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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 971 | 972 | (Page 973) | 974 | 975 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    'Swallow your pride and work together''Swallow your pride and work together' A Swapo committee comprised of senior leaders has told the party's Rundu councillors to forget what happened in the past, swallow their pride and move on, so they can provide services to the town's residents.

    The committee, led by Albert Kawana, met with the councillors, as well as the party's Rundu Urban district executive, the Kavango East regional leadership and governor Samuel Mbambo.

    The other members of the committee are Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, Hilma Nicanor and James Sankwasa, who is also the chairperson of the Swapo leaders assigned to Kavango East Region.

    The meeting followed a decision by the Swapo politburo to send senior leaders to Rundu in order to diffuse growing tensions between party councillors.

    This had culminated in three of them defying a directive by secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa to retain Verna Sinimbo as Rundu mayor and Ralph Ihemba as her deputy.

    The party had recently recalled the three councillors, including newly elected mayor Isak Kandingu, after the trio were elected in defiance of a directive that the town's office-bearers structure must remain unchanged.

    The politburo reversed the recalls last week, following an earlier meeting chaired by President Hage Geingob.

    On Monday, after a four-hour meeting, Kawana said the committee was expected to report back to the Swapo politburo before anything will be shared with public.

    He said briefly the meeting was a success and that the party is looking forward to the general election.

    He added they expect President Hage Geingob to retain the presidency of the country with an overwhelming majority.

    A source said the meeting was aimed at uniting the Swapo councillors and addressing issues that were dividing the party in the region.

    “The meeting started off with the reading of last week's press statement about the decision of the politburo, which is that the three councillors who were withdrawn from the council should be reinstated and continue with their mandate,” the source said.

    “The committee further advised the councillors to unite, swallow their pride, move on and work together to address the issues the residents of Rundu are faced with.”

    The source further revealed that a number of issues were discussed, including why the Swapo Rundu Urban district executive is unable to reach a quorum.

    The source said Kawana was expected to meet the district executive yesterday.

    Kawana asked for the meeting after it was alleged that the district had fake branches, which was denied by Rundu Urban constituency councillor Victoria Kauma.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Mitsubishi SA welcomes 6th distinctive modelMitsubishi SA welcomes 6th distinctive modelAll-new Eclipse Cross One of the best looking cars out of Japan has arrived on South African soil, aimed at eclipsing many direct competitors in the segment for compact luxury SUVs. The three primary product attributes of the all-new Eclipse Cross are stimulating design, confidence-inspiring driving and human connectivity. – Nic Campbell, GM: Mitsubishi Motors SA Boasting Mitsubishi’s unique Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC), the all-new Eclipse Cross offers a defiant new-genre coupé approach, fusing stylish design and functionality for trendy individuals who are looking beyond the latest trends.

    The latest arrival in the Mitsubishi Motors South Africa stable expands the local product offering to six distinctive models in the range (ASX, Outlander, Pajero, Pajero Sport, Triton and now the Eclipse Cross).

    “Eclipse Cross, which surpassed the global sales milestone of 80 000 units since its international launch 12 months ago, boasts a coupé-like exterior and is perceived more modern, distinctive, dynamic, advanced and sportier than most of its competitors,” says Nic Campbell, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.

    The all-new Eclipse Cross CVT will be available in 4x2 and all-wheel drive (AWD), both with a 6-speed CVT gearbox with Sports Mode coupled to Mitsubishi’s 2.0-litre MIVEC petrol engine.

    The latest model offers cutting-edge technology to deliver a bold action adventure compact SUV that takes you beyond the everyday.

    “The three primary product attributes of the all-new Eclipse Cross are stimulating design, confidence-inspiring driving and human connectivity,” says Campbell.

    Awards

    The stimulating design concept of the all-new Eclipse Cross brings the new compact SUV into the modern age, combining the latest styling design with incredible driving dynamics and innovative, intuitive safety technology.

    Winning a host of international awards, including the prestigious GOOD DESIGN award for Design Excellence and Design Innovation, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was named the Automotive Researchers’ & Journalists’ Conference of Japan “RJC Car of the Year 2019”.

    Judges praised the sharp looks, excellent rough-road performance and well-balanced drivability of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.

    The all-new model’s vibrant styling expresses a fresh sportiness and stylishness, making a bold statement on the road. Like the ring of sunlight from behind the moon in a full eclipse, the sharply sculpted character line makes the Eclipse Cross appear as if the body was carved from a single block of metal.

    Its defiant design concept focuses on a fine balance between the wedge-shaped coupé style and practicality of space and comfort, with its adventure character creating a sophisticated balance between sport and style. On the outside, the front face expresses dynamism and sportiness based on the “dynamic shield” design concept, with Japanese craftsmanship including a functional and hi-tech lighting design.

    Part of the Eclipse Cross’s Japanese craftsmanship is the new Red Diamond body colour with high brightness and high chrome which emphasises the vehicle’s vibrant styling further. The strikingly lustrous Red Diamond paint is created by a multi-coat process that includes the layering of a semi-transparent red and clear coating for a high-colour saturation and intensity that produces a highly-refined, deeper finish. Red Diamond is the most premium exterior finish ever offered by Mitsubishi Motors.

    The cockpit of the all-new Eclipse Cross has a sporty design that stimulates excitement with an ingenious selection of features, making drivers want to invite friends for a ride.

    Confidence-inspiring

    Powered by Mitsubishi’s proven 2.0-litre MIVEC engine, coupled to a finely-tuned 6-speed CVT with 6-step Sports Mode, the all-new Eclipse Cross offers excellent acceleration that gives the new model a dynamic feeling behind the wheel.

    Mitsubishi’s unique Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) ensures outstanding stability in all road and driving conditions, offering agile handling for unequalled safety.

    S-AWC is the integration of the vehicle dynamics control system with the controls of each component around the all-wheel drive system, offering the driver additional safety and comfortable driving.

    S-AWC guarantees ultimate driving safety through the electronically-controlled AWD System which distributes driving torque as required. This leads to ultimate longitudinal driving force distribution while the Active Yaw Control (AYC) ensures excellent lateral driving force distribution. This allows additional steering assistance on any terrain.

    If the driver unintentionally brakes or accelerates too much in a normal turn in slippery conditions, the system helps the driver to maintain control safely with usual steering inputs.

    S-AWC detects the vehicle’s position, decides the proper torque distribution between the front and rear and left and right wheels using power and brake control, ensuring sure-footed control.

