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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Breakups: Violence is never the answerBreakups: Violence is never the answer Yet another murder-suicide incident has rocked our nation and Windhoekers, specifically, are reeling after a police officer shot his ex-girlfriend in the head before turning the gun on himself at a popular supermarket.

    The 24-year-old woman, who worked at the shop, succumbed to injuries minutes later while being taken to hospital.

    Some of the circumstances surrounding the incident have been confirmed by the police who said the woman had in fact opened a case against her ex-lover earlier on Tuesday at a local station.

    The victim had allegedly complained of threats made against her by the jilted police officer who seemingly could not accept her decision to end their relationship.

    This incident is yet another sad reminder that as a nation we are failing to adopt the fundamental principle of morality.

    So many Namibian women continue to suffer untold abuse at the hands of their jealous or rejected lovers.

    Yes, breakups are emotional rollercoasters and many men and women indeed struggle to overcome such painful endings.

    But violence should never be the response. It is absolutely essential that parents teach their children the realities of life, including how to cope with a breakup. It is true that not many people are well-equipped to deal with breakups.

    In fact there is a growing tendency where many young people are defining themselves through their relationships. This is dangerous.

    You can't define yourself through someone else.

    You simply can't define yourself through the way your woman looks.

    The only relationship you should define yourself by is the relationship you have with yourself. It is not only one family that was devastated and destroyed by the Wednesday incident.

    All that is left now is a dark cloud.

    And as much as we condemn this senseless killing, we should also spare a thought and grieve for the family of the perpetrator, as one can only imagine what his loved ones are going through at this moment.

    Obviously our deepest condolences go out to the family of the victim, who met her end in such a violent and horrible manner. Let her tragic death, like so many before, not be in vain. Parents and guardians should teach the boys in their care that breakups are not the end of the world. In cases where women are abused, they should push ahead with cases until the bitter end.

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  • 07/26/18--16:00: Teacher in dock for rape
  • Teacher in dock for rapeTeacher in dock for rapeFather has nightmares over daughter's plight It is alleged that the suspect used to call the victim to his room at the teacher houses and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him. A 24-year-old teacher at John Shekudja Combined School in Okalongo, who was arrested earlier this week for allegedly raping a 15-year-old grade 10 learner, was denied bail in the Outapi Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

    Masule Boshoff Masule from Kabbe in the Zambezi Region is accused of raping the teenager, who is from Oushipu village.

    The matter was remanded until 11 September. Police investigations continue. According to the Omusati police crime report the father of the victim opened the case.

    The father alleged that Masule, who is an entrepreneurship teacher at the school, raped his daughter on various occasions between June and 17 July. “It is alleged that the suspect, who is an entrepreneurship teacher, used to call the victim to his room at the teacher houses and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him,” the report reads.

    Namibian Sun has seen a copy of letter dated 24 July, written by the victim's father to the office of the Okalongo education directorate's circuit inspector, in which he states he was disappointed as a parent about what had allegedly happened. “As a parent, I am having nightmares and fail to understand the teacher, Masule. We trusted him to educate and take care of our children, let alone being a school board member, but instead he opted to destroy them mentally. How can he do that to my daughter?,” the letter reads.

    “I trust that your good and busy office will teach him a lesson that will serve as an example to whoever at John Shekudja Combined School is in the same boat with Mr Masule.”


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    Marlice: The animal whisperer Marlice: The animal whisperer A day in the life of a conservationist Marlice van Vuuren is the co-founder and owner of the N/a’an ku sê Foundation and is also one of Namibia’s most well-known conservationists. Quote: “Never underestimate an animal or overestimate your own abilities when things go wrong!” - Marlice van Vuuren, co-founder and owner of the N/a’an ku sê Foundation Octavia Tsibes

    A conservationist is someone whose first priority is the preservation of habitats, wildlife and people. All three of these are closely interlinked and without one, the others cannot function.

    An average day for N/a’an ku sê Foundation co-founder and owner Marlice van Vuuren is always unique.

    “Every day is different and no two days are ever the same. How each day runs is dependent on which animals are at the sanctuary. If there are baby animals, dependent on regular bottle feeds etc. My mornings are spent preparing food and bottles, making sure the young and sick animals have blankets and hot water bottles and that their camps and enclosures are warm and comfortable. In the afternoons, I usually spend my time dealing with any sick animals, monitoring their progress and regulating their medication,” says Van Vuuren.

    “I also receive a lot of phone calls from farmers and landowners who are concerned about carnivores (predators) on their land that could potentially target their livestock. We advise farmers and landowners on how best to protect their cattle and livestock, and also respond to various situations involving carnivores on their land.”

    They assist farmers with trapping and caging leopards and cheetahs.

    They travel to the farm concerned, sedate the animal and the fit it with a GPS collar.

    They then release the leopard or cheetah back onto the farmer’s land. The resulting GPS data is then shared with the farmer on a daily basis, so that the movements and behavior of the animal are constantly known and monitored.

    “In this way we have been able to prove that majority of leopards and cheetahs are non-conflict animals, in other words they do not prey on livestock and stick to wild game (their natural prey). The farmers are then more than happy to allow the animal to live in peace on their land,” Van Vuuren added.

    “Never underestimate an animal or overestimate your own abilities when things go wrong!”

    According to Van Vuuren, being a conservationist comes with a lot of challenges when it comes to dealing with people and not the animals.

    “It can be a challenge to convince farmers not to shoot carnivores (such as cheetahs and leopards) on their land, and instead listen to our advice and allow us to fit the animal with a GPS collar and release the animal back onto their land.”

    It is also crucial that conservationists deal with people as professionally as possible; good communication is key to convincing people (such as farmers) to not unnecessarily persecute animals.

    Van Vuuren further says dealing with wild animals brings a certain amount of danger.

    “It is important that as a conservationist one should never become complacent and never forget that a wild animal (even one that is habituated) fundamentally remains a wild animal, with wild instincts.

    “One should be adaptable and open-minded and each and every animal species is different and requires a different solution, so always be open-minded and flexible.

    “Good crisis management skills are vital. You need to know how to be patient and remain calm, and good communication skills are very imperative,” Van Vuuren said.

