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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 804 | 805 | (Page 806) | 807 | 808 | .... | 1152 | newer

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  • 07/19/18--16:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Europe hits Google with record fine

    European antitrust regulators fined Google a record 4.34 billion euro (US$5 billion) on Wednesday and ordered it to stop using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals, a ruling which the US tech company said it would appeal.

    The penalty is nearly double the previous record of 2.4 billion euros which Google was ordered to pay last year after its online shopping search service was deemed to be unfair to competitors.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Steinhoff extends lock-up early bid fee deadline

    Steinhoff extended its “early bird fee” deadline for the second time on Wednesday for creditors to sign a three-year agreement to hold off their debt claims, as the scandal-hit South African retailer battles to stay afloat.

    Steinhoff wants to restructure its roughly nine billion euros debt after disclosing holes in its balance sheet that wiped more than 90%off its market value and forced it into asset sales to fund working capital.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Amazon.com's stock market value hits US$900 billion

    Amazon.com’s stock market value reached US$900 billion on Wednesday for the first time, marking a major milestone in its 21-year trajectory as a publicly listed company and threatening to dislodge Apple as Wall Street’s most valuable jewel.

    After Jeff Bezos founded the online book-selling company in his garage in 1994, Amazon survived the dot-com crisis and then expanded across the retail industry, altering how consumers buy products and setting off a Darwinian struggle among brick-and-mortar stores.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    IBM gets boost from new businesses

    International Business Machines Corp on Wednesday reported second-quarter profit and revenue that topped analysts’ expectations as it benefited from growth in higher-margin businesses including cybersecurity and cloud computing.

    Under Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty, IBM has been focusing on an array of new technologies ranging from artificial intelligence to cloud computing as it tries to offset weakness in its legacy business of selling hardware and software.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    EBay revenue misses

    EBay Inc missed analysts’ estimates for second-quarter revenue on Wednesday, as its online ticket marketplace StubHub had a disappointing quarter, leading the e-commerce website to forecast underwhelming third-quarter results.

    The company’s shares were down about 5% at US$36 after the bell.

    EBay blamed fewer games in major US sporting events for lower ticket sales at StubHub. Even though StubHub revenue rose 4% to US$246 million, it was its slowest growth since the second quarter of 2017.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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  • 07/19/18--16:00: ECN sets record straight
  • ECN sets record straightECN sets record straightCorrects party funding contributions According to the electoral body, only the Republican Party and the Workers Revolutionary Party have failed to submit audited statements. The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) this week issued a correction on a previous statement that the All People's Party (APP) and the United People's Movement (UPM) had not consistently provided audited financial statements to the ECN as required by the law.

    The press statement noted records of financial statements submitted by various political parties that were made available to finance minister Calle Schlettwein recently, and quoted by him in parliament, did not include submissions by the APP for the 2016/17 financial year and for the 2015/16 financial years by the UPM.

    “The ECN would like to state that the records shared, unfortunately, had erroneously omitted to include submissions made by the All People's Party (APP) for the 2016/17 financial year and for the United People's Movement (UPM) for the 2015/16 financial years.”

    Both APP and UPM submitted financial records, as required by the Electoral Act, for those years.

    The amended record of financial statements issued yesterday by the ECN show that the Republican Party (RP) and the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) are the only two parties that did not submit audited statements to the ECN for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years, as required by the Electoral Act of 2014.

    Schlettwein, who was providing feedback in parliament, called on political parties to remain accountable to the public regarding the public funding they received.

    The ECN yesterday also noted that parties have a legal duty to be accountable to the public on the management and utilisation of taxpayers' money they received as funding from the national budget.

    While SWANU of Namibia submitted audited financial statements for 2014/15 and the 2015/16 financial years, they failed to submit their 2016/17 records, the amended ECN data shows.

    Another party, the United Democratic Front of Namibia (UDF), failed to submit audited reports for the 2015/16 financial year, but did submit reports for both the 2014/15 and 2016/17 financial years, the new ECN records show.

    The ECN further clarified that the Electoral Act requires that all registered political parties as well as parties represented in parliament account for funds by complying with two sections of the Act, which stipulate specific timelines for the submission of financial statements to the ECN.

    The ECN clarified that the Act was promulgated in October 2014 and as such political parties are not “obligated to provide to the ECN statements for the 2014/15 year”, although three parties did, including SWANU, Swapo and the UDF.

    The ECN yesterday thanked those parties that handed over financial statements since 2014 and said they look forward to receiving all audited statements for the 2017/18 years.



    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Namibia a major e-waste producerNamibia a major e-waste producer Namibia is ranked as the seventh highest producer of electronic and electric waste (e-waste) in Africa, primarily because of the relatively high living standards of a small group of citizens, and despite the small population size.

    The Global E-waste Monitor 2017, compiled by the United Nations and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) calculated that on average every Namibian citizen generates around 6 kg of e-waste per year, totalling 14 000 tonnes annually.

    South Africa, with a population of 55 million citizens, compared to Namibia's 2.3 million, ranked eighth out of the top ten African e-waste producing countries, with an average of 5.7 kg e-waste produced per inhabitant each year.

    The average amount of e-waste produced each year in Namibia is higher than that of citizens in Nigeria and Kenya on an individual basis.

    Seychelles occupied the first spot, with around 11.5 kg of e-waste produced each year by 93 million citizens, and Libya and Mauritius ranked second and third, respectively.

    Namibia's ranking was attributed to “the relatively high living standards”.

