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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 814 | 815 | (Page 816) | 817 | 818 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    US court reserves ruling on genocide battleUS court reserves ruling on genocide battle A New York court yesterday reserved its ruling on an application brought by the German government for the dismissal of a class action lawsuit brought by the descendants of the 1904-08 genocide in the then South West Africa.

    In the main matter, the Nama and Ovaherero descendants are fighting for reparations in connection with the genocide, which saw thousands killed and property and land seized.

    The case is being heard in a New York federal court by United States district judge Laura Taylor Swain.

    According Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) spokesperson, Uazuva Kaumbi, the legal teams from both sides were given an opportunity to raise their arguments, so the judge could interrogate Germany's dismissal application. Ovaherero paramount chief, Vekuii Rukoro, expressed optimism that they will overcome the technical hurdle that Germany has thrown in their path. He added it is a difficult case, but they have prepared extremely well and submitted strong arguments.

    “After listening to the legal arguments from both legal teams, starting off with the German lawyers, who are arguing for the dismissal of our case, followed by our lawyers, the judge reserved her judgement until a future date. We were represented by six lawyers, while Germany had two lawyers,” Rukoro said. Ovaherero and Nama traditional authorities filed the main lawsuit against Germany in the United States in January last year, while also demanding direct inclusion in the ongoing joint negotiations between the German and Namibian government for genocide reparations. They are demanding a central role in negotiations, “in order to assure that their minority, indigenous and human rights are properly protected”.

    After refusing for months to receive the summons, while stating it violates its “state immunity”, Germany finally made its first court appearance in the New York in January.

    The German government, however, is still arguing that the lawsuit should be thrown out on the grounds of its state immunity from prosecution.

    International media reported last night that lawyer Jeffrey Harris argued Germany should benefit from the principle of immunity from prosecution as a sovereign state, while Kenneth McCallion, the chief lawyer for the Namibians, argued that several exceptions to that principle were applicable.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Grants target 76 000 in communal areasGrants target 76 000 in communal areas A call for proposals has been made, aiming to reach 76 000 beneficiaries in the communal areas of Namibia.

    The call will stand for three months from 3 August to 3 November.

    Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta launched the Environmental Investment Fund Grants Call for proposals under the 'Empower to Adapt: Creating Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods' through the Community-Based Natural Resource Management in Namibia Project.

    The project makes provision for a grant facility that is fully funded by the Green Climate Fund (GFC) through the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia.

    The funding serves for investment into community-level climate change adaptation activities through community-based organisations.

    According to Shifeta it is intended to invest up to about N$100 million into an envisaged 33 grants to successful applicants.

    He explained that the funding is available through three investment windows that include climate-resilient agriculture, climate-proof infrastructure and ecosystems-based adaptation.

    Individual grants can range from about N$1.2 million to N$5.3 million depending on the exchange rate and the time of the award, while the project duration can range from as short as six months up to a maximum of three years.

    “This is the very first time that community-based institutions will receive and manage money of this magnitude,” Shifeta said.

    He added the intention with the funding is to enable the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) communities to address specific climate change problems in their areas in order to increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change and thereby, secure livelihoods.

    “It is estimated to reach 76 000 beneficiaries broken down into 15 000 direct and 61 000 indirect beneficiaries in all communal areas of Namibia.”

    Shifeta said eligible CBNRM organisations are expected to develop project proposals strictly in accordance with the templates and guidelines provided by the EIF, the administrator of the grant facility.

    “I am requiring of all, to always maintain the highest possible fiduciary, financial management and ethical standards during the implementation of this project.”

    He added that there will be consequences in the event that any form of inappropriate use of resources is proven against any beneficiaries.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    150 000 tonnes of maize, wheat needed150 000 tonnes of maize, wheat needed Namibia has 200 500 tonnes of cereal available for the current consumption period, which is a mere 57% of the country's needs.

    This means the country will need to import 150 000 tonnes of cereal to cover the shortfall, consisting of 67 400 tonnes of wheat and 85 000 tonnes of maize.

    According to the newly released Crop Prospect and Food Security Report for July, Namibia currently has 15 400 tonnes of wheat, 96 800 tonnes of white maize and 88 300 tonnes of pearl millet and sorghum.

    Crop estimates indicate a substantial improvement in harvests, which are significantly higher than last season's.

    The total cereal estimates indicate that the country is expecting an increase of at least 11% on last season's harvest and about 26% above the average production.

    Namibia's total coarse grain production is estimated at 152 900 tonnes and consists of 59 300 tonnes of white maize, 83 500 tonnes of pearl millet, 4 000 tonnes of sorghum and 6 000 tonnes of wheat.

    Last season the total cereal production stood at 137 500 tonnes while the average is 121 200 tonnes.

    According to the report the increase in cereal production was the result of a very good harvest in the major crop-producing regions, following relatively favourable growing conditions during the past rainy season.

