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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day RESCUED: A woman peers out from the porthole of the MV Aquarius upon its arrival at the Sicilian port of Messina. On 12 May 73 migrants of various nationalities, including women and children, were rescued by MV Aquarius a rescue vessel chartered by SOS-Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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    One life lost is one too manyOne life lost is one too many Namibia still has a road safety problem and despite our relatively good road infrastructure, traffic-related injuries have become the main cause of fatalities among productive young people in our country. From one campaign to another, the message of ensuring safety on our public roads has been overemphasised by various stakeholders, including law-enforcement agencies, media, government and critical roleplayers like the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and the National Road Safety Council.

    The fact of the matter is that we are not winning this fight against road fatalities and this is evident in the significant number of cases involving highly intoxicated, speeding and reckless motorists. Another contributing factor are unroadworthy vehicles still being operated on our public roads. Just last Sunday six people died in a terrible crash on the B2 between Arandis and Usakos in the Erongo Region. It is reported the accident was caused by a burst tyre, while the vehicle, which is only authorised to carry seven persons, in fact had 10 occupants. It is really sad that so many lives have been lost in this manner. As motorists, we have a responsibility to ensure that our vehicles are roadworthy and meet all traffic standards. The overloading of passengers, which is prevalent within the public transport industry, has for far too long been a serious threat to the lives of passengers. Hapless passengers are in most cases left with no choice but to endure harassment and travel in overloaded vehicles, despite the obvious dangers. Local taxi and long-distance public transport operators should never shy away from educating their drivers on the importance of road safety. Bus and taxi owners should not lose sight of why they are in business, and become too greedy chasing profits. All stakeholders must do more to tackle this growing concern in our country. The safety of passengers must come first at all times, because one life lost is one too many.

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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Company news
  • Company newsCompany news Barloworld reports solid first-half earnings

    South Africa’s Barloworld Ltd, a dealer for Caterpillar Inc and other industrial brands, reported a 14% rise in first-half earnings on Monday as a pick-up in mining activity spurred sales of heavy equipment.

    The biggest revenue increase came from its equipment businesses in Southern Africa, its biggest market, led by mining machine sales in South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia, the company said. Its equipment business in Russia also continued to benefit from greenfield and brownfield mining projects.


    Sony to pay US$2.3 billion for EMI Music

    Sony Corp said on Tuesday it would pay about US$2.3 billion to gain control of EMI Music Publishing, as it seeks to boost entertainment content assets and shift away from low-margin consumer electronics.

    Wholly owned unit Sony Corporation of America will buy all of the roughly 60% stake in EMI Music held by Mubadala Investment Company, lifting Sony’s holding to 90% and making it a consolidated subsidiary.


    Boeing technicians in South Carolina to vote on unionisation

    Some Boeing Co workers at the planemaker' s factory in South Carolina will vote on union representation later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on.wsj.com/ on Monday, citing US labor regulators.

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that 178 technicians at the Boeing facility, which produces the 787 Dreamliner jets in North Charleston, can vote to join the International Association of Machinists union.


    Deal to remove US sales ban against ZTE

    Washington and Beijing are nearing a deal that would remove an existing US order banning American firms from supplying Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp, two people briefed on the talks told Reuters.

    The people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations were confidential, also said the deal could include China removing tariffs on imported US agricultural products, as well as buying more American farm goods.


    Beltone Financial seeks controlling stake in Oragroup

    Egypt’s Beltone Financial is seeking a controlling stake in Oragroup, which owns banks in 12 African countries, as the company looks to expand its financial services on the African continent, Beltone said in a statement late on Saturday.

    Beltone Financial, listed on the Cairo exchange and one of the country’s largest asset managers and financial services companies, said its board had agreed to sign a non-binding offer to set out indicative terms for the transaction.

    It did not disclose the exact size of the stake it is looking to acquire or the potential terms.


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    Power transforms rural schoolsPower transforms rural schoolsOhangwena pupils score computer, other benefits Two Ohangwena schools will now be able to use computers, photocopy machines as well as have light in their classrooms. A German-Namibian foundation has funded a renewable project that will see two rural schools in the Ohangwena Region electrified with solar energy by next week.

    The Omuuni and Ondjabayonghalu combined schools will soon have access to electricity after many years of being without this essential service.

    The Hanns Seidel Foundation invested over N$500 000 while buying three different 3-kilowatt solar-powered systems.

    A further N$80 000 has been used to contract the installation company.

    The initiative forms part of the foundation's Promoting Renewable Energies in Namibia (Pren) project, launched last year.

    The schools will now be able to use computers, photocopy machines as well as have light in their classrooms.

    According to Pren project coordinator Rodney Seibeb they launched the three-year project with the aim of electrifying six rural schools with renewable energy by 2019.

    Seibeb made the remarks during a consultative meeting with various stakeholders at the Ohangwena regional council earlier this week, where he said if everything goes to plan Omuuni and Ondjabayonghalu will be electrified with solar power by this coming Monday.

    “Our objective is to improve the awareness of using renewable energies and energy efficiency in Namibia. We are promoting the use of renewable energies in schools, as well as in SMEs and start-ups in targeted rural areas, by making use of capacity building interventions.”

    Seibeb said if the systems are used effectively they will last up to 30 years.

    He added the solar systems are unique, in that they can be expanded, which then increases their efficiency and lifespan.

    When asked what criteria was used to identify the two schools, Seibeb said they conducted thorough baseline research, in which they identified schools that are far from the electricity grid.

