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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: TransNamib to get new board
  • TransNamib to get new boardTransNamib to get new boardGender balance a main consideration A tumultuous term of office for the old board runs out in November. The Ministry of Works and Transport has announced that it is looking for new board members for TransNamib.

    The current board's term will end on 3 November. The deadline for submissions for new candidates is 24 September, after which shortlisted candidates will be interviewed.

    All candidates must be professionally qualified Namibians, and a gender balance will be a consideration in the constitution of the new board, the ministry announced.

    The term of the current board, chaired by Paul Smit and deputised by lawyer Elize Angula, started in November 2015 and was not without controversy.

    One of the first directives from the works ministry as well as the ministry of public enterprises was that the new board resolve the suspension of the then chief executive office of the parastatal, Sara Naanda.

    The board members were at odds over how to deal with Naanda's exit – and exit package – but it reported that this matter was eventually amicably concluded.

    Another bone of contention was the allegation that board chairperson Smit was micromanaging the parastatal and interfering in the day-to-day management.

    Smit at the time justified his involvement as necessary due to the crisis the company was plunged into with Naanda's suspension and ultimate exit.

    During its term the current board also suspended acting CEO Hippy Tjivikua and property manager Struggle Ihuhua. Ihuhua's contract with TransNamib had lapsed but Tjivikua's case, in which he is charged with fraud and collusion which allegedly put TransNamib out of pocket by at least N$20 million, is yet to be resolved.

    The board chairperson and his deputy also fell out with the recently appointed TransNamib CEO, Johny Smit, over the handling of the Tjivikua case after the board appointed both the initiator and chairperson in Tjivikua's disciplinary process.

    This circled out into a disagreement with new works minister John Mutorwa, whom the board accused of acting as the “de facto board” in that Mutorwa apparently exercised powers that fall within the purview of the board's authority because he allegedly endorsed and supported Johny Smith's refusal to accept instructions from the board.

    Another disagreement between the CEO and the board erupted over the cancellation of a contract the board had entered into with AIJ Property Management to manage TransNamib's property portfolio.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: Geingob to address UN
  • Geingob to address UNGeingob to address UN President Hage Geingob will attend the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, where he will deliver a speech next week.

    Geingob left the country yesterday and will along the way undertake working visits to Guinea and Canada to strengthen bilateral agreements, according to his spokesperson, Alfredo Hengari.

    Geingob's visit to Guinea today, comes at the invitation of its president, Professor Alpha Conde. Following the conclusion of this Guinea visit, Geingob will then travel to Canada for another working visit following an invitation by its prime minister, Justin Trudeau. The two working visits will focus on strengthening bilateral relations in the areas of trade and investment, Hengari said.

    In addition to delivering the statement at the UN, Geingob will participate in a discussion related to the marine economy at the invitation of Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg.

    Geingob is also expected to address the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit: United Nations High Level Plenary on Global Peace, the Bloomberg Global Business Forum and will further participate in the High-Level Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the High-level Meeting on the Fight to End Tuberculosis, Hengari said.

    Geingob will also hold bilateral meetings with several heads of state and government, including Kolinda Kitarovic of Croatia, Cuban president Miguel Bermudez, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, Ralph Gonsalves, who is the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, president of Estonia, Kerti Kaljulaid, and Solberg.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: HPV remains a silent killer
  • HPV remains a silent killerHPV remains a silent killer The health ministry plans to introduce a new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign next year, in a bid to ensure all girls between 9 and 13 are vaccinated.

    Speaking at the launch yesterday of the national cervical cancer prevention guidelines, deputy health minister Juliet Kavetuna said it is unjustifiable that HPV-infected women should die, if prevention and treatment strategies are available.

    The guidelines were compiled by a multi-stakeholder technical working group, based in the directorate of primary healthcare services within the ministry.

    “My ministry is strongly committed to make cervical cancer screening services widely available throughout the country, by way of a rapid national rollout. These guidelines should be the key milestone to establish a comprehensive national programme for cervical cancer prevention and control,” Kavetuna said.

    “It should be the key reference document for all healthcare service providers, who are practicing in Namibia in the public, civil society and private sectors. All training courses on cervical cancer screening to be offered in Namibia over the coming years should be based on the contents of this document.”

    National health programmer officer, Anna Kanana, also announced that the newly launched draft national cancer control plan is awaiting World Health Organisation (WHO) approval.

    Kanana said the guidelines are aimed at improving the effectiveness of cancer prevention and control through education and research, in a bid to reduce incidences of the disease through primary prevention.

    It also aims to ensure effective screening through early detection, diagnosis and treatment, in order to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.

    Cervical cancer cases in Namibia have more than doubled since 2006, jumping from 125 cases in 2006 to 309 in 2015, Kanana said.

    “The increase in cases of cervical cancer reflects only the diagnosed cases, not taking into account the number of women who die of cervical cancer prior to diagnosis.

    “It is quite likely these numbers reflect significant underreporting. Even if the actual numbers may be low due to under-detection, note the disturbing upward trend in the number of cervical cancer cases detected each year.

    “This upward trend has motivated the ministry of health to designate cervical cancer screening a public health priority,” Kanana said.

    Dr Norbert Forster, country director for I-TECH Namibia, said it is clear that cervical cancer is taking the lives of too many young Namibian women in their prime years of life - at a time when they could contribute significantly to their family, communities, and society as a whole.

    “Amongst women affected by cervical cancer, the highest incidence and mortality rates occur in the poorest and most marginalised. In addition, many of them are HIV-positive and therefore particularly at risk,” Norbert added.

