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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    An extraordinary birthday for the Alfa Romeo brandAn extraordinary birthday for the Alfa Romeo brandDNA made of racing and competition Two two extraordinary cars represent the brand's excellence in terms of technical content, performance and style. The Alfa Romeo brand turned 108 years old yesterday (Sunday): in fact, the first car to bear the A.L.F.A. brand on its radiator, the 24 HP (18 kW), was designed even before the Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica was founded on 24 June, 1910, and the “Corsa” version immediately achieved excellent results in various competitions.

    Alfa Romeo's 108 years of history are characterised by a DNA made of racing and competition, which is reflected today in the special limited edition colours of the Nürburgring Edition Giulia Quadrifoglio “NRING” and Stelvio Quadrifoglio “NRING”.

    These are two extraordinary cars, with just 108 of each model made to mark Alfa Romeo's 108 years; they represent the brand's excellence in terms of technical content, performance and style. In addition to these elements, there is the satisfying and exclusive customer experience, intended for collectors and the most loyal customers who will be driving these concentrates of prized performance and technology. In fact, in addition to the characteristics of the Quadrifoglio versions, the “NRING” versions have full specs equipment and a dedicated “Welcome kit”.

    The 380 kW, 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo engine adopted on the Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the most powerful Alfa Romeo engine available for road use today; it is also capable of excelling on the track: it is no coincidence that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the fasted SUV in the world, holding first position in the category on the Nürburgring circuit, where Alfa Romeo has written indelible pages of its long and glorious history.

    The Stelvio exploited its 600 Nm of torque, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and top speed of 283 km/h to cover the 20.832 km of the Nordschleife in 7 minutes, 51.7 seconds.

    Not only the Nürburgring: this season also marked Alfa Romeo's return to the Formula 1 tracks, and the celebrations that the Museo Storico di Arese planned for its birthday are a tribute its “cuore sportivo” (sports heart).

    The Alfa Romeo Giulia was also recently awarded the “Compasso d’Oro ADI”, the most authoritative global design prize, awarded by a panel of specialised experts, designers, critics, historians and journalists, and the award will be exhibited at the Museo Storico.

    Giulia, like every Alfa Romeo, springs from the perfect balance of heritage, speed and beauty that makes it the highest expression of Italian style in the automotive world. It incorporates all of the distinguishing features of quintessential Italian style and the unique elements that Alfa Romeo has expressed with extreme evolutionary consistency for 108 years: an impeccable sense of proportions, simplicity and superior surface quality finish, for an innovative design that is faithful to a universally appreciated tradition. - Quickpic.co.za

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    Red line must feature in land conferenceRed line must feature in land conferenceAngolans already came to the party Namibian Sun has learned that Angolan authorities had agreed to a livestock border fence three years ago, amid the recent calls for country representatives at the land conference later this year. A probe by Namibian Sun has revealed Angola had, as far back as 2015, agreed to the construction of a livestock border fence in a bid to erase the so-called red line. Recently, calls have been made by land activists that Angolan experts should be invited to the upcoming second land conference in Namibia, in order to discuss moving of the red line.

    It was further discovered that N$30 million has been budgeted for this financial year to construct at least 50km of the 450km proposed livestock border fence between the two countries. It appears, however, that the money has only been made available on paper and that the project managers are yet to receive the funding. The red line, also referred to as the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) is a pest-exclusion fence separating northern Namibia from the central and southern country and was set up due to the presence of foot-and-mouth disease in the northern communal areas.

    When approached for comment, Dr Albertina Shilongo, Deputy Chief of Epidemiology, Import and Export Control in the agriculture ministry, declined to comment on whether the money will be made available soon.

    She however noted that once the fence is constructed, restrictions currently in place with the existing red line will be relaxed.

    “We will not remove it physically but it will no longer exist. We will not restrict movement but once an outbreak is reported it will be activated,” she said. According to her a report on the technicalities on the proposed fence has been completed and submitted to relevant authorities.

    This comes at a time when Landless People's Movement (LPM) Bernadus Swartbooi pushed for Namibia to invite Angolan authorities to the upcoming land conference to be part of discussions on the removal of the red line. “We would have to invite Angolan representatives to understand the impact of the red line and why it is there. Our view is that one can look not just at the construction of a borderline, but, create a demarcated area of 70 to 100 kilometres and create a system that would allow us to treat that area as a special zone for animal healthcare,” he said.



    Potential risks

    Meanwhile, local agricultural experts argued that general consensus needs to be established that the red line is not there to divide Namibia.

    Experts are also worried that Namibia stands to lose her status as meat exporter to Europe if the barrier is removed without proper planning.

    Wallie Roux, a local agricultural expert, emphasised that the red line is not an “apartheid” structure but in fact, was created to protect Namibia's cloven-hooved animals from potential disease outbreaks.

    Roux explained that the barrier can however only be successfully removed if Angola gets to the same veterinary status as Namibia, something he said is not possible in the foreseeable future.

    Angolan authorities have often been accused of not taking FMD seriously leading to infections spreading into Namibia.

    “The alternative is to put up a double fence like an international border. We would need a very strong veterinary control from Zambezi River to the ocean. The problem is if it cannot be sustained and a single FMD case is reported the entire country will close down as an export market.”



    Benefits

    Local economist Klaus Schade believes that, in principle, removing the red line would open markets such as the EU, China, USA and so on, to farmers north of the fence.

    However, the quality of the meat needs to be in line with the demand in these markets.

    Schade cautioned that removing the fence would imply that a fence has to be erected along the Angolan border to prevent FMD and other livestock diseases spreading to Namibia.

    He added that this would cut off communal farmers from grazing areas in southern Angola and increase the pressure on the grazing areas in northern Namibia, in particular during the dry season. This could require a reduction in the number of livestock in order to avoid overgrazing.

    Currently, only farmers from the FMD-free areas south of the veterinary cordon fence serve overseas markets.

    “Farmers north of the VCF have to be willing to sell cattle in order to benefit from new market opportunities rather than keeping cattle as a sign of wealth. An additional supply of livestock to Namibian abattoirs would support the meat processing industry and could result in new business opportunities such as canned meat,” said Schade.

