Articles on this Page
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Company news in brief
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Stop your insults -...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Joint venture sues ...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Girl raped by 75-ye...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Farmers on their knees
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Big pay cheque for ...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Some cops misbehave...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Sidelined because o...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _TransNamib property...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Zim hints at more w...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Our future is at stake
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Roads crucial for e...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Huang gets court vi...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Pupils live like ma...
- 03/12/19--15:00: _Health defends canc...
- 03/13/19--15:00: _You are not alone -...
- 03/13/19--15:00: _Tobias lines up cre...
- 03/13/19--15:00: _Eastern Swallows, F...
- 03/13/19--15:00: _Djokovic keen to tu...
- 03/13/19--15:00: _Ronaldo sinks Atletico
- 03/12/19--15:00: Company news in brief
- 03/12/19--15:00: Stop your insults - Kantema-Gaomas
- 03/12/19--15:00: Joint venture sues for lost profits
- 03/12/19--15:00: Girl raped by 75-year-old relative
- 03/12/19--15:00: Farmers on their knees
- 03/12/19--15:00: Big pay cheque for EU bankers
- 03/12/19--15:00: Some cops misbehave - Namoloh
- 03/12/19--15:00: Sidelined because of politics
- 03/12/19--15:00: TransNamib property worth N$2.4 billion
- 03/12/19--15:00: Zim hints at more weakening of new currency
- 03/12/19--15:00: Our future is at stake
- 03/12/19--15:00: Roads crucial for economic development
- 03/12/19--15:00: Huang gets court victory
- 03/12/19--15:00: Pupils live like married couples
- 03/12/19--15:00: Health defends cancelling tea and biscuits
- 03/13/19--15:00: You are not alone - Uutoni
- 03/13/19--15:00: Tobias lines up cream of the crop
- 03/13/19--15:00: Eastern Swallows, Fire Eyes win NRSDF tourney
- 03/13/19--15:00: Djokovic keen to turn the page
- 03/13/19--15:00: Ronaldo sinks Atletico
Ethiopia has long prevented foreign ownership in economic sectors including banking, but Abiy has embarked on rapid political, diplomatic and economic reforms since coming to power in April.
An entrance into the Ethiopian market of 100 million people, while not imminent, would be part of a strategy Absa laid out after its split from Britain's Barclays in 2017.
Jason Quinn, the bank's chief financial officer, told Reuters that Absa was investigating how and where to enter a number of other growth markets, including Nigeria and Angola.
The bank had already highlighted Nigeria as key to future growth, where Quinn said there was a "nice opportunity" for Absa in corporate and investment banking. It had also already flagged Angola as attractive, alongside Egypt. – Nampa/Reuters
Boeing shares crash 737 MAX tragedy
Shares of Boeing Co slid 10% on Monday after China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ordered airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes following the second deadly crash involving the jet in just five months.
The losses put the stock on course for its biggest daily fall in nearly two decades, halting a surge that has seen Boeing's market value triple in just over three years to a record high of US$$446 per share.
Wall Street has been overwhelmingly bullish on Boeing – 19 of the 24 brokerages covering the stock rate it "buy" or higher, while five have a "hold" rating.
It is the best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average so far this year, up 31% compared with a 9.1% gain in the index. The decline on Monday was a major factor in pulling the index lower.
Boeing's shares lost 12% in the weeks following the Lion Air crash last year, but have more than recouped those declines. They were down 9.6% at US$381.72 soon after the opening bell, erasing about US$32 billion from the company's market value. – Nampa/Reuters
Barrick Gold ends hostile Newmont bid
Barrick Gold Corp on Monday pulled its US$18 billion offer for Newmont Mining Corp and agreed to form a joint venture in Nevada with its rival, ending a hostile takeover bid that sought to unite the world's two largest gold producers.
By combining their operations in the southwestern US state, which is home to one of the world's largest gold-producing areas, Barrick and Newmont hope to save more than US$5 billion over the next 20 years.
Toronto-based Barrick will control 61.5% of the venture, giving it slightly less oversight than it initially wanted even as it gains full operational control over mines that produce more than 4 million ounces of gold annually.
The agreement comes amid a pickup in deals across the gold industry, which has struggled with a loss of investor confidence and financing constraints in recent years.
"This is one of those rare transactions that really does create demonstrable value for everyone involved," Barrick CEO Mark Bristow told Reuters on Monday. "It shows that people, if you put your mind to it, can deliver transactions in a very short while."
Levi Strauss looks to deepen pockets with IPO
Levi Strauss & Co hopes to sell US$587 million worth of shares in an upcoming return to the stock market after three decades, which would value the inventor of blue jeans at US$6.17 billion and give it a potful of cash to invest in broadening its product range.
The company, which has 385.5 million shares outstanding, said it expects to offer 36.7 million shares priced between US$14 and US$16 per share in an initial public offering.
Demand for denim is surging, driven by new styles such as high-waist and pinstriped jeans. Smaller rivals American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch last week posted strong results, boosted by robust denim sales.
The 165-year-old company, however, aims to evolve into a full-fledged global lifestyle leader for both men and women.
Levi Strauss, which also sells footwear, belts and wallets, reported annual net revenue of US$5.6 billion in 2018. – Nampa/Reuters
Malaysia Airlines’ future in balance
The Malaysian government is considering whether to shut, sell or refinance national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAB), prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.
The government was studying options for the national carrier, and a decision should be made “soon”, Mahathir said, when asked about analysts’ suggestions the airline be shut down or spun off. "It is a very serious matter to shut down the airline," Mahathir said.
The airline has been trying to transform its operations and return to profitability by 2019 as it recovers from two disasters in 2014, when flight MH370 disappeared in what remains a mystery and flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
Sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which took MAB private in 2014, said the government needed to decide on its investment in, and level of support for, the struggling airline.
