainties around NEEEF will further worsen Namibia's rankings in the Fraser Institute reports as detailed in a following section,” said chamber president Kombadayedu Kapwanga.

    Geingob recently blasted those opposed to NEEEF.

    “Our response to those that try to discredit government interventions at every opportunity is: what are your solutions? Sadly, very often, the reply is a deafening silence,” Geingob said during a workshop on NEEEF that was held at State House.

    Citing Article 23 of the Namibian constitution, the president said there was provision made to enact laws that would address economic inequalities, as had been the case with the Affirmative Action Act, therefore making them constitutional.

    “I have to remind you that Article 23 authorises government to enact legislation providing directly or indirectly for the advancement of persons within Namibia who have been excluded from educational opportunities and economic activity by past discriminatory laws and practices.

    “In the same vein, it also calls for the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at righting social, economic or educational imbalances in our country,” added Geingob.

    Opposition to NEEEF, he said, was surprising and unwarranted given that wide consultations were still being held.

    “The final leg of the consultation is now before us. It is disturbing to note that there are some who have cast aspersions on the framework even before consultations were concluded,” said Geingob.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Ancestral land takes centre stageAncestral land takes centre stage Geingob’s SONA calls corruption ‘enemy number one’ The simmering issue of restitution for ancestral land dispossession, which had contentiously been left out of the controversial Land Bill that was shelved last year, will take centre stage at the upcoming second national land conference.

    While addressing the “vexing, complex and emotive matter” of land, Geingob said during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) that the country's second land conference would take place in the first week of October and that ancestral land restitution would be discussed.

    Also on the agenda would be the willing buyer, willing seller principle; expropriation in the public interest with just compensation, as provided for in the constitution; urban land reform and resettlement criteria; and the veterinary cordon fence.

    Geingob's pronouncements around expropriation with compensation comes amid fears that Namibia would follow the Zimbabwean route, as well as a recent parliamentary motion in South Africa, which is expected to lead to expropriation without compensation in that country.

    The president admitted yesterday that the willing buyer, willing seller principle adopted after independence had not produced the required results.

    Geingob shelved the Land Bill in February 2017 amid growing tensions over the ancestral land issue, while saying more consultation was needed, and that the tabling of the bill would take place after the second national land conference, which was initially slated for September that year.

    At the time, land reform minister Utoni Nujoma said there would be no entertainment of ancestral land claims, that those with such claims were “unpatriotic” and that a return to ancestral land was akin to going back to colonial and apartheid era Bantustans.

    However, Nujoma sang a different tune at a consultative workshop in July last year, when he welcomed a debate on ancestral land, saying people were within their rights to call for restitution and that the government was obligated to look after the interests of all Namibians.

    Despite the importance attached to redressing historical injustices with regard to access to agricultural land, the restitution of ancestral land rights has been ruled out in Namibia. The country's first land conference in 1991 passed a consensus resolution that ancestral land rights could not be restored in full.

    This has also appeared to have been Swapo's position over the years.

    The 1991 conference had effectively dodged the issue under the pretext that there were too many overlapping and counterclaims for ancestral land.

    At the centre of unfolding pressure around ancestral land is the Landless People's Movement, led by former deputy lands minister Bernadus Swartbooi, who was fired by Geingob after a clash with Nujoma over land resettlement.

    The land issue was one of the fundamental reasons why Namibians took up arms against colonialism and apartheid.

    The dispossession of land by European settlers from Africans began in the 19th century with the coming of German colonists and traders as the area was incorporated as German South-West Africa. Apartheid South Africa followed this trend and upon independence in 1990, Namibia inherited a colonial division of land in which 3 500 farmers, who were almost entirely white, owned approximately 50% of the country's agricultural land.



    'Number one enemy'

    During his SONA yesterday, Geingob labelled corruption as the nation's “enemy number one” in the war against widespread poverty.

    “As a matter of fact, corruption is enemy number one in our war against poverty. It diverts scarce resources intended for development. To fight corruption requires a robust governance architecture, underpinned by the principles of accountability and transparency.”

    Geingob, however, added there was a “worrying and persisting perception mostly propagated by media that government is not doing enough to curb corruption, despite numerous cases where decisive action has been taken to demonstrate political will”.

    “In 2017, 60 cases have been investigated and handed over to the prosecutor-general by the Anti-Corruption Commission, with recommendation to prosecute. Where there are flaws in institutional processes and systems, we have adopted additional mechanisms to identify loopholes and facilitate the reporting of irregularities.

