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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 959 | 960 | (Page 961) | 962 | 963 | .... | 1152 | newer

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  • 02/14/19--14:00: Oneeya classes resume
  • Oneeya classes resumeOneeya classes resumeParents' boycott halted Parents reached an agreement with the school to look at alternative accommodation. Oneeya Combined School learners in the Omusati Region's Okalongo constituency resumed classes yesterday, after a boycott initiated by parents on Tuesday.

    Omusati education director Laban Shapange held an urgent meeting with the parents at the school on Wednesday, and told them they had violated the country's education laws which do not allow anybody to deny a child access to education.

    The parents on Tuesday withdrew their children from classes in protest over the revised curriculum that led to the removal of grade 10 classes from the school at the beginning of the academic year.

    Spokesperson for the parents' committee, Joshua Nghishiikoh, confirmed yesterday that the children have resumed their classes as per an agreement reached between the parents and Shapange during Wednesday's meeting.

    Twenty-five grade 10 children from Oneeya have been transferred to the Uushwa Combined School and they are said to be living in a shack near cuca shops at Uushwa - a situation condemned by the parents.

    This situation, Nghishiikoh said, angered the parents and prompted them to withdraw their children from the school.

    Shapange and the parents agreed that the children resume classes, provided that his office, along parent representatives, follow up on the living conditions of their children at Uushwa, in order to offer them possible assistance.

    “The issue is that we want grade 10 to remain at Oneeya, as our children are currently travelling a long distance of about 20 kilometres to Uushwa Combined School, the nearest school with grade 10,” Nghishiikoh had earlier narrated.

    He said parents last month petitioned the office of the local inspector of education and that of the regional education director to revoke the decision for Oneeya not to offer grade 10 classes this year.

    The parents withdrew their children from the school to express their anger over the introduction of the new curriculum and to force the regional education office to grant them a platform for discussion.

    Oneeya had offered classes from grades 0 to 10 previously.

    NAMPA

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  • 02/14/19--14:00: Being a car rental agent
  • Being a car rental agentBeing a car rental agent Rental agents rent cars and other forms of transportation for private use by clients.

    They are employed by car, boat and other companies at airports, resorts, marinas and offices strategically located throughout the country.Agents not only rent cars to clients, but also offer them other types of products, such as car upgrades, GPS systems or additional insurance.

    Although the car rental agent’s primary job is to process paperwork and collect money from clients, agents often have a lot of other duties they perform as well. Car rental agents typically have the task of greeting clients as they arrive, answering the telephone, handling client questions or complaints and working to resolve overdue car rentals.

    In some cases, they may also be responsible for ensuring the cars are clean, full of petrol and ready for the next client, says Juanita Swartbooi, a rental agent at Namibia Car Rental.

    Swartbooi said she was inspired to become a rental agent as she became interested in the tourism industry during her grade 10 year, when she was working at Joe’s Beerhouse as waitress as holiday job. She said tourism exposes one to a variety of things.

    “You have a variety of people you meet every day; you meet international and local people and you become friends with some of them,” she said.

    She said that in the tourism industry one does not need a degree to become a rental agent, because you learn from doing practical work, and she currently only holds a grade 12 certificate but has been in the industry for about 16 years.

    The character traits one needs to become a rental agent is confidence, as you are working with different people and you are selling a product, she said.

    You have to present yourself to the clients in a clear manner so that they can understand what you are selling; you need a strong character as well.

    Swartbooi says the highlight of her career journey is going on tour with one of the regular travel agents that come each year with different groups of people to Namibia.

    “I am going to be touring around Namibia with them and it is very nice because I get to experience what the tourists are experiencing as well as visit places I haven’t visited before,” she said.

    One of the professional superpowers a rental agent needs is being a problem-solver, as you need to think fast when clients have problems.

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    Global unemployment down, but too many working poorGlobal unemployment down, but too many working poorILO report 61% of all workers worldwide are in so-called informal employment. Geneva - The global unemployment rate inched down last year, the UN said Wednesday, warning though that jobs often failed to guarantee decent living, with some 700 million workers wallowing in poverty.

    Unemployment around the world fell last year to 5.0% - from 5.1% in 2017 - for the first time dropping to the level seen before the global financial crisis hit in 2008, the International Labour Organisation said.

    But in its flagship "World Employment and Social Outlook" trends report, the ILO also raised serious red flags about the health of the planet's job market.

    Deborah Greenfield, ILO's deputy director-general, told journalists in Geneva that the decline in global unemployment "is projected to stall", amid "uncertainty on many fronts," and a "deteriorating economic outlook".

    The UN agency said it expected the jobless rate to remain at roughly the same level this year and in 2020, although the number of unemployed people should swell by two million to a total of 174 million next year as a result of the expanding labour force.

    In particular, the report highlighted the hundreds of millions of people who remain poor despite holding one or more jobs.

    In fact, it found that a majority of the 3.3 billion people employed around the globe last year suffered a "lack of material well-being, economic security, equal opportunities or scope for human development".

    "Being in employment does not always guarantee a decent living," ILO research director Damian Grimshaw said in a statement, pointing out that "a full 700 million people are living in extreme or moderate poverty despite having employment."

    The report found that a full 61% of all workers worldwide, or two billion people, are in so-called informal employment, with little to no social and contractual protections.

    Greenfield cautioned that some new and emerging business models, such as using new technologies to create temporary work through web-based platforms for things like ride-sharing services, could expand that number if not regulated properly.

    "Without the right policy measures it could easily add to the informal labour force," she said.

    Among other issues highlighted in the report was the lack of progress in closing the gender gap in labour force participation, especially in the Arab states, North Africa and southern Asia.

