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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 742 | 743 | (Page 744) | 745 | 746 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Traditional authorities fuel illegal sand miningTraditional authorities fuel illegal sand mining The once pristine grazing areas in many northern parts of the country have now been destroyed and damaged, thanks to the illegal mining of sand for commercial purposes. This rapid commercialisation has ruined the natural beauty of many environments and has seen local and foreign business owners dangling a carrot in front of village headmen and traditional authorities. It must be said that illegal sand mining is a lucrative business, with construction companies and individuals making millions from selling sand they mine without the appropriate permissions. These companies are said to pay as little as N$300 per load to local traditional authorities and sell it for N$1 500 or more to developers and contractors in urban areas.

    By law, sand mining is prohibited and can only take place once permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities, who in turn issue an environmental clearance certificate. Hapless community members have had to endure the sight of dozens of trucks carrying tons of sand ready to supply the construction markets, while at the same time destroying the livelihoods of thousands of communal farmers who use the land for grazing, among others. The ministry of environment, to its credit, has made the right noises about this harmful practice, but the dredging of sand on farmland continues unabated. Government must once and for all take a unequivocal stand on this problematic phenomenon. This must be done without fear or favour and the guilty traditional authorities must be brought to book. Villagers should also organise themselves and confront this problem head-on, including through seeking audiences with community and political leaders to address their concerns. The people of Iiheke ya Nakele in the Oshana Region should be applauded for speaking truth to power, in order to safeguard their precious environment and stop the plundering of resources. It has taken them many years to get to this point, but they are committed to ensuring they get justice for the wrongs done to them since independence.

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    Why local pastors are simply the bestWhy local pastors are simply the best My good friend Tjeripo, a believer in always trying new things, convinced me to accompany him to a local congregation to hear the Word of God.

    I willingly gave in to the invitation, appreciating the gesture from my long-standing friend. I had one or two doubts though -Tjeripo is not the best decision maker there is!



    Tjeripo once attempted to convince me to join Namibia's liberation struggle. I refused! He called me a coward - something I didn't like. I mean, I seriously had a stomach ache and couldn't go to the battlefront. Seriously, I am sure my comrades who suffered the same fate, will back me up.



    Anyway, as we drove to church on that day, Tjeripo signalled me to stop as we drove past the sea where a baptism ceremony was taking place. My friend was thrilled, and decided to get baptised right there and then.



    The priest conducting the baptism would dunk the people's heads under water and ask, "Have you seen Jesus?" The people would respond, "Yes Pastor, I have seen Jesus."



    When it was Tjeripo's turn, the priest dunked his head into the water, pulled him out and asked him: "Have you seen Jesus?" He said no so the priest put his head back under water for a few more seconds and again asked "Have you seen Jesus?"



    Tjeripo replied "No, comrade Pastor."



    Running out of patience, the priest dunked his head for a much longer period, pulled Tjeripo's head out and asked him again; "How about now? Have you seen Jesus?"



    I bit my nails and crossed my fingers, hoping Tjeripo would not anger the priest by repeating his reply.



    "Etse, my brother, the pastor ... are you sure this is the right sea where Jesus fell into?" came Tjeripo's reply. I had to get him back to the car and sped off to church.



    After waiting for half an hour for my friend to dry out, we stepped in and took one of the front rows. I figured if I sat close enough to the pastor, I would be able to remember the sermon better and not be distracted by the glamorous designer outfits that filled the congregation hall.



    I recognised the pastor as one of the attendees of a religious leaders’ conference which I had covered for my news agency earlier in the week. As he started his sermon, I gathered that he wanted to rephrase a joke that was shared by an elder pastor at the conference during the week.



    Okay, the joke, as I remembered, went like this: The elder approached the pulpit and, gathering the congregation's attention, he said;

    "The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!”



    The crowd was shocked! He followed up by saying, "…And that woman was my mother!" The crowd burst into laughter and he delivered the rest of his talk, which went over quite well.



    Now, my over-enthusiastic pastor from Mondesa decided he'd also give this humour thing a try and used the same joke in his sermon.



    As he confidently approached the pulpit on that sunny Sunday, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head. It suddenly appeared a bit foggy to him.

    Getting to the microphone he said loudly, "The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of another woman that was not my wife!"



    The congregation inhaled half the air in the room. After standing there for almost ten seconds in the stunned silence, trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurted out, "… and I can't remember who she was!"



    I felt the walls of Jericho coming down on my poor pastor. Being of the calibre he is though, the rest of the sermon went quite well, although at times, I thought the pastor was talking explicitly about me.



    You see, he would turn to my side and say, "You shall burn in hell, all of you unrighteous ones,” then turning to the other side he would say, "…peace be upon you”.



    Until then



    tjatindi@gmail.com

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  • 05/10/18--16:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief SAA requires US$400 mln bailout

    South Africa's state carrier SAA requires a R5 billion cash injection in the current financial year to help it meet its financial obligations, a senior treasury official said on Tuesday.

    National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane told parliament the cash injection could however not come from government, which has so far pumped R20 billion into the firm.

    Mogajane said treasury was willing to consider selling a stake in the airliner to a private equity partner. – Nampa/Reuters

    Barlow expects H1 profit to jump

    South Africa's Barloworld Limited on Tuesday said it expected its half year profit to rise by as much as 20% boosted by its Southern African and Russian equipment businesses.

    It expects headline earnings per share (HEPS) for continuing operations for the six months to 31 March of 440 to 480 cents, up from 400 cents a year earlier.

    Barloworld said last month it would sell its underperforming Iberian equipment business. – Nampa/Reuters

    Aspen expands with new R1 bn plant

    South African drug maker Aspen Pharmacare will produce up to 3.6 billion pills a year at its new manufacturing plant as it expands its therapeutic portfolio, chief executive Stephen Saad said.

    Aspen, with operations in 50 countries, has restructured its business to focus on therapeutic products such as steroids, oncolytic and hormonal replacement therapy products, which helped to lift its first-half earnings.

    Initially, the R1 billion facility will manufacture oncology products such as Alkeran, Leukeran and Purinethol, which are used for treatment of late stage cancers.

    Saad said Aspen's strategy was to take part in the speciality therapeutic segment in order to gain a sustainable global advantage in the market.

    Aspen said most of the products would be exported.

    The company, Africa’s biggest generic drugmaker, has been expanding rapidly outside South Africa, where a heavily regulated pharmaceuticals market has put a cap on growth. The firm is a supplier and manufacturer of branded and generic pharmaceutical products, as well as infant nutritional and consumer healthcare products. – Nampa/Reuters

    Toyota flags lower annual operating profit

    Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday forecast a 4.2% slide in operating profit for the current financial year, as it expects a stronger yen to offset slightly higher global vehicle sales and cost reductions.

    A hit to earnings will make it harder for Toyota, the world's most profitable automaker to continue investing in new technologies and products at a time when global automakers are competing fiercely to develop self-driving cars, electric vehicles, and connected technologies.

    The automaker is targeting total group sales of 10.5 million vehicles globally in the year to March, slightly more than 10.44 million vehicles last year.

    In the year to December 2017, Toyota was the world's No. 3 maker of passenger cars, following the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance and Volkswagen. – Nampa/Reuters

    Siemens lifts FY profit guidance

    Siemens raised its full year profit guidance on Wednesday, citing a strong first half helped by a 900 million euro (US$1.07 billion) gain from transferring its stake in IT services company Atos SE to its pension fund.

    The German engineering group said it now expected full year earnings per share in the range of 7.70 euro to 8 euro per share (US$9.13 to US$9.48), up from its previous guidance of 7.20 euro to 7.70 euro. Siemens' EPS for its 2017 business year was 7.44 euro or 7.09 euro on a comparable basis.

