Articles on this Page
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Ford's new flagship...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Parenting and techn...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Skeleton crew amoun...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Oshitayi land dispu...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Civil society petit...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Student protest aft...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Geingob's blatant i...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Prosperity for all
- 08/20/18--16:00: _VBS 'paid bribes to...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Professor's autopsy...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Outbreak kills 18 0...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _State demands life ...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Global luxury brand...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Why we seek approval
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Massacre suspect se...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Release the master ...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Competition watchdo...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Dangwa makes waves
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Maternity leave rev...
- 08/20/18--16:00: _Police raid cult, a...
- 08/20/18--16:00: Ford's new flagship Fiesta
- 08/20/18--16:00: Parenting and technology
- 08/20/18--16:00: Skeleton crew amounts to exploitation
- 08/20/18--16:00: Oshitayi land disputed resolved
- 08/20/18--16:00: Civil society petitions SADC
- 08/20/18--16:00: Student protest aftermath
- 08/20/18--16:00: Geingob's blatant interference in judicial affairs must be exposed
- 08/20/18--16:00: Prosperity for all
- 08/20/18--16:00: VBS 'paid bribes to PIC, Prasa officials'
- 08/20/18--16:00: Professor's autopsy report not yet available
- 08/20/18--16:00: Outbreak kills 18 000 chickens
- 08/20/18--16:00: State demands life imprisonment for murder
- 08/20/18--16:00: Global luxury brands chase China's young, rich and spendthrift
- 08/20/18--16:00: Why we seek approval
- 08/20/18--16:00: Massacre suspect sent for evaluation
- 08/20/18--16:00: Release the master list!
- 08/20/18--16:00: Competition watchdog seeks justice for panel beaters
- 08/20/18--16:00: Dangwa makes waves
- 08/20/18--16:00: Maternity leave revisited
- 08/20/18--16:00: Police raid cult, arrest 'pastor'
It’s all about incremental changes. That’s evident with the new Ford Fiesta: the design is markedly different but it still possesses Fiesta DNA.
The headlights have been pulled back further and there’s a new, wider grille. The new model is longer with a 71mm increase in length. Ford says there’s 16mm more legroom for rear passengers.
Stands out in the crowd
The world’s eighth most valuable car company hasn’t changed the formula much. It’s still front-wheel drive, powered by a small-capacity engine, but there is the addition of a six-speed automatic gearbox to replace the dual-clutch 'box.
But it has added a chunk of good standard kit and also worked on improving the noise, vibration and harshness levels (more on that later).
Our top-of-the-range test unit was dipped in a new hue called Blue Wave, and it certainly caused motorists a double take.
What’s it like under the skin?
Ford’s EcoBoost engine might be synonymous with the Kuga fire saga, but this 998cc engine shouldn’t be painted with the same brush. The three-cylinder, in-line turbocharged petrol unit produces 74 kW and 170 Nm on paper.
The automaker says the torsional stiffness has increased by 15% and the front anti-roll bar is now lighter and stiffer according to Ford.
The Fiesta’s chassis now offers 10% more cornering grip, while braking distances at 100 km/h are reduced by more than 8% according to the carmaker.
But do all these incremental changes translate into a car that handles better? Yes. I chucked the new Fiesta around bends and it held on, showing very little understeer (only at the limit) and no tyre squeal.
The steering is quick and fortunately has some delicious feel. I found myself searching for twisty roads to get a better taste of the handling.
This model is let down by the six-speed automatic transmission; it stutters and at some points doesn’t change cogs soon enough. It’s frustrating.
There are paddle-shifts fitted that can also be used to change gears but it just doesn’t fit the mood of the car.
The engine is gutsy but does suffer from considerable lag before spooling rapidly to give you the feeling of pulling an elastic band when pulling away.
The ride quality is commendable, soaking up the bumps and ruts when needed, there's also very little intrusion of road noise which speaks volumes of the noise, vibration and harshness levels.
It's certainly needed to grow up as many people scale down from bigger vehicles to more fuel-efficient vehicles that are easy to park despite offering slightly less space.
The interior is a good place to be. Supportive seats and fewer buttons mean you’re well catered for in terms of comfort and convenience. The seat warmers came in handy on chilly mornings.
A 20cm touchscreen houses the infotainment system and it's clear and easy to work. Ford's latest Sync system is standard on Titanium models and provides navigation and voice command. The Fiesta is fitted with Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports across the range.
A high-end seven-speaker sound system is featured on the Titanium model.
The quality of the plastic lacked the quality feel of the asking price (in the range of N$310 600) but I could be nitpicking. Because I enjoy driving so much, the steering wheel deserves praise for the quality and feel of it. Good job, Ford.
Buyers will find the excellent standard specification a massive boon in the high-spec Titanium model.
Peace of mind comes in the form of a four-year or 60 000km service plan and front, side and curtain airbags are standard fitment across the range.
There's a list the length of your arm with acronyms for driving aids, including ABS brakes with electronic brake assist (EBA) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD). A nifty feature that assists pulling away on an incline is hill launch assist (HLA) and electronic stability and Traction Control (ESC).
The Fiesta's main rival is of course the ubiquitous Volkswagen Polo, which we would have liked to driven back to back but unfortunately couldn't due to logistics.
Having said that, the new model still feels as fun to drive as its predecessor and offers some very cool kit as standard. But most importantly, it's still helluva fun to drive. – Wheels 24
Too many of the older generation still believe traditional ways of parenting are as effective today as they were yesterday.
But the changing times require new strategies to ensure kids are on the right path and are adapting to their ever-evolving technological environment.
If you have accepted that your guidance as a parent needs to match the requirements of the digital era, there are a few things you need to understand about getting involved in your child’s digital engagement.
Firstly, you will have to mentor, not just monitor. If you are tech-savvy, you can spy on every little thing your child searches, opens and sends on the internet. But you are a parent who is meant to teach lessons, so you can sleep well at night, knowing your kids are well-guided.
“The more walls we build, the more we are just creating little hackers who are just trying to get around the fence,” said a parent, which preferred anonymity.
According to her, mentoring allows parents to create an environment where kids will feel comfortable talking to you about their digital activities. In short, you must teach and trust.
“I am a single parent and my daughter is addicted to her phone. At first I was worried if I did the right thing to buy her phone, but now I am at ease because I mentored her and she surely knows what is wrong or right for her,” the single mom said.