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    Less shiny quarter for Namdeb financialsLess shiny quarter for Namdeb financialsUnderlying EDITDA down 14% Namdeb’s diamonds fetched the highest price carat in the De Beers’ stall during the first six months of this year. Conditions overall remained favourable. – Anglo American Jo-Maré Duddy – Namdeb Holdings delivered an underlying EBITDA of US$90 million – about N$1.18 billion at yesterday’s exchange rate – in the first six months of this year, a drop of about 14% or US$15 million compared to the same half-year in 2017.

    In the first six months of 2016, Namdeb’s underlying EBITDA was US$131 million. EBITDA – earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – is used as a benchmark of a company’s operating performance or profitability.

    In the latest financial results of Anglo American – owner of De Beers, who in turn owns 50% of Namdeb Holdings – the local diamond giant recorded an EBIT or net income before income tax expense and interest expense of US$73 million, or just under N$960 million, in the first half-year of 2018. This is nearly 21% or US$19 million less than the corresponding period in 2017. In the same six months in 2016, Namdeb’s EBIT was US$121 million.

    For the latest half-year, Namdeb contributed about 12.6% to De Beers’ overall underlying EBITDA of US$712 million. For the same half-year in 2017, its contribution was nearly 13.4%. The figure for 2016 was 17%.


    Commenting on the latest results, Anglo said Namdeb’s production during the six months under review increased by 21% to about 1 million carats. For the same half-year in 2017, it was around 0.9 million carats.

    “Production from the marine operation was 2% higher following improved availability of the Mafuta crawler vessel and technology-led optimisation of the drill fleet. Production at the land operations increased by 99% to 0.3 million carats (H1 2017: 0.2 million carats), driven by access to consistently higher grades,” Anglo said.

    Namdeb’s capital expenditure for the period under review was US$19 million, nearly N$250 million. Last year it was US$8 million and in 2016 US$19 million.


    Anglo said preliminary data indicates a slight improvement in global consumer demand for diamond jewellery in US dollar terms.

    “This was driven by growth in the US and China, and was further amplified by positive exchange rate movements in China and Japan against the dollar. India was softer in dollar terms, with prevailing consumer caution, resulting from both macro-economic factors and regulatory changes affecting the jewellery sector.”

    According to Anglo, midstream sentiment was positive on the back of strong demand from the US and China in the last quarter of 2017.

    “Conditions overall remained favourable, with midstream inventory within normal levels and a slight strengthening of polished diamond prices since the start of the year.”

    Price, cost

    Namdeb realised a price of US$545 per carat, about N$7 167, during the first six months of 2018, significantly higher than De Beers’ average rough diamond price of US$162 per carat. Debswana in Botswana fetch a price of US$155 per carat, while De Beers’ mines in South Africa and Canada realised a price of US$106 and US$157 per carat respectively.

    During the same six months last year, the average price for a rough diamond from Namdeb was US$568. In 2016 it was US$519.

    At US$272 per carat, Namdeb’s unit cost, however, was significantly higher than the De Beers overall of US$67 per carat. Namdeb’s unit costs increased from US$237 in the first half-year of 2017 and US$240 in the corresponding period in 2016.

    The Namibian government owns the remaining 50% in Namdeb.

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    Crop farming on communal land: maximising production or minimising risk?Crop farming on communal land: maximising production or minimising risk? A fascinating thing about most livestock in communal areas is that they are not used for production, contrary to what western society expects (see the essay published in this column on 13 June). What about crops? What rules do crop farmers follow in communal areas?

    Agronomists generally assume that farmers seek to maximise production, which only works if the value of production exceeds the costs. The greater the value of the produce, the more can be spent or invested in growing the crop. Farmers can work hard, invest in machinery, improved seeds, fertilisers, and expensive labour all in the knowledge that the benefits of doing so will be repaid.

    Environments where farmers can be confident that production values will exceed costs are those which have access to markets and fairly stable prices, where weather conditions vary little and/or predictably, soils are fertile, and where the costs of inputs are bearable. This is where farming can be a business, and one that provides a regular decent income.


    Those conditions are rare in Namibia, however. In most areas the soils are poor, lacking nutrients, organic matter, and capacity to hold much water. Climatic conditions are also harsh, due to combinations of high evaporation rates, irregular and often low rainfall, and sporadic scorching heat. Even the hardiest crops often struggle in these conditions. Pests may also decimate crops, and most markets are small and some distance from farmers.

    It goes without saying then, that Namibian crop farmers can’t be confident of producing good harvests, a point reinforced by small-holder farmers in Namibia having the lowest yields of their staple pearl millet in Africa. Often Namibian farmers can’t be sure of having any harvest. Crop failures may happen in one season, and even the next.


    Under these circumstances, only one strategy makes sense: prudence. Translated into economic language, this means minimising losses and avoiding risk. It also means that surpluses are to be stored and used to supply staple nutrition for as long as possible. Surplus harvests are therefore seldom sold, given the possibility that there may be nothing to reap next season.

    This kind of farming is best described as a low-input-low-output system. Expert ‘non-farmers’ often deplore these low inputs, noting that dryland farming is shabby, lacking in effort. It’s not serious, as we often say in Namibia. We judge that farmers could work harder, and increase production if their skills and inputs were better. In other words, the problem is with the farmers.

    Not so! Households in parts of Angola have two farming systems (similar twin strategies might be found on a smaller scale along the Okavango, Zambezi and Kwando Rivers and Olushandja Dam in Namibia). One is on dryland fields and works in just the same way as low-input-low-output farming in Namibia. The staples are pearl millet, maize, sorghum and manioc, all crops that can be stored over many months.


    However, the very same farmers in the same households also grow crops in wet, peaty soils along small streams and seepages. The fields are called nacas on which a variety of vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce et cetera), green maize and sugar cane are the main crops. All are durable and most of each day’s harvest is sold immediately in nearby markets to produce regular, daily cash incomes.

    Very little from the nacas is eaten at home. Farmers are in their fields every day, working seriously as they plough, plant and weed, control soil moisture by adjusting drainage channels and harvest whatever is ripe that day. This is impressive high-input-high-output farming.