    “The media have an obligation to highlight what we are doing right and wrong on all fronts. It is in the interest of those who elected us to know what government is doing,” Geingob said.

    He added that in line with the commitment “to reckon”, he further demonstrated resolve to address perceived and alleged corruption by requesting ministers to respond to accusations levelled against them, upon commencement of the 2018 executive year.

    “This should not be understood to mean the concerned ministers are guilty of corrupt activity. The purpose of my intervention was to provide a platform to respond.

    “Despite our public declaration of assets, my wife and I remain on the receiving end of similar allegations and scrutiny. I continue to respond to queries from the media and expect ministers to do the same.

    “I am glad cabinet ministers have all responded and come to appreciate this platform to respond to allegations levelled against them.

    “If we are to win the war against corruption we have a shared obligation to blow the whistle. In this regard members of the public are requested to report cases of corruption.

    “The Whistle Blowers Protection and Witness Protection Acts were passed in September 2017 to strengthen our legal instruments. The implementation mechanism for this legislation is not yet operational.

    “However, this should not deter the public from submitting reports of corruption to relevant authorities. Contrary to the widespread perception of corrupt officials, substantiated reports have not been forthcoming,” Geingob added.



    STAFF REPORTER

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    March inflation unchanged at 3.5%March inflation unchanged at 3.5% Overall annual inflation in March was 3.5%, the same as the previous month, but still far lower than the 6.8% of March 2017.
    Data released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) this afternoon, shows an increase in overall food inflation – 2.9% compared to 2% in February.

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    Teachers on 730 days' sick leaveTeachers on 730 days' sick leaveMinister says there is collusion at some schools Sick leave, for up to two years, has been unearthed in the education ministry's hunt for so-called ghost teachers. Investigations into the payroll of the education ministry in all 14 regions have uncovered embezzlement of state funds and a lack of action when it comes to teaching staff on prolonged sick leave.

    In some cases it was found that staff were consistently on leave since 2016 and still receive a full salary.

    In speech read on her behalf by her deputy, Anna Nghipondoka, education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, told Oshana regional education managers, supervisors and other role players at Ongwediva on Tuesday that there was a lack of action when it comes to prolonged sick leave.

    Hanse-Himarwa also highlighted administrative shortcomings that were discovered during the payroll verification exercise that was conducted by the ministry and said the compilation of the investigation reports have been completed.

    According to her, investigations discovered there is a lack of action from all role players including the heads of schools, education inspectors and human resources when it comes to staff members who are on prolonged sick leave.

    “We have noticed cases of staff members who are on sick leave as far back as 2016 but are still receiving a full salary.”

    Hanse-Himarwa said in some instances cases are reported through available channels for action to be taken, but that no action had been forthcoming.

    In other instances cases are never reported by the principal or school management.





    “Such tendencies are uncalled for and they negatively impact on the teaching and learning process and ultimately the biggest losers in this situation are the learners. On the same score the handling and recording of all types of leaves really require better control.”

    The investigations further uncovered damning evidence regarding the embezzlement of state funds by some staff members of the ministry in three regions.

    “I want to inform you that we have instituted the relevant disciplinary measures against such staff members and at the same time opened criminal cases against the alleged offenders.”

    Hanse-Himarwa cautioned staff to be vigilant and to report any suspicious actions.

    According to her the financial management department with the assistance of the office of the director must implement pay sheet control as a matter of urgency.

    “The office of the director must compel all school principals to return all pay sheets for the purpose of pay sheet control to be implemented and the director must be provided with a monthly pay sheet control report. In that way, we will be able to eliminate dubious salary payments in the ministry.”

    Hanse-Himarwa said equally education inspectors and senior education officers should intensify and coordinate school visits across the entire region.

    “While this might have a huge financial burden at a time that we want to cut costs, the regional management committee must formulate a practical and efficient plan that will culminate in the realisation of programme quality assurance services members visiting school more intensely.”

    She said the ministry should also strengthen supervision in all the schools in order to ensure that constructive teaching and learning takes place.

    The minister further implored education inspectors and the professional development subdivision to redouble efforts in ensuring that activities in schools, especially the national standards and performance indicators, are properly monitored and that real and actual teaching takes place.