The fund also said that it was waiting for MAB to present a review of its business strategy. – Nampa/Reuters
Speaking this past Friday during the official opening of a Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) Kavango East regional executive committee meeting in Rundu, Kantema-Gaomas said platforms such as WhatsApp and Twitter are being used to insult leaders and not to build the nation.
She said there is nothing radical about insulting adults and urged the youth to distance themselves from such behaviour.
She said they should instead enter positions of leadership where they can influence policies.
“It is disheartening to observe a trend of the insulting our leaders who are in fact our elders, in our quest to apparently be radical, activists and hiding behind freedom of speech,” Kantema-Gaomas said.
“You will agree with me comrades that the current trend of insults will not take us to the Africa we aspire to. It is on this note that I advise the youth: Give the respect our elders deserve so that generations after us can emulate that very same respect we are currently portraying.
“I urge you to distance yourself from such behaviour and engage through relevant structures to provide your contribution or air your concerns for the Africa that we want.”
Kantema-Gaomas questioned the youth by asking them how they expect to be taken seriously and be regarded as competent future leaders, if they are not demonstrating their capacity. Making reference to the restructuring of Swapo structures, Kantema-Gaomas urged the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to enter into the structures and become part of decision-making.
“I am urging the young people to take up leadership positions in the party at district, branch and section level. By getting into leadership structures and positions, your voices will be amplified,” she said.
Kantema-Gaomas also urged the youth to refrain from factional politics. “I urge members to work in unity and fight for the ideology of the party, as well as the advancement of the agenda of the Swapo Party.”
The civil action was filed last September following a ruling by the Supreme Court in August 2017. That court had upheld a High Court ruling dismissing the joint venture's application to have a tender award by the Roads Authority set aside.
That matter related to the construction of part of a dual carriageway between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. The tender was awarded to UNIK/Joint Venture.
CHICO/Octagon Joint Venture is now asking the High Court to award it N$90 million, which it would have made in profit had it been awarded the job.
Mediation in the matter was cancelled by the presiding judge, Hannelie Prinsloo, and the matter was postponed to 29 April for an interlocutory hearing. It was in court yesterday for a status hearing.
In its particulars, the joint venture says that based on the tender's rule 25, the Roads Authority was obliged to “award the tender to the tenderer achieving the highest tender index and who is deemed to be the preferred tenderer”.
It says in accordance with the rules, it had achieved the highest tender index as set out in rule 25 and, thus, was entitled to be awarded the tender.
Quoting article 18 of the constitution, the joint venture told the court that the Roads Authority was inconsistent with the prescriptions of the article and did not act in a transparent manner.
It also quoted the ruling by the Supreme Court, of which a part reads that “in these circumstances there was no basis for the (Roads Authority) board to not award the tender to the applicant (CHICO/Octagon Joint Venture)”.
In its 2017 ruling, the Supreme Court found that it did not have all the facts before it to allow it to consider the extra costs of re-awarding the tender. Therefore, the court had no option “but to allow the invalid award to stand”.
Consequently, the joint venture says, it suffered damages of N$90 million in the form of profit it would have received from the job.
It also asked the court for unspecified interest and legal costs.
In response, the Roads Authority filed eight exceptions including that the damages had been framed as constitutional and a proper cause of action for such damages had not been set out.
It also told the court that in its view, an act of omission was not prima facie wrongful in terms of pure economic loss. It also said the joint venture had failed to plead the elements necessary to sustain a contractual cause of action.
It asked for the action to be dismissed. Its exceptions will be heard on 29 April.
CHICO/Octagon Joint Venture is comprised of China Henan International Cooperation Group, which owns 90%, and Octagon Construction, a local black empowerment company. It is represented by Sisa Namandje, while Patrick Kauta from Weder, Kauta and Hoveka represents the Roads Authority.
According to the police the man is related to the girl, but does not live in the same house. A 12-year-old child apparently saw what happened and alerted the girl's aunt, who reported the incident to the police. No arrests have been made and the matter is still under investigation.
In a separate incident on Saturday, a 23-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping a 23-year-old woman at a house in Mondesa, Swakopmund. Also on Saturday at Leonardville in Saamstaan location a 19-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping a 23-year-old. The woman reported the incident to her mother, who alerted the police.
In a separate incident at Murani in Katjinakatji village a 16-year-old girl gave birth to a baby boy in her hut on Saturday. According to the police she apparently wrapped the baby in a cloth and dumped him in nearby bushes along a pathway. The girl has been arrested. In another incident on Saturday, an alleged notorious robber and thief was kidnapped by a group of criminals, assaulted and stabbed with knives.
Police say the man was apparently locked in the boot of a white seven-seater vehicle and was later dropped somewhere in Otjomuise in a critical condition. He was taken to the Katutura state hospital for treatment. The victim is a suspect in a Windhoek robbery case. Meanwhile, in Windhoek a 52-year-old man was arrested on Sunday after he was allegedly found in possession of 11 unlicensed firearms and ammunition. Among the firearms were an AK47 and R5 rifle.
In a separate incident, two suspects were arrested on Saturday for allegedly being in the possession of an elephant tusk. They were nabbed during a police operation along the Gobabis/Otjinene highway. A man was stabbed to death on Friday night in Bethanie, allegedly by a 57-year-old man, at a house in Gobabebfontein location.
The deceased has been identified as Christo Erenst Erich Boois. The suspect has been arrested. According to the police the motive for the stabbing is unknown.
Namibia's karakul pelt (Swakara) industry was the hardest hit, with a drastic 32% year-on-year drop in production value from N$45.5 million in 2017 to N$30.7 million in 2018.