    The highly-efficient power train, with Smart Driving Assist and Active Smart Safety, offers confidence-inspiring driving and ultimate peace of mind.

    Another outstanding feature is the full-colour Head Up Display (HUD) that sharpens the sensitivity of human and machine connection. - Quickpic

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  • 02/26/19--14:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief StanChart profit rises, but misses estimates

    Standard Chartered PLC yesterday posted a 5.5% rise in 2018 pre-tax profit, missing market expectations, pulled down by US$900 million in provisions set aside to cover any impact from regulatory investigations in the United States and Britain.

    StanChart, listed both in London and Hong Kong, last week said the provision related to the potential resolution of US investigations into alleged sanctions violations and foreign exchange trades.

    The emerging markets-focused bank booked profit of US$2.55 billion, versus US$2.42 billion in 2017. The result compared with the US$3.9 billion average of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv. – Nampa/Reuters

    Peugeot-maker PSA lifts profit goal

    French carmaker PSA Group raised its medium-term profit guidance yesterday after reporting record full-year sales and earnings, buoyed by the success of its Peugeot 3008 and 5008 SUV models.

    PSA's recurring operating income jumped 43% to 5.69 billion euros (US$6.46 billion), giving a 7.7% profit margin, helped by its acquisition of Opel-Vauxhall. Sales advanced 19% to 74.03 billion.

    Strong sales of its latest Peugeot SUVs have helped PSA to build on a steady recovery from near-bankruptcy in 2013-14. The company is applying the same discipline at the Opel division acquired from General Motors in 2017.

    The Paris-based group said its 4.5% average margin goal for the 2019-2021 period would henceforth include the less profitable Opel-Vauxhall division, effectively raising the benchmark. – Nampa/Reuters

    BSG Resources to quit Guinea's Simandou

    Billionaire Beny Steinmetz's BSG Resources (BSGR) will walk away from Guinea's massive Simandou iron ore project as part of a settlement ending a long-running dispute with the West African nation, the company said on Monday.

    Development of Simandou - one of the world's biggest iron deposits, containing billions of tonnes of high-grade ore – has been hindered by years of legal wrangling as well as the enormous US$23 billion cost of the required infrastructure.

    The agreement between the government and BSGR, if implemented, would remove a major obstacle to the project moving forward.

    Guinea had levelled corruption allegations at BSGR and stripped it of its rights to the Simandou blocks and Zogota concession. BSGR has denied any wrongdoing.

    Under the deal, the two parties will drop outstanding actions related to the dispute, and Steinmetz pledged to seek new investors to develop the smaller Zogota iron ore deposit on an accelerated timetable, a company statement said. – Nampa/Reuters

    Hammerson wins backing on more asset sales

    British shopping centre operator Hammerson Plc said on Monday it won the backing of shareholder Elliot Advisors on its plans to sell more assets to cut debt and expand its board.

    The company, which sold assets worth 570 million pounds in 2018, said it would look to dispose more than 500 million pounds (US$653.50 million) of assets in 2019, adding that it was in active discussions on deals with a total value of over 900 million pounds.

    The owner of Birmingham's Bullring and London's Brent Cross reported a 6.2% decline in net rental income to 347.5 million pounds for the year ended December 31, as company failures hit occupancy at its malls.

    Elliott, which held a 5.3% stake in Hammerson as of July 5, entered an agreement with the company, including a commitment that the US hedge fund would vote in favour of the resolutions recommended by Hammerson at the upcoming general meeting.

    Hammerson cut its debt by 179 million pounds to 3.4 billion pounds at the end of December 31 and said it targets debt of 3 billion for 2019. – Nampa/Reuters

    Barrick CEO defends hostile Newmont bid

    Barrick Gold Corp's chief executive defended the world's largest gold producer's hostile US$18 billion bid for Newmont Mining Corp, saying on Monday the deal is "logical" for an industry battling high costs and depleting resources.

    Barrick, which recently completed a US$6.1 billion acquisition of Africa-focused Randgold Resources, launched its all-stock bid on Monday, encouraging the US rival to ditch a previously announced US$10 billion takeover of Canada's Goldcorp Inc.

    "This gold industry needs to become more relevant to investors," CEO Mark Bristow said in an interview on the sidelines of the BMO Global Metals & Mining Conference in Hollywood, Florida.

    Bristow, known for his straight-talking and hands-on approach in running Randgold before the merger, said this deal "drives a further rationalisation in our industry".

    Barrick's offer for Newmont has pushed the combined value of unsolicited M&A deals globally to US$48.2 billion so far this year, the highest since 2006, according to data from Refinitiv. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Food companies could face costly disputes over land in AfricaFood companies could face costly disputes over land in AfricaBitter aftertaste Land disputes could cause up to US$101 million in losses over the next 25 years, says the ODI. It's hard to see how to make these projects win-win when both the investors and the communities want the same land for very different purposes. - Renee Vellve, Co-founder: GRAIN Adela Suliman – Food companies doing business in Africa risk becoming bogged down in decades-long legal disputes over land that could cost tens of millions of dollars, according to a report released on Monday.

    From sugar to coffee and palm oil, agribusiness firms could find that the land they are using is already claimed or occupied by local people, researchers said.

    Such disputes, already common, can tie up businesses for years and halt trade - and could cause up to US$101 million in losses over the next 25 years, said the report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a think tank, and TMP Systems, a UK-based consultancy.

    "All over you get communities who do want to benefit from investment," said Joseph Feyertag, ODI research fellow.

    "But communities need to know exactly what they're letting themselves into," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    The report, which collected data from nearly 80 firms, is part of a wider initiative to encourage responsible investment in African agriculture and develop trust between companies and communities.

    "The purpose of this is to quantify the costs of doing it wrong," said Feyertag of ODI, which with TMP Systems developed a free modelling tool that assesses those risks.

    Land and identity

    Almost half of all land disputes between sugar companies and local communities in Africa lasted more than 10 years, the report found. Such protracted disputes also caused significant harm and economic stress to local people.

    "It's hard to see how to make these projects win-win when both the investors and the communities want the same land for very different purposes," said Renee Vellve, co-founder of GRAIN, an international charity that supports social movements in their bid for food self-sufficiency.

    "For the companies, the land is a resource, a tool to extract wealth. For the communities, the land is their lives and source of livelihoods - it's part of their identity."

    For Vellve, clashes are common and are often resolved at the expense of communities, with villagers unable to access fields and forests and to make a living, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Cases

    Recent years have seen several high-profile land dispute cases in Africa.