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Naspers plans to spin off, list pay-TV unit

    South Africa's Naspers unveiled plans on Monday to spin off and list separately its pay-TV unit, its first major move aimed at narrowing a discount between its market value and the value of its stake in Chinese technology giant Tencent.

    Founded more than 100 years ago in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Naspers has transformed itself from a newspaper publisher into a US$94 billion behemoth but it owes all of that valuation to its one-third stake in Tencent.

    The Tencent stake is worth around US$155 billion, or 65% more than Naspers despite the company owning other assets such as the pay-TV unit MultiChoice, which is a de facto monopoly in Africa. The discount has prompted some investors to urge Chief Executive Bob van Dyk to find ways to narrow it.

    MultiChoice is expected to list in Johannesburg in the first half of 2019, Naspers said, adding that the business would be hived off with limited debt to enable it to pursue growth opportunities in Africa.

    The Multichoice business will be spun off to existing shareholders and Naspers will not raise new cash through the move. MultiChoice, which also owns a streaming service called Showmax, contributes around 18% of Naspers' total sales of US$20.1 billion. It has a presence in around 13.5 million households in Africa and generates around R6 billion in annual trading profit. – Nampa/Reuters

    Watchdog imposes conditions on Sibanye-Lonmin deal

    South Africa's competition watchdog on Monday approved the takeover of platinum producer Lonmin by Sibanye-Stillwater but imposed conditions to limit job losses.

    The Competition Commission said the transaction, which is scheduled to close by the end of the year, did not prevent or lessen competition in platinum markets but did raise "significant public interest concerns".

    The commission said Sibanye had to start three short-term mining projects to avoid the loss of over 3 000 jobs, keep Lonmin's existing contracts with black-owned suppliers and maintain Lonmin's black-ownership deal with the Bapo ba Mogale community.

    Lonmin, which is strapped for cash, unveiled plans to cut 12 600 jobs and a further 890 merger-related layoffs when its transaction with Sibanye was announced in December.

    Both companies say the job cuts are inevitable and are necessary to save the rest of the 33 000-strong Lonmin workforce. Sibanye's chief executive told Reuters in May that shareholders might not find the Lonmin deal attractive if the Commission imposed tough conditions. – Nampa/Reuters

    Petra Diamonds' core profit climbs

    Petra Diamonds on Monday reported a jump in full-year adjusted core earnings due to a rise in production at its continuing mines and said its chief executive would step down.

    Petra was hobbled by a stronger South African rand and operational delays in the first half of the year as well as a confiscation of diamonds in Tanzania that left it strapped for cash and in crippling debt.

    But improved performance in its diamond mines in the second half, a cash raise in June and a reversal in rand strength have helped the company cut debt and raise core earnings.

    Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to US$195.4 million from US$142 million in the previous year.

    Production rose 19% to 3.8 million carats when excluding the KEM Joint Venture because it was sold.

    The company slipped into a net loss due to an impairment and a higher depreciation charge as well as higher financing costs.

    Petra did not name a successor for its chief executive role and expects to announce two non-executive appointments next month. Outgoing CEO Johan Dippenaar has been at the helm since Petra merged with Crown Diamonds in 2005. – Nampa/Reuters

    Uganda’s Cipla raises US$43.8 mln in IPO

    The Ugandan unit of India's pharmaceutical giant Cipla raised 167 billion Ugandan shillings (US$43.8 million) from its oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO), an investment bank that helped advise on the transaction said on Monday.

    Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Ltd (CQCIL), majority owned by India's third-largest drugmaker, sold 657 million shares equivalent to 18% of the firm's total equity. Each share in the IPO was priced at 256.5 shillings.

    John Porter, chief business officer at investment bank Renaissance Capital, told Reuters interest came from local and international investors.

    Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Ltd, established in 2005, has a factory in Uganda's capital Kampala and makes a range of drugs including antiretrovirals, anti-malaria and drugs to treat Hepatitis B and C. Most of the drugs are sold in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The IPO is the first on Ugandan bourse, a small exchange of about 17 equities, since 2012 when the country's sole power distributor Umeme Ltd went public. – Nampa/Reuters

    Coke eyes cannabis-infused drink market

    Coca-Cola Co is closely watching the fast-growing marijuana drinks market for a possible entry that would expand the world's largest soft drink maker's ambitions further away from sugary sodas.

    Coca-Cola announced its interest in a statement on Monday, responding to a report from BNN Bloomberg that said it was in talks with Canada's Aurora Cannabis Inc to develop drinks infused with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

    Coke would join a rush by major alcohol makers and a cigarette company to test the cannabis market and find partners ahead of the Oct. 17 launch of legal recreational marijuana in Canada.

    Beer makers Constellation Brands, Molson Coors and Heineken are all playing in the market for cannabis products. For example, Heineken's craft beer Lagunitas recently launched Hi-Fi Hops, a beer-flavored sparkling water with THC and CBD.

    Canada is the first major economy to legalise recreational marijuana, and shares in cannabis producers have rallied in anticipation. New Cannabis Ventures' global cannabis stock index has risen about 87 percent over the past year. – Nampa/Reuters

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: Youth missing in agriculture
  • Youth missing in agricultureYouth missing in agriculturePutting future food security at risk The disinterest in agriculture by Namibia's youth will slow technological advancement in the industry and place food security at risk. Although between 60 to 70% of Namibians are under the age of 35, the country's agriculture sector predominantly relies on the old and infirm, as young people seek opportunities in the growing urban areas.