Surprisingly, the charcoal industry had the largest increase in production value of 66% year-on-year, from N$184.8 million in 2017 to N$306.7 million in 2018. This is according to the 2018 agricultural review by the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU).
Cattle (4.3%), sheep (9.1%), poultry (6.8%), dairy (0.8%) and fresh produce (5.1%) showed increased production value. On the flip side, agronomy (-21.7%), grapes (-17.8%), pigs (-6.2%) and goats (-1.5%) experienced a drop in production value.
The NAU warns that the profitability and survival of the local dairy industry is at risk.
The union says in 2017 a bumper harvest in South Africa led to lower feed prices. Nevertheless, fuel-price increases last year increased feed costs. Since feed costs make up 65% of the cost of milk production, any increase or decrease in feed prices has a major impact on the dairy industry.
In 2018 feed costs increased by 72.9% year-on-year and fuel prices increased by 25.7% year-on-year. In addition, milk producers were hit by two 10-cent price cuts in 2018.
As a result, the farm-gate price of milk decreased by 1.8% year-on-year, whereas total expenses increased by 50.9% year-on-year.
“A disproportionate increase in farm-gate price and total expenses negatively influenced the profits received by producers, resulting in a price-cost squeeze of 2.6%. Dairy production has become costly and producers are not realising any profits,” the NAU says.
The union says there is a dire need for stakeholders to come together to save the dairy industry, whose collapse would lead to job losses and have a negative impact on the economy. It says supportive policy measures are required to protect the industry and retailers are urged to support local dairy produce.
The union further says that the beef industry experienced a decrease in cattle prices in the first three quarters of 2018, mainly due to a decrease in weaner prices.
In the fourth quarter both weaner and slaughter cattle prices increased slightly. The annual agricultural inflation rate increased from about 1% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to about 5% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
According to the NAU rising fuel prices have a major impact on the agricultural inflation rate. Fuel prices increased by 27% year-on year in the third quarter of 2018, and by 16% year-on-year in the fourth quarter.
“Farmers import most inputs from South Africa, hence increases in fuel prices, added to the costs of feed and licks, as well as medicinal inputs, also increase the agriculture inflation rate.”
Furthermore the total weighted cattle price dropped by 5.8% year-on-year and resulted from a decrease of about 12% year-on-year in weaner prices. According to the union, slaughter prices increased by about 11% year-on-year.
“Considering the entire 13 years of livestock monitoring, cattle prices increased by 157.3%, while on-farm expenses increased by 178.4%.”
Sheep prices increased by 5.7% year-on-year over the entire 13 years of monitoring, says the NAU.
“Over a complete 13 years of monitoring, the price-cost squeeze of cattle was 3.9%, and that of sheep was 0.6%. This shows that on-farm expenses continue to have a significant impact on the profits of cattle and sheep producers.”
Based on Meat Board statistics, 306 697 live cattle were exported to South Africa last year and 1 176 cattle were exported to Angola. Export abattoirs (Meatco, Brukkaros, Beefcor and North of the Veterinary Cordon Fence) slaughtered 77 471 units of cattle, while B&C class abattoirs' throughput was estimated to be around 80 000. The NAU says the small stock industry continues to produce despite the negativity surrounding the government's Small Stock Marketing Scheme. About 6.5% more sheep were marketed in 2018 compared to 2017.
A total of 205 025 sheep were marketed to export abattoirs, 164 404 to B&C class abattoirs and 456 069 were exported. Of the live sheep exported, 455 189 went to South Africa, 831 to Angola, and 49 went to other countries, such as Botswana. The union says this year's drought is expected to be worse than the 2013 drought because rangelands did not have enough time to recover.
“Farmers are expected to destock by selling their livestock, however at lower producer prices. The foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in South Africa has made the situation worse, as it has put further pressure on producer prices. Again, with increasing feed and input costs and the current low producer prices, most, if not all, farmers will be experiencing financial losses.”
Most of them were based in Britain, according to data from the European Banking Authority (EBA), but as the country is due to leave the bloc at the end of this month some highly paid bankers are expected to move from London to staff new hubs on the continent.
EBA said on Monday that 4 859 bankers were paid more than a million euros in 2017, including bonuses, up from 4 597 in 2016.
After taxpayers bailed out lenders during the financial crisis a decade ago, the EU capped bonuses from 2014 to no more than basic salary, or twice that amount with shareholder approval.
EBA said the average ratio between variable and fixed pay for the high earners continues to fall, down from 104% in 2016 to 101.08% in 2017 as the cap bites. It was 123% in 2014 and 118% in 2015.
The higher earners were predominantly based in Britain, totalling 3 567 in 2017 or 73.3% - 38 more than in 2016. Germany had 390 in 2017, Italy 201, France 233, and Spain 161.
Many big London-based banks have since opened new hubs elsewhere in the European Union in preparation for business after Brexit.
Britain had opposed the introduction of the bonus cap, saying it would prompt banks to blunt its impact by raising basic pay, making it harder for lenders to cut costs in a market downturn.
EU financial rules have been embedded into UK law as part of Britain's preparations for Brexit on March 29.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has hinted that the bonus cap could be among the bloc's rules that are reviewed by the UK in future, but not at the risk of damaging overall resilience in the sector.
As bankers come under pressure to rein in bonuses, asset managers are escaping the full impact of the cap.
EBA said that in the banks' business area of asset management, the average ratio of variable to fixed remuneration increased from 358% in 2016 to 402% in 2017, still far exceeding the maximum ratio of 200%.
"Several member states allow the application of waivers for staff in this business area, although CRD IV (EU bank capital rules) does not explicitly provide for this possibility," EBA said in its review. – Nampa/Reuters
“Obviously, as human beings, you will find a few who contravene the law and the police regulations,” Namoloh said.