    So the same farmers employ quite different strategies: one risky, producing modest, erratic returns; the other more dependable delivering high value products that generate immediate cash returns (which, incidentally and obviously, can be used to buy and supplement food security). Production incentives are significant and predictable for one strategy, much less so for the other; and inputs and outputs vary accordingly.

    Such differences in inputs and outputs – and in costs and returns – ought to be evaluated when we make judgements about the potential for small-holder farming in Namibia.

    One way of doing so is to start to probe these three possibilities: would a farm system be benefit most by improving the expertise of farmers, or by increasing inputs, or by boosting incentives?

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  • 07/26/18--16:00: Hage faces Zim test
  • Hage faces Zim testHage faces Zim testIncoming SADC chair faces polls aftermath hot potato As Namibia's head of state prepares to take up the SADC chairperson role in mid-August, the hot potato of the Zimbabwe election aftermath will likely be his first major headache. Local analysts have called on President Hage Geingob to rise above traditional relationships Swapo may have with Zanu-PF and its politicians, and play a statesmanlike role when he confronts the very real possibility of chaos in the neighbouring country following this coming Monday's general elections.

    The aftermath of the first post-Robert Mugabe presidency poll has already been tainted by reports of 900 000 potential ghost voters, as well as the hand of Mugabe still at play.

    There are also concerns the Zimbabwe military will not accept a Zanu-PF defeat, while analysts say the elections are too close to call.

    Media reports suggest that Zimbabwe's polls look set to be the tightest contest ever in the country's history, as Zanu-PF presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) run neck and neck.

    The MDC has consistently raised concerns around the credibility of the voters' roll, which reportedly includes thousands of fake names, duplicates and even dead people.

    News24 reported that over 100 000 potentially deceased voters were copied from the 2013 voters roll to the 2018 roll.

    Their ID numbers and in some cases other details were purposely changed.

    It also reported that these so-called ghost voters may number close to 900 000.

    Geingob will take over the reins of SADC during a summit to be held in Windhoek in mid-August.

    Namibia has intensified its preparations for the 16 to 18 August gathering, where leaders are expected to review progress made towards regional integration and the promotion of socio-economic development.

    However, because of the timing of the Zimbabwe polls and their expected aftermath, the country is likely to be on the summit agenda and will feature in backroom talk between leaders.

    The 16 SADC member states are Comoros, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    New blood

    South African-based commentator Nixon Kariithi said while SADC has a poor reputation and is seen as weak, there is hope that Geingob will bring with him a new energy to eventually transform the character of the regional body.

    “SADC needs wisdom and changes like these offer the region or Africa an opportunity to renew themselves. So much has been said about Zimbabwean politics. We sit on an opportunity to deal differently with Zimbabwe; something that would be really good for the region,” he said.

    How people will respond towards the fact that Geingob's credentials are based on liberation politics is another story.

    However, nothing stops Geingob from becoming a leader of today, said Kariithi.

    “History tells us that liberation political parties are often too entrenched and apathetic to change. That is what you see in how Robert Mugabe has survived - the camaraderie and comradeship,” said Kariithi.

    “One hopes that as he (Geingob) saw the need to clean up in his country and hopefully he will bring that same zest with him (when it comes to SADC). It is clear he has not shied away from radical decisions.”

    Local political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said all indications are there that Geingob has the ability to tackle the role of the SADC chairmanship with renewed energy, action and vision.

    He also commended Geingob as being an A-plus candidate for the role, with a reputation that includes being prime minister and the director of elections during Namibia's transitional period.

    “We in Namibia understand the true concept of free and fair elections. I believe it is in him to do it, especially if one is to go with his new Africa approach, which calls for transparency, accountability and good governance. It looks like he will push for a more open and free organisation, instead of the close cards played by his predecessors,” he Kamwanyah.

    SADC's biggest challenge as a regional body is to move from merely observing elections to closely monitoring electoral proceedings in member states, believes Charles Mubita, a former senior manager at the regional organisation.

    “SADC's biggest challenge is that it sends only observer missions and not monitoring missions. The voters' roll is already a challenge. What they do now is to merely observe and take notes and then write a report to say the elections were free and fair. I think SADC must grow from that to monitoring missions,” he advised.

    Mubita believes Geingob's challenge as the regional bloc chairman will be his ability to extract himself from the strong and long-lasting bilateral relations between Namibia and Zimbabwe.

    “As summit chairman you need to stay above the bilateral relations between your country and the country holding elections. You will have to juggle the two, you have to put on a new hat as chairman. It sometimes becomes a bit difficult to separate the two, as we have seen with Lesotho.”

    Mubita explained that while holding the SADC chairmanship, South Africa was often challenged when dealing with the political turmoil in Lesotho, which is landlocked by South Africa.

    This was because South Africa's security is directly affected by the happenings in Lesotho.


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    Resettlement: Pensioner applies 35 times in vainResettlement: Pensioner applies 35 times in vain Retired civil servant Benjamin Tobias has revealed how he applied up to 35 times for a piece of resettlement land, without the lands ministry even having the courtesy to tell him why his applications were not successful.

    Among the land parcels he applied for was one on farm Joyce, where Herman Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo's widow was granted a portion of land earlier this year.

    “I don't have a problem with the Ya Toivos, but I was very disappointed that my name did not appear (on the list of beneficiaries). She is not a Namibian, she was only married to one,” Tobias said.

    Ironically, Tobias was among those targeted by criminals at yesterday's ombudsman hearings into government's resettlement programme. The hearings were disrupted when brazen criminals targeted the vehicles of the attendees at UN Plaza in Katutura.

    Ombudsman John Walters said the consultations provide a platform to aggrieved persons to share their experiences, especially where they did not receive any feedback from ministry.

    He said he also wanted hear from beneficiaries who were allocated land, but did even have a chicken to their name.

    Walters said wants to find out whether the land reform policy achieved its aim to put people on farms to become self-sustainable and to create jobs. He said the policy specifically targets the San, ex-Koevoet, Plan liberation fighters, people with a disabilities and those in overcrowded areas.

    “I have heard over and over that only the rich people are benefiting and not the targeted people,” said Walters.