    In 2009, a deal by South Korea's Daewoo Logistics to lease more than 1 million hectares in Madagascar for crops led to the island nation's ruler being ousted, and fuelled anger against foreign companies using swathes of African farmland.

    Last year, Liberia passed a landmark law that would help communities fight foreign land grabs by giving them ownership of ancestral territory.

    Prior to that, rights groups had said, the state had signed away more than 40% of national territory in concessions for logging, mining and agriculture.

    Under Liberia's new Land Rights Act, communities can claim ownership of customary land by presenting evidence including oral testimonies, maps and signed agreements with neighbours to prove their tenure.

    And, in Sierra Leone, farmers and charities have since 2017 protested the use of 45 000 acres of land in the southern Pujehun province for a palm oil plantation by international agro-investor Socfin.

    "While large-scale agri-business activities are a source of much-needed revenue for many countries in Africa, too often poor smallholder farmers, including women, hardly see any fruit," David Barissa, campaign manager for the charity Oxfam in Africa, said in an interview.

    "As national governments open up their borders for these investments, there is an urgent need to find a model that truly includes and respects the rights of farmers."– Nampa/Reuters

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    Young and determined to succeedYoung and determined to succeed One of Meatco's bursary recipients for 2016 has obtained his qualification and is now working at the company.

    Petrus Kagogo is a gifted individual, who completed a BSc Engineering degree in electro/mechanical engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

    According to Meatco it allocated funds to support five deserving students in the form of 100% bursaries in 2016.

    These bursaries also allowed the recipients the opportunity of hands-on work-related experience in the form of internships at Meatco, before they started working off their bursaries by being employed full-time at Meatco.

    According to the company it advertised bursaries in the fields of study that support succession planning for sustainability.

    “Our bursary selection committee received hundreds of applications and shortlisted and interviewed 31 students in the past two years to award our bursaries to,” Meatco said.

    Born and raised in Okaku in the north of Namibia, Kagogo said he has always enjoyed technical applications and courses, which was nurtured at Mweshipandeka High School in Ongwediva.

    “The school was founded in 1984 and bears the name of King Mweshipandeka of the Oukwanyama, but is also a technical school,” he said.

    Kagogo added he enjoys reading up on the latest technology and findings in the field of engineering, in order to stay sharp and on the ball.

    This further allows him to broaden his horizons and expose himself to individuals who share a similar passion.

    According to Meatco this is not Kagogo's first qualification, as he also previously attended the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust).

    “Academically, I possess a BSc in applied mathematics and statistics from Nust. Meatco rescued me right before I quit my journey in electro/mechanical engineering, because I could not afford to continue paying for myself. I will forever be thankful for the opportunity and I am happy to be back and applying my skills at Meatco, where I also get to assist and supervise those doing their apprenticeships here,” Kagogo added.

    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 02/26/19--14:00: Desert Fruit eyes expansion
  • Desert Fruit eyes expansionDesert Fruit eyes expansion!Naruseb impressed by date farm In full production, the four varieties of date palms will produce an expected total of over 1 000 tonnes of export quality fruit from the current plantation. Desert Fruit Namibia (DFN), located 200 kilometres south of Karasburg, is aiming to grow its date harvest to above 1 000 tonnes per year over the next two seasons.

    Agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb visited Desert Fruit last week to familiarise himself with their operations.

    The peak season for date harvesting and packaging is currently in full swing at the farm.

    Desert Fruit was established in 2005 and the first date palms were planted in 2006. The farm is one of only a handful of date producers in the southern hemisphere.

    Discussions revolved around the possible future expansion of Desert Fruit and the need for continued interaction between the company and the ministry.

    The sustainable use of water drawn from the Orange River and the state of the river were also discussed.

    This is critical to ensure that expansion is possible.

    The requirement for continued healthy collaboration between the ministry and the company was on the agenda to ensure the ease of exports through Namibia's borders.

    !Naruseb also spent time with the local government organisations that interact and support the development and commercial activities at Desert Fruit and met with investor representatives.

    Support was committed to continue the strong growth of Desert Fruit, as the company was expecting to move its harvest tonnage above 1 000 tonnes over the next two seasons, while further improving on quality.

    According to the company this will make Desert Fruit one of the country's premier fruit exporters, while providing a valuable injection of income into the economy.

    “We were extremely honoured and excited about the visit by !Naruseb and ensured that he had the chance to experience every aspect of Desert Fruit Namibia, ranging from observations in the field, reviewing the pack store - the biggest of its kind in southern Africa - and visiting our crèche. Our employees expressed their gratitude that their hard work has been recognised by the highest authority in our country,” said Charles Edmonds, Desert Fruit's technical farm manager.

    !Naruseb in turn complimented Desert Fruit on its achievements and said he was impressed with its work, standards and achievements.

    “I keenly observed every operation at DFN and spend time with some of the rising stars of the company, who are being groomed to take on the future management of the pack store. I am also impressed with the social structures at DFN, which ensure that the workers' children can attend the crèche and are assisted with schooling, while workers have access to the vegetable garden, butchery and shop, seeing that they are 200 kilometres away from the nearest town,” !Naruseb said.

    Desert Fruit has 22 000 date palms of varying ages. In full production, the four varieties of date palms will produce an expected total of over 1 000 tonnes of export quality fruit from the current plantation. Desert Fruit is the only farm to actively farm and market speciality variants including Zamli, Khallas and Barhi in the southern hemisphere.

    The company employs up to 450 staff, made up of permanent and seasonal workers during the peak season.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Britain, SA finalising interim post-Brexit trade dealBritain, SA finalising interim post-Brexit trade deal‘Very, very close’ South Africa is Britain's biggest partner in Africa with trade worth over 9 billion pounds in 2017. Johannesburg - South Africa is close to signing an interim trade agreement with Britain that would replicate arrangements with Europe and ensure trade will not be disrupted in the event of a hard Brexit, South African trade minister Rob Davies said on Monday.

    With just a month to go before Britain is due to leave the European Union, London has been trying to strike agreements with trade partners around the world to replicate the terms it now has as a member of the bloc.

    "We are very, very close to concluding a bilateral agreement with the UK which is essentially a roll over ... of the partnership agreement," he said in a phone interview, referring to South Africa's current agreement with the EU.

    South Africa is Britain's biggest partner in Africa with trade worth over 9 billion pounds (US$11.77 billion) in 2017. Metals and other commodities, cars and car parts, machinery, fruit and beverages are among the main traded goods.

