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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 725 | 726 | (Page 727) | 728 | 729 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Agri sector get vocational training boostAgri sector get vocational training boostFirst of its kind for Namibia In a bid to combat youth unemployment and boost food production and security, youth are being training in this regard and the first batch has graduated. A group of 11 trainee farmers became the first small-scale irrigation farmers to graduate at the Tsumis Arid Zone Agricultural Centre (TAZAC).

    At a handover of certificates to the group of farmers last week, the permanent secretary in the agricultural ministry, Percy Misika stressed the importance of vocational training in the sector.

    He said education, skills development and technical vocational training are central to agricultural production and rural employment in every country.

    According to Misika vocational training in agriculture was previously non-existent in Namibia, and this has contributed to a lack of semiskilled workforce in the sector.

    “As such, no accredited vocational training in agriculture existed in the country.”

    With 25% of the population being youth (15 - 34 age group), and an unemployment rate of 37.5%, Namibia has a large pool of labour force to achieve economic transformation, said Misika.

    He said the challenge however, is that the youth are unskilled and inexperienced. According to the 2016 national statistics, 20% of the total population is employed in agriculture sector.

    “However, only 11.2% of the people working in the agriculture sector are skilled meaning, 88.8% are unskilled.”

    Misika said to address the skills gaps in the agriculture sector, the government through the agricultural ministry identified TAZAC in the Hardap Region and the Mashare Agricultural Development Institute (MADI) in the Kavango East Region as training institutions to implement the vocational education and training programme in agriculture. This is being done with the support of the Namibia Training Authority (NTA).

    The two centres admit young Namibians between the ages of 16 to 35 years with a minimum Grade 10 certificate and agricultural background from across the country.

    These centres provide agricultural vocational education and training through short courses and one-year training courses by offering a certificate in livestock husbandry and a certificate in horticulture and crop husbandry at Level 2 respectively.

    The trainees that received certificates have undergone a six-month foundation course in horticulture with particular emphasis on date, grape and vegetable production with a rigorous practical training at the Orange River Irrigation Project.

    “The objective of this tailor-made course was to equip these young people with knowledge and skills that will enable them to embark upon commercial farming with export oriented cash crops such as dates and grapes, amongst others,” said Misika.

    According to him this training is a prerequisite for the participation in the commercial irrigation farming at any irrigation project under the Green Scheme programme.

    “I do not expect you to go and look for employment, but I look at you as new commercial farmers, prospective employers and young entrepreneurs, who will make their mark in a highly competitive national and international market for crops and horticultural products, thereby contributing to the attainment of food self-security, and improved livelihoods.”

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Inventor says UK investors want him relocateInventor says UK investors want him relocateSays will make up decision once back home Pedro da Fonseca of Black Gold Engineering's LED bulb invention which he says wowed investors in the UK may be relocating to that country on demand of investors. “They (UK investors) want me to relocate here so that I can start up there, as my invention is fully fit for their setup,”- Pedro da Fonseca, inventor NDAMA NAKASHOLE

    A young Namibian inventor, Pedro da Fonseca, says some of the UK investors interested in his invention want him to relocate to the European country to do business there.

    He spoke to Market Watch yesterday morning, after he had made his final pitch as a finalist at Pitch@Palace in the UK on Monday night.

    Picth@Palace was founded by the Duke of York in 2014 to support entrepreneurs who are tackling problems that affect daily life by connecting them with potential investors.

    Da Fonseca, who is an electrical engineer by profession, made it to the final round with 51 other start-ups with his invention, the NamLux streetlight.

    NamLux is an LED bulb that is not only brighter but more efficient, longer lasting and requires minimal power for operation, he said.

    The benefits of NamLux are low energy consumption, reduced costs, no maintenance required, no change in the current street-lighting setup, improved lighting, as well as 60% to 80% guaranteed savings on power, Da Fonseca said.

    The young inventor patented his invention at the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa) last year.

    Results

    Da Fonseca yesterday said although he did not make it to the top three winners on Monday night, he attracted the attention of potential investors.

    During the night’s networking time, he said the main question he kept receiving was how he got that far without his government coming on board.

    He said about ten UK investors urged him to relocate to that country so that they could do business together.

    “They (UK investors) want me to relocate here so that I can start up there, as my invention is fully fit for their setup,” he said.

    Da Fonseca said these investors would bring in working capital and help with modelling and business growth strategies in exchange for shares in the business.

    But despite the tempting offer, Da Fonseca said he would prefer getting Namibian investors or government support to keep the operation local, “so we first make our country great before anyone else’s”.

    “If this [competition] was in Africa, it would have been greater. I made a lot of contacts. I will see how it will go from there when I get back to Namibia. It will also depend on how the government will see this.

    Way up

    Last year, Da Fonseca and his invention represented Namibia at the Seoul International Inventors Fair 2017. His participation was made possible with financial assistance from Bipa.

    The event took place between 30 November and 3 December 2017 at the COEX exhibition hall in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea.

    Da Fonseca, who calls his company Black Gold Engineering, says all he needs is an investor to help grow the business.

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    PPS Namibia allocates millions to membersPPS Namibia allocates millions to members Staff Reporter - PPS Insurance Namibia, the Namibian financial services company focused exclusively on graduate professionals, allocated N$168.7 million in profits to its members for the 2017 financial year.

    This was in addition to the N$87.6 million in total benefits paid to members during 2017, the company said in a statement.

    PPS Namibia members benefit from the company’s value proposition as they share in all company profits via allocations to their PPS Profit-Share Account. Upon retirement, they qualify for a lump sum pay-out of all the accumulated profits.