    In the three months ended March 31, Siemens reported net profit of 2.02 billion euro, beating the forecast for 1.11 billion euro in a Reuters poll.

    Siemens confirmed the rest of its guidance, including expecting a profit margin of 11% to 12% for its industrial business which makes products ranging from trains to turbines. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Pretorius and co deny allegationsPretorius and co deny allegations A former Walvis Bay SPCA investigating officer, Peter Brooks, has questioned the validity of claims by a child who said he was bitten by a pit bull during an alleged kidnapping and assault drama which played out in Walvis Bay four years ago.

    Brooks looked at photos submitted as evidence in a case involving Logan Pretorius (29), his fiancée Sandra Riobo (22), Curven Vries (25) and Ashley Januarie (24), and three accusers, all of whom were minors at the time.

    He testified that based on his expertise, and experience with pit bull bites, the injuries look like scratches and not that of a dog bite.

    “There would be four canine puncture wounds, but here I see only two. I cannot confirm that it is a dog bite wound,” he said during a regional court sitting in Swakopmund this week.

    The matter was postponed to 23 May for the prosecution to review Brooks' expertise, and obtain proof of his credentials.

    Brooks, who is currently a veterinary nurse, says that no one talks about the dog that died. “I know I am supposed to remain impartial but a seven-month-old puppy died a cruel death.” The attempted murder charge initially brought against the four accused was subsequently reduced to assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, and kidnapping. A charge of racial discrimination fell away after the prosecution failed to prove it.

    The accused allegedly physically and verbally abused Carlo Mukuve, Levi Goroseb and Edward Goroseb, who were minors at the time, with a 17-inch spanner, a hammer, a shovel and dogs. They were also allegedly forced to drink Tabasco sauce and salt water.

    The trio allegedly killed a dog owned by Pretorius and attempted to steal another. Pretorius testified in the Swakopmund Regional Court on Monday he arrived at home on 28 August 2014 and found the small gate to his property open. This caused him to check whether his dogs were still in the yard.

    “I noticed one of my dogs wasn't in the yard and found my seven-month-old pit bull in an open plot next to my house. I took him home, tried to give him water, but he could not drink or breathe and died shortly thereafter.”

    According to Pretorius one of his co-accused alerted him a few hours later of the presence of three boys at the gate who were allegedly attempting to steal a white bull terrier. When the boys saw Pretorius, they fled on their bicycles. He gave chase, caught them and bundled them in a vehicle.

    “I told them we either go to the police, or I call their parents. They did not have phones and could not provide the phone numbers of their parents. We decided to take them to my home in order to question them.”

    Pretorius admits to slapping Mukuve. The boys apparently begged him not to take them to the police or their parents, but to rather 'slap' them and send them away.

    He also testified that the other two boys beat up Mukuve during the questioning.

    Mukuve's mouth was bleeding and according to Pretorius he told Riobo to get salt water to wash out his mouth. Edward Goroseb allegedly took the water and drank it, but then spat it out before starting to vomit.

    Vries testified on Tuesday and told the court when he and his co-accused caught up with the children, and loaded them into the vehicle, “it looked like the children knew we were going to ask them questions about the dead dog”. Vries further denied he and his co-accused forced the children to beat each other up, and that Edward Goroseb defecated in his pants and vomited. “I saw him spitting out water, whereafter he removed his T-shirt to clean it up.”

    He further stated Mukuvu had left without any scratches on his face, while the medical records presented to the court showed he had scratches to his face, and bruises on his gums. He also said he did not act in the interest of Pretorius by capturing the children and taking them to Pretorius' garage, but was merely accompanying him to find out what happened to the dog.

    “I loved the dog as if he was mine. I know it was them who killed the dog by choking it with a rope.” Magistrate Gaynor Poulton presided while Boris Isaacks is defending and Faith Chipepera-Nyaungwa is the prosecutor.



    Leandrea Louw

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  • 05/10/18--16:00: Brickmakers under pressure
  • Brickmakers under pressureBrickmakers under pressureClaim unfair competition Local producers say they cannot compete with a Chinese company. Brickmaking companies in Rehoboth say they are being pushed out of production by a Chinese company, presumably because it is unduly favoured by the municipality and is allegedly not paying value-added tax (VAT).

    The local brickmakers, reluctant to have their names published because they feel intimidated by the powers that be, say because of this the Chinese company, Knewhope Sand & Stone Enterprises (also known as New Hope Investments), can produce bricks at low cost and this unfair competition has devastating consequences for the local businesses.

    “We cannot stop the Chinese encroachment [into the brickmaking sector at the town] but the manner in which this is done is killing us. We would be able to do business if everyone was treated equally,” said one Rehoboth brickmaker.

    Another said while local brick-makers had to make huge investments to start their businesses and have to pay VAT every second month, the Chinese company is seemingly exempt from such overheads.

    “I opened my business in 2012 after I bought a plot. I have to pay back on my loans and machinery. Before the Chinese business started to sell bricks to the public we could survive. I had to sell three of my trucks to pay workers in December and since January had to lay off 10 of the 25 workers,” another local brick-maker said.

    The local producers added they simply cannot churn out the number of bricks Knewhope does, since it has brought in far more sophisticated brickmaking machinery from China.

    They blame local politicians and decision-makers – “only interested in the 'gaar ganse' [roasted geese] offered by the Chinese” – for allowing the skewed and unhealthy competition.



    Background

    Chinese national Lee Zhang was awarded a tender to build a hostel for the Vooruitsig Secondary School in Rehoboth's Block E at the beginning of last year.

    The principal of Vooruitsig is the now suspended mayor of the town council, Christina Blaauw-Petrus.

    The lease agreement for the five-hectare plot on the town's southern boundary was entered into with Zhang after the Ministry of Education,

    Arts and Culture stopped buying bricks for the hostel project from a local producer, Bahnhof Sand & Stone, and instead purchased the bricks from the Chinese company.

    According to the local players the lease agreement was limited to six months and Zhang was given the land to produce bricks exclusively for the hostel project.

    Instead, they say, Zhang and his local partner, Rickie Maasdorp, have in the meantime started supplying bricks to the public at large.

    It is understood the lease agreement for the land has lapsed in the meantime. It is also understood that the local producers had a meeting with the town council CEO, Chris /Uirab, to air their grievances.

    /Uirab reportedly instructed municipal officials at the end of April to order Knewhope to vacate the five-hectare plot after the lapse of the lease agreement. But /Uirab allegedly changed his mind and told the municipal officials not to execute the eviction order against Knewhope.

    /Uirab did not respond to questions sent to him and did not respond to calls made to his cellphone.



    Petition

    A group calling itself the 'concerned group' – consisting of businesses such as the Rehoboth Community Trust that runs greenhouses and a bed & breakfast, PJ Free-range Chicken, the Rehoboth Abattoir and adjacent plot owners – has also petitioned the council.

    Ronald Kubas of the community trust says the petition pertinently addresses the noise and dust being generated at the Knewhope brickmaking plant, which runs from early morning until late at night.

    Another concern, he says, is the fact that no environmental impact assessment was done before the Knewhope plant started operating.

    Kubas says the “interested and affected” group asked whether an environmental clearance certificate had been issued to Knewhope.

    Another 'concerned member', also preferring anonymity, says questions were also asked about the conditions under which Knewhope obtained the lease agreement for the land in the first place.

    “My information is that they got it in a matter of two weeks after applying for it, while we have been requesting land for years from the municipality,” the source said.

