Articles on this Page
- 05/10/18--16:00: _Five convicted in A...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Return of the 'Fron...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _A textbook neutering
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Shot of the day
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Company news
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Ongwediva launches ...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _China supports anti...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Facebook suspends 2...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Shanghala concerned...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Lowest-paid 230 000...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Plastics mines? Eur...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Brickmaker gets the...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Phosphate faces mor...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Africa briefs
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Unam honours Karasb...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Farmer can’t rememb...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Exclusive ARV clini...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Embattled RCC 'capt...
- 05/15/18--16:00: _Rape, slavery and l...
- 05/16/18--16:00: _Boxing coaches cry ...
- 05/10/18--16:00: Five convicted in Avid/SSC scandal
- 05/15/18--16:00: Return of the 'Frontier'
- 05/15/18--16:00: A textbook neutering
- 05/15/18--16:00: Shot of the day
- 05/15/18--16:00: Company news
- 05/15/18--16:00: Ongwediva launches clean-up campaign
- 05/15/18--16:00: China supports anti-poaching battle
- 05/15/18--16:00: Facebook suspends 200 apps over data misuse
- 05/15/18--16:00: Shanghala concerned about cybercrime increase
- 05/15/18--16:00: Lowest-paid 230 000 to be targeted
- 05/15/18--16:00: Plastics mines? Europe struggles as pollution piles up
- 05/15/18--16:00: Brickmaker gets the boot
- 05/15/18--16:00: Phosphate faces more hurdles
- 05/15/18--16:00: Africa briefs
- 05/15/18--16:00: Unam honours Karasburg nun
- 05/15/18--16:00: Farmer can’t remember wife’s murder
- 05/15/18--16:00: Exclusive ARV clinics discriminatory - Haufiku
- 05/15/18--16:00: Embattled RCC 'captured' by Chinese
- 05/15/18--16:00: Rape, slavery and land theft
- 05/16/18--16:00: Boxing coaches cry foul
It was a mixed pot for the Avid/Social Security Commission seven accused when Judge Christie Liebenberg found former deputy minister Paulus Kapia, Inez /Gâses and Ralph Blaauw guilty of fraud. One of the kingpins in the matter, Nico Josea, was found guilty of theft by conversion, while Sharon Blaauw was found guilty of reckless conduct of business. Former NDF Brigadier Mathias Shiweda and former Avid director Otniel Podewiltz were acquitted. According to Liebenberg, no reckless fraudulent conduct of business was found against Shiweda, while no fraudulent conduct was proven against Podewiltz. The judge also found that Kapia, /Gâses, Podewiltz, Ralph Blaauw and Shiweda were not guilty of contravening sections of the Companies Act. Sharon Blaauw and Josea were found guilty for contravening sections of the Companies Act. The seven were on trial since 2014 following their arrest in 2008 for their involvement in the N$30 million Avid Investment/SSC fraud scandal.
Many double-cab owners will admit that although they love their bakkies, there are times when they wish there was a proper load area or third row of seats, instead of bundling things (and sometimes people) under a canopy.
Return of the 'Frontier'
There is no denying the fact that canopies are a compromise, an attempt to make a double-cab bakkie into an SUV – and it doesn’t really work. Canopies rattle, they’re terrible noisy inside and their dust sealing is awful.
Not the safest place to be in the case of a crash, either, which is why you’re not really supposed to have passengers under a canopy, or in the load-bay of your bakkie.
For Hilux, Ranger and Triton owners they have an option of graduating to brand SUVs from their double-cabs: Fortuner, Everest and Pajero Sport. But what if you are a committed Isuzu KB driver?
A rebadged Trailblazer?
It is deeply ironic that Isuzu, which had established the ladder-frame SUV market with its Frontier in the late 1990s, is only now reintroducing a KB-based wagon, which has been available in other right-hand-drive markets since 2012.
It’s called MU-X and although rivals will argue that Isuzu’s SUV is nothing but a rebadged Chevrolet Trailblazer, this is not entirely the case.
The absence of MU-X in the local market was always troubling. Isuzu has a terrifically loyal following in Southern Africa and the brand was denied an opportunity to graduate its bakkie customers into an Isuzu SUV due to local distribution and manufacturing agreements with General Motors South Africa, who took precedence with Chevrolet Trailblazer. With GMSA no longer a trading entity, Isuzu’s relished the opportunity to reconquer its erstwhile Frontier market share.
Platform and certain component commonalities aside, MU-X could be a better vehicle than Trailblazer ever was. It has a proper rear differential lock, sump guard and slider plates for dedicated off-road work and the engines are Isuzu 3-litre diesels, instead of General Motors 2.8s
For Isuzu dealers the presence of MU-X is a godsend. The Japanese brand is known locally only for its bakkies and despite that being South Africa’s most robust vehicle market, SUVs are tremendously profitable too, with strong demand.
Bakkie customers often reach a maturity point with their double-cabs where the lack of lockable load bay or a third-row of seats becomes an issue. The opportunity to now offer those Isuzu KB customers the option of a MU-X will boost Isuzu’s sales volumes and perhaps expose the brand to a new realm of customers too.
Fortuner still dominates
But how much of the market is there is Isuzu to conquest with MU-X? Fortuner dominates, with Everest second and Mitsubishi’s Pajero Sport acing a peripheral player, selling in the low double-figures.
If you use Trailblazer as a calculation point, Isuzu’s initial targeting will be quite low. The Chevrolet SUV never did much more than 10% of Fortuner sales, and if we use the Toyota as a reference, MU-X should trade just beyond 100 units per month.