    This was done in consultation with different stakeholders.

    Apart from the electrification of the schools, Seibeb said they also plan to visit four schools with their mobile classrooms, as well as conduct two workshops for rural SMEs with energy needs.

    Ohangwena deputy director of development planning Etuhole Haimbili was pleased, saying the region needs stakeholders who are eager to meet government halfway.

    He applauded the efforts of the Hanns Seidel Foundation and praised it for identifying two schools in Ohangwena to benefit.

    “We appreciate what you are busy with.”

    Seibeb called on stakeholders who would like to donate equipment to the schools, such as computers and printers, to do so as soon as possible.


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    Simataa slams corruption reportSimataa slams corruption report Information minister Stanley Simataa this week said he rejected the outcome of a recent report on corruption by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

    The report, titled 'The Role of the Private Sector in Tackling Corruption', was produced by IPPR associate researcher Johan Coetzee and published on 9 May 2018.

    Briefing the media, Simataa said the research lacked content and quality empirical evidence. He added that outcomes are “prejudiced, heavily opinionated and blatantly pre-determined”.

    Coetzee amongst others said the government is the common denominator in corrupt activities, and that government monopolies are one of the major contributing factors to sustaining a corrupt environment.

    He also said there was little motivation for public sector reform as Swapo enjoyed a two-thirds majority in parliament and was secure because no opposition party was strong enough to topple it from power.

    “If the political and public office-bearers who are responsible for drafting, approving and implementing legislation, policies, regulations and by-laws tolerate bribes, private sector will most certainly offer bribes to increase their profit,” said the research.

    Simataa said the government values research, however the IPPR's research outcome did not consider the government's efforts in fighting corruption.

    “The fight against corruption is an eternal collective national and global undertaking that demands the indulgence of every member of Namibian society, the private sector included,” he said.

    He further emphasised that to be assured of success in the fight against corruption, government does not “need spectators nor surrogate defenders of private sector corruption”.

    The minister said there is a need to for unity of action to isolate and deal with all those involved in corrupt practices, regardless of their standing in society.

    Simataa noted that the government at the highest level has illustrated its resolve to root out corruption through the Anti-Corruption Commission.


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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Blow for scammers
  • Blow for scammersBlow for scammersEU tightens data protection law Citizens will now have greater rights to know what is being held by corporations. "It's not uncommon for a company to call you and offer you better services or a better contract and for you to commit to that service over the phone,"Arvind Verma, victim of scammers When London accountant Arvind Verma got a call in April from someone posing as a salesman for the British retailer Carphone Warehouse, the offer was too enticing to refuse and he saw no reason not to hand over his credit card details.

    It wasn't until the real Carphone Warehouse called that he realised scammers had gained access to his private information in the company's database and used it to take out a contract with the extra details he had provided.

    Now Verma hopes a new European law designed to give people more control over how their data is held and used will stop such scammers in their tracks.

    "It's not uncommon for a company to call you and offer you better services or a better contract and for you to commit to that service over the phone," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    "What had happened is this (fake) company had gathered as many of my details as possible, called me up to get the rest of the details, and then called up Carphone Warehouse to take a contract out in my name."

    The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been billed as the biggest shake-up of data privacy laws since the birth of the web and is the largest change in data protection law in Europe for more than 20 years.

    It gives EU citizens more control over how their personal data are stored and used. Companies breaching the new rules on how they handle people's data could incur fines of up to 4 percent of their annual revenue.

    Carphone Warehouse, which is owned by Dixons Carphone, said it had reviewed how it stored customers' information ahead of the new law, which comes into effect on May 25.

    The mobile phone retailer was fined in January by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office for a 2015 cyber attack which exposed the personal data of over 3 million customers.


    Under GDPR, companies will have to report serious data breaches within 72 hours and have to be able to provide European customers with a copy of the personal data they hold.

    "Citizens will now have greater rights to know what is being held by corporations, organisations," said Richard Benham, founder of The Cyber Trust, which aims to protect those most vulnerable from cyber fraud.

    "They will have the right not only to access that information but also have the right for that information to be deleted if appropriate."

    Businesses around the world have been racing to make sure they comply with the rules, which apply to all companies that do business with Europeans.

    The industries most affected will be those that collect large amounts of customer data, including technology companies, retailers, healthcare providers, insurers and banks.

    "It's not just a tech sector issue. Data protection is key to all organisations of every size and every sector," said Jeremy Lilley, policy manager for data protection at trade association TechUK.

    For the consumer, analysts say the law will have the added benefit of decreasing the number of marketing emails hitting their inbox.

    It will be policed by a patchwork of national and regional watchdogs across the 28-nation European Union bloc.

    Although his experience has made him more careful, Verma has not stopped using online services and is optimistic the new EU law will help with data protection.

    "I cannot avoid my data being out there ... For me, GDPR offers that extra bit of security that gives me that comfort that there's an extra barrier. It's like having a house and putting an alarm on it," he said.

    -Nampa/Thomson Reuters Foundation

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    Angola cuts tax rates for development of marginal oil fieldsAngola cuts tax rates for development of marginal oil fields Angola has halved headline tax rates for marginal oil fields as part of a series of laws to drive investment and reverse declining output in Africa’s second largest crude producer.

    The series of presidential decrees, published in the Official Gazette on Friday and made available by the oil ministry on Monday, outlines new legislation for the development of marginal fields, the creation of a regulator for fuel products and natural gas rights.