He also said his ministry does not rely on media reports alleging growing police brutality against the public, and only acts on formal complaints and reports.
Namoloh said there are internal investigation divisions in every region that solely deal with complaints against police officers and any aggrieved person should lay a formal complaint.
Namoloh was responding in the National Assembly to questions from Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) MP Nico Smit about “disturbing reports” in newspapers about alleged police assaults since December.
In January, men and women complained about assaults and indignities suffered at the hands of the Special Reserve Force in police cells at Okahandja.
Also during January, in Swakopmund a man complained that he was flung into a police van and illegally held without charge for an entire day for taking pictures on the beach where the police were removing fishermen.
In Karasburg two men complained they were assaulted and pepper-sprayed by passing policemen without any reason.
Namoloh said allegations of police brutality are assessed and investigated.
He said depending on the merits of each allegation, criminal and or departmental cases are opened and referred to either the Office of the Prosecutor-General for a decision or to the police internal investigations directorate for departmental hearings.
Namoloh said investigations into only three cases of alleged police brutality have been completed over the past 18 months. One of these cases is currently on the court roll in the Otjozondjupa Region. In Omaheke a police officer was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment.
The other case was in Khomas, in which a police officer committed suicide almost immediately after murdering his girlfriend.
Smit wanted to know from Namoloh if it is a crime to take photos of police officers carrying out their duties.
Namoloh said there is currently no law that prohibits this, but said some crime scenes may require further investigation, and that the filming or publishing such scenes may defeat the purpose of such investigations.
“There may be unknown subjects of investigation who may be alerted by such publications, and in some cases, such filming may lead to the contamination of the scene of the crime,” Namoloh said.
He said police offers are “at no point encouraged to brutalise” members of the public, saying they are trained and encouraged to conduct themselves in conformity with the law at all times. In accordance with the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, police officers are mandated to use minimum force that is appropriate to the resistance or non-cooperation during an arrest.
Smit has also expressed concern over the large number of unsolved murders perpetrated on young girls and women, and the apparent inability of the police to properly investigate serious crimes.
Namoloh acknowledged that from 2014 to 2018 as many as 733 case dockets were sent back for further investigation.
“This does not mean that there is a failure in investigations. It should be noted that for prosecution to proceed there should be prima facie evidence,” Namoloh said. He said the police and the PG's office have now embarked on prosecution-guided investigations to ensure that each investigation is properly guided by the requirements of the court.
Namoloh took issue with the suggestion that dockets disappear, said some dockets may have been misplaced temporarily.
He said the situation will improve with the introduction of an e-policing database.
Namoloh said the case in which Andre Heckmair was allegedly murdered by two Americans, Kevin Townsend and Marcus Tomas, is dragging on because the accused are continually hiring and firing their defence lawyers.
He said the delay in the Caprivi treason trial is because of “multiple reasons”.
One of these reasons, he said, is the delaying tactics deployed by the accused themselves, when they disputed in court that they are not Namibians and can therefore not be tried in Namibian courts.
Regina Kuhlman told the Windhoek High Court it was not “an easy moment” when she was informed by Rehoboth Urban East constituency councillor Edward Wambo that the house she had signed a contract for was no longer hers to move into.
Hanse-Himarwa, who is facing graft charges, ate Quality Street chocolates and took notes during Kuhlman's testimony.
Kuhlman said she was called to the Mariental municipality on 15 December 2014 and informed of the conditions under which she would receive her home.
However, the next day - at 08:00 - she was summoned by a certain Alma Gawaxas, who told her to come back to the municipal offices.
“When I got there I was directed to an office. In the office I met councillor Wambo and Paul Nghiwilepo and a third person whose name I do not remember. Wambo informed me that I can no longer get the house. He said there are rumours in Mariental that we are from the opposition,” she said.
She added Wambo told her there were “needy and disabled” people who needed to be prioritised.
“I cried in that office. I felt very bad, I felt like someone who was in a different country; and I was supposed to get the keys the next day, it was supposed to be my first priority,” she said.
According to her, Mariental CEO Nghiwilepo intervened to explain that in fact the decision to remove her from the list came from Hanse-Himarwa.
It is alleged that Kuhlman and Piet Fransman were then removed from the beneficiary list and replaced with Christiana Lorraine Hansen and Justine Josephine Gowases.
“He [Nghiwilepo] also said that it was the first time that the governor was involved in something like this,” Kuhlman said yesterday.
When prodded by Hanse-Himarwa's lawyer Sisa Namandje to explain “something like this”, she referred to the mass housing project.
Nghiwilepo told the court last year that Hanse-Himarwa had instructed him to remove two names from the list, and replace them with names she had given him.
During November last year former Mariental mayor Alex Kamburute also told the court that Hanse-Himarwa wanted the names of two people removed from the beneficiary list during December 2014.
Kuhlman added yesterday she was eventually allocated another mass housing unit, which she moved into in 2015.
However, during cross-examination it was revealed that she also occupies a school hostel - a privilege she enjoys as a hostel matron.
Kuhlman also admitted that she receives a housing allowance, but had no knowledge that the mass housing units were already subsidised.
“I cannot recall whether I was informed that the house prices are lowered because of the subsidy. I only remember being told how we must maintain the houses and look after them,” Kuhlman said.
The house she received cost N$138 000.
Namandje also informed her previous witnesses had testified that they should earn a salary of N$7 500 per month to qualify for a house.
She told him that she did not earn that much when she was allocated a house.
The State is represented by Salomon Kanyemba and Constance Moyo.
The trial continues before Judge Christie Liebenberg.
Cabinet last year approved a request by the company to sell its non-core “unencumbered properties” to generate funds for a new operational and capital expenditure plan.