    Without an agreement in place, that trade would become subject to higher tariffs that would hit key industries in both countries essentially overnight in the event of a hard or no-deal Brexit on March 29.

    Transition

    The deal being finalised would create a transition period for the two sides to reach a more permanent deal, once Britain's future relationship with the EU and its new trade profilebecomes clear.

    Davies said some elements couldn't simply be recreated in the bilateral agreement, and required negotiation.

    Some of those provisions were still being discussed, he said, though other difficult issues including tariff quotas on agricultural exports had already been settled.

    However, some Brexit risks, such as the impact of an economic slowdown in the EU, could not be mitigated against, he said.

    "If supply chains in Europe are adversely affected and Europe starts to have some kind of external shock challenges, there's not too much we can do about that," he said, adding this could hit industries like South Africa's auto sector. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Hepatitis E a 'Windhoek-borne' disease – researchersHepatitis E a 'Windhoek-borne' disease – researchers Following a hepatitis E outbreak in the Omusati Region last year, research was conducted by the University of Namibia (Unam) and Cardiff University, which found that most of the cases had been brought into the region from Windhoek.

    Regional health director Alfons Amoomo says the region recorded 98 hepatitis E cases, of which 62 were people who had travelled to either Windhoek or Swakopmund.

    During the hepatitis E outbreak last year, a total of 4 318 hepatitis E cases were reported nationwide, including 34 deaths, of which 16 were maternal deaths.

    The Khomas Region's informal settlements recorded the highest number of 2 962 cases, followed by the Erongo Region with 918 cases, Omusati with 98 cases and Oshana with 80 cases.

    In Ohangwena, 60 cases were reported, followed by 50 cases in the Oshikoto Region and 39 in the two Kavango regions.

    The research findings were presented at Outapi in the Omusati Region on Monday.

    One of the researchers, Unam social work lecturer Dr Rachel Freeman, said when the outbreak was declared in Windhoek's Havana and Goreangab informal settlements on 14 December 2017, Unam and Cardiff University proposed the research project to the ministry of health and social services.

    “The aim of the research was to inform and strengthen the field response in order to reduce transmission, mortality and the burden of hepatitis E on the national health system,” she said.

    Freeman said cases were identified at the four district hospitals of Tsandi, Oshikuku, Okahao and Outapi. No new cases have been reported in the region since then.

    “The majority of the infected people in Omusati had travelled from or to Windhoek or Swakopmund's informal settlements, or they had been in close contact with friends or relatives from Windhoek,” Freeman said.

    “Therefore, the perception of the participants was that hepatitis E is a 'Windhoek-borne' disease.”

    Professor Judith Hall of Cardiff University said the hepatitis E outbreak was a wake-up call for Namibia.

    She said the country has a very small population, but it has many wealthy people who can help to uplift the standard of living in their communities.

    “It's time for people with high income to be kind and help their communities. They need to sponsor the establishment of toilets or hygiene facilities and adequate drinking water facilities,” Hall said.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    LPM takes swipe at commissionLPM takes swipe at commissionCalls ancestral land inquiry a 'Swapo committee' The LPM has called upon communities to boycott the commission's meetings. The leader of the Landless People's Movement (LPM), Bernadus Swartbooi, has invited President Hage Geingob to join the LPM because he is “starting to sound like LPM”.

    Swartbooi said the president “and one other opposition party” were beginning to sound like the LPM following Geingob's appointment of the 15-member commission of inquiry into ancestral land claims.

    “We are offering Hage reluctantly – because we realise he is becoming LPM – a position as member of the LPM, but a position where he will never hold any executive post; maybe a position as a dancing commissar,” Swartbooi quipped at a press briefing yesterday.

    Ancestral land claims have been a core agenda of the LPM since its inception and it is speculated that Geingob's appointment of the commission was an election gimmick to take the wind out of LPM's sails.

    Swartbooi described the commission as a “conglomeration of puppets that are strategically placed to produce particular outcomes”.

    “It is yet again a Swapo committee. These people pretend to do the right thing, but for the wrong purpose, with the wrong people [and] at the wrong time,” Swartbooi said.

    “They even placed my 80-year-old grandmother, who should instead have been interviewed, as a commissioner. To make what contribution?” Swartbooi said, referring to Anna Fredericks.

    Other commissioners are High Court Judge Shafimana Ueitele (chairperson), Phanuel Kaapama (deputy chairperson), Professor Lazarus Hangula, Chief Immanuel /Gaseb, Uhuru Dempers, Willem Kanjore, Joseph Petrus van der Westhuizen, Ryno van der Merwe, Nadia Le Hane, Jeaneth Kuhana and Igenesia Inge Murangi.

    Swartbooi said Swapo and the government had at no point in the last 28 years expressed any support for the restoration of dispossessed land, while former presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba had rejected the principle at last year's land conference.

    “They have had to be forced,” he said, adding: “They know they are playing politics with the dispossessed audiences and these communities are also very aware of the deception.” The LPM believes that the commission's report, after its nine-month-long mandate, will be shelved to gather dust.

    The LPM said the commission's probe would be a “useless exercise” and called on communities to boycott all sessions. Swanu's member of parliament, Usutuaije Maamberua, has also criticised the commission as “too Swapo”, echoing the LPM sentiment that the commission is a “Swapo committee”.

    Swapo's executive director, Austin Samupwa, responded by saying that Maamberua's criticism was “baseless and bogus”.

    Samupwa said although Swanu decided not to attend the second land conference, it still wanted to dictate the outcomes of a process it had not participated in.

    Samupwa said the committee was drawn from all walks of life, and “reflected in a very imaginable way the inclusive approach championed by President Geingob”.

    “It is utterly deceitful to claim that the eminent members do not possess the requisite expertise. Their qualifications in diverse fields such as history, law, politics, agriculture and culture, including land activism at different levels in affected communities, attest to the fact that the commission can fully discharge its mandate as per the terms of reference,” Samupwa said.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Zim promises fiscal discipline as it launches new currencyZim promises fiscal discipline as it launches new currencyOrdinary citizens sceptical The new RTGS currency has been dogged by criticism that the level of 2.5 RTGS per US dollar is too strong for the ­Zimbabwean unit. Actually we can't tell you how deep our pockets are or how shallow they are. – Mthuli Ncube, Finance Minister: Zimbabwe MacDonald Dzirutwe and Alexander ­Winning



    Zimbabwe's new currency will be backed up with fiscal discipline, finance minister Mthuli Ncube said on Monday, adding that the government would allow the RTGS dollar to fluctuate but would manage excessive volatility.