    There is a direct correlation between living standards and amount of e-waste generated.

    In terms of total volume of e-waste produced by countries annually in Africa, Egypt and South Africa produce the largest amounts, followed closely by Nigeria, which is directly related to population numbers.

    Worldwide, Norway, United Kingdom and Denmark have the highest e-waste generating populations measured by e-waste generated per inhabitant, with Norway generating 28.5 kg e-waste per resident.

    In 2016, it was estimated that globally, a staggering 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste was generated that year, up by 3.3 tonnes or 8% more compared to 2014.



    Waste of precious materials

    ISWA explained that the e-waste, consisting of “everything from end-of-life refrigerators and television sets to solar panels, mobile phones and computers”, equalled, in weight, “almost nine Great Pyramids of Giza or 4 500 Eiffel Towers, or 1.23 million fully loaded 18-wheel 40-ton trucks, enough to form a line 28 160-km line, the distance from New York to Bangkok and back.”

    Experts said they foresee a further 17% increase - to 52.2 million tonnes of e-waste by 2021 - the fastest growing part of the world's domestic waste stream.

    Last year, ISWA emphasised that “only 20% of 2016's e-waste is documented to have been collected and recycled despite rich deposits of gold, silver, copper, platinum, palladium and other high value recoverable materials. The conservatively estimated value of recoverable materials in last year's e-waste was US$55 billion, which is more than the 2016 GDP of most countries in the world.”

    Records show that in 2016, 4% of e-waste was thrown into landfills and 76%, or 34.1 tonnes ended up incinerated, in landfills, recycled in informal (backyard) operations, or remain stored in our households.

    A major contributor to increasing levels of e-waste is the increasing affordability of electronic and electrical devices.



    What you can do

    In Namibia, e-waste company NamiGreen is tackling the growing problem of e-waste.

    NamiGreen CEO Per Hansen said the company ensures that all e-waste collected in Namibia is exported and safely disposed of through recycling.

    Hansen explained that the benefits of recycling e-waste include minimising the overall carbon dioxide impact globally, “as it takes less energy to recycle electronics for metals than to mine for new metals”.

    Recycling further creates jobs and reduces the strain on the environment as e-waste often contain hazardous materials like mercury, lead, barium, arsenic, antimony, and cadmium and others.

    In Namibia, Windhoek, Rundu and Walvis Bay produce the highest volume of e-waste countrywide.



    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Josephine learns the ropes at PwCJosephine learns the ropes at PwC Justicia Shipena



    Josephine Diogenus was recently appointed as an article clerk at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Namibia.

    Diogenus is responsible for auditing companies and sometimes makes coffee.

    “As an audit clerk, you mostly do fieldwork (collecting evidence) and substantiate the audit opinion that will be issued with the audit report, if I can put it briefly,” she said.

    She completed matric at De Duine Secondary School in 2013 in Walvis Bay. She then proceeded to the University of Namibia (Unam), where she completed her bachelor's degree in chartered accounting in 2017.

    Diogenus recently also completed her certificate of theory in accounting (CTA) at the North West University in South Africa.

    “I love academics, I cannot wait to start studying again after writing my second qualifying exam in 2019,” she said.

    She started her articles on 2 February. The training contract duration is three years. This is her first job after she finished studying last year. She had previously done vacation work at few companies before she started at PwC Namibia.

    Diogenus says her academic achievements are the overall highlights of her journey so far.

    “The highlight of my career so far was my first board exam result where I managed to rank second in the country. That meant so much to me as it's the first of only two qualifying exams that I will write to become a chartered accountant,” she said.

    Her short-term goals include growing with PwC. She added she is exposed to so many industries and she has qualified supervisors. Diogenus said she can see the person they are moulding her to become, and that person will have a positive impact on the company.

    Diogenus said the challenges she faces are linked to transitioning from school to the workplace. Responsibility and time management is very important.

    It is not easy to master, but she can proudly say she has improved so much in this regard.

    “The workplace also comes with a lot of rules and new ways of doing things. Who am I kidding, everything was new to me. Right now I am really just trying to get used to the system and of course applying theory to practice - that's a whole calculus on its own,” she said.

    Besides being in the office, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family and sometimes goes shopping on her own.

    “Those are the best free-time moments.”

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  • 07/19/18--16:00: A Bank Windhoek adventure
  • A Bank Windhoek adventureA Bank Windhoek adventure Justicia Shipena



    Chrissie le Roux joined Bank Windhoek 24 years ago in Windhoek.

    She is a widowed, single mom.

    In the year 2000 she moved to the Okahandja branch.

    There she worked in the enquiries, credit, teller and securities departments. In 2014 she was promoted to credit manager.

    Later that same year, she was transferred to the Katima Mulilo branch to take up the position of branch manager.

    “I had travelled in and around Namibia, but not to that part of the country. I am glad that I took up that opportunity,” she said.

    Le Roux said Bank Windhoek is her passion and she loves the people and the working culture within the bank. They are family to her and working at Bank Windhoek was about more than just earning her bread and butter.

    Le Roux added the Katima Mulilo branch is unique because the people there are very humble.

    The way they approached her when she moved there is very different to what she was accustomed to. The staff members are passionate about their work and this is evident in their service to customers.

    “For instance, we do not have problem customers in our branch, since they get the best service whether they are inside or outside the branch,” she said.

    The other unique thing about Katima Mulilo is that you can quickly go to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana and it has a very beautiful environment.