    The town council has yet to respond to the petition and local players suggest that no mitigating steps will come from it because officials have allegedly been bribed by the Chinese company.



    'It's a free enterprise'

    At the Knewhope brickmaking plant South African citizen Suvir Oomadath, who said he was assisting the company with its bookkeeping and payroll administration, said the company had all its paperwork in order.

    He said the company was VAT registered and was paying VAT, but that few of its customers asked for tax invoices.

    Oomadath contended that local brickmakers would not be able to compete with Knewhope, which produces 14 000 bricks per eight-hour shift.

    The Ministry of Environment and Tourism inspected the Knewhope plant in September last year after complaints of “excessive noise and dust pollution” and concluded that the company was in contravention of the Environmental Management Act of 2007.

    The ministry then instructed the company to submit a comprehensive environmental management plan no later than 30 January. By the end of October 2017 a company called EnvironClim Consulting Services submitted such a report to the town council on behalf of Knewhope.

    Oomadath, who also presented himself as a lawyer, said he was one of the authors of the EnvironClim report. Another report, a “noise and dust environmental impact assessment to be incorporated into the environmental management plan”, this time drawn up by a company called Healthy Earth Environmental Consultants CC (HEEC), was also finalised in October last year.

    This report acknowledges that noise and dust are being produced “mainly during the loading” of the crusher and when dry sand is being used. The company then undertook to employ “dust suppression” and engineering control measures to minimise dust and noise pollution.

    Oomadath argued the plot is zoned as a light industrial area and is not within a two-kilometre radius from any school or residential area.

    The complaint from the concerned group is that the area where the plot is situated is in fact an agricultural, and not industrial, zone.

    Oomadath was adamant that a number of “false and slanderous” allegations were continually hurled at Knewhope, which he said could “open the door for a libel suit”.

    “This is free enterprise. If someone puts money into a business and takes risks, why should other people interfere? This is the Republic of Namibia, not the dictatorship of Namibia,” Oomadath said.

    Maasdorp, Zhang's Namibian partner, is of the opinion that local producers are angry because they feel they cannot do business any longer. “There must be competition,” Maasdorp said.

    He said Zhang was the investor and responsible for the brickmaking side of the business, while he was responsible for the crushing machine and sand mining.

    He said Zhang's involvement has had a very positive spinoff because he has been training the employees on the use of the imported machinery. Maasdorp also said he would eventually take over the machines and company, while Zhang's involvement would be phased out.

    Zhang was in China and could not be reached for comment.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Namibia grows in popularity among GermansNamibia grows in popularity among Germans Namibia is becoming increasingly popular as a travel destination in Germany. This is confirmed by the latest flight connection from Munich by German airline Eurowings.

    There are now 12 flights per week that connect Windhoek with three major German cities.

    The first aircraft of Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings, departing from Munich, landed at Hosea Kutako International Airport this week.

    The flight connection is the latest long-haul service on offer from the German budget airline, which has been flying to the Namibian capital from Cologne since mid-2011 - up to twice a week.

    “We are now connecting Windhoek with two major German cities, which will strengthen the ties and business relationships between the two countries,” said the head of the Lufthansa Group for Southern Africa, André Schulz.

    From 20 July, the Munich - Windhoek route will be expanded to two flights a week.

    “Southern Africa is a promising market and Windhoek is increasingly establishing itself as a destination, not only for tourists but also for entrepreneurs,” Schulz said.

    According to him, the demand for outbound flights to Namibia was decisive for the inception of the route.

    “But in Namibia, there is also a great need for return flights, which are mainly for Namibians who want to visit friends and relatives overseas,” said the Lufthansa representative.

    Return flights to the Bavarian capital in southern Germany can now be booked, starting from about US$220 each way, or N$2 750 at today's exchange rate.

    “The new route is also attractive for the German market. The reasons are well known, as Namibia is renowned for its amazing nature and fascinating wildlife,” said Schulz.

    Eurowings is now offering three weekly flights to Germany. The airline already serves the Cologne to Windhoek route and has now enlarged its long-haul portfolio to and from Munich.

    Namibia last year experienced a 4% increase in German-speaking tourists, with more than 190 884, or 27% of foreign visitors, coming from Europe.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Private sector must tackle graftPrivate sector must tackle graft A united and determined Namibian private sector could play a pivotal role in tackling systemic corruption if they are willing to expose and address corrupt practices within their own ranks and push harder for public and private accountability and the enforcement and crafting of anti-corruption tools.

    In a new Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) paper examining the role of the private sector in tackling corruption in Namibia, author Johan Coetzee states that for the private sector to “be credible, respectable and to have leverage on government, it must get its own house in order to voluntary regulate unethical and immoral behaviour of its members”.

    The paper highlights that in Namibia, corruption can often be traced to the public sector, which creates the platform for corruption and members of the private sector who make use of the platform for their own benefit.

    “Public officials initiate bribes for personal gain and companies pay bribes for survival and financial gain,” the paper states.

    In addition to a zero-tolerance stance by the government, private companies should focus on principles and work ethics, and need to “explore avenues to pressurise government to increase efficiency in the public service, to reduce red tape and streamline cross-border trade cooperation and integration,” the paper notes.

    The paper further states that, based on average rankings on international corruption indexes over nearly two decades, “it can be deduced that there is a tolerance of corruption in Namibia that has become part of the culture of engrained corruption that has also 'infected' law-enforcement agencies and the private sector”.

    The most common forms of corruption in the private sector include bribes, facilitation of payments, conflicts of interest, gifts, hospitality and paying of expenses, the paper summarises.



    Devastating impact

    While corruption occurs across the globe, it is more destructive in developing countries because it mostly affects the most vulnerable in society, including the very poor, uneducated and disabled.

    Further, corruption hampers private and public service delivery, causes environmental damage and affects investment and development.

    The paper highlights that monopolies and cartels are conducive to promoting corruption.

    “Monopolies and programmes that create public scarcity should be abolished,” the paper states, and if they cannot be abolished in a small economy such as Namibia, stiffer competition has to be encouraged.

    Coetzee argues that Namibian cartels harm the economy in various forms, through raising prices that cause overcharging and reduced profits for suppliers.



    Hot spots

    The IPPR paper identifies a number of institutions that are known hotbeds of corruption.

    These include tax and customs offices, budgeting and accounting offices, procurement, tendering, social benefit programmes, and administrative and regulatory control units that issue quotas or licences, including the fishing, transport, import and export, mining and prospecting sectors.

    Public-private partnerships are identified as a model that enables the collaboration of politicians and public servants to “perpetuate large-scale corruption in the form of large capital-intensive projects that offer lucrative opportunities for corruption”.

    Namibia's “bloated and inefficient public service”, lacks accountability, creates fertile ground for bribery and other corrupt practices, the paper notes.



    The way forward

    Coetzee writes that the public sector has neither the political backing nor the capacity to tackle corruption within its own sector.

    But, by incentivising individuals to refrain from corruption through its associations, the private sector “can put pressure on government to reform the public sector”.

    Suggested leverage points to push for better public sector governance and improved tackling of corruption by the state include the private sector withholding funding and donations to political parties, forming anti-corruption networks and integrity pacts to integrate associations and interest groups with similar operations to tackle corruption.

    Moreover, the private sector could assist the Anti-Corruption Commission in joining relevant subcommittees to advise on awareness and prevention campaigns.

    Coetzee emphasises that the private sector has the “ability and expertise to tackle corruption”, but professional associations, industry and business forums should urgently begin to educate and regulate their members, manage conduct and behaviour and penalise unethical and immoral acts.

