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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 12/27/18--14:00: Southern RED set for 2019
  • Southern RED set for 2019Southern RED set for 2019Local authority revenue protected A local authority surcharge on electricity bills will ensure that southern towns don't lose revenue after the formation of a regional electricity distributor. The establishment of the Southern Regional Electricity Distributor is expected to be completed in 2019 following the finalisation of a formula that will reimburse local authorities for loss of income stemming from the creation of this company.

    The original plan was to establish the Southern RED before the end of this year, the Electricity Control Board said previously.

    “The main reason for the delay has been the finalisation of the local authority surcharge which will compensate the local authorities for loss of revenue as a result of electricity supply being transferred to the Southern Regional Electricity Distributor,” said ECB chief executive Foibe Namene. The delay in its establishment was to ensure that local authorities would not be worse off.

    “This aspect is key, as it will ensure that local authorities are not worse off after joining the RED. One notable achievement made has been the determination of the local authority surcharge. The local authority surcharge has been finalised and approved by the ECB,” Namene said. The establishment of the Southern RED came about as a result of an electricity distribution industry summit in 2014. The exit of the Southern Electrical Company (Selco) gave renewed impetus to the establishment of the regional distributor.

    Last year, Namene said: “The Southern RED will come into effect this year or early 2018 and this is very important to the EDI reform since the process had been ongoing for a very long time.”

    Highlighting the advantages of regional electricity distributors, Namene said REDs had been effective at refurbishing and replacing ageing infrastructure and managed to contain and reduce network losses.

    “The REDs' contribution to the supply of electricity throughout Namibia has undoubtedly been a success,” said Namene.

    “RED business operations are viable and shareholders receive dividends. For local authorities and regional councils it further means that they can be assured that their electricity functions are performed by a competent entity, with the capacity to provide good quality electricity services at required standards to their consumers.”

    A RED for central Namibia is also expected to be established in due course.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 12/27/18--14:00: Skulls, tyres block drains
  • Skulls, tyres block drainsSkulls, tyres block drains The City of Windhoek has called upon residents to stop flushing solid objects down the drain and making illegal connections to the city's sewerage system.

    The municipality had to unblock

    1 600 sewers in November.

    “A total of 998 of these blockages occurred in the northern suburbs. Items removed included tyres, car spare parts, cattle skulls, bones, sheets, clothes, sticks and even various metal objects,” the City said in a press release.





    “These blockages cause sewage to overflow and this pollutes the area and can lead to the further spread of diseases such as hepatitis E. The public is cautioned to dispose of these items at the designated areas around the city.

    “It is critically important to know what can be disposed of in the sewerage system because the City, on a daily basis, has to use its limited resources to clear up these blockages ... caused by objects that should never have entered the sewerage system,” the municipality said.

    “We rely on residents of Windhoek to support us.”

    More than 4 000 hepatitis E cases have been reported countrywide in the past year. Eighty percent of these could be traced back to Windhoek's Havana and Goreangab informal settlements.

    The outbreak is caused by poor hygiene and sanitation, the health ministry has said.

    Windhoek residents can report blocked drains by calling 061 290 2402/2162.

    ELVIRA HATTINGH

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  • 12/27/18--14:00: Rundu in disarray
  • Rundu in disarrayRundu in disarrayShaningwa's 'directive' divides crisis-hit town It is still unclear when new office-bearers for the Rundu town council will be elected and sworn in, as the infighting among the town's five Swapo councillors continues. The Rundu town council remains in limbo and is yet to elect new office-bearers, as infighting among ruling party councillors continues to throw the municipality into disarray.

    Three of the five ruling party councillors are refusing to implement a directive issued by Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa that says the existing office-bearers structure should be retained.

    The trio are against the directive because it will result in Verna Sinimbo being re-elected as mayor for the fourth consecutive time.

    Sinimbo is accused of not being a good leader and issues like the filthiness of the town have been blamed on her.





    This resulted in a boycott of the election and swearing-in of office-bearers that was supposed to be held on 22 November, and ever since then, the town council has had councillors without portfolios.

    According to the Swapo rules and procedures for office-bearers, the election and swearing-in of new office-bearers should take place at least 30 days before the end of the old council leadership's term. Swapo Kavango East regional coordinator, Ottilie Shinduvi said she still has to meet with the councillors and decide on a new date for the election and swearing-in ceremony.

    Meanwhile, the two non-Swapo councillors who serve on the Rundu town council - Reginald Ndara from the Rundu Concerned Citizens Association (RCCA) and Mathews Wakudumo from the All People's Party (APP) - have expressed their disappointment.

    Ndara said recently that the infighting among the Swapo councillors demonstrated that they valued positions above the needs of the people.

    “This is an indication that the Swapo local authority councillors in Rundu are not serious about the execution of their responsibilities, as mandated by the residents.

    “Instead of engaging themselves in constructive discussions, in order to find workable solutions to the problems experienced by the residents of Rundu, they are busy fighting amongst themselves for positions,” Ndara said in a statement.

    Rundu has been making headlines recently due to its water debt, its filthiness and its inability to provide serviced land and houses to its residents, which the councillors are partly blaming on Sinimbo's “dictatorial leadership style”.

    “As much as we are all equal councillors of the Rundu town council, most decisions are influenced by the mayor; it's either her way or the highway. We cannot allow that to happen any longer,” the disgruntled Swapo councillors said in a previous interview with Namibian Sun.

    Apart from concerns over Sinimbo's leadership, the concerned councillors also want to know which party rules and procedures gave Shaningwa the power to “dish out” directives.

    “In the rules and procedure book of the Swapo Party, nowhere does it talk about the secretary-general issuing directives; in fact, it gives us the guidelines for how office-bearers are elected. We are tired of being dictated to; we are on the ground and we know what is best for our town,” the councillors said.

    In an earlier interview with Namibian Sun, Shaningwa confirmed she had issued the directive, but refused to entertain any further questions.

    “Swapo has given a directive and if there is any communication or diversion from the directive, then I don't think it should be dealt with through newspapers,” she said.

    Sinimbo also made headlines last year when she was delegated by the party's Rundu rural district to attend the Swapo elective congress, when in fact she is a member of the Rundu urban district.

    She was subsequently elected onto the Swapo central committee.

    These and other discrepancies now form part of an unfolding High Court battle in which a group is seeking to have last year's elective congress declared unconstitutional, unlawful or invalid.

    The group also want the results of the Swapo top four and central committee elections set aside.

    The court battle came nearly a year after an unprecedented bruising campaign and congress, which saw President Hage Geingob and his slate under the Team Harambee banner contesting against a faction that called itself Team Swapo.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 12/29/18--22:18: All eyes on the DRC
  • All eyes on the DRCAll eyes on the DRC Voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo went to the polls this morning at 05:00 in elections that will shape the future of their vast, troubled country, amid fears that violence could overshadow the ballot.

    Millions of electors are choosing a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who is stepping down two years after his term limit expired - a delay that sparked bloody clashes and revived traumatic memories of past turmoil.