TransNamib spokesperson Ailly Hangula-Paulino says the company had its portfolio of properties valued at N$2.4 billion as at 31 March 2018.
“The next step in the process is to evaluate all the registered properties with the final output being incorporated into the property strategy.”
According to her the company owns commercial, industrial, operational and residential property.
Works minister John Mutorwa last month announced the cabinet decision during the launch of TransNamib's new Integrated Business Strategic Plan (ISBP) for the period 2018/2019 to 2022/23.
The new plan was approved by cabinet in December last year and requires over N$2 billion to be implemented.
“Part of this business plan allows TransNamib to sell some of its non-core properties in order to support the growth in the business plan for the next five years,” said Hangula-Paulino.
Under the new plan, other SOEs will be given first option to buy TransNamib property.
According to the strategic plan, the railway company will need about 86 locomotives to implement the plan.
“To date, TransNamib is still looking at various options. We have therefore not made any recommendations on wheter any property will be sold and which process will be followed to use the properties as a support for the development of our business plan,” said Hangula-Paulino.
TransNamib is one of the SOEs under the oversight of the works and public enterprises ministries established in terms of the National Transport Services Company Act.
Hangula-Paulino said the company was established to provide and promote transport services in Namibia and elsewhere, by managing, developing and utilising resources and assets at its disposal.
The southern African nation faces a dearth of US dollars that has caused shortages of fuel, drugs and food and hobbled an economy yet to recover from the disastrous rule of Robert Mugabe, who was removed in a coup in 2017.
The Reserve Bank scrapped its discredited 1:1 US dollar peg for surrogate bond notes and electronic dollars last month, merging them into a lower-value transitional currency called the RTGS dollar, which has been stuck at a rate of 2.5 to the greenback.
Many companies have, however, continued to hold onto their US dollars waiting for the RTGS rate to weaken further, while most individuals sell their greenbacks on the black market, where US$1 bought 3.8 RTGS dollars on Monday.
Central bank chief John Mangudya said the official exchange rate was expected to change by the time auctions for tobacco, Zimbabwe's second-largest earner of foreign currency after mining, open on March 20.
"We do believe that before or on that date the rate will have reached its equilibrium. We don't believe it will still be 2.5 [to the US dollar]," Mangudya said.
Mangudya maintained that the market would determine the exchange rate, after accusations of manipulation by the central bank. But he ruled out a sharp devaluation, which he said would result in a further spike in annual inflation.
The governor said average annual inflation was expected to fall to 10 to 15% by the end of this year. He also said that any huge salary increases for public workers would add to inflationary pressure.
Mangudya said an average US$12 million had been traded every week at the current forex interbank rate since February 22, when banks started selling US dollars to large corporates.
Exporters, including miners and tobacco farmers, receive half their earnings in the RTGS currency at the official exchange rate, while the other half, which is deposited in their foreign currency accounts, must be sold within 30 days.
That requirement, which has been criticised by companies, is now being reviewed to allow exporters to keep their US dollars for longer, Mangudya told a parliamentary committee.
Mangudya said last week that the central bank had borrowed US$985 million from pan-African banks against future gold export earnings. He said on Monday that Zimbabwe was repaying US$5 million every month. – Nampa/Reuters
It also goes without saying that dynamics such as teacher quality, resources and effective administration also play a huge role.
For far too long we have been on record criticising the system, which at the moment we feel does not provide for an inclusive model. To us an effective model of inclusive education creates an environment in which every learner has the opportunity to flourish. But this is not happening in the current system, where proposals for improving failing schools are ignored and overlooked by the authorities, leading to perceptions that strategies aimed at improving public schools are often urban-centred. The situation at Ndama Combined School, which sees massive overcrowding in classrooms, is a learner crisis that needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Pupils at this school are faced with multiple challenges, especially overcrowding, including one class having 114 learners. The school has only seven toilets for 2 247 learners and two reserved for teachers, which are only used for emergencies, as the septic tank fills up in a single day. Learning is clearly taking place under severe strain and it is not conducive for both teachers and learners. It is equally hard to fathom why education authorities have allowed the situation to continue unabated. It is now 29 years after independence and the same challenges that befell our public education system pre-independence largely persist, now even on a grander scale. We cannot have learners crammed into classes and other factors that keep compromising the quality of education being offered at public schools.
The measure of a nation is turning education into an asset, and decision-makers, who have the privilege of a good private education for their children, must ensure that the education ministry adopts delivery models that ensures that the current situation does not spiral out of control. The very future of the nation is at stake.
Mutorwa was speaking during the official opening of the Africa Road Maintenance Fund Association’s (ARMFA) annual general assembly and meeting held by the Road Fund Administration (RFA) here on Monday.
The assembly is held under the theme, “Sustainable Road Infrastructure: Impact on Regional Integration and Free Trade Africa”.
“Road infrastructure are growth enablers, practically enabling trade, integration and movement of people and goods. Functioning infrastructure such as roads, rails and ports and other basic systems that make the country run, is an absolute condition and pre-condition for development and economic growth,” Mutorwa said.
The minister expressed gratitude for the fact that the issue of infrastructure development is getting enough attention at continental, sub-regional economic grouping as well as the country level.
According to chief executive officer of the RFA and vice president of ARMFA, Ali Ipinge, the meeting brings together key stakeholders, technocrats and policy makers in the road financing sector in Africa to deliberate on key issues affecting the roads in Africa.
Ipinge highlighted some of the key resolutions adopted during the 16th general meeting held in Ethiopia in 2018, among which was for the ARMFA to pursue and expedite the process of joining the African Union (AU) as a specialised agency and to push for the development of the Roads Management Policy at AU level.
“Today we are glad to say that good progress has been made in that regard and we look forward to further consultations with AU’s transport team during this week on the margins of our meetings,” Ipinge said.