    The paper further recommends that the private sector should collaborate to influence the government in terms of advising on legislation, policies and regulations and monitor the implementation of these instruments.

    “A united private sector can put pressure on government to reform 'hot spots' and strategic or key institutions to reduce corruption,” it added.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 05/10/18--16:00: RCC/Chinese loan 'illegal'
  • RCC/Chinese loan 'illegal'RCC/Chinese loan 'illegal'Schlettwein says provisions not The already-signed contract mooted as an attempt to save the RCC from closure is being challenged. Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein says legal provisions were “completely ignored” in the N$570 million loan agreement between the Road Construction Company (RCC) and Chinese firm Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian (Pty) Ltd.

    Schlettwein confirmed his assertions made elsewhere that the contract was entered into illegally because necessary provisions, not only in the State Finance Act but also in the new Public Procurement Act, as well as the Public Private Partnership Act, were not adhered to.

    Moreover, said Schlettwein on Wednesday, some of the road contracts stipulated in the loan agreement have not been budgeted for.

    “We are obliged to act and we have therefore approached the attorney-general's office for advice. We have to do that when boards take negligent decisions,” Schlettwein said.

    He said the contract, which has already been signed, will have to be set aside if proven it was entered into illegally.

    “If there are financial implications then those responsible must be held accountable; there must be consequences,” Schlettwein said.

    RCC board chairperson Fritz Jacobs is quoted as having said the loan agreement is a “self-sustaining solution which will not rely on government guarantees”.

    He has also been quoted as having suggested the contract is an attempt to avert the closure of the RCC.

    Sources said this would mean the Chinese company would, as a result, automatically qualify for road tenders.

    This, Schlettwein said, would mean the loan agreement is a thinly veiled “purchase of contracts”.

    Schlettwein also denied allegations that the finance ministry has ever withheld funds from the RCC, saying all funds for projects properly accounted for have been allotted.

    He further denied he and public enterprises minister Leon Jooste want to close down the RCC, saying he had advocated instead for the revision of the parastatal.

    “What we have here is an entity that needs to be bailed out on a monthly basis; it cannot even pay its workers' salaries.

    The RCC's services to the state are also often more expensive than those offered by private companies. Here is an entity that costs the state. We need to review its management and how it is using public resources. At the moment it is not sustainable. But I have never said it must be closed,” Schlettwein said.

    He also said any suggestion that he has a personal interest in the RCC's closure is simply malicious. Jacobs did not respond to questions sent to him and failed to respond to SMS messages or calls.

    Jooste referred all questions to the works ministry which is still responsible for the RCC.

    Works minister John Mutorwa, booked off sick, did not respond to questions by the time of going to press.

    The status of the RCC remains uncertain as the RCC Judicial Management Bill – which is the first process to get the parastatal under judicial management as was proposed by the Cabinet Committee on Overall Policy and Priorities (CCOOPP) – is yet to be tabled.



    Seeking funds

    This is not the first time the RCC under Jacob's leadership has gone out to seek funding for the beleaguered parastatal.

    The RCC in 2016 called for expressions of interest from private entities for its capital projects.

    One private entity that did respond to this request was an unknown entity called TN Investments owned by Thomas Nakasole.

    The former acting RCC CEO, Tino !Hanabeb, in a letter to Nakasole indicated the RCC would need more than N$5 billion for its project funding needs.

    These projects, according to !Hanabeb's letter to Nakasole, included N$300 million for working capital, N$440 million for the replacement of the old RCC plant, N$161 million for a 245-kilometre Gobabis-Aminuis-Aranos road, N$321 million for a 105-kilometre road between Khorixas and Kamanjab, N$225 million for maintenance projects and N$90 million for an enterprise resource planning system.

    It further includes N$800 million for the construction of a mixed-use RCC Plaza, N$900 million for a Waterfront and Marina Development at the port of Walvis Bay, and a request for N$2 billion in funding for “government roads construction projects”.

    Catherine Sasman

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    The drive for a growth mindset The drive for a growth mindset Johan Christiaan Dry, procurement specialist at Pupkewitz Megatech

    Johan Christiaan Dry, who prefers to be called Christiaan, joined Pupkewitz Megatech in January last year as a tender estimator and was promoted to procurement specialist in April 2017.

    Christiaan is currently a second-year student at the University of Namibia (Unam) and is studying on distance mode towards a Bachelor in Business Administration

    Christiaan describes his day-to-day activities as a procurement specialist as “rainbow colours”, filled with different challenges that keeps him on his toes.

    He creates stock orders, price comparisons, resolves queries, sources alternative stock, sorts out credits, assists sales consultants with special orders, updates price increases/decreases, makes sure the right products arrive on time and assists branches with their queries.

    Christiaan recently completed the basic and advanced electrical training programme, as part of the Pupkewitz Group’s skills development training initiatives.

    “I have never worked with electricity. The electrical field is wide and has many challenges, so for me to learn about three-phase and single-phase power was quite a revelation. The training has improved my customer service skills by enabling me to help clients with in-depth enquiries, instead of referring the client to a sales consultant. This has definitely boosted my confidence, as I am now equipped to deal with different situations in my everyday work.”

    Christiaan concluded that he is proud and grateful to be part of a group of companies that creates a caring, learning and self-growth culture - a company that is also committed to his and fellow employees’ development.

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    Ballotti making greater strides Ballotti making greater strides Professional destiny is not a plan, it is an attitude Elizabeth Joseph

    As if being a football coach wasn’t enough, Dino Ballotti still chased bigger dreams and ended up as the Business development executive at Old Mutual Investment Group in 2017.

    Ballotti is a driven young Namibian who would stop at nothing to make a name for himself and to see the company he works for grow and reach greater heights.

    After matriculation from Delta High School, Balotti pursued a career in football overseas. He then later enrolled at the University of Namibia (Unam) in 2006, majoring in Entrepreneurship with a Bachelor in Business Administration.

    Two years later, Balotti proved to be very competent as he landed a teaching position at the St. Georges Diocesan College. He didn’t pass on the opportunity to be in a position of bringing about change through teaching. He taught Business Studies and Entrepreneurship.

    By 2010 Ballotti graduated from the Unam. Shortly after he graduated, he joined Old Mutual as a learning facilitator in the Retail Advice Centre. After that, he moved on to be a Broker Consultant in the Broker Distribution Department. Ballotti didn’t stop there and soon after he took on the role as Production Manager in that same department. He managed to complete the Stellenbosch Business School Management Development Programme (MDP) before being promoted to his current position.

    Ballotti is eager to see the company grow and move from strength to strength. He says that although Old Mutual Investment Group is at an average of over N$37 billion assets under management, he has no desire to leave it there. He is passionate about people and being a mentor and to give as much guidance as he can.

    When Ballotti is not out, dribbling a ball, he is spending time with his wife and his two sons.

    “I am thankful for the great culture and leadership as embedded in the Old Mutual Values – this challenges me to be a culture carrier by embracing situational change and agility. Being a proud Mutualite entails winning together and having a genuine interest in the success of others, always availing myself to learn and better understand the complex business environment, being obsessed with doing more and treating the company as if it is my own,” says Ballotti.

    It was the British author, Simon Sinek who said: “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills”.

    It is clear that Ballotti had the right attitude and passion to position his professional growth and it is truly inspiring to know that Old Mutual provides such a great platform for development and career opportunities. Be sure to watch this space.





    Fact Box

    · A Broker Consultant can also act as an intermediary between a broker and an insurance underwriter.

    · Dino Balotti is 31 years old.

    · He used to be a football coach.

    · He has been with Old Mutual since 2012.

    · Dino Balotti used to be a teacher at the St. George’s Diocesan College.