    “Success is better shared,” says Adri Vermeulen, chief executive of PPS Insurance Namibia. “The 2017 profit-share allocations to our members were the highest in five years. In fact, cumulative profit-share allocations to members for the last five years total N$601.1 million. Once again, our mutual model has shown how value is optimised when success is shared.”

    Vermeulen is pleased with the company’s performance in 2017. Total assets for the business, which provides long-term life, sickness, dreaded disease and disability insurance to members, has risen consistently over the last five years, reaching N$1.3 billion in 2017. Gross premium revenue has also climbed steadily reaching N$144.7 million in 2017, with new annual premium income of N$7 million in the year under review.

    Izak Smit, group CEO of PPS Group says, like PPS Namibia, the South African operation also delivered strong growth in 2017.

    He attributes the performances to graduate professionals’ growing appetite for the mutuality model, the companies’ unique solutions and the ongoing support of intermediaries. “Intermediaries are key business partners across the PPS businesses and we will continue to work closely with them in the future,” Smit says.

    “We are delighted with the performance of PPS Insurance Namibia during 2017. Not only did we pay benefits to members in their time of need, but we were also able to provide generous profit allocations. As our business continues to grow, the overall value members receive will also rise as they share in our success through the allocation of profits to their PPS Profit-Share Account. These results demonstrate the strength and sustainability of a mutual financial services company,” he says.

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    Media censorship by 'apartheid' law condemnedMedia censorship by 'apartheid' law condemned Media institutions have condemned the use of old apartheid laws to censor and silence the Namibian media and called on the government to immediately withdraw legal action taken against The Patriot newspaper.

    This follows an urgent court application brought last Thursday by Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) director-general Philemon Malima against The Patriot newspaper and its editor, Mathias Haufiku, in a bid to stop the publication of a report about an association of former members of the NCIS as well as the purchase of certain properties.

    The NCIS claimed that the publication of this report would contravene the 1982 Protection of Information Act and threatened or jeopardised national security. It further insisted that all information about the activities and assets of the NCIS must be kept secret.

    To give the newspaper an opportunity to respond to the application, Judge Harald Geier postponed the hearing to this Friday. The newspaper has in the meantime withheld publication of the report pending the outcome of the High Court application.

    The Patriot, represented by lawyer Norman Tjombe, filed notice that the newspaper would oppose the gagging order.

    The chairperson of the Editors' Forum of Namibia (EFN), Joseph Ailonga, this week said the NCIS must immediately withdraw its court action against both the newspaper and Haufiku.

    “Although the hearing was postponed until this Friday to give The Patriot an opportunity to respond to the application, the NCIS was successful in using the draconian 1982 Protection of Information Act in stopping the publication of the story,” said Ailonga.

    According to the EFN this Act is unconstitutional as it violates the freedom of speech and the media, and it should been scrapped a long time ago.

    “It is a shame that an apartheid law is still on Namibia's statute books and is being used by the current government to silence the media and to promote secrecy,” Ailonga said.

    He said this action was against the very sentiments expressed by President Hage Geingob when he said at a World Press Freedom Day ceremony last year: “As long as I am given the mandate to lead this great country, freedom of the press is guaranteed.”

    According to Ailonga, Geingob said at the same ceremony that the Namibian media formed part and parcel of the governance architecture, with the responsibility of ensuring that elected officials were held accountable and delivered on the promises they made, and that there was a need for Namibian media to become the freest in the world.

    “Actions such as that of the NCIS stifle transparency and accountability in the name of national security,” he emphasised.

    Ailonga added that these actions also went against Namibia's Harambee Prosperity Plan, which aspired to keep the country number one in Africa on the World Press Freedom Index as adjudicated by Reporters Without Borders.

    The Namibia Media Trust (NMT) has also condemned the action by the NCIS to censor and silence the media.

    The executive chairperson of NMT, Gwen Lister, agreed that the 1982 Protection of Information Act was unconstitutional as it violated both freedom of speech and media freedom, and should have been scrapped after independence.

    “There are serious criminal penalties attached to this outdated law, which has a chilling effect on the work of journalists reporting freely in the public interest, and further flies in the face of our democratic constitution and its guarantees of freedom of speech and expression,” Lister said.

    She said NMT unequivocally condemned the NCIS using the courts and a draconian law to censor the media and to stifle the public's right to access to information.

    Lister said seen against the background of Geingob's Harambee plan, which promotes a more open and transparent regime, as well as ongoing efforts to enact an Access to Information law for Namibia, the action by NCIS to stifle media freedom was unacceptable.

    “NMT calls on the government to speedily strike this oppressive law from our statute books along with any other that undermine the constitutionally entrenched rights to free speech and expression,” she said.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 04/17/18--16:00: Police ask for vehicles
  • Police ask for vehiclesPolice ask for vehicles A decision to not buy new vehicles for the police has affected their mobility, safety and security minister Charles Namoloh said when he motivated the ministry's budget vote in the National Assembly.

    Namoloh said no vehicles had been acquired by the police for the last three financial years. He said 70% of the police fleet were reaching the end of their lifespan and needed to be replaced.

    “The maintenance of the fleet has become increasingly costly and the mobility of the police is negatively affected,” said Namoloh.

    Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said in 2016 already that the police would run into problems because no new vehicles had been purchased.

    “If we don't buy vehicles, there will be problems. Some police services will be paralysed for three consecutive years,” Ndeitunga said.

    “Our vehicles are moving 24 hours a day. They can be involved in accidents, so they need to be replaced,” he said.