Technology is a purposeful tool; it only depends on how your kids use it. Teens at present cannot be restrained from using gadgets and the internet, because this will result in backward steps in terms of education and learning to operate in a digital environment. Schools require research, digital communication and computer skills.
You need to make it clear to your children that technology is not meant for entertainment alone. If they are starting abandon change face-to-face connections with other people, in favour of online socialisation, you need to impose a cutback.
This is according to a psychologist, who was asked what techniques can help parents control what their children are doing on social media.
You also need to learn about the different social media platforms, as you cannot guide your children well if you are ignorant. In this aspect, you can request their assistance. Engage in what they are engaging, so you can have first-hand experience.
Your children should understand that technology is not outside your authority. Some children at present tend to respect their parents’ authority when it comes to chores, being a good student and going home on time. What you need to make them understand is that when it comes to technology, you should also have a say.
“Once you understand these essential reminders in protecting your child from the dangers of the internet and its benefits, you are all set to be a ‘cool and techy’ but responsible parent.”
Here are some tips:
1. Orientate your children that you will be involved. Before anything else, let them know and understand why you have to interfere in their digital engagements.
2. Establish limits, routines and guidelines. Limits can range from restricting their screen time to the types of websites they are allowed to open. Provide them with the proper guidelines when setting up their social media accounts.
3. It is critical that you learn technology skills together. Young people tend to learn technology faster. As a way of interacting with your child and knowing their attitudes toward digital platforms, you should let them teach you some of the hacks.
4. Encourage your kids to talk openly about their online experiences. Create an environment of openness. Understand their experiences, know where they are coming from and help them with the actions they need to take.
5. When you prevent them from doing something inappropriate, explain why.
6. Make them understand that you have a certain set of beliefs and principles different from the standards of the internet and other people
7. Ensure that your child’s digital engagement does not restrict their physical activities and personal interactions with other people (for example, family meals).
The mine plans to retrench the employees at the end of this month.
While visiting the mine at Warmbad on Saturday, MUN southern regional chairperson Allen Kalumbu said a skeleton crew will not be effective as the mine uses labour intensive methods that need manpower.
“We cannot allow the company to use a skeleton crew as that will mean total exploitation of our workers. One needs at least four to five people to operate the jackhammer. How will one person do that job?” he asked.
MUN representatives visited the mine to see for themselves whether the company is right in saying the work on site can be done by a skeleton crew.
“We came here to see the machinery on site, the equipment in place and to determine how many employees are needed to operate it. We need to establish whether a skeleton crew would be able to operate the mine,” Kalumbu said.
The mine has announced that it will retrench 94 employees because of a water shortage and lack of production. An agreement on severance packages has however not been reached yet and the matter is now with the Labour Commission.
Namibia Tantalite Mine CEO Larry Johnson on Sunday confirmed that they will make use of a skeleton staff component after the end-of-month retrenchments.
“We will recruit a skeleton crew but I cannot tell you right now how many people will be involved. The mine will use the same process in terms of production,” he said.
Kalumbu further called for the labour and mines ministries to intervene in the matter.
“The mine said come end August, they will retrench the workers whether the dispute is resolved or not… mines minister Tom Alweendo two weeks ago said one job loss is a loss for everyone, now we have so many jobs at stake and the government is running away and leaving it in the hands of the union. Government must rescue us,” he said.
The decision was made in favour of Tarah Nangolo and his family, who were left stranded last year after they were evicted from the house which Nangolo built 2015 in Ondukutu village in Oshitayi.
It is reported that Nangolo received the land from the late Ondukutu village headman, Tarah Iimbili in 2000.
In 2015, another village resident, Luther Natangwe Iimbili, approached the Oshakati High Court claiming that the piece of land were Nangolo built his house belongs to him. In November 2015, Nangolo was issued with a court summons. He went to court, but he ended up losing the case in October 2016.
In April last year, Nangolo was issued with another court letter informing him of the removal of his belongings from his house and ordering him to pay N$84 594. Again on 29 June last year he, was approached by the messenger of the High Court and served with an eviction order.
It is, however, alleged that that Iimbili claimed to be in posession of a title deed from the town council giving him ownership of the land. The town council challenged the authenticity of Iimbili's documents which the former acting CEO of Ondangwa, Paulus Ndjodhi allegedly signed in 2016.
The council CEO Ismael Namgongo, said that the issue is a family matter and has nothing to do with the town council.
“Ondukutu village is part of town council's land, but it has not been proclaimed as a township yet. The area has not been serviced yet and town council has not issued plots or a title deeds to residents - as Iimbili was claiming. The letter in question was issued, but it is not a title deed. It is an acknowledgement letter that he resides in that village. It cannot be used to claim for any land in that village,” Namgongo said.
“We had a meeting with the community together with the traditional authority and it was resolved that the land belongs to Nangolo.”
Nangolo, when contacted, would not comment on the matter.
The People's Summit had more than 800 delegates from grassroots social movements, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, small-scale food producers, women's and labour organisations, students, the youth, and people living with disabilities.
The summit, which was organised under the name Southern African People Solidarity Network (SAPSN), called on governments to stem human rights abuses by transnational corporations.
It claimed that these corporations are dispossessing citizens of their land and natural resources while paying slave wages and subjecting workers to working conditions resembling slavery.
It criticised customary land distribution patterns that predicate women's access to land, and bemoaned unchecked looting and lack of consideration of sensitive ecosystems.
It also criticised capitalist patriarchal land ownership patters, which it said places the greatest concentration of land ownership in the hands of foreigners.
Moreover, the People's Summit felt that SADC leaders lack the commitment to properly fund public sectors, in particular education, health and social protection, because most SADC countries have failed to reach their own thresholds in these sectors.
It further said SADC countries have “insensitive” policies pertaining to young people and children.
The People's Summit called on regional governments to strengthen independent institutions that support democracy and to upgrade SADC's Principles and Guidelines on Democratic Elections to a protocol that is enforceable on all member states. It called on SADC to set a deadline for Lesotho to start social reforms or face termination of its SADC membership.
It demanded an inquiry by SADC and the African Union (AU) into the post-election violence in Zimbabwe this month and asked that these bodies develop action plans to strengthen democracy before, during and after elections.
SAPSN further called on SADC to revive the SADC Tribunal with the powers it had before it was disbanded. SADC adopted a new protocol on the Tribunal in 2014 which stripped it of its power to hear individual complaints.
