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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 956 | 957 | (Page 958) | 959 | 960 | .... | 1152 | newer

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  • 02/12/19--14:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Tanzania row overshadows Acacia's upbeat output

    Acacia Mining beat forecasts on Monday with figures for its production and costs in 2018 that lifted the gold miner back into profit, but the

    company is still grappling with a long-running tax dispute in Tanzania where it operates all its mines.

    Shares in Acacia, majority owned by Barrick Gold Corp, were steady while the rest of the market rose, finding little impetus despite reporting gold output of 521 980 ounces at a cost of US$905 per ounce.

    Both figures were lower than 2017 but ahead of expectations.

    Acacia's gains were fuelled by expectations that Bristow, who has broad Africa experience, could reach a deal with Tanzania.

    Acacia has cut output by a third since the government banned the export of mineral concentrates in 2017 after accusing the firm of tax evasion. Acacia denies the charges. – Nampa/Reuters

    Michelin pledges 2019 profit gain

    French tyre maker Michelin posted higher 2018 sales and operating profit on Monday, pledging a further profit increase this year despite a mixed outlook for its key markets.

    Revenue rose to 22.03 billion euros (US$24.9 billion) last year from 21.96 billion in 2017, the company said, ahead of the consensus market forecast of 21.73 billion.

    Recurring operating profit edged 1.2% higher to 2.775 billion euros, also outstripping the 2.679 billion expected by analysts, based on the median of eight estimates in an Infront Data poll for Reuters.

    Earlier this month, rival Goodyear posted fourth-quarter results that missed market forecasts, knocking down Goodyear's shares. – Nampa/Reuters

    Apple iPhone sales in China falll by a fifth

    Apple Inc iPhone sales in China fell 20% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, while sales for smartphones made by home-grown rival Huawei soared by 23%, data from industry research firm IDC showed on Monday.

    The report is the first to put a firm number on the scale of a recent decline in Apple's fortunes in the world's second largest economy, after CEO Tim Cook pointed to China as a big factor in a rare cut in the company's quarterly sales forecast last month.

    Apple no longer breaks out detailed numbers on iPhone shipments in its quarterly results, meaning that surveys and channel checks by the likes of IDC are often the clearest indicator of shifts in sales.

    The figures in the report showed a 19.9% fall in Apple's smartphone shipments in the final quarter of 2018, while Huawei's grew 23.3%. That reduced Apple's market share to 11.5% from 12.9% a year earlier, the report said.

    A separate report from another common industry source, Hong Kong-based Counterpoint, earlier this month confirmed a similar sharp fall in sales in India - another big emerging market where Apple is struggling. – Nampa/Reuters

    Morgan Staney in US$900 mln Solium deal

    In its biggest acquisition since the financial crisis, Morgan Stanley on Monday announced the US$900 million purchase of Canada's Solium Capital, a push towards cultivating more young clients.

    Solium manages stock plans for some 3 000 companies, including fast-growing new companies led by rising wealth accumulators who often opt for being compensated in equity rather than solely cash.

    The deal will combine Morgan Stanley's existing base of corporate clients for whom it administers stock plans with Solium's portfolio of clients.

    Solium's cadre of investors could then opt for Morgan Stanley financial advisors "as plan participants build their wealth and their needs become more complex", the companies said in a statement.

    The deal follows last week's US$66 billion merger between regional banks BB&T and SunTrust, the largest bank merger since the 2008 financial crisis. – Nampa/Reuters

    Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel to get EU warning on JV

    Germany's Thyssenkrupp and India's Tata Steel will be warned this week that EU antitrust regulators could veto their planned European steel joint venture unless they offer concessions, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

    The European Commission is expected to send a charge sheet known as a statement of objections to the companies, the people said. Such documents set out serious competition concerns which companies have to address with specific concessions or see their deal blocked.

    Thyssenkrupp said it was the group's understanding that such a statement would be sent by the European Commission in the course of the week, adding this was previously expected and would serve as the basis for further talks.

    The joint venture, announced in June last year, is the biggest shake-up in Europe's steel industry in more than a decade. To be named Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, the entity will have around 48 000 workers and about 17 billion euros (US$19.2 billion) in sales.

    The Commission, which last week blocked a rail business tie-up between Alstom and Siemens, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tata Steel was not immediately available for comment. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Labour biggest cost for farmersLabour biggest cost for farmersProductivity related to profitability Labour productivity is dependent on various practices like training, labour relations, communication, remuneration, health and safety, as well as the use of technology. Labour is the biggest cost factor on commercial farms, as it constitutes 22% of total expenses.

    This is according to an Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) user manual on labour productivity on Namibian farms, which provides hints and guidelines for farmers.

    “As costs are the main factor to influence the profitability on the farm, labour productivity on farms impacts the success of farming activities and the profitability on the farm,” the manual said.

    It says that according to the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) Production Cost Index, labour is the largest cost factor on farms and on average constitutes 22% of the total farming expenses.

    The manual starts with a definition of labour productivity and says that the term productivity is often used incorrectly to merely mean product output.

    “Rather, productivity measures the efficiency of production factors, or in other words, productivity is the ability of a system to produce more economically and effectively.”

    The manual pointed out that labour productivity is dependent on various practices like training, labour relations, communication, remuneration, health and safety, as well as the use of technology.

    The manual says that employees who have the required skills are better equipped to be productive than without skills.

    In the first place, employers should be on the lookout during recruitment for employees with the required skills, it said.

    “As in any other industry, the use of technology on farms is also directly related to increased labour productivity. Using technology empowers employees to increase their output without working longer hours.”

    According to the manual, healthy labour relations are a prerequisite for productivity.

    “A worker who enjoys his job and is content with his work conditions will, on the whole, be more productive than one who is discontent.”

    The manual also contains a section on how to measure productivity, which changes from simple to more sophisticated methods. A sophisticated measure is, for example, where one can measure productivity in kilogram live weight produced per annum, and divides it by the total working hours of workers per year. It said southern Africa is very unproductive in this regard with an average of two to five kilograms live weight per hour in comparison with Australia where labour productivity is 80 kilograms of live weight per hour.