    He said following the consultations, of which Windhoek is the last, he will write a report for lands minister Utoni Nujoma.

    Thereafter it will be made public during a media conference. The report will also contain meaningful recommendations.

    Tobias related his resettlement experience and said he was resettled in 2006 when Jerry Ekandjo was lands minister.

    He said at the time he was working as a civil servant, but he since retired in 2014.

    According to him he was resettled in Otjozondjupa on a plot of about 25 hectares.

    However, immediately after receiving the plot, Tobias complained to the ministry there was no water and fence.

    He was informed the farm would be rehabilitated.

    He said there was a dilapidated house, a fence that was straight on one side and falling on the other and a borehole.

    “I never occupied the farm because there was no proper infrastructure.”

    He says a lease agreement was signed.

    A ministry official inspected the farm and a report was submitted. Tobias said he also went to the agriculture ministry, which did tests on the borehole and said it must be upgraded.

    He said several meetings were held with the ministry and after Alpheus !Naruseb took over as minister the problems were raised with him.

    !Naruseb eventually advised him to relinquish the plot and reapply for another farm, Tobias said.

    He received his letter of relinquishment in 2015.

    Since then he has applied for resettlement land between 28 to 35 times and has received no feedback from the ministry.

    He said he has copies of all his applications, adding officials at the regional lands office sometimes refused to stamp the copies as proof that he handed them in.

    He said he also applied for the “four problem farms of Omaheke”, which are Riverside, Joyce, Heatherbelle and a part of Tweeling.

    Ya Toivo's widow, Advocate Vicki Erenstein ya Toivo, was resettled on unit A of farm Joyce measuring 2 376 hectares.

    Walters said the fact that officials did not want to stamp applications, makes him wonder if Tobias' applications even reached the regional resettlement committee.

    Walters said his legal team will be looking into who the members of regional resettlement committees are, how they qualified to be on these committees and if they are selected or elected.

    He said he will also be making a recommendation that they do not sit too long on these committees.


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    Geingob emphasises stronger partnerships at BricsGeingob emphasises stronger partnerships at Brics President Hage Geingob was due to address the Brics Outreach Dialogue Session today, where he was expected to emphasise the need for equity in international affairs and stronger partnerships between the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) economies and Africa.
    On the sidelines of the summit last night, Geingob also spoke at a business dinner in his honour in the swanky upmarket city of Sandton.
    He reminded leaders in the manufacturing sector that Namibia is open for business and offers a secure environment for investors.
    President Geingob thanked South African ministers Jeff Radebe (minister in the presidency) and Dr Rob Davies (trade), as well as Gauteng premier David Makhura, as well as the president and vice-president of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry and including business executives for attending the dinner.
    The Namibian head of state arrived yesterday morning.
    The Brics gathering is seeking to foster inclusive growth among the world's five major emerging economies and the continent.
    The summit is being held under the theme: 'Brics in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution'.

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  • 07/27/18--16:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Nedbank’s profit rises

    South African lender Nedbank said on Thursday it saw half-year profit rising as much as 28%, boosted by profitability of its west-African associate Ecobank.

    Headline earnings per share (HEPS) is expected to be between 1 350.5 cents and 1 405.4 cents for the six-month period ended 30 June 2018, which is between 23% and 28% higher than the 1,098 cents per share in the previous reporting period.

    HEPS, the main profit measure in South Africa, strips out certain once-off items.

    “Nedbank Group delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2018 assisted by our share of associate income from ETI as it returned to profitability, while managed operations delivered positive earnings growth in line with our expectations,” the firm said in statement.


    Zuckerberg loses more than US$15bln

    Facebook Inc chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune took a more than US$15 billion hit on Thursday, as the social media company suffered the biggest one-day wipeout in US stock market history a day after executives forecast years of lower profit margins.

    At least 16 brokerages cut their price targets on Facebook after chief financial officer David Wehner startled an otherwise routine call with analysts by saying the company faced a multi-year squeeze on its business margins.


    Naspers considers listing some businesses

    Naspers is considering the listing of certain parts of its sprawling global media and technology business outside South Africa as the continent’s largest company by market value seeks to reduce its size.

    The company takes “very seriously” the difference in value between its stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and the firm as a whole, chief executive officer Bob Van Dijk said in an interview on Thursday. Naspers’s weighting on Johannesburg’s stock exchange of more than 19% is also too high and forces some investors to reduce their holdings, he added.

    That said, Naspers is committed to retaining a primary listing on the JSE, the CEO said in Johannesburg, where he was attending a summit of Brics nations.


    BP pays US$10.5 billion for BHP shale assets

    BP Plc has agreed to buy US shale oil and gas assets from global miner BHP Billiton for US$10.5 billion, expanding the British oil major’s footprint in oil-rich onshore basins in its biggest deal in nearly 20 years.

    The acquisition marks a big turning point for BP since the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, for which the company is still paying off more than US$65 billion in penalties and clean-up costs.

    “This is a transformational acquisition for our Lower 48 business, a major step in delivering our upstream strategy and a world-class addition to BP’s distinctive portfolio,” BP chief Executive Bob Dudley said in a statement.


    Starbucks reports cooling quarterly growth and pares outlook

    Starbucks Corp forecast slower growth for the current fiscal year on Thursday as boutique coffee chains and fast-food retailers won business in the United States and other established markets and the bloom came off once-booming China.

    Wall Street had been braced for a disappointing quarter from the ubiquitous coffee brand, and its shares were relatively unchanged in after-market trading.

    Seattle-based Starbucks last month warned of lower quarterly sales growth and announced plans to close about 150 US cafes in the next fiscal year, triple the typical number of closures, as it seeks to enter under-served markets in the US South and Midwest.


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    #BoycottShoprite campaign goes viral#BoycottShoprite campaign goes viralNamibians take to social media to blast retail giant Shoprite has turned to the High Court to sue 94 workers who it says wilfully cost it losses of N$4.5 million during strikes in 2014. Scores of Namibians have taken to social media to call for a boycott of all Shoprite and Checkers stores, following revelations that Shoprite is suing 94 of its workers who demanded better work and pay conditions.

    Shoprite Namibia is suing its employees for N$4.5 million in damages following strikes in 2015, disciplinary hearings and losses suffered by the retailer as a consequence.