Ipinge noted that although challenges of upkeep of the road assets on the continent as well as accessibility vary greatly among and between member countries, ARMFA remained weaved together by the strength of this uniqueness and the common interest of developing road networks and corridors that will improve free regional integration and trade.
This is the first time Namibia is hosting the event which is expected to end on Saturday. - Nampa
Huang, through his company Sun Investments, had sued Jinhao Investment for N$715 000, and yesterday Judge Shafimana Ueitele granted him payment of N$550 000.
In his claim, Huang told the court that on 3 October 2016, a loan of N$550 000 was made to Jinhao for “business operations”.
Huang had set up Jinhao along with Nevonga and Itope on 27 October 2015. The company was trading as Super Foods in Ondangwa.
The money was due to be paid back by 30 May 2018, which Huang says was not done, and thus he asked the court to enforce a payment of N$715 000, which includes 20% annual interest.
In his papers, he included a letter from Itope which acknowledged the debt, and that stated “we have been experiencing some financial hardships”. Huang is also embroiled in a N$3.5 billion fraud and money-laundering case, which is still before the courts. Nevonga is the long-serving Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) secretary-general, while Itope is a former Ondangwa councillor. Huang's other lawsuit against Nevonga, Itope and Jinhao, over a total claim of N$3.7 million, was also on the roll yesterday.
However, the matter was postponed to 19 March for a pre-trial conference. This case is also being heard by Ueitele.
Nevonga, Itope and Jinhao filed an intention to defend last year, and in their plea dated 16 November last year, they said the money lent to them would only be repaid once Super Foods made a profit. They also denied that Huang had left Jinhao on 2 February 2018.
They told the court there was an “oral agreement between Huang and them that because of the tax issues Huang was engaged in he would appoint an agent who shall at all material times act in the stead of Huang”.
They deny the three claims totalling N$3.7 million, and have asked Huang to produce proof.
In his first claim, Huang says he lent Nevonga and Itope N$1.6 million, and with the interest of N$416 000, the total is N$2.016 million.
With regard to the second claim, Huang says he over-contributed an amount of N$1 254 427.62 to the company, which was due and payable by 31 August 2017. According to his papers, the company was in a state of chaos, and there were several problems with paying suppliers.
“We also experienced issues obtaining income to purchase stock; store income could not cover all the operating expenses.” Namibia Beverages had allegedly also dealt with the supermarket as a “cash client, after [they] failed to meet [their] agreement”.
Due to cash flow challenges, they were “making the majority of purchases from unregistered vendors, resulting in higher VAT rates”.
They also, surprisingly, reported challenges with staff, as there were no salary increases and no pension fund or medical aid. Furthermore, “they [the staff] are working on Sundays and public holidays without pay”.
In this document, Huang says he was also asked to forward N$300 000 to pay the most urgent outstanding suppliers, which he said he duly did.
It also detailed a “breakdown of percentages”, which “showed Huang had over-contributed N$1 254 427.62”.
Mention was also made of a frozen Nedbank account and that “for now, salaries were paid by Mr Huang”. And “as soon as the bank is unfrozen, Mr Huang will be refunded the amount paid”.
The second claim lodged by Huang amounted to N$1 376 734.31, along with interest since August 2017.
In his third claim, he asks for his N$300 000, with interest of N$26 000. His full and final demand from Nevonga and Itope totals N$3 718 734.31. Huang also asked for interest of 20% per annum from the date of judgement until full payment is made, and for the costs of the lawsuit to be paid by the defendants.
Huang is represented by Appolos Shimakeleni in both matters and Kadhila Amoomo appears for Nevonga and Itope in both matters.
“Parents have sent their learners to school but here they are 'married' in shacks where they are staying. There is no one to control them since they are not living within the school,” school patron Kleopas Kapweya told Namibian Sun.
Concerned parents say Ohangwena is vast and the non-boarding school is taking in learners from all corners of the region - a situation that forces learners to take any available accommodation.
Grade 10 learners from as far as Okongo, Oshikunde, Epembe, Omundaungilo, Omauni, Ekoka and many other far-flung places are renting at Omungwelume to attend school.
The regional education directorate, however, says it visited the school a few weeks ago and that such claims were never reported.
Kapweya said at the weekend he had made a section of his mahangu field available a few years ago for the construction of hostel, which is yet to be constructed.
“Omungwelume location does not give a good environment for learners to live or stay on their own. Learners come from far places to a school that does not have hostel. They are now squatting in a location, and that is where they are staying to attend school, and we are not happy with the way we are seeing them behave here,” Kapweya said.
Schools have been urged to prioritise grade 10 learners when it comes to hostel placements at all government schools. The challenge now is the non-boarding schools, as they have nowhere to accommodate learners.
At the beginning of the year, Namibian Sun reported that Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had instructed deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka to visit schools countrywide to see how they are coping with the implementation of the revised grade 10 curriculum.
About 118 grade 10, 11 and 12 pupils from Omungwelume Senior Secondary School are being accommodated at a homestead following an instruction from Ohangwena governor Usko Nghaamwa.
Aina Haifiku from Ongenga said her child, who is in grade 12 this year, had been renting accommodation last year and she was not happy with stories she used to hear about him.
“People from Omungwelume used to call and tell me whenever they see him doing wrong things. I did not feel at peace. The challenge is that controlling them is difficult because they are on their own. This year he get a space in a house we heard was bought by the regional council, and it is now better because there are caretakers in the house.”
Omungwelume resident Johanna Undjombala said they have noticed how learners are behaving, as they are living on their own. She said they are misbehaving and abusing alcohol.
Another concerned parent, Boas Mwapopi, said that the situation was a major concern.