    The ILO found that just 48% of women are in the workforce, compared to 75% of men, meaning that around three in five employed people last year were men. – Nampa/AFP

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    Getting your affairs in order Getting your affairs in order “Death may be an inevitable part of life, but it is in our human nature not to want to think about it – be it our own or that of a loved one. But the consequence of not preparing for tragedy can be devastating,” says Anielle von Finckenstein, the recent addition to the FNB Fiduciary team.

    Fiduciary manager Von Finckenstein holds an LLB from the University of Stellenbosch and completed her articles at Koep & Partners.

    She has contributed to academic publications during her article clerkship, and thereafter, in the field of environmental law.

    Very few people attend to their estate planning, leaving others with the responsibility of trying to make sense of the complex estate administration process for which they are entirely unprepared.

    This is where Von Finckenstein’s expertise assists in managing the legal technical side of the fiduciary business.

    Von Finckenstein, in her new role, will oversee trusts, wills and estates, and will manage the department to ensure optimal performance and service delivery.

    “FNB Fiduciary is an important segment as it provides an essential value-add to our customers. We assist customers in getting their affairs in order and in understanding and administering the process that will follow their eventual passing, to ensure their loved ones are met with the least challenges possible during such a difficult time. I look forward to the new and unique challenges of my role and to the year ahead”, Von Finckenstein added.

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  • 02/14/19--14:00: Lion killed at Okakarara
  • Lion killed at OkakararaLion killed at Okakarara A male lion was shot and killed this week in the Okakarara area of the Otjozondjupa Region in yet another incident of human-wildlife conflict.

    Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda told Namibian Sun the lion was shot and killed by a community member on Wednesday.

    Muyunda said the lion came into the area this past weekend and the ministry was informed.

    “We suspect the lion came from the Tsumkwe area. It had been moving through commercial areas and killed livestock and was also reported to have been in the eastern part of Waterberg.”

    According to Muyunda, after this was reported to the ministry, officials found its tracks, but were unable to track down the lion.

    “The lion was killed yesterday by a member of the community.”

    Photos and a video taken after the lion was shot have been circulated on social media.

    In the video, a group of people who hunted the lion talks about how it was killed. One person is armed with a firearm, while another is armed with a bow and arrow.

    According to the community member who killed the lion, he initially shot it but the animal tried to escape into the bushes. He again shot at it and the lion then suddenly emerged and jumped on one of the hunting party members.

    The shooter said he then shot the lion twice in the head.

    A radio message on Friday warned community members to be alert, as there was a lion in the area.

    Mitigating measures to reduce the escalating conflict, which led to the illegal killing of at least 19 lions this year, were introduced by the ministry in 2017.

    The Human-Lion Management Plan for North-West Namibia aims to eliminate and reduce this type of conflict.

    A total of 25 lions were killed in 2017, of which 19 were killed illegally. The rest were killed by ministry officials or professional hunters, according to recent statistics by the environment ministry.

    According to the conflict plan, between 2003 and 2015, the conservancies that share land with the desert lion population recorded 5 863 incidents of livestock attacks by lions and other carnivores.

    On average, 451 incidents were recorded per year, with the Sesfontein Conservancy recording the highest number of attacks (2 293) followed by the Anabeb (1 393), Torra (1 303) and Purros (873) conservancies.

    Between 2005 and 2015 a total of 343 incidents of human-lion conflict were recorded by the conservancies, at an average of 32 incidents per year.

    A total of 37 lions were killed between 2005 and 2015. The Torra Conservancy (18) reported the highest number of lions killed during the 2015 human-lion conflict, followed by Sesfontein (nine), Anabeb (three) and Puros (three).

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Desperate farmers receive fodderDesperate farmers receive fodder Several Good Samaritans have come on board to show Namibia's spirit of helping those in a time of need.

    A total of 11 trucks filled to the brim with fodder left the Kaap Agri Namibia branch at Mariental yesterday morning, as part of efforts to provide some drought relief to southern farmers.

    The initiative was started by Kaap Agri Namibia, but has since seen huge support from other local companies and individuals.

    Kaap Agri Namibia managing director Werner Kruger said the trucks were carrying about 300 tons of fodder, which will be delivered to farmers' associations in the south.

    He said each farmers' association will receive two truckloads of fodder. According to Kruger the aim was to collect 20 trucks of fodder.

    “So this is just the first delivery. We decided to deliver the fodder to the south of the country first, because this is where the need is the greatest. Even though there was some rains over the past weekend, we know that this does not mean there will suddenly grass. It will still take some time.”

    Kruger said when they have collected the second instalment of fodder they will look at other hotspots in the country where it is very dry.

    He invited anyone interested in supporting the initiative financially or who perhaps wants to donate in other ways, to contact him.

    Kruger added that as long as the support is there they will keep delivering drought relief to Namibian farmers.

    The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) and the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers' Union (NECFCU) recently warned that the ongoing drought is a national crisis and compiled an emergency drought action plan, which was discussed with agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb.

    The two agricultural unions said the difference between the current drought and those in previous years, are that no parts of Namibia have received good rains to date.

    According to the unions, Namibia has experienced below-normal rainfall conditions for five out of seven years since 2013.

    This depleted the growth reserves of rangelands, as well as carryover fodder in the veld. Also, the foot-and-mouth outbreak in South Africa resulted in producer prices for sheep and weaners dropping with about 30%, in comparison to December 2018.