    In his budget motivation, Namoloh also raised the issue of housing for members of the police.

    “The provision of adequate and suitable living accommodation for men and women in uniform in some areas remains a critical challenge, a difficult task to accomplish,” Namoloh said.

    For the 2018/19 financial year, the Ministry of Safety and Security was allocated N$5.1 billion. The majority of the allocation went to the combating of crime, which received N$3.54 billion.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Disused school buildings fall apartDisused school buildings fall apartVandals, nature take over A community in the Oshikoto Region say the abandoned Oshikomba school buildings could have been used for a clinic or police station. Following its closure six years ago, the Oshikomba Junior Primary School at Onakandi village in the Oshikoto Region is falling apart.

    Windows have been vandalised and the environment is slowly taking over the buildings while outdated textbooks are scattered around in classrooms.

    The school is one of many in the country that have been closed down, termed as 'non-economical'.

    It was established in 1992 with only 80 pupils, and 20 years later, with less than 20 learners enrolled, it was shut down.

    The teachers, learners and furniture were moved to other schools.

    Currently, there is pressure and puzzlement from the community who is calling on government to transform the existing infrastructure rather than allowing it to lie idle and go to waste. Members of the community say a clinic for their village would be very useful, adding they have to travel long distances to get medical treatment. Some also say a small police station would benefit the village and its surrounds.

    “We would like to know what the government is planning to do with these buildings. They have not been used. One classroom is used as a kindergarten and sometimes also for community gatherings but otherwise, nothing is done with them,” Namibian Sun was told.

    “It would be best if government can consider turning the buildings into a clinic or police station as we need those services brought closer to us. We believe these structures cost the taxpayer money and therefore something needs to be done.”

    Apart from wanting the buildings to be transformed, the community feels that it is sad to know that there are children in the country being taught under a tree or in a shack while the premises of the Oshikomba school are not being utilised.

    In 2012 it was reported that the education ministry's authorities in the region were considering turning it into a vocational or boarding school, with a hostel. None of this transpired.

    The education director for Oshikoto, Lameck Kafidi, told Namibian Sun the school was simply not viable, hinting that some other schools might also be closed down in the future because of the same situation.

    “It is unfortunate that the infrastructure was put up. By the time we closed that school there was an enrolment of three, four or five learners per class,” Kafidi said.

    On the issue of whether Oshikomba was properly planned, Kafidi confidently said it was not, adding that pressure from community members and “powerful people in government” resulted in the construction schools of this nature, which he said will eventually be closed down.

    “The establishment of schools does not necessarily result from the regional plan. That school was not planned. Somebody powerful comes up here and says 'tomorrow these children must have a school'. Is that a plan?” Kafidi remarked.

    Regarding the viability of transforming the now defunct school into a clinic or a police station, Kafidi said many solutions have been considered but they are not possible in the current economic climate.

    He also added that government has other priority projects that need to be kick-started and even more others that require completion before the reopening of Oshikomba Junior Primary school will be put on the table.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 04/17/18--16:00: Africa briefs
  • Africa briefsAfrica briefs Zimbabwe's tax revenue up 29%

    Zimbabwe’s tax revenue rose 29% to US$1.1 billion during the first quarter of the year, the tax agency said on Monday, citing better tax compliance and an improving business environment under new President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

    The southern African nation has not been able to access foreign funding since 1999 when it defaulted on its debt, hobbling the economy and making tax collections crucial to financing the government budget.

    “Gross and net revenue collections were above last year’s levels for the same period, an indication of an improving operating environment for business and effective enforcement,” Zimbabwe Revenue Authority chairperson Willia Bonyongwe said in a statement.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    IMF resumes lending to Chad

    The International Monetary Fund said it was resuming loan disbursements to Chad after the Central African oil producer reached an agreement in principal to restructure its more than US$1 billion debt to Glencore and four banks.

    Glencore and the banks lent Chad’s state oil firm about US$1.45 billion in 2014 to be repaid with crude oil cargoes but global oil prices crashed shortly thereafter.

    The debt has eaten up nearly all of Chad’s oil profits — its main source of revenue — prompting tense negotiations that began last year about restructuring.

    The agreement struck in February extends the maturity of the debt and provides a two-year grace period on principal payments.

    Nigerian regulator lifts suspension of shares in oil company

    Nigeria’s stock exchange lifted a suspension on trading in shares in oil company Oando on Wednesday, following a directive from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the stock exchange said.

    Trading on Oando shares had been frozen for six months on the Lagos stock exchange. The regulatory agency ordered the suspension to investigate alleged insider trading and the oil company’s shareholding structure.

    The shares resumed trading at 6.30 naira, after last closing at 5.99 naira six months ago.

    The stock exchange notified Oando of the lifting by letter. It did not provide any reason.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Zimbabwe in tight timeline to repay arrears

    Zimbabwe stuck on Monday to its plan to clear its debt arrears by September with the aim to tap international capital markets by the end of the year, though that timeline would be “very fast-tracked.”

    Zimbabwean officials met with investors in New York in search for cash that would clear about US$1.8 billion in arrears with the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Repayment would unlock more cash from the ADB and is necessary to tap other sources of development financing.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    South African rand edges higher against weaker dollar

    South Africa’s rand edged higher early on Tuesday against a slightly weaker dollar, building on gains from the previous session.

    At 0610 GMT, the rand traded at 12.0350 versus the dollar, 0.1% stronger than its New York close on Monday.