    Angola previously did not have any specific legislation covering the exploration and production of natural gas.

    Angolan oil production is set to decline 36% by 2023, according to government data. President Joao Lourenco is scrambling to rekindle investment in a sector that accounts for 95% of the country’s exports.

    For marginal fields, which the law defines as a discovery with reserves of less than 300 million barrels, petroleum production tax was cut to 10% from the usual 20%, while petroleum income tax was reduced to 25% from 50%.

    A separate decree published at the same time called for a flexible approach to concession boundaries, with reserves that spread beyond the original limits being rolled into current blocks as long as they did not cross into an area already under contract.

    New gas legislation gives oil companies a specific legislative framework to explore, develop and sell natural gas for the first time in Angola.

    It outlined a tax regime on predominantly gas fields of 5% on production and 25% on income.

    The series of decrees created a new body to regulate the oil derivatives market, including the import and distribution of fuels.

    The body known as the Regulatory Institute for Oil Derivatives (IRDP) will be based in the capital Luanda and its head will be chosen by the minister for oil and mines.

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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Friday is clean-up day
  • Friday is clean-up dayFriday is clean-up day Namibia's first World Heritage Site, Twyfelfontein, has been cleaned up in the build-up towards the National Clean-Up Campaign taking place this Friday.

    The CEO of the Hospitality Association (HAN), Gita Paetzold, said many tourism entities have started drumming up community support to clean their areas.

    One of the success stories was when the !Uibasen Conservancy and its operating partners came together on 1 May to hold the first Twyfelfontein clean-up day.

    The planning and preparations began when managers from the conservancy offices, Twyfelfontein Country Lodge, Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site, Aba Huab Campsite, Camp Kipwe/Mowani Mountain Camp, Damara Living Museum and Abadi Campsite gathered to discuss the ongoing issue of waste disposal within the conservancy.

    “Waste not only collects in the local village but also blows throughout the riverbeds, which negatively effects international tourists' opinion of the conservation efforts in the conservancy,” said Paetzold.

    Since the Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site and desert-adapted elephants are both in the conservancy, the Twyfelfontein area is a major tourist attraction.

    According to Paetzold the campaign was a huge success. About 200 volunteers, most of them conservancy members, and the rest staff from various lodges and campsites, they filled more than 1 800 bags of recyclable waste.

    “Rent-a-Drum was a huge help, not only in assisting with the clean-up but also educating the community on proper recycling techniques and the importance of recycling.

    “The community at Twyfelfontein realised that they live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so campaigns like this where everyone commits to help our environment and uplift the community are very special,” said Paetzold.

    She added that in the build-up towards the clean-up campaign support has been streaming in and added that HAN, Recycle Namibia Forum, Eco Awards Namibia and Tosco Namibia (Tourism supporting Conservation) were very encouraged.

    More than a month ago, under the motto of 'Joining Hands and Linking Brands for a Cleaner Namibia', stakeholders in the tourism industry were urged to support President Hage Geingob's call for a cleaner Namibia on 25 May.


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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Meat industry under pressure
  • Meat industry under pressureMeat industry under pressure Namibia's meat industry is faced with several challenges which, if not addressed, will impact the performance of the sector.

    During the 2017/18 financial year, Namibia exported 85% of its meat products to the value of N$2 billion.

    A total of 2.77 million cattle, 1.97million sheep and 1.79 million goats were exported.

    However Meat Board's general manager, Paul Strydom, in a presentation to agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb, highlighted the challenges that the industry is faced with.

    He said one of the main challenges in the sector is the competitiveness of the Namibian meat industry, adding that it needs to look at the joint value addition definition. According to Strydom there is also a need to improve animal health status through the re-commissioning of the northern abattoirs that are owned by government. Meatco announced at the end of 2016 it will no longer operate and manage the Katima Mulilo and Oshakati abattoirs after accumulating immense losses for several years. After Meatco announced it will not renew its agreement, the company decided it will instead make use of mobile slaughter units within the Northern Communal Areas.

    The abattoirs have since been closed and undergone rehabilitation. Strydom said in terms of the sheep marketing scheme there is a need to restore the vitality of the industry. “There is also a need to finance the crucial Directorate of Veterinary Services' certification functions,” he said.

    Furthermore he added that South Africa's livestock import conditions such as the bovine tuberculosis requirement has added additional costs to the value chain.

    According to him Protocols for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis on how to comply with the 'new' South Africa import conditions have been developed and forwarded to the veterinary directorate for scrutiny. Strydom also said the frequent escapes of buffalo from the Waterberg Plateau Park and financing agricultural unions are challenges to the industry.

    Other challenges noted included the approval of the Meat Board's 2018/19 budget, the gazetting of the Meat and Livestock Products Bill, and regular interaction with the minister.


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    Slaughterhouse gets N$400 000 faceliftSlaughterhouse gets N$400 000 faceliftOndangwa council revamps facility, amid closure threat The Ondangwa council has headed warnings that the closure of its slaughterhouse was imminent. The Ondangwa town council has revamped the local slaughterhouse that was facing closure by the Meat Board of Namibia.

    According to the Meat Board, the town council had failed to comply with the Meat Industry Act in the administration of the slaughterhouse, which was not up to the required standards. In March this year, the Meat Board and the Oshana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) inspected the slaughterhouse and ordered that it be closed by the end of July, if the town council fails to comply with their recommendations.