    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Paperless e-Parliament comingPaperless e-Parliament coming National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi has announced plans for the Namibian parliament to go paperless this year, with support from the parliament of Finland.

    This new venture will be done in phases, he said.

    “Members of parliament will be required to use the tablets given to them to do away with paper. We use a lot of paper, almost daily. And we feel the time has come to put it away and just use these tools (tablets),” he said. He added they have networked with the parliament of Finland to assist them to ensure that Namibian MPs are properly introduced to the basics of the technology. “Our ICT committee will be helping members by organising induction workshops to get them off the ground. As time goes on we will be able to inform you how well they have done,” he said.

    In June 2018, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei donated 157 Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite tablets to Namibian MPs.

    Members of the National Assembly and National Council received these tablets. In September last year, MPs and parliamentary staff were rapped over the knuckles for abusing bandwidth to surf Facebook and watch YouTube videos.

    They were also accused of using their official email as a socialising and chit-chat platform.

    Two months before this trade minister Tjekero Tweya was found surfing a dating site on his tablet while in parliament.

    Responding to this yesterday, Katjavivi said parliament is not a “high school” and members are expected to behave professionally.

    He also said incidents were not reported to him directly.

    “We expect parliamentarians to behave with dignity so that you do not bring parliament into disrepute, because that would be really counterproductive. Surfing dating websites is not part of the duty of parliamentarians,” he said.



    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Swapo using 'apartheid tactics'Swapo using 'apartheid tactics' The Muzokumwe Volunteers Association (MVA) says Swapo, under the leadership of President Hage Geingob, is using apartheid-style tactics to attack its enemies.

    The association, which sympathises with Professor Joseph Diescho who left Namibia for Berlin, Germany at the end of January following a longstanding public feud with Geingob, agreed with the academic that the Swapo government and his lack of job opportunities at public institutions had forced him into “exile”.

    “Today, the Swapo government led by President Hage Geingob is outsmarting apartheid tactics of targeting enemies and literally forcing them into exile,” MVA chairperson Mbangu Paulus said.

    “It is sad to note that Namibia's most decorated academic has fled into exile due to hostility from our own public institutions. How can our president motivate students when intellectuals are pushed out of their countries of birth due to the anti-intellectual environment that prevails in our country?”

    Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa refused to comment.

    “If you are saying it is allegations, allegations remain allegations. Now why do you want me to comment on allegations?” Shaningwa asked.

    Paulus argued there is strategy to victimise people from the Kavango regions and force them into exile if they differ with Swapo ideology, something which he says started during the liberation struggle.

    “The nationalist fervour that has characterised Namibia before and after independence makes sense only when the extent of what was perpetuated against the Kavangos is properly understood,” he said.

    Paulus claimed a few Kavangos and other Namibians who are in Geingob's good books are behaving similarly to how some behaved during colonialism.

    “They live in the glass houses of government and refuse to throw stones. They refuse to sympathise with the ordeal of those purged on a daily basis. They have resolved to hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. To these people, God in heaven does not matter. The god that matters is the one in State House. The tears of Joseph Diescho mean nothing to them. The injustice against the innocent means nothing to them,” Paulus said.

    He called on Namibians who are willing to fight against the injustices committed against fellow citizens to support them.

    “This is not what the liberation struggle was for. It is clear that the good direction has been lost. Muzokumwe is ready and those patriotic citizens who want to join the fight are most welcome.”

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Food safety on the table at world conferenceFood safety on the table at world conferenceMulti-pronged approach needed According to the WHO, contaminated food is to blame more than 200 diseases. One person in 10 falls sick after eating contaminated food. - Kazuaki Miyagishima: WHO Nicolas Delaunay - Food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxic chemicals is a mounting health hazard and a crippling economic burden, a global conference on food safety has been told.

    The two-day forum is bringing together health bosses and experts from 125 countries to combat the peril of unsafe food, a hazard that kills more than 400 000 people each year, according to UN estimates.

    "Today, the world produces enough food for everyone," Jose Graziano Da Silva, the director-general of the United Nations's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said at the opening of the conference on Monday.

    But much of this food "is not safe", he added.

    "We estimate that each year, nearly one person in 10 falls sick after eating contaminated food," said Kazuaki Miyagishima, who heads the World Health Organisation (WHO) food security department.

    Of the 600 million people who fall sick from unsafe food, around 420 000 die, according to the UN's estimate.

    Children under five suffer most, comprising 40% of those who fall ill.

    According to the WHO, contaminated food is to blame more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers - and the economic impact is huge but often overlooked.

    The FAO estimates the cost for low and middle-income countries to be in the range of US$95 billion per year.

    Stronger laws

    The conference, attended by ministers and deputy ministers from some 20 countries, is expected to issue a call for better coordination and support.

    "Africa has a major interest in this," said Miyagishima, adding the continent, followed by Southeast Asia, is the worst affected by contaminated food.

    Miyagishima said a multi-pronged approach was needed.

    This includes stronger laws, better training and equipment and beefing up health systems to detect potential risks and swap information countries, he said.

    The risks are very diverse, ranging from bacteria such as salmonella or listeria, to chemicals such as cancer-causing heavy metals and organic pollutants.

    For countries facing drought or famine, the challenge is preventing the population from using water contaminated by cholera, or eating food unsuitable for consumption.

    For countries trying to better respect international norms and export certain food products, Miyagishima warned of a "situation where exported food is of a better quality than products destined for the local market".

    In Europe, Miyagishima said there was a need for faster exchange of information between health authorities, recalling the 2017 contamination of eggs in the Netherlands, which were distributed to numerous countries.

    The conference comes at a time of swelling controversy over the use of chemical products in agriculture, including the controversial weed-killer Roundup.

    "Regulatory decisions, international or national, should be based on sound science," he said.