    Ncube spoke to Reuters as the central bank drip-fed dollars to a handful of commercial banks to allocate to large businesses, part of efforts to ease a cash crunch that has starved the country of many basic goods.

    He said investors should not worry about the government ramping up issuance of Treasury bills, as it had done in the past. “That tap is closed for now,” Ncube said.

    Economists and business executives worry that if Zimbabwe does not curtail its ­borrowing, it could fuel inflation and a black market for US dollars, making a foreign currency ­interbank mar­ket the central bank launched last week ­redundant.

    Zimbabwe ditched a discredited 1:1 US dollar peg for its dollar-surrogate bond notes and electronic dollars last week, merging them into a lower-value transitional currency called the RTGS dollar.

    The central bank has been selling dollars to banks at a rate of one US dollar to 2.5 RTGS, a level which bankers have criticised as too low but which Ncube said was appropriate for now, calling it an “initial trigger point”.

    He declined to disclose where Zimbabwe got credit lines to launch the RTGS currency, or the size of those credit lines.

    “Actually we can't tell you how deep our pockets are or how shallow they are. If markets believe you have too much money they can bet by saying we are going to make money out of these guys,” he said.

    Ncube added that the government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund over securing a staff-monitored programme and that the government had sufficient resources to meet civil servants' demands for salary increases.



    Overdue reform

    Ordinary Zimbabweans are not yet able to use the RTGS dollars in their bank accounts to buy dollars from banks, and the bond notes - which many businesses are reluctant to accept - are still in circulation.

    But big firms are happy that they have been promised greater access to foreign currency for critical imports.

    “The devaluation was long overdue. The econo­my has been in limbo and the RTGS can now play a role in boosting competitiveness,” said Anthony Mandiwanza, chief executive of Zimbabwean food and dairy firm Dairibord.

    “What is critical is that the government lives within its means and narrows and eliminates the fiscal deficit.”

    The last time Zimbabwe had its own currency, a decade ago, then-president Robert Mugabe's government turned on the printing presses to fund higher salaries for government workers and curry favour with the military - with disastrous economic results.

    Mugabe's successor Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised a break with the past, but many Zimbabweans are wary after his government ramped up borrowing ahead of a national election last July and inflation rose to a 10-year high in January.



    'Managed float'

    Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe after an army coup in November 2017, hopes to steer the economy back to credibility and lure foreign investors, who have also been deterred by violent security crackdowns on post-election protests last year and demonstrations last month against a steep fuel price hike.

    But the new RTGS currency has been dogged by criticism that the level of 2.5 RTGS per US dollar is too strong for the Zimbabwean unit.

    A dealer at a bank which operates on Zimbabwe's interbank market said launching the RTGS at 3 to the US dollar or higher would have been better to encourage US dollar sellers.

    “There are a lot of [dollar] buyers ... but no sellers because the rate is not high enough,” the dealer said. “The interbank system will ultimately become redundant if the Reserve Bank doesn't allow the currency to freely trade.”

    There are also indications the central bank is not selling many US dollars. Only around US$5 million changed hands on Friday, a senior central bank official told The Standard newspaper.

    A Standard Chartered bank teller in Harare said her branch was not selling US dollars to individuals yet, and downtown bank queues were no longer than normal.

    On Monday, one US dollar was being sold on the black market for four electronic dollars - those locked in individuals' accounts for months due to the chronic cash shortages - compared to 4.2 on Friday, currency traders said.

    “The big players are holding onto their money, that is what is holding rates at the moment,” one currency trader at Harare's Eastgate shopping centre said.

    – Nampa/Reuters

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  • 02/26/19--14:00: An Achilles heel
  • An Achilles heelAn Achilles heel It’s an election year, and of course the Swapo-led government will be standing on its toes to pick low-hanging fruit that will be paraded for all and sundry to marvel at.

    It’s a time for successes to either be conjured or bad fruit to be plastered over, so that a shiny slant can be laid bare for public consumption.

    Incumbency has manifold advantages, as the levers of state are worked to ensure that traditional voting bases and others know that the ruling party has done this or that. This coming election is, however, being fought in a time of grave economic despair and growing joblessness.

    Ordinary families, where breadwinners are now unemployed, are suffering, while those with jobs - especially the middle-class - are being bled dry by taxes.

    We are taking loans left right and centre for billion-dollar government projects that will rightfully benefit the country’s future, but offer no immediate relief for the scourge of joblessness, while foreign firms dominate the bidding.

    Populism is on the rise, as is always the case when suffering creeps in and questions are asked about why key issues remain unaddressed or have been kicked into touch.

    Tribalism is rearing its ugly head, as people engage on platforms like social media and begin to play the blame-game. It is hunger and a growing feeling of hopelessness and a resignation to our fates that drives this. There are other elements to contextualising the environment in which political contestation takes place this year, and these have been written about ad nauseam.

    At the core, however, is the continued performance of an economy that cannot create jobs, but is rather shedding them and spreading a growing sense of doom.

    It, after all, is not about percentages sliding up or down on a graph, but rather the realities facing Namibian families who are battling to survive, as even graduates’ march through the streets while flashy government cars whizz by.

    0 0
  • 02/26/19--14:00: Dam levels drop
  • Dam levels dropDam levels drop While some parts of the country have received welcome rains in recent weeks, dam levels are still dropping.

    Meanwhile, rain forecasts for the rest of the season remain unfavourable, indicating normal to below-normal rainfall for Namibia.

    Namibia's average dam level stood at 34.2% this week, in comparison to the same time last year when the dams were 41% full.

    According to the latest dam bulletin, the dams in central Namibia were on average 24.7% full on Monday, compared to 32.7% last season.

    The Swakoppoort Dam is currently 18.9% full (2018: 37.7%); Von Bach is 47.9% full (2018: 51.6%); and the Omatako Dam is virtually empty at 0.7% (2018: 0.3%).

    The small Friedenau Dam outside Windhoek is 29.7% full (2018: 26.1%). The polluted Goreangab Dam, which is not used for water supply, is 100.5% full (2018: 100.8%).

    In the Gobabis area the Otjivero Main Dam is 4.3% full (2018: 10.8%); the Tilda Viljoen Dam is 4.2% full (2018: 35.1%); and the Daan Viljoen Dam is 5.8% full (2018: 24.9%).