    According town council spokesperson Petrina Shitalangaho the council spent close to N$400 000 to renovate the slaughterhouse, which included fencing, the setting up of two pens and renovating the building.

    “The Meat Board gave us until July to have the facilities restored to its desired state or it will be closed. The council took up the matter seriously and it was revamped with immediate effect,” Shitalangaho said.

    She said the work will be completed by the end of this month, adding the slaughterhouse is administered by the council and used by members of the public. Shitalangaho said the slaughterhouse is of vital importance to the town, as it can slaughter more than 20 animals a day.

    Shitalangaho urged the community of Ondangwa and the surrounding areas to make use of the facility and also to take care of it.

    Meat Board official John Uutoni said the town council had not been paying levies to it for operating the slaughterhouse and had also not provided slaughtering records, as stipulated in the Meat Industry Act.

    “We are having a meeting with the town council this week so that they can update us on our recommendations. If nothing has been done the slaughterhouse will be closed,” Uutoni said.


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    AB InBev pumps up the volume in AfricaAB InBev pumps up the volume in AfricaSA plan signals strategy for continent AB InBev is trying to protect and expand its mid-tier brands with the help of discounting and promotions. In comparison to where we have been, these markets are still being developed. - Ricardo Tadeu, President: AB InBev Africa Tiisetso Motsoeneng, Philip Blenkinsop and Martinne Geller – Sitting outside the ramshackle Vimba Tavern in Johannesburg's Alexandra township, Patrick Mashego swigs from a one-litre bottle of Carling Black Label, South Africa's most popular beer.

    Rolled out by AB InBev across the country this year, the larger bottles are part of a plan by the world's biggest brewer to lure price-conscious South Africans to its mid-market beers and away from bargain rivals or home brews.

    AB InBev's move marks a departure from its typical playbook of increasing margins and profits principally through higher prices and rigorous cost control, tactics honed through its close association with private equity firm 3G Capital.

    It is also the clearest sign yet of how AB InBev aims to conquer the rest of Africa after getting a major foothold on the continent by buying its biggest global rival SABMiller in 2016.

    On a continent where the average person drinks 10 litres of beer a year - compared with 75 litres in the United States and 66 litres in Brazil - establishing its premium brands and selling high volumes of mid-tier beers will be key, as will breaking into countries dominated by other brewers.

    "Clearly there's room for making our products more present. That's definitely a big part of our efforts here," said Ricardo Tadeu, AB InBev's Africa zone president. "In comparison to where we have been, these markets are still being developed."


    AB InBev is trying to protect and expand its mid-tier brands with the help of discounting and promotions as they will be its workhorses during the time it takes its premium international lagers Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona to gain market share.

    But because AB InBev already has a range of premium beers for the high end of the South African market, it is also freer than SABMiller to push brands such as Carling and Castle deeper into the mainstream market.

    At the Vimba Tavern, Mashego, 33, who spends most of his day scouting for recyclable rubbish to make a living, seems sold on AB InBev's strategy. At R19 rand for a one-litre bottle, Mashego is paying about 20% more than for 750 ml bottles but gets a third more beer.

    "This is all I drink now," said Mashego, sitting next to a friend also swigging beer from a one-litre bottle.


    SABMiller's African presence was considered the main prize in AB InBev's US$107 billion acquisition of the world's second biggest brewer - given the potential for growth on the continent as beer sales in other regions stagnate.

    Bernstein analysts estimate the African beer market was worth US$10.8 billion of net revenue in 2016, or 7% of the global total, and they see it as the world's most attractive region for long-term volume and profit growth.

    When AB InBev bought SABMiller, it cited forecasts that beer sales in Africa would grow by nearly three times the global rate between 2014 and 2025. About a fifth of the industry's revenue in Africa, and a quarter of the profits, come from South Africa.

    As part of its new strategy, AB InBev is reinforcing its volume play with more frequent discounting for Carling and another local favourite, Castle, retailers say.

    Even though AB InBev controls more than three-quarters of the South African market, according to Euromonitor International, liquor store owners say promotions have become more common than under SABMiller.

    "We used to get them once every quarter, now it's more like one a month," said one of five Johannesburg liquor store owners to tell Reuters they had seen a jump since AB InBev took over.

    Promotions were most intense towards the end of 2017, another liquor store owner said.

    ‘Full-on war’

    "There were deals almost on a weekly basis ... crazy stuff," said the trader in Vanderbijlpark near Sasolburg, adding that AB InBev appeared to be in "full-on war" with its closest rival Heineken in the run-up to Christmas.

    The Dutch beer maker, which controls 7% of South Africa's beer market, has been gaining market share since last year, mainly through its Heineken lager which is a favourite among the country's elite.

    But it has been driving into the mainstream sector too with Soweto Gold, which it launched late last year, as well a greater push for its more established Tafel brand. It is also rolling out different bottle sizes.

    "Both AB InBev and Heineken are pursuing an ambitious growth agenda. With that comes quite intensive promotional activity," said Heineken's South Africa chief Ruud van den Eijnden.

    "What you see is increasingly brewers use specific packs to do promotions."

    Jumbo bottles, multi-packs

    UBS analyst Nik Oliver said AB InBev generally puts more emphasis on value than SABMiller did. That means it is more likely to initiate price rises across its beer range that can absorb promotions or discounts on specific products.

    "Of course we discount and promote when it makes sense," said AB InBev's Tadeu, a 41-year-old Brazilian who has been with the company since 1995. "But the truth of the matter is we never undermine net revenue per hectolitre growth."