    The UN in December announced the creation of a World Food Safety Day on June 7. – Nampa/AFP

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    Trans-boundary wildlife crime trainingTrans-boundary wildlife crime trainingKAZA court officials in workshop The purpose of the workshop is to increase the awareness around the seriousness of transnational wildlife crime and to unlock higher level support. ELLANIE SMIT

    Countries that make up the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) need to provide for specialist prosecutors that have knowledge about all wildlife crime-related legislation and the appropriate prosecution of offenders.

    This was the view of deputy environment minister Bernadette Jagger at the KAZA-TFCA Regional Judiciary and Prosecutors Workshop that is taking place in Windhoek.

    KAZA-TFCA member states include Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    The purpose of the workshop is to increase the awareness around the seriousness of transnational wildlife crime and to unlock higher level support within the prosecutorial and judicial sector of each country.

    Jagger said prosecutors and magistrates need to be well versed in the relevant legislation and understand the effect of wildlife crime on the economy of countries.

    According to her, clear procedures for arrest and charging of suspects, including the responsibilities of different agencies, must be established with systems in place for monitoring wildlife crime cases.

    “Given the global nature of the poaching epidemic and intricate involvement of the international criminal syndicates in wildlife crime, this workshop is an important event and process to rally a concerted effort to tackle the threat of illegal wildlife trade and poaching of wildlife.”

    Jagger said poaching negatively impacts populations of endangered species and it is also damaging the wildlife-based tourism sector which generates rural employment, foreign exchange, and increasingly contributes to the GDP.

    “Namibia therefore also considers wildlife crime as an economic crime.”

    She said criminals involved in wildlife crime are enticing poor, rural people into a life of crime which has significant social impacts on their immediate and extended family members when they are imprisoned.

    She said countering wildlife crime represents significant costs to countries with time, energy and finances being diverted away from other more positive conservation and socio-economic development interventions.

    According to Jagger wildlife crime can lead to collateral damage from well-intended, but misdirected efforts to counter wildlife trafficking such as the closing down of legal markets, alienation of communities and philosophical conflicts with neighbours and the international community.

    “It is our responsibility as KAZA-TFCA to ensure that this trans-frontier conservation area is developed as a sustainable conservation and tourism development programme from which our partner countries can derive equitable social and economic benefits, while observing the principles of accountability, equitability, transparency and mutual respect.”

    Jagger said the KAZA-TFCA continues to foster transnational collaboration and cooperation among partner countries in implementing ecosystems and cultural resource management.

    According to her, ecosystem integrity and natural ecological processes will be enhanced by harmonising the management approaches for natural resources and tourism development across international boundaries.

    Jagger said the five partner countries therefore believe they can derive equitable returns and significant socio-economic benefits provided they harmonise their conservation policies and practises and use their shared natural resources prudently.

    She stressed that wildlife crime enforcement need to be harmonised with other legislation and international wildlife trafficking enforcement mechanisms should be domesticated.

    “Effective operationalisation and implementation of relevant laws and regulations are crucial and appropriate penalties, prosecution and sentencing must be in place. We need to analyse and assess our laws and regulations and enforce them to deter illegal hunting of wildlife and the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.”

    She added that the support and strengthening of prosecutors and magistrates in the handling of wildlife cases is very important.

    “We must ensure that key enforcement agencies and prosecuting authorities collaborate effectively and efficiently.”

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    Four alleged murderers escape at SwakopFour alleged murderers escape at Swakop Four men on separate trials for the murder of three people, on Monday escaped from police custody in broad daylight at the Swakopmund police station.

    The police’s crime investigations coordinator for the Erongo Region, Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu said the escape occurred during a shift change between 14:00 and 14:48.

    “It was discovered that the window bar of one holding cell at the police station was cut open with an unknown object and the four inmates escaped from custody,” Iikuyu said.

    Two of the escapees, Daniel Stephanus Nghilifa, 28, and Fabianus Lazarus, 26, stand accused in a double murder case after they reportedly killed Swakopmund couple, Roswitha Strzelecki, 79, and her husband, 81-year-old Siegfried Strzelecki in 2017.

    Nghilifa and Lazarus, who were part of a trio when they allegedly committed the crime, also face robbery and aggravated assault charges in the matter.

    Meanwhile, Mathias Nuujoma, 27, and Ngenokesho Stefanus, 23, and two other accused are on trial for the murder of 38-year-old Joseph Ndeyapo Hekandjo after an argument at a club in Walvis Bay in 2016.

    The four accused reportedly stabbed and killed Hekandjo in front of the club.

    The wanted inmates are all originally from the northern regions of Namibia but are suspected to have fled to the Khomas Region, according to Iikuyu.

    The police have requested anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the escapees to contact the nearest police station.

    NAMPA

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    Disabled to get much-needed boostDisabled to get much-needed boost JEMIMA BEUKES

    A new disability project, ‘Strengthening integrated systems to promote access to services for persons with disabilities in Namibia’ was launched in Windhoek yesterday.

    Through the project’s implementation, Namibia affirms the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) commitment to mainstream disability issues as an integral part of sustainable development.

    Namibia’s 2011 Census Disability Report established that 87% of children with disabilities between the ages of zero to four years have never attended early childhood development (ECD) programmes, resulting in them losing out on this most critical stage of building a strong foundation for lifelong learning.

    According to the deputy minister of disability affairs, Alexia Ncube, funding of N$6 million has been secured to implement the project which will be phased over a period of three years ending March 2022.

    She added that the project will focus on strengthening data collection systems, and coordination mechanisms, as well as early identification of children with disabilities.

    “Namibia has a conducive legislative and policy environment addressing the needs of vulnerable communities and persons with disabilities. However a gap remains between policy and implementation, primarily as a result of a lack of human and financial resources, information, public awareness and understanding. This in turn has led to stigma and discrimination, limited access to education, healthcare, employment opportunities and resources,” she said.

    Meanwhile, the UN’s resident coordinator in Namibia, Rachel Odede, said the goals of the project can only be realised if all stakeholders come together in one single effort to meaningfully contribute to the project’s planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation phases.