    The workers also face the possibility of being dismissed.

    Should Shoprite succeed in its application, the workers who earn under N$4 500 per person per month, may spend the rest of their lives paying off the supermarket chain.

    Shoprite filled a summons in the Windhoek High Court last Wednesday.

    Under the hashtag #BoycottShoprite, the retailer was over the weekend lambasted for the lawsuit and its low pay structure.

    Affirmative Repositioning (AR) leader Job Amupanda tweeted: “You sue workers N$3 million when you pay them N$1 200 each per month? I am not entering Shopright until further notice (sic).”

    Law Reform Development Commission (LRDC) chairperson Yvonne Dausab was also scathing on Twitter.

    “Let us not shop at Shoprite, Checkers and Hungry Lion. We cannot stand by and watch our people be exploited like this.”

    “Shoprite. Seriously you [are] suing workers N$3.4 million when you don't pay them enough to live a dignified life. This is ridiculous.”

    Lawyer Elize Angula tweeted: “We are taking the fight to them. We are tired of abuse from all corners.”

    She also pledged N$10 000 of her own money to help fund the workers' legal battle.

    This is not the first time that a boycott has been called against Shoprite.

    In September last year the Namibian Commercial Catering, Food and Allied Workers' Union (NACCAFWU) and several Shoprite employees launched a boycott campaign.

    “The campaign is meant to encourage the public to sympathise with employees of the Shoprite group of companies primarily because they are lowly paid,” NACCAFWU's deputy secretary general Joseph //Garoeb said at the time.

    Lawyer Uno Katjipuka, who works for Nixon Marcus, the law firm representing the 94 workers, said that they would not be backing out of the fight with the retail giant.

    “We have to represent the workers. We cannot abandon them now,” she told Namibian Sun.

    Shoprite was also rapped over the knuckles last year in South Africa when it came to light that some of its employees were being paid N$450 per week.

    The National Transport Movement (NTM) threatened to shut down Shoprite, Checkers and Hungry Lions stores due to unresolved wage disputes.

    The union said Shoprite, its subsidiaries and labour brokers were paying some employees R400 per week, and that workers rejected this amount as “poverty wages”.

    In papers filed in the Windhoek High Court, Shoprite through its lawyers Lorentz Angula Incorporated claims it was the workers' intention to halt and or reduce its turnover, force Shoprite to close its stores and cause it to suffer economic losses and reputational harm.

    Shoprite further claims it was unable to keep its premises open on 28 July 2015 and suffered a loss of N$288 000.

    To avert the strike, Shoprite had to pay N$3.4 million in legal costs, while temporary staff were employed to keep its stores open at a cost of N$189 750. To conduct disciplinary hearings, Shoprite had to fork out an additional N$616 398, bringing total losses suffered as a consequence of the workers' actions to N$4.5 million.

    To further compound matters, a director in the labour ministry, Phillip Mwandinga, in August 2015 said the strike undertaken was illegal.


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    Mwoombola drops tender bombshellsMwoombola drops tender bombshells Former health permanent secretary Andreas Mwoombola has alleged in court papers that health minister Bernhard Haufiku had become abusive towards him, after a legal opinion had clarified that the accounting officer has the final say on procurement.

    Mwoombola is further arguing in his Labour Court papers that Haufiku wanted to get rid of him for a variety of reasons, including to appoint his preferred person as PS.

    He alleged Haufiku had as clear and direct interest in procurement at the ministry.

    “Once we received an opinion from the attorney-general that the accounting officer would be the ultimate decision-maker at public entities in all matters of procurement and the minister has no part to play in public procurement, his attitude changed,” Mwoombola alleged.

    According to him the Public Procurement Act came into effect on 1 April 2017, at the same time the minister started interfering in procurement.

    He said Haufiku had shown abusive behaviour towards him.

    Mwoombola has turned to the Labour Court to challenge the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by cabinet secretary, George Simataa.

    He was suspended from office on 18 July 2017 to pave the way for an investigation into allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

    Upon completion of the investigation on 1 August, disciplinary processes were instituted against Mwoombola.

    In December last year, he was transferred to the cabinet office in the Office of the Prime Minister.

    Simataa said at the time that Mwoombola's transfer was necessitated by the squabbles between him and Haufiku.

    “The transfer is necessitated by the urgent need to normalise the administrative and political interface at the Ministry of Health and Social Services. Therefore, the transfer has to be made to ensure that operations of this critical ministry continue smoothly and unaffected,” Simataa said in a statement. He said Mwoombola's transfer has nothing to do with the disciplinary process, “but purely an administrative matter aimed at promoting administrative effectiveness at the Ministry of Health and Social Services in particular and the public service in general”.

    Mwoombola is arguing in his Labour Court papers that the disciplinary committee established by Simataa, supposedly in consultation with Haufiku and Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, falls short of the requirements in the law. The court proceedings are currently at the case management stage.

    “An incurable injustice will ensue should the disciplinary committee, not convened to the letter of the law oversee my case. There is no evidence that Simataa consulted the prime minister as required by law,” Mwoombola argued.

    According to Mwoombola, under the circumstances Simataa would be permitted to guarantee the outcome of the hearing.

    He urged the court to find that there is a reasonable apprehension of bias and that the committee should be recused.

    This objection, Mwoombola said, was also raised at the hearing, but was dismissed. Mwoombola wants Simaata's decision to establish a disciplinary committee, the refusal of the committee to provide him with additional evidence and with further particulars of the charges, reviewed and set aside.

    Alternative he wants the court to set aside the decision taken by the disciplinary committee on 12 September 2017 to dismiss his objection to its composition.

    He wants the court order to uphold his objection. The disciplinary committee, Mwoombola said, also made a decision on 9 October 2017 not to order the initiator to present additional evidence to support the charges against him. Alternatively, Mwoombola wants to order the respondents to provide him with further particulars and evidence, before the disciplinary proceedings commence.

    In his review application, he said disciplinary committee chairperson Shivute Indongo and the committee's other members, Ono Nangolo and Rector Finyeho, cannot be considered suitable persons, as required by provisions of the Public Service Act. “They are all public service officials and are my juniors. I am concerned that this undermines their independence and that the provisions of the Namibian constitution require impartiality and independence for this tribunal.”