SAPSN said in order to address youth unemployment, the retirement age across the region should be lowered to 55. It also proposed that the age limit of presidential candidates should be reduced to 30.
It said governments in the region should embark on sustainable youth economic empowerment plans and set an average salary for employees.
In the same vein it called on all SADC governments to set up an ICT fund and explore youth employment and financing opportunities in the renewable energy sector.
The People's Summit called for tighter controls on illicit financial outflows by implementing the recommendations of SADC's High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows of 2014.
It proposed the introduction of special travel documents for informal cross-border traders and the removal of visa requirements for SADC member states.
SAPSN also demanded compensation for the exploitation of mineworkers during the colonial and apartheid eras, as well as the introduction of legal frameworks that enable labour-brokered workers to exercise their rights.
They also demanded that higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi push for the release of N$730 million from treasury owed to them.
The students were confronted by an allegedly aggressive police force.
According to the students, they feel disappointed and disregarded, because of certain expectations and promises, which were not kept.
This was no ordinary, peaceful demonstration because emotions ran high.
The students also said they were not impressed with how the police handled the demonstration.
Peter Siska, a fourth-year bachelor of accounting student at Unam said he just wants the student fund and the ministry to keep their promises.
“To me the demonstration was successful... The interference of the police force was also a big thorn in our sides, because they were brought there to intimidate us and we did not carry any weapons.”
Nust SRC president, Marvellous Shilongo, said they tried their best to distance themselves from the demonstration.
The NSFAF board is facing big decisions, which will determine whether the fund will remain a parastatal or whether it will be reintegrated into the higher education ministry.
According police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration quickly turned violent, infringing on the rights of others.
“The petition which the permanent secretary of the higher education ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr Van Kent, came to receive was willingly withheld by the demonstrators. They demanded that the petition be received personally by the minister herself. After a long, strenuous debate, the minister came and accepted the petition, with the assurance that she will consult management and revert back to the Nanso leadership,” said Kanguatjivi
The students went further and said they wanted the minister’s undertaking in writing and four of them accompanied her to her office for a discussion.
“Upon returning from the minister’s office the demonstrators decided that they will not disperse and would stay put, and if necessary they will shut down the ministry, which is a violation of section 3(1) of the Public Gatherings Proclamation, AG23 of 1989, which stipulates that ‘no organisers, speakers or other participants in peaceful demonstrations shall make any utterances that are subversive to the authority of the Government of the Republic of Namibia,” Kanguatjivi said.
Kandjii-Murangi said the next step in ensuring this is not an ongoing crisis is that the students need to trust that the ministry is serious about finding a lasting solution.
She said it is important to realise that both the students and the ministry equally care about the quality of tertiary education in Namibia.
“The government will fund what it said it would fund; no doubt about it. Everyone in the Namibian house has to contribute a helping hand.”
The decision to no longer pay refunds came from the fact that the surplus funds can be utilised to fund for someone else’s education.
“This demonstration turned into an unfortunate event because no one wants to see anyone get hurt. However it is important for us as a country that upholds law and order that we should continue to uphold it even though emotions run high.”
The ACTION Coalition, which has campaigned tirelessly for an access to information law in Namibia, said it was concerned about the police’s behaviour.
“We are deeply concerned by the violent and intimidating actions employed by the police to disperse demonstrating students. The students were protesting the non-payment of tertiary education fees by NSFAF,” it said, saying further it condemns the physical intimidation, which is reminiscent of the way apartheid security forces used to deal with anti-apartheid demonstrations.
The ACTION Coalition also drew attention to a trend emerging of police officers responding over-aggressively to protest situations aimed at state and ruling party functionaries and facilities.
In 2016 students also staged a demonstration to have registration fees waived and protests have also erupted over frustrations about delayed payments.
1. What President Geingob has done or is doing, is conducting an illegal alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It is illegal because President Geingob is not a High Court judge and President at the same time. He is in any event not lawfully accredited as a mediator and/or conciliator (see inter alia practice direction 19(4)). Secondly, it is illegal because the parties to the Ondonga case dispute did not agree beforehand to appoint him as their private mediator either (see inter alia practice direction 19(3)). He merely abused his power and hurriedly summoned them to appear before him at State House in order to twist their arms and coerce them into a politically-motivated out of court settlement.
2. The reason(s) the president gives for such interference are totally outrageous, discriminatory and unconstitutional for various reasons. According to his letter, one of the reasons for his interference is in order to ensure that “the dignity of Tatekulu Kauluma is not negated by having him 'paraded' in a court of law and embarrassed in front of his people”. Whatever happened to the constitutional provision that all persons are equal before the law? As far as I know, courts are clean halls of justice and as such they are not forums to negate the dignity or to embarrass any parties or anyone else for that matter! Secondly, President Geingob claims that he knows Omukwaniilwa and his family “personally” and hence his hurried interference to protect his personal acquaintances. This clearly demonstrates that the President's interference is mainly, if not exclusively motivated by and or rooted in his personal relationships with Omukwaniilwa (i.e. tribal chief) and his family! What about those Aakwaniilwas and their families who President Geingob does not know personally?
3. Article 78(3) of the Namibian constitution strictly prohibits interference of the judiciary by among others residents of Namibia.
4. Article 12 of the constitution dictates that in the determination of their civil rights and obligations the dignity of all persons before the courts must be respected, protected and realised by all concerned, not least the president.
5. Article 10 of the said constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind against anyone.
6. Articles 5, read with and articles 25(1)(a) and 30 of the constitution peremptorily, obligates among others, the president to respect, protect and realise all the fundamental rights and freedoms of everyone.
President Geingob has just set a very dangerous precedent by perverting the course of justice!
By: Phil Ya Nangoloh
Prosperity often encompasses wealth, but also includes other factors which can be independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health.
Feeling prosperous begins within and if one gets their mind right one can attract all that they want into their life.
As a nation, we have heard about the inclusive house many a time, which speaks volumes to the current state affairs in Namibia. If this notion was fully captured locally, surely our nation could be in a much better state today, and the sky-high poverty and unemployment levels would be a thing of the past.
But alas, we still reel under a very dark cloud of corruption, mistrust, anger, greed and selfishness, among many social evils that still bedevil our nation, much to the vexation of the majority, as the few privileged ones benefit.