There is conjecture that Isuzu’s much greater brand loyalty could see it achieve higher numbers than Trailblazer ever did, without bothering either Fortuner or Everest but possibly reducing Mitsubishi Pajero Sport’s market share by quite a bit.
After nearly two decades absence in the local SUV market, Isuzu’s return is most welcome. Now if only we could have a contemporary Trooper, to complete the re-establishment of Isuzu’s SUV product portfolio.
This came days before AR was due to embark on nationwide illegal land grabs and had followed 50 000 of its members applying for plots countrywide, which had steadily brought the land issue to a boiling point in the country.
In the run-up to the 31 July deadline, on which AR was expecting to receive feedback regarding its mass land applications, international media fixed its eyes on Namibia, as a full-scale confrontation between the youth and the powers that be seemed inevitable. Despite attempts, then and now, to paint AR as a faction within a faction in Swapo - a hangover from the defeat of Jerry Ekandjo and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana at the ruling party congress in 2012 - few could argue with AR's impact or public agenda.
Publically led by Job Amupanda, but seemingly possessing access to political acumen far beyond those who had been thrust into the public eye, AR had enjoyed a time of real power at the forefront of the battle for urban land, while exposing a system which sees developers and elite land barons feasting off the bulk of the salaries earned by young people, who have become their rent slaves. But as AR hurtled toward confrontation with the powers that be, State House swung its doors open, in an unprecedented move, and invited those inside who would have directly challenged the cornerstone of President Hage Geingob's fresh presidency.
This would have happened on 31 July, by perfectly illustrating that there were in fact masses who are and who had been 'left out' of the Namibian house for decades since independence, because effectively they had no house. And now, nearly three years later, AR has once again threatened legal action over the non-implementation of the resolutions agreed upon with State House.
The new deadline is 18 May 2018 at 16:00.
It remains to be seen whether there will be any follow through this time around. In the meantime, at least we have been left with a textbook case of how to do a neutering.
A trial for a lawsuit alleging that Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder was responsible for the death of a woman due to her exposure to cancer-causing asbestos began in South Carolina on Monday in the latest case against the healthcare conglomerate and a supplier over their talc-based products.
J&J said that its widely-used baby powder never contained asbestos, a known carcinogen linked to mesothelioma.
The case also names as a defendant a local unit of Rite Aid, one of the largest US drugstore chains, which allegedly sold the baby powder used by the woman.
Toys 'R' Us to sell Geoffrey the Giraffe, and sex-toys-r-us.com
Next month, Toys ‘R’ Us is putting its famous mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, on the auction block. Also up for sale: sex-toys-r-us.com.
The adult-oriented domain name is one of hundreds of website addresses that the bankrupt toy-store chain is looking to find a buyer for as it winds down its business and shutters 735 US stores, according to court records.
Also up for sale: ihatetoysrus.com, toysrussucks.com, kinkytoysrus.com and adult-toys-r-us.com.
The company is selling its intellectual property, which includes its name, Geoffrey the Giraffe logo, and the Babies ‘R’ Us brand, to raise money to repay its creditors. Brand specialists said it could be one of the most valuable brands ever sold by a company going out of business.
Credit raters put pressure on Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank’s new chief executive Christian Sewing needs to come up with a convincing strategy swiftly to stave off the threat of costly credit downgrades, the leading rating agencies told Reuters.
Standard & Poor’s is expected to say by the end of the month whether it will cut the rating of Germany’s largest lender after putting it on “credit watch” in April.
Chances of a downgrade are “at least 50 percent”, Giles Edwards, S&P’s lead ratings analyst on Deutsche Bank, said in an interview with Reuters.
S&P, like its counterparts Moody’s and Fitch, is awaiting details on Deutsche’s future strategy after the bank announced the outline of a revamp last month.
Trump defends intervention to help ZTE
President Donald Trump on Monday defended his decision to revisit penalties for Chinese company ZTE Corp for flouting U.S. sanctions on trade with Iran, saying the telecom maker is a big buyer for US suppliers.
Trump, known for his fiery rhetoric against Chinese trade practices he says hurt U.S. jobs, faced backlash from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers after he pledged to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help ZTE, saying too many jobs in China had been lost.
The company shut its main operations after the Commerce Department banned US companies from selling components to ZTE for seven years after it violated the terms of a settlement deal for illegally shipping goods made with US parts to Iran and North Korea.
KLM CEO says unrealistic Dutch business could leave Air France
The head of Air France-KLM’s Dutch subsidiary rejected as unrealistic suggestions that KLM could somehow abandon the partnership with Air France following a series of costly strikes at the French business.
Pieter Elbers said KLM had benefited from the increased scale of the joint company, created in 2004, and the two businesses needed each other.
“Just as it’s not feasible for KLM to continue independently, it’s also not feasible for Air France to go on alone,” he said in an interview on Dutch television.
The town council is urging residents to clean up their localities while the council is providing waste removal services.
According to the town council's spokesperson, Jackson Muma, the cleaning campaign started on 1 May and will run until 24 May.
He said the town was divided into six cleaning blocks and the council would collect rubbish picked up by residents on specific dates.
“What we want is for the town residents to clean up their surroundings and collect all the waste at suitable places where they will be picked by the town council officials. Residents are expected to organise themselves through their respective community leaders and clean up their localities,” Muma said.
Last month, while delivering his State of the Nation Address, President Hage Geingob announced 25 May as a national clean-up day. He suggested that every Namibian should set time aside to clean up their respective neighbourhoods or areas.