    This is according to the Youth in Agriculture Report released by Namibia Economic Development Alignment.

    According to the report the youth's exodus out of rural areas also means an exit from agriculture.

    “It condemns Namibia to a future without successors to the agricultural producers of food, fibre and fuel. Youth also have more education than the elders being left on the land. If they were engaged, they would have a greater capacity to learn and apply modern yield-enhancing technologies, technologies for processing, and new century management methods to apply to the entire value chain from farm to market,” says the report.

    Furthermore, a loss of youth also means a loss of opportunities to modernise, to become more productive and to compete successfully in a globalised world. To fail in having youth excited about agriculture and energetically involved in it is to condemn Namibia to food insecurity, poverty and continued reliance on costly imports and charitable food aid.

    Most farmers are ageing, as youth find little to attract them into an economic activity based on back-breaking labour, and one little infused with modern technologies that can interest and challenge them. The industry is also subjected to high risks of climate and unstable markets, and is often only poorly profitable.

    According to the report, some of the reasons why the youth may not be interested in agriculture is because there is a perception that the sector is at risk from natural calamities, markets that fail, or are unstable and bring little profit.

    Also access to land is problematic for youth and in almost all cases the land is controlled by old people and inheritance practices tend to restrict benefit to perhaps an eldest child, says the report.

    Access to other resources is also very problematic, especially funding.

    “Messages about government and other efforts to support youth are rarely targeted at them, for them to access the help.”

    Of post-land reform funding initiatives only 6% reached youth and women, according to the report.

    It was also noted that the youth lack technical skills. The report says in Namibia, agriculture hardly features in schools. “Even those who study agriculture prefer to be technicians advising farmers and not farming themselves.”

    However, the report made no clear reference to the total numbers of youth in agriculture, either as wage earners or own entrepreneurs. There was also very limited indication of how youth numbers compare to the elderly or adult numbers in agriculture.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: Beef quality declines
  • Beef quality declinesBeef quality declines There was an overall drop in the quality of beef offered to Meatco during the first half of this year.

    Statistics for the period February to June 2018, show a decrease in the supply of A and AB grades, with A grades dropping from 25.9% last year to 9.9% this year, while the AB grades dropped from 29.2% in 2017 to 25.3% in 2018 for cattle slaughtered.

    “This decrease can be attributed to the change in strategy to reduce the number of live cattle purchased for the Backwards Integration Initiatives (Feedlots and MOC) while concentrating on slaughter-ready cattle purchases,” says Meatco.

    Another factor is the many cancellations resulting from poor cattle conditions caused by the late rains received in most parts of the country.

    According to Meatco the procurement of quality cattle and premium grades remains at the core of its business operations.

    “Therefore, continuous analysis of grade and gender distribution procured from Namibian producers over a certain period is paramount in ensuring quality end products,” it says. According to Meatco, statistics also showed that the supply of bulls remained stable from 2.3% in 2017 to 2.6% during the period under review.

    However, there was a strong increase in the supply of cows from 15.8% in 2017 compared to 23.1% this year.

    Meatco says this led to a decrease in heifers from 16.8% in 2017 to 14.2% in 2018, while the supply of oxen also decreased from 65.1% in 2017 to 60.2% in 2018.

    Meatco assisted producers by providing an option to sell their lean cows to its feedlots, where the animals were fed and prepared into slaughter-ready cattle.

    “Although we realised this was not the best option it was the only way we could further assist our valued producers in the continuous marketing of animals to the institution.”

    Providing a market for lean cows at the time enabled producers to hold back on the supply of younger cattle. The overall average producer price paid out during this period was N$5.64 higher than for the same period last year, said Meatco.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Economic prospects remain gloomyEconomic prospects remain gloomy‘Strong headwinds’ continue The IJG Business Climate Monitor declined from 54.37 in June to 52.90 the following month. Staff reporter – The leading indicator of the IJG Business Climate Monitor spent its 22nd consecutive month below the 50-point mark in July, an indication of the “strong headwinds” experienced by the Namibian economy.

    The leading indicator is used to forecast the forthcoming pattern of the overall economy. A value below 50 points indicates an economic contraction.

    The leading indicator has been below the 50-point mark since October 2016. Before that, the last time the indicator dipped below 50 was in 2003.

    The leading indicator in July was 40.63, the same as the month before.

    The IJG Business Climate Monitor (BCM) reversed the upward trend in July that started a year ago and declined to 52.90 from 54.37 in June.

    According to the BCM ten indicators showed an improvement, 17 deteriorated and four remained unchanged.

    Indicators

    Copper cathode, diamond and uranium production decreased compared to June, but remained above output levels in May 2018.

    The number of livestock marketed fell as beef prices declined while lamb prices rose.

    The value of building plans approved in Windhoek continued to increase, this time by more than 50% compared to June, which will bode well for the construction sector in the near future.

    The trade deficit remains at a high level, which will continue to exert pressure on the foreign exchange reserves.

    The increase in passenger vehicle sales, which reached its highest level since March 2017, is a cause of concern, since such purchases are usually not an investment in productive assets, while the number of commercial vehicles sold dropped in July, although the sales remained above the average for the first seven months this year.

    The trends in vehicle sales are reflected in the increase in credit to individuals, while credit extended to businesses declined in July 2018.

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    Vivo finalises Engen acquisition dealVivo finalises Engen acquisition deal Vivo Energy has gotten the official nod to add to its operations over 200 Engen-branded service stations in 9 Sub-Saharan countries.