    According to her the project is funded by the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    “We, the UN system in Namibia, remain committed to the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ and will continue to support interventions to ensure that the voices of persons with disabilities are heard and considered,” she said.

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    Eskom power cuts a major political challengeEskom power cuts a major political challengeRamaphosa ‘shocked’ Moody's has warned that financial aid to Eskom could be credit negative unless it is backed by steps to generate savings. It has shocked me and also made me quite angry that we have reached this stage of dysfunctionality. – Cyril Ramaphosa, President: South Africa Johannesburg - South Africa on Monday introduced its most severe electricity rationing in nearly five years, presenting president Cyril Ramaphosa with a major political challenge just months ahead of a May general election.

    The debt-laden state power utility Eskom is at the centre of the country's economic troubles and has been hit by allegations of government graft.

    Ramaphosa who last week admitted that Eskom was in crisis, on Monday expressed anger at the intense power outages.

    Offices, shops, factories, traffic lights and private homes were hit on Monday by "load-shedding" - scheduled power cuts to reduce usage.

    The cuts were categorised as "stage 4", the highest severity level since March 2014.

    "The power system is severely constrained, which is why after a long time we have had to implement stage 4 of load shedding," Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.

    "Since this morning we have unexpectedly lost six additional generating units which have put additional strain on the system," the company said in a statement.

    ‘Most worrying’

    In a interview with state journalists at the end of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa on Monday, Ramaphosa said the sudden severe power cuts had come as a "shock".

    "That is most worrying, most disturbing, and it comes as a shock," he said.

    "It has shocked me and also made me quite angry that we have reached this stage of dysfunctionality," he said.

    Ramaphosa last week vowed to fight mismanagement and corruption at the utility, which has R419 billion debt, by dividing it into generation, transmission and distribution divisions.

    Moody's warned Monday that financial aid to Eskom could be credit negative unless it is backed by steps to generate savings.

    The country heads for polls on May 8, with the ruling ANC party keen to repair a fall in popularity in recent years.

    The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, blamed Eskom's woes on government graft and said it would request an urgent parliamentary debate.

    "These power failures can be placed squarely at the feet of the ANC, as it has been their looting and theft of the public's money that has left us in the dark," the party said.

    Political and economic commentator Daniel Silke tweeted that the outage "is the predictable end result of a toxic recipe of bad sector policy choices, ... hapless management systems, outdated desires of state control and the final killer of graft & corruption".

    Eskom said the cuts would take 4 000 megawatts of demand out of the system to prevent its collapse.

    It pleaded for residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly as it warned that power outages were likely to continue until April. – Nampa/AFP

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  • 02/12/19--14:00: Inheritance law under review
  • Inheritance law under reviewInheritance law under reviewIndustry input invited The financial sector and other interested parties have a month to make submissions on the controversial Administration of Estates Amendment Act. The justice ministry has agreed to consider tweaking a controversial law which has come under fire for compelling parents to leave trust funds for minor children in the sole control of the state instead of the investment institutions of their choice.

    At a meeting with justice minister Sacky Shanghala and Master of the High Court Elsie Beukes yesterday, concerned industry stakeholders called on the minister to repeal the Administration of Estates Amendment Act of 2018.

    They urged the ministry to go back to the drawing board to find a “less intrusive” means of addressing shortcomings and concerns around the administration of inheritances due to minors, including exorbitant administration fees and mismanagement of funds by appointed guardians.

    Shanghala was adamant that the law would not be repealed but said the ministry, in its efforts to protect the interests of minors, was willing to consider suggestions to “perfect the law.” The minister emphasised that the Act, gazetted in December, is aimed at addressing regulatory and governance issues arising from many complaints received by minors, and to ensure maximum benefit to minors.

    A deadline of one month has been given for all stakeholders to submit their input. Then another consultative meeting will be held to discuss and review possible amendments before the law becomes active.

    It was also confirmed that in-depth consultations with relevant institutions will be held on a “one-on-one” basis to determine the best way forward in terms of payments into the Guardian Fund and to the beneficiaries. Beukes told attendees yesterday that the concerns raised were understandable. “We will have to buy your trust and prove ourselves. We don't expect you to blindly trust us, we will show you,” she said.

    Ripple effect

    Nevertheless, pension and trust fund administrators and legal advisors said the law as it stands has widespread negative repercussions.

    The question of the law's legal standing was raised, as it interferes with the constitutional rights of parents to decide how money left to children is managed and by whom, and the right to manage property, including investments.

    A major proposal was for the law to be withdrawn and instead for the ministry to implement and strengthen a strict regulatory framework to better govern administrative fees and address other issues that led to the amendment law.

    “There is a lot we can do to clean up the cost and administration side of the industry. But everything going to the Guardian Fund is a bit too far,” one commentator pointed out, adding that the current law was creating “untenable conflicts”.

    A legal advisor specialising in investment advice said the law would “lump” all money into one pool, namely the Guardian Fund.

    He said some clients had indicated they would prefer to “take their assets out of Namibia” rather than entrust it to the Guardian Fund.

    Another said the law failed to address the complaints related to the “squandering of funds” by legal guardians, who would still receive the money from the Guardian Fund.

    Instead, the law is “penalising service providers and does not address the issues of guardians who receive the money.”



    Widespread impact

    A commentator pointed out that not only money due to minors from deceased estates would be affected, but also money due to minors from bank accounts and other investments while their parents are alive.

    The law was criticised for being “not well thought out” and industry representatives said the lack of public and industry consultations prior to enacting the law was deeply concerning.

    The law was also criticised for potentially creating severe payment backlogs, as the centralisation of payments of funds to the Guardian Fund, before the money is distributed to guardians and then beneficiaries, could face capacity and cash availability challenges, among other problems.

    A manager from the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) said it was unclear how the fund would manage the monthly annuity payments to the 5 400 beneficiaries currently under its care, adding that GIPF's main concern was the “practical implications of the law”.

    Beukes, who administrates the Guardian Fund, emphasised that the law was in the interest of the children. “This is for their future. Not mine, not government's.”

    She said the amendment law was the result of “real people affected by benefits” and the administration of the money they have to live on.