Like Anurag Prakash Ray said, “Positive thinking and positive attitude attracts prosperity, peace, and happiness. It also exposes us towards the path of achievements and success.”
If as a nation, especially the leaders were to espouse this noble notion of prosperity for all, this country with all its plenty of resources could be a nation par excellence within the region and Africa as a whole.
Rather we find the leadership housed in cabinet fostering for these social ills to continue unabated, because they and their cronies are massively benefiting from what is currently going on in this country.
Prosperity for all should encompass all and sundry and failure to have this now means we still have issues of abuse of power in many aspect. Many families have collapsed and continue to do so because of the moral decay that is threatening both the rich and the poor of our society.
This has been worsened by the current and ongoing job losses in various sectors of the economy, leading to the mushrooming of social ills among our people.
We have turned our people into mendicants who just look out only for today and admittedly adopted the saying that “tomorrow we will make a plan”, which is not how a society and nation that espouses the notion of prosperity for all should function.
Have we lost this positive thinking that has prosperity inscribed within us to be able to look back and want a better Namibia that has everybody benefiting equally, and stop with the greedy mentality.
One person will have enough resources to feed a whole neighbourhood and yet fail to assist his fellow countrymen who are in dire need of basic human rights such as food, shelter and clothing, for them to survive.
It has been said already that if Namibia was to fully utilise and divide its resources equally with such a small population, there would be no unemployment, if not a very small percent of the population, probably due to other factors but not because of the current greed.
If we as leaders we want a Namibia that has prosperity for all, why don't we start looking at this possibility and begin from the grassroots, and surely we will reach this point in the next ten to 20 years without fail.
This can only be achieved if we as a nation move in one direction and with one purpose - to better each and every life in this great nation. Every life matters in Namibia.
By: McHenry Venaani
The directors of VBS Mutual Bank and its majority owner, Vele Investments, stole more than R1.5 billion from the bank’s depositors, claims the affidavit. It accompanied an urgent application to liquidate Vele, which was filed on Friday. Applications to sequestrate the bank’s executives will follow shortly.
Most of the shocking details come from evidence provided by VBS’s former treasurer, Phopi Mukhodobwane, who revealed how he and his colleagues allegedly pillaged depositors’ money.
He also provided evidence of the patronage network built to keep money flowing into the bank.
An unnamed “senior executive” of the PIC allegedly received a suitcase stuffed with R5m in cash. In return, the PIC gave VBS a R350m credit facility meant to fund VBS’s tender finance business. VBS executives went on to pillage this loan by creating fake finance contracts. The amount of R1.5m was also allegedly paid to “individuals at Prasa” to facilitate a R1 billion deposit which ultimately fell through.
Mukhodobwane’s evidence also appears to implicate the ANC’s Limpopo treasurer, Daniel Msiza, and the ANC Youth League’s Gauteng leader, Kabelo Matsepe. On December 22 2017, a company owned by Matsepe was paid R1.5 million via a shelf company that Mukhodobwane says was used to channel bribes.
In messages between VBS executives, they discuss “Kabelo” as well as “Bra Danny” in relation to their help with facilitating municipal deposits into VBS. City Press reported earlier how Msiza received a R9.5m loan from VBS to buy a conference centre in Polokwane, but he said at the time that it was a normal commercial loan.
Rooplal’s affidavit sheds light on the bizarre movements of money in and out of VBS into various related parties’ accounts that City Press reported on two weeks ago.
The crux of the fraud was that VBS bosses, in effect, fabricated money by manually entering fictitious “deposits” into the VBS system. These would either be transferred into their own VBS accounts from a so-called suspense account – or be simply fictitiously entered directly into their accounts and the accounts of their other companies, alleges Rooplal.
Once that was done, the perpetrators could withdraw actual cash or simply have their overdrafts disappear – all at the expense of actual depositors, ranging from individuals to burial societies, the PIC and the municipalities that infamously stuck hundreds of millions of rands into the bank. Vele’s directors allegedly not only used depositors’ money to live large buying cars and houses, but also to acquire practically all their other businesses – and even control over VBS itself – without paying a cent.
“VBS fell prey to a fraudulent scheme of epic proportions, which has resulted in a loss to the bank of at least R1 521 925 280.46,” claims Rooplal.
Half of this amount was used by Vele to acquire its various businesses, effectively for free. These “free” acquisitions included Insure Group Management, bought with fake money in order to direct its real money into VBS to help plug the holes the executives were leaving.
Vele allegedly also acquired Malibongwe Petroleum, Anglo African Finance, Mvunonala and Fairsure with invented money.
While the fraud was very complicated and pervasive, it was also “unsophisticated”, says Rooplal.
VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi was the “main architect of the fraudulent scheme” and made the most money from it, alleges Rooplal. VBS chief executive Andile Ramavhunga, chief financial officer Philippus Truter, treasurer Mukhodobwane and chief operations officer Robert Madzonga were, however, all part of it, he says.
Truter, who has worked at VBS since 2005, and Mukhodobwane made the fictitious entries and carried out fraudulent transactions on Matodzi’s instructions, Rooplal alleges.
Rooplal procured an affidavit from Mukhodobwane testifying to how it was done:
- Matodzi instructed Truter and Mukhodobwane to facilitate the acquisition of Insure Group Managers for R250 million with fictitious money. The imbalance in VBS’s balance sheet would then be fixed by having Insure deposit its real money back into VBS. The deal was done and the fake R250 million ended up in an Insure account at VBS. From there it was paid out to other related parties, becoming real money. Vele, in effect, “paid nothing for the investment” in Insure, claims Rooplal. Other Vele subsidiaries were bought in the same way.
- More shockingly, even the controlling share Vele has in VBS was bought without actually paying anything. VBS created a fake R350 million deposit in favour of Vele, of which R90 million was used to buy more shares in VBS. Another R80 million in VBS shares was acquired by having Insure put money in VBS for unrelated purposes.
- Of the R350 million fake deposit, R48m was paid as “bonuses” to Matodzi, Ramavhunga, Mukhodobwane and Truter.
- The most complex part of the fraud is R262 million in fake deposits created to settle 35 different overdrafts. Matodzi gave Truter and Mukhodobwane the list of overdrafts to settle with fake money and then told them they were free to pay their own overdrafts the same way. Many of the overdrafts were for Vele and its directors directly, but the list includes a large network of shelf companies with no directors that evidently just channelled the money to Vele.