    The vote gives DR Congo the chance of its first peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

    But analysts say the threat of violence is great, given the many organisational problems and wide-ranging suspicion of Kabila.

    The election's credibility has already been strained by repeated delays, the risk of hitches on polling day and accusations that electronic voting machines will produce a rigged result.

    On the eve of the vote, talks between key candidates to avert post-election violence broke down.

    Opposition frontrunners Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi refused Saturday to sign a proposed peace pledge, saying election officials had failed to make suggested changes to the text.

    The announcement came after the pair had met with the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) as well as Kabila's preferred successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

    The UN, the United States and Europe have loudly appealed for the elections to be free, fair and peaceful - a call echoed on Wednesday by the presidents of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and the neighbouring Republic of Congo.

    Polling stations opened in the east of the country a little after their scheduled time and an hour later in Kinshasa and the west, with electoral officials and observers the first to cast their ballots in Lubumbashi.

    "I'm excited to vote, to be able to choose at last," one 18-year-old student named Rachel told AFP.

    In one polling station, electoral officials were still adjusting voting machines and in another a technician needed to restart a machine that had broken down, an AFP reporter saw.

    The last polling stations are due to close at 17:00 this afternoon.

    Twenty-one candidates are contending the presidential election, which is taking place simultaneously with ballots for the national legislature and municipal bodies.

    The frontrunners include Kabila's champion Shadary, a hardline former interior minister facing EU sanctions for a crackdown on protesters.

    His biggest rivals are Fayulu, until recently a little-known legislator and former oil executive, and Tshisekedi, head of a veteran opposition party, the UDPS.

    If the elections are ‘free and fair’, an opposition candidate will almost certainly win, according to Jason Stearns of the Congo Research Group, based at the Centre on International Cooperation at New York University.

    Opinion polls indicate Fayulu is clear favourite, garnering around 44% of voting intentions, followed by 24% for Tshisekedi and 18% for Shadary, he said.

    However, "the potential for violence is extremely high," Stearns warned.

    Between 43 and 63% of respondents said they would not accept the results if Shadary is declared winner, he said.

    And between 43 and 53% said they did not trust DRC's courts to settle any election dispute fairly.

    However, Kabila said he was confident "everything will go well on Sunday".

    "I want to reassure our people that measures have been taken with the government to guarantee the safety of all sides, candidates, voters and observers alike," he said in his end-of-year address broadcast Saturday.

    Eighty times the size of its former colonial master Belgium, the DRC covers 2.3 million square kilometres in the middle of Africa, behind only Algeria in area on the continent.

    Gold, uranium, copper, cobalt and other riches are extracted from its soil, but little of that wealth comes down to the poor.

    In the last 22 years, the country has twice been a battleground for wars drawing in armies from around central and southern Africa.

    The legacy of that era endures today in the DRC's eastern border region, where ruthless militias have carried out hundreds of killings.

    Insecurity and an ongoing Ebola epidemic in part of North Kivu province, and communal violence in Yumbi, in the southwest of the country, prompted the authorities to postpone the elections there until March.

    Kabila said the vote would take place "as soon as the situation allows it".

    Around 1.25 million people, out of a national electoral roll of 40 million, are affected.

    No explanation has been offered as to whether or how the delayed vote will affect the official outcome, and legal experts say the postponement is unconstitutional.

    Provisional results are due on January 6.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    DRC's Beni residents vote anywayDRC's Beni residents vote anyway They were barred from voting in Congo's presidential election. They voted anyway. On Sunday, thousands of men and women gathered in Beni to cast paper ballots they hoped that someone, somewhere, might take seriously. Last week, the electoral commission made the surprise decision to bar some one million voters in Beni and Butembo, cities in eastern Congo affected by a deadly Ebola outbreak.

    Protests followed the decision as people demanded to vote with the rest of the country. Ebola facilities were attacked. Health teams suspended work for days. The World Health Organisation chief warned that "prolonged insecurity" could bring a spike in Ebola cases. Congo was dangerously politicising the outbreak, the International Rescue Committee said.

    The electoral commission had allowed candidates to campaign in the outbreak zone, protesters said. Health officials had been prepared to screen all voters for fever. Hand sanitiser was deployed for use in polling stations. Angry residents asked, what was the sudden danger?

    The delay of the vote in the cities, which have many opposition supporters, undermines the credibility of the election to select a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila, critics said.

    Officially, voting in Beni and Butembo will take place in March, months after Congo inaugurates its new president in mid-January.

    Many Beni residents decided they couldn't wait.

    They gathered at a stadium in the centre of the city, carrying their voting registration cards. Youths wearing the vests of the electoral commission ringed the scene. A vuvuzela, the boisterous horn of soccer matches the world over, honked above the shouts of the crowd.

    Following Ebola outbreak precautions, each person first washed their hands. The virus is spread via infected bodily fluids.

    "Voting, it's our right," they chanted in Swahili while standing in line.

    Each was given a paper ballot - a piece of note paper, cut into pieces - to vote for president and national and provincial deputies. "Election Congo 2018," it read.

    Carefully, with a ballpoint pen, one woman filled out her ballot and waved it in the air in triumph. She dropped it into the plastic voting container.

    "We do not have Ebola. Kabila is worse than Ebola," said another voter, 24-year-old Jacob Salamu.

    It was the first time he had ever voted. "I've been waiting here since 05:00 and I've just voted like my countrymen in Kinshasa and elsewhere," he said.

    An organiser of Sunday's protest event, Paulin Mwithe, said the votes would be transmitted to the local bureau of Congo's electoral commission and to the United Nations peacekeeping mission, which has been in the region for years amid threats from rebel groups.

    The ballots will reach Kinshasa, the capital, in time to be announced with all the others, Mwithe declared.

    By midday, well over 10 000 people were seen waiting in line in several locations around Beni. Some said they had walked for miles to vote.

    In a dusty street near one of the makeshift polling stations, someone had placed a wooden cross. It said "Joseph Kabila, RIP."

    NAMPA/AP

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    Steenkamp duo crowned Vasbyt kingsSteenkamp duo crowned Vasbyt kings Vasbyt 4x4 driver and navigator duo Floris Steenkamp Snr and Floris Steenkamp Jnr with the mean machine 'Bobjaan' emerged as the overall winners of another gruelling ten-stage Weskus 4x4 Vasbyt Club event at Dune 7 on Saturday.

    Team Steenkamp managed to complete seven of the ten extremely demanding stages successfully. They amassed 520 points at the end of the day and also won the A Class category of the competition.

    Nico Oberholzer Jnr and Nico Oberholzer Snr with 'Goggo' finished second in the A Class with 480 points. Ben Lange and Francois Lotter in 'Kadaffi' finished third with 460 points.

    Twenty-five contestants - 20 Namibians and five South Africans - competed in four different classes at the event watched by hundreds of spectators.

    The weather played along and the crowd was treated to some adrenaline-pumping performances. As is the norm, participants were required to manoeuvre their vehicles through six sand pits, two dune-climbing stages, a tyre pit and finally a mud pit.