    She has big plans for the branch.

    She imagines it being bigger in terms of customer base and the services offered.

    “Katima Mulilo being a small town provides a very strong platform for marketing, as word of mouth will always be the best way to spread our products.

    “Everywhere we go in this town, people positively talk about Bank Windhoek,” says Le Roux.

    The bank's slogan 'Together we do better', speaks to providing services to their customers, she says.

    She said customers immediately pick up on their passion to assist.

    “They trust Bank Windhoek's services, which is what banking is all about.”

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    FNB Namibia welcomes Schalk van WykFNB Namibia welcomes Schalk van Wyk Schalk van Wyk has been appointed as the new area business development manager for the Central North Cluster. He will be responsible for assisting the team of branch managers in the Central North Area in identifying, managing and promoting new business growth. Schalk is a career banker and will celebrate 17 years of banking experience in November this year. He holds a NMPD from the University of Stellenbosch and a Senior Credit Diploma from Culhane Consulting, as well as various other banking diplomas obtained over the years.

    “I am looking forward to the ever-changing banking environment with new technology and staying relevant to the needs of our clients," he said.

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    Shoprite annual sales growth slowed by AngolaShoprite annual sales growth slowed by AngolaShortage of US dollars Africa’s biggest supermarket chain Shoprite Holdings said on Wednesday annual turnover increased by 3.3% missing analyst estimates, as problems stemming from currency devaluation in Angola weighed on group performance. Despite the demanding trading environment, exasperated by the sharp decline in internal inflation, the group remains positive about its operational strength, customer support for its brands and is making progress on its strategic priorities- Shoprite Total turnover grew to about 145.6 billion rand (US$10.90 billion) in the 12 months to June 2018, Shoprite said in its operational update. That compared with a consensus forecast of 150.5 billion rand in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.

    Chronic shortage of foreign currency and currency devaluation in Angola remains an issue for the supermarket chain, which said excluding the impact of the Angolan hyperinflation accounting adjustment, group turnover increased 3.6%.

    Angola has been hit by a severe shortage of dollars and the currency has been devalued some 30% to the dollar this year.

    At 1315 GMT, shares in Shoprite declined 5.17% to 208.99 rand.

    “Despite the demanding trading environment, exasperated by the sharp decline in internal inflation, the group remains positive about its operational strength, customer support for its brands and is making progress on its strategic priorities,” Shoprite said.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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  • 07/19/18--16:00: Ndeitunga lashes cops
  • Ndeitunga lashes copsNdeitunga lashes cops Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga yesterday ordered Khomas police officers to clean up their act in order to restore public trust and law and order.

    Ndeitunga gave a tough talk during an address to senior and rank and file police officers of the Otjomuise and Katutura police stations yesterday.

    He said for some police officers, from senior to junior ranks, “the most important thing is your salary and not your job”.

    Laziness, corruption, sexism and favouritism were highlighted as problems in the higher ranks of the police force, and Ndeitunga said an urgent turnaround is needed to ensure transparency within the force.

    The police chief said “safety and security is a problem to people in this city” and warned that residents are “losing trust and confidence in the police”. He highlighted the high rates of murder, robberies and said the city is overrun with gangs, drug and alcohol abuse, pirate taxis in known hotspots and asked: “What measures have you put in place to ensure no more lives are lost? What are you doing to close bars? Where are we doing as police officers?”

    Ndeitunga warned that “people in this town are losing trust and confidence in the police” and asked “how long will people tolerate this?”

    He urged for more visible and vigilant policing on the streets, in city centres, crime hotspots and at road blocks.

    “Let's put all we have into this, to come to the fore to clean up this town. Let us flush out the criminals,” he demanded.



    Some do, some don't

    The police chief added that the hard work of some police officers is compromised by police who don't do their job, describing it as “unfair” that there are officers who are paid a salary “who do nothing”.

    Ndeitunga said those tarnishing the image of the police and “demoralising those who do well, should go”.

    He further pointed out that policing is not an eight-to-five job, but requires constant alertness and responses to emergencies where and when they occur.

    “As the police responsible for this town, everybody looks to you for safety and security.”

    He urged police to inform him of those who are “ill-disciplined, lazy, corrupt, drunkards”, so that steps can be taken to address these issues.

    Ndeitunga noted that a recent arrest of four police officers took place after they were caught stealing prisoner food, and highlighted investigations that have lagged behind five to ten years, in addition to dockets that go missing.

    He said in some cases top performing officers are not giving a chance to rise in the ranks, while senior officers promote those who do their bidding and not their job.

    He said any officers involved in illegal and corrupt activities don't “deserve to be in the police force and undermine the criminal justice system”.











    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    N$3bn loan to cover budget gapsN$3bn loan to cover budget gaps Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has confirmed the latest N$3 billion tranche, which forms part of an African Development Bank (AfDB) loan facility will be used to plug holes in the country's budget.

    According to Schlettwein, the money is expected in the current quarter.

    According to him, this was the most attractive loan government could secure, as it will be repaid in South African rand.

    The arrangement ensures that Namibia will not be exposed to currency fluctuations, which could make the loan pricier to repay.

    Another positive, Schlettwein said, was the five-year grace period, should Namibia be unable to repay the loan when it is due.

    The loan forms part of a N$10 billion loan facility the government requested from the AfDB.

    Government has already received N$5 billion, of which N$3 billion was used to fund last year's budget deficit, while N$2 billion was for development projects in the education and agriculture sectors.