    Former economic planning minister Tom Alweendo in October last year said a new approach is needed to allow the removal of the cordon fence as a way of incorporating all Namibians into the mainstream economy.

    Alweendo said the removal of the red line needed to be handled carefully and in a responsible manner.

    He emphasised the need to ensure that Namibia's laws, regulations, and inspection regime are of a world-class standard to avoid disrupting Namibia's exports to external markets if the fence is removed.

    According to him, access to markets, together with land tenure security, has been one of the biggest barriers to upward mobility for many communal farmers.

    He said the communal farming in the northern communal area directly sustains the livelihoods of close to half of Namibia's population, and remains their main source of household income.



    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Creative fundraising urged at schoolsCreative fundraising urged at schools Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has urged schools to use all means available to them to raise funds to boost their resource base amid reduced education grants for the 2017/18 financial year.

    In her speech delivered during a meeting with Khomas principals and directors in Windhoek last week, Hanse-Himarwa said it has come to light that some schools have poor control over the use of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) funds, despite national guidelines.

    Close to N$145 million was made available towards UPE and N$53 million for USE during the 2017/18 financial year.

    These payments were made to all 1 846 schools under the ministry at a unit cost of N$250 per learner.

    “An assessment showed that a huge percentage of funds are spent on transport, and uncoordinated and unnecessary trips are undertaken and claimed for. While we acknowledge that some trips are important, I call upon principals to apply ethical principles in utilising the funds especially for learning and teaching materials,” she said.

    Hanse-Himarwa further requested regional directors to ensure that audit reports from schools are thoroughly scrutinised and should any irregularities be found, it should be addressed without delay.

    The minister then appealed to parents and other stakeholders to support schools, despite “fights” over what is termed, voluntary contributions.

    “Voluntary contribution is voluntary. We urge schools to adopt a much more friendly approach with parents to engage them in contributing to school functions considering our financial situation,” she added.

    In addition, Hanse-Himarwa noted that the number of textbook purchases have reduced and called upon schools to still use textbooks that were purchased by the Millennium Challenge Account to support the implementation of the new curriculum. The minister also emphasised the importance of libraries in schools and urged learners to make use of them.

    “Reading will make our learners more analytical, and increases their comprehension when they study other subjects,” the former Hardap governor stated.

    NAMPA

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    Saudi Arabia ends ban on women driving Saudi Arabia ends ban on women driving First women-only car showroom opens in Saudi Saudi women will also be allowed to drive motorcycles, trucks Since yesterday (Sunday), Saudi Arabia has allowed women to drive, ending the world’s only ban on female motorists – a historic reform marred by what rights groups call an expanding crackdown on activists.

    Overturning the decades-long ban, a glaring symbol of repression against women, is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's much-trumpeted reform drive to modernise the conservative petrostate.

    Thousands of female drivers took to the wheel yesterday, a long-awaited rite of passage for women in the kingdom that many say could usher in a new era of social mobility.

    “It is a very important step and essential for women's free mobility,” Hana al-Khamri, author of the forthcoming book Female Journalists in Gender Apartheid Saudi Arabia, told AFP.

    “Women in Saudi Arabia live under patriarchal structures. Allowing them to sit behind the wheel helps challenge social and gender norms that hinder mobility, autonomy and independence.”

    For many women the move proves to be transformative, freeing them from their dependence on private chauffeurs or male relatives and resulting in big family savings.

    “It's a relief,” Najah al-Otaibi, a senior analyst at pro-Saudi think-tank Arabia Foundation, told AFP.

    “Saudi women feel a sense of justice. They have long been denied a basic human right which has kept them confined and dependent on men, making it impossible to exercise a normal life.”

    COFFEE AND ICE CREAM

    The kingdom earlier this month began issuing its first driving licences to women in decades, with some swapping their foreign permits for Saudi ones after undergoing a practical test.

    Some three million women in Saudi Arabia could receive licences and actively begin driving by 2020, according to consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    A handful of female driving schools have cropped up in cities like Riyadh and Jeddah, training women to drive cars and also Harley Davidson motorbikes – scenes that were unimaginable even a year ago.

    Many Saudi women ebulliently declared plans on social media to drive their mothers for coffee or ice cream when the ban came to an end, a mundane experience elsewhere in the world but a dazzling novelty in the desert kingdom.

    For decades, hardliners cited austere Islamic interpretations to justify the driving ban, with some asserting that women lack the intelligence to drive and that lifting the prohibition would promote promiscuity.

    The decision to lift the ban was catalysed in large measure by what experts characterise as economic pain in the kingdom owing to a protracted oil slump.

    The move is expected to boost women's employment, and according to a Bloomberg estimate, add US$90 billion to economic output by 2030.

    Many women fear they are still easy prey for conservatives in a nation where male "guardians"– their fathers, husbands or other relatives – can exercise arbitrary authority to make decisions on their behalf.

    The government preemptively addressed concerns of abuse by outlawing sexual harassment, with a prison term of up to five years and a maximum penalty of 300 000 riyals (US$80 000).

    Prince Mohammed, appointed heir to the most powerful throne in the Middle East a year ago this month, also lifted a ban on cinemas and mixed-gender concerts, following his public vow to return the kingdom to moderate Islam.

    CRACKDOWN ON WOMEN

    But much of the initial optimism over his reforms appears to have been dented by a sweeping crackdown on women activists who long opposed the driving ban. Authorities have said that nine of 17 arrested people remain in prison, accused of undermining the kingdom's security and aiding enemies of the state.

    The detainees include three generations of activists, among them 28-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul, also held in 2014 for more than 70 days for attempting to drive from neighbouring United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia, and Aziza al-Yousef, a retired professor at Riyadh's King Saud University.

    State-backed newspapers have published front-page pictures of some of the activists, the word “traitor” stamped across them in red.

    Human Rights Watch last week said the kingdom arrested two more women activists Nouf Abdelaziz and Mayaa al-Zahrani, in what it denounced as an “unrelenting crackdown”.