    She said the taking over of money from trust funds was in order to “protect those minors and not to take the money away”.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 02/12/19--14:00: Children's law now in force
  • Children's law now in forceChildren's law now in force After pushing ahead for almost 30 years with an old colonial act Namibia has finally promulgated the Child Care and Protection Act 3 of 2015, which provides for the establishment of a National Advisory Council on Children.

    It also provides for the appointment of a children's advocate, a position held by Advocate Ingrid Husselmann who was appointed early this year.

    Deputy minister of gender equality and child welfare Lucia Witbooi confirmed yesterday that the regulations of the new Act were gazetted at the end of January.

    The new Act provides for the appointment and designation of social workers, social auxiliary workers, community child-care workers, as well as probation officers, private social workers and child-protection organisations for certain purposes.

    It also includes provisions on children's courts, court procedures and court orders; and residential child-care facilities, places of care and shelters.

    Witbooi described the promulgation of the Act as a milestone.

    She emphasised that the delay was not ill-intended but part of a process to ensure proper implementation. “Of course children's issues are not as easy as we think, so therefore we have to do a proper job to make sure all areas are covered. It will improve the lives of children in terms of protecting our children from evils,” she said. The ombudsman, Advocate John Walters, said while he is happy the Act is finally in operation, the reality remains that laws cannot change attitudes and behaviour.

    “If we do not have committed officials who are really dedicated to ensuring our children are safe and who raise awareness of this Act then this will remain a paper dream,” he said. In the past social workers had complained that their hands were tied by the outdated Children's Act of 1960. As a result social workers could only counsel children and then send them back to harmful environments.

    Christine Aochamus, the national child safeguarding manager of SOS Villages Namibia, told Namibian Sun that there are still many challenges such as cultural practices that are hazardous to the Namibian child. “We still have challenges pertaining to child protection. Some of these are structural and some are legal. We also have cultural beliefs that put children at risk,” she said.

    Jan Volde, the child safeguarding advisor of SOS Villages International, also believes that issues like corporal punishment remain a serious problem.

    “Based on what I have heard this region, the east and southern African region, is definitely a challenging region when it comes to protecting children.

    “There are different issues which are common to many countries in this region. Very often we can still see there are certain cultural practices which are still widely accepted by certain communities,” he said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Ignorance is a horrible thingIgnorance is a horrible thing Recent remarks uttered by the Swapo

    //Karas Region coordinator Matthews Mumbala show how dangerously ignorant our leaders are when it comes to the rule of law, especially concerning the principles of freedom of association.

    Mumbala spewed ignorance when he addressed the Swapo Party Youth League's regional executive committee meeting held at Keetmanshoop on Saturday.

    The controversial Mumbala was quoted by The Namibian as saying Swapo members should end their love and friendship relationship with those aligned to rival political parties.

    “We must even end marriages, or either quit politics and become spiritual leaders if you want to be fair to everyone,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

    Such archaic, outdated and ignorant views exhibited by the Swapo leader show that he lacks a tolerant democratic culture and is indulging in petty politicking at the expense of bread and butter issues.

    This sort of political ignorance poses problems for our democracy which promotes the importance of respecting and promoting human rights as well as freedom of association.

    Mumbala's statement does not inspire the young people of this country nor does it augur well for constructive politics that encourage and incorporate tolerance.

    Obviously, Mumbala was probably speaking with the view on the upcoming election. Of course, it is his right to defend the ruling party, which pays his salary.

    However, politicians must rise above petty politics and encourage a serious battle of ideas, including the need for greater openness and accountability on the part of the government of the day, as well as speaking out on widespread corruption and injustices being meted out to ordinary citizens.

    This campaign period also calls for our highest level of tolerance and civility.

    A battle of ideas and effective service delivery are what matter at the end of the day.

    Pitting Namibians against each other will not and never address the serious challenges that we face as a nation.

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  • 02/12/19--14:00: Huang's money woes deepen
  • Huang's money woes deepenHuang's money woes deepen Chinese businessman and tax-fraud accused Jack Huang's money woes show no sign of abating if court documents are anything to go by.

    Following his N$3.7-million-dollar lawsuit filed in June last year against trade unionist Petrus Nevonga, former Swapo councillor Christian Iitope and Jinhao Investment CC, Huang's company Sun Investments is now suing Jinhao Investment for a further N$715 000.

    Huang is also embroiled in a N$3.5 billion fraud and money-laundering case, which is still before the courts.

    Nevonga is the long-serving Namibia Public Worker's Union (Napwu) secretary-general, while Iitope is a former Ondangwa councillor.

    In the case against Sun Investments, Huang told the court that on 3 October 2016, a loan of N$550 000 was made to Jinhao for “business operations”.

    Huang had set up Jinhao along with Nevonga and Iitope on 27 October 2015. The company was trading as Super Foods in Ondangwa.

    The money was due to be paid back by 30 May 2018, which Huang says was not done and thus, he asked the court for payment of N$715 000, which includes 20% annual interest.

    In his papers, he included a letter from Iitope which acknowledged the debt, stating that “we have been experiencing some financial hardships”.

    A notice of intention to defend was filed by Jinhao on 28 June last year. The court had ordered that its plea be filed by 16 November and had set out several other dates including yesterday's pre-trial conference.

    Kadhila Amoomo, counsel for Jinhao, filed an order for condonation of late filing, which Huang said he did not oppose. The parties agreed they would wait for instructions from Judge Shafimana Ueitele yesterday.





    In Huang's other lawsuit against Nevonga, Iitope and Jinhao, which was also on the roll yesterday, exactly the same thing happened. Huang asked for condonation of filing and unsigned discovery affidavit while the three defendants asked for condonation of late filing. The parties agreed that they would wait for instructions from Judge Ueitele.

    Nevonga, Iitope and Jinhao filed an intention to defend last year and in their plea dated 16 November last year, they said the money lent to them would only be repaid once Super Foods made a profit. They also denied that Huang had left Jinhao on 2 February 2018.