    “The loan facility, the second of a two-year programmatic series, will support the budget for the fiscal year 2018/19. It aims at strengthening public financial management and improving the quality and efficiency of public sector spending,” the AfDB said in a statement.

    “The programme builds on phase one approved last year, which has achieved positive results. These includes the reduction of the budget deficit from 8.2% of gross domestic product in 2015/16 to 5.4% in 2017/18.

    “It has also helped to improve the country's liquidity situation at a time when domestic market liquidity was low, occasioned by constrained cash flow; and funding to retire pending invoices in critical ministries, including education and health, which helped to avoid a looming crisis of a private credit crunch,” the AfDB said further.

    Government applied for the rand-denominated loan at the beginning 2017. In its motivation, it said there would be a 60:40 split between how the loan would be utilised for the budget deficit and for development projects.

    The remaining monies not yet paid out will be considered on a case-by-case basis over a five-year period, Schlettwein previously said.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Nabta feels heat on fare hikesNabta feels heat on fare hikesAccused of twiddling its thumbs A consultation meeting at Ondangwa yesterday did not pan out quite like Nabta had planned it. The Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) has come under fire from bus and taxi drivers and owners, who say they are suffering, while the association twiddles its thumbs.

    Drivers and owners were also infuriated by Nabta calling for a meeting at Ondangwa yesterday, saying they expected the association to take the lead when it comes to discussing fare hikes.

    They were left angry yesterday, after being told that Nabta only wanted to hear their suggestions on the increments, ahead of a conference that will take place in Windhoek next week.

    Nabta secretary-general Pendapala Nakathingo said the association decided to hike the fares, after realising it has been a while since the last adjustment in 2012, which was followed by minor changes in 2014.

    Nakathingo said Nabta was reviewing the fare hikes, but decided not to do so without consulting its members.

    It will hold a press conference in Windhoek next Wednesday.

    “Next week we are having a national conference on taxis and bus fare hikes taking place at Ramatex in Windhoek and that is why we decided to come to you and hear your views before we make any adjustments. We have seen that the cost of living and fuel price have been increasing, but the taxi fares remain the same,” Nakathingo said.

    Nakathingo told drivers and operators that Nabta is the only association mandated by the transport ministry to administer taxi and bus fare hikes.

    He said they decided to host the consultation meeting in Ondangwa, because “it's the centre of all destinations”.

    Those in attendance were not happy with Nakathingo, saying they were expecting him to tell them Nabta's position and views on the increments before asking for their views.

    “All those years you have been quiet while we are suffering alone, but since you heard there is another organisation suggesting taxi fare increments in Windhoek you decided to call us, while pretending to care for us? First you must tell us why you called us before you ask for our views,” fumed an angry meeting participant.

    Joseph Kapolo said it is only in Namibia where commuters pay cents per km for transportation, but Nabta is just quiet about this.

    “Imagine from Ondangwa to Walvis Bay there is 840km, but commuters are only paying N$240 and Nabta is happy about that. We also want the transport sector to be beneficial. When fuel is being increased it's done without negotiation, but as the transportation sector, we need to be at the mercy of our customers,” Kapolo stressed.

    Owners and drivers said when they take their complaints to Nabta, they are not taken seriously.

    “The majority of transport permit owners do not have buses or taxis and they are renting them out to those with buses and taxis and you are just there quiet. Why is it easy for people outside the transport sector to acquire those transport permits, but it is difficult for bus and taxis owners?” an owner asked.

    Bus owner Fillep Lukas of Kapya Liner suggested a N$5 increment within towns, N$10 for short distances and N$50 for long distances.

    Meeting participants told Nakathingo they want the Windhoek's conference to deal with their complaints lodged with Nabta over many years, and not just with fare hikes.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Woolworths expects annual profit to slumpWoolworths expects annual profit to slumpDavid Jones’ effect South African department store chain Woolworths Holdings Ltd warned on Thursday that annual profit would fall by up to 20%. 2018 has been a difficult year for the group, as we contended with extremely challenging trading conditions in South Africa and Australia, as well as poor product execution in some areas of womenswear- Woolworths The company’s profit is hurt by “extremely” challenging trading conditions in its home market and Australia.

    Woolworths, which sells groceries, food, homeware and clothes, said that headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the 52-weeks ended June 24 would fall to between 336.7 to 357.8 South African cents from 420.9 cents reported in 2017.

    HEPS is the most widely watched profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

    A Reuters poll of 10 analysts had forecast an 8.5% drop.

    Group sales for the period under review increased by 1.6% , slowing from a 3% growth in the previous year.

    “2018 has been a difficult year for the group, as we contended with extremely challenging trading conditions in South Africa and Australia, as well as poor product execution in some areas of womenswear,” the company said in a statement.

    At 0827 GMT, shares in Woolworths were down 0.42% to 52.68 rand.

    In South Africa retailers have struggled to grow earnings amid weak economic growth, low consumer spending and clothing markdowns in particular have hit earnings.

    Sales in the South Africa fashion, beauty and home division declined by 1.5%, while in David Jones and Country Road Group sales finished 0.9% lower and 1.7% higher respectively.

    Australia has recorded soft retail sales growth for months amid cut-throat competition, heavy price discounts and online competition.

    Woolworths added that the sales disruption from the refurbishment of the Elizabeth Street store, which houses David Jones, in Sydney will continue through to December 2019.