    “I am not a provoker, not a vandaliser, not a terrorist, a criminal or a traitor,” Abdelaziz said in a letter before her arrest, which was cited by HRW. “I have never been (anything) but a good citizen who loves her country and wishes for it nothing but the best.”

    Both women are being held incommunicado, HRW said.

    Saudi authorities did not respond to requests for comment. Even some of the prince's ardent supporters have labelled the crackdown a “mistake”.

    It has been seen as a calculated move both to placate clerics incensed by his modernisation drive and also to send a clear signal to activists that he alone is the arbiter of change. But many Saudi women nevertheless credit decades of fearless activism for the end of the driving ban.

    “These activists should be credited for this historical change, not jailed,” Khamri, who is currently based in Sweden, said. “It is sad that these women who have been fighting for the right to drive won't be there to witness this historic moment.” – Nampa/AFP

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    Agribank board takes cool N$750 000 in feesAgribank board takes cool N$750 000 in fees Four of the five board members of the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) pocketed N$749 247 in board fees between April 2016 and March 2017, its latest annual report revealed.

    Of this amount, the board received N$459 000 in retainer fees and N$290 000 in sitting allowances.

    In the previous year, Agribank paid out N$658 000 in board fees.

    The 2017 Agribank annual report was tabled by Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein in parliament on Tuesday.

    Board members include Chairperson Terttu Uuyuni, Vice Chairperson Michael Iyambo, Oiva Mahina, Dagmar Honsbein and Michael Humavindu, who as a civil servant, does not qualify for board fees.

    During the period under review, Uuyuni attended eight of the possible 21 meetings, raking in N$163 982. Her deputy, Iyambo attended 16 board meetings and earned N$177 350.

    Mahina, like Iyambo, attended 16 board meetings earning N$201 977, while Honsbein earned the highest amount of N$205 946 from 11 sittings. The revelations come at a time when public enterprises minister Leon Jooste has been on record to say board members will only be paid for four meetings annually, starting in 2018.

    He told Nampa earlier this year that under normal circumstances, a board does not have to sit more than four times a year. He noted they were welcome to sit more, provided they do so on a pro bono basis. Jooste was responding to questions on how the ministry intended to curb the abuse of funds by the boards of public enterprises in the form of sitting fees.

    Media reports also had it last year, that the board of the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund met more than 16 times last year, pocketing at least N$600 000 in the process.

    The reports further purported that the board's chairperson claimed N$10 580 for chairing a meeting, while other board directors claimed N$5 983.

    Board members at bigger public enterprises, such as the Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) reportedly earn up to N$20 000 just for attending a board meeting.

    NAMPA

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    Public voice crucial to democracyPublic voice crucial to democracyCivil society can do better in Namibia While there is a lot of activity from the public on issues of the day, overall civil society can be more active in the country. The crucial need for and the role of civil society and active public participation to influence law and policy as well as government actions in Namibia, was highlighted at the launch of the first updated factsheets on law and government in Namibia intended to better equip the public to participate on issues of the day.

    Dianne Hubbard of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), at the opening of a panel discussion on public participation and civil society's role in a democracy, remarked that after a period of downtime for civil society a “new burst of energy” is being observed in terms of civil society in Namibia.

    “I believe that civil society still has the will to influence law and policy and influence action on a lot of issues,” she said.

    Civil society can provide pivotal input into issues of the day including gender-based violence, land, corruption, access to information and poverty alleviation, and these are some of the topics on which the public has provided much needed input, Hubbard noted.

    “Even though civil society has shrunk a bit in the last few years, you still see and hear a lot of civil society groups speaking out. So we are nowhere near dead yet,” she said.

    The factsheet's launched last week are based on the LAC's advocacy in action series, first published in 2004, and last updated in 2007, and are aimed at strengthening civil society's ability “to conduct meaningful advocacy” and provide an overview on Namibian law, government and civil society.

    Hubbard noted that although civil society has been infused with renewed energy and output, much can be done to boost public participation in Namibia.



    Speak up

    She said civil society refers to “everyone”, and noted that a number of non-governmental organisations are engaged as members of civil society.

    She however said there is still room for more voices to join, such as from the private sector and churches, to help strengthen civil society and public participation in national dialogues. She highlighted that churches, which have a large reach, have “gone much quieter” compared to their pre-independence outspokenness.

    Hubbard further underlined that public participation requires more than just asking for input, and underlined the need for ensuring that their input is based on asking the right questions based on background research, and allowing the public to debate the issues thoughtfully, and providing enough time for ideas to percolate.

    Naita Hishoono, the director of the Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID) added that engaging the youth is crucial to fostering broader public understanding on governance and their right to engage government. She said the NID has launched a project to help feed information on law-making and governance into schools, to reach learners and equip them with the basic skills to be aware of their role on public issues including laws and governance.

    The public voice

    In line with improving public participation on law-making, secretary to the cabinet committee on legislation Anél van der Vyver said efforts are underway to provide for increased public input in government law-making processes, by amending the current directives.

    She explained that the current administrative government directive No. 1 of 1993, which directs the law-making process, does not make specific provision for public participation.

    However, her office is currently reviewing the directive and will propose amendments to the law that will ensure that public participation is specifically included as a requirement in the process. “Guidelines to what proper public participation entails will also be drafted, in collaboration with civil society organisations, to inform members of the public how to participate and guide the sponsoring ministries how to stimulate meaningful public contribution,” she said.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Modric could be Ballon d'Or winner: LovrenModric could be Ballon d'Or winner: Lovren Croatia defender Dejan Lovren says teammate Luka Modric would be a contender for the Ballon d'Or award if he was Spanish or German and is undervalued because of his nationality.

    Modric scored a superb solo goal in Croatia's impressive 3-0 win over Argentina and he was also on target, from the penalty spot, in the opening win over Nigeria.

    The Real Madrid midfielder has formed a strong midfield partnership with Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic but Lovren feels that Modric's ability is underrated.