    While AB InBev does not publish the scale of its price rises, revenue per hectolitre of beer sold after duties rose 5% in South Africa last year, in line with inflation.

    In the three months to March 30, revenue per hectolitre rose at a "high single digit" rate from a year earlier, AB InBev said. The company as a whole targets revenue per hectolitre growth above inflation and cost rises below inflation.

    Oliver from UBS said the bigger bottles were also a good way to drive sales in the near term with new drinkers who would probably help push up margins further in the long run.

    "It gets [price sensitive consumers] into a brand, and then the view is that those people over time will probably also buy the smaller size, so work up that price ladder over time."


    For Tadeu, the plan AB InBev has adopted in South Africa - varied bottle sizes and packs coupled with regular discounting, as well as the promotion of its premium beers - can serve as a blueprint for the rest of the continent.

    "One thing we noticed is that in Africa, in many of our markets, we still depended too much on one pack," said Tadeu.

    After introducing one-litre bottles in South Africa, Tadeu said other African markets should expect to see new variations.

    "It's very good to have different packs," Tadeu said. "Because you then always have something attractive for consumers in terms of promotions." - Nampa/Reuters

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    Rhino horn accused fights for bailRhino horn accused fights for bail One of three suspects, who were denied bail by the Oshakati Magistrate's Court after allegedly being found in possession of two rhino horns, is appealing the decision in the Oshakati High Court.

    Petrus Mashuna (35) from Iitapa village in Omusati is hoping to reverse the decision by Magistrate Makapa Castro Simasiku to deny him bail. Mashuna is facing a charge of possession of specially protected wildlife, after he was arrested with Frans Kiinge (35) and Leonard Ndapo (21) at Omungwelume in Ohangwena on 27 October 2017 with two freshly removed rhino horns in the boot of the car he was driving.

    He told the court he had no knowledge of the rhino horns and the bag in which they were found was possibly the property of the other two suspects.

    He also testified the car belonged to his brother and a number of people had access to it prior to his trip. On 12 January, the trio applied for bail, but Magistrate Simasiku remanded them in custody because of the seriousness of the offence, amid fears they would abscond.

    Mashuna, through his legal counsel from Ellis Shilengudwa Incorporated, launched an appeal on 15 February.

    He is arguing Simasiku should have raised the possibility of abscondment during the bail application.

    “The learned magistrate misdirected himself, alternatively erred in law, when he dismissed the bail application on the grounds that there is a likelihood the appellant will abscond, while that was not the grounds on which the state prosecutor opposed the bail application,” Mashuna's legal counsel said in the appeal court papers.

    Simasiku said in his reply on 23 March to the notice of appeal that he stands by his ruling.

    “It is trite law that the seriousness of the offence and the severity of punishment in case of conviction, are factors that may induce one into absconding. In as much as the state did not categorically state the risk of abscondment as its grounds for opposing bail, this is what it meant, as is clear from their cross-examination of the applicants and the evidence-in-chief. The applicants equally appreciated this, hence they denied the risk of absconding in their evidence,” Simasiku said.

    The matter was expected to be heard yesterday. However, it could not go ahead as the court was informed that Judge Werner Januarie was not feeling well.

    The bail appeal application was thus postponed until 22 June for a ruling.

    The state is represented by Jatiel Mudambiri, while Petrine Hango from Dr Weder, Kauta and Hoveka represented Mashuna, on instruction from Ellis Shilengudwa Incorporated.


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    BoN issues new warning on govt wage billBoN issues new warning on govt wage bill Central bank governor Iipumbu Shiimi has reiterated an earlier warning about the unsustainability of the huge public service wage bill, which is set to drain N$28.1 billion from state coffers in the current financial year.

    The government has undertaken to massively cut this draining of its resources by among others introducing mandatory annual leave as well as asking civil servants to consider going on early retirement.

    Shiimi, who briefed President Hage Geingob and members of his executive yesterday at State House, told journalists the local economy was showing signs of recovery, but the implementation of plans to stimulate economic growth was urgently needed.

    Shiimi said the government must at all costs find ways to contain its wage bill, which currently swallows about 50% of its revenue.

    Shiimi added these measures to contain the wage bill should not cause job losses.

    “These are not new things. We are not in a position to sustain the current level of the wage bill.”

    He added the government would have to engage unions to find amicable solutions.

    “We expect to see a better (economic) outcome in 2018 but again we also highlighted that although we see growth becoming positive, growth is not significantly high. It is improving but not significantly high,” he said.

    Currently growth is only concentrated in certain sectors such as mining and this can pose a danger to employment prospects.

    “Therefore it is important to continue to intensify our efforts to grow the economy and again we have highlighted the importance of promoting those sectors we have already identified in the Harambee Prosperity Plan and national development plans such as tourism, agriculture, and logistics and to some extent manufacturing,” said Shiimi.

    The director of research at the Bank of Namibia, Florette Nakusera, said they looked at various sectors that could be improved and at collaborations to improve the economic situation.

    “We also looked at the quality of spending and at what the things are that we should base our spending on and where we can reap benefits from,” said Nakusera.

    The president's economic advisor, John Steytler, said there was a need for the government to think outside the box to address this problem.

    “We should not just narrowly look at the wage bill. We should also look at the broader economic ways on how to grow the economy. Once the economic growth is higher, some of the figures that we look at today will also recalibrate and put us on a sustainable growth trajectory,” he said.