“The regional directorate of education needs to review its placement regulations. They must avoid sending learners to extremely far schools that have no hostels. At least they must make sure that learners get schools closer to their families,” Mwapopi said.
“Another challenge is that children of nowadays are ill-disciplined and one cannot attempt to talk to them, even if you see them doing wrong.”
When contacted for comment, Ohangwena education director Isak Hamatwi said he visited the school and accessed where these learners were staying, but he was never told about the issue of learners 'cohabitating'.
“I have no idea about the situation of learners' cohabitating. I visited Omungwelume and I am aware of where they are staying, but not about them cohabitating,” said Hamatwi.
Hamatwi said Omungwelume Senior Secondary School is facing just the same situation as many other schools in the north-central regions.
“Money remains a critical resource to tackle their problems of hostel construction, as the directorate does not have money. The directorate ensured that learners have spaces to attend lessons and parents remain responsible to secure spaces for their children's accommodation. It is quite a worrisome situation, but then what shall we do without money to construct hostels?” Hamatwi added.
A directive issued last week by executive director of health Ben Nangombe informed all hospital and clinics to suspend the serving of tea, coffee, juice and biscuits between meals unless the items are crucial to the care of an individual patient.
“During these difficult times, we must identify areas where we can make savings so that resources can be targeted at more critical areas,” Nangombe told Namibian Sun yesterday.
While patients will continue to receive breakfast, lunch and dinner, unless needed for particular reasons, in-between snacks will no longer be served as of 1 April.
He said the decision was based on the “substantial wastage” of the tea, coffees, juices and biscuits served to patients between main meals, which amounted to a “significant cost to the ministry”. He said these items were found to be “rarely, or are not at all consumed by the patients” and have been found stored in bedside lockers which “in turn attracts all kinds of pests and undermines efforts to maintain a pest-free environment in our health facilities.”
The decision was thus taken, Nangombe explained, for the ministry's dieticians and nutritionists to review the menus and to determine “if the omission of the snacks and drinks would compromise the overall nutritional value of meals the ministry provides to patients.”
He said the feedback was that the removal of the three daily snacks would have no negative effect, as they “do not add any substantive value to patients' health and wellbeing, nor are they required in all cases in their treatment.”
Removing the snacks would “contribute to our efforts to realise greater efficiencies in the utilisation of limited resources,” Nangombe said.
He said the ministry estimated that it would save between N$50 and N$60 million per year.
Nangombe stressed that patients who rely on food for the purpose of taking their medicine or where more frequent meal intervals are needed to manage health conditions, will continue to receive meals as per their requirements.
He said the directive will be implemented at all public health facilities where state patients are admitted.
“I'm here because I love you. I had a management board meeting, but I postponed it because my sons have an important job ahead.
“But I'm not the only one, the whole nation loves you. Those that will not be travelling with the team will be watching you on their television sets, so don't think that you will be alone,” he told the players at the NFA Technical Centre yesterday.
The minister went on to encourage sponsors to support local athletes in the country.
Warrior's gaffer Ricardo Mannetti said they started preparations last week, before the Zambia team, who are they are keeping taps on them.
“We are keeping an eye on them as this is the biggest match in the last 10 years. We are going to war and have to make a success of this.
“We started with fitness training and I'm happy thus far with the response from the players.”
He assured the football-loving nation of Namibia that the players will not disappoint next weekend.
In the build-up to the match, the ministry of sport, in collaboration with the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the Warriors Supporters Club, have agreed to make three buses available to transport supporters to and from Zambia for the clash.
The buses will be stationed in Windhoek, Oshakati and Rundu. People travelling from Windhoek are expected to contribute a fee of N$700 and those travelling from Oshakati will contribute N$500, while people from Rundu will each give N$400, and supporters from Katima Mulilo will have to contribute a minimum of N$350.
The funds will be used for fuel and for paying the drivers. The government can only cater for fuel within Namibia's borders.
The contributions in Windhoek must paid at the NSC and NFA offices. A Namibian passport and certified copy of your ID must accompany your contribution fee. Passports will be returned upon completion of all the relevant documents.
Seats cannot be booked in advance or kept. It's strictly first come, first served.
For further enquiries do not hesitate to contact the NFA offices at 061 265 691 or the NSC at 061 246 105
Titled 'Independence Legacy Fight Part 2', the event will be staged at the Windhoek Country Club Resort on 20 April as part of the country's 29th independence celebrations.
WBO Africa junior lightweight champion Jeremiah 'Low-key' Nakathila will headline the event with a main bout against Zoltan Kovacs of Hungary.
The two boxers will trade leather in a WBO global junior lightweight title fight over 12 rounds.
Nakathila will go into the bout with a record of 18 fights, 17 wins and one defeat, while Zoltan boasts a record of 23 wins, five loses and one draw.
Tobias lauded MTC for making the tournament possible through its sponsorship.
“The global title is very an important one, given that it gives the boxers an opportunity to improve on their world ratings in their division. Nakathila will be coming up against a world-class boxer in this fight,” Tobias said.
The promoter added the fight will provide Nakathila with an opportunity to show the world he can become a world champion in his division. “Our intention is clear; we want Nakathila to fight for the world title against (Masayuki) Ito after this fight and that is why we opted to fight a world-ranked boxer and not just any opponent.
“We have for long wanted to fight the likes of (Danny) Garcia and other rated boxers, but could not make those deals happen, and we would therefore like to thank the Kovacs team for accepting our deal to come and fight in Namibia,” Tobias added.
Nakathila expressed his excitement. “I am excited about this big opportunity. I am confident of a win, but I will not take my opponent lightly.