    In the second part of his court application, Mwoombola wants the respondents to be interdicted from continuing with what he considers unlawful disciplinary proceedings, which amount to an unfair labour practice.

    Alternatively, he wants the proceedings stopped.


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  • 07/29/18--16:00: SME millions in limbo
  • SME millions in limboSME millions in limbo The Roads Authority (RA) says cleaning and maintenance bids that already closed in February and which included hundreds of SMEs paying bid securities totalling millions, are still being evaluated.

    More than 800 companies submitted bids in the hope that the contracts would be speedily, especially given that millions in bid reserves were paid. Although 864 companies submitted bids not all were able to pay the bid security attached to the bids. However, those who did not pay were by far in the minority.

    Several SMEs recently complained to Namibian Sun about the delay in the awarding of the bids, as well as the fact that their bid reserves were laying idle while they were struggling to make ends meet during the current economic crisis.

    The bids, which include cleaning of rest places and reserves, maintenance of concrete and steel structures, mowing of grass in the road reserves and the routine maintenance of bitumen roads, were advertised in December last year and closed in February this year.

    More than 350 companies submitted bids for the cleaning of rest places and reserves in Oshakati, Otjiwarongo, Keetmanshoop and Windhoek.

    A further 36 companies submitted bids for maintenance of concrete and steel structures in Otjiwarongo, while 140 companies submitted bids to mow grass in road reserves in Oshakati, Otjiwarongo and Windhoek.

    For the routine maintenance of bitumen roads in Keetmanshoop, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati and Windhoek more than 330 bids were received.

    According to legislation, the bids are only valid for 180 days, which means there are less than 30 days left for them to be awarded.

    RA CEO Conrad Lutombi said none of the winning bids have been announced yet, but added the evaluation process is still ongoing.

    “Funds are not held by the RA. The bid securities will be returned from the banks once the process has been concluded,” he said.

    Lutombi added the successful bidders will only be announced once the procurement process has been concluded.

    He further pointed out that the exemption of bid securities became effective on 14 March and the bids in question closed prior to this.

    “The Roads Authority has to comply with the Public Procurement Act and do due diligence before tenders are awarded.”

    He said the RA has taken the necessary steps to ensure its operations are not affected, as it continues to carry out its mandate. In March this year government announced the exemption of bid securities - or bank guarantees - when applying for public tenders. A bid security is an amount of money that may be calculated as a percentage of the budget estimate of a procurement requirement or a percentage of a bidder's bid price. It is used by the client, in this case government and its parastatals - as protection against bidders withdrawing their bids prior to the end of their validity period, or for refusing to sign the contract. The bid security is intended to deter bidders from withdrawing their bids, because they would otherwise forfeit the bid security amount to the client. It gives the client some assurance the selected bidder will sign the contract or otherwise forfeit their bid security.


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    Kondjashili, Dumeni win in OshakatiKondjashili, Dumeni win in Oshakati LIMBA MUPETAMI

    Marathoners Kefas Kondjashili and Josephine Dumeni are the overall winners of the third leg of the Old Mutual Victory Race Series held in Oshakati on Saturday.

    The series, held for the 18th consecutive year, was remarkable as close to 1 000 marathoners came in their numbers to take part in the competition.

    In the men’s 21km Kondjashili triumphed, followed by Paulus Iyambo and Paulus Daniel.

    Dumeni was followed home by Beata Naigambo and Shiivomwene Shilongo in the women’s 21km race.

    The men’s 10km race was won by Asser Nalukaku, followed by Simon Paulus and Reonard Namupala.

    Victoria Kaliteka claimed victory in the women’s 10km race, followed by Victoria Shapwa in second and Rauna Eelu in third.

    According Old Mutual’s Shekutaamba Nepembe, the company committed over N$1 million to make this year’s event a success.

    Nepembe further said they invited all parties to participate in the final leg, as it was compulsory.

    He further said the club with most participants will receive N$2 500 and the disability group with most participants will take home a laptop to assist with administrative duties.

    The first leg was held in Swakopmund in June and the second in Keetmanshoop earlier this month.

    The first leg of the 21km race was won by Mynhardt Kauanivi and Helalia Johannes in Swakopmund.

    The Keetmanshoop race was won by Kauanivi and Sophia Nambabi. The series will end on 18 August in Windhoek.

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  • 07/29/18--16:00: Unam crash to defeat
  • Unam crash to defeatUnam crash to defeatCoach Diergaardt gutted by loss United scraped to a one point win over Unam on Saturday in their premier league semifinal clash. LIMBA MUPETAMI

    Unam's dominance of the local premier league came to an end in spectacular fashion on Saturday, when they were beaten narrowly by United on Saturday at the Hage Geingob Stadium.

    The semifinal match ended 32-31 in United's favour.

    Unam Rugby Club head coach Johan Diergaardt said the loss was a great disappointed for the passionate players, who according to him shed tears, as they are accustomed to always winning.

    “Every road comes to an end. For four years we had a great run. We lost with one point but that does not mean that we are not a great team.

    “The players fought but there was just not enough time to get back. However, we have produced great players with good characters over the years.

    “I'm disappointed with the result but very satisfied with what we have achieved over the years. We have dominated and will dust ourselves off and start again. We have learned a lot and are looking forward to a new season,” he said.

    Diergaardt added they will now focus on supporting the second team, which is in the reserve league final.

    He said the players will be given about three weeks to rest, before they hit the gym to prepare for the start of the next season in October.

    The disappointed coach said as management they will keep the players spirits high, as they continue to believe and stand firm on Unam's philosophy of producing the best.

    Before the match, Unam was on the back foot as most of their players were not available due to national duty and worrying injuries.

    These issues shook the camp, as they lost in April to Wanderers and then again to United 41-36 about three weeks ago.

    In their match against Wanderers, Unam had to dig deep to eventually pull off a 39-35 win. On Saturday, United saw the opportunity and rose to the occasion to end Unam's run in the league.

    Next weekend United will play Wanderers in the final. This will be the first time since 2014 that the two sides meet in the final.