    The unions said producers therefore have to urgently remove livestock from the veld at much lower prices and the current rainfall forecast for the season going forward is also not very positive.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/14/19--14:00: Witbooi artefacts coming
  • Witbooi artefacts	comingWitbooi artefacts comingMinister rejects Nama group's claims Preparations for the return of Chief Hendrik Witbooi's bible and whip from Germany are going full steam ahead despite a protest by some Nama traditional leaders. The arts and culture ministry has dismissed claims by the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) that repatriating the bible and whip of the late Nama chief Hendrik Witbooi would negatively affect the New York court case on reparations for the Nama and Ovaherero genocide of 1904-08.

    The NTLA last week urged the government to postpone the repatriation of the two historic artefacts, which are scheduled to be returned from Germany next week. The group also instructed a lawyer to apply for a court interdict to prevent Germany from returning the items.

    The Ovaherero Traditional Authority has thrown its weight behind the NTLA.

    Arts minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa yesterday emphasised that a law had been passed in Germany to allow for the repatriation of the items. She said the repatriation had been planned long ago and was supposed to form part of the third repatriation of human remains from Germany last August, but it was postponed. “This bible [is] coming back after 100 years in a new dawn, a new era where we have a legitimate government elected by the people, including the Witbooi or other clans representing the people of Namibia in its entirety, [which] has the legal standing to represent the people of Namibia at a state-to-state level. States do not negotiate with individuals,” she emphasised.

    She added that Witbooi was much more than a “small tribesman” but rather “a world icon”.

    “If there are letters written by whoever, that is not something for us to answer; we keep to what is under our mandate. We have been in consultation with the Witbooi descendants on this issue.”

    She also said that the government planned to build a Hendrik Witbooi memorial museum where these artefacts and other items related to the legendry leader would be exhibited for future generations.

    According to her a certified copy of the bible will in the meantime be exhibited at Gibeon at a venue agreed upon with the Witbooi family until the museum is built.

    “The fact that we, the government of Namibia, are taking the official handing-over to Gibeon is the ultimate honour, recognition and respect to the Nama people in their entirety and the /Khowese and Witbooi clan in particular,” she said.

    Namibia's ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, yesterday said without a court order the NTLA's lawyer's letter remained merely a petition. The Linden University has posted on its website that on 1 March the family bible and whip that belonged to Chief Hendrik Witbooi (1834-1905), which had been donated to the university in 1902, would be returned to Namibia by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. It also announced that until 17 February, both objects would be exhibited in the museum.

    The university also stated that the return of the bible and whip to Namibia was the first restitution of culturally significant objects from a museum in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

    History has it that during the surprise attack at Hornkranz early on 12 April 1893, German imperial troops robbed a wounded Witbooi of his whip and bible, in which he had made annotations.

    Hanse-Himarwa yesterday emphasised that the return of these artefacts was being done in the spirit of restitution of looted cultural goods.

    She added that on Wednesday, 27 February the ministry and a delegation from Baden Wuertemberg would make a symbolic visit to Hornkranz.

    On 28 February a procession will head from Windhoek to Gibeon via Rehoboth, Kalkrand and Mariental.

    On 1 March there will be an official state handover to President Hage Geingob.

    A personal exchange has been arranged for 1 March at Gibeon, where the Namibian government will be presented with the objects by the German state's minister of culture and art, Theresia Bauer.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Mutorwa’s journey with science Mutorwa’s journey with science Pursuing a career as an academic Marius Mutorwa, who is inspired by his dad, is responsible for teaching, learning, assessments, research, community service and administration. Justicia Shipena







    Marius Mutorwa is a lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) in the department of health and applied sciences.

    He is responsible for teaching, learning, assessments, research, community service and administration.

    Mutorwa said he was inspired by his dad, whose first profession was teaching at a local school in northern Namibia (Rundu Secondary School) and he was later appointed as the principal at Linus Shashipapo and Maria Mwengere secondary schools.

    During his second year at university, Mutorwa experienced a realisation that he wanted a career as an academic.

    Mutorwa was employed as a student assistant or tutor in the chemistry department and also worked at a local bookshop.

    “It was such a rewarding experience to talk about the subject you love and transfer my knowledge and see young people’s love of their subject increase, their academic performance improve and them being guided in their choice of a future career,” he said.

    In addition he still gets inspired most days when he engages with students, as they make him think and adapt the way he thinks about his work (both lecturing and research).

    “The students that sometimes find the course or research projects a bit challenging inspire you through their dedication and work ethic, by constantly striving to improve,” he said.

    Mutorwa says being an academic requires you to become a specialist or expert in a particular field of study or subject, in his case its organic chemistry.

    During his secondary schooling years, he became fascinated with natural science subjects such as chemistry, physics and biology. He then selected these subjects in grade 10 and completed grade 12 in 2002.

    He registered for a Bachelor of Science degree at Rhodes University in 2003 and successfully completed it in 2005.

    “I proceeded to do my BSc honours degree in chemistry in 2006 and graduated in 2007.

    “I was fortunate, through effort and hard work, to receive a scholarship to pursue my MSc degree in chemistry in 2008 and made good strides in my studies to such an extent that we successfully applied for the MSc degree to be upgraded to a PhD programme in organic chemistry, which I was awarded in April 2012, at aged 27,” he said.

    Some of the character traits one needs to do his job or follow this type of career path is the realisation that knowledge is essential, specifically in your subject area, as well as excellent communication skills, being results-driven and a strong great attention to detail, a strong work ethic and being able to manage time your time well.

    Enthusiasm and confidence are also critical.

    Mutorwa said among his career highlights so far was completing his PhD at the age of 27 while working part-time in the department of chemistry at Rhodes University.

    When he joined Nust, which was then known as the Polytechnic of Namibia, in September 2012, he joined the natural science unit with a staff complement of about four.

    Their task was to transform the unit into the department of natural and applied sciences, which was achieved in 2013 and the first intake of students for Bachelor of Science degrees occurred in 2014.