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    Geingob's approval rating soarsGeingob's approval rating soarsAfrobarometer shows high public trust in president The number of Namibians who believe the country is 'going in the wrong direction' has doubled since the 2012 and 2014 Afrobarometer results. While a majority of Namibians gave the government bad grades for its handling of issues such as job creation and the economy, President Hage Geingob scored high in terms of public approval and trust, according to the latest round of the Afrobarometer that gauges public opinion on governance, democracy and related matters.

    Further key findings of the latest Afrobarometer, presented by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) yesterday, indicate that a majority of Namibians (78%) say that the level of corruption has increased over the past year, and 65% of Namibians believe the government's handling of the fight against corruption is a fail.

    It was further revealed that a majority of Namibians, 56%, believe the country is “going in the wrong direction”, double the 24% who felt this way in the 2012 and 2014 Afrobarometer results.

    In terms of perceptions on the government's handling of key issues, 74% of Namibian citizens said it had been performing “fairly badly” or “very badly” on creating jobs and narrowing income gaps (73%) and 63% felt its handling of the economy was “fairly bad” or “very bad”. Although most Namibians said they believed ordinary citizens could help put a dent in corruption, six in ten (62%) felt they would put themselves at risk if they reported corruption to authorities.

    In contrast, 74% of Namibians said they believed the government was handling the protection of disabled people well, and 67% believed road maintenance, addressing educational needs and improving basic health services were being done fairly well or very well.

    Institutions versus individuals

    In what was described by many as contradictory and worthy of further exploration, the low score for the government's overall handling of key issues contrasted sharply with the high ratings on performance and trust received by Geingob.

    Among nine key public officials, the president was given a 77% approval rating for his performance over the past 12 months and 64% of Namibians said they trusted the president somewhat or a lot, a higher trust level than 15 other public institutions.

    Nevertheless, over the years, trust in the presidential office has dropped, from 80% recorded in 2008 and 80% in 2014. In line with this, distrust in the presidential office increased from 19% in 2012 and 2014 to 33% in the latest survey.

    Other public institutions that scored low on the trust level included Inland Revenue, with 43% of Namibians saying they didn't trust the institution at all or only a little, and local councils, which received a 44% disapproval in the trust area.

    Further, of a total of 1 200 citizens surveyed, 71% approved or strongly approved of the prime minister's performance, compared to 20% who strongly disapproved or disapproved.

    Traditional leaders also ranked high in the performance scores, with 62% of Namibians approving of their performance, compared to 21% who strongly disapproved or disapproved.

    On the question of trust, following the 64% of Namibians saying they trust the president, 63% indicated a high level of trust in the police, and 63% in religious leaders.

    And, while the police scored high in terms of trust in the public institution (63%), compared to 35% of respondents who said they trust the police only a little or not at all, it ranked first in the question of corruption among public officials.

    Forty-one percent of Namibians said some police officials were corrupt and 42% said most or all police officials were corrupt. Nine percent said no police officers were corrupt.

    Government officials were rated the second most corrupt. Thirty-nine percent viewed some government officials as corrupt, and 42% said most or all government officials were corrupt.

    The Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance and other issues in Africa. Namibia has taken part in the survey since its launch in 1999.


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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Africa briefs
  • Africa briefsAfrica briefs Cypriot investor interested in making catalytic converters in Zim

    Cypriot investor Karo Resources wants to use some of the output from its planned US$4.2 billion platinum project in Zimbabwe to make catalytic converters for capping emissions in diesel cars, the mines minister said on Monday.

    Cyprus-born Loucas Pouroulis, who heads Karo, signed the deal in March to build a platinum mine and refinery in the Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum belt.


    Drought, armyworms cut Malawi maize crop by 19%

    Malawi’s maize output declined by 19.4% in the 2017/18 farming year to 2.8 million tons due to damage caused by drought and crop-eating armyworms, Agriculture Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha said on Monday.

    This (decline) is because of dry spells experienced in some parts of the country and the armyworm invasion,” Mwanamvekha told Reuters.

    Malawi produced 3.5 million tons of maize in the 2016/17 season but banned exports of its staple crop earlier this year and said it was considering restocking its national grain reserves.


    Nigeria's economic growth slows for first time since end of recession

    Nigeria’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2018 for the first time since the country pulled out of recession last year as the non-oil sector struggled, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

    The economy grew by 1.95% in the first quarter lifted by the oil sector. That was a slight dip from 2.11% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2017. The economy shrank 0.91% in the first quarter of 2017, the bureau said.


    Ghana central bank cuts policy rate to 17%

    Ghana’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 100 basis points to 17% on Monday, saying it was on track to meet its medium-term inflation target as the economy stabilised.

    Ghana is in its final year of a US$918 million credit deal with the International Monetary Fund to narrow its deficit and reduce debt and inflation and has now lowered the rate by 850 basis points over the past year.

    Speaking in the capital Accra, Central Bank Governor Ernest Addison projected that inflation would fall to the bank’s target of eight percent by the end of this year or early 2019.


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  • 05/22/18--16:00: 66-year-old pensioner raped
  • 66-year-old pensioner raped66-year-old pensioner raped A 66-year-old pensioner was violently attacked and raped in Oshakati over the weekend, by a man who is half her age.

    According to the police, the woman was raped while in her bedroom by a 23-year-old man at the Olupumbu village on Saturday. The suspect apparently found the woman alone in her bedroom and attacked her by hitting her on the head with an iron bar before he raped her. The suspect has been arrested.