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     Zimbabwe votes in first post-Mugabe election Zimbabwe votes in first post-Mugabe election
    Zimbabweans cast their ballots today in the country's first election since authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe was ousted last year, with concerns over fraud and the likelihood of a disputed result clouding voting day.
    President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former ally in the ruling ZANU-PF party, faces opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) in a historic vote for the southern African nation.
    "I just have to do this. I have to see a better Zimbabwe for my kids. Things have been tough," Tawanda Petru, 28, an unemployed man voting in Mbare, a low-income district of the capital Harare, told AFP as polling stations opened across the country.
    Mugabe, 94, who was ousted by the military in November, made a surprise intervention on the eve of the elections, calling for voters to throw ZANU-PF out of office.
    Zimbabwe's generals shocked the world last year when they seized control and ushered Mnangagwa to power after Mugabe allegedly tried to position his wife Grace to be his successor.
    Mnangagwa, 75, who promises a fresh start for the country despite being from the ZANU-PF elite, is the front-runner with the advantage of covert military support, a loyal state media and a ruling party that controls government resources.
    But Chamisa, 40, who has performed strongly on the campaign trail, hopes to tap into a young population that could vote for change.
    The election is Zimbabwe's first without Mugabe, who led ZANU-PF to power in a vote when the country became independent from Britain in 1980 and ruled for 37 years.
    Speaking at his mansion in Harare on Sunday, Mugabe said he hoped the election would "thrust away the military form of government."
    "I cannot vote for those who tormented me," Mugabe said, hinting he could vote for MDC.
    As Zimbabwe's hectic politics reached fever pitch, Mnangagwa claimed Mugabe's remarks proved that Chamisa was in an alliance with Mugabe.
    But Chamisa also spoke out saying: "I have nothing to do with what president Mugabe would want to say as a voter. He is a citizen."

    Elections under Mugabe were marred by fraud and often deadly violence, and this year's campaign has been dogged by accusations the result will be rigged.
    The MDC has raised repeated allegations of a flawed electoral roll, ballot paper malpractice, voter intimidation, bias in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and free food handed out by the ruling party.
    But campaigning has been relatively unrestricted and peaceful.
    "After years of stasis, the events of November 2017 gave Zimbabwe the chance to dream again," Mnangagwa said Sunday in an address on state radio.
    "As we have always said, the elections will be free, non-violent and credible."
    A recent Afrobarometer survey of 2 400 people put Mnangagwa on 40% and Chamisa on 37%, with 20% undecided.
    Mnangagwa, who is accused of involvement in election violence and fraud under Mugabe, invited international observers - including the previously-banned European Union team - to the poll.

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    SADC journalists challenged SADC journalists challenged Deputy industrialisation, trade and SME development permanent secretary, Dr Michael Himavindu, has challenged journalists to engage national leaders and learn more about issues such as regional integration and trade.
    “I wonder if the message is understood, packaged correctly and if it reaches the intended audience,” he told 20 journalists from Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa, who attended a media sensitisation workshop at the Safari Court Hotel in Windhoek on Sunday.
    He also questioned whether the media exerts enough pressure to ensure SADC objectives are met and urged media houses to look at the way they cover SADC-related issues.
    “The media is a vital link between member states and the community and this link appears to be missing. It also appears as if the message is not being shared adequately.
    “The SADC summit for example is being perceived as a gathering by heads of states and governments. The media therefore has an obligation to understand and inform about SADC programmes, the regional agenda and focus,” Himavindu said.
    The workshop preceded the third annual SADC industrialisation week (SIW) being hosted this year by Namibia from 30 July to 1 August.
    Zambian business leader and writer, specialising in communication strategies and economics, Chibamba Kanyama, presented a session on reporting national economies.
    He encouraged journalists to practise effective reporting by looking at specific things and unpacking information for effective communication.
    In alignment with the SADC industrialisation strategy and action plan, this year's SIW is themed 'Promoting infrastructure and youth empowerment for sustainable development'.
    The event also serves as an annual public-private engagement platform, aimed at fostering new opportunities for intra-African trade and investment in the region.
    It is hosted as a precursor to the SADC heads of state and government summit that takes place in mid-August in Windhoek, with the outputs being reported to the meeting.
    SIW 2018 also features keynote addresses by high-profile speakers on a wide range of themes and topics related to the industrialisation opportunities in SADC.
    Panel discussions with industry experts and project owners, breakaway sessions on the energy (gas), agri-processing, mining and pharmaceutical sectors, exhibitions, factory site visits, training seminars for SMEs, as well as networking opportunities, form part of the proceedings.
    There is also a three-day exhibition displaying African products, providing opportunities for cross-border collaborations and trading.


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     Geingob has last say on ambassadors Geingob has last say on ambassadors The international relations ministry has confirmed that President Hage Geingob and not it has the final say when it comes to ambassador postings. This follows increasing speculation around imminent ambassadorial appointments, recalling and reshuffling of certain diplomats. Highly placed sources have indicated that acting Namibia Airports Company CEO Albertus Aochamub will be heading to France to replace Namibia’s head of mission Frieda Iithete. Home affairs permanent secretary and former ambassador to the United States, Patrick Nandago, has also been touted as a possible replacement for Grace Uushona in Angola. Another possible posting being touted is that of former National Council chairperson Asser Kapere, who is set to be heading to the United States in the place of Martin Andjaba who has since been redeployed as presidential affairs minister. According to reports, Namibia’s ambassador to Cuba, Jerobeam Shaanika, is also set to be replaced. The head of the Namibian mission in Zambia Leonard Nambahu is also likely to be replaced, according to insiders.

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  • 07/30/18--16:00: Young africa nurture dreams
  • Young africa nurture dreamsYoung africa nurture dreams Kelao Neumbo

    The Young Africa skills centres operate in nine different locations in five SADC countries.

    The Young Africa feature interviews aim to highlight individuals who have been impacted by these skills centres.

    This week we spoke to Beatrix Vivian Jahanika Ujamba.

    She is a 26-year-old woman who lives and works at the Young Africa skills centre in Walvis Bay.

    She grew up in Otjiwarongo, where she matriculated from Paresis Secondary School.