    “It is a real pleasure to play with Luka Modric, who is one of the best players in the world right now,” said the Liverpool defender.

    “Modric would probably be getting more attention than he is right now if he was a German or Spanish player. He would maybe even be a Ballon dOr winner.

    “Because we are a smaller country, he does get less attention than he deserves. But we are all football lovers and we know Modric is an incredible player. He is one of the best in the world right now,” he said.

    No Croatian has ever won the annual award for the world's best player although Davor Suker finished second in 1998, the year Croatia reached the semi-finals of the World Cup.

    With Croatia already assured of a place in the last 16, coach Zlatko Dalic has indicated he will field a largely second string side against Iceland on Tuesday as he looks to protect six players who have yellow cards against their name.

    A second yellow would lead to a suspension and while Group D rivals Argentina and Nigeria will want Croatia to go all out for a win, Lovren says they have to think of their own needs.

    “I fully understand Argentina's concerns and their wish for Croatia to play a full team for the next game as well. But we must also think about the fact that we should not be playing the players who have yellow cards,” said Lovren. “That's also our concern we need to keep in mind. The coach is the one who will make the final decision. All of us are ready.

    “Our goal of course is to get all nine points and we do not think the win over Iceland will be easy. We have played them in the past and we know they are a team that needs to be respected,” he said.

    Lovren said that Croatia's reserve players had beaten the first-choice eleven twice in three in-house games.

    Rakitic, Ante Rabic, Sime Vrsaljko, Mario Mandzukic, Marcelo Brozovic and Vedran Corluka are the six Croatian players who are one booking from suspension.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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    German crisis averted for nowGerman crisis averted for nowWorld Cup holders have work to do The world champions are struggling to put up their A game in a World Cup ruled by the underdogs. Toni Kroos's last-gasp winner ensured that Germany remain in World Cup contention but the holders are not yet safe from the threat of an ignominious group-stage exit.

    A 95th-minute free-kick from Kroos gave Joachim Loew's side a dramatic 2-1 victory over Sweden in Sochi on Saturday, after a Marco Reus strike had cancelled out Ola Toivonen's opener.

    After beginning the defence of the trophy with a 1-0 defeat against Mexico in Moscow, another loss by the Black Sea would have eliminated Germany in the first round of the World Cup for the first time since 1938.

    The spectre of the champions' curse has been hanging over the Germans, who were in serious danger on Saturday of following France (2002), Italy (2010) and Spain four years ago in becoming the fourth holders this century to be humbled in the group stage.

    The intervention of Kroos means now it is all to play for in Group F.

    The four-time world champions must win by a margin of two goals against South Korea in Kazan to be absolutely sure of progressing. Failure to do so would mean relying on the outcome of the other match between Mexico and Sweden.

    For now, at least, there is renewed optimism after a turbulent week.

    “We will look at the videos and see what we have to do better, but of course for our emotional side it was a very good thing today, because now if you have a game like this you start believing,” defender Mats Hummels said as he left Sochi's Fisht Stadium.

    Of the winning goal from Real Madrid midfielder Kroos, who had earlier been at fault for Sweden's opener, Hummels added: “Something like this can be a big moment in the tournament.

    “But if we lose against South Korea or don't make it to the next stage, the goal isn't worth anything, so we have to know that we got a little bit lucky and we have to show and to prove that we can be way better than we have been.”

    The good news for Loew is that Hummels is likely to return for the final group game after being forced to sit out Saturday's match with a neck problem.

    “The doc said it was too much of a risk that something very serious could happen,” said the 29-year-old, who was replaced by Chelsea's Antonio Ruediger.

    Germany's other first-choice centre-back, Jerome Boateng, will be suspended in Kazan after being sent off against the Swedes. More changes will therefore be required after Loew dropped the underperforming Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, bringing in Reus and Sebastian Rudy. While Reus scored and came away with the man-of-the-match award on Saturday, Rudy lasted just 25 minutes before coming off with a bloodied nose.

    “We have to take stock now, see what the situation is. We are tired,” said the coach.

    “Reus started having cramp in his legs, Boateng will not be in the line-up, Rudy broke his nose and we probably need a day of rest.”

    Germany are defending a proud record of always reaching at least the last eight at the World Cup since winning the trophy in 1954. They have made it to at least the semi-finals at each of the past six major tournaments, going back to when Loew was Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant in the 2006 World Cup.

    Yet it is looking increasingly possible that Germany could be on course for a last-16 showdown with Brazil, four years after the 7-1 of Belo Horizonte. “Right now I don't think this is the time to start ruminating about that. There are still various possible outcomes,” insisted Loew.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Namibian athletes dominate AUSC half-marathonNamibian athletes dominate AUSC half-marathon Nedbank Namibia, in collaboration with the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region Five, hosted a half marathon in Windhoek on Saturday, where Namibian athletes dominated.

    Namibians Uveni-Nawa Kuugongelwa and Lena Ekanjo won the half-marathon in the male and female categories, while Commonwealth Games gold medallist Helalia Johannes and Reinhold Thomas won the 10-kilometre runs.

    Grevazio Mpani and Ackery Diamku Benda finished the half-marathon for men in second and third place respectively and in the women's event, Lavinia Haitope was second while Doris Fish was third.

    In the 10km run, David Manza finished second and Matheus Kadhinguila third in the male category, while in the female category Fhilistus Shitoshi was second and Felestus Mpande third.

    Apart from the marathon, there was also a wheelchair race that saw Roodly Gowaseb finishing first and Mathias Angula second.

    Speaking to Nampa after the race, Kuugongelwa said the race was tough but since he knew the Windhoek routes, he knew how to manage the race pace to his advantage.

    “We started off the race on a very slow pace and when I noticed that the weather was very good for running as there was no wind, I decided to pick up the pace, which in the end made me have my own race and winning the half-marathon,” he said.

    Kuugongelwa added that winning the half-marathon was good preparation for him ahead of the Sanlam marathon in Cape Town later this year.

    AUSC Region Five is made up of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Malawi became the first country to host the marathon in 2015 followed by Mozambique in 2016.