    They told the court that there was an “oral agreement between Huang and them that because of the tax issues Huang was engaged in he would appoint an agent who shall at all material times act in the stead of Huang”.

    They deny the facts of the three claims totalling N$3.7 million, putting Huang to proof thereof.

    In his first claim, Huang says he lent Nevonga and Iitope N$1.6 million along with interest of N$416 000, leading to a total of N$2.016 million.

    With regard to the second claim, Huang says he over-contributed an amount of N$1 254 427.62 to the company, which was due and payable by 31 August 2017. According to his papers, the company was in a state of chaos. There were several problems with paying suppliers.

    “We also experienced issues obtaining income to purchase stock; store income could not cover all the operating expenses.” Namibia Beverages had allegedly also dealt with the supermarket as a “cash client, after [they] failed to meet [their] agreement”.

    Due to the cash-flow challenges, they were “making the majority of purchases from unregistered vendors, resulting in higher VAT rates”.

    They also, surprisingly, reported challenges with staff, as there were no salary increases and no pension fund or medical aid. Furthermore, “they [staff] are working on Sundays and public holidays without pay”.

    In this document, Huang says he was to forward N$300 000 to pay the most urgent outstanding suppliers, which he said he duly did.

    It also detailed a “breakdown of percentages”, which “showed Huang had over-contributed N$1 254 427.62”.

    Mention was also made of a frozen Nedbank account and “for now, salaries were paid by Mr Huang. As soon as the bank is unfrozen, Mr Huang will be refunded the amount paid”.

    The second claim lodged by Huang amounted to N$1 376 734.31, along with interest since August 2017.

    In his third claim, he asks for his N$300 000, with interest of N$26 000. His full and final demand from Nevonga and Itope totals N$3 718 734.31. Huang also asked for interest of 20% per annum from the date of judgement until full payment is made, and for the costs of the lawsuit to be paid by the defendants.

    Huang is represented by Appolos Shikameni in both matters and Kadhila Amoomo appears for Nevonga and Itope, also in both matters.



    YANNA SMITH

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    Agribank claims N$10 million from NambahuAgribank claims N$10 million from Nambahu ELLANIE SMIT



    Agribank is suing the deputy minister of labour, Tommy Nambahu, for more than N$10.6 million in three claims.

    The bank has also asked the court to allow the sale in execution of two properties, including one farm.

    The matter is being heard in the High Court before Judge Boas Usiku.

    In fact, a summary judgment was already issued in favour of Agribank but Nambahu’s lawyers yesterday submitted they were unable to reach their client to complete a settlement agreement.

    In its first claim, Agribank says Nambahu owes N$24 877 for a loan made on 9 August 2010 in Windhoek.

    Agribank had advanced Nambahu an amount of N$204 900 at an interest rate of 9.25%, to be repaid over a period of five years.

    According to Agribank, Nambahu has been in arrears with his payments since November 2017 to the amount of N$23 232, plus interest.

    The bank also says that it is the fifth bond holder on a property in Pionierspark Extension One, measuring 900 square metres, and asked the court that this property be declared executable.

    The second and third claims demand N$9.4 million and N$1.25 million respectively, as well as the sale in execution of a farm in the Otjozondjupa Region.

    In the second claim the bank says that Nambahu entered into an agreement with Agribank on 4 September 2015 for more than N$7.3 million. The loan had to be repaid within 25 years.

    Agribank says Nambahu has been in arrears with his payments since 24 May last year and owes the bank N$9.4 million plus interest.

    “In the event of Nambahu defaulting, the entire amount outstanding would immediately become due and payable on such default,” Agribank states in its claim.

    The third claim against Nambahu also relates to a loan agreement made on 4 September 2015 to the amount of N$1.11 million.

    Nambahu has been in arrears with his payments since 4 April 2018 and is indebted to the bank for N$1.255 million plus interest.

    The bank also asked the court that in terms of the second and third claims, Farm Venenatum in the Otjozondjupa Region, measuring 5 179 hectares, be declared executable. Agribank is the holder of the first bond over the farm. The bond was registered as security by Nambahu in terms of the money lent in respect of claims two and three, Agribank says.

    All three claims by Agribank against Nambahu were granted in a summary judgment made by Usiku on 5 February and the two properties were declared executable.

    Nambahu was ordered to pay the more than N$10.6 million to Agribank.

    However, counsel for Nambahu approached the court to explain that while it was their client’s intention to settle the matter, they had not been able to consult with him.

    In a status report, Kadhila Amoomo said they had proposed a settlement to Agribank as it was Nambahu’s intention to settle.

    This was accepted by Agribank and Nambahu was to submit a detailed settlement agreement for further consideration.

    However, Nambahu’s legal team said they had tried to obtain instructions from him on four different occasions, but that proved futile.

    This was on 12, 22 and 28 January, as well as 11 February this year.

    “Attempts to obtain instructions from Nambahu pertaining to Agribank’s proposed course of action have also failed.”

    Amoomo concluded that they would abide by the court’s direction.

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    City's water recycling crippledCity's water recycling crippledOil spill has contaminated entire sewer system Water reclamation in Windhoek is still halted following last week's heavy furnace oil spill and rehabilitation may cost more than N$30 million. More than a week after the heavy fuel oil spill at Namibia Dairies, which halted Windhoek's water recycling, there is still no reclamation of water taking place.

    This has resulted in NamWater having to produce the daily shortfall of 18 000 cubic metres of potable water which is usually produced by the Windhoek Goreangab Operating Company (WINGOC).

    Experts have further said that it could cost more than N$30 million for the rehabilitation and clean-up of the city's sewage reticulation system.

    Goreangab Dam is currently taking between 24 000 and 27 000 cubic metres of raw sewage daily.

    Providing an update on the spill that occurred at the Namibia Dairies plant in Avis on 3 February, the CEO of the City of Windhoek, Robert Kahimise, said the incident resulted in the shutdown of both the Gammams Water Treatment Plant and as the Goreangab Water Reclamation Plant that is operated by WINGOC.