    ELLANIE SMIT



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Police rain bullets on car, kill onePolice rain bullets on car, kill one The Omusati police are investigating a shooting incident on the eve of Easter weekend which left one man dead and another injured, allegedly at the hands of one of their members.

    According to police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, the police are alleged to have fired at a vehicle travelling from Outapi heading towards Oshikuku with three occupants. A man in his 30s died instantly while the driver, Nambonga Policatus, 33, sustained a leg injury. The owner of the vehicle escaped unhurt.

    Kanguatjivi told Namibian Sun the police were conducting an operation that fateful evening, targeting vehicles suspected to have been involved in crime in the region.

    Policatus who was driving a Toyota Corolla at the time of the incident told Namibian Sun from his recovery bed that bullets were flying “all over the place”.

    “I was out with my friends at Outapi whom are all from Okando near Okalongo.

    The owner of the car had had too much to drink and he gave me the keys to drive us home. While approaching Ombafi village a police van just drove past us and it started shooting at us. I got our car off the road and jumped out. In my shock I ran away. The police stopped their van, drove back at us and started shooting again. Some were shooting at me while others were shooting at the car. One bullet got me in the leg,” Policatus said.

    “They started searching us and the car. They confiscated our identity documents and cellphones which we still have not received back. I was taken to Outapi District Hospital, but the following day I was transferred to Oshakati Intermediate Hospital where I was operated,” he said.

    Policatus said that he does not know why the police fired.





    He said he was not under any guard at the hospital and was allowed to go home without any police restrictions after he was discharged.

    “While in the hospital, investigators who came to question me, told me the police fired when we failed to stop. This is not true because when they approached us it looked like they wanted to kill us.”

    Kanguatjivi however said that while police were busy with the operation, they spotted the vehicle without a number plate and it was similar to one reported in a crime.

    “The police alleged that they attempted to stop the car but it drove away.

    They followed them and about 20 kilometres from Outapi the police tried to pass them, but the officers say the car started driving in the middle of the road preventing the police van from passing. They fired and the passenger on the back seat was sadly hit and killed,” Kanguatjivi said.

    He said that the driver got the car off the road, but it was stuck in water. The driver tried to run away before the police fired at him and arrested him together with the vehicle's owner.

    Kanguatjivi said that no charge or case has opened against the victims, but the police internal investigation unit has opened a case of shooting that is currently under investigation.

    “I do not want to release the name of the victim because it might jeopardise the investigation either on the side of the police or the victim,” he said.



    ILENI NANDJATO

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Pension increase for GIPF membersPension increase for GIPF members Pensioners belonging to the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) monthly pensions have increased by 5.5% from the beginning of this month.
    This is lower than the 7% increase GIPF pensioners received last year. However, the new increase is significantly higher than the average inflation rate of 3.5% in 2017.
    Over the years the GIPF board has always awarded increases slightly above the consumer price index, the fund said in a statement this morning.

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    Rogue doctor driver gets bail Rogue doctor driver gets bail
    The now notorious Otjiwarongo-based Zimbabwean doctor Yevai Chiradza, was granted N$12 000 bail at the Karibib Magistrate's Court this morning.
    He has been in holding since his appearance mid-March following a warrant of arrest because he failed to appear in court on charges of culpable homocide.
    State prosecutor Johannes Kalipi, told the court the State does not oppose bail.
    Read the full report in Monday's Namibian Sun

    DENVER KISTING

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     Geingob to speak at Mama Winnie’s funeral Geingob to speak at Mama Winnie’s funeral President Hage Geingob will be among the speakers at the official funeral of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. According to the presidency, Geingob will depart for South Africa tomorrow morning just in time for the funeral service that will be held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
    Staff reporter

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    'You strike a woman, you strike a rock''You strike a woman, you strike a rock' President Hage Geingob gave a moving yet succint eulogy to Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela today at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg today.
    "It is not surprising that one runs out of superlatives when describing this Rock of Soweto, this strong and fearless African woman. She exemplified the majesty of motherhood; on one hand, she was a staunch anti-apartheid
    activist and on the other hand, a solid rock of her family while her then husband, Comrade Nelson Mandela, was serving time on Robben Island. What distinguished her from her peers was that Comrade Winnie never
    elevated herself above the people. In her own words, she said “I am the
    product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy”.
    He spoke at length of her fire and passion, and her determination to succeed in finding freedom for her people at all odds.
    And he reminded us all to honour our heroes while they are still alive.
    STAFF REPORTER

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