    Woolworths is spending up to US$200 million to redevelop its flagship Elizabeth Street store in an effort to boost sales, offering 11 levels of gourmet food, dining, shoes and luxury fashion brands like Chanel.

    The group’s earnings per share are expected to slide to a loss of between 340 cents to 396.7 due to a revaluation of its David Jones business in Australia.

    Woolworths announced in January that it had booked a non-cash impairment charge of A$712.5 million (US$527.8 million)against the carrying value of David Jones as a result of the cyclical downturn and structural changes that have hurt performance across the Australian retail sector.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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    Illegal sand mining clampdownIllegal sand mining clampdownMiners warned at Oukwanyama Illegal sand miners have been warned to stop their activities or face fines of up to N$500 000 or 25 years imprisonment. The environmental commissioner's office has visited the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority and read out the riot act, with the aim of putting an end to illegal sand mining activities.

    Illegal sand mining is a lucrative business, with construction companies and individuals making millions from selling sand they mine without the appropriate permissions.

    These companies are said to pay as little as N$80 per load to traditional authorities and sell them for as much as N$2 000 or more to developers and contractors in urban areas.

    However, illegal sand miners in the Oukwanyama authority's jurisdiction were told at a meeting at Ohangwena this week to stop with their activities or face fines of up to N$500 000 or 25 years in jail.

    Environment ministry conservation scientist Ipeinge Mundjulu explained to the traditional leadership and other stakeholders that the Environmental Management Act of 2007 says the mining of sand for commercial purposes, without the appropriate permissions, is punishable by law, just like any other crime.

    Muundjulu's visit to the traditional authority came a month after environmental commissioner, Theofilus Nghitila visited the Uukwambi Traditional Authority and ordered it to bring an end to illegal sand mining, which has destroyed grazing areas such as those in Iiheke ya Nakele.

    Muundjulu instructed all sand miners in Oukwanyama to stop with their activities if they do not have a licence.

    He said they should apply for one to avoid being prosecuted.

    Muundjulu said a number small businesses, especially those specialising in brickmaking, will be affected by the sudden clampdown, which will leave many jobless.

    He instructed the traditional authority to find alternative sites where sand can be mined, while the sand miners apply for environmental clearance certificates.

    “We are not here to take away your businesses and employment but we are here to ensure that the Environmental Management Act of 2007, which condemns illegal sand mining, is implemented. We are here to consult you, but also to inform you that as from now on, there will be no more sand mining here without a clearance certificate,” Muundjulu said.

    He also warned community members who enter into deals with companies, giving them permission to mine sand in mahangu fields, are doing so illegally. Oukwanyama traditional council chairperson George Nelulu who chaired the meeting agreed with Muundjulu, saying nature should be preserved for the generations to come.

    Nelulu said the traditional authority always ensures nature is conserved.

    He told Muundjulu the authority is strongly in support of the Environmental Management Act.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 07/19/18--16:00: SOE governance under threat
  • SOE governance under threatSOE governance under threat The nation has witnessed its fair share of infighting over the past years at state-owned enterprises - both at commercial and non-commercial entities.

    Political meddling in the affairs of these businesses has rendered some parastatals dysfunctional, while further compromising the principles of good corporate governance in others. The level of infighting that has reared its ugly head at some of our SOEs is so shocking that officials often resort to bickering and using the company's precious time and resources to push their self-serving agendas. This situation is more worrying when such shenanigans play itself out at perennially lossmaking parastatals, which are already milking the taxpayer dry because of their heavy reliance on bailouts. The standoff between the TransNamib board and its line ministry is the latest struggle that has spilled over into the public. According to media reports, the TransNamib board has put the blame for its poor financial performance squarely on the shoulders of government, which has been accused of political interference. The works ministry has specifically been called out in a scathing letter by the board for allegedly meddling in the affairs of the rail parastatal. It should be clear that in no way are we defending the TransNamib board. However, just because these boards are appointed by government, it does not give it the right to interfere in the way that has unfolded at TransNamib. Board members should be given the necessary leeway and independence to oversee the management of the company and should not be treated as puppets on a string by the appointing authority. If government has a genuine concern or problem with the way in which SOE boards are conducting themselves, then they have the right to remove and replace them, by following the necessary procedures.

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  • 07/19/18--16:00: Pupil becomes the master
  • Pupil becomes the masterPupil becomes the masterFabianus takes over the reins at RFS After years of serving as understudy to Tilman Friedrich, Marthinuz Fabianus has officially taken the helm at the Retirement Fund Solutions as the substantive managing director. Octavia Tsibes



    Retirement Fund Solutions (RFS) recently confirmed Marthinuz Fabianus as its new managing director to take over from long-serving Tilman Friedrich who will now chair the company's board.

    Fabianus joined the RFS in 2001.

    He graduated from the then Polytechnic of Namibia a diploma in commerce and a bachelor's in business management.

    “I have been in the industry for 24 years since 1994. The highlight has been the ascend of our business Retirement Fund Solutions to being currently the biggest wholly Namibian-owned pension fund administrator in Namibia and of course my recent appointment as managing director,” Fabianus said.

    Fabianus' meteoric rise has been a long time coming and started from humble beginnings.

    In 1994 he started working as a filing and delivery clerk for the now defunct pension fund administrator United Pension Administrators (UPA) under the tutelage of Friedrich.

    After three months on the job, Fabianus approached Friedrich on the basis that he wanted more challenges.

    As a trainee, he was told that his development would depend on his academic performance.