    “This means there is no reclamation of water taking place currently as a result of the incident.”

    Kahimise explained that the manufacturing processes at Namibia Dairies require high levels of hygiene and sterilised equipment. Boilers are used to heat water which is used not only for sterilisation, but also to pasteurise milk.

    The boilers are fuelled with heavy furnace oil (HFO), a crude oil which is supplied by Engen Namibia. This crude oil is contained in a 24 000-litre steel reservoir at Namibia Dairies.

    Kahimise said HFO has a relatively low density and needs to be heated and circulated continually, even during the time that the plant is not operational.

    “The heating of HFO is an automated process and needs no supervision.”





    According to him a safety valve malfunctioned during the early morning hours of 3 February and caused a rupture in the pipeline supplying HFO to the boilers.

    The entire 24 000 litres of HFO spilled through drainage holes in the boiler room and into oil traps on site, where most of it could be contained, but an estimated 6 000 litres eventually spilled into the sewerage system.

    Namibia Dairies discovered the spill on the morning of 3 February and immediately informed the City's pollution control section, after which the Gammams Waste Water Treatment Plant was immediately shut down.

    All influent was diverted from the intake of the treatment process and spilled into an open area at Gammams.

    Kahimise said oil-contaminated influent flooded the lower-lying areas of the Gammams plant and eventually found its way into the Goreangab Dam.

    “Some of the contaminated influent progressed into the primary settlers of the plant before it was shut down.”

    WINGOC was also informed about the shutdown at Gammams and had to shut down their water reclamation processes the same day.

    “The shutdown of both plants was crucial as a precaution not to pollute biological processes required to produce potable water,” said Kahimise.

    Meanwhile, a joint response team consisting of officials from Namibia Dairies and the City was formed to strengthen the efforts to contain and clean up the oil spill and to provide the relevant support in the rehabilitation initiative.

    Namibia Dairies also engaged experts who managed to clean and remove a total of 18 000 litres of HFO mixed with water from its site and this was safely disposed at the Kupferberg landfill site.

    According to Kahimise an oil spill expert from South Africa did an assessment of the damage and proposed rehabilitation procedures in an attempt to reduce further pollution.

    “Based on the assessment, a total of N$32 million was quoted for rehabilitation over a timeframe of two months, to clean the affected reticulation system.”

    Kahimise said a second and third opinion will be sourced before a decision on this matter is taken.

    He said with the Gammams Waste Water Plant out of action, no water is delivered to WINGOC for the reclamation of potable water.

    According to him WINGOC produces 18 000 cubic metres of potable water daily and this shortfall is currently being supplied by NamWater.

    The oil spill has also affected the operations of two contractors at Gammams.

    These operators are Cape Advance Engineering, which produces electricity from digested sludge, and Biosolids, which uses dry digested sludge to produce fertiliser.

    Fish in the maturing ponds at Gammams are dying because of the oil contamination and a lack of oxygen.

    “People residing near or on the banks of Goreangab Dam are cautioned not to use the dam water for any reason,” said Kahimise.

    He said incoming sewage, or influent, at Gammams was still spilling into the Goreangab Dam although the oil contamination has significantly reduced.

    “It is believed that the entire sewage reticulation route from Namibia Dairies to Gammams is contaminated with HFO, as the oil attaches and penetrates cement surfaces.”

    This means that traces of HFO will continue to wash off with sewage over time.

    Kahimise said the treatment process may soon commence once the influent reaches a specific quality which is fit for treatment. This is being monitored daily by scientific services.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/13/19--01:39: Interest rates unchanged
  • Interest rates unchangedInterest rates unchanged The Bank of Namibia (BoN) left its repo rate unchanged at 6.75% this morning.
    The repo rate has been at 6.75% since August 2017.
    The unchanged rate means the prime lending rate of commercial banks in Namibia will remain at 10.5%.

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     Swapo recalls Rundu councillors Swapo recalls Rundu councillors Swapo has recalled three of its Rundu councillors, including newly elected mayor Isack Kandingu, for not toeing the party line. The other recalled councillors are deputy mayor Toini Hausiku, who is the wife of Swapo deputy SG Marco Hausiku, and Anastacia Shinduvi-Foya. The three councillors last week defied a Swapo directive that the town office-bearers structure must remain unchanged, including that Verna Sinimbo must retained her mayoral position.
    Kenya Kambowe


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  • 02/13/19--07:53: Geingob chides MPs
  • Geingob chides MPsGeingob chides MPs

    President Hage Geingob has reminded parliamentarians to introduce laws that will improve and protect the lives of Namibians, while emphasising the disturbing incidence of rape in the country.

    Opening the ninth session of parliament yesterday, Geingob emphasised that there was a need to replace the unjust laws of former regimes with just laws.

    Geingob also rapped parliamentarians over the knuckles for their tardiness and absenteeism, saying he hoped Namibians wouldn’t have to witness a lack of quorums again this year.

    He also reminded them that as the representatives of the people, they should always be mindful of the fact that the most valuable asset they possess is their reputations and once these are damaged their effectiveness is questioned.

    “All parliamentarians should behave according to a strict code of conduct and their attitude and work should be aimed at reflecting the will of the electorate and not their individual will.

    “I am aware that legislators encounter situations every day that place them at the crux of ethical dilemmas and it is due to this reason that members of parliament should possess irrefutable professionalism,” Geingob said.

    Parliament plans to table 14 bills, including the divorce, child justice, combatting of rape amendment and electronic transactions bills, during this year’s session.

    According to Geingob the amendments to the Combating of Rape Bill seek to make the Act much more victim-centred by placing additional duties on the prosecutor when dealing with bail applications and giving guidelines for service providers who deal with rape complainants.

    “We have witnessed many disturbing instances in our society where individuals arrested for committing rape are released on bail, only to reoffend and cause more physical and mental trauma in our communities.

    “As the supreme lawmaker, parliament should introduce laws to help us combat social ills that are hampering socio-economic progress in our country,” he said.