    All major crop-producing regions showed above-average cereal production except the Zambezi Region, which produced about 1% less.

    In the commercial farming areas, the harvest dropped from last season's 70 900 tonnes to 58 500 tonnes.

    Compared to last season, commercial maize farmers harvested 19% less this year. Production dropped from 64 800 tonnes to 52 400 tonnes because of Fall Armyworm infestations and poor rainfall experienced earlier in the season.

    There was poor rainfall in the dryland maize production areas, while Fall Armyworms affected dryland commercial producing areas as well as the government's Green Scheme irrigation schemes.

    Maize production in the communal areas (Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions) increased 10%, from last season's 6 300 tonnes to 6 900 tonnes. This increase is attributed good rains during the last three months of the season.

    Pearl millet production showed considerable improvement, with the harvest increasing 45% from 57 600 to 83 500 tonnes.

    “All the major pearl-millet-producing regions recoded above-average production, except the Zambezi Region, where pearl millet production was reported to have been affected by excessive water,” says the report.

    Sorghum production also showed a significant improvement of 45% compared to last season, increasing from 2 800 tonnes to 4 000 tonnes.

    The total planted area for cereal coarse grain for the 2017/2018 cropping season is estimated at 304 300 hectares, reflecting a reduction of 6% of last season when 332 700 hectares were planted and 10% below the average planted area of 338 100 hectares.

    This reduction is attributed largely to poor rainfall earlier in the season as well as the Fall Armyworms in the commercial area. It was reported that some of the Green Scheme farmers planted legumes (groundnuts) instead of maize this season in order to break the life cycle of the Fall Armyworms.

    The report further noted that household food security has improved significantly because of the good harvest. The harvest will be sufficient to sustain rural households until the next harvest in May 2019.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Matengu to whip Unam into shapeMatengu to whip Unam into shape Incoming Unam vice-chancellor, Professor Kenneth Matengu, has promised to transform the university into a sustainable international hub of higher education, training, research and innovation in less than 12 years.

    He is the former pro-vice-chancellor for research, innovation and development.

    Matengu said he is committed to further aligning academics with the job market and will eventually call for a review of Unam's curricula.

    Matengu emphasised his ultimate objective is to create a stronger, more cohesive university that is ready to tackle complex 21st century challenges and maximise the benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

    During his maiden speech yesterday as head of the university, Matengu urged staff and students to align themselves with his vision.

    In his pursuit of this vision, Matengu has appointed a six-member team that will re-examine a restructuring report and plot the way forward in the current economic headwinds, while also taking into account global trends.

    This team is expected to complete their work by the end of August.

    “Individually and collectively we must now future-pace ourselves; imagine how Unam will look like by 2030, visualise it today and work together to achieve it by making necessary adjustments to how we conduct ourselves.

    “I know, as you do, that our current challenges are many and complex. Graduate employability, for example, remains a challenge in some disciplines,” he said.



    Transformation

    In light of diminishing financial support, Matengu promised to fully implement and operationalise Inceptus, a commercial entity wholly owned by Unam.

    The purpose of the company is to serve as a trading body for the commercialisation of intellectual property and business ventures.

    “This entity should significantly contribute to the financial sustainability of Unam and reduce dependence on the state. I will soon issue a directive to make it clear what the functional focus of the Unam Foundation is, as opposite to Inceptus and UCCB (the University Central Consultancy Bureau).”



    Patience

    Matengu also pleaded for understanding from staff that have expressed concerns over their salaries.

    “In some respects I also know the concerns students have. And so the challenges are many. But we must perceive these challenges as opportunities to make a real difference to our institution and to the Namibian people. We are not the first to face an economic downturn and we will not be the last to go through a recession,” he added.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Clean up campaigns bear fruitClean up campaigns bear fruitHundreds of areas cleared of litter The 25 May clean-up campaign appears to have had lasting effects with even notoriously filthy places like Adolfi location in the north, still cleaner than ever. The national clean-up campaign that motivated thousands of Namibians to help clean their towns in May has inspired a renewed commitment by southern residents to keep their towns clean.

    Catherine Boois, a senior manager at the Mariental municipality, says although an annual clean-up campaign was part of the town's schedule before President Hage Geingob's call for a national clean-up, his backing of the campaign helped spur on more residents to help.

    “In past clean-up campaigns, it was difficult to get sufficient numbers of people to participate. That changed this year, because we exceeded our previous number of participants and I believe it was mainly because the call-up came from the president,” she told Namibian Sun.

    She says since the national clean-up day the town has been noticeably cleaner and there are fewer cases of illegal rubbish dumping.

    Boois says it appears the national campaign has led to a “definite change in attitude with regard to littering”.

    But she warns that it remains important to educate communities on the dangers posed by littering and illegal rubbish dumping.

    Keetmanshoop authorities described the 25 May clean-up day as a huge success.

    More than 1 500 bags of litter were collected by the community and all neighbourhoods were cleared of litter. All illegal dumping sites were cleared within two days.