“The perpetrators were effectively stealing money at a greater rate than was being deposited into VBS. This resulted in the severe liquidity crisis in which VBS finds itself,” alleges Rooplal.
“Vele has acted with such dishonesty that, even at this stage, it may prove a difficult task to locate all of the proceeds of the fraud.”
Demand for liquidation
Despite the bank becoming a house of cards, KPMG auditor Sipho Malaba signed off VBS’s books last year.
Rooplal argues for the immediate liquidation of Vele so that he can recover whatever is left of the looted money.
“I have attempted to engage with the management of Vele, but it has become increasingly unclear as to who is in control, as there is a dispute as to the effective leadership of Vele and its subsidiaries. There is, as far as I am aware, no effective management due to the above dispute, which has led to a breakdown of the management and governance of Vele,” he says.
Deon Botha, head of corporate affairs for the PIC, sent City Press the following response to the allegations above: “The PIC is not aware of the alleged payment of a bribe to one of its employees. All PIC investments and related financial transactions must comply with the approved mandates of its clients and follow a thorough investment evaluation process. Investment decisions by the PIC are taken by committees and not by any individual. Any investment decision by the PIC may either be subject to approval from the PIC’s board or be reviewed by the board or any of its subcommittees.
“The PIC fully cooperates with the Reserve Bank as well as the curator and the forensic investigation into VBS, and supports any appropriate action against those responsible for the bank’s demise and those involved in any corrupt practices, including the demand for, payment of or acceptance of bribes.
“The PIC expects its employees to act in an ethical manner. Should further information emerge that implicates any PIC employee in wrongdoing, the PIC will deal with the matter in terms of its disciplinary codes. It will also request law enforcement agencies to investigate.
“The PIC supports every effort by the Reserve Bank to restore VBS to a position where it can trade again on a commercial basis in terms of its banking licence.”
Matsepe also responded, saying: “I confirm that my company had a memorandum of understanding to do capital raising for VBS, which was signed in 2016, and I confirm to helping raise capital and being paid for it.
“I confirm to helping raise capital from international bankers and I completely deny the mentioned transaction that is said to have happened on December 22 2017.”
Ogbokor (56), a professor at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), allegedly committed suicide at his flat in Klein Windhoek on 5 August.
The police stated in a crime report the next day that the Nigerian national had shot himself in the chest with his pistol. No suicide note was found.
Ogbokor's family in Nigeria alleged that the police report was a “cover-up” and that the professor had been murdered.
A relative, who identified himself only as Roy, told the Sahara Reporters website: “With reliable information at our disposal, we, the Ogbokor family, are convinced that our brother and breadwinner was brutally murdered in cold blood and we are demanding justice.
“There was no iota of truth in the [police] report. We smelt a conspiracy in the report just in the bid to cover up what actually happened to our brother.”
The chief spokesperson of the Namibian Police, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, said yesterday that the police were still waiting for the post-mortem report.
He added that the head of the National Forensic Science Institute, Dr Paul Ludik, thinks it was suicide.
Kanguatjivi said it was evident that the gun had been fired very close to the body.
“Ludik explained that there have been many suicides in which people did not shoot themselves in the head, but rather in the chest because they did not want their face to be deformed.”
The fact that Ogbokor had been shot in the chest was one of the arguments made by the family why it could not have been suicide.
The police spokesman had said earlier that gunshot residue on Ogbokor's hands would prove that he had fired the fatal shot. He could not say yesterday whether this forensic examination had been completed.
Kanguatjivi said once the autopsy report was completed the police would release a full statement.
The disease, which is an acute respiratory disease of chickens, was detected on the Waldschmidt egg farm in the Okahandja district. Preliminary figures indicate that 18 000 chickens were killed.
ILT often causes severe losses in the poultry industry. It is caused by a herpes virus that usually kills 10% to 20% of infected birds, although mortality can run as high as 70% in some cases.
The chief veterinary officer in the agriculture ministry, Dr Milton Masheke, was unable to confirm the outbreak yesterday but pointed out that ILT is not a notifiable disease.
He explained that because producers can control the disease through vaccination it is not necessary them to notify the agriculture ministry about such outbreaks.
Poultry farmers unusually contact a veterinarian for the vaccine and handle the outbreak themselves.
Masheke said it is important for other producers to vaccinate their chickens too, in order to ensure that the disease does not spread.
The chairperson of the Poultry Producers Association, Rene Werner, confirmed ILT outbreak on the Waldschmidt egg farm and said it had not spread to other producers.
He said vaccinations were under way at the farm near Okahandja.
The Waldschmidt family could not be reached for comment.
A meeting was scheduled for yesterday afternoon at the Namibian Agricultural Union to inform poultry producers about the disease and how to control it.
ILT in its acute form can cause gasping, coughing, rattling, and extension of the neck. Reduced productivity is a varying factor in laying flocks. Affected birds are anorectic and inactive and the mouth and beak may be blood stained.
Even after recovery, birds remain carriers of the disease for life and become a source of infection for susceptible birds. The latent virus can be reactivated under stressful conditions.
Masheke said Namibia was still importing very limited numbers of poultry products from South Africa after outbreaks of bird flu there.
The outbreaks resulted in Namibia's borders to be closed for poultry imports from South Africa.
Masheke said Namibia had resumed limited imports from very secure areas in South Africa.
“They are still battling with the disease, but have done a commendable job at containing it,” he said.
Edmund Nanub (35) was found guilty of killing Getrud Noarises (26) on 11 September 2013 in Windhoek's Havana township by hitting her with bricks, strangling her and stabbing her multiple times in the throat, neck, head and back.
Nanub was further found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances for robbing the victim of her gas stove.
State Advocate Eric Moyo yesterday asked Judge Dinnah Usiku to sentence Nanub to life imprisonment.
“Murder is a very serious offence. A life lost can never be recovered. It is aggravating that the murder was committed with direct intent, which means the accused's blameworthiness is very high,” Moyo argued.
On the robbery conviction, the prosecution asked that Nanub be sentenced at least five years in prison.
Nanub, originally from the Erongo Region, was found guilty of murder with direct intent, read in conjunction with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.
Noarises was pregnant at the time of her death.
“The deceased was cold-bloodedly, cowardly and savagely butchered to death, as evidenced by the injuries she sustained,” Moyo submitted.
Nanub has been in custody since his arrest few days after the murder. The police found him hiding on a farm on the western outskirts of Windhoek.