    The dollar index was down less than 0.1%. On global markets, the focus shifted back to US trade policy as investors wagered that US-led attacks on Syria would not escalate into a wider conflict in the Middle East.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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    Residents demand fair trial for killer copResidents demand fair trial for killer copInternal disciplinary process yet to start Members of the Tsumeb community say they are not happy with the manner in which the murder case was handled. Tsumeb residents held an emotional demonstration in front of the town's police office to demand that Chief Inspector Bernhard Nghuulivali, who is accused of having shot and killed the 15-year-old Hendrik Eiseb in February, be given a fair trial.

    Nghuulivali, who is out on bail of N$10 000, has since returned to work and has been dealing with the same community at Extension 6, an informal settlement in the town where Eiseb, a San teenager, was from.

    He is to reappear in court on 19 April.

    The petition handed over to the police yesterday states that residents were shocked by the manner in which the court dealt with Nghuulivali's case.

    It claims a cover-up on the day Eiseb was murdered and alleges “unnecessary delays” in the arrest of Nghuulivali.

    They demand that different detectives be assigned to handle the case.

    According to the petition the gun with which Eiseb was killed has not yet been found.

    The community also demanded that a state prosecutor from outside Tsumeb should handle the prosecution. They said they would stage another protest in front of the magistrate's court on the day of the hearing to amplify their demands.

    Nghiluulivali has returned to work after he was released on bail and even addressed a public meeting on 10 April. This has caused resentment in the Tsumeb community as well as within police ranks.

    It is alleged that Nghuulivali on 28 January stopped his Toyota bakkie where Eiseb and two friends were walking to the veld.

    According to Bertha Hangula, a relative of Eiseb's two friends, Nghuulivali walked towards the boys, pulled out his gun and senselessly shot Eiseb in the head. The two other boys had run away.

    “The entire community is living in fear because the suspect has not been suspended,” the petition states.

    A police officer preferring anonymity said Nghuulivali “by law” should have been suspended from work from the time of his arrest and that he should have been detained until his release on bail.

    The officer said the severity of the charge against Nghuulivali warranted a suspension without the approval of the board of suspension. Alternatively, the officer said, Nghuulivali should have been given seven days' notice to appear before the board.

    Nghuulivali was arrested on 16 March.

    According to Section 23 of the Police Act the Inspector-General of the police can suspend any member of the police force pending a trial for a criminal offence, or an enquiry as to the fitness of the officer in question, or the institution of disciplinary procedures against such officer.

    The Act further stipulates that the Inspector-General shall suspend a police officer during any period during which he or she is under arrest or in detention or is serving a term of imprisonment.

    Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi yesterday said an arbitrator was appointed last Thursday to conduct a disciplinary hearing against Nghuulivali but that a new arbitrator was to be assigned in the meantime.

    Kanguatjivi said Nghuulivali would be given seven days' notice once the new arbitrator was assigned.

    “There is a process going on. We cannot rush into an arrest; the investigation is ongoing,” Kanguatjivi said.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Potholes are the price of lovely rainPotholes are the price of lovely rain With many of Windhoek's street increasingly pockmarked by potholes following heavy rains, motorists are paying a high price and the City of Windhoek's teams are scrambling to keep up with repair work.

    Tiger Wheel & Tyre Windhoek owner Ewald van Rensburg says the company has seen a 25% increase in customers who need to buy new tyres after destructive encounters with the city's increasing number of potholes.

    Charlton Swartz, manager at Supa Quick Tyre Experts Windhoek, says his company on average assists three to four clients a day, who complain that their tyres were damaged by potholes.

    Van Rensburg explains that the damage caused by potholes usually means that a tyre needs to be replaced, which can be costly.

    The damage caused by potholes includes rim damage, or damage to the sidewalls of the tyres, which cannot be fixed.

    Tyre prices range from N$600 up to N$5 000, he says.

    Swartz adds that wheel replacement because of pothole damage is usually not a budgeted expense, which makes for very unhappy car owners.

    He adds that it's mostly sedan cars that sustain damage, as larger off-road tyres can often withstand the impact with a pothole.



    Doing our best

    Dirk Reed, head of the City of Windhoek's roads and stormwater division, explains that potholes form where the surface seal is not waterproof anymore, which leads to water ingress during continuous periods of wet conditions. When a vehicle drives over such a weakened spot, a pothole develops.

    Reed rejected allegations that some areas of the city are attended to quicker than others.

    “No, we try to repair potholes as fast as we can, and we concentrate on the arterial and collector roads that are the most important,” he said.

    He said the current situation was “a huge challenge, especially this year, as the new Procurement Act delayed the appointment of unit rate and reseal contractors.”

    He said the City hoped that the contractors would be appointed in May, after which the City could repair all the potholes.

    Reed added that the current wet conditions hampered pothole repairs.

    “We have our own teams that do their best, but we are falling behind on the repairs,” he admitted.

    “We have a capacity problem, but strive to repair within a week,” he emphasised.

    During wet conditions, the City's teams can only repair potholes temporarily with Soilcrete, which needs to be replaced with Cold Asphalt Premix once the weather is drier. Reed said the whole of Windhoek was affected.

    The City has budgeted N$70 million for road and stormwater maintenance, and pothole repairs fall under that annual budget, he explained.

    Reed urged residents to report potholes as soon as they spot them.

    For areas west of the B1 Bypass, contact 061 290 2775, and east of the B1 Bypass contact 061 290 2061.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    AG’s office wants auditing firms to train staffAG’s office wants auditing firms to train staff Ndama Nakashole

    The office of the auditor-general (AG) plans to use the services of auditing firms to train its staff.

    Newly appointed presidential affairs minister Martin Andjaba said this when he motivated the N$106.4 million 2018/2019 budget allocation to the AG’s office.