    Dawn Kruger of the Keetmanshoop municipality told Namibian Sun that the campaign had a “noticeable impact” on the town's overall cleanliness and resident attitudes towards littering.

    Both Boois and Kruger emphasise that the problem of littering has not been resolved entirely.

    “Littering and illegal dumping remain major problems in Keetmanshoop, and the municipality is using various measures to curb this unfortunate practice,” Kruger said.

    Boois from Mariental added that the problem was confined to the informal areas in the town.

    “That would be mainly because the formal areas as well as the semi-formal areas are provided with refuse bins, whereas informal settlement residents are given black bags and access to skip containers for their refuse removal,” she explained.

    Not all the bags are used as intended for refuse collection, and the refuse is instead dumped illegally.

    She said the municipality was looking at ways to address the problem.

    At Keetmanshoop, areas outside the town are most often used for illegal dumping of building rubble and garden refuse, Kruger said.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Industrialisation at a snail's pace     Industrialisation at a snail's pace Different research, policy needed Namibia has failed to become an industrialised country in its 29 years of independence. The majority of Namibians are locked out of the economic streams yet we expect to become a prosperous nation. – Tjekero Tweya, Minister: Industrialisation, trade & SME development Otis Finck - Namibia has not made significant strides on industrialisation, according to the minster of industrialisation, trade and SME development, Tjekero Tweya.

    “We have failed to become industrialised for the past 29 years. The majority of Namibians are locked out of the economic streams yet we expect to become a prosperous nation,” the minister told delegates attending the opening of the third SADC Industrialisation Week in Windhoek on Monday.

    “After 29 years as a free nation, industrialisation and the growth at home strategy were only adopted a couple of years ago. What Namibian products can Namibians take to the continental free trade area?

    “We opt to buy from China, add a mark-up and present such products as Namibian-manufactured items. Trade is non-existent because there is nothing to trade. We rather opt to fight about the rules of origin,” he continued.

    Manufacturing

    The minister emphasised that industrialisation is important but needs innovative and creative people.

    He used the manufacturing of toothpicks as an example and stated that it is an essential item used all over the world.

    “Namibia is not even able to produce its own toothpicks. We rather prefer to spend thousands of dollars to travel to China for the purpose of purchasing toothpicks.”

    The minister said all that was required was to acquire the technology to manufacture toothpicks locally, but financiers were reluctant to grant loans to start such a business.

    “They would rather provide an overdraft facility that enables you to travel to China to purchase toothpicks. This does not make logical sense.”

    The minister added that once Namibia starts manufacturing products, it would create jobs.

    “Rural farmers, for example, will provide the wood for processing and adding value. Namibia is in a position to play her part.”

    He commended SADC member states for providing products to be showcased at the three-day exhibition and for providing opportunities for cross-border collaboration and trading.

    “A platform such as this enables organised companies operating in various industries to display their latest products and services, as well as learning the activities of other businesses, examining market trends and identifying business opportunities.

    “Exhibitions are important events that bring producers and suppliers of goods and services as well as potential customers together to provide the necessary exposure and opportunities for sales and business linkages.”

    Border posts

    Tweya also acknowledged the difficulties experienced by exhibitors at the border to get products to Windhoek and said the government was trying to minimise the inconvenience experienced at border posts.

    He further urged policymakers and researchers to think different in order to expect different results.

    “Policymakers tend to forget about regional integration and when they have the opportunity to make policies to enhance regional integration they rather prefer policies that lock everybody out except themselves.

    “Researchers produce the very same research they presented 20 to 25 years ago to justify what existing policy stipulates.”

    The SADC Industrialisation Week precedes the 38th SADC summit of heads of state and government, where Namibia will take over the rotating chairmanship of SADC.

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  • 08/01/18--16:00: Africa briefs
  • Africa briefsAfrica briefs South Africa's rand, bonds weaken

    South Africa’s rand fell and government bonds weakened early on Wednesday after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ruling party will press ahead with plans to amend the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Farming, tourism to boost Kenya 2018 growth

    Kenya’s economy is likely to expand by 6.2% this year, the central bank’s governor said on Tuesday, offering a rosier outlook than the finance ministry which expects growth of 5.8%.

    The East African economy expanded by 5.7% in the first quarter as farming, which accounts for close to a third of output, recovered from a drought in the same period a year earlier. The economy expanded by 4.9% in 2017.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Ivorian banks exposed to debt-stricken cocoa exporter

    Heavy debt exposure to Ivory Coast’s largest domestic cocoa exporter, which was ordered into liquidation this month, risks destabilising the West African nation’s banking sector, bank officials said on Tuesday.

    The three officials from different lenders, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that SAF-Cacao owed Ivorian banks between 150 billion and 155 billion CFA francs (US$268 million to US$277 million).