Muma said on 25 May all Ongwediva residents were expected to meet at the Mayor's Park, opposite the town council offices, to join the national clean-up day.
He added the cleaning campaign was aimed at ensuring that Namibians, visitors and investors live in a healthy and safe environment that is free of litter and pollution.
The donation was confirmed by National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi on Monday.
The media conference also announced the arrival of the chairman of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, Li Zhanshu, and his delegation, which jetted in yesterday on a three-day visit.
Asked whether the donation was premised on assertions that some Chinese nationals are perpetuating poaching and other illicit activities in Namibia, Katjavivi said:
“Your guess is as good as mine.”
He added irrespective of what the reasons for the donation was, it was “done in good faith”.
In one of many incidents in 2016, a Chinese national was arrested in South Africa with 18 rhino horns valued at N$6.6 million, which were suspected to have been smuggled from Namibia.
“The good news is that the Chinese government responded positively to deal with poaching. There is a good will to combat poaching,” Katjavivi said.
Li's delegation is accompanied by a team of specialist eye doctors from China, who will be treating cataract patients in Windhoek and Oshakati, while eye treatment equipment will also be donated to the Windhoek Central Hospital.
The visit comes just two months after President Hage Geingob led a delegation to China.
“Bilateral relations between China and Namibia have been greatly elevated since the visit of the Namibian head of state,” Katjavivi said.
“We are glad to note that this bond of friendship has grown from strength to strength.”
The visit is Li's first to Africa and included stops in Ethiopia and Mozambique before travelling to Namibia.
During the visit, Katjavivi and his counterpart will discuss issues of mutual interest, including staff exchange and the signing of memoranda of understanding between the Namibian parliament and China's National People's Congress.
“We want to learn from each other. This includes value-addition [as] we have infant industries. We do not want to become a dumping ground of products from other countries,” Katjavivi said.
Li will also pay a courtesy visit to both Geingob and Founding President, Sam Nujoma.
The National Assembly will be hosting a dinner at the parliament restaurant for the Chinese delegation this evening.
-Additional reporting by own reporter
"The investigation process is in full swing," said an online statement from Facebook product partnerships vice president Ime Archibong.
"We have large teams of internal and external experts working hard to investigate these apps as quickly as possible. To date thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended - pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data."
Archibong added that "where we find evidence that these or other apps did misuse data, we will ban them and notify people via this website."
The revelations over Cambridge Analytica have prompted investigations on both sides of the Atlantic and led Facebook to tighten its policies on how personal data is shared and accessed.
Facebook made a policy change in 2014 limiting access to user data but noted that some applications still had data obtained prior to the revision.
"There is a lot more work to be done to find all the apps that may have misused people's Facebook data - and it will take time," Archibong said.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg spent most of the past month on the fallout from revelations about Cambridge Analytica's data hijacking, seeking to assuage fears that the California-based internet colossus can safeguard privacy while making money by targeting ads based on what people share about themselves.
Efforts to rebuild trust in Facebook include a review of all applications that had access to large amounts of user data.
The 200-applications Facebook said it suspended included one called myPersonality that collected psychological information shared by millions of members of the social network who voluntarily took "psychometric" tests.
"We suspended the myPersonality app almost a month ago because we believe that it may have violated Facebook's policies," Archibong said Monday in response to an AFP inquiry.
"We are currently investigating the app, and if myPersonality refuses to cooperate or fails our audit, we will ban it."
About 40% of the people who took the tests also opted to share Facebook profile data, resulting in a large science research database, the University of Cambridge psychometrics centre said of the project on its website.
Security and encryption at the website used to share data with registered academic collaborators was meagre and easily bypassed, according to a report on Monday in British magazine New Scientist.
Shanghala was speaking on Monday during the commencement of the 27th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in Vienna, Austria.
“Namibia has experienced cyber-attacks in the realm of electronic banking transactions and this prompted us to come up with a draft bill on electronic transactions and cybercrime,” he said.
Shanghala added that due to rapidly evolving technologies, the legislation needs to be drafted flexibly, taking into account the need for legal certainty and precision, while catering for the country's ability to cooperate with other countries on matters of jurisdiction.
He expressed appreciation for the work of the Inter-Governmental Expert (IGE) Group on Cybercrime to conduct a comprehensive study on the problem of cybercrime, adding that Namibia would continue supporting the group.
The CCPCJ, which is organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, is taking place under the theme, 'Criminal justice responses to prevent and counter cybercrime in all its forms, including through the strengthening of cooperation at the national level and international levels'.
IGE functions as the platform for further discussion on substantive issues of cybercrime and cyber security. Shanghala acknowledged that Namibia's main challenge was the fact that it was lagging behind the criminal networks and that a short-sighted and limiting approach in this regard posed a serious challenge to progress.
“As states, our shared objective should be to find common standards that will enable us to effectively criminalise cybercrime.”
He cited the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which affirms that there can be no sustainable development without peace and vice versa.
“In light of this affirmation, we all have to join forces to reduce conflict, violent crimes and discrimination and, more importantly, we have to employ all our efforts to ensure inclusion and good governance in our respective jurisdictions.”
The CCPCJ is chaired by ambassador Lotfi Bouchaara of Morocco and will discuss crime prevention and criminal justice in the context of the 2030 sustainable development agenda, and preventing and countering human trafficking.
The fund, which will resort under the Social Security Commission (SSC), has been in pipeline for the past two decades and hopes to secure decent retirement benefits for Namibians, especially those in low-paying jobs.
While the pension fund will aim to create equivalent benefits and standards to that of private pension funds, it is unknown what the individual contributions will be.