    Chris Bruyns and Fran Scholtz with 'Slakkie' shared the second overall position with Hanjo Horn and Mia Horn in 'Black Betty'. Both teams finished on 501 points.

    Rico Bothma and Dolf Bothma with 'Farm Truck' finished in third position with 290 points.

    Chris Bruyns and Frank Scholtz also won the B Class, followed by Jaco Oberholzer and Portra Dias with 490 points and Morne Oosthuysen and Niels Gartner in third position with 430 points.

    Hanjo and Mia Horn also clinched the C Class with 510 points. The teams of Rico and Dolf Bothma and Nico Theron Jnr and Herman Theron Jnr and Francois du Plessis and Liezel du Plessis fished on 500 points.

    Snyman and Bothma were awarded second place. Nico Theron Jnr and Herman Theron Jnr earned the third spot.

    Izak and Annelie Maritz clinched the category contested by the South Africans with 480 points. Peet Schutte and Henlo Venter finished second with 430 points. Johantjie van Wyk and Louis Jordaan finished third on 430 points.

    OTIS FINCK

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  • 01/01/19--14:00: Stars relish Casablanca draw
  • Stars relish Casablanca drawStars relish Casablanca drawUanivi celebrates service The African safari of one of Namibia's decorated clubs, African Stars, has not ended as they still have a few more rivers to cross to meet the Moroccans close to the Mediterranean Sea in early January. Former African Stars captain Pat-Navin Uanivi says his team is ready to face Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca in the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup.

    The Reds entered the competition after exiting from the prestigious CAF Champions League preliminary rounds after going a goal down to Orlando Pirates over two legs.

    The team from the heart of Katutura immediately grabbed the chance of playing in the second tier of Africa's biggest football league.

    “I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas but it will be now back to business when everyone will have to play their part.

    “We are ... ready to play football, be it in Africa or any other international competition,” Uanivi said.

    The former captain recently staged his own tournament at Otjombinde to celebrate his 20 years of playing football at top level.

    “The tournament went very well and it is all thanks to the players and the people who granted me the opportunity to do so.

    “I do not believe I will do that next year because they have to play their own tournaments.

    “I will however stage one in Gobabis were all teams are invited to take part in the competition,” he said.

    Stars won the NPL title last season after accumulating 64 points and winning 19 matches.

    The club drew on seven occasions, while losing only four of their 30 matches.

    The champions scored 40 goals and conceded 14, with star striker Panduleni Nekundi netting 15 goals.

    Stars' arch-rivals Black Africa failed to pip the champions to the post last season and finished on 55 points.

    The Mighty Gunners came third with 54 points, delivering their best performance ever in the premier league.

    Unam FC also had a good campaign, taking fourth spot with 48 points.

    Black Africa are leading the table with 16 points, followed by Mighty Gunners who are level on points with the former league champions after seven matches played.

    Citizens are at the bottom of the top pack with 11 points.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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    Kante growing into new role with ChelseaKante growing into new role with Chelsea N'Golo Kante insists he is finally growing into his new role in Chelsea's midfield as the France star prepares for Wednesday's clash with Southampton.

    Kante earned a reputation as the world's best defensive midfielder after playing a key role in Chelsea and Leicester's Premier League title triumphs, as well as France's World Cup victory.

    But the 27-year-old has had to adapt to a change of position this season under new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.

    Sarri, who replaced Antonio Conte in the close-season, brought Jorginho with him from Napoli to play the pivotal midfield role in front of the defence that used to be Kante's domain.

    Sarri believes Jorginho's superior passing makes him more suited to launching Chelsea's attacks than Kante, who is now operating in a slightly more advanced role on the right of midfield.

    Kante has sometimes looked out of sorts in his different position this season, but he showed signs of getting to grips with it on Sunday, scoring the winner at Crystal Palace with a well-timed run and cool finish.

    “This role is something I am enjoying and in a game I try to make that run sometimes,” Kante said.

    “David (Luiz) gave me a good ball and I am happy to score with my left foot and give something to the team.”

    Away wins at Watford and Palace made it a happy Christmas for Chelsea.

    But with the Blues still trailing 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, their title ambitions have been put on the back burner as they focus on securing a place in next season's Champions League via a top four finish.

    Currently in fourth place five points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal Sarri's side will be expected to consolidate that position against a Southampton team struggling to avoid relegation.

    Yet Chelsea shouldn't be complacent after some inconsistent displays of late, including a surprise 1-0 defeat in their last home match against Leicester.

    They could be hampered by fitness problems, with Olivier Giroud, Cesc Fabregas, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi all suffering injuries over Christmas.

    Sarri has questioned Chelsea's mental strength and cutting edge at various times this season and it would be no surprise to see new faces arrive in the January transfer window.

    Blues defender David Luiz admits Chelsea are still a work in progress, but he believes Sarri's philosophy is starting to take hold.

    “It's the connection, training together every day, understanding the philosophy and trying to improve,” Luiz said.

    In their first match of 2019, Chelsea are keen to banish the spectre of anti-Semitic chants from a section of their support after they were criticised for an offensive song about Tottenham fans during recent matches.

    Sarri slammed the “stupid” people involved and the club have vowed to take action against the offenders.

    The chant has a long history with Chelsea supporters and the issue is complicated by Tottenham fans also singing the offensive word themselves.

    Southampton are outside the bottom three only on goal difference after losing successive home matches last week.

    They will be without suspended captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at Stamford Bridge after his red card against Manchester City.

    “We will miss him, he's our best midfielder at the club,” Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/01/19--14:00: Seidler shines
  • Seidler shinesSeidler shinesJetty Mile favourites do it again The male and female winners of the Jetty Mile event managed to trim their previous best times this year. Philip Seidler (20) has won the 12th edition of the Otb Pupkewitz Jetty Mile for the sixth consecutive year.

    Seidler completed the 1.85-kilometre open-water swim, which starts at the Tiger Reef, continues past the Jetty and ends at the Mole, in a record time of 19 minutes and eight seconds.

    Last year he took 20 minutes and 24 seconds to complete the one-nautical-mile swim and short beach run to the finish line.

    Seidler is preparing for the ten-kilometre FINA OWS world championships in South Korea next year. He said the Jetty Mile was a perfect opportunity to polish his sprinting ability, which is a crucial component of every marathon swim.

    His closes rival, Alexander Skinner, finished second with a time of 21 minutes and 34 seconds. JP Burger came third with a time of 22 minutes and 11 seconds.

    Heleni Stergiadis (17) won the women's category for the third time in 23 minutes and 49 seconds. Vicky Botha finished second in a time of 24 minutes and 20 seconds, and Joanne Liebenberg finished third with a time of 24:28.

    Stergiadis clocked 25 minutes and 13 seconds last year. She first competed in the Jetty Mile in 2016 and has won the competition every year since then.

    Sea conditions were mild with not much swell and a surface temperature of 17 degrees.

    There were more than 200 entries, with 137 (up from 114) of the swimmers taking part in the full Jetty Mile which started at Tiger Reef at 15:30.