    The Ivorian banking association has written to Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly to ask for assistance, the officials said.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Asset freeze order in Angolan SWF case lifted

    The US$3 billion global asset freeze order obtained by Angola’s sovereign wealth fund against its Swiss asset manager Quantum Global has been lifted in a ruling by London’s High Court.

    The judge granted a new temporary injunction until August 10 for a reduced amount of US$560 million, however, to allow time for an application by the fund for leave to appeal directly to the Court of Appeal.

    The sovereign wealth fund, known by its Portuguese acronym FSDEA and worth US$5 billion, has been battling in several jurisdictions to sever ties with Quantum Global following a change of government in Angola.

    Quantum Global has denied any wrongdoing.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Kenya's inflation rises

    Kenya’s inflation rose slightly to 4.35% year-on-year in July from 4.28% a month earlier, the statistics office said on Tuesday.

    The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement inflation was -0.89% on a month on month basis.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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    Water restrictions in place againWater restrictions in place againCentral dams received little inflow After a disappointing rainy season in central Namibia, the City of Windhoek has re-imposed some of the water restrictions that had been lifted a year ago. The City of Windhoek has reinstated water restrictions after its supply dams received only a quarter of the expected inflow in the past rainy season.

    Windhoek residents will be forced to cut their water use by 10%, the municipality announced this week.

    NamWater recently announced that the storage dams supplying water to central Namibia received only 24.91% of the average expected inflow.

    This left the municipality with no choice but to change its water status from Category B (supply alert) to Category C (water scarcity).

    This comes a little more than a year after the City relaxed severe water restrictions in June last year following a good rainy season.

    The municipality had been implementing Category E (critical) water restrictions, which required 20% water savings, for a year and half.

    Category C has a mandatory 10% savings target.

    The City thanked residents for their “continuous efforts to use water wisely and for the savings achieved thus far, especially in the 2017/18 season when an average saving of 7.69% was achieved against the target of 5%.”

    NamWater's weekly dam bulletin, issued on Monday, showed that the Swakoppoort Dam is only 33.5% full, compared to 48.9% last season.

    The level of the Von Bach Dam is at 52.3%, compared to 68.6% last season.

    The Omatako Dam is at 1.1%, compared to 24.6% last season.

    Water transfers from Swakoppoort to Von Bach started in March, and transfers from Omatako to Von Bach began in February.

    The total level of the three dams stands at 30.2%, compared to 48.1% at the same time last year.

    The City urged residents to comply with the Category C water savings target and said weekly water-use updates would be issued.

    The restrictions allow lawns to be watered twice a week. Trees, shrubs and perennial plants may also be watered twice a week, but by hand only. Flowers, vegetables and community gardens too may be watered by hand only, not with sprinkler systems.

    No watering may take place between 09:00 and 18:00 in summer and between 10:00 and 16:00 in winter.

    Sports fields and public gardens must be watered with semi-purified water only.

    The restrictions include a ban on washing cars with hosepipes at home. Buckets may be used to wash cars. Commercial carwash operations are limited to 30 litres per car.

    The City urges residents to keep a close eye on their water consumption in order to quickly detect water leaks, and to limit consumption to 90 litres per person per day.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 08/01/18--16:00: Thomas in last-chance saloon
  • Thomas in last-chance saloonThomas in last-chance saloon High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg has told two Americans accused of murdering Andre Heckmair in 2011 that he will not allow any further delays in the trial.

    Liebenberg gave what he termed a “last opportunity” to one of the accused, Marcus Thomas, and postponed the matter to 28 November in order for Thomas to obtain a lawyer.

    Thomas, together with Kevan Donnell Townsend, is on trial for Heckmair's murder.

    Besides the public interest in the case, the American embassy is also closely monitoring the proceedings. An embassy official was in the gallery this week and was permitted to talk to Thomas during an adjournment. He would not speak to the media.

    Judge Liebenberg said on Tuesday that in the previous nine days the trial had been continually postponed.

    He explained this was necessitated by the withdrawal of Thomas's lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, on 23 July due to a conflict of interest.

    Amoomo told the court he was representing State witness Ashley Hendricks in another case before the Katutura Magistrate's Court.

    According to the judge, Thomas has so far been represented by ten lawyers, which has delayed the trial proceedings.

    “Psychiatric evaluations, challenges of the results, an application for the recusal of the presiding judge and its refusal, and a petition to the Supreme Court were all factors impacting on the proceedings,” Liebenberg said.

    He added that the case was set down for trial, but subsequent lawyers assigned by the legal aid directorate were unavailable due to previous commitments.

    “The court roll is congested and the only available dates are in next year,” Liebenberg said.

    He said the court would see to it that the accused received a fair trial.

    However, he said the court could compel the legal aid directorate to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the matter.

    The directorate on Monday withdrew its approval of a government-funded lawyer for Thomas because he had given his lawyers “unattainable instructions”.

    “In the circumstances it is fair that the accused obtain a lawyer or alternatively prepare himself to appear in person.