    In a joint statement yesterday, Vivo Energy together with Engen announced that all required regulatory and competition authorities’ approvals have been received for the transfer of Engen’s international operations in the Sub Saharan countries.

    Completion of transfers has been scheduled for 1 March 2019.

    “The restructured transaction will add operations in eight new countries and over 225 Engen-branded service stations to Vivo Energy’s network, taking its total presence to over 2 000 service stations, across 23 African markets,” the two companies said in the press statement.

    The new markets for Vivo Energy are Gabon, Malawi, Mozambique, Reunion, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Engen’s Kenya operations (where Vivo Energy already operates) is the ninth country included in the transaction.

    Engen said it also continues its discussions with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo regarding the transfer of the subsidiary holding Engen’s DRC-related interests.

    Engen retains its interest in Engen Petroleum Limited (its South Africa business and refinery) and Engen’s businesses in Mauritius, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho, which are not part of the transaction.

    As per the agreement on 4 December 2017 and as a result of the restructure of the transaction, consideration in respect of the transfer of EIHL is US$203.9 million, comprising an issue by Vivo Energy of 63.2 million new shares valued at Vivo Energy’s IPO Offer Price of 165 pence per share and US$62.1 million in cash, resulting in EHL holding a circa 5.0% shareholding in Vivo Energy. The cash element of the consideration will be funded by a draw down on Vivo Energy’s multi-currency facility, established in May 2018, it said.

    Commenting on the transaction, Christian Chammas, CEO of Vivo Energy said: “Today’s announcement opens an important new chapter for Vivo Energy and we look forward to welcoming around 350 new employees, adding eight new countries to our network, and increasing our target market by nearly 150 million people to around 35% of the African population.”

    Yusa Hassan, managing director and CEO of Engen commented: “Engen is pleased with this transaction, which will enable the parties to proceed to completion on 1 March 2019. It aligns with our growth aspirations in Africa. We look forward to becoming a Vivo Energy shareholder, and adding another strong and well respected brand to the Vivo Energy group.”

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: Land conference in jeopardy
  • Land conference in jeopardyLand conference in jeopardy The absence of the master resettlement list and the government's seeming reluctance to address ancestral land claims have thrown a spanner in the works of next month's second land conference.

    Barely 24 hours after civil society threatened to boycott next month's national land conference, traditional leaders joined the fray with concerns about the manner in which the long-anticipated land indaba is being organised.

    While the bone of contention remains the release of the master resettlement list, many other issues were raised including the undermining of ancestral land discussions.

    The traditional leaders have drawn up a petition signed by Chief Tjinaani Maharero of the Maharero Royal house, Chief Seth Kootjie of the Topnaar Community, Kai-

    //Khaun Nama sub-tribe leader PSM Kooper, and Chief Eduard Afrikaner of the Afrikaner tribe, among others.

    Ovaherero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro raises a string of concerns including a demand that ancestral land claims must be a thematic agenda item.

    They question the manner in which the organising committees were structured and demanded that an entire day be dedicated to ancestral land.

    The traditional leaders propose sub-topics for the ancestral land agenda including the history of land dispossession, overlapping ancestral land claims, and a review of the Namibian constitution to provide for ancestral land rights and restitution. They also want to discuss international legal frameworks such as the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the impacts of ancestral land dispossession.

    They also believe that the criteria for the selection of delegates to the conference are unfair and exclusive.

    The leaders also demand to know why the position papers of various communities are not part of the draft agenda.

    “The regional consultations were inadequate and limited in their reach, because they were only held in the regional capitals which are urban centres and excluded the bulk of the rural population,” the petition reads.

    They demand that the position papers of traditional authorities be presented by their own technical experts at the conference.

    The group now recommends that traditional authorities be represented on all decision-making organisational tiers of the conference.

    “The final agenda of the second land conference must be circulated to the invitees at least two weeks before the commencement of the conference, for their perusal and necessary inputs as they may deem fit,” the petition reads.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Agribank, hunting farm battle over millionsAgribank, hunting farm battle over millionsFarming couple say they had an agreement Agribank wants to seize a hunting farm because of missed instalments, despite having signed a repayment agreement with the owners. Agribank and a prominent hunting farm are at legal loggerheads over millions of dollars.

    In papers before the court, Agribank is claiming over N$34 million, while Annelie and George le Roux, the owners of Kassandara Hunting and Safaris, are defending the action.

    In its particulars, filed on 22 March, Agribank asked for a judgment for the payment of the outstanding debts, and the execution of Farm 40, known as Kassandara, which is 8 836 hectares in size and located in the Erongo Region.

    According to the bank, the Le Roux couple signed four loan agreements with them on 25 October 2013.

    The first was for N$650 000 for the provision of renewable water and energy, the second for N$3 850 000 was for the construction of a lodge facility, the third for N$17 150 000 was for a complete takeover of debts at Bank Windhoek and the fourth was for N$1 million workers' quarters.

    The loans were repayable over different periods, some 15 and some 20 years, and interest rates also varied.

    At all times, Agribank says, the bond for the property was registered in favour of the bank at a value of N$22 650 000, including N$4 350 000 as security costs.

    Both George and Annelie le Roux signed unlimited surety for these loans.

    Agribank told the court that on 8 February it consolidated the amounts outstanding in terms of the four agreements and it reached the sum of N$34 336 057.46.

    It added that despite demand or summons constituting demand, no payment was made, despite being due.