    In another incident a 26-year-old man was stabbed by his uncle in the chest and died instantly on Friday. The killing appears to have emanated from a heated argument between Silvanus Uirab and his uncle in the Tubusis area. The suspect fled from the scene and according to the police his whereabouts are unknown.

    Also on Friday, at Wanaheda, a 25-year-old man was shot during a drive-by shooting. The bullet struck him in the head. The victim was seriously wounded and is admitted in Katutura State Hospital in a critical condition. The vehicle was identified by witnesses. A 49-year-old male was arrested and a pistol seized.

    In a separate incident on Friday, three employees of the finance ministry were arrested near the Namibia University of Science and Technology main campus after they allegedly stole two generators from the ministry's premises in the northern industrial area. The trio attempted to sell the two stolen machines to undercover officials. The machines were loaded and transported in a ministry's truck. The generator machines were valued at N$500 000 each and both recovered.

    Meanwhile at Tsume, Jose Lopez Bernardo, 37, was stabbed with a knife after an argument erupted between him and the suspect at Groovy Bar on Saturday. Bernardo was stabbed once in the chest and died instantly. The suspect was arrested and the murder weapon seized.

    Also on Saturday at the at Okavare village in the Omuramba policing area, an elephant was found dead with its tusks intact. It is alleged that upon examination of the carcass a bullet trajectory was found and retrieved from the carcass. It is suspected that the elephant might have been shot somewhere else but died in the area.

    According to the police a high number of deaths were also recorded as a result of road accidents. According to the police, 11 people were killed in accidents during this weekend and two pedestrians were also killed.

    “Schools have reopened but roads are still very busy as people are returning from their holiday destinations. We urge drivers to be extra cautious while on the road,” the police warned.


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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Narimab back in the dock
  • Narimab back in the dockNarimab back in the dockSupreme Court overturns discharge ruling The trial of two men charged with the rape and murder of Alwina Uri-Khos between 28 and 29 March 2013 will resume after the Supreme Court overruled the acquittal of one of the accused. Fransiscus Dimitri Narimab, whose lawyer had successfully argued for his discharge from a rape and murder trial on 16 March 2017, has had his short-lived freedom snatched away by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

    The initial discharge ruling, handed down by acting High Court Judge Boas Usiku, was overturned this week.

    The original case, in which Narimab is on trial alongside Ruben Fritz (17) for the rape and murder of Alwina Uri-Khos between 28 and 29 March 2013, will now resume.

    Narimab had been acquitted on a charge of murder, two counts of rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating, obstructing or attempting to defeat the course of justice.

    State advocate Ethel Ndlovu lodged the appeal, after Narimab was set free after a discharge application was brought by his state-funded defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomuinji.

    A panel of three judges - Chief Justice Peter Shivute and acting justices of the Supreme Court Dave Smuts and Elton Hoff granted leave to appeal on 22 September last year and then overturned Narimab's discharge in their judgement this week.

    When ruling on his application for discharge, Judge Usiku found there was no prima facie evidence presented by the prosecution.

    During the night of the crime, Uri-Khos was in the company of Narimab and Fritz. They were seen socialising in different shebeens in Windhoek's Shandumbala area.

    Uri-Khos was thrown to the ground, hit with stones and other unknown objects and robbed of her mobile telephone, a pair of shoes and her trousers. She was strangled to death after being hit with rocks on the head. Due to the blunt force trauma, she died on the spot.

    The appeal grounds included that Judge Usiku had wrongly relied on the opinion of the investigation officer, only identified as Warrant Officer Mutilifa.

    Mutifila testified there was nothing linking Narimab to the crime, apart from being implicated by Fritz.

    Ndlovu had maintained in her grounds for appeal that the evidence of the investigating officer was incorrect.

    According to her, Judge Usiku failed to consider the evidence of Hester Sisamu, Fritz's mother, who said a certain Speedo and the two accused were using drugs at the crime scene prior to the rape and murder.

    Ndlovu had also argued the judge failed to consider the evidence of Baron Gariseb, who left Uri-Khos in the company of the two accused at around 22:00 in Omutuli Bar.

    It was also alleged the evidence of Romario Goagoseb was also not considered, who was sold the victim's cellphone by Fritz in the early hours of 29 March 2013.

    Narimab had allegedly initiated the sale.

    He had also given different versions of when he parted with the victim and Fritz.


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    Tight security at tourism expoTight security at tourism expo Safety and security will be high priority during the annual Namibia Tourism Expo and Motor Show in Windhoek. Service providers and security partners met at the show ground in Windhoek recently to discuss how safety and security will be managed during the Expo. The Windhoek City Police will again be part of the safety and security deployment. The official opening will be done by the minister of environment and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, and the proceedings will start at 4pm on Wednesday the 30th of May, with the closing day Saturday the 2nd of June. First National Bank Namibia and Old Mutual Namibia will be theme sponsors. Pictured from left to right are Josua Hifindwako (operations commander at NPS), Nahas Ndevahoma (assistant superintendent, Windhoek City Police), Michelle le Roux (events manager at Namibia Media Holdings), Tjivekumba Kandjii (superintendent, Windhoek City Police), Maggy Mbako (public relations manager at Namibia Media Holdings), Phannel Kambwali (operations manager at NPS), Henry Goliath (Namibia Media Holdings) and P.K Boois (superintendent, Windhoek City Police).