It is also unclear at this stage how the about 230 000 individuals will be identified and on what sliding scale they will pay monthly towards the fund.
Concerns have already been raised about the affordability of the fund for both workers and employers, given the current economic crunch.
The revised National Pension Fund is expected to be presented to the labour ministry next month.
SSC spokesperson Unomengi Kauapirura said the revised policy is currently being updated after the draft was first completed at the end of 2016.
The proposed pension scheme is expected to provide relevant old-age and disability benefits to all workers and survivor benefits to their dependants in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. It will be funded by means of contributions from workers and employers.
In March this year labour minister Erkki Nghimtina and officials reviewed the documents and further revisions were recommended, following a consultation and briefing session.
If all project deadlines are met, the fund should be fully operational by the middle of 2019, said Kauapirura.
Based on the Labour Force Survey, the total number of employed people in Namibia was estimated at 676 88 in 2016.
Of these, 42.1% or 285 416 were active members of existing pension funds. This means 391 469 employed people did not belong to any pension fund in 2016.
However, 164 992 people were in vulnerable employment in 2016 and are therefore unlikely to contribute to the National Pension Fund. Therefore, the maximum potential new members of the fund is approximately 230 000.
According to Kauapirura the Draft National Pension Fund Policy proposes to establish a social security pension scheme, with the vision of a Namibia in which all workers have effective access to affordable pension and disability benefits and where their dependants can access affordable survivor benefits.
The Harambee Prosperity Plan sets the explicit goal that a National Pension Fund be established on the basis that many employed Namibians are excluded from retirement fund arrangements.
Government already made provision for the establishment of the fund as a mandatory contributory social security pension as far back as 1994, with the passing of the Social Security Act. However, the fund has not been implemented.
Questions sent to the SSC last week with regard to the fund's implementation, its affordability and how it would deal with individuals who are already members of private pension funds were not answered at the time of going to print.
Some of the surplus is piled up in places from building sites to ports, officials say, waiting for new markets to open up. Recycling closer to home is held back by the fact that the plastic is often dirty and unsorted, the same reasons China turned it away.
Countries led by Malaysia and Vietnam and India imported far more of Europe's plastic waste in early 2018 than before, European Union data show, but unless they or others take more, the only options will be to either bury or burn it.
In an overcrowded continent where landfills are much more restricted than elsewhere, burning is the obvious option to help generate electricity or heat from hundreds of thousands of tonnes of surplus waste.
But more radical ideas, such as putting oil derived plastic back underground to "mine" back when recycling becomes more sophisticated, are being aired as Europe tries to work out what to do.
Europe has favoured the construction of power plants that burn waste for electricity or heat because land is scarce and landfills produce toxins and greenhouse gases such as methane as organic waste - from food to nappies - rots.
Waste-to-power plants produce greenhouse gas emissions too, but in most of Europe they are exempt from carbon taxes that stand at about 14 euros a tonne in an industrial market.
Boyd said buried plastic could become a valuable resource only if the penalties for emitting greenhouse gases, both in making plastics and burning them, were far higher than today.
Globally, plastics accounted for 390 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2012, ranging from production to incineration and equivalent to the emissions by a nation such as Turkey, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a think-tank that specialises in recycling.
The plastics industry takes issue with such assessments, saying they ignore the vast contribution of plastic in reducing other emissions by for example preserving food and reducing the weight of transport.
The Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP), a group of some 400 plants using 90 million tonnes of municipal waste to provide heat and electricity for millions of people, said burying and then mining back plastic was a fantasy.
"Digging waste into landfills and then waiting until a magic technology pops up in the future is not a responsible option," CEWEP managing director Ellen Stengler said, adding that the idea was a minority view she heard "here and there" in Europe.
Plastic pollution is surging and could, according to UN Environment, exceed the weight of fish in the oceans by 2050.
China, which used to process half the world's exports of plastic waste, has insisted on higher standards of cleanliness and sorting to prevent waste that cannot be recycled being burned, which, in its case, often means in open pits.
For Europe, the restrictions have so far acted as an effective ban, according to official data reviewed by Reuters which showed exports to China crashing by 96% in the first two months of the year.
Nations led by Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey, India and Indonesia took on around 60% of the waste, but the surplus means Europe's market for low-grade waste has collapsed.
A tonne of plastic waste for export, with up to 20% impurities such as paper labels, could be sold for between 25 and 40 pounds a tonne in April 2017, according to British recycling group letsrecycle.com.
Last month, by contrast, you had to pay between 40 and 60 pounds to get someone to take it away.
Despite this, Patawari Borad of the Bureau of International Recycling in Brussels said recycling within Europe had not increased dramatically. "One can only guess that this unsorted material is going for either energy or incineration."
Waste-to-energy body CEWEP said it saw no sign extra plastic was being burned. Incinerators would notice a higher share of plastics, Stengler said, because, tonne for tonne, they produce a lot of energy.
Proponents of the idea of burying plastic include Keith Freegard, a director of Axion Polymers in England, one of Europe's leading recyclers of waste from cars and electronics.
"All those tonnes of carbon-rich waste material that were going into the landfill are now being released into the sky. Why are we allowing this free access to 'skyfill'?" said Freegard, who is vice chair of the British Plastic Federation's Recycling Group.
"We should separate and store plastic in a well-controlled landfill as a future mine," he told Reuters.
To produce a megawatt hour of electricity, he said a waste-to-energy plant would need to burn 345 kg of plastic, emitting 880 kg of carbon dioxide. By contrast, a gas-fired power plant would generate the same amount of energy by burning 132 kg of natural gas, emitting just 360 kg of carbon dioxide.