    The Le Roux couple, in April, filed their notice of intention to defend. The matter went quiet and then on 13 June, Agribank gave instruction to its counsel, Jana-Marie van Zyl from Etzold and Duvenhage, to apply for a summary judgment from the High Court. Van Zyl communicated this to Abe Naudé of Weder, Kauta and Hoveka, counsel for the Le Rouxs, and in the same letter, asked whether there is a bona fide defence, or alternatively, an offer for an amicable settlement.

    It was then that the Le Roux couple met with Agribank.

    In his founding affidavit submitted on 2 August, George told the court they have a bona fide defence and further admitted to having “failed timeously to pay some of the instalments due”.

    However, he said they had held a meeting with the CEO, chief financial officer and the head of specialised financing of the bank on 21 June, some three months after the initial summons was issued against him and his wife.

    “I requested agreement on a temporary arrangement of the instalments payable and a withdrawal or stay of the action in the meantime.”

    According to Le Roux, an agreement was in fact signed whereby they would make monthly payments of N$20 000 starting end of June and would settle all the arrears by 29 March next year with money generated from a subdivision and development project on the farm and the sale of those share blocks.

    That document forms part of the papers filed by Le Roux. Proof of payments made at the end of June and July are also included.

    He told the court the fact that Agribank had persisted in its action reflects a lack of bona fides, adding the application should be dismissed in light of the agreement signed. He also said they do not agree with the sum claimed, adding they would engage an accountant to recalculate the amount owed to Agribank.

    Le Roux also made mention of email correspondence, also included in his papers. In this correspondence, the bank's chief financial officer Alfred Simasiku said the action was not to be cancelled, as Le Roux had written, but rather would be 'on hold' and furthermore, the agreement signed between the Le Roux couple and the bank would be sent to their legal department once drafted.

    According to correspondence between the bank and the Le Roux couple's counsel, Naudé, they had been blacklisted, while Agribank's “claims are not due, owing or payable”.

    “And what bothers our clients the most is that they were unlawfully blacklisted, apparently by [the bank] and that [the bank] refuses to withdraw the blacklisting.

    “This unfortunate state of affairs is to the prejudice of our clients. Our clients are also consequently prejudiced in the raising of funds or capital for the development contemplated on the property while the blacklisting remains,” Naudé wrote on 29 June.

    The matter seems to have stalled again with some relief for the Le Roux couple. Yesterday, before Judge Boas Usiku, the parties agreed that Agribank would withdraw its application for a summary judgement and it was given a month to decide further, if any, action.

    YANNA SMITH

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    Nurses suspended for gate birthNurses suspended for gate birth The health ministry has suspended two nurses at the Okuryangava clinic in Windhoek after a woman gave birth at the gate of the facility in full view of the public.

    The woman was allegedly instructed to go directly to hospital and witnesses at the scene said she was not examined.

    Health minister Dr Bernard Haufiku told Namibian Sun his ministry would immediately commence with disciplinary action against the nurses.

    They will also be reported to the Nursing Council of Namibia for misconduct.

    On Friday a video clip of the incident went viral, which prompted Haufiku to personally visit the clinic on Monday, where he met with the staff and the mother.

    “It became apparent that the nurses did indeed tell the poor women to go to hospital without examining her and that is how she ended up delivering at the gate,” Haufiku said.

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  • 09/18/18--15:00: Africa in brief
  • Africa in briefAfrica in brief Angolan Nov oil exports may fall

    Angola will export less crude oil in November than in October, based on a preliminary loading schedule on Monday that showed shipments will likely fall to their lowest since August.

    The early schedule, seen by traders, showed a drop in the number of cargoes to 44 in November and equates to a daily rate of 1.41 million barrels per day, from October's final 49 cargoes and 1.52 million bpd.

    That would be the lowest amount since August's 1.33 million bpd rate, which in turn was a 12-year low.

    The schedule included four cargoes of new grade Gindungo, which comes from Total's Kaombo oil field.

    Meanwhile, BP was again actively bidding for Nigerian cargoes loading in late October and early November, although, in the absence of any November loading programmes, made no purchases, traders said.

    -Nampa/Reuters





    Egypt cancels debt auction

    Egypt cancelled a Treasury bond auction on Monday, its third such move in as many weeks, as foreign investors cut their exposure to the country's debt at a time of weak appetite globally for emerging market assets.

    Data from the central bank showed it had called off the auction of 3- and 7-year treasury bonds worth 3.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($195.97 million). Two previous T-bond auctions, also for 3.5 billion pounds each, had been cancelled after bankers and investors demanded high yields on the debt.

    -Nampa/Reuters



    South Africa not planning mass layoffs in public sector

    South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday there would be no mass layoffs of public sector workers as his government considers various ways to pull the economy out of a recession that has rattled the rand and investor confidence.

    The economy slipped into recession in the second quarter for the first time since 2009, data showed in August, a stinging blow to Ramaphosa's pledge to revive the economy and reduce record-high unemployment after a decade of stagnation.

    In June, the National Treasury said it was considering layoffs and early retirement packages for staff in the public sector to avoid breaking its pledge to cut spending after unions clinched above-inflation wage increases.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Rocky start for Sierra Leone's free school programme

    Some two million children in Sierra Leone went back to school on Monday in a key test of the country's landmark free education programme for primary and high school students.

    It was a key election pledge of President Julius Maada Bio, who took office in early April. Bio has said he will donate three months of his salary to the scheme, which covers school fees and supplies.