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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Cessna belly-flops at Eros
  • Cessna belly-flops at ErosCessna belly-flops at Eros A small aircraft landed on its belly at Eros Airport in Windhoek yesterday morning. Its 58-year-old pilot was uninjured.

    The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) confirmed the incident, saying that a Cessna 210 aircraft executed a belly landing at the airport at about 09:30.

    According to the NAC, a trainee pilot studying through the Windhoek Flight Centre was involved in the mishap. The aircraft belongs to a 58-year-old man who had bought the aircraft.

    The aircraft accident investigator at the Ministry of Works and Transport, Oscar Plichta, told Namibian Sun that the pilot was doing “circuits” at the airport. This includes landing and take-off exercises and forms part of pilot training.

    On the seventh circuit the plane's landing gear did not deploy.

    The Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigation immediately secured and cleared the scene, according to NAC.

    The aircraft has since been removed from the runway. No significant damage to the runway or airport facilities was observed and operations at the airport are back to normal.

    “We responded to the scene and it took us about 50 minutes to clear up so that the runway is open again,” said Plichta. The damage to the aircraft was minimal.

    According to Plichta, he investigated the aircraft and there were no mechanical faults.

    “The landing gear did not deploy when the pilot landed and that led to the aircraft going belly-up.”

    NAC said it remained committed to maintaining safe landings and take-offs at airports.


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  • 05/22/18--16:00: Chinese money grab
  • Chinese money grabChinese money grabN$2 billion in tenders for N$580 million loan The RCC has vehemently defended a decision to enter into a deal that will see a Chinese company raking in over N$2 billion in contracts for an initial loan outlay of N$580 million. While two ministers have voiced stern opposition to the deal between the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) and Chinese firm Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian, the parastatal's board chairperson Fritz Jacobs is adamant they have done nothing wrong.

    The beleaguered RCC, which is staring down the barrel of a meltdown, has increasingly come under fire for arranging off-balance sheet financing from Jiangsu to the tune of N$580 million.

    Repayment will take place in the form of participation by the Chinese company in current and other identified future projects for “five years or earlier”.

    The 47% stake that will go to the Chinese firm in these projects is worth an estimated N$2 billion.

    Off-balance sheet financing means a company does not include a liability on its balance sheet.

    Jacobs remained resolute this week that there was nothing untoward about the financing agreement with the Chinese firm.

    This follows a report in which line minister John Mutorwa, who heads works and transport, was said to be upset by the RCC's marriage to the Chinese company and called the deal “a big transgression”.

    According to a profile on Bloomberg, Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian provides special trade contracting services.

    Speaking on the matter this week, Jacobs said his board was guided by a directive to turn the RCC around and that it was also acting in the best interests of the civil engineering company, which is fully owned by government.

    Cabinet had reversed an earlier decision to place the RCC under a judicial management and instead gave the board a directive to find a solution to the public entity's financial woes.

    “Let us consider the merits, substance, legal provisions, fiduciary duties and the cabinet decision, which authorised the RCC to conclude a suitable self-sustaining solution,” said Jacobs.

    He also said his board's responsibility was now to steer the RCC into prosperity.

    When asked if there was a plan B, in light of the opposition to the Chinese deal, Jacobs would not comment.

    “We remain focused on the substance and prudential aspects of the cabinet authorisation,” said Jacobs.

    Mutorwa nonetheless hopes cabinet will collectively make a decision on the future of the RCC that would not adversely affect its employees, when he was approached for comment by the media this week.

    “I hope that cabinet will make a decision that will benefit the RCC and its people. As the RCC is the total of its many employees who are not guilty of any transgressions hitherto, it is my hope and wish that the government's final decision will not adversely or negatively affect the workers,” he said.

    The agreement with Jiangsu will see the RCC get N$580 million for its operational plans. The partnership will extend over 14 years, and has a five-year repayment period at 15% interest per year.

    The agreement also allows Jiangsu to participate in RCC projects for five-years after its long-term partnership comes to an end.

    The arrangement also states that Nantong Sanjian would become the RCC's major partner in the projects.

    “The repayment by the RCC to Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian shall be executed in the form of participation to the maximum of 47%, and the RCC shall execute 53% of its current and other identified future projects for five years or earlier,” the agreement said.

    The 47% stake that will go to the Chinese firm is worth an estimated N$2 billion of the RCC's current projects worth a total of N$4.1 billion.

    The N$2 billion could be higher since the agreement allows the Chinese company to participate in future projects within five years.

    According to the contract, this ensures that losses to Jiangsu are minimised.

    “The projects shall be executed in such a manner that profitability is achieved for each project so as to ensure fair and reasonable returns for Jiangsu to recoup its funding,” the agreement said.

    The RCC has lucrative contracts lined up which include the Uis-Khorixas-Kamanjab road (N$2.7 billion), Gobabis-Aminuis-Aranos road (N$630 million), the Swakopmund-Henties Bay-Uis road (N$750 million), the massive land servicing project at Goreangab in Windhoek (N$45 million) and a ministry of environment project (N$24 million).

    The partnership document said the RCC can still enter into project agreements with other companies, as long as it does not trespass on their current deal.

    The RCC also promised to assist and facilitate administrative processes for Jiangsu, such as getting work permits for Chinese nationals.

    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein recently said legal provisions were “completely ignored” in the N$570 million loan agreement between the RCC and Jiangsu.

    He 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, 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.”


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