Moyo further stated that Nanub had killed Noarises for leaving him for another man and had threatened to kill her if she dared to leave him.
He said her children, twelve and eight years old, were left motherless.
“The loss to the surviving members is irreplaceable. Their pain and agony caused by the accused's action will most probably leave their mark on them for years to come or even for the rest of the lives,” the state prosecutor argued.
Judge Usiku postponed the matter to 21 September for sentencing. Titus Ipumbu appeared for the defence.
Increasing spend by cash-rich Chinese millennials, largely unhindered by a crackdown on corruption and extravagant spending, is prompting brands to revamp some stores and open new ones in second- and third-tier cities where luxury spending is growing faster.
The youngsters, who account for around 30% of the sector’s China sales, are a demographic less sensitive to wider economic factors, executives said.
“There is the emergence in China of a very strong upper class or upper middle class,” Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of cosmetics group L’Oreal said on a call with analysts.
“And the difference is that now millennials from this middle and middle upper class are absolutely not hesitant to buy luxury brands.”
Often single children armed with family money, the 20-34 year-old demographic started buying luxury brands at a young age and purchases more frequently, splurging on everything from jewelry and fashion, to cosmetics and handbags, industry experts say.
Many millennials are also choosing to remain in the country’s outlying provinces, shunning more expensive, larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, thanks to rapid industrialization and urbanization.
“Where the spend is? It is the post-90s, the young generation - definitely a young generation that spends money on luxury,” said Shanghai-based Daniel Zipser, senior partner at McKinsey & Co.
Revenue growth in China’s luxury segment was around 15-20% for the first half of the year, Zipser added.
TRADE WAR JITTERS
Chinese luxury shoppers account for over US$500 billion yuan (US$73 billion) in annual spending, representing almost a third of the global luxury market, McKinsey said in its latest report.
Brands including Kering’s Gucci to Britain’s Burberry and French luxury handbag maker Hermes all reported resilient appetite from Chinese shoppers in the second quarter even as escalating China-US trade tensions cast a pall over the broader economy.
The share of luxury purchases made in China is rapidly increasing, several executives said, spurred by price cuts from top brands after authorities reduced import duties on some goods and made it harder to buy products from overseas websites and vendors. A strong euro at the start of 2018 also put off tourists from spending in Europe, executives said.
Prices of luxury goods in China, previously significantly higher than in Europe and the United States, have been gradually falling. Taxes have also been lowered by 7-17%, allowing firms to cut prices.
Italian luxury outerwear maker Moncler has reduced its prices in China by 3.5% on average since July, while Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Hermes have also cut prices.
“When I compare it with the United States the price difference between brands is not that large,” said Sunny Deng, 28, who studies in America but was on holiday in Shanghai. “Sometimes it’s even cheaper here.”
SMALLER CITY PUSH
To capture the rapidly growing millennial market, global names are increasingly moving further afield from China’s first-tier cities - the previous engines of growth.
Prada, which reported strong half-year earnings bolstered by Chinese consumers, opened seven stores this year in Xi’an, home of China’s Terracotta Army in the northwest. Three were for the Prada label, two for its Miu Miu brand and two for Church’s.
LVMH opened a store in the sprawling central city of Wuhan, home to 11 million people, while jewelry brand Chaumet opened a store in the city of Wuxi, outside Shanghai. Hermes is launching a store in Xi’an in September.
Even so, luxury firms are wary of demand softening in the second half of the year as a trade row between China and the United States escalates.
“It would be unwise not to make some allowances for the uncertain political and macroenvironment,” Jean-Francois Palus, Kering group managing director, said in July. LVMH chief financial officer Jean Jacques Guiony, on a call with analysts in July, also warned of potential risks from increased global tariffs.
“Although the luxury industry is not in the front line on this, such a risk would certainly bare some negative consequences for us,” he said.
Brands have also been putting increasing emphasis on their digital offerings to court China’s online shoppers.
Louis Vuitton and Gucci both launched Chinese e-commerce sites last year and Hermes plans to roll out its site in China later this year.
Louis Vuitton has also teamed up with China’s Baidu to use facial recognition to support its first fragrance campaign in the country.
Zipser said Chinese households were ramping up spending thanks to a younger generation who enjoyed buying luxury. McKinsey expects incremental spend from existing Chinese customers to account for 60% of the next 10 years of growth. “It is all the extra spend per person increasing on that. In the past, it was primarily more people. Now it is more people plus more spend of existing people,” he said.
From childhood, we constantly push ourselves to impress the people around us, whether they be family, friends or anybody who happens to be in front of us at a particular moment.
During all the time we spend trying to make those people like us, we never stop to ask ourselves why we desire their approval.
Part of it could be that we need the ones around us to see our accomplishments, in order to feel valid.
We naturally refuse to trust our own judgements and no matter how egotistical we may appear, in the end we still require the assurance of others to feel good about ourselves.
Perhaps one reason we feel the need to be appraised by others is because we desire to feel like we are more important to our peers than we are to ourselves. Feeling loved and belonging is the third most important aspect of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, meaning we need to feel loved in order to have self-esteem and achieve self-actualisation.
People are most critical of themselves and therefore feel validated by others around them, who assure them of their accomplishments. Those who boast of their own success seek only to have other people appreciate and support them. Because people constantly need reassurance and positive feedback about every little thing they do, they avoid people who are prone to discredit their success and bring them down.
Taking time out of the day to spend time with people who are constantly showing contempt for our achievements proves to be a remarkably hard task, as it takes plenty of willpower to listen to the opinions of those who are simply trying to bring down our self-esteem. Because we do not trust ourselves, we seek positive views held of us by other people. Nothing is more reassuring to people than feeling like they belong, rather than like an outcast with poor ideas and very few accomplishments. Being reminded of our success by other people makes us feel secure and more confident about ourselves.
The first and most important sources of approval to us are our parents, who raise us to be a certain way from the day we are born, and expect us to obey them in every circumstance. Our parents put us through school, enforce their will upon us and punish us for disobedience.
In school we might have to achieve a grade threshold to be approved by our parents, who validate and secure our success. Some of us lose the ability to achieve high grades for ourselves, learning only to succeed in order to gain approval from our parents.
This early conditioning holds a major impact for a child's later life, as you become used to impressing and pleasing those who you value.
Instagram and Twitter are two of the most popular social media sites on the web, which people consistently use as ways to validate their lives.