    “This is the last opportunity. The matter is postponed to afford the accused an opportunity to approach the legal aid directorate to reconsider its decision to withdraw its approval for legal aid,” Judge Liebenberg said.

    Liebenberg added that the court could not allow further delays.

    “Legal representation is a right, but it's not an absolute right.”

    He postponed the case until 28 November. The judge also announced the trial schedule. The dates are 11 to 15 February, 1 to 5 April, 15 to 19 April and 6 to 10 May 2019.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    11th hour rescue for Zambian children11th hour rescue for Zambian children Six teenage girls and a boy from Zambia have been rescued after being trafficked to Namibia, according to a Zambian newspaper.

    Neither the Namibian police nor the local head of Interpol could verify the report.

    The seven teenagers from the Senage district in the Western Province of Zambia are aged between 13 and 19.

    According to the Zambia Daily Mail the teenagers were trafficked to Namibia to work as prostitutes and domestic workers. The online newspaper said they were saved from a prostitution ring in Namibia.

    The teenagers were apparently rescued after the Zambian police tipped off their counterparts in Namibia and have been returned to Senanaga.

    Senanga district commissioner Vivian Mubukwanu told the Zambia Daily Mail that the teenagers were brought into Namibia by an unidentified man earlier this year on the pretext of offering them decent jobs.

    The trafficker's whereabouts are unknown. The Namibian police could not confirm the incident yesterday and said they would follow-up the report.

    Police spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi said it was possible that the Zambian authorities directly contacted the regional police in Namibia. The head of Interpol in Namibia, Detective Chief Inspector Immanuel Sam, said he was not aware of the incident either.

    “I will have to enquire from the Zambian authorities how true these reports are and what exactly transpired. That is all I can do for now,” he said

    In May this year it was reported that a Zambian man from Senanga had trafficked eight teenage girls into Namibia before being arrested at the border. Andrew Sitali (38) was suspected to have operated with other unknown persons to bait the girls, all of them aged 16.

    He is now facing eight counts of human trafficking before the Senanga magistrate's court. He is accused of having lured the girls with promises of higher standards of living in Namibia.

    The US State Department's Office for Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons again placed Namibia on its Tier 2 Watchlist in its latest tariffing report.

    This means that although Namibia has made efforts to combat human trafficking it lacks in key areas such as convicting traffickers, referring all identified victims for care and the lack of formal procedures for victim identification and referral.

    According to the trafficking report, 21 trafficking victims were identified in Namibia last year. They were 11 men, one woman and nine girls. According to the report some victims are initially offered legitimate work for adequate wages, but are then subjected to forced labour in urban centres and on commercial farms.

    Namibian children are subjected to forced labour in agriculture, cattle herding, and domestic service, and to sex trafficking in Windhoek and Walvis Bay.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 08/01/18--16:00: Land issue needs leadership
  • Land issue needs leadershipLand issue needs leadership Despite renewed calls for land reform, the Namibian government and ruling party have failed to put the issue on the state agenda. The indecisiveness by government has led to many pressure groups cropping up and the spectre of radicalism, which may not augur well for the future of the country, has grown in leaps and bounds. This is because government has not taken the central position of pushing effective land redistribution to the poor, which has created power vacuums that radicalism is ready to fill. It goes without saying that President Hage Geingob understands this issue fundamentally, given his statements during an interview with a South African station. Like former President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Geingob warned of landless revolution, which will not be kind to current land owners. But why the current Swapo leadership is leaving this issue to be solved by the youth remains a question that must be answered. A talk-shop like the land conferences where resolutions are taken and implemented over successive years will not satisfy the immediate hunger for land. A case in point is 1991 where very few resolutions were implemented in over 27 years. Who is fooling whom? The land conference should be about actionable programmes and clear timelines that people can measure, not to take stock of what was not implemented 27 years later. Land hunger is real and to say it is a ticking time bomb is also nonsense. Solutions are needed immediately in the interest of all Namibians. It is not enough for Swapo and the Namibian government to adopt a wait-and-see approach to what is happening in South Africa. Listen to the cries of your own people and the ones you promised prosperity when you took the oath of office. There can’t be prosperity without the means of production in any country.

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  • 08/01/18--16:00: HIV rate drops to 12.6%
  • HIV rate drops to 12.6%HIV rate drops to 12.6%Namibia takes the lead in SADC Namibia is on track to become the first Southern African nation to achieve the global 90-90-90 HIV/Aids targets. Namibia is making great strides in the fight against HIV/Aids and is poised to become the first SADC country to reach the 90-90-90 targets.

    The aim of this global initiative is to diagnose 90% of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 90% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression in 90% of those treated by 2020.

    More Namibians are now living healthier despite being HIV positive, while fewer mother-to-child-transmissions are also taking place.

    The Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (Namphia) confirmed yesterday that in 2017, only 12.6% of Namibia's adults were living with HIV. That is down from a 14% prevalence in 2013.