    In the South the Hardap Dam is only 28.9% full (2018: 47.7%), while the Naute Dam is 101.1% full (2018: 71.3%).

    The level of the Oanob Dam near Rehoboth stands at 54.3% (2018: 67.2%) and the Dreihuk Dam is at 1.2% (2018: 9.1%).

    The Bondels Dam in the south, the Omaruru Delta Dam in the Erongo Region and the Omatjene Dam in the Otjozondjupa Region are empty – the same as last year.

    The Olushandja Dam in the Omusati Region is also empty; last season it was 22.2% full.

    According to the latest river bulletin the level of the Zambezi River at Katima Mulilo measured 1.63 m on Tuesday morning, while the Okavango River at Rundu continues to rise slowly and stood at 5.15 m on Tuesday.





    The level of the Orange River at Sendelingsdrift rose over the past weekend and now stands at 0.33 m. Water levels in the Lower Orange River remain very low and users should take the necessary precautions.



    Satellite images indicate isolated light showers in the north-central and western parts of Namibia today.



    According to a post on Weather Today Southern Africa, a low-pressure cell is pulling in moist air from Angola and Zambia, and thundershowers are expected in northern Namibia today.



    Some people have been recording their rainfall figures for the past few years and have posted them on Facebook to demonstrate just how worrying the current situation is.



    Selma Slabbert has recorded rainfall figures for January to March on their farm near Tsumeb since 2011. According to her they received 325 mm in 2011, 525 mm in 2012, 122 mm in 2013, 470 mm in 2014, 141.5 mm in 2015, 205.5 mm in 2016, 421.5 mm in 2017, and 328 mm in 2018.



    In January and February this year, the farm received only 126 mm, she says.



    Steve Coetzee records the rainfall at his house in Suiderhof, Windhoek. Since January this year he has measured only 49 mm. In 2018 he measured 54 mm; in 2017, 172 mm; in 2016, 136 mm; in 2015, 62 mm; and in 2014, 365 mm.



    The January to May 2019 regional seasonal climate outlook indicates that the bulk of Angola, Zambia, south-eastern DRC, the southern half of Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, eastern Botswana, northern South Africa, Zimbabwe, south Madagascar and the western coastal areas of South Africa, Namibia and Angola will receive normal to below-normal rainfall.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 02/26/19--14:00: In-laws destroy homestead
  • In-laws destroy homesteadIn-laws destroy homesteadWidow, children left destitute Six people have been charged with malicious damage to property for demolishing a widow's homestead in the Oshana Region. Three senior citizens were among six suspects who appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court for allegedly demolishing a homestead at Omagongati village in the Oshana Region.

    Jacobine Shivolo (68), Aina Petrus (78) Naoh Shikeyengo (63), Helena Shikongo (44), Kahamba Mwanyangapo (23) and Nauyoma Erastus were granted bail of N$800 each.

    They are charged with malicious damage to property, read in conjunction with the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.

    The suspects were arrested on Saturday after they allegedly demolished a homestead belonging to Victoria Shikeyengo, the widow of their late family member.

    The six are the relatives of Victoria's late husband, Sackaria Shikeyengo, who died earlier this month.

    Victoria told Namibian Sun she got married in 2006 and they had been living at the homestead since then, and had two children together. She said her husband died on 14 February and was buried on 17 February.

    “After the funeral on a Sunday, they told me they were only giving me until Tuesday, 19 February to vacate the house, otherwise they would chase me away.

    They are claiming that the land on which the house is situated is family land; therefore I have to vacate it so they can take their land back,” Victoria said.

    “I did not comply with what they told me and Saturday at around 04:00 they came in the morning and started demolishing the house. The house boundary was made of corrugated iron sheets and they said they would take some of the sheets with them. They demolished everything.” Victoria said while the suspects were demolishing the property, she called the police and the regional councillor.





    They arrived after the house had been demolished.

    The police arrested the six suspects. Noah and Petrus are the late husband's sisters.

    Ondangwa Rural constituency councillor Kaushiweni Abraham said they were shocked by the incident, adding his office would see how it could assist Victoria and her children.

    He said he had received a report from the neighbours that everything was taken from the house, including mahangu and other foodstuff.



    “I will see how our office will assist Victoria and her children, because they really need our help. I am urging members of the public to first seek help before committing things that may lead them into trouble,” Abraham added.



    The case was postponed to 16 April for further police investigation.



    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Rio Tinto: No profit from Rössing saleRio Tinto: No profit from Rössing sale Rio Tinto, which owns 68.62% of Rössing Uranium, released its annual results for 2018 today.
    In its financial results, the global miner says its expects a massive loss from the sale of its Rössing stake to China National Uranium Corporation Ltd (CNUC).
    The N$1.5-billion deal is likely to be completed in the first half of this year.
    Read the full report tomorrow in Market Watch.

    0 0
  • 02/27/19--05:26: 'Mutjavikua must quit'
  • 'Mutjavikua must quit''Mutjavikua must quit' The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is demanding the immediate resignation of Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua. This follows the leaking of an audio recording in which the governor purportedly suggests the “re-organisation” of the Husab mine workforce during a meeting with the mine's management. The governor can also be heard saying that President Hage Geingob is unlikely to support the “re-organisation” plan as it is an election year. NUNW secretary-general Job Muniaro accused Mutjavikua of instigating public violence in the Erongo Region and Namibia at large.
    Muniaro said the NUNW is peacefully requesting Mutjavikua to resign and join the unemployed workers.
    “If he does not resign, President Hage Geingob must fire him with immediate effect. There are many ways to skin a cat. We will fight until he is unemployed like the mineworkers who lost their jobs in the region.”

    ELLANIE SMIT

    0 0
  • 02/27/19--14:00: Titanic battle looms
  • Titanic battle loomsTitanic battle loomsShinima warns Kaangundue ahead of national title bout The stage is set for a titanic national title fight between Charles Shinima and Mendu Kaangundue on Saturday. Nestor 'Sunshine' Tobias says the time has come for boxing stables to stage more national title fights, in order to promote upcoming boxers.

    The MTC Nestor 'Sunshine' Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy will host a tournament which will see local boxers trading blows in different weight divisions at the A. Shipena Secondary School at 18:00 on Saturday.

    The promoter emphasised the importance of giving opportunities to upcoming fighters, so they can prove they are capable of becoming future world champions.

    “There are currently so many vacant national titles, so all boxing stables should organise fights for them.

    “It is for this reason I have decided to stage this tournament, in order to give the boxers a chance to fight for national titles.