    “I am proud to have been part of the process of establishing the department,” he said.

    Mutorwa was appointed as deputy head of department (HOD) in 2014 at the age of 29 and was tasked to assist the HOD to provide strategic leadership and management, particularly during the transformation process of the institution from the Polytechnic to Nust.

    He was also appointed project counterpart in 2012 for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical cooperation programme with the Namibian government, in partnership the Ministry of Health and Social Services, as custodians of all nuclear science related matters in the country.

    The technical cooperation project focused on establishing teaching, research and technical capacity in nuclear-related disciplines to support the sustainable development of the nuclear industry in Namibia.

    The project was also focused in the fields of uranium mining and extraction, health, energy, safety, security, water, agriculture and environmental management.

    “I am pleased we were able to meet most of our specific objectives in the project, with a 98% successful implementation rate,” he said.

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  • 02/14/19--14:00: RA, Unam sign MoU
  • RA, Unam sign MoU RA, Unam sign MoU Justicia Shipena



    On 12 February, the Roads Authority (RA) and the University of Namibia (Unam) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the RA’s head office in Windhoek.

    The MoU aims to focus on areas of cooperation which range from capacity building, professional development to research and consulting services, amongst others.

    It commences immediately and it will last for a period of five years.

    Delivering the welcoming remarks, Kenneth Matengu, vice-chancellor of Unam, thanked the Roads Authority for the great opportunity to expose Unam students to different projects.

    According to Conrad Lutombi, the CEO of the Roads Authority, innovation and technology has always been top agenda of the agenda at the RA and he believes it is a crucial for the development of the country; hence their partnership with Unam.

    “We must be innovative and allow all with skills to propose the implementation of ways in which we can function effectively while sustaining an affordable transportation system that complements and support economic growth,” he said.

    Lutombi added that in 2013 the RA established a technology transfer centre with the main objective to promote a safe, efficient and sustainable transportation network through innovation and the provision and application of new research and technology. Through this agreement, Unam will work closely with the technology transfer centre.

    “Through this MoU the Roads Authority will be able to tap into the university’s rich resource of academic expertise and training par excellence,” he said.

    He also said it will strengthen ties between the two parties and inspire more joint innovative activities in the future.

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    Our Achilles heel of accountabilityOur Achilles heel of accountability Enforcing greater accountability has always been an Achilles heel for the Namibian government over the years.

    Questions have been raised over whether there is indeed the political will and commitment to advance higher levels of accountability in government. One of the best ways to deepen our hard-won democracy is to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in both the public and private sectors. By doing so, citizens are given the necessary space to hold their leaders accountable, while continuing to demand increased space for public participation. However, there doesn't seem to be a strong parliamentary oversight accountability committee system, especially when it comes to the use of public resources. It is correct that we have great institutions such as the auditor-general's office, the ombudsman and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on top of a functioning judiciary. From a good governance point of view, we have seen and read reports of auditors unearthing a number of inconsistencies in the financial dealings of many government ministries, agencies and offices, with millions unaccounted for or squandered.

    This is clearly not encouraging and raises concerns about the sheer lack of accountability in the workplace, exacerbated by a lack of a decisive leadership. This begs the question whether our parliamentary oversight committees are really enjoying the support to carry out their work efficiently and in the interest of the nation. Parliament does not only exist to make laws, but equally plays an important role in holding the government and its ministers to account.

    This is an oversight capability that must be maintained without fear or favour and in the best interest of the nation. It can therefore not be business as usual when public finances are in a mess and there no one to take responsibility. MPs must realise that they have the power to keep the executive accountable for their actions and policies that are supposed to ensure that public resources are used efficiently, effectively and equitably.

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    NaCC scrutinises fuel importsNaCC scrutinises fuel importsInput from affected parties invited The National Petroleum Corporation wants exemption from the Competition Act and its competitors are requested to make submissions to the Competition Commission. The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) is requesting input from interested and affected parties on the reinstatement of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia's (Namcor) intent to have 50% of the fuel import mandate restored.

    Should Namcor succeed in having the fuel import mandate restored, it would be responsible for importing up to 50% of the fuel used in Namibia. NaCC spokesperson Dina Gowases confirmed that Namcor had applied for exemption from certain provisions of the Competition Act for ten years.

    Namcor had in the past made repeated attempts to have its fuel import mandate restored. The state oil and gas company was stripped of the responsibility by former mines minister Isak Katali after this mandate had led to its technical insolvency.

    Namcor in 2008 signed a 50-50 fuel supply deal with Glencore and its subsidiary Petroneft International. The agreement was cancelled in 2010, after the government said it was not favourable to Namibia at the time.

    Gowases said Namcor's exemption application related to a category of proposed decisions to be issued in terms of the Petroleum Products and Energy Act and the Petroleum Products Regulations to amend the wholesale licences of the present importers of petroleum products. This would impose conditions on the percentage volumes for the procurement of petroleum products, and reinstate the mandate to import 50% of Namibia's petroleum needs to Namcor. She stressed that this would not determine whether or not Namcor was entitled to the reinstatement of the 50% petroleum importation mandate.

    “That is a power that is vested with the mines minister in terms of the relevant legislation that governs the petroleum industry.”

    According to her the exemption application that is currently before the Commission is aimed at enabling the Commission to assess whether there are exceptional and compelling public policy justifications that would warrant the exemption of the reinstatement of the mandate from the provisions of the Competition Act.

    As part of the Commission's consideration of Namcor's exemption application, the Commission is therefore seeking input from interested parties such as Namcor's customers and competitors.

    In line with the Competition Act the Commission has published a notice in the Government Gazette inviting interested parties to submit within 30 days any queries or written representations that they may wish to make concerning the application.