    He said the plan to transform the AG’s office into a learning institution for government human resources officers last year could not start because of financial constraints. The plan was to train these HR officers so that they can contribute to accountability, transparency and good governance.

    In this new financial year, the office intends to sign an agreement with auditing firms to train staff in the AG’s office.

    “Past and recent audits and observations show that there is a serious need for capacity building within the government offices, ministries and agencies and regional councils, municipalities , towns and villages,” he said.

    Andjaba said the AG’s office would continue to offer regular advisory and education services to help improve public financial management in the government and its institutions.

    Focus

    Andjaba said with this year’s budget, the office would undertake three programmes.

    The three - oversight of public resources, independence and legal framework, and organisation and management - will require N$67.5 million, N$3.8 million and N$35 million, respectively.

    The oversight of public resources programme will focus on value-for-money audits, environmental audits and compliance audits.

    The independence and legal framework programme is aimed at effective management of information technology to strengthen communication and human resources management, among other things.

    The N$35 million for the organisation and management programme will fund the coordination of support services as well as communication and stakeholder management activities.

    Target

    Andjaba said the AG intended to finalise 128 audit reports in 2018/2019. These included 37 government audit reports, 80 regional and local authority and statutory body audit reports, as well as 11 specialised audit reports.

    The 11 specialised audit reports planned during 2018/2019 are three performance audit reports, two follow-up performance audit reports, two environmental audit reports, two information systems reports, one transversal audit report and one other special audit report.

    In 2013, auditor-general Junias Kandjeke told the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) that his office was planning to establish a forensic audit unit due to demands from the government and members of the public concerning the increase of fraud cases in the country.

    Kandjeke was quoted as saying that the AG’s office had been using the support of private auditing firms to help with investigations, especially less-complicated cases.

    The forensic unit has since been implemented.

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    Stuck rates may stifle constructionStuck rates may stifle constructionCommercial building plans down in first quarter Looking at building plans approved in the capital in the past three months, business’ expansion aims are muted. The domestic economy continues to languish and monetary easing was expected as a measure to stimulate the economy. – IJG Securities Jo-Maré Duddy – The Bank of Namibia’s decision last week to keep its repo rate at 6.75% meant no relief on debt cost to businesses, rendering the acquisition of debt finance to invest in capital projects unattractive, says IJG Securities.

    Commenting on the latest building statistics by the Municipality of Windhoek, IJG says commercial and industrial plans worth N$24.9 million in total were approved by the City in the first quarter of this year. This is N$17.8 million or 41.7% less than during the first three months of 2017.

    Thirteen new commercial building plans received the green light from the municipality in the past quarter, compared to nine in the corresponding period in 2017. IJG says an average of 14.8 commercial units, valued at N$83 million (not adjusted for inflation), were approved on average during the first quarter over the last 20 years.

    Commercial and industrial buildings plans completed in the past quarter are valued at N$22.6 million in total – an increase of N$13.6 million or 151.5% compared to 2017.

    The latest money statistics released by the Bank of Namibia (BoN) show credit extended to businesses by local commercial banks in February recorded a year-on-year increase 3.7%. Overall credit extended to the private sector, households included, grew by 5.8%. Households’ growth was 7.2%.

    At the end of February, businesses owed commercial banks about N$37.1 billion. Of this, nearly N$11.3 billion was mortgage loans.

    Residential

    Plans worth N$80.8 million for flats and houses were approved in the past quarter, representing a drop of N$48.1 million or 37.3% compared to the first quarter of 2017. Plans for additions with the total value of N$324 million were also approved, up N$102.9 million or 46.5% compared to last year.

    IJG says 1 916 building plans were approved in the 12 months to the end of March 2018, a year-on-year increase of 10.1%. These plans were worth N$2.23 billion in total, 21.4% more over the prior 12-month period.

    “This increase is positive news as it signals an increase in private sector construction activity,” IJG says.

    Completed

    In their analysis of the municipality’s latest buildings stats, Simonis Storm (SS) says completed units are increasing much faster than levels seen over the last three years. According to SS, the average for the past quarter is 163 units versus 23 units in the same period in 2017.

    “Given the upward trend observed in buildings completed, it could suggest that construction within the city is increasing albeit at a slower pace,” SS says.

    IJG says Namibia’s economy “continues to languish and monetary easing was expected as a measure to stimulate the economy”. The BoN said last week a decrease in the country’s level of international reserves convinced it not to follow in the recent step by the South African Reserve Bank to lower rates.

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  • 04/17/18--16:00: Flood tragedy strikes family
  • Flood tragedy strikes familyFlood tragedy strikes family A Windhoek mother drowned and her three-year-old son is also feared dead after their shack was swept away by a flash flood after heavy rain on Monday evening.

    The tragic incident took place at the Abraham Iiyambo informal settlement on the outskirts of Hakahana in Windhoek.

    Police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi said the victims were identified as 32-year-old Saima Thomas and her son, Jason Lukas Shindinge.

    The woman's body was found in a riverbed about two kilometres from where their shack had stood.

    Thomas's husband managed to survive the ordeal, along with their three-day-old baby girl.

    The couple and their two children were the only people living in the shack, according to Shikwambi.

    “The man allegedly grabbed the baby and ran out of the room when the rainwater suddenly destroyed their dwelling, while the woman and the three-year-old boy were swept away by the water,” she said.

    The boy's body had not been found by late yesterday afternoon.

    The police and community members were continuing the search.



    Caution

    Shikwambi warned people to be cautious during the rainy season and not to swim in flooded rivers and ponds.