Posting a picture on Instagram of an award or of your graduation are ways of getting other people to see what you are doing and assures us that they are happy for us.
Nobody on Instagram posts a picture without first considering how many likes they will get.
Social media causes people to seek approval even more and results in constant posts or tweets to find other people who like us or agree with what we have to say.
We all consistently say and do things that misrepresent our character, for the purpose of gaining approval. When we are in a group that expresses an opinion different from ours, we conform by agreeing with them as to acquire their approval.
Why do we feel the necessity to gain approval? Earlier I mentioned the hierarchy of needs, which places all the basic needs of life in order of importance. First there are physiological needs - what we physically need to survive: food, water, air, sleep, clothing, etc.
Without these needs the human body cannot be sustained and ultimately fails to support itself.
After physical needs come safety needs, or feelings of security, such as personal and financial security and health and hygiene. Once physiological and safety needs are met, people then seek to fill their core emotional needs.
This is not a choice, as we require friendships and deep emotional ties to feel more secure about ourselves. The reason we seek out the approval and affection of other people is to make us feel better and more comfortable with our own lives.
Jesaya Gabriel Chuhunda (20) appeared before Magistrate Sonia Samupofu in the Rundu magistrate's court.
The case was postponed to 23 November for further police investigation and for Chuhunda to apply for legal aid and undergo psychiatric evaluation.
Chuhunda remains in police custody. He was arrested on 1 July after allegedly killing his grandmother, Ndongo Ntumba (77), his mother, Ndara Elizabeth Mpande (46), and his three nephews, Musenge Petrus Muruti (6), Hausiku Daniel Kapumburu (4) and Musenge Elias Tjingelesu (3).
According to the police, Chuhunda went berserk when his sister refused to give him money.
“The motive behind the suspect's actions is allegedly that he demanded to be given money earlier during the day. However, the money was not given to him and as a result he assaulted the sister. The sister went to report the matter to the police and that agitated the suspect, who then assaulted his family, killing them instantly with a stick,” the crime report read.
It is further alleged that Chuhunda is a drug user and could be mentally challenged.
On 23 July, the police chief, Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, confirmed that an investigation into possible police negligence in the case was nearing completion. He said “five or six officers” would likely be charged with negligence.
There was a public outcry after allegations were made on social media that Chuhunda's sister had called the police shortly before the mass murder but that they did not respond as there was no transport available.
The competition watchdog has put in spotlight Santam Namibia, Alexander Forbes Insurance, Hollard Insurance , Old Mutual Short-Term Insurance, Outsurance Namibia, Phoenix Assurance Namibia and Momentum Short-Term Insurance (previously Quanta Insurance) for having had engaged in illegal anti-competitive practices, specifically price-fixing.
Price fixing is a practice whereby rival companies come to an illicit agreement not to sell goods or services below a certain price.
The insurance companies’ sin is that they have set up maximum mark-up rates that panel beaters should charge for repairs to insured vehicles.
Mark-up rates refer to the margins that panel beaters add on top of the costs of vehicle parts.
In a media statement yesterday, the NaCC said that their investigation has further found that on top of setting maximum mark-ups on parts, these insurance companies further impose maximum labour rates to be charged by panel beaters for the rendering of their services. Labour rates refer to the costs per hour charged by panel beaters for the repair of vehicles.
“The conduct by the insurance companies (otherwise competitors) is designed to subvert competition and is characterised globally as cartel conduct being amongst the most egregious forms of collusion between competitors,” the competition watchdog further said.
These insurance companies unjustly influence the price rather than allowing competition to determine the prevailing market conditions, the NaCC said.
These insurance companies further benefit from the costs imposed to the detriment of reduced panel beater competition and limited consumer choice and potentially, prevent consumers from having access to better pricing, the commission added.
“By setting similar mark-ups and rates, the insurance companies have further reduced competition amongst themselves as these rates and mark-ups influence the premiums they charge their consumers (the policyholders),” the NaCC further claims
Ultimately, insurance companies benefit from potentially unfair excess profits that would ordinarily not prevail in the absence of their anti-competitive prohibited conduct, says the competition watchdog.
“The conduct of these insurance companies has further adverse effects on the competitiveness of the downstream market, being the panel beater market. Under normal competitive conditions, insurance companies would consider the lowest substantial quotation from a group of panel beaters, panel beaters would as a result seek to compete against each other to ensure that they secure the work through employing innovative strategies that would reduce cost and improve efficiency,” it says.
This innovation, according to NaCC, has been curtailed as a consequence of the behaviour by the insurance companies.
The commission highlighted that its findings are preliminary and that no final decision has been made. Because of that, all affected parties, including the insurance companies, have been duly notified of the commission’s findings and an oral conference is scheduled for 29th August 2018.
“At this conference these undertakings are expected to make representations to the commission on its preliminary investigative findings before a final determination is made regarding whether or not the commission will refer the matter to the High Court for remedial action as prescribed in the Competition Act.”
The setting of mark ups and labour rates, which are in material respects identical between the various insurance companies, gives rise to a finding that there exists a concerted practice between the insurance companies mentioned above, the commission further said.
Market Watch’s efforts to get comment from the insurance companies proved futile by the time of going to print.
Emily Dangwa did her undergraduate studies in opera and postgraduate degree in music performance at the University of Cape Town.
“My mother tells me that I used to sing everywhere and make noise in the house with pots and pans. I imitated soloists on TV, when I was as young as five. Music, specifically singing, is the only art form that focuses me and gives me peace, I was born to be a musician,” she says.
Among her major challenges is the lack of exposure given to classical music.
“It makes it difficult for people to want to follow you, until they hear you. Only through experiencing the art form does the audience begin to appreciate the quality and work behind the voice.”
According to Dangwa the country that provides the most opportunities to aspiring opera singers in Africa is South Africa, specifically Cape Town.
“Cape Town has the best opera school in Africa and they have yearly operas they put on at the Baxter Theatre and at Artscape, which have big followings.”
When asked what she does to keep her voice in a good shape, Dangwa said her voice has adapted to her lifestyle.
“I do vocal exercises, continuously stretching my voice up and down, working on its dynamics; so to sing opera you must train your body like an athlete, hence the nine years of formal vocal training,” she said.
To acquire the training required to perform opera at a professional level, one must enroll at a university, college or conservatoire. Your voice has to be guided by a skilled vocal trainer.