    “Provided that there are exceptional and compelling public policy reasons for doing so, the Commission will after consideration of the application and any representations submitted by interested persons make a determination on whether or not to grant or refuse the exemption application provided that there are exceptional and compelling public policy reasons,” said Gowases.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/14/19--14:00: Our people sustain our group
  • Our people sustain our groupOur people sustain our group Engaged employees help establish better relationships with customers, since staff are the ones who are actually in contact with customers.

    This is why FirstRand Namibia focuses heavily on internal transformation to embrace its diversity, embed its culture and values effectively by managing talent, improving open and transparent communication, rewarding and recognising improvement and most importantly the personal wellbeing of employees as the essence of their strategic People Pillar.

    To develop and entrench our desired owner-manager, high-performance culture we launched our FUSED values campaign in 2016 to acknowledge and reward employees who set an example through their daily behaviour in how they live the values.

    That same year we launched our in-house Diversity Intelligence programme with the focus to increase awareness on unconscious bias and the effect it has on others and the work environment as well as to expand employee knowledge on the importance of valuing diversity to build inclusivity.

    This programme continues, and will remain an annual compulsory development intervention for all newcomers.

    “To remain sustainably competitive in an environment where the war for talent is ever-increasing we understand that attracting and retaining passionate people is key to our future success. Our talent management strategy is therefore a major strategic focus area and we will continue to invest in this important aspect of our business,” says Andrew Kanime, FirstRand Namibia executive officer: human resources.

    FirstRand Namibia conducts a Graduate Development Programme, and to date ten graduates have successfully completed the programme. The focus of this very intensive and specialised one-year programme is to attract and retain high-potential Namibian graduates who will be employed in entry level single-dependency professional roles where skills are generally not available internally or externally.

    The graduate trainees are specifically developed to take over an identified critical or specialist position.

    Our Bursary Programme is one of our flagship corporate responsibility programmes. The aim of this programme is to give tertiary education access to financially disadvantaged, yet academically strong students. Our bursaries provide full financial support to each student and covers all tertiary costs, accommodation, books, travel expenses and monthly allowances.

    As part of our capacity-building programme, internal bursaries were extended to previously disadvantaged, non-managerial employees and/or their dependents, through the Staff Assistance Trust. This trust additionally covers unexpected medical expenses. A total of 72 employees and/or their dependents received financial assistance last year alone.

    To retain our talented workforce, we require highly competent leaders that have the ability to motivate and inspire employees to achieve exceptional results. For this reason, we developed and implemented our first in-house Leadership Development Programme that is designed to equip our managers and supervisors with theoretical and practical tools in order to be able to implement their learnings in the workplace.

    We believe in involving our employees in shaping the culture within our group and to this end launched a Public Recognition Competition where employees had to come up with innovative and cost-effective proposals to reward and recognise employees who display and live the owner-manager and high-performance culture. A total of N$20 000 in prize money was awarded to the top six finalists.

    “The physical and emotional well-being of our employees remains a priority for the group and therefore we continued to embark on a variety of programmes and initiatives to sustain happy, healthy and engaged employees,” adds Kanime.

    *Elzita Beukes is the group communications manager at FirstRand Namibia.

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    FirstRand Namibia fights backFirstRand Namibia fights backRecovers in latest half-year The recession and the implementation of an international financial reporting standard had a massive impact on the group’s impairment charges in its past half-year. Our outlook is influenced by conservative economic growth expectations. – FirstRand Namibia Jo-Maré Duddy – FirstRand Namibia bounced back to positive profit growth in the six months ended 31 December 2018 after taking a knock in the same half-year in 2017.

    The latest interim results of the locally listed group, released on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) yesterday, show a net profit of nearly N$552.7 million, about N$27.2 million or 5.2% more than the same six months in 2017. FirstRand’s 2017 interim results reported a drop of about 12% in net profit compared to the corresponding period in 2016.

    The group says its latest set of results “demonstrates strong performance in spite of the difficult economic climate experienced by all”.

    “The impact of the challenging economic climate was certainly felt in the financial services sector. The Namibian economy had to endure the main elements that detract from economic growth, namely high unemployment, harsh environmental conditions, increasing inflation, low commodity prices and lower investor confidence,” FirstRand Namibia says in its financials.

    Impairments, NPLs

    FirstRand Namibia’s total impairment charge jumped by N$41.1 million or 54% to N$117.2 million. In the latest half-year, its impairment charge represented 0.39% of total advances compared to 0.26% in the corresponding half-year in 2017.

    The group says its credit loss rates increased as expected and attributed it to a “more challenging macroeconomic environment”, as well as the implementation of IFRS 9. IFRS 9 is an international financial reporting standard promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board.

    FirstRand Namibia’s portfolio impairment charge grew from N$13.3 million to N$31.3 million due to adherence to IFRS9, the group says. As such, it was the main contributor to the impairment charge increase for the period, it adds.

    FirstRand Namibia says the performance is “acceptable and within risk appetite”. “Credit origination strategies have been aligned to the group’s macroeconomic outlook,” it says.

    The group’s ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) to gross advances ended the half-year under review at 2.31% compared to 1.69% in 2017.

    “In dollar terms [it] increased from N$489 million to N$687 million. This is below the industry average of 3.4%, further highlighting relatively acceptable portfolio performance,” FirstRand Namibia says.

    According to the financials, “the group impairment levels remain well within acceptable levels through the cycle, and coverage ratios remained in line with industry”.

    EBank

    First National Bank of Namibia impaired the EBank trademark after management reviewed the value of the trademark and found that it would no longer meet the future needs of the group, the latest report states. FNB Namibia acquired the total shareholding of EBank in 2016.