Stengler and nations that favour waste-to-energy plants say such accounting is misleading and that waste-to-energy helps replace fossil fuels, a key goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit heat waves, floods, droughts and rising seas.
Swedish government estimates, for instance, show that three tonnes of municipal waste contain as much energy as a tonne of oil.
World production of plastics has increased about twentyfold since the 1960s and is expected to double again over the next 20 years, according to the European Commission.
Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment in Nairobi, said the global focus for plastic policies should be to cut use, especially products such as microplastics used in some cosmetics or drinking straws that he said were unnecessary.
-Nampa/Thomson Reuters Foundation
The company, co-owned by Namibian Rickie Maasdorp and Chinese citizen Lei Zhang, has been making bricks on a five-hectare leased municipal plot since last year July, presumably for the sole purpose of providing bricks for the construction of a school hostel which Zhang is building.
The company has, however, expanded its operations and started selling bricks to the public.
Bitter complaints from local brickmakers and surrounding agricultural businesses ensued over alleged unfair competition and undue noise and air pollution emanating from the Knewhope brickmaking plant.
Council CEO Christophe /Uirab wrote a letter to Knewhope, informing them that a council meeting held on 28 August last year had decided not to approve their application to buy the five-hectare plot.
/Uirab wrote that the council had directed that the company should find a new plot.
Its new application for land “will follow the normal procedures for consideration and approval/disapproval”.
Knewhope was further informed that the town council would disconnect all services within five days of receipt of the letter.
Maasdorp and Zhang said the letter, dated 9 April 2018, was only delivered to them last Saturday. They were reportedly given until this Friday to vacate the plot.
According to Suvir Oomadath, who is attached to the company, Knewhope had entered into a 10-to-15-year lease agreement with the Rehoboth town council with the option to buy the plot.
Oomadath says the town council now insists that Knewhope relocate its operations to an industrial area where other local brickmakers are operating from, but argues that this area is right next to the Magasyn informal settlement and close to Blocks A and B. Oomadath yesterday said the company was forced to lay off all its workers.
“Will the Rehoboth municipality give these workers a job? “ Oomadath said.
Maasdorp has in the meantime been viciously attacked and robbed by six men on the premises of the brickmaking plant.
He was alone on the premises last Thursday evening when the men, all carrying pangas, sneaked up on him, attacked him, tied his hands and feet, beat him up and threatened to kill him.
His left ankle broke when one of the attackers jumped on it.
The attackers demanded cash and got away with N$9 000, a laptop computer, a camera, cellphones, and a .38 Rossi revolver.
Maasdorp made his escape when the men turned to go to the office building on the premises and got help from the security company Eagle Watch, which called the police and took him to hospital.
No arrests have yet been made.
Oomadath said the timing of this attack “suspiciously” coincided with the eviction letter delivered a couple of days later.
Maasdorp echoed this sentiment, claiming that a local brickmaker had previously threatened to close Knewhope down or take over the business.
He surmised that this local player was the “mastermind” behind the eviction, a petition handed to the municipality, and possibly the attack on him.
The local brickmaker allegedly also threatened to kill Zhang.
“He [Zhang] is not a Chinese; he is a naturalised Namibian,” stressed Oomadath.
Zhang said he obtained Namibian citizenship in 2016, a mere eight years since he first arrived in Namibia in 2008.
According to the Namibian Citizenship Act, ten years of ordinary residence in Namibia by virtue of a permanent residence permit is a requirement for citizenship by naturalisation.
A certificate of naturalisation can only be issued after the person has renounced his or her citizenship of a foreign country.
Zhang has denied allegations that he had paid bribes to council officials for the five-hectare plot from where his company has now been evicted.
In fact, a major legal challenge to phosphate mining still lays in wait, and is currently at case management stage in the High Court.
Namibian Hake Association president Matti Amukwa would not be drawn into commenting yesterday on last Friday's verdict, while saying the fisheries industry's objection to marine phosphate mining was still with the courts.
When asked when the association would be making a return to court, Amukwa said the matter was at the case management stage.
The association is challenging the mining licence granted to NMP for its Sandpiper project. The mining licence was awarded to NMP by the ministry of mines in 2011.
The association has argued the licence granted failed to comply with a condition requiring the firm to provide an environmental impact assessment to the ministry of mines within six months of it being granted.
Last Friday saw a small victory for NMP, after a clearance certificate was issued in 2016 by environmental commissioner Teofilus Nghitila, but was subsequently withdrawn by environment minister Pohamba Shifeta, who at the time reasoned there was a need for broader consultation.
Shifeta said at the time that the commissioner should notify the fisheries ministry, the fishing industry and all other interested parties to finalise their inputs in a report within three months and that the whole consultation process should be completed within six months.
The minister's decision was not received favourably by NMP, who subsequently approached the High Court to challenge it.
Representing NMP and making the case for marine phosphate mining activities, senior counsel Reinhard Tötemeyer argued that a fundamental breach of Namibia Marine Phosphate's right to a fair hearing had taken place before Shifeta decided on 2 November last year to set aside the environmental clearance certificate that Nghitila had granted to the company two months earlier.
He also argued that an appeal process against the granting of the certificate took place without its knowledge, and that NMP was not notified that an appeal hearing was to take place, with the result being that the company was not present at the hearing at the end of October 2016.
To that end, Tötemeyer had argued the process behind the withdrawal of NMP's certificate was flawed.
The clearance certificate was issued on 5 September 2016 and it only came to light more than a month later. Affected parties only had 14 days to appeal the decision from the date of granting the certificate.