    OTIS FINCK

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    PDM ya tokola okufala kompangu oshikumungu shaSardarovPDM ya tokola okufala kompangu oshikumungu shaSardarovPDM a hala omayamukulo Ongundu yo PDM oya tokola okukonga ekwatho lyompangu sho tayi pataneke etsokumwe pokati kepangelo nekenge lyaRussia ndyoka tali hiila oofaalama dha thika pune okuza kepangelo lyaNamibia. Momasiku 15 gaFebruali nuumvo, ongundu yoPopular Democratic Movement (PDM) otayi ka pula Ompangu yoPombanda opo yi kaleke oompangela dheyambulepo adhihe moofalama ne ndhoka tadhi hiilwa komukwashigwana gwaRussia Rashid Sardarov pamwe nehangano lye lyedhina Comsar Properties SA, noshitiyali okukutha oonkondo etsokumwe lyehiilo lyoofaalama ndhoka lyuule woomvula 99 ndyoka lya shainwa pokati kepangelo lyaNamibia nomuzaizai ngoka.

    Moombaapila dhompangu ongundu yoPDM otayi kongo omayamukulo okuza kOminista yOmatulululo, ehangano lyoComsar, uuministeli wemona, omuprima minista, omupresidende, hahende-ndjai gwepangelo, omushangithi gwomavi, omunashipundi gwocentral procurement board oshowo epangelo.

    Omupresidende gwoPDM, McHenry Venaani, moombaapila dhe dhompangu okwa holola kutya oshigwana otashi pumbwa uuyelele moshikumungu shoka oshowo oongundu dhopolotika dhoka dhi li mOmutumba gwoPashigwana noyuuvite kutya omunambelewa gwepangelo ngaashi ominista yomavi oya li yi na okwiihumbata nokuninga omatokolo muuwanawa woshigwana kwiikwatelelwa koompango dhoshilongo.

    Oofaalama ndhoka tadhi patanekwa ongaashi Rianhof (yoohecta 5 027.8, Kameelboom (5 917.3), Smaldeel (457.7 ha) oshowo Wolffsgrund (5 982.1), adhihe otashi adhika moshitopolwa shaKhomas.

    Oofaalama ndhoka otadhi adhika pamwe na odhi na uunene woohecta 17 385.1 na odha pewa ehangano lyoRainhof Farming Company omanga inadhi gandjwa kepangelo.

    MuKotomba gwo 2018, Venaani okwa holola kutya okwa nongele kombinga yetsokumwe ndyoka lya shainwa kominista yomavi Utoni Nujoma oshowo Sardarov.

    Venaani okwa popi kutya okwa haluka noonkondo mokuuva onkundana ndjoka.

    Okwa popi woo kombinga yomatompelo ga gandjwa kuNujoma moPaliamende ta popile etokolo lyawo okuzimina etsokumwe ndyoka, ta popi kutya otali gandja uuwanawa wopaliko noompito dhiilonga.

    Kwiikwatelelwa ketsokumwe ndyoka, Sardarov otaka futa iifuta yohiila kepangelo, yi thike piifuta yokongulu yomavi hayi futwa kaanafaalama ayehe yomalanditho.

    Moombaapila dhompangu Venaani okwa popi kutya omulandu ngoka ogwa tulwa po opo gu pitikithe etsokumwe ndyoka lya ningwa.

    Okwa tsikile kutya Nuujoma oya tsu kumwe naComsar pakana naashoka kashi li paveta, sho natango a kwatele komeho elandulathano opo omunangeshefa ngoka afute mo ooyene nale yoofaalama ndhoka oshimaliwa shooN$12 000 mohecta yimwe yevi.

    Nujoma okwa zimine opo Cosmar a hiile oofaalama ndhoka uule woomvula 99 nonando ompango oya pitika owala oomvula omulongo kaazaizai.

    Okwa popi woo kutya aniwa Comsar okwa gandja oshimaliwa omagano goomiliyona 25 komayambulepo gomaudhano, ta landa woo oofaalama dhomatulululo ndhoka dha nuninwa ooprograma dhomatulululo. Venani okwa popi kutya egandjo lyomagano ngoka olya ziminwa komuprima, ihe nonando ongaaka kape na uumbangi mboka wa ulike kutya iimaliwa mbyoka oya gandjwa shi li moshiketha shepangelo.

    Venaani okwa popi kutya oya indile ya pewe okopi yetsokumwe ndyoka okuza kombelewa yomaziminino gomalanditho gomavi ihe oombaapila ndhoka kadha li dha pungulwa moondunda yoompungulilo na odha li dhi li aniwa komunambelewa gworegistrar of deeds.

    Venaani okwa yi momusholondondo gwiinima ayihe mbyoka e wete ya ningwa kayi li mondjila na itayi endele pamwe nompango metsokumwe moka, ngaashi omukalo moka oofaalama ndhoka dha landwa, nokudhihiilitha komunangeshefa ngoka.

    Kape na gumwe gwomaayamukuli a yamukula ta pataneke eindilo ndyoka, naElize Angula ota kalelepo paveta ongundu yoPDM.

    YANNA SMITH

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    First graphite plant commissionedFirst graphite plant commissioned Namibia's first graphite processing plant was recently commissioned by Next Graphite.

    The plant was constructed between December 2017 and March 2018.

    The plant quickly achieved optimisation, with 2.5 tonnes of graphite concentrate being shipped to Perpetuus Carbon Technologies for the manufacture of graphene, which will be used in the vehicle and bicycle tyre industries.

    Next Graphite's joint-venture partner, Gratomic Incorporated, is currently collaborating with Perpetuus to build on the latter's capability to initially provide approximately 550 tonnes of surface-modified graphene per year to support the volumes required by the tyre-manufacturing industry, its CEO Cliff Bream explained.

    “Once the market has been established, Perpetuus states that it has the capability to elevate capacity to thousands of tonnes per annum of graphite,” Bream added.

    According to him, the Aukam processing plant uses a simple crushing, grinding and flotation system, with a current capacity of 650 tonnes per year.

    “Construction is already under way for the installation of a larger mill with an 11 000-tonne per annum capacity,” Bream said.

    “The successful start-up of our Aukam processing plant is a major milestone for the company, one that allows our JV partner to begin feeding concentrate to Perpetuus for the manufacturing of graphene for use as a material-enhancing filler within tyre elastomers,” he added.

    Almost all of the processing plant's components have been acquired from South Africa and Namibia, which simplifies the procurement significantly from other options in China and Sri Lanka.

    Next Graphite's lump graphite is a preferred source of graphite for many end-users.

    It has unique characteristics suitable for use in 20 important value-added applications, particularly electric foils.

    It is also used in crucibles, brake pads, electrodes, refractories, lubricants, electric car lithium-ion batteries and nuclear reactors.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Oranjemund to open first marketOranjemund to open first market The town of Oranjemund is pulling out all the stops to attract businesses and tourists.

    This follows years of isolation from the rest of Namibia when the town was cordoned off, making it accessible only by permit.

    Since having been proclaimed a local authority, the council is making an effort to develop the town's economy.

    One of its initiatives is the establishment of a trading space known as the Hub Market.