    “The trademark has been impaired to a carrying amount of N$ nil based on its anticipated value in use to the business and an impairment loss of N$13.7 million recognised,” FirstRand Namibia indicated yesterday.

    It added that software was impaired after “management reviewed their technology platform and found that the software would no longer meet future needs as EBank customers were migrated to the FNB core banking system. This software has been impaired to carrying amount of N$ nil based on its anticipated value in use to the business and an impairment loss of N$25.6 million recognised.”

    Prospects

    FirstRand Namibia says it outlook is “influenced by conservative economic growth expectations”.

    “The group is in a unique position to not only contribute but capitalise on the opportunities that may emerge in the current economic environment.

    “FirstRand Namibia’s continued investment in digitalisation and innovation provides the group with a solid platform to weather many an economic storm and continue to provide customer-centric service that ultimately translates to improved bottom-line performance and sustainable balance sheet growth,” the group says.

    FirstRand Namibia is listed on the Local Index of the NSX. With a total market capitalisation of N$11.579 billion, it is the biggest company on the index.

    FirstRand Namibia closed at N$43.27 per share on Wednesday, 17c a piece or 0.39% lower than the end of 2018.

    0 0

    Foreign graduates protest 'unfair' testsForeign graduates protest 'unfair' tests Dozens of foreign-trained medical and dentistry graduates took to the streets yesterday to protest against a pre-internship exam which they claim is unfair and discriminatory.

    One of the graduates, Giselinde Aluvilu, said the group was not only protesting for themselves, but for a country in dire need of medical staff.

    “We are not here just for ourselves as medical graduates, but also for our colleagues who are already working long hours and are overworked, with one doctor attending to more than 20 patients. It's unacceptable.”

    She said the group, who all failed to pass a November pre-internship evaluation required to register in Namibia, “do not understand this maltreatment if we came to help our Namibian people”.

    The dozens of graduates who marched yesterday to hand over a petition to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila are part of a group of 205 foreign-trained medical graduates, and 30 dentistry graduates, who failed to pass a compulsory pre-internship evaluation in November last year.

    Martin Kambala, another graduate, said they had tried on several occasions to engage the Medical and Dental Council, but to no avail.”

    He said the petition was signed by more than 238 graduates “who fell victim of this practice by the council”.

    The graduates obtained their qualifications in foreign countries, among them China, Russia, Ukraine and South Africa.



    Quality control

    In a statement issued yesterday, the Medical and Dental Council explained that the evaluation was set up in 2016 for graduates who “underwent educational programmes not approved by the Council, and therefore the standard of such programmes is unknown to the Namibian authority.”





    Of the 207 medical graduates who wrote the evaluation, only two passed, and none of the 30 foreign-trained dental graduates.

    Fifteen dental graduates and 42 medical graduates did qualify for a supplementary pre-internship evaluation, though.

    “The Council has the responsibility to regulate the practice of the medical and dental professions and protect the public,” the statement said.

    Sixty-two graduates, who did not pass a single domain out of the six domains tested, were advised to enrol for a practical 12-month training programme to bring them on par with national standards before taking the pre-internship exam again.

    The council added that it had received an appeal challenging the test results and the competency of the examiners and requesting that the November exam results be nullified.

    The same graduates have also turned to the High Court with an urgent application, which is to be heard today.

    The council emphasised that it was common practice worldwide for foreign-trained graduates to undergo local evaluations to ensure they met national standards.



    Paid for by the nation

    The petition handed over yesterday says the graduates are not opposed to an evaluation, but it must be “transparent, smooth and fair.”

    They claim the evaluation was set up to “deliberately” fail them.

    “The high failure rate was therefore not caused by our incompetence but by the unfairness of the nature of the examination, being the number of questions, the inclusion of additional domains and the short time allocated,” they say.

    They add they trained for years at the taxpayer's expense and the government should not to waste that money “and throw us on the street.”

    They further point out that locally trained medical graduates are not compelled to take the exam, which they claim is discriminatory.



    Let them learn

    A mother, who joined the protest yesterday, said the authorities were turning their backs on the graduates, whose studies were taxpayer funded and also put steep financial demands on their families to support them.

    “Then they come back and are treated like this,” the mother, who did not wish to be identified, said.

    She added that instead of wasting valuable talent, and blaming a lack of funds, the government should allow the graduates to start internships to support overworked staff at hospitals and clinics.

    “Let them work for their people, for the Namibian nation. Have them work for free, as long as they gain experience and look after patients,” she said.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 02/14/19--14:00: Hostel a threat to lives
  • Hostel a threat to livesHostel a threat to livesChurch was warned in 2010 to stop operations A health ministry letter in 2010 warned that the Nkurenkuru Elcin school hostel should be closed down and renovated “to prevent loss of life”. The Kavango West education directorate continues to subsidise a dilapidated church hostel at Nkurenkuru, despite a 2010 directive by the health ministry that it must be closed down.

    The Nkurenkuru Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) hostel, which is in a terrible state, accommodates about 250 learners from several schools in the area.

    The hostel was built from clay by Finnish missionaries in the 1960s.

    Namibian Sun uncovered this week that the ministry of health and social services had instructed the church in 2010 to close the hostel.

    This was after inspections were done.

    The church was told it could resume its hostel operations once renovations had been completed and the environment was hygienic.

    All this is contained in a letter dated 28 January 2010, signed by then Kavango regional health director Elizabeth Muremi and addressed to Bishop Sindano Johannes.

    “This letter serves to inform your office that an inspection was conducted on 26 January 2010, subsequent to an initial inspection conducted in 2009,” the letter reads.