    “We would like to send out a warning to all Namibians, young and old, drivers and visitors alike, to please be careful when approaching water. Avoid crossing rivers and water ponds at all times.

    “If it is necessary for you to cross, first assess the level of the water before crossing. Likewise, we want to deter the nation from swimming in those flooded rivers and water ponds.

    “We should not underestimate the force of the water because water is very powerful and the chances of survival are very slim. Let us be careful at all times and spare our lives and property.”

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 04/17/18--16:00: Venaani lashes Geingob
  • Venaani lashes GeingobVenaani lashes GeingobSays Namibia is a state of despair, desperation The opposition leader says the president “told a tale of two Namibias” in his State of the Nation Address. JEMIMA BEUKES



    In a self-styled state of the nation address early this week, PDM leader McHenry Venaani launched a scathing attack on President Hage Geingob, saying despair and desperation were the order of the day in the country.

    According to Venaani, Geingob failed to give an account of the real state of the nation when he spoke in parliament last week.

    The official opposition leader said the dire unemployment rate remained high.

    According to Venaani about 45% of Namibians younger than 35 are without a job and living in shacks, while those with jobs have to spend a big chunk of their salaries on high mortgage repayments or rent.

    Real income had stagnated and owning a home was simply beyond the means of most working families, Venaani said.

    “For the unemployed the situation is even direr, having to settle in shacks when they move to the city and have very limited prospects to escape their oppressing living conditions.

    “The difference between what the poor earn and what a dwelling costs them is so large that many families choose to remain in their shacks even if the breadwinner may find gainful, full-time employment.”

    Venaani said he was disappointed that Geingob failed to admit the housing crisis and high jobless rate.

    Geingob, according to Venaani, “chose to tell a tale of two Namibias” in his speech.

    “There is the Namibia inhabited by the president, his family, business friends and a small select group. Then there is the real Namibia inhabited by the remaining 2.5 million of us,” said Venaani.

    In his address, Geingob labelled corruption as the nation’s “enemy number one” in the war against widespread poverty, saying there was political will to tackle the problem.

    He also welcomed debate on ancestral land claims ahead of the second national land conference that will take place later this year. The head of state largely painted a bright picture of the country.

    However, Venaani differed sharply and accused the Geingob administration of having a complete lack of information on jobs created in the country.

    “Does the president have no evidence of the scale of graduate unemployment in this country? Has the president no evidence of the large number of teachers and nursing trainees who, three years and more after completion of their training, are virtually all sitting at home without being afforded the opportunity to offer the critical services for which they have been trained for?

    “Why ignore the clear evidence of this cancer that characterises the true state of the economy? We heard nothing of the bold and radical measures that would encourage enterprises to expand, or that would help build new businesses in agriculture or industry to generate the hundreds of thousands of jobs that our youth need rather than saying new funds are found that are not clear where they are coming from and not budgeted for either.”

    ‘Promises, promises’

    Venaani added that Geingob had in the last few months proven himself to be a leader of many unfulfilled promises and ambitious plans that had little hope of being achieved.

    Venaani said his party believed the president would do well to start explaining why it had failed to deliver the 200 000 serviced erven he had promised when confronted by land activist Job Amupanda and his Affirmative Repositioning Movement.

    “In 2018 that unfulfilled promise remains of unserviced erven. Now we have been told that this incompetent government has managed to provide fewer than 10 000 erven for the land-hungry citizens his party claims to be concerned about.”

    Psemas mess

    Venaani also urged the government to consider administering the Public Service Employees Medical Aid Scheme (Psemas) internally in order to save costs, and to increase the ratio of health workers to patients.

    He added that the government should provide motorcycle ambulances for rural areas and revamp its new healthcare policy.

    “We have a situation of one out four children born in our country being stunted, meaning suffering from malnutrition and undernourishment, a situation that tells a glaring tale that one out four Namibians grow to abnormal capacity due to poor living conditions,” the opposition leader said.

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    Sports ministry gears for TokyoSports ministry gears for TokyoMinister promises development A new sports programme planned by the government will identify and groom talent in all the regions. The ministry of sport is hard at work trying to roll out a programme called Namibia Excellence School Academies (NESA) in order to identify and groom talent in the regions.

    This was announced by the minister of sport, Erastus Uutoni, yesterday when he welcomed back the 30 athletes who competed at the recently ended 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Uutoni said that the ministry was aware that the success of athletes mainly depends on preparations and that the poor state of sport facilities in Namibia had been noted.

    “One of the remedies which we as a ministry will undertake is to address is the identification of talent at a tender age, especially in remote and rural areas through NESA.

    “We must now and onward gear ourselves toward preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Uutoni said.

    The minister also expressed satisfaction with the success achieved by marathoner Helalia Johannes and boxer Jonas Junias at the Games. Both athletes won gold medals.

    “It was not an easy task. These competitions demand stamina, fitness and skills from athletes. That is why preparation is of utmost importance. On the other hand, competing in athletics provides the opportunity to learn life lessons, sportsmanship, team-building, goal setting, time management and leadership development,” he added.

    Uutoni further said that he was advocating for the establishment of a long-awaited sports fund that would help balance the funding models of sport codes on an equal basis.

    Abner Xoagub, president of the Namibia National Olympic Committee, said the time was running out for athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, and that only two athletes had done so in the past two years.

    He urged the ministry to look at releasing funds early in order for preparations to start early enough.

    “We need to prepare intensively. Look at Roger Haitengi, for instance. We have a quality triple jumper but in order for him to explode we have to help him early by changing his mindset, his environment, diet and we can only achieve this if we put together resources,” he said.