    “We are very pleased to announce that the Hub Market will open its doors at the beginning of February 2019.The Hub Market will be a community space where local vendors can sell their crafts and freshly made goods on a daily basis to local people and visitors alike,” the town council said in a newsletter.

    The market will offer stalls that can be rented for a small daily fee that covers basic maintenance and the use of power and water. The Hub Market will also have a play area for children.

    “The water-wise garden and beautifully designed benches will provide the perfect backdrop to relax, unwind or catch up with the latest gossip. Braai facilities and a communal fire-pit area will also be available for hire to provide the perfect atmosphere for informal evening gatherings,” it said.

    The construction of this facility has been made possible by a grant from the US Ambassador's Self-Help Fund. The official opening will be on 8 February 2019. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to our home and trust that the Hub Market will provide a focal point for future community activities,” the town council said. The council called on residents to submit ideas for murals depicting Oranjemund. “During January we will launch a community-wide competition for individuals or groups to submit their ideas for drawings, images and sketches representative of Oranjemund to be painted as murals on the walls at the east end of the market site (adult mural) and the west wall of the Hub building (children's mural),” the statement read.



    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 01/01/19--14:00: Unproductive debt of N$16b
  • Unproductive debt of N$16bUnproductive debt of N$16bConsumer debt reaches staggering levels For two years running, personal loans and credit-card debt have grown alarmingly. Namibians are increasingly relying on credit cards and personal loans and by the end of November 2018 this debt totalled N$6.3 billion.

    That is almost N$1.3 billion more than in 2017.

    Moreover, overdrafts on personal accounts stood at N$3.1 billion and instalment debt at N$6.7 billion at the end of November last year.

    According to the latest figures released by the Bank of Namibia (BoN) “other loans and advances” from banks, which include credit-card debt and personal loans, was 19.6% higher at the end of November than at the same time in 2017. Year on year, this is the highest growth in debt since May 2017.

    Personal loans and credit-card debt have been growing in double figures for two years. Up to the end of November, consumers' debt had increased by N$88 million every month.

    During November, consumers racked up N$128.7 million in credit-card debt and personal loans: the third highest for 2018. The highest debt levels were recorded in August 2018 (N$201.1 million), followed by N$162.4 million in July 2018.



    Other debts

    The rate at which overdrawn accounts and instalment debt are growing is not yet alarming. Compared to November 2017, the total overdrawn account debt stood at N$26.7 million, or, 0.9% higher, in November 2018.

    After measures implemented by the BoN, including compulsory deposits and shorter repayment periods on vehicle purchases, instalment debt has dropped. At the end of November 2018, this debt stood at N$491 million, 6.8% lower than in November 2017.

    Home loans, considered as productive debt by the central bank, stood at N$38.3 billion in November 2018, roughly N$2.5 billion or 6.9% more than in November 2017.

    In total, Namibian consumers owed commercial banks N$56.3 billion at the end of November 2018, almost N$3.3 billion or 6.1% more than in November 2017.

    The latest figures available from Namfisa indicate that registered micro-lenders were owed N$5.6 billion in March 2018 - N$1.2 billion or 27% more than in March 2017.

    The financial stability report of the BoN, published in April 2018, indicates that consumers spend N$83.30 out of every N$100 of disposable income on paying their debts.

    Both the central bank and the International Monetary Fund have expressed concern over the Namibian consumer's debt burden.

    JO-MARE DUDDY

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    DR Congo's miners cast watchful eye on upcoming pollsDR Congo's miners cast watchful eye on upcoming pollsTense relation between sector, government Furious at the tax hike, foreign firms are also slamming the end of a 10-year stability clause for royalty taxes. Most mining companies concerned by this change in the regulatory framework want to go to arbitration. – Anonymous source: DRC Caroline Thirion - From small-scale diggers eking out their existence to corporations exposed to the market fluctuations of cobalt and legal reforms, DR Congo's massively important mining sector has a keen eye on the country's troubled election process.

    Subsistence diggers scraping a living outside the mining capital of Lubumbashi said they hoped Sunday's long-delayed poll will bring political change and a better life.

    "We have pinned our hopes on Martin Fayulu," said Prince, a 32-year-old miner referring to a candidate running against President Joseph Kabila's handpicked champion, Emmanuel Ramazan Shadary.

    Prince and colleague Kalumba, 24, hammered at the rock, seeking to tease out enough cobalt to earn a few dollars off intermediaries.

    Both are among the roughly two in three Congolese who live below the poverty line, seeing almost nothing of their country's vast natural riches - a wealth that includes gold, uranium, diamonds and copper.

    Cobalt

    The big star at the moment is cobalt, the vital ingredient in batteries for electric cars, mobile phones and other glitzy devices, and the DRC is the world's biggest exporter of the stuff.

    Cobalt soared to US$94 800 per tonne in May.

    It has since slumped to US$57 000 per tonne, although this is still more than twice the price level seen in mid-2016.

    The current level is "not too bad," said Ghislain Yumba, head of business development at Chemaf, a cobalt miner in Lubumbashi.

    "We think cobalt can stay at this level for the coming two to three years - it's not so alarming," he said.

    The government classified cobalt as a "strategic" mineral under mining code reforms passed in early 2018, one of outgoing President Joseph Kabila's final economic projects.

    The reforms will beef up the state's take on the coveted mineral, hiking taxes on production to 10% from 2.5%.

    "That will have a knock-on effect," says Yumba. "But the current price level still allows us to face up to that."

    Foreign firms

    But foreign firms operating in the DRC, including Anglo-Swiss behemoth Glencore, are less happy.

    Furious at the tax hike, foreign firms have also slammed the end of a 10-year stability clause for royalty taxes.

    "Relations between the miners and the government are not at all good," a sector expert told AFP.

    "Most mining companies concerned by this change in the regulatory framework want to go to arbitration. But then they get threatened with having their operating licence taken away," the source added.

    Before junking the stability clause, Kabila "used to want to defend the mining sector," the source lamented.

    The industry now hopes a new political regime will be more sympathetic to its worries about profitability, the source said.

    Agriculture

    Another sector with its eyes on post-electoral change is agriculture.

    Barely 10% of some 80 million hectares of arable land is cultivated.

    "Our land is among the most fertile in the world," the governor of Tanganyika boasted to journalists visiting his southeastern region last March.

    Yet humanitarian groups say some seven million people lack sufficient food in a country where subsistence farming is the norm and which is a net importer of foodstuffs.

    Shadary has promised to make the sector a pillar of the economy while Fayulu has promised an "agricultural state of emergency" to ensure that "in a year no Congolese dies of hunger."

    But such promises are viewed sceptically in a country where corruption and government inertia are rife.

    Four years ago, Kabila inaugurated a 75 000-hectare agro-industrial park in a South African partnership at Bukanga Lonzo, 220 km east of Kinshasa.

    But production ground to a halt earlier this year after the South African contractor pulled out and launched a US$20 million legal claim in Paris against the government.

    Sector workers cite a chronic lack of farm equipment as an additional problem, as well as violence.