    “Both inspections revealed unsatisfactory hygienic condition and dilapidated structures which pose serious risks to learners accommodated on these premises. The hostel should therefore cease operations on 5 February 2010 until the unsatisfactory conditions are fully rectified.”

    Muremi said further that “any continued use of the premises constitutes an offence in terms of the Public Health Act of 1919 and the General Health Regulations of 1969, as amended”.

    “This is to prevent loss of life and (an) economic disaster.”

    Church pastor Ernest Karuyeva told Namibian Sun that the church had initially complied with the directive and ceased its hostel operations.

    However, the parents of the learners complained and demanded that the church reopen the hostel.

    Karuyeva said many of the learners came from villages about 15 kilometres from schools, and because there was no government hostel in the area, parents with learners accommodated in the church hostel did not have a problem with it.

    Karuyeva explained that as much as the church was willing to close the hostel, there was nowhere else for the children to go.

    “Some people think we are accepting these learners because we want to make money from them, but the reality is that if we today decide that the learners should go, we are worried about where they will go, because there is no hostel to accommodate them,” Karuyeva said.

    “The church has a lot of responsibilities and we would be so relieved if the hostel part was closed down. The government can even come today and take the learners, we will be happy.”

    Karuyeva said the subsidy they receive from the ministry mostly caters for food and other expenses, such as water and electricity bills and hostel staff salaries.

    He stressed that if the church used the government subsidy to renovate the buildings, there would be no food for the children.

    Karuyeva added that the subsidy was cut from N$22 to N$15 per learner per day last year.

    Kavango West education director Teopolina Hamutumua said they were doing inspections at hostels in the region, including the Mpungu Elcin hostel, the Rupara Elcin hostel, the Nkurenkuru Elcin hostel and the Mururani community hostel.

    Hamutumua said the findings would be shared with the health ministry, which would then recommend what should happen next.

    When asked why the ministry continued to subsidise the Nkurenkuru Elcin hostel despite the directive from the health ministry to shut it down, Hamutumua said as much as her directorate wanted the learners out of the church hostel, they had no alternative.

    Hamutumua said the ministry could stop paying the subsidy, but that would mean that the learners would drop out of school.

    “If we stop the subsidy it means no more school for those learners who are accommodated at the hostel, because they will not have a place to stay at Nkurenkuru,” Hamutumua said.

    A feasibility study on building a hostel on land west of the Nkurenkuru Combined School was conducted in 2014 but the project has not started.

    Hamutumua said a construction tender was expected to be invited later this year.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Logistical problems force Nigeria election delayLogistical problems force Nigeria election delay
    Nigeria's electoral watchdog today postponed presidential and parliamentary elections for one week, just hours before polls were due to open.
    The two main political parties swiftly condemned the move and accused each other of orchestrating the delay as a way of manipulating the vote.
    Voting had been due to start at nearly 120 000 polling stations in Africa's most populous nation at 07:00 GMT, with a record 73 candidates on the ballot.
    President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, was set to seek a second term of office against a stiff challenge from the main opposition candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, 72.
    But rumours began circulating late on Friday about a possible postponement after widespread reports of problems with the delivery of election materials, including ballot papers.
    Members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met in emergency session in Abuja and after examining the logistics plans concluded the timetable was "no longer feasible", commission chairman Mahmood Yakubu said.
    "Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule to Saturday February 23, 2019," he told reporters.
    Parliamentary elections for 360 seats in the lower House of Representatives and 109 seats in the Senate will be held on the same day.
    Governorship and state assembly elections will be pushed back to March 9, Yakubu said.
    "This was a difficult decision for the commission to take but necessary for the successful delivery of elections and the consolidation of our democracy," he added.
    Buhari's campaign spokesman Festus Keyamo, for the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) said the news was a "huge disappointment" and hit out at INEC for being unprepared.
    Keyamo called on the body to remain impartial "as the rumour mill is agog with the suggestion that this postponement has been orchestrated in collusion with the... PDP".For his part, Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party blamed the Buhari government for "instigating the postponement" but called on his supporters to remain calm.

    "We will overcome this. You can postpone an election but you cannot postpone destiny," he added in a statement.

    Nigeria has postponed voting before: in 2015, INEC announced a six-week delay just one week before the election, citing security concerns linked to the Boko Haram insurgency.
    The six-week delay was seen as a way for president Goodluck Jonathan to claw back votes after a strong challenge from Buhari, then an opposition candidate.
    The same argument may be made again, with little to separate Buhari and Abubakar.

    NAMPA/AFP


    0 0
  • 02/16/19--05:17: Kauluma was always there
  • Kauluma was always thereKauluma was always there

    The head of state, in his capacity as the president of Swapo, sent out a message of condolences to the family and loved ones of Shimweefeleni Peter Kauluma, and of course, the Aandonga people.

    “I wish to express our sincere condolences and deep sympathy to his children and the bereaved family. Swapo lauds the contribution of this foremost stalwart to the conceptualisation, development and phenomenal growth of the party into a formidable popular political force.”

    Dr Hage Geingob continued by saying: “Together with other giants of his generation such as Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, Peter Mueshihange, Tobias Hainyeko, among others, he was one of the founding members of Ovamboland People’s Congress, in Cape Town in 1957, later transformed into Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO) and then into Swapo in 1960. He remained in Cape Town while some of his compatriots including Mueshingage and Hainyeko left for exile in the early 1960s, while Ya Toivo was deported to Namibia in 1958.”

    Kauluma was deported to Namibia in 1969 and continued to agitate for Namibia’s freedom doing “underground work”, focusing primarily on the youth. He was arrested in 1976 and incarcerated without charges. He was accused of aiding guerrilla fighters of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibian (PLAN).