    In 1999 UPA was sold to Alexander Forbes, while Friedrich resigned to form RFS.

    On the other hand, Fabianus had risen through the ranks to become an associate consultant. He later took up the role of marketing manager at Old Mutual's employee benefits division.

    He resigned from this role in 2001 before teaming up again with Friedrich at RFS.

    At RFS he started as administration manager.

    He later become an alternate director, shareholder and director of client services, before his appointment first as deputy managing director and now as managing director.



    Visionary

    Speaking of his vision for RFS, Fabianus says he wants the company to become a household name in the Namibian market.

    He promised to work tirelessly to pass on a healthy business to the RFS shareholders.

    RFS is one of the leading pension fund administrators in the country, and manages over 60 funds and 100 smaller groups under its Benchmark Retirement Fund.

    “Pension funds are subject to robust and dynamic regulatory requirements that we have to keep to and which increases the costs of managing pension funds,” he says.

    According to Fabianus, a draft law is in the pipeline which will change the face of pension fund administration.

    “Most employers and employees alike do not correctly understand the complex setup of pension funds which often leads to poor decision-making,” he says.

    Except for RFS, all significant service providers in the industry are extensions of South African companies, with huge financial backing and skills based in SA and minimal capacity created locally.

    Explaining his focus for the coming years, Fabianus said the four aspects which he will hone in on are visibility, key relationship building, dynamic stakeholder engagement and driving the company's strategic actions and goals.

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    Ask an Honest HR ProfessionalAsk an Honest HR Professional What Do You Do When Your Team Can't Keep a Leader? 1. Step Up

    If you don’t have a clear supervisor who can delegate, it’s a great opportunity for you or someone else on your team to step up and claim some manager responsibilities in the interim. Chances are, you’re not the only one on your team who feels like things are falling apart.

    If you’ve identified problems in your department that need correcting, why not start those conversations with your teammates directly? After all, high-performing teams are characterized by the ability to communicate and resolve problems openly. That starts most authentically from the ground up—you don’t need a manager to set the tone for an open and trusting team.

    Try setting up a weekly team huddle with your department to discuss updates, what’s going well, and what could be improved. Simply providing a safe space to talk about these things will make a world of a difference!

    2. Find an Advocate

    Think about leaders in other departments that you work closely with. People who have had direct experience working with your team will be better allies for hearing out your concerns. If there is anyone like that at your company, try inviting them out for a coffee or lunch.

    While I don’t recommend directly asking them to speak up or step in for your team (they have their own department to manage, of course), try picking their brain about things that aren’t going well on your own team and seek their advice on how you can make it better.

    In turn, they’ll be more likely to keep your department in mind when having other conversations that may affect your team.

    3. Make Your Voice Heard

    Never underestimate the power of speaking up. If you haven’t already, you should voice your concerns with someone on your company’s HR team.

    This problem might seem obvious to you, but the rest of the company may not realize how bad things are on your team without a direct supervisor to communicate that to leadership. More than likely, your company will do what they can to make your situation better—no one wins in a situation where an entire team is unhappy.

    Hopefully, trying one or all of the above tips will help improve your short-term day-to-day. If nothing else, you’ll be the team hero for stepping up and taking action. Good luck!

    www.themuse.com

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    African Development Bank lends Namibia N$3bnAfrican Development Bank lends Namibia N$3bnSecond tranche The African Development Bank has approved a N$3 billion loan for Namibia to support the country’s national budget. The first budget support also helped operationalise some transformational policy and legal frameworks- African Development Bank NDAMA NAKASHOLE

    The latest approval is part of the country’s N$10 billion loan request from the African bank, of which N$3 billion was approved and disbursed to the country last year.

    The loan facility, second of a two-year programmatic series, will support the budget for the fiscal year 2018/19.

    In a statement on Wednesday night, the bank said that the money given is aimed at strengthening public financial management and improving the quality and efficiency of public sector spending, while laying a solid foundation for industrialisation through support to critical business environment reforms.

    Results

    According to the bank, the money that was approved to the country last year has achieved positive results.

    These include reduction of the budget deficit from 8.2% of GDP in 2015/16 to 5.4% in 2017/18, it said.

    ‘It has also helped to improve the country’s liquidity situation at a time when domestic market liquidity was low, occasioned by constrained cash flow; and funding to retire pending invoices in critical ministries, including education and health, which helped to avoid a looming crisis of private credit crunch,” said the bank.

    The first budget support also helped operationalise some transformational policy and legal frameworks, including the Public Private Partnership Act, Namibia Revenue Agency Act and the Public Procurement Regulations, it says.

    “Guided by Vision 2030, the 5th National Development Plan, the Harambee Prosperity Plan and other sector policies and strategies, the Government has embarked on fiscal consolidation and wide-ranging public financial management and business environment reforms to address emerging challenges.”

    Satisfaction

    The AfDB further said that it was satisfied with progress made by the Namibian government under the first trench of funding despite the significant economic challenges caused by declining commodity prices, persistent drought and subdued economic activity in South Africa and Angola.

    The bank’s intervention will support measures to improve revenue collection, enhance efficiency in public spending, and improve debt management, it said.

    “It (the bank) will also improve public procurement, internal and external audit functions and the governance framework for state-owned enterprises as well as enhance investment facilitation framework for industrial and MSME development.”