    In Beni, in northeastern North Kivu province, "hundreds of agricultural workers are paralysed by fear of getting killed by armed groups to the extent they refuse to go and cultivate their fields," the DR Congo office of the Norwegian Refugee Council said after a recent spate of attacks targeting workers. – Nampa/AFP

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    At 20, euro is currency giant on fragile footingAt 20, euro is currency giant on fragile footing Jean-Philippe Lacour - The euro turned 20 yesterday, marking two tumultuous decades that saw the single currency survive a make-or-break crisis and become a fixture in financial markets and Europeans' wallets.

    But it is destined to remain a fragile giant without closer eurozone integration, observers say.

    Born on January 1, 1999, the euro initially existed only as a virtual currency used in accounting and financial transactions.

    It became a physical reality for Europeans three years later, and its coins and notes are now used by over 340 million people in 19 European Union countries.

    The currency wasn't immediately loved, with many perceiving its arrival as an unwelcome price hike. In Germany, it was nicknamed the "teuro", a pun on the German word for expensive.

    But the ease of travelling and doing business across borders in the euro area without having to worry about foreign exchange fluctuations quickly won hearts and minds.

    Popular

    Today the euro is more popular than ever despite the rise of eurosceptic, populist movements in a slew of countries.

    In a November survey for the European Central Bank, 74% of eurozone citizens said the euro had been good for the EU, while 64% said it had been good for their nation.

    "The euro is anchored in the population, even anti-establishment parties have had to acknowledge that," said Nicolas Veron, a fellow at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels and the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

    The euro is now the world's number-two currency, though it remains some way off from challenging the dominance of the US dollar.

    Turmoil

    The euro reached a defining moment when the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis triggered a eurozone debt crisis that culminated in bailouts of several countries, pushing the currency union to breaking point and severely testing the club's unity.

    Experts say the turbulent time exposed the original flaws of the euro project, including the lack of fiscal solidarity through the pooling of debt, investments and therefore risks, or the lack of a lender of last resort.

    The turmoil also highlighted the economic disparity between member states, particularly between the more fiscally prudent north and debt-laden southern nations.

    ECB chief Mario Draghi was credited with saving the euro in 2012 when he uttered the now legendary words that the Frankfurt institution, in charge of eurozone monetary policy, would do "whatever it takes" to preserve the currency.

    The ECB promised to buy up, if necessary, unlimited amounts of government bonds from debt-stricken countries. The scheme, known as outright monetary transactions, succeeded in calming the waters but has never actually been used.

    ECB

    To keep money flowing across the eurozone and ward off the threat of deflation, a crippling downward spiral of prices and economic activity, the ECB has still taken unprecedented action in recent years.

    It has set interest rates at historic lows, offered cheap loans to banks and bought more than 2.6 trillion euro in government and corporate bonds between 2015 and 2018.

    With inflation inching closer to the bank's goal of just under 2.0%, the stimulus has been widely judged as a monetary policy success story.

    But observers say the 19 single currency nations have not done enough to carry out the political reforms necessary to better arm the region for future downturns and achieve greater economic convergence.

    The long-mooted banking union remains incomplete amid disagreement over the creation of a Europe-wide deposit insurance scheme.

    And French President Emmanuel Macron's flagship proposal for a eurozone budget has been considerably watered down, with members in December agreeing only to exploring a scaled-down version of the idea while staying vague on details.

    Macron's more ambitious plans for a eurozone finance minister or a European version of the International Monetary Fund have been pushed aside.

    The ECB meanwhile has gone "as far as it can" in shoring up the euro, said Gilles Moec, a former French central bank economist.

    But analyst Vernon took a more upbeat view, saying the euro had been strengthened by the clean-up of banks' balance sheets, efforts to rein in public debt and the ECB's extraordinary actions.

    The euro is now "a giant with feet of bricks rather than clay", he said. – Nampa/AFP

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  • 01/01/19--14:00: Chaos during kabeljou run
  • Chaos during kabeljou runChaos during kabeljou runAir Namibia gets new board An earlier kabeljou run coupled with a large numbers of anglers had fishing inspectors overwhelmed and many anglers breaking the law. This year's so-called kabeljou run has begun significantly earlier than usual and has caused chaos among surf anglers. Large numbers of kabeljou (kob) have been caught north of Henties Bay since Christmas and there is little control.

    For more than a week fishing inspectors along Namibia's central coast have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of surf anglers.

    “We have issued many fines because quite a few surf anglers did not follow the rules, but we could not be everywhere,” says chief fisheries inspector Rosalia Mupetami.

    This year's kabeljou run is unusual in a number of ways. Usually, large kabeljou migrate south in January or February to spawn in sheltered bays and estuaries, most importantly Sandwich Harbour.

    To protect the resource, fishing at popular angling spots like Paaltjies near Walvis Bay is limited at the beginning of the year.

    This season, the first kabeljou run was announced before Christmas at Solitude and Henties Bay.

    “In the 21 years I've been fishing on the coast, I've never experienced anything like that,” said an angler at Henties Bay.

    Many fish have been caught at Mile 68, Mile 72 and the fishing spots known as Tolla se Gat and Sarah se Gat over the last week.

    “We set up a mobile roadblock north of Henties Bay and caught several anglers who exceeded the daily bag limit and had too many big fish,” Mupetami said.

    By law a person may only be in possession of two kabeljou larger than 70 centimetres.

    However, during the kabeljou run anglers look for alternative routes through the desert to avoid the roadblock.

    Mupetami was unable to say exactly how many fines had been issued. She called on the public to report incidents of overfishing in order to protect the Namibian fish resource from exploitation.

    ERWIN LEUSCHNER

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  • 01/01/19--14:00: Air Namibia gets new board
  • Air Namibia gets new boardAir Namibia gets new board Air Namibia on Thursday appointed six new board members who will serve for a three-year term.

    The new board members are Escher Luanda, Heritha Nankole Muyoba, Willy Mertens, Nangula Kauluma, Alois Nyandoro and Deidre Sauls.

    Making the announcement, transport minister John Mutorwa said the board should promote tourism and encourage business in Namibia.

    Mutorwa emphasised that the board should work as a unified team, ensure professionalism and concentrate on the job at hand.

    Reading sections of the board members' appointment letters to them, Mutorwa said they were expected to uphold the highest levels of integrity and represent the interest of the Namibian state. He said the board members should acquaint themselves with the relevant laws and regulations, such as the Air Namibia Act, the Public Procurement Act, Public-Private Partnerships Act and Civil Aviation Act.

    The new board is expected to hold its first meeting soon, where its members will choose a chairperson and vice-chairperson.

    The new board replaces Conville Britz, Evelyn Zimba-Naris, Wilhencia Uiras, Gerson Tjihenuna (chairperson) and Florette Nakusera (vice-chairperson), who served from July 2015 to July 2018.