    “Because former champions are retiring and others have reached their peak, it is time for new champions to emerge,” Tobias said.

    He also commented on rumours that the boxing tournament had been cancelled due to hiccups at the boxing control board.

    It was reported this week that the Namibia Boxing and Wrestling Control Board would not be sanctioning any fights until the ministry of sport provides them with funding.

    Tobias, however, assured the public that the academy and the boxing board have reached an agreement that allows them to host the tournament, despite the pending issues.

    “Our understanding is that the issues of the boxing control board are with the government and not with us.

    “These title fights does not require people from outside the country to officiate and therefore there will be no problems as far as staging this tournament is concerned.

    “It was not easy to organise these fights and I can confirm that we have come to an agreement with the boxing board to stage these fights,” Tobias added.



    Boxers aim high

    The boxers also expressed their desire to battle each other on Saturday during yesterday's media briefing. Charles Shinima, who is set to face Mendu Kaangundue for the vacant national middleweight title, vowed to dismantle his opponent in the ring. Shinima will face a much-experienced boxer and a man he refers to as his senior. “There is, however, no senior when it comes to the ring and I am ready to win this fight. “I am very happy that the fight is on after it was reported that it could be cancelled.

    “All I can tell you is that the small boy is going to discipline his senior in the ring on Saturday,” Shinima said. Kaangundue who has been in the boxing game for a long time was unshaken by his opponent's words.

    He said he will not say much before the fight, but will show Shinima what respect is.

    “I am not a political guy and I am therefore a person who does not talk too much.

    “I have been preparing very hard for this fight, making me ready and fit to prove to Shinima that he is a small boy to me,” Kaangundue added. Kaangundue has a record of six wins and three losses in nine professional fights, while Shinima boasts a record of seven wins out of seven fights.

    The main supporting bout will see Harry Simon Junior clashing with Dominicus Weyulu in a junior welterweight fight over four rounds. General tickets are selling for N$50, while VIP tickets cost N$200.

    All the undercard bouts will take place over four rounds.

    Usko Rehebiam and Frans Naanda face each other in a lightweight bout.

    The rest of the undercard is as follows:

    Abed Shikongo (pro debut) vs Ndangi Shapwa; Mateus Heita vs Theofelus Nashilongo; Sam Mathews vs Willem Shili; Philip Shaanika vs Samuel Kambuta; Andreas Mwenyo vs Immanuel Shapaka; and Sakaria Sheehama vs Paulus Amavilla

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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  • 02/27/19--14:00: Citizens humble Stars
  • Citizens humble StarsCitizens humble Stars Unam and Tura Magic played to a 1-1 draw, while Citizens defeated African Stars 2-1, as the Namibia Premier League (NPL) continued on Tuesday evening at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek.

    Stars failed to close the gap on log leaders Black Africa after being humbled by a motivated Citizens team who scored two early first-half goals in similar situations.

    Citizens' man of the match, Steward Goaseb, twice provided the crosses for Brandon Neibeb to nod past a badly exposed Ratanda Mbazuvara in goal for African Stars in the 38th and 40th minute for a 2-0 advantage at the break.

    African Stars coach Bobby Samaria made a double substitution at the start of the second half, bringing in Gustav Isaak and Alpheus Handura for Rodger Katjiteo and Protasho Kambue, with the hope of turning things around.

    Stars attacked relentlessly, but initially failed to make use of the chances they created, before managing to pull one goal back in the 78th minute through Ambrosious Amseb. It was Stars' fourth defeat of the season.

    In the first match of the evening, Unam and Magic cancelled each other out tactically, as both coaches showed their attacking intent by playing 4-3-3 formations.

    This showed as early as the fourth minute when Edmund Kambanda rattled the upright for Unam.

    Junius Theophilus then failed to control cross in the box, which allowed Charles Uirab to collect the ball. Salom Amseb then shot straight Uirab before Derrick Agbeyi in goal for Magic handled a back pass in his box to gift Unam an indirect free-kick which was wasted.

    In the 38th minute, Unam took the lead against the run of play, when Magic failed to clear a harmless cross and Pandeni Kandjabanga slammed the loose ball into the back of the net, to give his side a 1-0 lead that they took into the halftime break.

    The second half saw Magic turn on the heat as they looked for the equaliser, with Theophilus and Omseb linking up for jaw-dropping plays, but the latter's miss-kicked effort was calmly collected by Uirab in the 53rd minute.

    Uirab could, however, not prevent Theophilus from getting the equaliser, when Magic's quick counter-attack ended with the fringe national team striker booting the ball into the back of the net in the 61st minute to leave the two teams sharing the spoils.



    Nampa

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    Enhanced exterior, luxurious interior and intuitive technologyEnhanced exterior, luxurious interior and intuitive technologyNew Jaguar XE The new Jaguar XE will be available in South Africa in the second half of 2019 with pricing to be announced closer to the time of launch. We don’t do ordinary and new XE personifies this. – Ian Callum, Design director: Jaguar The new Jaguar XE delivers an enhanced exterior design, all-new luxurious interior and advanced technologies.

    An updated exterior design gives the XE a more purposeful and assertive stance. Continuing on from the beautifully judged proportions of the original car, new XE’s sporting intent has been taken up a level, with contemporary design cues inspired by the F-TYPE sportscar. XE appears wider and lower than before, with larger front apertures, bold graphics and muscular forms eluding to the car’s performance and advanced aerodynamics.

    New all-LED headlights with a striking ‘J’ blade daytime running light signature create a more purposeful look. The rear of the car also features a new bumper design and slender all-LED tail-lights with updated signature graphics which accentuate the visual width of the car, giving the XE a more planted appearance.

    For an even more performance-orientated character, R-Dynamic models include additional exterior design elements including aircraft winglet-inspired sculpted surfaces, dark mesh detailing to the rear valance and alternative wheel styles. On the interior, the sporting influences continue with sports-style seats with contrast stitching, Satin Chrome gearshift paddles and R-Dynamic treadplates.

    The beautifully-crafted all-new interior features extensive use of soft-touch materials, premium veneers and all-new door trims that improve usability and practicality. New XE’s luxurious and technology-packed interior delivers more comfort, quality and connectivity for all occupants. Every aspect of the cabin has been enhanced for increased convenience, improved stowage and better passenger comfort.