International exams need to be taken and practical performances need to be undertaken, to execute what you have learned.
Dangwa taught at a pre-primary and primary school for a year, teaching music as part of the curriculum.
She has been teaching at a Windhoek music academy for two years, giving piano, music theory and vocal training.
Dangwa prepares her ED Music Academy students for auditions.
One of the events her students take part in is Song Night, which gives then a platform every second month to perform.
Unam economics professor Omu Kakujaha-Matundu says “anything that will strengthen the support to mothers” should receive backing.
He says prolonging the time mothers are able to breastfeed their babies has many short- and long-term benefits, reflecting similar arguments put forward by the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC).
The LAC has long proposed extending maternity leave up to six months. This is in line with the World Health Organisation's recommendation that mothers should be able to breastfeed exclusively for six months, promoting the long-term health of children, and thus, future generations.
“Six months' maternity leave after the birth will have a big picture impact on the economy, promoting productivity and stimulating business. Business will benefit from staff retention, decreased absenteeism and better staff morale,” the LAC said in 2012.
The LAC said the extension could be gradually introduced by adding just a week or two each year to reduce the impact on employers.
It argued that allowing women more time with their babies would keep them in the labour force.
“Currently some women may resign when they realise that to return to work eight weeks after the birth of their child is too soon. In contrast, six months' maternity leave after the birth would allow more women to return to the workplace.”
The LAC rejected the argument that women would have more children if they were given six months' maternity leave as an “illogical assumption”.
Kakujaha-Matundu agrees that longer maternity leave would benefit parents and employers alike.
“Breastfed babies are less likely to be sick, not only saving the country a lot of money in terms of health spending, but is similarly good for the employer as it cuts the days mothers are absent from work to care for a sick child. So in the end, prolonged maternity leave is a win-win situation,” Kakujaha-Matundu says.
He says it is not surprising that the International Labour Organisation recommends a minimum of 14 weeks' maternity leave.
“It has been proven that breastfed children perform both emotionally and intellectually superior to their peers. So it is beneficial, in the long term, for employers to support the extension of maternity leave to 14 weeks.”
Adhere to convention
Namibian Employers' Federation (NEF) secretary-general Tim Parkhouse agrees that maternity leave is essential for the well-being of the mother and the baby and should be encouraged.
“As such the NEF does not have a problem with this increase of two weeks.”
Parkhouse says although an extension would increase the cost of employment, it would mainly be felt by the state.
He says the critical question to investigate is whether the maternity, sick and death (MSD) fund of the Social Security Commission (SSC) can carry the additional cost, “bearing in mind that in most cases the woman will be covered under that fund”.
This could mean an increase in Social Security contributions, which now stand at 1.8% of a person's salary.
If a woman is not registered with the SSC, or does not yet qualify for maternity benefits, her employer would have to carry the cost of maternity leave, Parkhouse says.
He points out that Namibia's constitution requires compliance with the conventions of the ILO and as such, the 14-week maternity leave should be implemented.
On the other hand, Kakujaha-Matundu warns that extended maternity leave could lead to discrimination against women, as employers would prefer to employ men.
Earlier this month, labour permanent secretary Bro-Matthew Shinguadja said the ministry had prioritised its review of the maternity leave benefit.
Last year's Swapo congress proposed that the government revise its maternity leave policy and increase it to 14 weeks in line with the ILO recommendation.
Shinguadja said the issue was being reviewed by a tripartite labour advisory council which would submit its recommendations to the labour ministry.
If it is recommended that Namibia comply with the ILO convention, the minister of labour would have to initiate the amendment of the Social Security Act and the Labour Act, Shinguadja explained.
The police had to use quite a bit of force to gain entry to the church as the pastor refused them entry and in the process left him with a cut to his lip.
The pastor, Jacques Sumpi, a Congolese national, was arrested and was sitting in handcuffs when the media arrived at the scene yesterday morning.
He simply nodded when asked about the allegations of cultist activities and lowered his head when Namibian Sun asked him why congregants were fed sand and olive oil.
The pastor and his followers were kept at the church overnight under police guard after the Sunday raid.
Police investigations are now in full swing with the assistance of forensic scientist Dr Paul Ludik, who is part of the investigation team.
The room was scattered with containers of sand and olive oil and plastic water bottles labelled 'judgment'.
The governor of the Khomas Region, Laura McLeod-Katjirua, was at a loss of words as she took in the picture of starved and thirsty churchgoers.
Most of the congregants are reportedly students at Nust or IUM.
“What I am seeing here doesn't look good… it even looks satanic. I hear that they are being served with a mixture of olive oil and sand. Some are weak, unable to talk about their experiences. Maybe they were warned that whatever they hear or do here must stay here,” the governor said.
Rita Hengari, the aunt of one of the congregants, said her niece had been in the church for about four years, joining it shortly after the birth of her three-year-old child.
“She told us the pastor demanded her to remain at the church so that they could 'heal' her after her labour pains. We only get to see her once in a blue moon. We saw her last month but she told us that her phone would be off because she was at church,” said Hengari.
Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua said he was shocked to the core to found these kinds of activities in the city. “They say it is a church, but it is clear that there are no normal church activities going on here,” he said.
He added that his interaction with some of the congregants indicated that they were brainwashed and warned not to talk to outsiders.
“I understand that some of them were working but had to quit their jobs because the church demands so. I also wonder why they are afraid to speak up if things are not questionable,” he said.
The congregants were scattered across the church hall, some sitting or lying on thin mattresses, while others were seated on plastic chairs and covered with fleece blankets.
Very few of the congregants were willing to talk about their experience, but the few that did insisted that there was nothing untoward happening during the fellowship and prayer sessions.
One man who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were merely praying when the police stormed the church.
As he tightened his striped blanket around his knees, he whispered that they had finished their church service which lasted from 15:00 until 17:00.
“We were busy with our half night prayers… it was about 22:00… and then the police came with people who said they were looking for their relatives.”
According to Chief Inspector Christina van Dunem Fonsech, the police found two girls locked up in a container in the church.
“The people are here locked up in the church. The pastor told them that if they leave the church they will die,” she said.
She added that Sumpi has many other churches across the country, but it is unclear whether they are registered.
She added that those congregants who looked frail and ill would be taken to hospital whether they wanted to or not. Some have refused medical treatment.
The police investigation is continuing and the police are still monitoring the church building.