    Said Geingob: “Although he was subjected to degrading and dehumanising torture at the hands of the enemy, the revolutionary spirit that coursed through his body, allowed him to resist all attempts to break his will.

    “Comrade Kauluma was an important asset in the Swapo and PLAN underground network.”

    Kauluma served the Ondonga traditional authority for 37 years with unquestioning loyalty and dignity.

    “He possessed a natural acumen for dealing with traditional matters and this was extremely valuable for Omukwaniilwa comrade Elifas and the Ondonga community.”

    STAFF REPORTER


    0 0
  • 02/16/19--05:18: Kauluma was always there
  • Kauluma was always thereKauluma was always there

    The head of state, in his capacity as the president of Swapo, sent out a message of condolences to the family and loved ones of Shimweefeleni Peter Kauluma, and of course, the Aandonga people.

    “I wish to express our sincere condolences and deep sympathy to his children and the bereaved family. Swapo lauds the contribution of this foremost stalwart to the conceptualisation, development and phenomenal growth of the party into a formidable popular political force.”

    Dr Hage Geingob continued by saying: “Together with other giants of his generation such as Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, Peter Mueshihange, Tobias Hainyeko, among others, he was one of the founding members of Ovamboland People’s Congress, in Cape Town in 1957, later transformed into Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO) and then into Swapo in 1960. He remained in Cape Town while some of his compatriots including Mueshingage and Hainyeko left for exile in the early 1960s, while Ya Toivo was deported to Namibia in 1958.”

    Kauluma was deported to Namibia in 1969 and continued to agitate for Namibia’s freedom doing “underground work”, focusing primarily on the youth. He was arrested in 1976 and incarcerated without charges. He was accused of aiding guerrilla fighters of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibian (PLAN).

    Said Geingob: “Although he was subjected to degrading and dehumanising torture at the hands of the enemy, the revolutionary spirit that coursed through his body, allowed him to resist all attempts to break his will.

    “Comrade Kauluma was an important asset in the Swapo and PLAN underground network.”

    Kauluma served the Ondonga traditional authority for 37 years with unquestioning loyalty and dignity.

    “He possessed a natural acumen for dealing with traditional matters and this was extremely valuable for Omukwaniilwa comrade Elifas and the Ondonga community.”

    STAFF REPORTER


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    Lexine Mills makes a comebackLexine Mills makes a comeback Local water skier Lexine Mills took part in a tournament held at Bird Valley in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province recently.

    With perfect skiing conditions and at a beautiful ski site, Lexine skied exceptionally well, making her comeback after missing the 2018 RSA season due to injury.

    She achieved a personal best for under-17 girls with a score of two buoys at 55 km/h on a 14-metre rope length, placing her first in her age group and second overall in the women's section.

    She also came in first for trick skiing in both the women's section and her age group, with a score of 950 points, a little shy of her Namibian record of 1 030 points which she achieved at a local tournament held on 12 January 2019 at Von Bach Dam.

    Overall the skiing was very good with five personal bests, as well as the under-21 South African record was equalled by SA skier Nic Stegmann with an unbelievable score of two buoys at 58 km/h on a 10.75-metre rope.

    The next tournament will be in Stellenbosch, where Lexi will be joined by Dieter Kebbel, Kyron Sprake and Jeané Kamfer.

    SPORT REPORTER

    0 0

    Vries still Mannetti's number oneVries still Mannetti's number oneWarriors coach to meet NFA Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti is expected to decide who will be the first-choice goalkeeper ahead of their Afcon qualifiers match. Senior national football national team coach Ricardo Mannetti has backed Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper and the national team's first choice, Virgil Vries.

    Vries has been having a hard time after his mistakes cost his club points in the South Africa Premier League.

    The keeper has lost his place in the Kaizer Chiefs first eleven and concerns have been raised on whether he will be mentally ready for Namibia's crucial match against Zambia next month.

    Mannetti hinted that Vries could be starting the match against Zambia even if he has been having a bad time at club level.

    Vries is likely to compete for first choice at national team level against Golden Arrows' Maximilian Mbaeva and African Stars keeper Ratanda Mbazuvara.

    “Virgil has been my number one and I have not made a decision on whether that will change going into our tie against Zambia or not.

    “As a national team, we still believe in him and encourage him to work better on the training ground.

    “We do not have any doubt in his abilities and he has been an important aspect of our team,” Mannetti said.

    The 2015 Cosafa Cup-winning coach has also expressed his desire to start preparing the national team for the match against Zambia.

    The coach is expected to have a final answer as to when the preparations for the final match is to begin.

    “We know that there was a normalisation committee and things have to wait until the dust has settled at the NFA. “We are meeting with the committee in order to raise our concerns and the issues the team faces ahead of the important clash.

    “I can however assure you that the players will be fired up to play in that important match against Zambia,” Mannetti added.

    The fact that Mozambique are lurking just one point behind Brave Warriors makes the scenario a very tricky one for the Warriors.

    A win for Mozambique against Guinea Bissau and a defeat from Namibia against Zambia will certainly end the country's hopes of reaching the Africa Cup of Nations.

    That is why analysts deemed it important that Namibia beat Zambia on their home ground in order to avoid them spoiling the party for Namibia.

    A draw for Mozambique and a defeat for Namibia can also guarantee the country a spot at the Africa showpiece, but many felt that the country must not take any chances and depend on other results.

    Guinea Bissau is currently leading Group K with eight points, followed by Namibia on eight points.

    Mozambique is in third place, on seven points, while Zambia is out of the race after securing only four points.

    The group winners and runners-up will qualify for the 32nd edition of the Total African Cup of Nations, to be hosted from 15 June to 13 July 2019.

    JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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