    NAMPA

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    Lab-grown diamond prices slide as De Beers fights backLab-grown diamond prices slide as De Beers fights backFurther drops expected De Beers has plenty of scope to cut prices further, to reinforce the cachet of natural gems and to undermine synthetic diamond rivals that have been earning substantial margins in recent years, analysts say. The idea of De Beers is clearly to set a price point where it may deter large volumes of capital to come into the lab-grown diamond market.- Menno Sanderse, Analyst: Morgan Stanley Eric Onstad and Barbara Lewis - Since De Beers abandoned its decades-old policy of refusing to sell lab-grown diamonds as jewellery, the price gap between man-made stones and natural gems has widened - and the difference is set to get even bigger.

    When De Beers shocked the industry with its U-turn in May, a 1 carat synthetic diamond cost about US$4 200 while an equivalent mined gem sold for US$6 000. But since September, De Beers, has been selling gem-quality man-made stones for just US$800 a carat.

    De Beers says it wants to create a clear distinction between lab-grown diamonds and natural gems. The hope is this will reinforce the mystique of stones formed in the earth's crust so consumers keep buying them for major events such as engagements.

    By contrast, its synthetic diamonds grown in Britain at its Element Six labs and sold through jewellery subsidiary Lightbox are marketed as sparkly, pink, blue or white fashion accessories that are neither as rare nor precious as real gems.

    Strategy

    The risk for the 130-year-old De Beers, which coined the marketing tag "A Diamond is Forever" in 1947, is that its branding of lab-grown gems could undermine natural diamonds.

    But so far, De Beers' strategy has been working. According to analyst Paul Zimnisky, the average discount of a 1 carat generic lab-grown diamond to a natural diamond had widened to 42% by mid-November from 29% in January.

    At the same time, production costs to make high-tech diamonds in a laboratory have plummeted to as little as US$300 a carat from about US$4 000 over the past decade, according to consultants Bain & Company and two former De Beers' employees.

    That means De Beers has plenty of scope to cut prices further, to reinforce the cachet of natural gems and to undermine synthetic diamond rivals that have been earning substantial margins in recent years, analysts say.

    "The cost of these synthetic diamonds will go down to production costs plus a competitive profit margin. There is no shortage," said Martin Rapaport, who publishes a list of natural diamond prices regarded by many in the industry as a benchmark.

    ‘Substitution scenario’

    De Beers is also investing $94 million over four years to build a US factory that will churn out 500 000 carats of lab-grown gems a year and Chinese producers are stepping up their output of cheap manufactured diamonds.

    "I think De Beers will keep the pressure up and may even cut prices further from the US$800 level once they get their new factory up and running," a diamond industry executive who used to work for De Beers said on condition of anonymity.

    Until about five years ago, diamonds produced from carbon using complex technology had largely been shunned by jewellers as a fringe product, even though they have been used in industry for decades.

    But man-made gem-quality diamonds have enjoyed growing sales from millennials attracted by the prospect of cheaper stones that are guaranteed to be conflict-free.

    Investors

    The industry has attracted investors from Silicon Valley and Hollywood, including "Blood Diamond" star Leonardo DiCaprio, who helps promote man-made diamonds as ethical and low-carbon - claims that are disputed by the natural diamond sector.

    While the nascent lab-grown sector can still be profitable with a wider discount to natural gems, the eye-watering margins at a string of start-ups could be threatened if prices continue to fall, especially for larger gems, analysts and insiders said.

    Public data is not available for the privately-held lab-grown diamond firms, but Zimnisky calculates many have core profit margins of about 50%.

    Retailers selling both natural and lab-grown diamonds are also less likely to apply the same sales pressure to lab-grown diamonds once the incentive of huge margins has been eroded.

    "The idea of De Beers is clearly to set a price point where it may deter large volumes of capital to come into the lab-grown diamond market," said Morgan Stanley analyst Menno Sanderse. "They are trying to minimise the tail risk of the substitution scenario."

    ‘High-risk gamble’

    While operating costs of man-made diamonds are falling, initial investments can be steep, handing De Beers an advantage given it is backed by mining company Anglo American.

    De Beers declined to comment on its costs. It said it was selling lab-grown diamonds at a profit, refuting suggestions from rivals that it is dumping the man-made gems on the market.

    De Beers says it simply saw a demand for lab-grown diamonds and now technology is sophisticated enough to produce gem quality as well as industrial stones, it decided to fill it.

    So far, lab-grown diamonds only account for about 2% of the overall diamond jewellery market.

    California's Diamond Foundry, backed by DiCaprio and Silicon Valley investors, is among dozens of lab-grown gem producers to emerge over the last decade as technology has evolved since the first synthetic industrial-quality diamond was created in 1954.

    Firms have been attracted by high prices and the ability to extract profits from several areas of the value chain.

    While the natural diamond industry includes miners, traders, polishers, jewellery makers and retailers, all adding their own margins, the man-made sector controls many if not all of those functions in single firms.

    German-born Diamond Foundry Chief Executive Martin Roscheisen, who has founded several Silicon Valley start-ups, said his firm has not had to cut prices due to Lightbox.

    "It's a very high-risk gamble that De Beers is taking that so far we don't see working out, because they have primarily legitimised the man-made category," Roscheisen said.

    Another big initiative held its nerve in the United States, the country which accounts for most lab-grown diamond sales.

    Major department stores JC Penney and Macy's announced in October the roll-out of a bridal collection of lab-grown diamond jewellery in time for the peak Christmas season - and stuck to their guns on pricing.

    A three-carat lab-grown diamond engagement ring is listed on Macy's website for US$19 950. The jewellery is made by Richline Group, which his owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. – Nampa/Reuters

    KASSIE

    Factbox: Man-made diamonds

    Origins

    A team at the General Electric Research Laboratory in New York discovered the first commercially successful process for producing man-made diamonds in December, 1954, according to the book "The Diamond Makers" by Robert Hazen.

    Scientists had been seeking to create a diamond since the discovery in 1797 that diamonds, the hardest natural substance on earth, were made of nearly pure carbon.

    Process

    There are two main methods to produce man-made diamonds:

    HPHT

    The High Pressure, High Temperature process, which was used by the General Electric scientists in the 1950s, seeks to replicate the way natural diamonds were formed about 100 miles beneath the earth millions of years ago.

    It uses pressure of more than 1.5 million pounds per square inch and temperatures above 2 000 degrees Celsius in a machine to transform carbon into diamonds.

    Scientists at Element Six, part of Anglo American, liken the pressure required to standing the Eiffel Tower upside down on a drinks can.

    By the 1990s the technique became advanced enough to create diamonds of sufficient quality and size to be commercially viable.

    CVD

    The Chemical Vapour Deposition process, which became viable in the 1980s, does not require high pressure.

    A hydrocarbon gas mixture is ionised by microwaves or lasers in a vessel at temperatures of about 800 degrees Celsius. This breaks the molecular bonds of the gases, spurring carbon atoms to be deposited on a diamond seed, growing into a crystal, layer by layer over days and weeks.

    Many of the new lab-grown diamonds companies use CVD, which gives the diamond creator greater control over the process, making it suited to production of large volumes of gem-quality diamonds rather than industrial-quality stones for purposes such as cutting machinery.