Tötemeyer and Deon Obbes represented NMP while Werner Boesak and Vincent Maleka represented the environment ministry.
Capital inflow into Nigeria rose almost sixfold in the first quarter compared to a year ago, following last year’s liberalisation of the currency for foreign investors and steps to tighten liquidity to attract offshore funds.
Figures released on Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed capital inflow had hit US$6.3 billion in the quarter, dominated by offshore portfolio investors buying local shares and bonds rather than foreign direct investment.
Zimbabwe to get a US$1 billion Sinosteel investment
China’s Sinosteel Corporation has agreed to invest US$1 billion in Zimbabwe to build a power plant and increase ferrochrome output, the southern African country’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday.
Sinosteel president Andong Liu said the Chinese firm planned to build three additional furnaces at its majority-owned Zimasco business, which would raise ferrochrome output by 120 000 tonnes over the next five years to 300 000 tonnes per year.
Equatorial Guinea may strip Ophir of LNG project due to finance delays
Equatorial Guinea will force Ophir Energy out of the company’s flagship liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and may scrap it entirely unless long-delayed financing deals worth US$1.2 billion are presented to the government by December.
The ultimatum is a blow to UK-listed Ophir, which has set aside US$150 million of its own cash to develop west Africa’s first deepwater LNG project, Fortuna, by 2022 despite the firm’s lack of a track record in LNG and small balance sheet.
Thor Explorations aims to lead Nigeria's new mining pack
Canada-listed junior miner Thor Explorations aims to bring Nigeria’s first large-scale gold mine online in early 2020, its CEO said, as the West African country seeks to diversify its economy away from oil and gas.
Following the commodity price crash of 2015-16, the World Bank in April 2017 said it was providing funds to help the Nigerian government develop its neglected mining sector.
Projects under way include Thor Explorations’ Segilola Gold Project, located in Osun State, which CEO Segun Lawson says aims to produce gold in the first quarter of 2020 and has probable gold reserves of around 500 000 ounces.
Algeria's state energy company to sharpen focus on petrochemicals
Algerian state energy company Sonatrach will focus on petrochemical deals to reduce the North African country’s fuel imports while boosting revenue, its chief executive said.
Last week Sonatrach said it planned to buy ExxonMobil’s 175 000 barrel per day (bpd) Augusta refinery in Sicily, Italy, and on Friday it signed a US$1.5 billion deal with France’s Total deal to build a polypropylene plant in Algeria.
“Definitely petrochemicals are a top priority as we need to do more with less, to get more revenue with less oil and gas. The best way is petrochemicals,” Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour said on Saturday.
Born at Lüderitz in 1929, Sister Atiogbe began her career as a teacher in 1948 and selflessly served until her retirement in 1991.
“After her decision to become a nun, she was appointed as school principal at Pella in the Republic of South Africa for three and half years.
“In 1960 she returned to Karasburg and replaced the principal there until 1975. During this period, our candidate confronted the evils of apartheid with firmness.
“Using education, Sister Atiogbe began changing lives through a process we can call talent sprouting – the ability to bring to birth people's talents and capacity,” reads the motivation by Unam's pro-vice chancellor for research, innovation and development, Professor Kenneth Matengu.
Former students had petitioned the university to recognise Sister Atiogbe's tireless contribution towards education.
Matengu yesterday told the congregation that the decision to confer the honorary degree upon Sister Atiogbe was made after a thorough investigation of her life.
“This inquiry demanded that I follow the path of her life from her home town of Luderitz through to her lengthy and meandering route first between Namibia and South Africa; then within Namibia, and between Namibia and Europe.
“It involved examining her experience of a four-day trip by train to South Africa at a tender age of twelve years, to her time at college; as a teacher; as a novice; as a school principal; as a catholic nun and her service to the field of education and to the poor until today in retirement,” said Matengu.
Sister Atiogbe, who started her education at the age of six at the Roman Catholic Primary school in Lüderitz, completed grade 10 at St Joseph's Aliwal North in South Africa and eventually enrolled for a teaching diploma at St Augustine College in Cape Town and graduated in 1947.
She majored in English and Afrikaans, graduating with merit. She started her teaching career at the Karasburg Roman Catholic Primary School as a young graduate where she served until 1951 and moved to Mariental where she stayed for a year.
Matengu added that during the time Sister Atiogbe spent in Mariental, she participated in a retreat in which all teachers spent time with the Catholic Father and it was here that her life was changed forever and she felt the Lord's calling to commit to serving him.
“Convinced that education was the greatest equaliser, Sister Atiogbe became a teacher immediately after graduating. This decision was made out of conviction that Africans and black Namibians in particular, should not be relegated to manual labourers but that they needed to be given an equal opportunity to education.
“She then decided to become a religious sister. After her decision to become a nun, she was appointed as school principal at Pella in the Republic of South Africa for three and half years. In 1960 she returned to Karasburg and replaced the principal there until 1975,” he said.
An Aranos farmer, who was convicted of murdering his wife on 10 April 2010 after an argument over the funeral of Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugene Terre'Blanche a day earlier, says the murder would never have happened if he had not taken a cocktail of alcohol and medication.
Willem Visagie Barnard shot and killed his wife, Anette, at their farm near Aranos in the Mariental district.
Barnard had denied criminal responsibility based on the defence of non-pathological criminal incapacity.
This was supported by medical reports that stated he had alcohol and two anti-anxiety medications, Alprazolam and Zopiclone, in his system and was likely to have suffered memory loss for several hours.