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    Inspired by leadership with integrity, intelligence and humility Inspired by leadership with integrity, intelligence and humility Elizabeth Joseph

    The key ingredient to a perfectly planned future is humility and a lot thereof.

    Careers sat down with Esther Kafidi, financial procurement manager at Old Mutual to get a glimpse of her journey at the Industry leader in the financial sector in Namibia.

    Growing up in the north of the country in the Ohangwena region, Kafidi knew she was destined for greatness. Refusing to be a statistic she completed her grade 12 in 1996 and then moved on to study Accounting and Finance at the then Polytechnic of Namibia, now Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST).

    She then enrolled at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where she obtained her B-Tech degree in Costs and Management Accounting.

    Kafidi started her career at an early age – at 17 years of age she started working at Bank Windhoek as part of the first intake of the bank’s Candidate Bankers Training Programme (CBT).

    Kafidi explored various industries; some of these include Langer Heinrich Mine, where she held the position of Management Accountant for five years and as Finance Support Manager for Manufacturing at SABMiller, now AB-InBev Namibia.

    “The position at SABMiller was the position that I believe challenged me on so many levels. I was a part of the construction and setting up of systems team at the Namibia plant,” says Kafidi.

    Old Mutual’s strength lies in winning together and co-creating a caring environment with its employees to continuously improve internal and external customers’ experiences through Responsible Business. Ester’s unique skills and abilities are therefore valuable in her current position, where she is required to set up, and co-ordinate and manage a centralised procurement function for business. This will enable her to manage efficiencies, cost accounting and to provide cost reporting across the Group.

    “I am inspired by leadership with intelligence, integrity and humility and I am excited to be part a globally recognised employer brand that passionately enables positive futures through global best practice that is locally relevant”, she said.

    Kafidi is currently studying towards a CIMA qualification, at Managerial level. She hopes to complete her studies in the next year and also to completely transform the procurement department in order to see great results.

    “It takes drive and perseverance to deliver desirable results. Being in this position therefore requires resilience to take on stretching and challenging assignments,” says Kafidi.

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  • 05/10/18--16:00: Africa Briefs
  • Africa BriefsAfrica Briefs Zim offers salary hike to workers

    Zimbabwe will raise public-sector pay by 10% starting in July, a move likely to widen the budget deficit as President Emmerson Mnangagwa tries to curb strikes by public workers before elections expected later this year.

    Mnangagwa, facing his first presidential vote set for July, last week promised better conditions for government workers as he delivered his ruling ZANU-PF party's election manifesto.

    The offer followed strikes by doctors and nurses in March and April, the first such action since Mnangagwa took over from 94-year-old Robert Mugabe, who resigned after a de facto army coup in November. Mnangagwa has yet to set a date for elections.

    Apex Council, the top body that represents all government workers, said the government also agreed to reduce rentals for workers living in state-owned houses and restore long vacation leave for teachers.

    The proposed increase is still far lower than workers' demands - they wanted 100% increase in pay - but it is still likely to widen the 2018 budget deficit, which was forecast at US$672 million, or 4.5% of gross domestic product. The deficit reached US$1.8 billion last year. – Nampa/Reuters

    Zambia assesses debt trajectory

    Zambia has assessed its debt trajectory as part of a bid to court International Monetary Fund support after the Fund rejected the country's debt management plans in February.

    The analaysis provides a basis for fresh talks with the IMF on a possible financial assistance programme, the finance ministry said on Tuesday in a statement that gave no figures.

    The government said last month its US$8.7 billion foreign debt was not understated. Eurasia Group said in a note on Friday Zambia may be facing fiscal challenges and was likely to default on its debt payments starting in 2019.

    The ministry of finance said Zambia had never defaulted on its foreign debt and eurobond interest payments and did not intend to do so. Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said restructuring Chinese debt was an option that could be taken.

    Zambia is Africa's second-biggest copper producer but the government faces pressure to rein in spending, especially as it heads towards a 2021 presidential election in which President Edgar Lungu is expected to run for a second full term. – Nampa/Reuters

    Egypt passes law regulating Uber

    Egypt's parliament passed a law on Monday regulating ride-sharing apps Uber and Careem, potentially ending a lawsuit that could shut them down in one of their biggest markets but imposing new fees and data sharing requirements.

    Legalising the increasingly popular ride-sharing services became urgent in March when an Egyptian court ordered their suspension after a group of taxi drivers filed a suit, arguing they were illegally using private cars as taxis.

    Uber has said Egypt is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157 000 drivers in 2017 and 4 million users since its launch there in 2014.

    Uber said last year it was committed to Egypt despite challenges presented by sweeping economic reforms and record inflation. In October, Uber announced a US$20 million investment in its new support centre in Cairo.

    It has had to make deals with local car dealerships to provide its drivers with affordable vehicles and adjust its ride prices to ensure its workers were not hit too hard by inflation. – Nampa/Reuters

    Burkina Faso to growth 6% in 2018

    Burkina Faso's economy is on track to grow by around 6% this year, in line with the last two years' average, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement.

    The West African nation, which agreed a programme with the Fund in March, is aiming to reduce its fiscal deficit, which ballooned to an unprecedented 7.7% of GDP last year.

    Burkina Faso's deficits have typically ranged from 2% to 4% of GDP in recent years. It will aim to reduce the deficit to 3% by 2019 in line with its pledge to meet the West African Economic and Monetary Union convergence criterion.

    An IMF mission visited Burkina Faso - a gold and cotton exporter - from to begin monitoring implementation of the programme, which is supported by a US$158 million credit facility. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Poor planning costs taxpayer millionsPoor planning costs taxpayer millionsTwo constituency offices to be replaced A lack of preparation and planning will cause two new offices to be replaced as one is collapsing and the other is in the wrong place. Because of poor planning, two constituency offices in the Oshana Region have to be replaced with new buildings.

    Oshana governor Clemens Kashuupulwa confirmed to Namibian Sun that there had been “technical errors” in identifying suitable sites for constituency offices about ten years ago.

    This lack of planning and site inspection is now costing the taxpayer millions, because new offices must be built for the Oshakati East and Oshakati West constituencies.

    Construction of a new office for the Oshakati East constituency office is nearing completion, while the regional council is still discussing plans to build a new constituency office for the Oshakati West constituency.

    During the construction of the Oshakati East constituency office at Omege in 2008, the regional council failed to do a proper technical assessment of the site and the building is now collapsing.

    In Oshakati West, the regional council failed to consult the public as to the most suitable place for the constituency office, which resulted in the office not being used by people.

    In his State of the Region Address (SORA), Kashuupulwa announced that construction of the new Oshakati East constituency at Ompundja was nearing completion.

    “There is a serious problem at the constituency office at Omege. The office is situated over a shallow underground water area. This was not noticed during the construction.

    “After the office was completed it started developing cracks and sinking into the ground. After a team of technicians inspected it, they found out that the building was built over shallow underground water,” Kashuupulwa said.

    Kashuupulwa said the technicians recommended relocating the office because it could not be renovated and was hazardous to those working there.

    He said three years ago they presented a report to the urban and rural development ministry, which approved N$5.6 million for building a new office.

    Members of the public have criticised the location of the new building, saying that it is situated in the Ompundja constituency.

    Kashuupulwa responded that many people do not understand that the office is situated within the constituency’s demarcated boundaries.

    On 12 August 2016, Oshakati West regional councillor Andreas Johannes requested to the regional council to relocate his office from Uukwangula Settlement to Oniimwandi Village, claiming that his office was situated in Okatana constituency and was inaccessible to the people of the constituency.