    Nedbank Namibia, the perennial hosts of the Citi Run, an annual half-marathon event, this year partnered with the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, the Namibia Sports Commission and the Namibia National Olympic Committee to host their second AUSC marathon.

    Namibia signed an agreement to host the AUSC marathon for four years here and their first was hosted in Swakopmund on 23 February 2017.

    In this year's event, only Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi took part.

    NAMPA

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    Winger wins US women's javelin titleWinger wins US women's javelin title Kara Winger claimed her eighth national title by winning the women's javelin competition at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday night.

    Winger easily outdistanced the rest of the field with a throw of 62.88 metres to win the event by more than six metres at Drake University Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

    This marks the 11th straight podium appearance for Winger, which is the most for any athlete in her event.

    Avione Allgood finished second with a toss of 56.54 metres and Ariana Ince was third with a 55.97.

    On the track, Lopez Lomong won the men's 10 000m final with a time of 28 minutes, 58.38 seconds to edge out Shadrack Kipchirchir in a nail-biting finish.

    Lomong, who last won back-to-back national titles in 2009 and 2010 in the 1 500, took the lead with a lap to go and then ran a blazing 54.16 final lap sprint.

    Valarie Allman was the first champion of the meet in the women's discus with a season best throw of 63.55m.

    Molly Huddle won the women's 10 000m to claim her eighth US title in 31:52.32.

    With no Olympic or world championship team berths at stake for the only time in a four-year cycle, many big names are sitting these nationals out.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Swakop to host Fisu Rugby SevensSwakop to host Fisu Rugby Sevens The 2018 edition of the biennial International University Sports Federation (Fisu) Rugby Sevens World University Championship was officially launched here on Thursday.

    The coastal town of Swakopmund will host the eighth edition of this competition scheduled for 12 to 14 July 2018 at the Swakopmund Sport Stadium.

    Speaking to Nampa after the launch, Tertiary Institutes' Sports Association of Namibia president and head of the local organising committee Werner Jeffery said this year's competition will see 12 countries competing for top honours in sevens rugby.

    “This will be our fourth time as a country to compete in these games out of the eight times since sevens rugby has been included in the Fisu Games. In the last championships, we won the loser plate final and I am at the moment hopeful that we will do better this year,” he said. He added that the Namibian team had prepared well and because this competition is important for developing sevens rugby in the country, Namibians should flock to the stadium to support the team.

    “We expect 12 male teams and eight female teams to compete at this year's championships and it will really be nice to see the stadium packed during the competition dates. “We have a good team and with the support of the locals they can do better at these games,” Jeffery said.

    The Tamariskia and Vineta stadiums have been approved as training venues while The Dome will host the opening and closing ceremonies.

    Over 300 players are expected to showcase their rugby skills. Australia won the men's competition and France the women's section at the seventh edition held in Swansea, United Kingdom in 2016. Namibia ended fifth out of 14 countries and won the Plate against Italy.

    NAMPA

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    Boxing championship in ZambeziBoxing championship in ZambeziNBF calls for sponsors Katima Mulilo is lined up for exciting boxing as the national youth tournament will be hosted at the town in August. The Namibia Boxing Federation will host the national elite and junior boxing championship in the Zambezi Region from 30 to 1 August.

    The championship will see more than 100 boxers from 10 regions exchanging blows in order to become national champions.

    The public relations officer of the NBF, Robert Pendapala Haihambo, said: “We would like to invite sponsors to come on board and assist the boxing federation with funds that can make this tournament a success.

    “Namibia has so many talented boxers and I do believe that they will follow in the footsteps of the great Harry Simon and many others.

    “The event will be bigger and better and that is why we invite as many people as possible to come to the event when it takes place.”

    The Namibia Boxing Federation is an affiliated member of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service through the Namibia Sport Commission.

    It is also an affiliate of the IOC through the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and NNOC.

    The hosting of the national elite and junior championship is in line with the federation's mandate, which is to organise national or regional competitions as enshrined in article 2 (b) of its constitution.

    The Federation has secured a venue for the event and meals for the 100 boxers by means of a sponsorship from local company Kamunu Holdings.

    This event serves as a talent identification platform and will also be used to select Namibia's national team.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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    Highway cameras enter test phaseHighway cameras enter test phase Traffic authorities have started testing 12 high-tech highway cameras on the B1 and B2 national roads, which are expected to become part of the traffic law enforcement arsenal later this year.

    Rozario Coetzee of the Namibian Police Traffic Law Enforcement Division says the testing phase will not include enforcement, but will give the police the chance to resolve any glitches that might occur in the system.

    The high-tech traffic management system, consisting of instant camera traps in addition to Average Speed Over Distance Cameras (ASOD), plus a slew of other functions, have been distributed on the two busiest national roads, with multiple ones stationed between Okahandja and Otjiwarongo, and between Okahandja and Swakopmund.

    The cameras are linked and communicate with each other, Coetzee says.

    He says once implemented and legally enforceable, they could help curb traffic offences such as speeding, speaking on cellphones while driving, and not wearing seatbelts.

    The cameras will be linked to a database that will enable them to capture licence plates and match them to the drivers' cellphone numbers, enabling the authorities to issue fines directly via mobile technology.

    Coetzee describes the system as so sophisticated that it will enable an unprecedented overview of driving behaviour on national roads and subsequent law enforcement.

    He says the police have not yet been able to activate the cameras because some legal issues still need to be resolved.

    The Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) has to approve the system before it can be gazetted.

    As part of the gazetting process, the public will be given a chance to comment before the authorities will be given the go-ahead to start fining offenders caught by the system.

    Coetzee says the most effective part of the system will be the areas where multiple cameras can measure average speed over a particular distance.

    “People warn each other, so when they approach a camera, they slow down. But with the other cameras, the average speed measurement will be very effective,” he says.

    According to Coetzee the current system is still in its infancy and can be expanded as resources allow.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Khaibasen Security accused of unfair labour practicesKhaibasen Security accused of unfair labour practices Security guards working at the facilities for the health ministry in the Oshikoto Region, are accusing their employer, Khaibasen Security Services, of unfair treatment and non-compliance with the minimum wage policy.