    As a child, her mother always encouraged her to work hard.

    “She always used to tell me, ‘there is no time for sleeping and self-pity; stand up, brush off the dirt and get to work, because God has a plan and you should trust His timing’. And that is what always kept me going,” she explains.

    Before Young Africa, she applied for jobs and worked part-time for her mother as a seamstress. Ujamba came across Young Africa a little over a year ago, as a caterer to a workshop where the posters caught her attention.

    “I looked at the posters that were on the wall and they were advertising the 2017 intake and there was only one course that caught my attention and that was solar technology. I was very curious to find out what it was about and I decided to apply,” she said.

    When she was admitted, Ujamba was the only female student at the centre at the time, but that did not pose an obstacle. In fact, it only motivated her.

    “It was very exciting being the only female student there because I think the male students were more intimidated by me than I was by them and that was very empowering. I made sure to push myself every day, as it was a challenge but it was worth it.”

    Fast forward a few months, and Ujamba graduated second in her class with an average of 79% in solar technology.

    Her motivation and drive is evident and has largely contributed to her earning various accolades, such as certificates in:

    Hospitality from South African College of Tourism in the Eastern Cape (2011);

    Early Childhood Development from the Northern Pre-Kindergarten Teacher’s Training Centre (2015);

    Solar Technology and Welding from Young Africa (2017);

    The Sunrise Intermediate Course from the Solar Maxx Academy (2017); and

    Solar Power Designer Back Up from Solar Maxx Academy (2018).

    Young Africa had another intake in July for courses ranging from solar technology, affordable green building, electrical engineering, plumbing, basic computer skills, and international computer driving licence (basic and advanced).

    The courses will take place over five months. Young Africa also offers financial assistance to individuals through the Henk Willems Fund. Young Africa in Otjiwarongo is also looking to employ a business promoter, marketing consultant and entrepreneurs in electrical engineering and plumbing. All prospective students and entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply.

    Kelao Neumbo is a Young African in Namibia

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  • 07/30/18--16:00: Hard-knock life for Tupac
  • Hard-knock life for TupacHard-knock life for Tupac Paralympic wheelchair cyclist Frans 'Tupac' Paulus' career is on the verge of collapsing following a series of financial difficulties.

    The cyclist, who is based in the north, has been out of action since February and has not been able to train because of a lack of funds.

    He last participated in the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge in South Africa on 18 February.

    His cycling chair is also not up to standard anymore, given that he has struggled to source funds to get it fixed and serviced.

    “Life is really hard for me these days because I do not have any money to even fix this bike.

    “I have been knocking at several places to get financial assistance, but my efforts have been in vain.

    “I think the economy in this country has affected many people and even those that help the ones in need are hesitant to do so,” Paulus said.

    The only option left for Tupac is to sell his cycling chair, in the hope that he can acquire a new one.

    The cyclist also ruled out competing in the remainder of the year.

    “The only thing I can do now is to sell this bike with the hope that I can save up some money to get a new one.

    “I do believe that I am not going to be in action for the rest of the year, because of my financial situation.

    “I am, however, not giving up on my career because this is what I love to do and will do anything possible in order for me to get back on track again.”

    Paulus has endured several challenges, including career-threatening back injuries.

    The cyclist has often made incredible comebacks, proving his strong character and ability to endure pain and hardship.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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  • 07/30/18--16:00: The world at his feet
  • The world          at his feetThe world at his feetTjiueza in pole position to be next big striker Prins Tjiueza is still a teenager, but his performances at the just-ended U-17 Cosafa Cup tourney in Mauritius have left many tongues wagging. Prins Tjiueza is the talk of the town, after scoring six goals at the just-ended Under-17 Cosafa Cup tournament in Mauritius, while earning himself the gold boot award.

    He scored four goals in the Baby Warriors' opening match against the Seychelles, before adding one against Botswana and another in the third place playoff against Mauritius, which Namibia won.

    The 16-year-old, who plays for first division side Flamingo Football Club, said his achievement is not his alone, but also belongs to his teammates.

    “We trained hard and just wanted to do well. This was my first Cosafa Cup experience and it has been the best, as I got the chance to represent my nation,” said Tjiueza, who is a Grade 10 pupil at Tutaleni High School in Walvis Bay.

    He said he aspires to someday feature in the Brave Warriors side and also wants to play in a European league.

    He also wants to further his studies in an accounting-related field.

    “I just want to play football to the best of my ability. I draw inspiration from a player like Philippe Coutinho,” he said.

    Coutinho is a Brazilian footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Spanish club Barcelona.

    Tjiueza's dreams are not farfetched, as Warriors gaffer Ricardo Mannetti has been following the young attacker's performances and emphasised he and the other rising stars in the Baby Warriors team should work hard if they want to don the senior jersey sooner rather than later.

    “People must not be surprised if they see Prins or any other player from this U-17 team in the senior team in the near future,” Mannetti said.

    “Their journey towards the senior national team will, however, depend on how they continue to play well and remain disciplined after the Cosafa tournament.

    “I'm not saying a call-up can happen soon, but if all goes well for him (Prins) and many other players in the team, they can earn a chance to wear the jersey of the senior team in three years' time.”

    Baby Warriors coach Paul Mallembu expressed satisfaction with the team's performances and said Mannetti attended all their training matches and gave advice on training methods.

    “He encouraged the boys to take football seriously and also ensured that they receive proper guidance, so that they can be promoted to the U-20 and U-23 teams, which serve as feeders to the senior side.”

    Mallembu said apart from Tjiueza, Promise Gurirab, Steven Damaseb and Byron Eiseb were incredible in defence.

    “They showed maturity and tactical awareness and really performed well in the tournament.”

    He added the championship is great platform for the youthful players, as it accords them the opportunity to brush shoulders with the best.

    “It has grown in leaps and bounds. The stage is getting bigger and better every year. As Namibians we must embrace the tournament in order for our boys to pick up great lessons. We cannot play in the World Cup if we are failing to beat powerhouses in our region.

    “Through Cosafa, the boys can learn from a lot from Angola, Zambia and Mozambique; these countries have proper youth structures in place,” Mallembu added.


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