    Uukwangula Settlement houses two constituency offices, for Oshakati West and Okatana constituency, a situation that is not welcomed by members of the public and some of the regional councillors.

    Kashuupulwa said he was aware of the situation at the Oshakati West constituency office and the request for a new office by the councillor, however he said it is likely not to be approved as the constituency already had an office and building a new one would waste public money.

    “These are challenges of leadership change. This office was proposed by the previous councillor Aram Martin, however the new councillor is not happy with it saying that it is situated far away from people. The main question is what the current office will be used for? The regional council is busy deliberating on the issue, but I don’t think it will succeed due to the current financial situation,” he said.

    He said he would wait for the outcome of the regional council talks and a recommendation by the council’s management committee before making a presentation to the urban and rural development ministry.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 05/10/18--16:00: Getting hired
  • Getting hiredGetting hired Neglecting to prepare for the job interview will very likely mean failure to get the job. After months of looking, you've finally landed an interview for your dream job. If all goes well, this could put an end to your job search for years. You've submitted your resume and studied the most likely interview questions, but are you really prepared?

    Even with all your preparation work and experience, you could find one mistake leads the hirer to choose someone else for the position. It's important to know what those mistakes could potentially be so that you can avoid them. Here are some common interview slip-ups, backed by science that could cost you your dream job.



    1. Talking instead of listening

    Studies have revealed that people spend 60% of a conversation talking about themselves. Even in an interview, the ideal conversation is a give and take, with the candidate waiting for cues before speaking. If you're the type who tends to chatter uncontrollably when you're nervous, take a deep breath and listen. You don't need to dominate the conversation. Let the important person interviewing you do that. Try to stay on track when you're speaking and avoid sharing more than your interviewer wants to know.



    2. Don't lie

    People aren't as skilled at detecting a lie as you might think. Although there are body language cues that someone might be deceptive, those can be unreliable. The biggest giveaway that someone is lying is in the words themselves. If you start to tell an untrue story, the chances are fairly decent you'll slip and contradict yourself. Even if you manage not to contradict yourself, the interviewer may detect something doesn't sound right in your answer and mark you off the list of potentials. The best course of action is to answer questions as truthfully as possible.



    3. Show up dressed for yard work

    The outfit you choose the morning of an interview could have everything to do with whether you land the job. When surveyed, 72% of hiring managers said that dressing inappropriately is one of the biggest mistakes an applicant can make. Leave the jeans and T-shirts at home and invest in clothing that makes you look professional, even if the dress code of the business in question is somewhat casual. Also avoid tight or skimpy clothing that comes across as provocative. Managers tend to respond more favourably to neutral colours like black and navy blue rather than bright colours or accessories that distract.



    4. Wing it

    Studies have found that employees who are passionate about their employers and the work they're doing are happier and more productive. However, many job searchers end up settling for a company they know little about. Before you apply for any opening, take time to research the company and determine whether you can get excited about it. You can use Glassdoor to learn what they're like as an employer, but you can also research their products and community outreach to see if you share the same core values. Once you do land an interview, conduct extensive research into the company so you'll be able to answer questions knowledgeably.



    5. Don't accept the first low salary offered

    It can be tempting, especially if you've been out of work for a while, to accept an offer at the low end of the range. By doing this, you may be cheating yourself out of thousands of dollars each year over the course of your career. Research shows that employers respond better during salary negotiations to precise counter-offers. Not only are you more likely to get more money in your bank account, but your employer may have more respect for you when you ask for what you want and get it.



    6. Do nothing after the interview

    After the interview, many candidates choose to sit by and wait for the phone to ring, yet follow-ups are an important part of landing a job. If an employer is on the fence, that extra email could make all the difference. Research finds that if you're going to get a response to your follow-up email, it will be within 24 to 48 hours of sending it. However, if you don't hear back, it still isn't time to rest. You have a 21% chance of getting a reply on a second email and a 25% chance of getting a reply if you continue to follow up.

    Finding a job can be stressful, but science can help you make decisions that up your chances of winning an interview. As a result of careful advance research and preparation, you can find the perfect fit on your first try. This will not only make the job search easier, but it may also reduce your risk of going through the job search process again in a couple of years.

    John Boitnott – VIP Contributor

    Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

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  • 05/10/18--16:00: Success through unity
  • Success through unitySuccess through unityReaping the rewards At Lithon Project Consultants its staff is its greatest asset. Lithon Project Consultants managing director Frikkie Holtzhausen spoke to Careers about how he keeps a level head at this growing company.

    “Lithon Project Consultants is very fortunate in the sense that the partners have a unique supportive relationship, whilst at the same time keeping each other accountable and it thus does not depend on a single person,” says Holtzhausen.

    After finishing high school, he went straight into pursuing his civil engineering career with a bursary from the then Department of Water Affairs in 1976 and attended Technikon Pretoria.

    He then went on to obtain his MBA at Maastricht University in the Netherlands in 2003.

    Holtzhausen joined the City of Windhoek until he accepted employment at the Swakopmund Municipality in 1993, where he worked as a town engineer for 15 years.

    “After 15 years at Swakopmund Municipality, I was exposed to internal politics and decided to pursue something else,” he said.

    In 2008 he bought into Lithon Project Consultants and became a shareholder. Holtzhausen took up the post of managing director in July 2014 - a position he holds to this day.

    “Being a part of Lithon is a much bigger picture than I anticipated, and the passion keeps growing. Lithon has a calling and we walk in that calling daily,” says Holtzhausen.

    “We have to make a difference in people's lives, through our foundation that drives us; we can facilitate different growing ventures.”

    Having established the coastal branch, Holtzhausen was first stationed in Swakopmund and recently moved to the Windhoek headquarters.

    “Our staff is our greatest asset, seeing that the company started with only five people and has grown immensely since,” says Holtzhausen.

    He says the company runs fully on teamwork and never on individual effort, in order to grow.

    They strive to deliver services that is always of the best quality. Holtzhausen and his team also work well together to meet all the expectations of their clients.

    “Having faith and completely trusting in God, not only during the current testing times, but by living it,” he adds.

    Holtzhausen does not let anything get in the way of the services the company delivers.

    Apart from being a businessman, he is also a family man and uses every available opportunity to spend time with his loved ones.

    He is inspired by living testimonies of change. Holtzhausen sits at the forefront of seeing people grow from strength to strength and finds pleasure in seeing success.

    “Humility is key and integrity is what should drive any man.”

    “Building relationships, personally as well as business-wise, is crucial in Namibia, with it being such a small country,” he says.

    When Holtzhausen takes a break from the corporate world, he loves spending time with his family, as well as ­exercising. He also collects art pieces, which are mostly painted by his wife Monika.

    He is a lover of all things nature and enjoys the adrenaline of being outdoors and taking some well-deserved free time.

    He has a green finger and enjoys doing woodwork and making things he can later look at and be proud of.

    All in all, Holtzhausen has built a solid foundation and looks forward to impacting lives further, through serving.





    Fact Box

    Maastricht University, where Frikkie Holtzhausen obtained his MBA, enrolled 16 861 students in 2016

    Holtzhausen has three daughters and the youngest are twins

    He enjoys reading autobiographies

    Technikon Pretoria is now called Tshwane University of Technology. Three technicons merged to form this new institution.

    Holtzhausen worked at the Swakopmund Municipality as a town engineer for 15 years

    He is a previous president of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Namibia

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    Usakos oil storage facilty to create 1 600 new jobsUsakos oil storage facilty to create 1 600 new jobs The Usakos Town Council plans to create about 1 600 direct and indirect new employment opportunities with the establishment of a multi-million dollar fuel and gas storage facility at the town within the next few years.