“He is a world-rated boxer for a reason. I want to encourage the fans to come out in their numbers to come and experience world-class boxing. I am mentally and physically prepared and fully focused on this fight,” Nakathila said. Fight night will also see the return of deadly puncher and 2018 WBO Africa fighter of the year, Walter 'Executioner' Kautondokwa. The boxer will make his return to the ring after suffering his first career defeat against Demetrius Andrade in October 2018. “I have been back in the gym since my defeat in the United States and have been working hard. I keep learning every day and that is why my fans must expect a rejuvenated fighter on the night,” Kautondokwa said.
Another fight will be the current WBO Africa welterweight champion Mike Shonena defending his title against Shadrack Ignas of Tanzania Shonena will go into the fight undefeated and full of confidence, as he is now rated number seven in the world by the WBO.
Harry Simon Junior has also been given an opportunity to fight for a national title. He will come against Andreas Nghinananye for the junior welterweight title.
It will be Simon Jnr's first fight over 10 rounds.
“I would like to thank my promoter and the sponsors, MTC, for making all this possible.
“I know it will be my first professional title fight and I am ready to prove that I can become one of the greatest,' Simon Jnr said.
Tickets are available at Computicket at all Shoprite and Checkers outlets countrywide. VIP tables sell for N$10 000 a table and standard tickets cost N$200.
The other fights on card are as follows:
1. Welterweight six rounds - Emmanuel Mungandjela (Namibia) vs TBA
2. Featherweight six rounds - Onesmus Nekundi (Namibia) vs Lazarus Namalambo (Namibia)
3. Super bantamweight six rounds - Timoteus 'Remember' Shuulula (Namibia) vs Niikoti Johannes (Namibia)
4. Middleweight eight rounds - Paulinus Paulus (Namibia) vs Limbani Masamba (Malawi)
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa
The NRSDF tourney, which saw 28 football teams and 22 netball teams competing amongst each other, was held at the Khomasdal Stadium in Windhoek.
In the first netball semi-final, Manokile from Otjinoko defeated their Aminuis-based counterparts Fire Eyes by 19-9. In the second semi-final, Eastern Swallows from Tembisa defeated Otjinene-based Okaoveni 27-24. Eastern Swallows' then won the tournament after they defeated Manokile 38-28 in the final, taking home N$6 000, a trophy and 12 gold medals.
Manokile pocketed N$3 000, along with 12 silver medals as runners-up, while Okaoveni and Fire Eyes each took home a cash prize of N$2 000 as losing semi-finalists.
In the football category, Okaoveni defeated Lucitano from Ozondati 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw in the first semi-final. In the second semi-final, Fire Eyes locked horns with Otjimati from Epukiro, and emerged 4-3 victors on penalties following a goalless draw.
Fires Eyes then won the final, defeating Okaoveni 3-0 to pocket N$11 000 and 20 gold medals. Okaoveni took home N$7 000 and 20 silver medals as runners-up, while Otjimati and Lucitano each took home N$3 500 as the losing semi-finalists.
Kohlschreiber, 35, stunned the top seed and five-time former champion 6-4 and 6-4 in Indian Wells, leaving the Serb to conclude it had just been “one of those days”.
“To be honest, I don't enjoy losing, nobody does, but especially in a tournament like this, a tournament where I have had plenty of success in the past,” Djokovic told reporters.
“I thought I was in good form. I was practicing well. But it just happens, (it was) one of those days. You just have to deal with it, move on and turn the next page.”
The tournament in Indian Wells was Djokovic's first since winning his seventh Australian Open title in January and the 31-year-old said he had already put the defeat behind him and turned his thoughts to next week's Miami Open.
“I had to get over it in an hour, because I played doubles,” Djokovic added.
“I must admit I was thinking about it... but it's part of our world, and we just have to bounce back very quickly.
“Miami is the next tournament singles-wise for me. I'm not at my highest level, I know that... but hopefully I'll be able to peak in Miami.”
After scoring the decisive penalty four minutes from time, Ronaldo turned towards the Atletico fans and replicated Simeone's gesture after the Spaniards' 2-0 first leg win by grasping his genitals and thrusting out his groin.
“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano, and like me, was trying to show his character,” said Simeone, who was fined 20 000 euros (US$22 000) by Uefa for his gesture.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is the best in the world; he can put in these performances on big nights,” added the Argentinian coach.
The Real Madrid player has now scored 25 goals against Atletico in 33 appearances, including four hat-tricks.
Two of his five Champions League titles, in 2014 and 2016, have also been won by beating Atletico in the finals.
He scored the title-winning penalty against Atletico in 2016 and a hat-trick against them in the last four a year later.
“In the history of Juve there was never a comeback like this,” said Ronaldo.
“That's why Juventus bought me, to help them in games like this. I do my job and I'm very happy, it was a magical evening.”
Juventus signed Ronaldo last summer from Real Madrid for 100 million euros (U$117 million) hoping he would make the difference on the continent. The Italian title-holders have not won the Champions League since 1996, and have finished runners-up twice in the past four seasons.
“It had to be a special night and it was, not just for the goals, but for the team and their incredible attitude,” continued the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
“This is the mentality you need in the Champions League and we are on the right track.
“It's too early to talk about the final; let's take it one step at a time.
“Atletico were a complicated team to face, but we are also strong and we deserved to go through.”
Ronaldo has now joined Barcelona's Lionel Messi with the most Champions League hat-tricks, on eight.
The Portuguese has been directly involved in 77 goals in 77 Champions League knockout appearances - 63 goals and 14 assists.
He has scored 124 goals in the Champions League, more than Atletico in the competition (118).
The top scorer in the Champions League for the last six seasons, he has now scored four in this year's competition.
“It would have been strange for Ronaldo to finish the Champions League with just one goal,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“It was a superb match tonight, with a wonderful public. The players gave a great night of football to the Italian public.”