    Of the adults living with HIV, 77.4% were virally suppressed in 2017, which is a major achievement.

    In terms of prevalence, adult women stood at 15.7%, while the HIV prevalence for men was at 9.3%.

    Namphia also said the total HIV-related deaths have dropped from over 10 000 every year to fewer than 4 000.

    According to Namphia, the steady overall decrease in prevalence was linked to HIV-positive people living longer because of successful treatment resulting in viral load suppression.

    It said that in some regions such as Kunene the prevalence was less than 8%, while in Zambezi it was over 22%.

    “Other positive findings include that Namibian women are already at 90-90-90. Even though Namibian women are more likely to have HIV than men, the women who do have HIV are more likely to be tested, be on treatment and virally suppressed. This is excellent for women's health as well as the wellbeing of their children.”

    US ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson congratulated the country's women for already having achieved the 90-90-90 goals, describing it as a real success story.

    She warned that this was not the end of the fight against HIV/Aids, as more needed to be done.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Only 1 in 10 condoms made in SADCOnly 1 in 10 condoms made in SADC Foreign firms are making a killing with condoms sales to SADC, with only one out of every ten condoms being manufactured in the region.

    This is according to Dr Kanyanta Sunkutu, who is the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) technical specialist for East and Southern Africa. According to him, the SADC region remains a huge market for international pharmaceutical products, despite battling a huge disease burden and teenage pregnancies.

    Sunkutu was speaking during the plenary session on the pharmaceutical industry, as part of the SADC industrialisation week currently under way in Windhoek.

    “We are externalising resources that we can ill afford to, since we are not exactly a rich part of the world. Collectively we are a huge market,” he said.

    Sunkutu further highlighted the dependency on donor aid for pharmaceutical products, such as contraceptives, as a challenge.

    According to him it was discovered there is a serious need to boost local production volumes, in order to be on par with international manufacturers.

    He added the UNFPA has started a process to help local manufacturers to undergo prequalification, in order to compete in international markets.

    The assistant director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA), Greg Perry, said it was the opportune time for the region to establish a SADC health products agency. He said that would improve and build a strong healthcare system in the region.

    He added the agency could coordinate joint regional activities and regulatory standards.

    “Improving healthcare should not be seen as a cost but as an investment. You can actually leapfrog in the region and use technology that has not been used,” he said.

    Other speakers also highlighted that regional manufacturing still lags far behind.

    They noted, though, that there has been progress with regard to the harmonisation of procedures in terms of the registration of medicines.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    TransNamib turnaround guru sues for N$800 000TransNamib turnaround guru sues for N$800 000 Johan Piek, the South African executive consultant headhunted to implement TransNamib's turnaround strategy, is suing the parastatal for N$800 000 after he was shown the door months before his contract was supposed to end in 2017.

    In his court documents for summary judgement before the Windhoek High Court, Piek said he signed an agreement with TransNamib on 7 October 2014.

    He said the agreement included that in the event of early termination for any other reason than proven dishonesty or gross incompetence, he would be paid in full for the consultancy period.

    “TransNamib clearly breached the contract by making it illegal for me to continue working, entitling me to terminate the contract and claim the outstanding fees.” He said he consequently gave notice and was now summonsing the company for outstanding fees in the amount of N$816 129.03 plus 20% interest dating back to June last year.

    Piek was paid N$2.2 million a year, which was confirmed by his letter of appointment dated 7 October 2014. On 9 June 2017, TransNamib addressed a letter to the home affairs permanent secretary, which Piek attached to the court documents as proof of the alleged illegal termination of his employment.

    He accepted termination on 12 June 2017 and asserts that as a result of this repudiation he suffered damages to the tune of N$816 219.03.

    Amupanda Kamanja, who is appearing on behalf of TransNamib, refuted the allegation of repudiation of the appointment or the agreement.

    He said the company replied to an inquiry from home affairs regarding the extension of Piek's work permit.



    He asked the court to exercise its discretion and refuse Piek's application for summary judgement, and grant TransNamib leave to defend the action.



    Piek said in his witness statement that since 2007, when he joined Ned Capital for three years, he had provided specialised financial services to Namibian clients, focusing on infrastructure.



    He mentioned Ohorongo Cement, the City of Windhoek and De Beers Marine as examples.



    In 2010, his team accepted an invitation to set up RMB Namibia as part of Rand Merchant Bank and provided banking services to the Namibian government (a N$3 billion bond), as well as the state-owned enterprises such as Telecom (N$650 million), Air Namibia for a new Airbus (N$600 million), Debmarine (N$600 million) and commercial property financing, such as for shopping centres in Ondangwa and Otjiwarongo (N$230 million).



    “In October 2014 the board of directors of TransNamib asked me to assist with its turnaround plan for the company and I left RMB Namibia,” Piek said.



    He said during his 21 years in banking in South Africa and Namibia he visited TransNamib regularly to assess whether it could qualify as an investment banking client.