    Sportscar

    The influence of Jaguar’s flagship two-seater sportscar is also evident as both the SportShift gear selector and JaguarDrive Control switch shared with the F-TYPE are on the revised centre console. A new steering wheel, shared with the all-electric I-PACE, features hidden-until-lit graphics and capacitive switches for intuitive, tactile control of key functions.

    The new XE is also the smartest and most connected yet. Jaguar’s Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, shared with I-PACE, is also available for the first time in the XE, delivering instinctive control through a pair of seamlessly integrated high-resolution touchscreens. Wireless device charging and clever Smart Settings technology also make their first appearance in the XE.

    The first-in-segment ClearSight interior rear-view mirror improves safety and convenience by ensuring the driver has an unobstructed view of the road behind. Using a wide-angle rear-facing camera, the system feeds images to a high-definition screen within the frameless rear view mirror; unhindered by tall rear passengers, poor light or rain on the rear screen.

    ‘Uniqueness’

    Ian Callum, Jaguar design director, said: “XE’s uniqueness is its totality. Customers get a complete package of progressive design, innovative technology and extraordinary driving dynamics. We don’t do ordinary and new XE personifies this.

    “My team and I get huge satisfaction out of improving a car we’re all so familiar with; we’ve lived with it, we understand its character and it’s a wonderful opportunity to make a great car even better. With new XE, we’ve done just that in every way imaginable.”

    Body structure

    Jaguar XE’s lightweight aluminium intensive body structure continues to play a major role in the car’s agile handling, exceptional safety and efficiency. Aluminium makes up 75% of the body and combines with proven rear and all-wheel drive systems, double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension, plus some of Jaguar’s most advanced engines, for dynamic handling and performance.

    Standard on all XE models, Dynamic mode amplifies the car’s sporting character, with faster gear shifts, sharper throttle response and increased steering weighting. Drivers are able to shape the driving experience with greater ease thanks to the optional Configurable Dynamics system. This feature allows drivers to set up the vehicle to their personal preference by choosing Comfort or Dynamic settings for the engine, gearbox and steering through the central touchscreen. Where specified, Adaptive Dynamics constantly adjusts the dampers to provide the optimum balance between comfort and refinement at all times and in all driving situations. - MotorPress

    0 0
  • 02/27/19--14:00: A feast of action
  • A feast of actionA feast of actionNRSDF Top Two set to thrill Football and netball teams from different villages will battle it out during the annual NRSDF Top Two competition. The annual Namibia Rural Sports Development Federation (NRSDF) Top Two football and netball competition, which was supposed to start on 8 March, will be commencing this Friday, due to the large number of teams.

    The tournament will be held in the capital at the Khomasdal stadium.

    One of the organisers, Ngatuuane Hange, told Nampa after the draw on Monday that the N$40 000 competition has attracted 28 football and 22 netball teams, which forced them to change the dates.

    “This is one of the competitions that is popular among rural sports teams and the number of participating teams speaks volumes,” said Hange.

    He added the aim of the competition is to promote rural sport and urged participating teams to maintain discipline and keep the spirit of togetherness.

    In the football category, teams are divided into groups A and B, while the netball teams will compete head-on.

    In Group A, Omuramba and Ehungiro Swallows will play each other in the first football match, followed by Tucklyn against Boffing in Group B.

    Hukununa football team will lock horns with Okaoveni in the third match, while Otjimanangombe and Benoni will play the last game on Friday.

    The netball games will start on Saturday at 10:00, with Boffing ladies taking on their counterparts from Okaoveni in the first game.

    According to the organiser, the football games will also start at 10:00 on Saturday and the teams are required to respect the scheduling.

    “Teams should adhere to their time of play to avoid delays, as we know there is a demand for sport facilities in the capital,” Hange urged.

    The spectators can look forward to skilful displays at competition, including during the derby between Okombomi and Okatjosorui.

    Epukiro football giants Okovimburu and Otjimati are drawn against each other, while Aminius spectators will see Fire Eyes locking horns with Otjiungukua in another derby.

    In the expected netball thrillers, Otjimanangombe versus Omitivine is one of the games to look out for, while Otjozondjima versus Okomumbonde is also expected to produce a spectacular derby.

    Otjinoko and Okombomi will meet in another derby in the netball category.

    Hange said there will be special awards for the top player, goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and goal-scorer in football, while the most disciplined team, team of the competition and most disciplined player of the tournament will be rewarded in netball.

    The quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals of the competition are expected to take place between 8 and 10 March in the capital.

    Otjombinde-based Young Stars and Otjinoko from Otjinene won last year's competitions in football and netball, respectively.

    NAMPA

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    Test upsets keep Black Caps waryTest upsets keep Black Caps wary New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said on Wednesday that recent Test upsets mean “anybody can beat anybody” and the world number two ranked side can have no room for complacency against minnows Bangladesh.

    The Black Caps made history this week when they were elevated to second in the ICC Test team rankings for the first time following South Africa's shock 2-0 defeat at home to Sri Lanka, the only time an Asian team has won a series in South Africa.

    It came hot on the heels of the eighth-ranked West Indies also enjoying a stunning result at home by winning a Test series against England for the first time since 2009.

    “Sri Lanka over in South Africa was a fantastic effort,” said Williamson when naming his team for the opening match of a three-match Test series against Bangladesh which begins in Hamilton today.

    “It's so hard to beat a side like South Africa anywhere, let alone in their backyard, but anybody can beat anybody.”

    Ninth-ranked Bangladesh, who have enjoyed home Test wins against England and Australia in recent years, say Sri Lanka's victory in South Africa stands as a beacon for them.

    “What Sri Lanka did was remarkable,” said Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes.

    “When the boys look at those results it definitely will be an inspiration for them and I will use it in the team talk.

    “If we play anything like we can do, we will surprise the New Zealanders.” New Zealand dominated Sri Lanka before Christmas, leaving Williamson to suggest it was best to shut the rankings out of the conversation.

    “It's all about winning the series; as in every series that is sort of the goal you take into it,” he said.

    “As we've seen, the rankings are sometimes in your control and sometimes outside your control, so it's a very difficult thing to focus on.

    “We know if we are playing good cricket day in and day out then perhaps those things will lean your way.”

    New Zealand have made one change from the side that played their last Test, a victory over Sri Lanka two months ago by 423 runs, with Todd Astle coming in for Ajaz Patel.

    The Seddon Park wicket is usually regarded as a good batting strip, but Williamson said it “looks a little different” this year and he was undecided on what he would do should he win the toss.

    The New Zealand team is as follows: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Todd Astle and Trent Boult.

    NAMPA/AFP

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