    The workers claim that since they joined the company in 2014, they have been receiving their monthly salaries only after two months and currently, they say they have not received any wages since February this year. They allege the company refuses to pay them according to the minimum wage agreement of N$10.75 per hour for the industry.

    The guards also claim the company gives them very low salaries. Coupled with late payment they say it makes it difficult for them to take care of their families.

    “This company does not have respect for its employees. The last time we received our salaries was in February. Every time we enquire, they tell us they have made the payments and we should make enquiries at our banks. At the banks we are told that no money has been received from them. How do they expect us to survive?” one told Namibian Sun. He added that the money due to them is not for the last three months, but rather the last five months, because they are only receive the month's salary after two months.

    Last year the labour ministry amended the Security Enterprise and Security Officers Act, 1998 (Act No 11 of 2007) to introduce a minimum wage for all security guards. As from 1 January last year the minimum wage for the entry level security officers was adjusted to N$8.75 per hour, while for employees who had a cumulative period of no less than 12 months was adjusted to N$10 per hour.

    Documents seen by Namibian Sun indicate this is not the case at Khaibasen. Security guards who joined the company in 2014 are getting N$6.75 an hour while those joined the company less than 12 months ago receive N$5.30 an hour.

    Another guard said that inspectors for the ministry of labour are not doing their job to ensure employers are complying with the established laws. “It is very disturbing that a company that is contracted by the government is not paying what the government has prescribed and is also not paying its employees on time. What are the ministry of labour's inspectors' duties if they do not come visit us to inspect our employment conditions? We are fed up,” one guard said.

    Guards are also claiming that they do not get uniform and equipment.

    “The main role of a security guard is to protect people, property, or assets. However, being a security guard is not an easy occupation as it can be an unsafe and hazardous job. Our personal safety cannot be compromised like this. We need the right tools and equipment for our self-defence,” he said.

    The Oshikoto governor Henock Kankoshi said that his office is aware of the guards' complaints and he has been trying to solve the issue with the health directorate.

    “They came to my office with their complaints and they requested me to liaise with the regional director of health and their employer. I could not reach any of them and it is very difficult for me to say what their problem is,” Kankoshi said.

    Contacted for comments, Goneb Khaibasen, owner of Khaibasen Security Services refused to comment.

    The health ministry has contracted Khaibasen Security Services to guard its 12 health centres in Oshikoto Region and it has deployed two guards at each centre.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Resettled farmers 'pushed off' their landResettled farmers 'pushed off' their landClaim cat-and-mouse games Former farmworkers say they have been pushed into a corner of the land allocated to them while 'politicians' have registered the remaining land in their wives' names. Seventh-generation farmworkers resettled on Unit B of Farm Meyerton 175 claim there is a concerted effort to push them off the land to benefit people with political connections.

    The farmers were recently reprimanded by the lands division of the Kunene regional office for allegedly overstocking the 1 790-hectare farm. They were told that they had exceeded the carrying capacity of the unit by 434 head of cattle. They were instructed to reduce the livestock or face losing the farm. They were also accused by the regional office of illegally subletting the farming unit without the authorisation of land reform minister Utoni Nujoma. The observations by the regional lands division were said to have been based on an inspection conducted in October last year and the reprimand was sent to them five months later.



    Background

    The farms Meyerton 175, Langeleë 363 and Nissen 358 were donated to the Namibian government by the late Carl List in 2002.

    The farms were then divided into several farming units, named A to J. The former farmworkers were allocated Unit B on the basis of equal undivided shares. Jona Nelumbu and Anastasia Neumbo were allocated adjacent units. In early 2015 the lands ministry investigated a dispute between the former farmworkers on Unit B and Nelumbu over his allotted 2 185-hectare Unit F on Farm Langeleë Post 2. This dispute arose from a complaint by Nelumbu that the former farmworkers had illegally occupied his camps by grazing their livestock and erecting dwellings there.The ministry's report recommended that the farmworkers vacate Unit F.



    Not true, say farmworkers

    The farmworkers dispute these findings and accuse Nelumbu and others from adjoining farms of having stealthily encroached on their unit.

    They say Nelumbu first requested in 2005 to use water from Unit B and has since physically moved his boundary fence. In fact, the farmworkers previously complained to the lands ministry that their unit had not been properly demarcated, cheating them out of what they were supposed to get.

    They further claim that they were supposed to have been resettled at seven different posts on Unit B in housing they had paid for by means of salary deductions.

    Instead, they say, they have been pushed into a corner “by politicians” who have since registered the remaining land in their wives' names while their houses have fallen into a state of disrepair. “We have been kicked out of our houses. We are very unhappy about the situation. We would not have struggled this much if the government had intervened. We are very worried,” says Arnold Gaeseb, whose late father, Ruben Gaeseb, was one of the original resettlement beneficiaries. The farmworkers say they have repeatedly reported the matter to the police and other government institutions since 2003 but nothing has been done. They further claim that the lands division in the Kunene Region refuses to give them a map of the farming units in the area. They say they also approached the ombudsman's office at Otjiwarongo, but the file reportedly went missing.

    “They are playing cat-and-mouse games with us,” said a representative of the farmworkers, Salmon Awarab.

    “Are there two governments in Namibia? One allocates land and the other takes it away. Which is the right government?” asked Elias Khaiseb.

    The Unit B beneficiaries also dispute the accusations that they have overstocked the land and are illegally subletting portions. They say the alleged tenants are in fact their relatives. “This is the way they are trying to evict us from the farm,” says Claudius Hunibeb, a relative of one of the original resettled beneficiaries, Frederick Hunibeb.



    The ministry

    The deputy director of the lands ministry in the Kunene Region, Gary Nekongo, who was also one of the authors of the 2015 investigation report, says “some of the allegations” by the former farmworkers are not true.

    He insists that the alleged illegal tenants, even if they are relatives of the beneficiaries, cannot stay on the farm without the minister's permission. Nekongo insists that the farmworkers have “minimal livestock” and that the remaining livestock belong to people they are subletting the land to.