    The operation is aligned with the bank’s Country Strategy Paper for Namibia, two of the operational priorities of the Bank Group’s Ten-Year Strategy; and the High 5s agenda on ‘Industrialising Africa’ and ‘Improving the quality of life for the people of Africa’.

    History

    Last year, Namibia requested a N$10 billion loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to bridge its budget deficit. In May last year, the bank announced the issuing of a N$3 billion credit line ‘to effectively plug holes in the Namibian budget.’

    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein at the time said the N$7 billion was yet to be approved.

    The loan was sourced against the backdrop of a declining state fiscal environment and slowing economic growth, which threaten to put the brakes on government's development programmes.

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    Good woman launches venture capital fundGood woman launches venture capital fund NDAMA NAKASHOLE

    Windhoek entrepreneur Ujama Mushimba this week launched a funding option that targets women entrepreneurs.

    Dubbed ‘Good Women Good Business’ the fund says it is driven by the values of a woman for women who are willing to take a step to disrupt the industries.

    The fund is committed to investing in entities that have functioning business models at different levels offering a diversification framework of funding arrangements in the venture capital space.

    Speaking at the launch on Wednesday, Charmaine Nyandoro , the fund manager of Good Women Good Business Startup Fund, said their approach is equity-based funding.

    “In other words we give funding for a portion of equity in your business.”

    She said that the defining concept is the fact that they will be active in the business daily operations by this taking the risk that comes with growth entrepreneurship.

    She added that they will bring highly qualified experts in all the business departments such as marketing, finance, operations and leadership to ensure sustainability.

    The fund’s exit strategy is clear from the onset, as they will always give the proprietor right of first refusal to buy back their equity at a value to be determined by buyer and seller, according to Nyandoro.

    “The other option is where we bring in a private equity partner to take over our portion of the equity,” she said.

    The minimum investment value is N$250 000.

    The fund will invest in all sectors with the exception of mining, agriculture and construction which “due to the exposure associated with these sectors but we may reconsider at a later stage.”

    INSPIRATION

    According to Mushimba, who is also the founder and managing director, the story of Good Women Good Business started off as an idea she had a few years ago, when she was starting out in her journey as an entrepreneur, and faced challenges.

    “So, my contribution to the younger generation was to say that I will be the support I didn’t have when I was starting out,” she said.

    Mushimba added that they classify a good woman as someone who lives by and is grounded by the principles of the authentic African heritage in the spirit of togetherness.

    “We also encourage women to generate income using their God given gifts and talents to make a difference in themselves, for their families and to their communities.”

    “We added the venture capital fund as a response to the funding challenge we faced when we were starting our ventures. The thinking was why not mobilise funding to entrepreneurs who are in the growth phase of their business but aren’t able to secure capital due to various factors,” she said.

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    Fuel storage suspects in ACC's sightsFuel storage suspects in ACC's sights The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has confirmed it is looking at suspects in its ongoing investigation into the fuel storage debacle, which saw government forking out a whopping N$5.6 billion, after the initial project price was first put at N$920 million.

    “The commission can confirm that we are investigating allegations in respect of alleged corrupt practices regarding the national oil (petroleum storage), petroleum offloading (petroleum jetty) and pipelines facility in Walvis Bay under case file reference ACC HQO 15-001820,” ACC director of investigations, Nelius Becker said.

    “The investigation started on the 15th of November 2015 and is ongoing. Due to the fact that it is an ongoing investigation the commission will not divulge at this stage as to which individuals are the subject(s) of the investigations.”

    He refused to entertain any further enquiries, including whether key players in the saga had been called to the ACC offices for questioning.

    Among those who sources claimed had been questioned is former energy minister Obeth Kandjoze, who flatly denied that this had happened.





    “I don't know what to say about that, I was away for the past weeks and I am in New York. I don't know anything,” Kandjoze told Namibian Sun yesterday.

    The probe into the fuel storage facility has repeatedly been used as an example by President Hage Geingob in terms of his administration's anti-corruption crusade.

    When construction started in 2014 estimates had already spiralled to N$3.7 billion, in terms of what it would cost government to build the fuel storage facility.

    This was under the watch of then finance minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

    Internal government disciplinary hearings have already targeted senior officials, with finance permanent secretary Ericah Shafudah receiving a final warning.

    The fuel storage facility sits on land owned by the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The area is five kilometres from Walvis Bay - between the naval base and Bird Island.

    It was reported by The Namibian in October last year that cabinet documents it obtained estimated that the project will cost over N$5.6 billion, including N$955 million in penalties for the lack of foreign exchange insurance, around N$200 million for delaying the implementation of the contract and N$24 million for delayed payments to the contractor.

    A month later, former National Planning Commission (NPC) permanent secretary Leevi Hungamo was the last person to face a government disciplinary hearing over why the costs around the facility had escalated so dramatically.

    He was later found not guilty.

    He subsequently quit his government position last year.

    Shafudah and the chief legal adviser in the attorney general's office, Chris Nghaamwa, as well as Hungamo were under fire for government having to fork out N$1.8 billion above the N$3.7 billion 2014 estimate.

    Shafudah was quickly charged last year, and given a final warning by cabinet secretary George Simataa, while Nghaamwa was found not guilty.

    Energy ministry permanent secretary Simeon Negumbo wrote an update on the project to then line minister, Kandjoze, on 15 August 2017.

    “This matter can no longer be delayed, and as the line ministry, the responsibility to ensure that this matter is dealt with ultimately falls with the ministry of mines and energy,” Negumbo wrote, adding the project was 75% complete, and could be completed by June this year.