When he was asked by state advocate Cliff Litubezi how he felt about the death of his wife, Barnard yesterday said: “I think every day what could have happened. If I was not under the influence of alcohol or medical drugs the whole situation could have been different.
“If I had killed her it was not out of hatred. If she had committed suicide I could have prevented it, if I was sober.”
Judge Naomi Shivute said in her judgment in January that although the substances taken by Barnard were capable of causing memory loss, which could result in temporary non-pathological criminal incapacity, the evidence revealed the accused was in control of his mental faculties at the time of the shooting.
“He was able to remember most of what happened, but conveniently had lapses of memory of the crucial event,” Shivute said.
She therefore came to the conclusion that Barnard was hiding behind this defence, in order to escape liability for his actions.
Arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentencing continue today.
In 2016 the US embassy donated 14 community-based clinics to the tune of N$5.2 million, which were to be used exclusively for ARV and tuberculosis treatment.
This is despite the fact that the majority of people in the Ohangwena Region have to walk several kilometres to access primary healthcare.
Ester Hasheela from Oshifitu village said they were excited when Americans donated the clinics, saying the community believed primary healthcare services would now be brought closer to the people. However, to their surprise the clinic near their village is only used to distribute HIV and TB medication.
“We are deep in a remote area without proper road, poor network coverage and no clinic.
We were happy for the donation from the American people, but now it does not serve any purpose,” she said.
“We continue to walk long distances to access primary healthcare services as the clinic is only for TB and HIV patients, which is also fine, but the government need to use these facilities to provide us with all the primary health services here because Okongo and Eenhana, where we get such services, are very far.”
According to Hasheela, Oshifitu and many other areas in Okongo are only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles because of thick sand.
She said many ailing community members continue to suffer at home because of lack of transport to Okongo and Eenhana.
Another community member, Velishi Pinehas from Oupili, described the donated clinics as useless because they only operate once a month, while people are suffering daily.
“One cannot get any help from these clinics even if they have simple complaints such as headache or fever. Only HIV patients are benefiting at the moment.
“We need other services to be provided at our clinics. What is the use of having a clinic in your community but still you have no access to primary healthcare services?” Pinehas said.
Approached for comment, health minister Bernhard Haufiku joined the community in slamming the current arrangement at the donated clinics, saying it was discriminatory and was fostering the stigmatisation of those living with HIV and TB.
“You cannot have a clinic in a community that is only assisting HIV patients. This is creating a situation where everybody in the community will know that this one and that one are HIV positive because they are the ones getting assisted at the clinic.
“This will also force other people who do not want their status to be disclosed to opt not to visit clinics,” Haufiku said.
The minister added they were exploring options to extend the healthcare services offered at these donated facilities.
“We are busy looking for funds either through donation so that we can start taking primary healthcare to these clinics through outreach programmes. We would like people from those communities to access healthcare through these centres.
“Everybody in those communities needs to benefit, even pregnant women must be able to get healthcare at these centres. We have similar centres at Okankolo and Gobabis where we already implemented this system and it is working out very well,” he said.
In 2016 the US embassy donated 14 pre-fabricated dispensary buildings to be used as outreach clinics for ARV and TB treatment to villages such as Onamihonga, Oshalumbu, Onghalulu, Oupili, Oshitishiwa, Olukula, Oshifitu and Omutwe-womunhu.
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Nico Smit said yesterday he believes the RCC and government will now be forced to give tenders to Chinese firm Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian (Pty) Ltd CC, in order to pay back the loan facility.
Finance minister Calle Schlettwein last week said legal provisions were “completely ignored” in the N$570 million loan agreement between the RCC and the Chinese firm.
Schlettwein reiterated 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, 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.
Smit was of the view that the loan would have to be repaid through tenders.
According to him, Namibia had borrowed from China through the RCC and this now meant that the Chinese government held a stake in the parastatal. “In this case, China now having more equity in the Namibian parastatal than government itself can only mean one thing: China owns a Namibian parastatal and is once again taking jobs away from Namibians,” Smit said.
The State Finances Act compels parastatals to get the approval of the ministry of finance when seeking funding for operations.
Schlettwein was recently quoted as saying the Chinese-RCC marriage was illegal.
“I do not have a problem with the partnership, but they signed the contract without following procedures. It is, therefore, an illegal agreement. We cannot support it,” he said.
According to Schlettwein, the agreement, which promised the Chinese company projects, has not been budgeted for.
Smit also believes that government would have to issue tenders for the construction of roads, as a means to pay back the Chinese for the cash flow provided to the RCC for its operations and continued existence.
RCC chairperson Fritz Jacobs did not respond to comments made by Smit when approached.
However, when previously commenting on its new Sino-Namibia relationship, he said the RCC was looking for off-balance sheet financing.
Off-balance sheet financing means a company does not include a liability on its balance sheet. It is an accounting term and impacts a company's level of debt and liability.
“We are currently finalising an off-balance sheet funding solution. This funding does not require government guarantees, as per cabinet decision,” Jacobs said during a previous interview.
The Ovaherero and Nama are demanding damages from Germany for the genocide against their forefathers at the turn of the 20th century.
The case is scheduled to be heard in the United States on 31 July and is being brought as an amended class action suit.
The Ovaherero and Nama are demanding a jury trial on all issues and are requesting the New York court to designate the Ovaherero and Nama leaders as the representatives of those affected by the 1904-08 genocide and that the court grant judgment in their favour.
Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro as the representative of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority and Chief Johannes Isaack, the chairman of the Nama Traditional Authorities Association, the Association of the Ovaherero Genocide in the USA Inc. and Barnabas Veraa Katuuo individually and as an officer of the American-based association, on behalf of itself and all other Ovaherero and Nama indigenous peoples, are the plaintiffs.