    “The problem with the seven is that they have brought in other people,” Nekongo says.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Zambia aiming for power prices that reflect costs by end 2018Zambia aiming for power prices that reflect costs by end 2018 Zambia plans to introduce electricity tariffs that reflect the cost of production by the end of this year, a senior government official said on Thursday, a move that could increase costs for economically vital mining firms that currently pay a flat price.

    In 2015 and 2016, Zambia experienced a critical shortage of electricity of up to 600 megawatts due poor rainfall in a country that relies heavily on hydropower, putting pressure on the government to apply tariffs that reflect costs to raise cash for investment in other energy sources to buoy power supply.

    The new measure will affect global mining firms including First Quantum Minerals, Glencore, Barrick Gold Corp and Vedanta Resources which currently pay a flat tariff of 9.30 US cents/kilowatt hour (kWh).

    The mining industry brings in around 70% of Zambia’s foreign exchange.

    The permanent secretary for energy, Emelda Chola, said in a statement at a mining and energy conference that the government had implemented the first phase of the migration by raising the price of electricity last year.

    She said members of the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) - to which Zambia belongs - had agreed to migrate to cost-related tariffs by the end of 2019.

    “In addition, Zambia has launched an industry-wide cost of service study, which will determine subsequent tariff adjustments to be made,” Chola said.

    First Quantum welcomed the study, saying cost-related tariffs would help attract foreign investment into the power sector, which would be good news as electricity is one of the mining sector’s largest costs.

    “It has to be underpinned by an effective and efficient power utility,” First Quantum Head of Government Relations John Gladston told Reuters, referring to the cost of service study.

    Mining companies have previously said the cost of electricity in Zambia is much higher than it should be because of inefficiencies at state power company Zesco Ltd.

    Chola said Zambia planned to attract private sector investment in renewable energy with a target of developing a total capacity of 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity over a three year period.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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    Zimbabwe regulator cuts mobile data tariffsZimbabwe regulator cuts mobile data tariffs60% slash Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator has cut the price of mobile data by 60% with effect from next month, it said on Thursday, adding that it will now review charges annually. “The authority took into account the prevailing economic environment as well as the competing needs of ensuring operator viability and service affordability for the consumers,” - Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Lower prices will likely increase the country’s Internet penetration rate, which the country’s regulator says stood at 50.8% last December, as more subscribers find it cheaper to access the Internet.

    Data showed Internet traffic doubled between January and December last year, but the price reduction could eat into data revenue for Econet Wireless, the country’s largest operator.

    Econet, which accounted for 65% of the data market share as of December 2017, said it was reviewing “the impact of the new tariffs on our business.”

    The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said mobile data will cost 5 cents per megabyte, down from 12.5 cents, exclusive of taxes effective July 1.

    “The authority took into account the prevailing economic environment as well as the competing needs of ensuring operator viability and service affordability for the consumers,” it said.

    POTRAZ said charges by Internet service providers would be determined by the market but imposed a 50% cut in the cost of calls between local telecoms companies.

    In the full year to end-February, Econet said its data revenue rose 18% to US$145 million after adding more subscribers.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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  • 06/24/18--16:00: Newspaper Cup bids open
  • Newspaper Cup bids openNewspaper Cup bids openWho will host youth tournament next year? The organisers of the Namibian Newspaper Cup have invited towns to bid for the right to host the annual youth tournament next year. The bidding process for the hosting of the 2019 and 2020 Namibian Newspaper Cup tournaments has opened.

    The closing date for bids is 29 June, the NFA website states.

    In the invitation letter addressed to the 14 regional member associations, NFA secretary-general Barry Rukoro asked them to complete a declaration of interest form and submit it to the NFA by 17:00 on 29 June.

    As part of the criteria for hosting the tournament supported by Nedbank Namibia, the host town must have a stadium with an artificial or natural grass surface. The town must also have a stadium with a minimum capacity of 2 000 people, suitable lighting for night games and a public address system.

    There should be acceptable accommodation for a delegation from each region as well for match officials and support staff of the NFA, the Namibian newspaper and Nedbank Namibia.

    Medical standby services for the duration of the tournament, catering and security are also among the criteria for hosting the cup.

    The Namibian Newspaper Cup supported by Nedbank Namibia is considered as the breeding ground for upcoming talent, as many players from the 14 regions have gone on to become household names in the local Premier League and the national teams, including the Brave Warriors.

    The bidding member associations will have to make a presentation to the organising committee on 25 July, after which the host towns of the 2019 and 2020 Newspaper Cup editions will be selected.

    Netball was added to the tournament at Katima Mulilo this year. After much drama and excitement; Omaheke defeated Kavango East 1-0 to take the football title while the Kavango East Ladies won the netball title when they defeated Erongo 39-33.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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  • 06/24/18--16:00: A world cup dream too far
  • A world cup dream too farA world cup dream too far With several teams making their debut at the 2018 Football World Cup currently under way in Russia, many locals are still wondering if Namibia will ever make it to the global showpiece.

    Well, the answer to that is simple: we will have to wait a very long time for that to happen.

    As a nation, we are already struggling to qualify for the continental Africa Cup of Nations which only sees African nations competing in the qualifiers.

    The last time we qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations was in 2008.

    For the past ten years, we have seen a mix of Brave Warriors teams that have actually not been at the very best level of football.

    We brought in international coaches, but we still have not been close to making it to the world football global spectacle.

    That is why it is beyond anyone's wildest dreams that Namibia might qualify for the World Cup within the next four years.

    I know many are possibly wondering how Iceland, a country with a tiny population, has managed to qualify for the World Cup.

    According to the Guardian newspaper, at the end of the last century the Icelandic FA implemented measures to help them qualify.

    Currently this nation of 335 000 has around 600 qualified coaches, 400 with Uefa B licences, or one per 825 people. To put this into context, in England this number is one per 11 000.

    Well, it all boils down to good administration and a winning culture which has been lacking in Namibia for many years.