    “Each time the assessment was done, it did not pass the bank's credit risk assessment criteria. The main problems were poor management, poor infrastructure and inadequate support from government. Questions were also raised regarding good governance.”



    He said on a technical level the company had the necessary skills to once again become profitable.



    “It needed the right management and some interim support from government. In 2014, the minister appointed a new board with an urgent mandate to reduce the company's losses and the monthly subsidy it required from government. The board drafted a 180-day turnaround plan, which was endorsed by the minister but not discussed at cabinet level,” Piek said further in his court papers.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 08/01/18--16:00: Swapo under pressure
  • Swapo under pressureSwapo under pressureAs ANC vows to expropriate land in SA Analysts believe Namibia's ruling party is coming under increasing pressure, given that its sister party, the ANC, has now vowed to amend the SA constitution to expropriate land without compensation. The battle for regional distribution of land to impoverished and landless communities has taken a new twist, with South African president Cyril Ramaphosa indicating that his ANC party will push ahead with a constitutional amendment to expropriate land without compensation.

    “The ANC will through the parliamentary process finalise the proposed amendment to the constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected,” Ramaphosa said earlier this week.

    This, according to local commentators, has put further pressure on Swapo to deal decisively and firmly with the issue of land redistribution, as well as the expropriation conundrum.

    The ANC has been buckling under pressure from the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) under the leadership of former ANC youth leader Julius Malema.

    The EFF has used the platforms of land and nationalisation to garner widespread support, which is expected to grow in the 2019 general elections.

    Swapo, on the other hand, is also facing the emergence of radical pressure groups, in the form of the Landless People Movement and the Affirmative Repositioning movement. Ironically, the two groupings are both led by former Swapo youth leaders.

    The Namibian government has struggled to come up with tangible solutions to the land issue. Its ongoing land-reform programme has also come under fire for benefiting the elite and politically connected, while urban land remains out of reach for the majority of Namibians.

    Local commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah believes Swapo and the ANC are now under pressure to satisfy the land hunger of their voters.

    Kamwanyah said the ANC decision was largely inspired by the land discourse triggered by the EFF.

    “They are in a dilemma now. And they will go through with the amendments, not because they want to, but because they need to do something about it (the land question). They rather want to be seen as the agenda-setters,” he said.

    Kamwanyah also believes that whatever happens in South Africa will set a serious precedent for Namibia that could eventually stir up emotions within the Swapo-led government to expropriate land.

    President Hage Geingob at the weekend hinted at the growing tension around land during an interview with South African media in which he reportedly said: “For our white brothers to co-exist, they must smell the coffee.

    “People are getting angry and we, the leaders, are still controlling them. And what we are saying is let's do it together so that we can all live together.

    “Let's solve this problem together. White people must see that there is danger somewhere. Some of us who are old will go very soon and the young people are angry, they are not going to be like us,” he said.

    Unam political science lecturer Lesley Blaauw is of the opinion that the ANC's decision is just one of many legal routes to deal with the land question, but that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    “Whatever the turnout is in South Africa it will largely influence the way we proceed with the land issue here in Namibia,” he said.

    “It will also affect foreign direct investment; the uncertainly in the interim will really influence investors… you must remember, in Southern Africa land is owned by investors. If it is handled with a degree of certainty and transparency then it will be the best for all of us, but if it is viewed as a biased process to redress the racial past then it will create a problem,” Blaauw said.

    South African constitutional law expert and political analyst Professor Shadrack Gutto cautioned Namibians to hold their breath and wait it out to see if the ANC's promise will survive the constitutional court.

    He also believes Ramaphosa's announcement amounts to politicking as the ANC battles to regain lost electoral ground ahead of the 2019 polls.

    “Whatever is changed will have to go to the constitutional court. I can tell you there will be a lot of litigation around this. We have to accept that this is what the party wants, but it must be done within the constitutional framework,” he said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 08/02/18--08:15: ZANU-PF signalling victory
  • ZANU-PF signalling victoryZANU-PF signalling victory Zimbabwe's ruling party is signalling victory in the presidential election and telling the opposition that "we should all lose graciously."
    Spokesman Paul Mangwana also told reporters that opposition supporters were responsible for Wednesday's deadly violence in the capital in which the military swept in with gunfire to disperse protests over alleged rigging in Monday's vote.
    He said that "it is not entirely true protesters were not armed."
    Mangwana also urged supporters of the ZANU-PF ruling party to "celebrate our victory with restraint."
    Zimbabwe's electoral commission has said the results of the presidential election will be announced "very soon," while a new joint statement by international election observer missions urged the quick release of those results.
    A joint statement by foreign election observers in Zimbabwe is expressing "grave concern" over deadly violence after Monday's vote and urging the electoral commission to release the full results "expeditiously" and in a transparent manner.
    The statement by European Union, U.S., Commonwealth, African Union and other observer missions denounced the "excessive use of force" used to calm Wednesday's protests in the capital and urged Zimbabwe's army and police to use restraint.
    The international observers called on political parties for peace and condemn vandalism.
    Zimbabwean authorities say the military will remain deployed until "this situation is over."
    AP