    Schools were packed on Monday and some pupils were unable to get in due to a lack of space.

    "We turned down 30% of the kids seeking admission at our school due to lack of sitting accommodation. We will not exceed the teacher-pupil ratio of 50 per class," said Florence Kuyembeh, principal of a girls' secondary school in the capital Freetown.

    Last week, finance minister Jacob Jusu Saffa said the government had paid the fees for 1.1 million children in nearly 3 500 schools and would be picking up the tab for another 158 000 pupils.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Tunisia's 2019 debt payments to hit record US$3 bn

    Tunisia’s debt repayments will rise to a record level of more than 9 billion dinars (US$3.24 billion) next year, the finance minister said on Monday.

    The North African country’s economy has been in crisis since the toppling of autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, with unemployment and inflation shooting up.

    Last year, the debt service was about 7.9 billion dinars.

    “Debt service will exceed 9 billion dinar next year compared with about 5.1 in 2016,” finance minister Ridha Chalgoum said, giving no other details.

    Tunisia needs about 7 billion dinars in external financing in 2019, a senior official told Reuters last week.

    The government aims to reduce its budget deficit to 3.9% next year from the 4.9% it forecasts for 2018.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    0 0
  • 09/18/18--15:00: Honesty is best for Swapo
  • Honesty is best for Swapo Honesty is best for Swapo As in South Africa, where the ruling ANC has been called out on its land reform failures, Swapo potentially faces a similar grilling at the upcoming second national land conference.

    It is therefore understandable why the Swapo-led government would be reluctant to release a master list of resettlement beneficiaries, and why it is withholding other documentation being clamoured for by civil society.

    Having a scenario where Swapo failures - real or fashioned by its opponents - are put into the public glare is not the political mileage it would have been seeking from central government championing a second national land conference. This is especially true given that election 2019 looms large.

    Be that as it may, Swapo cannot escape what has happened over the past 28 years since independence.

    It has battled to properly drive the equitable redistribution land to the black majority, while the urban land crises, driven by narrow capitalist interests with regard to the obsession with having developers build at a profit, must be put glaringly under the microscope.

    So too must the perception that connected individuals were favoured in the resettlement process be dealt with decisively.

    As much as land is not a political football, and should not be reduced to that, the Swapo-led government should be willing to admit its cock-ups, oversights and favouritism, when it comes to enriching its elite.

    Glaringly, it was revealed by the Namibia Statistics Agency revealed recently that over the past 25 years the government declined to purchase five million hectares of agricultural land offered to it by the private sector.

    During that time it acquired only three million hectares of land for resettlement purposes.

    The urban land crisis has been raised ad infinitum by pressure groups, whom Swapo have branded as failed politicians and the like. Also, the clamour for restitution in terms of ancestral land grows daily.

    These are the realities and Swapo cannot shy away from its contribution to the state of our nation.

    0 0
  • 09/18/18--15:00: Tough luck for you
  • Tough luck for youTough luck for youEsau halts 'culture' of selling off fishing quotas The fisheries minister has lashed out at those who have fed off the “culture” of selling their fishing quotas, which he says has now ended. Fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau says government will no longer tolerate the selling off of fishing quotas, so people can make a quick buck.

    He made these remarks at the launch of the Seagull wet fish and longline processing plant, as well the inauguration of the new Seafresh fish factory and jetty by Tunacor in Walvis Bay last week.

    “I know that there are those who would like to promote the selling of fishing quotas, who are scared of the scorecard, because they have not complied with government policy on value addition. All they wish is to sell and cash in on their quotas,” Esau said. The state-of-the-art N$44 million Seagull Fish Processors Limited facility is a joint venture between Merlus Fishing Limited and nine other fishing companies, seven of whom are new. The N$25 million Seafresh fish factory processes squid into calamari and tubes for local and export markets, and is a joint venture between the Tunacor and Corvima groups' fishing rights holders.

    Esau said the “culture” of selling off fishing quotas “must stop”.

    “We will not give quotas for you to sell. The scorecard is coming; it has been approved by cabinet. I have just been dragging my feet, and that will soon come to an end. “We are focused on implementation and I will apply the criteria immediately, without favour. Do not come to me, with 'I cannot meet this criteria, please give me time to adjust'. Adjust now. If you don't have Namibian ownership in your vessels that includes women, war veterans or youth, do it now, before the season starts,” Esau said this past Friday.

    “To those who have not invested in this sector for the past 20 years, I say: tough luck! Tough luck to those who have not made any investments, who were just traders of quotas - this is the end of the road for you.”

    He said the sector must be used to develop Namibia.

    “We must empower our people.”

    Esau said there is no future for “lone rangers”, who despite not having resources and capacity to invest alone, still complain about working together in joint ventures.

    “To the big players who have been in the sector for long, the future lies in opening up and working in partnerships with our new shareholders, particularly previously disadvantaged Namibians.”

    The N$44 million Seagull facility will process, package and distribute seafood products.

    In addition, N$20 million was invested in a modern ice-making plant, with a capacity of 135 tons of ice per day.

    The Seagull factory is joint venture between Merlus Fishing, Abroma Fishing, Oryx Fishing, Helgoland Fishing, Ocean Gate Fishing, Osona Fishing, Ehanga Holdings, the Namibia Fishermen's Association, Agatha Bay Fishing and the Namibia Development Trust. The factory will process, on average, 30 metric tonnes of raw fish into high quality consumer products that are ready for local and international markets.

    It will create at least 200 permanent jobs for Namibians, and mostly for female-headed households.