    It also goes with the fact that little funding for our sport codes makes it difficult for our nation to compete amongst the best.

    First, we have to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations before we can even dream of making a World Cup debut.

    Sport administrators have failed to assist in many ways, given the challenges that come with managing sports in this country.

    I must say that some administrators have given their all in terms of trying to make our football prosper.

    But there are some who have taken advantage of their positions for personal gain.

    Some have clung on to power for way too long and therefore there have been no new ideas as to what Namibia can do in order to achieve the world cup dream.

    One of the factors that have hampered our national team from reaching the World Cup is a lack of consistency and commitment by our players.

    Trust me, we do have talent that is even better than some nations competing at the World Cup, but we fail in grooming this talent into fully fledged players.

    I do believe that our football will need new fresh ideas from new leaders if we want to have a shot at World Cup qualification.

    It is important that our youth squads are trained and exposed in order for them to become the future national team.

    Our training facilities must be improved in order to have fit players that are able to compete against the best in the world.

    Another thing that is important is having our team in the top rankings in order to open doors for our local players in the European market.

    This would help improve the players' skills and could benefit the national team in the future.

    The most important thing is making our mark in Africa before we can even consider representing the continent at the World Cup.

    I do not want us to send a team that will be at the receiving end of humiliating defeats.



    Jesse@namibiansun.com

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  • 06/24/18--16:00: NIP's Katiti hits back
  • NIP's Katiti hits backNIP's Katiti hits backHints at witch-hunt Suspended CEO Augustinus Katiti claims that the board of directors of the Namibia Institute of Pathology leaked false information to the media in an attempt to tarnish his image. The suspended CEO of the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), Augustinus Katiti, has dismissed claims that he has used his office to conclude questionable deals, calling the accusations false.

    The serious allegations against him include overspending on subsistence and travel by over N$1 million after being already awarded a budget of N$2.5 million.

    Katiti is said to have undertaken trips to the US, Sweden, Austria and South Africa.

    Also under scrutiny is a trip to Italy undertaken by Katiti and five of his executives, which the cost the SOE N$400 000.

    The NIP top brass went to Italy to purchase lavish office furniture to the tune of N$11 million, according to an insider privy to the affairs of the parastatal.

    Katiti, who has been instructed not to speak to the media, responded through his lawyer Richard Metcalfe, saying that the board of directors of the NIP had leaked false information to the media in an attempt to tarnish his image.

    “The board of directors of NIP deliberately continues to leak false information and distorted facts about Mr Augustinus Katiti to the media and the public at large through social media, despite the board of directors' directive to Mr Katiti, that he may not “communicate to the media in whatsoever way or manner,” his lawyer Metcalfe said.

    Katiti also denied allegations that his subsistence and travelling allowance was excessive. Insider information put his travelling costs at N$3.5 million.

    “The total travelling costs of NIP per annum do not even exceed

    N$ 3.5 million. It is simple stupidity to profess that the CEO travel costs are N$3.5 million,” Metcalfe said.

    Also under scrutiny was a trip to Italy by the top brass of the NIP to procure office furniture, a claim Katiti denied.

    “Mr Katiti has never in his entire life been to Italy. It is therefore devoid of any truth to state that Katiti and five of his executives have undertaken a trip to Italy.

    He has also never travelled to Austria, either in his private capacity or on official NIP business,” Metcalfe said. Katiti said that travel requests were always submitted to the chairperson of the board of the NIP for approval.

    “All travelling requests of the CEO are submitted to the chairperson of the board of directors. Any travelling thus undertaken by the CEO would therefore have been budgeted for and approved by the chairperson of the board of directors,” Metcalfe said.

    It was reported that the NIP had bought office furniture from Italy to the value of N$11 million. The purchase of the office furniture had been questioned by a member of the NIP's audit committee who put the figure at N$11 million.

    Katiti however quashed these claims and said the furniture was bought in South Africa.

    The figure presented was also based on the assumption of liars, Katiti said.

    “NIP never bought furniture in Italy. Furniture to the value of N$5 million was bought from R Navarra Shopfitters and Joiners, a company based in Cape Town, South Africa. It is therefore grossly exaggerated to state that the cost of the Italian office furniture is N$11 million. This is contorted facts based on the assumptions of liars,” his lawyer Metcalfe responded.

    It was also alleged that NIP, despite having a fulltime business development executive, went ahead and spent N$1.4 million on business development while training costs were also questioned.

    “Consultant costs provided as N$1.4 million in the media are a mere 0.22% of total revenue or about 0.46% of total operating expenses,” Metcalfe said.

    “The N$3.2 million budgeted for training purposes is not even 2% of total employee costs. It represents a mere 1.1% of total operating expenses of NIP for the financial year ended 31 March 2017,” Metcalfe added.

    Katiti through his lawyer also denied the claim that personnel costs were approaching 80% with Metcalfe saying: “Personnel costs at NIP were never above 66% of operating costs. Total expenses to sales also remained below 60% and employee costs to sales also remained below 38%, whereas cost of sales was contained at 33%.”

    While a board recommendation indicated that salary increases for NIP staff be capped at 8%, Katiti and his team received 11% hikes from 2014 to 2016.

    “Personnel costs are now approaching 80% of operating costs and bonuses are paid without objective evaluation criteria being met,” the former board member said. The suspended CEO also said that NIP never procured vehicles for logistics company ST Freight Services.

    It was reported that it paid for the vehicles of the company using NIP's funds.

    “It is a fact that the ST Freight Services CC transport transaction was never financed with NIP funds. An extensive response was provided by Mr Katiti to the board of directors on this matter.

    It was also reported already that this matter was discussed by the board in five formal meetings since March 2017,” Metcalfe said.

    According to Katiti, there were allegations raised of mismanagement that were presented to the chairperson of the audit and risk committee as early as July 2017.

    If these allegations were factual, he would have been placed on suspension at that time.

    “Mr Katiti was not suspended a year ago. If he was in any way implicated in any of the alleged wrongdoing, such suspension should have followed after the audit containing very serious transgressions was concluded,” Metcalfe said.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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