    MDL International Trade is in the process of setting up the facility worth N$700 million at the town on 15 hectares of land it bought from the town council.

    This was revealed by Erongo Regional Governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua in his State of the Region Address in Swakopmund on Tuesday evening. The governor informed Erongo residents that the envisaged fuel and gas terminal, with the capacity of over 200 million litres, is mainly planned for the distribution of fuel and gas products to countries such as Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    “We can confirm that MDL International has already commenced with phase one, which is the establishment of the logistics centre at the town of Usakos. Phase two, which will involve the construction of the actual storage terminal, will commence during the course of this year,” explained Mutjavikua.

    He said the whole investment by the company will amount to over N$43 billion after completion. The construction of the storage facility will take about 18 months, and work on the temporary logistics base at the town has already created about 120 direct and indirect jobs.

    Hub

    The project falls within government’s strategic plan to align the country as a strategic logistics hub and gateway to other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries for trade by the year 2022. Fuel and gas imports will be transported from the Port of Walvis Bay and stored at the facility before being transported to other SADC member states.

    Usakos lies on the banks of the Khan River, some 140 kilometres north-east of Swakopmund in the Erongo Region. It is located on the B2 Trans-Kalahari Highway, the main road between the Port of Walvis Bay and Johannesburg, South Africa. Usakos’s current unemployment rate is reported to be around 60%, and the town has not seen sustainable development since Namibia attained independence from South Africa in 1990.

    Usakos was downgraded from a municipality to town status in 2010, and is now governed by a town council. The town has about 3 000 inhabitants and occupies approximately 58 square kilometres of land.

    MDL, which started its operations in Namibia in 1998, provides integrated shipping and logistics solutions to the energy, mining, and infrastructure sectors. It is headquartered in Windhoek. - Nampa

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    Average house-building costs up 4%Average house-building costs up 4%First Capital report Land in Windhoek and Swakopmund remains the key driver of higher costs compared to the rest of the country. With the new entrant of a cement producing company in the market that is set to begin supplying the market with the prolonged weak demand in consumption of cement, we hold a view that prices will remain flat throughout 2018. – First Capital Jo-Maré Duddy – The cost of building a standard three-bedroom house on a 375 square metres erf rose by 4.3% from March 2017 to March 2018, with the cost of land recording the highest increase.

    According to the latest First Capital House Building Cost Report, released on Wednesday, the average price tag for such a house in Windhoek and Swakopmund was N$449 926. In the rest of the country, the average cost was N$376 298.

    The breakdown for Windhoek and Swakopmund is: Land (N$95 000), labour (N$100 926), building materials (N$240 300) and indirect costs (N$13 700). In the rest of Namibia, the average picture looks like this: Land (N$23 000), labour (N$97 028), building materials (N$242 570) and indirect costs (N$13 700).

    For Namibia as a whole, the various components of buildings cost recorded average annual increases as follow: Land (4.8%), labour (4.4%) and building materials (4.1%).

    Cement

    First Capital (FC) says most of the cement consumed in Namibia is manufactured locally, and its price is subject to mainly domestic factors that have an impact on cement production.

    “The domestic slowdown in the economy that started in 2016 have impacted negatively on the construction sector which is a key demand sector for cement.

    “In line with the trend of slowing construction activities in the country, domestic cement output has also been slowing over two years since 2016. At the back of slowing demand, prices of cement were barely stable in 2017, which in our view was also supported by weak demand,” FC says.

    According to FC, the continued consolidation of the country’s fiscal position and the prolonged slowdown in the economy remains major downside factors to the construction sector which continues to weaken demand for cement.

    “With the new entrant of a cement producing company in the market that is set to begin supplying the market with the prolonged weak demand in consumption of cement, we hold a view that prices will remain flat throughout 2018,” FC says.

    Bricks, sand

    FC says the price of super bricks increased by 4% in March 2018 compared to March 2017.

    “The price of bricks is influenced by the price of cement and transport cost of transporting sand from the extraction site to the site of producing bricks. The price increase of 4% in bricks is in line with price increase of sand and transport costs.

    “In 2018, we do not expect major price shock to the price of bricks, as slow demand should be limiting factor for the motive by producers to increase prices. Competition among brick suppliers will also be key in keeping prices stable as of recent in the market of supplying bricks has picked up,” FC says.

    Annual figures show an increase of 4.8% in March 2018 compared to the price of sand in March 2017, FC continues.

    “Unlike for bricks, suppliers of sand remain few and this have always supported increases in the price of sand. The recent move towards regulating sand mining given the environmental impact it poses in areas where sand is mined could be another factor which we believe will further limit reduce suppliers in the market. This however, could mean a marginal increase in the price of sand,” FC says.

    Electrical goods

    According to the report, the prices of electrical goods surged went up by 4.8% on an annual basis in March 2018.

    “The input commodities of the manufacturing of these electrical goods is base metals like copper, aluminium and steel. Given that Namibia imports most of electrical materials goods, the local exchange rate and prices of base metals which are production inputs will be key to the outlook of electrical building materials,” FC says.

    “In line with the World Bank and International Monetray Fund’s outlook of slow recovery in the prices of base metals, we expect domestic prices of electrical goods will remain stable throughout 2018, supported by the continued exchange rate resilience of the local currency against the US dollar.”

    Kassie 1

    Average price of land from local authority

    Windhoek N$110 000

    Swakopmund N$75 000

    Ondangwa N$24 100

    Katima Mulilo N$23 500

    Rundu N$23 000

    Keetmanshoop N$18 200

    Kassie 2

    Building materials: Cost by town

    Windhoek N$241 000

    Swakopmund N$241 100

    Keetmanshoop N$241 400

    Ondangwa N$242 000

    Rundu N$242 100

    Katima Mulilo N$242 200

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    Grandpa guilty of killing grandson over chickenGrandpa guilty of killing grandson over chicken The Oshakati Magistrate's Court this week found an 81-year-old man guilty of the 2012 murder of his grandson, whom he stabbed to death with a traditional 'Omukonda' knife after they had an argument over a dead chicken.

    Magistrate Leopoldt Hangalo, who delivered the judgment on Wednesday, said the State had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Lukas Adalbert should be punished for the murder of Amutenya Mekondjo Julius (23).

    The sentencing is today.

    The murder was committed at Omagalanga in the Oshikuku area on 15 October 2012 when Adalbert and his grandson got into an argument over a chicken that Julius had killed.

    Two witnesses, Adalbert's wife and one of his sons, testified that Adalbert had asked Julius why he had killed his chicken.

    Adalbert first threw a punch at Julius, which missed.

    He then chased Julius and when he caught up with him, he stabbed him in the heart with his traditional knife.

    Julius was transported to a hospital, where he died.

    Throughout the trial Adalbert maintained his innocence, claiming that he acted in self-defence.

    Magistrate Hangalo disagreed, saying that the argument did not meet any of the requirements of self-defence.

    Prosecutor Nelao Ya France said the State wanted a 15-year prison sentence.

    “The evidence presented by the State clearly rebuts his version and the only conclusion that can be reached is that the deceased was a victim of a senseless killing, even more so that it was from the very same person who was supposed to protect and love him, the accused being his grandfather,” Ya France said.

    Adalbert is represented by Petrine Hango from Dr Weder, Kauta and Hoveka law firm.

    Hango asked the court for a sentence of 12 years, with five years conditionally suspended.

    Hango argued that Adalbert had shown remorse by asking forgiveness and offering Julius's family a cow, which they rejected.