    Geingob also reminded MPs that their attendance and punctuality should be their source of pride, rather than embarrassing themselves through tardiness and absenteeism.

    “The tabling of these bills during this session demands absolute commitment and a high work ethic from legislators, in order to ensure that parliament maintains a high success rate in passing these bills.

    “As a result, I expect lively, informative and serious debates, as you discuss these bills. I call on all parliamentarians once more to be punctual and endeavour to attend all sessions of parliament,” he urged.

    Geingob, who had declared 2019 ‘The year of accountability’, reminded MPs that it would be a defining year.

    “I look forward to a year where our parliament will display integrity in representing the electorate, promote accountability through providing oversight and display undoubted professionalism in the crafting of legislation,” he said.

    He added they would have to hold hands and pull together to consolidate and build on the government’s hard-earned gains or risk losing the decades of progress made since independence.

    “I encourage our parliamentary committees to carry on from where they left off in 2018, undertaking visits to the regions, investigating government projects and conducting public hearings on pertinent issues such as gender-based violence and teenage pregnancies.”

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 02/13/19--14:00: Don't fire Vries - Nauseb
  • Don't fire Vries - NausebDon't fire Vries - NausebPleads with Kaizer Chiefs not to send Namibian keeper packing Virgil Vries is in the firing line after some blunders made in goal for Kaizer Chiefs, but he still enjoys support in Namibia. Former Kaizer Chiefs and Brave Warriors midfielder Robert Nauseb has pleaded with Kaizer Chiefs not to release Namibian goalkeeper Virgil Vries.

    Vries has had a bumpy ride over the past couple of weeks with the South African premiership side, leading them to move him down the pecking order.

    Vries, who inked a deal with the Amakhosi at the beginning of the season, had been standing in for first-choice goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, but after a series of spectacular blunders his future is looking bleak.

    He was dropped from the team for the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates this past weekend.

    Chiefs recently signed Nigerian international stopper Daniel Akpeyi from Chippa United and he was given the nod against Pirates.

    Vries' recent failures have left several Chiefs fans sceptical and baying for his blood.

    Vries infuriated them during a premiership match against Mamelodi Sundowns on 5 January when he prematurely came off his line and watched as the ball bounced in front of him and straight into the back of the net. Sundowns won 2-1. In a Confederation of African Football (CAF) game against Zambian side Zesco United, Zesco midfielder Anthony Akumu fired a long-range shot that caught Vries unawares, leaving him stranded about 20m off his line. Chiefs lost the game 1-2 (2-5 on aggregate) and bowed out of the competition.

    Vries was again the villain after failing to hold onto a cross, resulting in a 0-1 loss against Cape Town City at the FNB Stadium on 30 January.

    Nauseb, however, feels that Chiefs not given Vries enough support.

    “I believe that now is the time for Kaizer Chiefs to rally behind their goalkeeper at all costs.

    “We know he has made at least four mistakes that have cost the team, but we still believe in his abilities.

    “It will not be an honourable thing for the club to let go of the player just because of a few mistakes,” Nauseb said.

    He advised Virgil Vries to remain professional and work hard in training, in order for him to regain the trust of the coach and fans.

    Nauseb says the best thing for Vries is not to allow any negative comments to drown him in his misery.

    “Look, the Nigerian goalkeeper who replaced Vries is the second choice for his country and Virgil is number one for his country.

    “The other goalkeeper who was on the bench against Orlando Pirates is not even somewhere near the national team.

    “That is why he must remain optimistic about his future and never look back.

    “I believe that many of us here in Namibia and many others do believe in him.”

    Born in Keetmanshoop, Vries joined South African side Golden Arrows in 2011 from Eleven Arrows, signing a three-year contract.

    In November 2011 a blunder against AmaZulu gained worldwide attention, making life difficult for the player.

    In January 2012 he was loaned to second division side Carara Kicks.

    Later in 2012, he signed a short-term contract with Orlando Pirates in the Namibian Premier League.

    In January 2013 he was snapped up by another South African side, Maritzburg United.

    He made 27 appearances for the club and kept clean sheets in eight games while conceding 23 goals, before signing for Kaizer Chiefs last year.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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  • 02/13/19--14:00: Top Score tourney launched
  • Top Score tourney launchedTop Score tourney launched Namibia's largest milling company, Namib Mills, launched the 19th edition of its annual Top Score Seven-A-Side tournament at the Ramblers sports field in Windhoek on Tuesday.

    The total investment in the tournament is valued at N$250 000 and prizes include a floating trophy and gold, silver and bronze medals for the top three teams.

    The tourney will feature 77 of the best corporate teams in the country and football fans who live in the Ombili and Hakahana settlements will be picked up at various spots so they can attend the social football tournament.

    The tournament is aimed at providing community upliftment and engagement, and is Namib Mill's way of rewarding those dedicated and disciplined sportsmen who continue to show spirit and perseverance in their support for the tourney.

    Marne Bouwer, senior brand manager at Namib Mills, said the company is committed to Namibia. “This sport initiative aids the company in investing in a vital staple in the development of our country and its sport.”

    Bouwer said that a trophy gathers dust, but memories last forever, “so we want to encourage each and every team to not only give their best in the tournament that lies ahead, but also to enjoy this opportunity to be in the company of fellow soccer lovers, who continue to show support, dedication and passion towards the game and the tournament”.

    “This year we've also brought in an exciting twist to the Top Score 7-A-Side Tournament with a junior league that will happen every Saturday morning.

    “As a corporate citizen, Namib Mills is committed to Namibia. It's important to Namib Mills to not only focus on great quality, excellent customer service and meeting consumer needs, but also to live in accordance with our brand promise of feeding the nation, both in body and in mind,” Bouwer added.

    Supporters are encouraged to bring their camping chairs to cheer on their favourite teams as they compete for this prestigious title.

    Entrance is free and the games will take place every weekend - Fridays from 18:00 till late and Saturdays from 14:00 till late.

    The prize money includes N$16 000 for the winning team, N$8 000 for the runners-up, N$6 500 for third and N$2 500 for fourth place.

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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