    The fuel storage facility was due to be handed over to government last month. The new facility will be the largest in the country. It will increase security of supply to 30 days.

    Kandjoze has since appointed as director-general of the NPC as well as economic planning minister.

    Tom Alweendo is the current energy minister.



    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 07/19/18--16:00: Swapo princes go to war
  • Swapo princes go to warSwapo princes go to warAmupanda, Shanghala court battle set for 6 September Two young Swapo acolytes are set for a court battle for the ages, which will begin to play out in a public courtroom on 6 September. University academic, youth leader and founder of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR), Job Amupanda, is refusing to back down as a N$500 000 lawsuit brought by current justice minister Sacky Shanghala threatens to hang their and the ruling party's dirty laundry in public.

    Already, Amupanda has lodged court papers in defence of the lawsuit, in which he claims Shanghala has been his political rival since 2009/10, to the extent that he allegedly made several false allegations against him, particularly after he formed AR in 2014.

    Amupanda is under threat to cough up N$500 000 after he went on a social media tirade against Shanghala last year, who was then the country's attorney-general.

    Shanghala filed the lawsuit on 4 December 2017.

    He is claiming N$500 000 in damages, along with costs on an attorney-client scale. In his papers, Shanghala told the court that during a symposium on United States attorney-generals, held in Doha, Qatar in November last year, Amupanda had posed questions to a panel during a breakaway session.

    During these questions, he had allegedly remarked “that the people of Namibia were shocked that the Namibian attorney-general is not a practising attorney and thus not subject to the rules of practice and ethical conduct pertaining to practising legal practitioners”.

    Shanghala says Amupanda also made comments regarding the British lawyers Shanghala had roped in to consult on government's genocide reparations negotiations with Germany, saying they had “pretended to work for 23 hours whilst it was biologically impossible to do so”.

    Amupanda had also asked the panel's advice on corrupt attorney-generals.

    Shanghala told the court Amupanda then took to social media and posted the following: “Session Two, we are doing a Case Study on US Attorney Generals. Insightful discussions that makes me agonize about a joke we have as Attorney General (sic).”

    Amupanda had also allegedly called Shanghala corrupt in a later posting.

    On Twitter, Shanghala said Amupanda had tweeted a photo of him and deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and wrote: “My son, haven't you stollen enough? PLEASE my son, it's enough. Don't steal anymore. If imaginations could become TRUTH! (sic).”

    In his court papers, Amupanda, justified his tirade as follows: “Attorney-general Sacky Shanghala is a public official attracting immense public interest and his name has resonated in many controversial and corruption scandals.















    The outcome of this action therefore proceeds beyond and is broader than a defamation action.”

    The lawsuit is currently under case management in the Windhoek High Court.

    According to Amupanda, it concerns the fight against corruption, the importance of academic freedom and freedom of expression in the fight against corruption.

    Amupanda claims Shanghala had labelled him and others as “aspiring criminals” and made false claims they were going to form a political party, following the creation of AR.

    He also alleged Shanghala hired South African legal practitioners and incurred a legal bill of over N$10 million in respect of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF).

    Amupanda said it was also publicly reported that Shanghala was involved in the settlement of invoices in relation to the country's mass housing programme and had faced public calls for his dismissal or redeployment.

    Shanghala submitted Amupanda's social media postings about him were false and defamatory in that they impute he is engaged in fraudulent or corrupt activities and is receiving kickbacks from the fees invoiced by the UK lawyers.

    “Apart from defamatory meanings of the publications it carried the additional sting that I am not a law-abiding citizen, I am a corrupt individual, engaged in criminal activities and corrupt practices, I am without moral fibre and generally not a fit and proper person for the office of the attorney-general,” Shanghala submitted.

    Amupanda said Shanghala was removed as AG by President Hage Geingob at the first cabinet meeting of this year.

    He also claims the head of state had publicly repeated certain instances of corruption, maladministration and incompetence against members of the cabinet, including Shanghala.

    “He served the shortest tenure as attorney-general,” Amupanda said.

    According to him, Shanghala's short term was due to various direct allegations of corruption, maladministration and incompetence, as reported by the media, members of the public, cartoonists, the public, academics, intellectuals, commentators and newspaper article contributors.

    He said he co-founded AR, which aims to restore the dignity of Namibians, as it relates to land and housing.

    Amupanda said he further fights against all forms of social injustice and ills, including corruption.

    According to him, as a social justice activist, he has assumed the public duty to speak out against corruption and expose all instances of maladministration and graft.

    As a result, members of the public see him as their voice against corruption and maladministration, particularly when such corruption involves public and political functionaries such as Shanghala.

    Amupanda argued it is public knowledge that corruption in Namibia's public sector has been corrosive element and has greatly contributed to the eradication of public confidence in public institutions and government agencies.

    Judge Shafimana Ueitele postponed the matter to 6 September for the hearing to begin.

    Celeste Coetzee appears on behalf of Shanghala, while Kadhila Amoomo represents Amupanda.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Namdeb: Slight dip in quarterly productionNamdeb: Slight dip in quarterly production Namdeb Holdings produced 515 000 carats of diamonds in the second quarter of this, nearly 2.5% less than in the first three months of 2018.
    According to latest quarterly results published by De Beers, Namdeb’s production represented about 0.006% of the mining giant’s total diamond production in the past quarter.
    De Beers owns 50% of Namdeb Holdings, while the Namibian government owns the rest.

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