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     Pastor accused of rape denied bail Pastor accused of rape denied bail
    A Windhoek pastor who on Wednesday appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court on a charge of rape, was denied bail. Jacobus Tjaveondja of the St John’s Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Soweto, Katutura stands accused of raping a 16-year-old boy on Saturday. It is alleged that the 65-year-old Tjaveondja convinced the boy to go to his house, also in Soweto, with him between 20:00 and 22:00. He then allegedly forcefully had sex with the boy, according to court documents. Prosecutor Idda Hertha Itembu, who represented the State, objected to bail due to the seriousness of the offence and for fear that the accused may interfere with police investigations. The accused may however formally apply for bail. Magistrate Johannes Shuuveni postponed the case to 25 October 2018 for further investigations.
    NAMPA

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     Empowerment bill to be tabled soon Empowerment bill to be tabled soon The Office of the Prime Minister says it intends to table the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill in the National Assembly before the end of the current financial year. In a statement earlier today, the OPM said cabinet has considered all proposals following consultations, which includes the definition of the previously disadvantaged persons, among others. Earlier this year government removed the 25% equity clause in NEEEF. The clause would have obliged white-owned businesses to sell a 25% stake of their businesses to previously disadvantaged Namibians. “More generally, the empowerment framework is intended to transform ownership of productive assets and meaningful participation of the majority of Namibians in the control of the economy, but also to promote higher and sustainable economic development through development,” the OPM said in a statement. “The proposed empowerment legislation is an attempt to reduce this gap by creating an environment in which no Namibian should feel left out, while optimising opportunities for further sustainable economic growth.”
    STAFF REPORTER




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  • 08/02/18--11:21: GRN enters Zim vote fray
  • GRN enters Zim vote frayGRN enters Zim vote fray The government has expressed its concern over the outbreak of violence in Harare, Zimbabwe, following Monday's vote.
    In a statement released by the international relations ministry by Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, she says that allegations of a deliberate delay in the release of the presidental vote results "appear to be groundless in law".
    According to the electoral act of that country, the electoral commission has five days to release the results of almost 11 000 polling stations.
    "Chief election agents of all 23 presidential candidates at the verification centres have admitted that the verification process is laborious and time consuming."
    Six have died in the ongoing violence.
    "The government condemns the violent protests and damage of property and it further regrets the loss of life and sends sincere condolences to the bereaved families. We call on all the political players in Zimbabwe to exercise maximum restraint and to uphold the laws of the country. The government notes with satisfaction that the election observers representing SADC, African Union (AU) and COMESA found the electoral process in Zimbabwe to have been free, peaceful and transparent."
    President Hage Geingob will assume the Chair of SADC this coming week.
    Unconfirmed reports indicate that a court ordained search is under way at the MDC head offices in Harare.

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    Swapo company fraudster fined N$10 000Swapo company fraudster fined N$10 000 A finance manager has been convicted of defrauding his employer of more than N$700 000.

    Eliphas Shivute was fined N$10 000 on the condition that he pays back the money to Namib Contract Haulage and is not arrested for fraud again.

    Namib Contract Haulage is a subsidiary of Kalahari Holdings, which is Swapo's business arm.

    According to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Shivute defrauded his employer, Namib Contract Haulage, of N$731 735.

    He issued several cheques from the company's bank account at Standard Bank to members of the public who were not employed by Namib Contract Haulage or performed any work for the company.

    He then instructed them to cash these cheques at the bank and return the money to him under the pretext that the money was required to pay drivers' allowances.

    He also issued and deposited cheques into the account of his own company, Shimager Builder and Renovation.

    According to the ACC, Shivute was arraigned and subsequently convicted on several charges of fraud on 11 July.

    He was sentenced to a fine of N$10 000 or two years' imprisonment, plus an additional five years' imprisonment which was suspended on condition that he is not convicted of fraud in the future.

    He must also pay Namibia Contract Haulage back the amount of N$731 735 by 31 December this year.

    In another corruption case, the owner of Fanivamwe Transport Close Corporation was accused of paying a bribe to a traffic officer of the Namibian police.

    According to the ACC, Vincente Fanivamwe paid a N$3 000 bribe to the traffic officer and further suggested paying N$20 000 more if the officer, who had stopped one of his trucks with an invalid licence disk, did not take further action.

    Fanivamwe was arrested after a sting operation was conducted.

    He was arraigned on corruption charges. He was convicted on 10 July on a charge of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act by bribing a public officer. On that charge he was sentenced to a fine of N$20 000 or five years' imprisonment.

    He was also convicted of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act by corruptly giving a gratification to an agent. For this he was sentenced to a fine of N$30 000 or eight years' imprisonment. The sentences are to run cumulatively and concurrently.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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