    Leandrea Louw

    0 0
  • 09/18/18--15:00: Where govt waivered
  • Where govt waiveredWhere govt waivered5 million hectares offered over 25 years not purchased by state The government bought three million hectares of commercial farmland and declined five million hectares offered to it over the past 25 years. Over the past 25 years the government declined to purchase five million hectares of agricultural land offered to it by the private sector.

    During that time it acquired only three million hectares of land for resettlement purposes.

    The latest statistics show that between 1992 and 2018 the government issued waivers for 1 360 farms offered to it.

    During this time it acquired 496 farms benefitting 5 352 people.

    The largest proportion of farmland waived was in the Otjozondjupa Region (1.59 million hectares, 432 farms), where a mere 282 549 hectares were acquired by the government.

    This is also the region with the highest number of foreign-owned farms. This is according to the just-released Namibia Land Statistics Booklet compiled by the Namibia Statistics Agency.

    The Khomas Region had the lowest number of waived farms at 37, totalling 157 320 hectares. The government bought 86 283 hectares in this region.

    In the Oshikoto Region 333 950 hectares were waived and 64 558 hectares were acquired by the government, while in Omaheke the government bought 426 220 hectares and waived 816 833 hectares.

    In the Kunene Region the government purchased 298 469 hectares and waived 779 627 hectares.

    In the //Karas Region, 927 366 hectares were acquired by the government and it waived 560 965 hectares. In Hardap, 694 630 hectares were waived and 689 445 hectares acquired, and in Erongo 227 698 hectares were waived and 211 067 acquired.

    The report says the Oshikoto Region has the highest number of resettled people (1 499), followed by the Omaheke Region (1 455). Erongo has the lowest number of resettled people at 76.





    Another 6.4 million hectares were acquired through the Agricultural Bank of Namibia during 1992 to 2018.

    Of this, 3.4 million hectares (54%) of commercial farmland was acquired through the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme Programme, while commercial banks funded 2.8 million hectares (46%). Women accounted for only 10% of beneficiaries under the AALS programme.

    It says that so far 442 lease agreements have been issued for resettlement; 236 (53%) were issued to male beneficiaries and 192 (43%) to women. The remaining 14 (4%) leases were issued to other entities. Omaheke has the highest number of issued leases, followed by Hardap.



    Land in Namibia

    The Namibia Agricultural Union, which contributed land data to the report, called on the NSA to consider all agricultural land in Namibia as a whole.

    “Communal areas where agriculture is taking place amounts to approximately 28 million hectares compared to the commercial agricultural area of approximately 39 million hectares. Carrying capacity on agricultural land plays an important role and must be taken into account,” said the union.

    The NAU further requested the NSA to identify mining activities on agricultural land, as well as land owned by state-owned enterprises, and that such land should not be considered as part of agricultural land owned by “former beneficiaries”.

    The union says its land database is the only current comprehensive and reliable source of information on land ownership in the commercial agricultural sector, and it is constantly being updated.

    According to the report Namibia's land tenure now consists of 23% state land, 35% communal land and 42% commercial land. In 2010, it consisted of 20% state land, 36% communal land and 44% freehold land. Both communal and freehold land ownership has dropped slightly in favour of state ownership.

    Urban areas in Namibia, spanning 7.9 million hectares, account for only 1% of the total land mass and only 6% of state land. The biggest part of the 1% urban land is situated in designated communal areas.

    In terms of commercial farmland, which totals 39.7 million hectares, previously advantaged farmers own 27.9 million hectares (70%) while the previously disadvantaged community owns 16%.

    The report says the government owns 5.4 million hectares (14%) of commercial farmland. Women own only 23% of commercial farmland.

    It notes that according to the lands ministry's commercial land valuation roll of 2012 to 2017, 12 382 farming units – farms and portions of farms - were recorded. Individuals own 52.2% of these units, followed by companies (close corporations and proprietary limited companies) at 31.5% and the government at 13.8%. Farmers' association, foundations, estates and churches own less than 2% of commercial farmland.

    Most of the commercial farms and portions of farms are owned by Namibians at 38.3 million hectares (97.7%), while foreigners own 250 units totalling 1. 2 million hectares (2.0%).

    The Otjozondjupa Region has the highest number of foreign-owned farms at 65, covering 206 523 hectares.

    However, the largest area covered by foreign-owned farms is in the //Karas Region where foreigners own 49 farms covering 349 220 hectares.

    German citizens own 639 667 hectares (53.0%) of this land, followed by South Africans with 353 875 hectares (29.3%) and Americans with 82 024 hectares (6.8%).

    Joint ownership by Namibians and foreigners of commercial farms accounts for only 177 052 hectares (0.3%).

    ELLANIE SMIT

    0 0
  • 09/18/18--15:00: Hepatitis E hits Ondangwa
  • Hepatitis E hits OndangwaHepatitis E hits Ondangwa The town council of Ondangwa is moving all street vendors to the town's open markets in its fight against a hepatitis E outbreak.

    The health ministry has announced that 24 cases of the disease were reported in the region from April to July, of which 12 were in Ondangwa.

    The Ondangwa town council has already started removing vendors trading in the town centre around the Shoprite and Pick n Pay complexes.

    Council spokesperson Petrina Shitalangaho told Namibian Sun that the council had decided at the beginning of this month to move all street vendors to the open markets.

    “We are not chasing them away, but we are concerned about the health and safety of the town. They were informed timeously to move to more suitable places to conduct business and the council passed a resolution to that effect,” Shitalangaho said.