A trial by jury is a legal proceeding in which a jury either makes a decision or makes findings of fact, which then directs the actions of a judge.
The plaintiffs are demanding damages for the horrific genocide and unlawful dispossession of property, in violation of international law, by German colonial authorities during 1885 to 1909 in the former South West Africa.
They want Germany to be restrained from continuing to exclude them from participating in discussions and negotiations regarding the genocide and reparations talks.
“The exclusion is committed in violation of our rights under international law, which includes the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous People to self-determination and the right to participate and speak for ourselves regarding all matters relating to the losses we have suffered,” they argued.
“Germany's extermination order against the Ovaherero and Nama was the first genocide of the 20th century.”
The genocide policies and practices against the Ovaherero and Nama, including the use of mass exterminations, concentration camps and the mistreatment of the targeted population as a “sub-human” group, was a precursor to Germany's later efforts to exterminate European Jews in World War II.
Architects and key participants in Adolf Hitler's so-called 'Final Solution' learned their barbaric practices during the period of the Ovaherero and Nama genocide, it is being argued.
The Nama and Ovaherero further want the American court to certify the lawsuit as a class action.
The prerequisites to a class action is that one or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all, only if the class is so numerous that adding of all members to the lawsuit is impracticable.
The Namibian indigenous tribes want the US court to adjudge and decree that Germany's conduct was in violation of international law, federal statutory common law and the laws of the state of New York.
“These violations include, but are not limited to the mass killings intended to exterminate the Ovaherero and Nama, the systematic rape and abuse of Ovaherero and Nama women, taking and expropriating land, cattle and other property without compensation, are in furtherance of Germany's genocide policies,” the Ovaherero and Nama maintained.
It also included the herding of survivors into concentration camps, the exploitation of the surviving Ovaherero and Nama as forced or slave labour and the use of corpses and skulls for pseudo-scientific experimentation and public display, which constitutes genocide under international law.
The plaintiffs further argued that Germany, as governmental authority during the colonial period, was liable for aiding and abetting colonial settlers and residents in the confiscation of land, cattle and other property from the Ovaherero and Nama, in violation of international law, the systematic rape of women by German civilian and military personnel and their unlawful use as forced or slave labour.
They want the American court to award damages for all common and state law violations, including the unjust enrichment.
They want the court to direct that Germany conducts an accounting of the value of land, personal property, livestock, concessions, taxation and customary rights, human labour, body parts and other property rights taken away from the Ovaherero and Nama.
The plaintiffs want an order that a constructive trust be established with regard to the value of the above-mentioned.
They want the court to award an order in their favour for punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish Germany for its flagrant and outrageous violation of international law and to deter such future conduct.
Patrick Kashera, who was the head coach and team manager for the games, has alleged in a report to sport permanent secretary Emma Kantema-Gaomas, dated 30 April, that they were maltreated by NNOC secretary-general Joan Smit and the organisation's president Abner Xoagub.
In his report, Kashera details how he was selected together with Teofilus Hamutumbangela to be part of the team by the Namibia Boxing Federation (NBF).
Both of them are qualified AIBA Star 1 coaches and were accredited six months before the games. However, in the report Kantema-Gaomas was informed they were not given any transport money to travel to Windhoek from the north and also had to foot the bill themselves for their accommodation.
Kashera also claimed Smit disrespected, belittled and attacked them verbally in front of their athletes.
“She claimed that we do not know anything about boxing and only wanted to go on holiday. She also claimed that we are not qualified to participate in such a high-level competition,” lamented Kashera.
He further said Smit undermined the mandate of the boxing federation and only wanted her favoured individuals to accompany the team.
“We booked our own accommodation and confronted them both (Smith and Xoagub).
“They were adamant that we are not qualified and further called the International Boxing Federation (IBF). Only then did they refund us the N$3 000 for accommodation. But they have not refunded my transport fees.
“In difficult situations we then arranged a crash preparation course for the boxers, using our own fees for five days before travelling to Australia, because the NNOC said they did not have funds for that, but took a cleaner to the games. They could have used that money to pay for a training camp.
“The NNOC should become transparent and not send their families to major games, at the expense of sport codes and the government,” Kasera said.
The coach added the NNOC has no respect for federations and chooses to work directly with athletes and coaches, without consulting the federations.
“They don't follow the right channels at all and aid in causing division amongst coaches and disadvantaging certain coaches in regions, because they do not disseminate information to everyone.”
In the report Kashera also claimed they were denied the opportunity to attend a cut man course in Australia, even though it was communicated to NNOC early.
“There are no qualified cut men in Namibia and this was a great opportunity for us to be trained.”
A frustrated Kasera recommended that boxing be managed by the NBF and not the NNOC and that funds meant for boxing should be paid to the federation.
Hamutumbangela said the manner in which NNOC did things was embarrassing. “I was selected because of the work I do for the boxers, but the NNOC tried by all means to leave us out of the trip. It's not right because our boxers did well, with Jonas Junias returning with a gold medal. We were not even rewarded for that,” he said.
Smit was in Botswana when called for comment and said that she was not aware of anything. She was then forwarded the report and promised to respond, but did not do so at the time of going to print.
Xoagub said they wanted to send the best to the games and did not want to send people just to get experience.
“These guys have a system of giving each other chances to travel, but we did not want that. We took them in the end. Even the boxers were unhappy, themselves.
“We wanted one of the trainers to go with the team, as the boxers are used to them, but in the end this did not happen.”