    Haitengi took ninth spot in the triple jump final in Australia.

    Xoagub further stressed that the qualifying criteria were high, which resulted in a lot of complaints, but that was done in order to send quality athletes to the Games.

    Thirty-seven-year-old Johannes, who beat the best in the world to secure a top podium finish, said people ridiculed her before the Games but she emerged with gold.

    “They said old athletes were travelling to compete, but I showed them my capabilities. I thank God and everyone who trains and supports me,” she said.

    A visibly emotional Junias said he was robbed in Glasgow four years ago and had been preparing since then for his gold medal.

    “Every time I think back to that I get emotional but God gave me strength. Namibia, we are on the move and rising,” the youthful boxer said.





    LIMBA MUPETAMI

    0 0
  • 04/18/18--16:00: Suburbs bag kit sponsorship
  • Suburbs bag kit sponsorshipSuburbs bag kit sponsorship Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) premier league club FNB Western Suburbs will now be able to play with a new kit after Castle Light, under AB InBev, sponsored the club with new playing gear.

    The new partnership with the beverage company does not have a period yet but the company predicts it could be over two years.

    “It is a great pleasure to be a co-sponsor of Western Suburbs as we know that Castle Light is an amazing brand.

    “For a sport, it makes sense that Castle Light associates itself with the club because we know that this is one of the healthiest beers in the world,” national marketing manager of AB InBev Marlize Maree said.

    AB InBev, the largest brewer in the world, has operations in over 50 countries and more than 500 beer brands sold in over 150 countries.

    The company is committed to driving growth that leads to better living for more people in more places through addressing relevant issues and working with local communities, NGOs, suppliers, governments, customers and consumers, to create value for all.

    The club also expressed its gratitude towards the sponsorship and promised to work harder in order to develop more players.

    “We are grateful for this sponsorship and it is up to us to show the sponsor that we will add value to the brand.

    “I believe that the sponsorship will tremendously help the club as far as development is concerned.

    “This club has been responsible for the development of rugby for many years given that most of the players we have produced have gone through the ranks of the national teams,” club executive president Keith Allies said.

    The club is also sponsored by FNB Namibia which contributes to over N$200 000 a year for the administration of Suburbs.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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  • 04/18/18--16:00: Pavaza off to Cairo
  • Pavaza off to CairoPavaza off to Cairo Namibia's FIFA referee, Jackson Pavaza, flew to Cairo yesterday to attend a FIFA refereeing course.

    The course serves as part of preparations for upcoming competitions on the African continent.

    The Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) organised a course for elite men referees which will see some of Africa's finest referees sharpening their skills.

    The five-day event will take place from 19 -25 April in Cairo, Egypt.

    The event will be attended by the elite panel of match officials and will be used to gauge the readiness of the participants for impending competitions, notably the Confederation Cup and Confederation's Champions League group stage matches.

    Pavaza, who has shown impressive progress since the start of his career, is among the few Namibian referees who have refereed continental matches.

    The prominent referee has played a big role in some matches at continental level after he refereed the match between Mauritania and Gambia in the African Nations Championship which was held in Morocco in January this year.

    “I am looking forward to the workshop and I am hopeful that the course will provide me with the unique opportunity to put into practice the knowledge gained.

    “So far my colleagues and I have done a good job and we will keep on improving as we contribute to the growth of football in the country through better officiating,” Pavaza told NFA media.

    The referee also expressed appreciation to CAF and the Namibia Football Association for the opportunity given to him.

    He believes that the opportunity will improve his knowledge with new ideas, which include offside rules and fouls off and on the ball.

    After the course, Pavaza will know more about careless and deliberate fouls. Pavaza recently refereed the match between African Stars and Tigers, which saw Stars winning the 2017/18 premier league title.

    NFA

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    Young Warriors host Botswana on SundayYoung Warriors host Botswana on Sunday The Young Warriors are set to play Botswana in Windhoek on Sunday for their second leg round for the 2019 CAF Under-20 AFCON qualifier.

    The team is expected to outperform themselves if they wish to proceed to the next stage of the competition after their first match ended goalless two weeks ago in Gaborone.

    Young Warriors coach Gerald Gunther said: “After a goalless match in Gaborone, we came back to the drawing board to see what we can improve on.

    “The boys did quite well and there were a few things we needed to work on especially being able to score goals and I think the preparation from the past weeks has enabled us to do just that.

    “Botswana won't be an easy team but I think the boys are ready; the couple of days left will be used to learn how to perfect scoring penalties in case we come to that during the match.”

    He further adds that the inclusion of twelve youth players in the previous Brave Warriors squad boosted the performance of most of the players because most of the players if not all of them looked up to the likes of Ronald Ketjijere and playing alongside him was a dream come true to this boys.

    The match will be played on Sunday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium with kick-off set for 15:00 with free entrance and the public is urged to come in numbers to support the boys.

    The winner of the Namibia/Botswana tie will proceed to the second round to face Congo in May with the winner of that meeting advancing to the third and final round of the qualifiers were Senegal or Egypt waits in July.

    The final tournament will be hosted by Niger in 2019 with the four semi-finalists qualifying for the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup, whose host will be announced next month.

    NFA

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    Warriors clash with the SwazisWarriors clash with the SwazisImmanuel dropped The Brave Warriors aim to spoil the party in Swaziland after their coach entrusted 21 players with the duty to get a good result. Namibia's national team have their sights set on success when they confront Swaziland today.