    She further argued that Adalbert was angry about the killing of the chicken, since selling chickens was his only livelihood and he was his family's sole breadwinner.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 05/10/18--16:00: Crunch time for Avid 7
  • Crunch time for Avid 7Crunch time for Avid 7Kandara's shadow hangs over verdict A verdict is expected to be delivered today in a fraud saga involving the looting of N$30 million from the Social Security Commission by the politically connected, and which included the mysterious suicide of alleged kingpin Lazarus Kandara in 2005. In early 2005, Lazarus Kandara, CEO of Avid Investments and a well-known figure in ruling party circles, threatened to “spill the beans” by revealing the names of the people who helped him siphon N$30 million from the Social Security Commission (SSC).

    On the evening of 24 August 2005 at around 20:30, in front of the Windhoek police station, in an incident still relived on social media platforms to this very day, Kandara apparently committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

    Now, nearly 13 years later, the Windhoek High Court is expected to deliver judgement today in the Avid corruption trial, where seven accused have been in the dock since May 2014.

    Among those who will be waiting with bated breath to hear their fate are two former Swapo National Assembly members Paulus Kapia and Ralph Blaauw.

    They, together with Inez /Gâses, lawyers Otniel Podewiltz and Sharon Blaauw, Nico Josea and retired army brigadier Mathias Shiweda, are accused in the matter. But as the saying goes, 'dead men tell no tales', and inevitably the trial, at least for the accused, has been about placing all the blame on Kandara.

    The state and the defence lawyers delivered their closing arguments at the beginning of the week.

    Kapia is a former deputy works minister, while Ralph Blaauw is a former acting secretary-general of the National Youth Council (NYC).

    Although the accused were indicted in 2008, the trial started in May 2014.

    It is alleged the accused defrauded the SSC between December 2004 and August 2005 through misrepresentations used to persuade top managers at the commission to invest N$30 million with Avid, which was by all accounts, an inexperienced and dodgy asset management company.

    The money was to have been invested in a fixed interest-bearing account for four months and then returned on 28 May 2005 with the accrued interest. However, the funds are still missing to this very day, while evidence suggests that some of the accused were handed large amounts of cash at the Kandara house.

    Kandara's wife Christophine testified she first met some of the accused in 2005, after being told by her husband they would be visiting the house.

    Christophine told the court she received between N$220 000 and N$240 000 from Josea after her husband, who was in South Africa at the time, had instructed her to accept the money from him.

    According to her, she was then told by her husband to give Kapia, Blaauw and Podewiltz N$40 000 each, but only Blaauw and Podewiltz came to collect the money about five to ten minutes after Josea left her house.

    “I gave Ralph Kapia N$40 000 and Shiweda only came to collect his money on Sunday. I did not give them Shiweda's money because my husband said he did not trust them with Shiweda's money,” Kandara's widow told the court.

    She further said Josea presented her with a document to sign, confirming the transaction had taken place.

    A line of attack was opened for the defence when the document was revealed in court and showed she had received N$300 000.

    In 2005, /Gâses was the chairperson of the firm, while Podewiltz was a director, along with Kapia and Sharon Blaauw.

    Shiweda is said to have been a shareholder, while it is alleged that Ralph Blaauw did the lobbying when the deal with the SSC was reached in January 2005.

    The state has urged the court to convict the seven accused on all of the charges they are still facing, after they were discharged on some of the counts in August 2015.

    The prosecution has attempted to weave together a sordid tale of greed and corruption, while placing Josea in a key role in terms of handling N$29.5 million of the N$30 million investment.

    The state wants Josea convicted of theft and reckless or fraudulent business conduct.

    Judge Christie Liebenberg has also been urged to convict Kapia of fraud and reckless or fraudulent business conduct, while /Gâses, Podewiltz and the Blaauw couple are under the gavel for alleged fraud and reckless or fraudulent business conduct.

    The state also wants Shiweda to be convicted on the same charge.

    The judgement will once again, inevitably, shine the spotlight onto the death of then man who is said to have been at the centre of the saga - Lazarus Kandara.

    Among the extensive media coverage that accompanied his apparent suicide were reports of the possibility of a shot being fired from a little window facing the street on the staircase of the police station, suggesting an assassin.

    It is alleged that Kandara shot himself in the chest while covered with a blanket he had been given permission to fetch at his home after his arrest.

    He was wearing a red sweater, blue T-shirt, cream/white pyjama pants and brown leather sandals, after apparently showering and freshening up at his home, while his wife gave the police officers a meal.

    Kandara had voluntarily agreed to appear before an inquiry that took place earlier in the day, but during the course of his testimony, he allegedly incriminated himself, and by the end of the afternoon session he was arrested by the police on charges of theft and fraud.

    Deepening the mystery around his death was why, if he wanted to kill himself, and collected the gun at his home, did he not shoot himself immediately?

    During the inquest hearing, his wife denied the pistol he allegedly shot himself with belonged to him, although he did possess a weapon.

    Kandara was the founder of Avid and had according to evidence placed before then court recruited Kapia, /Gâses, Podewiltz, the Blaauw couple and Shiweda to become involved in the business.

    In his absence, Kandara has been painted in court as the one who had manipulated the accused to make misrepresentations to the SSC, which did not want to have business dealings with him.

    It was also alleged during the trial that the accused failed or did not bother to check the assurances, they say were given by Kandara about how the N$30 million investment with Avid would be handled.

    They then conveyed these false assurances to the SSC.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

    0 0

    Ya Toivo farm saga sparks full-scale probeYa Toivo farm saga sparks full-scale probe The Office of the Ombudsman has launched a full-scale probe into government's land resettlement process and has asked for a complete list of beneficiaries.

    While confirming the investigation, ombudsman John Walters said his office has requested the master list of resettlement beneficiaries from lands minister Utoni Nujoma.

    This follows a request by land activist Job Amupanda that Walters and his office investigate the awarding of a resettlement farm to the widow of the late struggle icon, Andimba Herman Toivo Ya Toivo.

    Ya Toivo had already been resettled in 2015 on Gross Otjomune, a resettlement farm in the Erongo Region. He died last year, amid a massive outpouring of grief.

    In March this year the lands ministry revealed in a tiny newspaper advert that Vicky Erenstein Ya Toivo would be resettled on unit A of Farm Joyce, which measures 2 376 hectares and is situated in the Omaheke Region.





    Erenstein Ya Toivo said she had applied for the land, but that it was a continuation of efforts made her late husband to secure a suitable resettlement farm, as the initial one was too far from Windhoek and in a very poor condition.

    She said the initial resettlement land contained no housing for workers, no farmhouse, a broken borehole and either broken or non- existent fencing.

    The allocation of the Omaheke resettlement land however sparked public outrage, which was led by Amupanda on social media platforms.

    He called the allocation to Ya Toivo's widow a “slap in the faces of poor, landless, black Namibians”.

    Walters said he will launch an investigation that is guided by the master list of beneficiaries, his office has requested from the lands ministry.

    He Namibian Sun the investigation will not only be looking at the Erenstein Ya Toivo resettlement issue, but would be “holistic”.

    “We will look at the list from the very beginning of the resettlement process. How else can we see whether the process was fair? Once we have the list a team will be assembled, but I will be leading the investigation,” he said.

    The investigation comes at a time when government is accused of driving a skewed land reform policy and showing no genuine intention to address the plight of the landlessness.

    Before he was fired as deputy lands ministry, Clinton Swartbooi, who now head the Landless People's Movement (LPM) criticised the land reform programme, saying it is a “total failure” driven by “ahistorical principles”.

    Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani has also repeatedly blamed the Swapo government for failing to address the land issue and its associated tensions.

    He has urged government to redistribute land on an equitable basis.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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