    “There is no good hygiene where they are operating and the majority of them were operating in danger zones and they were not safe. Some were operating in the road reserve.”

    Shitalangaho said it was unsafe for the vendors and their customers to do business next to the busy road.

    She said the vendors were being moved to the ABC and Ondjondjo open markets.

    The council yesterday held a meeting with the vendors to explain the move to them.

    “Apart from their safety we also informed them that we are concerned about the health of the products they are selling and of their customers,” she said.

    The vendors insisted that they wanted to trade in a business area and said the two open markets were already overcrowded and had no space for them.

    Shitalangaho replied that a new open market would be established in this financial year.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Koch guilty of sexual exploitationKoch guilty of sexual exploitation Despite a sloppy police investigation and wildly inconsistent witness statements, High Court Judge President Petrus Damaseb found there was sufficient proof to convict Bertus Koch (42) of child trafficking and contravening the Combating of Immoral Practices Act for immoral sexual acts with children.

    Lack of medical evidence, in addition to contradictory court testimony and statements given to the police in 2016, led Damaseb to acquit Koch on rape charges made by five children, aged between nine and 13, during the time the sexual abuse took place in Swakopmund.

    Koch was found guilty on five charges of child trafficking in contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and the five alternatives to rape counts of contravention of the Combating of Immoral Practices Act by committing or attempting to commit a sexual act with a child below the age of 16.





    Delivering his judgement yesterday, Damaseb highlighted that one of the minors, who was 12 between November 2015 and May 2016 when the abuse took place, testified that Koch did not rape her.

    Yet in police statements from 2016 she had claimed Koch had raped her at least three times a week during the five months.

    Moreover, a medical examination conducted shortly after the allegations came to light found no evidence that the minor had been “exposed to penetrative sex because her hymen was intact.”

    Damaseb said while there was sufficient proof that Koch did traffic the children by harbouring them or inviting them into his one-room shack with the intention to commit a sexual or immoral act, there was no further evidence given to show the accused “committed contact sexual acts on the complainants.”

    Further, the statements made by the complainants to the police did not match the versions given during the trial, which the judge said were “at best sketchy and so generalised that it would be difficult for an accused even with abundance with resources to offer exculpatory evidence.”

    Another issue that compounded the difficulty of the case were a lack of details in regard to dates and times of the offences, which he said made it difficult for Koch to provide alibi evidence.

    Damaseb said the various versions made it “most improbable that the rapes could have happened as described”, and added that the different versions “are most confusing even to the seasoned and hardened judicial mind.”

    He criticised the police for an investigation which he said “was poorly conducted as no serious attempt was made after the allegations surfaced to try and garner additional evidence that would add greater weight to the complainants' allegations”.



    Ring of truth

    Still, Damaseb said testimony given by the five minors was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Koch had received and harboured them so that he could engage in indecent and immoral conduct when the opportunity presented itself.

    Some of the girls testified that on one or more occasions, they were lured to Koch's room with promises of gifts after he had sent them on errands.

    Damaseb said there was sufficient evidence to prove that Koch had been, on two occasions, in a state of undress in the presence of at least two of the girls.

    According to their testimony, he masturbated in front of them, once while using a condom and another time by wrapping his genitalia “in a plastic bread wrapping.”

    Damaseb said this evidence did have “a ring of truth to it” and that it was highly improbable that “the minor complainants could have been coached to provide that sort of detail.”

    He said the details of the plastic wrapping and other testimony made it unlikely that the girls had fabricated the evidence, which he said “shines a light on the accused's motive for his association with the complainants.”

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Telecom to cut outstanding accountsTelecom to cut outstanding accounts Telecom Namibia will on Sunday cut off all of its customers who are in arrears. The company made the announcement in a statement yesterday late afternoon. The cuts affect all fixed-line and mobile customers, it said. This follows an earlier announcement made in August.

    Telecom is owed more than N$400 million since January this year.

    “Customer should pay the arrears in full. A valid trouble ticket should be loaded on the system before suspension. Customers will be suspended if the amount of the trouble ticket is less than the outstanding amount. All customers with outstanding bills of over N$100 for more than a month will be included in the suspension,” Telecom said.

    Its spokesperson, Oiva Angula, in August said that the cuts would be wide-ranging and that there would be legal action against those who had defaulted on their accounts.

    “Defaulters include government ministries, hospitals, institutions of education, state-owned enterprises, embassies, construction companies, individuals, small and medium enterprises and very influential people, and residential users,” he said at the time.

    “Customers are thus encouraged to pay their arrears in full at any NamPost outlet and send that proof through to designated personnel at Telecom’s credit control department. Customers are further encouraged to also utilise internet banking services and send proof of payment through,” Telecom said.

    The mobile services and fixed-line provider had also issued a similar warning in March this year.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Uranium: Nam remains under top producersUranium: Nam remains under top producers According to the World Nuclear Association, Namibia was the fourth biggest uranium producer globally last year.
    The country held the same spot in 2016.
    Last year’s top producer was Kazakhstan, followed by Canada and Australia.
    Read the full report tomorrow in Market Watch.

    0 0

    Uranium: Nam remains under top producersUranium: Nam remains under top producers According to the World Nuclear Association, Namibia was the fourth biggest uranium producer globally last year.
    The country held the same spot in 2016.
    Last year’s top producer was Kazakhstan, followed by Canada and Australia.
    Read the full report tomorrow in Market Watch.

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