    The team departed yesterday afternoon with 21 players ready to beat Swaziland in their own backyard.

    The friendly match serves as preparation for Swaziland's independence celebrations.

    Goalkeeper Ratanda Mbazuvara of African Stars is in the mix of things while Young African duo Himeezembi Hengombe and Donavan Kanjaa are expected to play a role in the team's search for a victory.

    Tigers FC goalkeeper Immanuel Immanuel and Eleven Arrows' Josef Ngifindwako were dropped from the squad before the team travelled to Swaziland.

    Confirming the final travelling team, coach Ricardo Mannetti said he believed in the travelling team to go out there and spoil the party for Swaziland.

    “I am happy with the players I have and our aim is to ensure that we return home with a victory.

    “Most of these players will have to impress and I do believe that they will play good football just to remain in the good books of the team for the future,” Mannetti said.

    Mannetti had called up 27 players for camp on Monday, but six of them fell out ahead of the clash.

    It was unfortunate that Vernon Klaasen, Kennedy Eib, Absalom Iimbondi and Panduleni Nekundi all withdrew from camp with injuries.



    The Brave Warriors to Swaziland

    Ratanda Mbazuvara ( African Stars), Edward Maova (Civics),Ferdinand Karongee, Kennedy Amutenya, Rehabeam Mbango(Tigers) ,Tjinotjiua Tjiuana Tja ( African Stars, Donovan Kanjaa(Young African) Kleophas Useb (Life Fighters), Riaan Hanamub ( Orlando Pirates), Charles Hambira, Petrus Shitembi (Tura Magic) Ronald Ketjijere (African Stars) Gustav Isaak( Tigers) Himeezembi Hengombe, Elvis Patire, Ikuaterua Hoveka(Young African)Marcel Papama (UNAM ) Mapenzi Muwanei ( Tigers) Willem Pinehas, (Eleven Arrows) Marius Hashipala (Blue Waters) Itamunua Keimuine(Tura Magic).

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

    0 0
  • 04/18/18--16:00: Arab ire, no action
  • Arab ire, no actionArab ire, no action Arab leaders at a summit in Saudi Arabia have slammed Washington's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move its embassy there, but analysts say their words are unlikely to lead to action.

    The shift by US President Donald Trump has sparked deep anger across the Arab world, particularly among Palestinians, who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

    But it seemed clear at the Arab League summit, held in the eastern city of Dhahran on Sunday that regional rulers, particularly in the Gulf, are unwilling to jeopardise close ties with Trump as they seek to counter Iran.

    “Generally, Arab League summits produce more rhetoric than action,” said Denis Bauchard, an expert from the French Institute on International Relations. “I don't think this will go beyond declarations.” For Riyadh, he said, “what is essential is the relationship with Washington”.

    Israel occupied mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem and the surrounding region in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, declaring the city its capital.

    Neither move was recognised by the international community but the United States is now set to shift its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

    That breaks with decades of US policy and international consensus that the status of the city should be settled in negotiations.

    Nour Odeh, a Palestinian political analyst, said Palestinians had low expectations for any Arab response.

    “Ordinary people and politicians alike understand the dismal state of Arab affairs, and no Arab government is going to confront Trump,” she said.

    Saudi King Salman dubbed the Dhahran conference the “Jerusalem summit” and used his opening speech to denounce Washington's decision and announce a US$150 million donation for the maintenance of Islamic heritage in the eastern part of the holy city. Other leaders queued up to add their criticism, and the summit's final statement also slammed Trump's move. But an Arab diplomat, who asked not to be named, said that “even Washington's allies (Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo) know very well that they don't have many diplomatic options”. “Their aim is to improve the situation of the Palestinians as much as possible, but they won't go as far as confronting” the Trump administration, the diplomat said.

    Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian academic and former minister, said they were “not capable” of doing so, “especially with all the problems in the Arab world”.

    He said Arab governments were “not willing to risk their relationships with the United States”.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Proof of life for Chibok girlsProof of life for Chibok girlsClaims that many of them have died A Nigerian journalist has claimed that more than 100 of the girls kidnapped from Chibok in Nigeria four years ago, have died while in holding. Nigeria is facing calls to establish how many of the missing Chibok schoolgirls are still alive, after claims that nearly 100 of them may have lost their lives in captivity.

    Parents of the missing girls and supporters gathered in the small town in remote northeast Nigeria on Saturday to mark the fourth anniversary of the kidnapping that sparked world outrage.

    But soon after the end of their vigil and prayers, a Nigerian journalist who has been involved in negotiations with the Islamist group said only a “handful” of the girls survived.

    Ahmad Salkida wrote in a lengthy thread on Twitter that “only 15” of the 112 girls still being held were alive.

    “Many of the girls have died as a result of cross fires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them,” he added.

    The Nigerian government in response neither confirmed nor denied the claim.

    President Muhammadu Buhari's spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said only that Salkida's claim was “not known” to them or anyone working on their behalf.

    “The facts as known to our officials and the international contacts assisting this process are that the remaining Chibok girls are there,” he added. “We are not relenting on getting their release.”

    A total of 276 girls were seized from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok on 14 April 2014 and 57 managed to escape in the immediate aftermath.

    Since then, 107 have either been found or released as part of a government deal with the jihadists. Claims that some have died or been killed are not new.

    Ayuba Alamson Chibok, a community leader in the town whose cousin is among the missing, said parents and relatives were all aware of those claims.

    “After the 82 girls were released (in May 2017) I spoke with some of them and they confirmed that some girls were killed in military strike on the camp they were being held,” he told AFP.

    NAMPA/AFP

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