    Market

    The lab-grown diamond jewellery market was worth US$1.9 billion this year and is forecast to grow 22% annually to US$5.2 billion by 2023 and US$14.9 billion by 2035, analyst Paul Zimnisky said.

    The man-made sector is worth about 2% of the total US$87 billion diamond jewellery market and is due to increase its share to 5% by 2035, according to Zimnisky.

    Millennials

    A poll of 2 000 female millennials by Berenberg Research found that 53% would happily accept a lab-grown diamond engagement ring - with acceptance ranging from 62% in Japan to 56% in the United States and 40% in China. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Year of accountability – Geingob Year of accountability – Geingob Analysts sceptical The president has declared 2019 the year of accountability but analysts say he has downplayed the government’s lacklustre performance in 2018. JEMIMA BEUKES



    President Hage Geingob left the nation baffled when he declared 2019 the year of accountability after what analysts described as an underwhelming 2018, which he had declared to be the year of reckoning.

    On New Year’s Eve Geingob called on all Namibians to embrace the new year with optimism and purpose; a sense of vision and a sense of patriotism.

    He also encouraged Namibians to embrace principles which transcend differences of ethnicity, tribe and community.

    “Now as we ready ourselves for 2019 we do so knowingly that it will be a year in which we as politicians will have to account to the electorate - the ultimate sovereign - who have ceded their right to administer by bestowing that responsibility to us. 2019 will be the year of accountability,” Geingob said.

    Social commentator Henning Melber says President Geingob was far too eager to take stock in a way which underlined that 2019 is an election year.

    Melber observed that it was a “self-applauding retrospective”, which downplayed to some extent the problems by praising the initiatives taken.

    “He twice mentioned that his State of the Nation Address in April will offer more substance. Unless people forget, he will then be measured if he is up to standard.

    “Once again, the populist rhetoric through playing with pompous words was obvious: having declared the years in government as those of planning (2015), implementation (2016), rededication (2017) and reckoning (2018) he now announced 2019 as the year of accountability.

    “Well, planning, implementation and accountability should be substantial integral parts of any day in government and not a label you attach to one year.

    “A government should plan, implement and be accountable from the first until the last day in office, 24/7,” said Melber.

    Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah said he was puzzled as to how the president decided to declare 2019 the year of accountability and yet little could be shown during 2018, the so-called year of reckoning.

    “To do reckoning is to account for one's actions. So how is this year going to be different than the year of reckoning? What is the difference between the year of reckoning and the year of accountability? And what has been achieved with the year of reckoning?” he asked.

    Political commentator Frederico Links shot down Geingob’s speech as pure rhetoric and sloganeering.

    Links believes that the president is trying to make Namibians feel better about their situation.

    “As we have seen with the year of reckoning, it was an underwhelming reckoning performance. I do not want to sound pessimistic right at the start of this year.

    “Look at the targets that he set himself in terms of bucket toilets and things like these, and eradicating the unsanitary conditions. We are far behind [in reaching] these targets,” said Links.

    Talk is cheap

    Geingob further raised eyebrows when he said the government had taken the bold step of eradicating informal settlements by declaring the situation in these areas a humanitarian crisis.

    Melber pointed out that declaring living conditions in informal settlements a humanitarian crisis, which is indeed “an adequate diagnosis”, does not solve the problem and does not spell out any treatment plan.

    Responding to the president’s comment that the second land conference was a major step in solving the land issue, Melber reminded Geingob that a land conference does not offer solutions to the land issue.

    “Never mind the controversies around the land deal with the Russian oligarch and the situation of the landless dumped in the Dordabis corridor.

    “With reference to investigations into accusations of corruption by high-ranking political office holders he suggested that justice take its course under the rule of law.

    “This creates expectations as to what will happen. But seeing is believing: Geingob did not offer any indications how the challenges should be solved.

    “As regards the economic crisis of epic proportions, he once again used the mantra blaming mainly the external factors of a world economy. But other resource-dependent economies of a similar nature have not ended up in depression.

    “A self-critical dimension would have added a lot of legitimacy to his speech and admitting mistakes or not-so-good performances does not undermine the credibility of a government and its head but enhances it,” he said.

    Links commended the government for taking this step but added that action speaks louder than words.

    “Declaring something a crisis and doing something about it are two different things,” he said.

    Inconsistencies

    Commentators reached behind Geingob and questioned the ability of his advisers and speechwriters.

    Although Kamwanya commended Geingob for taking his time to address the nation, he emphasised that the speech was riddled with inconsistencies which diverted the attention from what could have been a good message

    “It was a mistake for him or his advisers or speechwriters to blend in with the achievements. Like the thing of declaring that they are eradicating informal settlements. It is just unfortunate,” he said.

    Melber argues that the president should have read his speech before he went on national television.

    “If there was a speechwriter, he/she needs some professional advice and training to improve skills. And the president would have benefitted from a few more trial runs of reading the speech before recording it for broadcasting.”

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  • 01/01/19--14:00: Rains greet the New Year
  • Rains greet the New YearRains greet the New Year JANA-MARI SMITH

    Widespread rains and a dip in temperatures marked the last days of 2018 in many parts of the country and there are high hopes that dams will receive much-needed inflows.

    South African weather expert Mike Berridge reports that the chief factor for the rainy weather over much of southern Africa over the weekend “is the inflow of humid air in the mid-level of the atmosphere at a height centring around 13 000 feet up.”

    On Saturday he explained that “thundershowers for Namibia and Botswana are being enhanced by the slow southward drift of the unstable low pressure which is also pulling in air originating from the Congo.”

    The Namibia Meteorological Service forecast for today is partly cloudy and mild weather in the extreme south-west, elsewhere partly cloudy and hot to very hot with isolated to scattered thundershowers over the northern, central and north-eastern parts.

    Over the weekend Namibians rushed to report rainfall and flowing rivers on social media.

    Yesterday it was reported that 26 mm had been measured at Osire, resulting in a total of 44 mm for the month of December.

    In Windhoek, rain measurements ranged from 30 to 45 mm in different parts of the city.

    Rain was also reported at Rundu, Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Tsumeb and Kalkfeld.

    Nearly 38 mm of rain was recorded at Wilhelmstal and several Namibians reported inflow into dams in the area.

    Between 30 and 35 mm was recorded at Okahandja, 39 mm in the Tsumkwe area, 42 mm at Waterberg and 22 mm west of Leonardville.

    Witvlei received around 40 mm over the weekend.

    Photos of inflow into the Von Bach Dam were also shared. The dam level stood at 40.3% in the latest NamWater report issued on 17 December and many have expressed hope that it will rise.

    At Divundu heavy rainfall was experienced, while Ondangwa and other northern parts of the country also reported receiving rain.

    In the south, 20 mm of rain was reported at Kalkrand and Maltahöhe, and 14 mm at Aranos.

    Between 40 and 50 mm of rain was recorded on farms south of Maltahöhe.

    Several rivers were flowing, including the Tsauchab near Sesriem.

    NamWater’s 17 December dam report stated that the Swakoppoort Dam was 24.5% full. No new reports have been issued since.

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