Articles on this Page
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Company news in brief
- 03/19/19--15:00: _State supports non-...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Rundu shenanigans c...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Palladium hits reco...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Climate change and ...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Apple unveils new i...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Unfinished pipeline...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Booys to stay put
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Cob plundering susp...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Africa Briefs
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Aluta continua!
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Celebration amid th...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Thirsty villagers t...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _N$9m to discipline ...
- 03/19/19--15:00: _Millions unaccounte...
- 03/20/19--15:00: _Giving street wear ...
- 03/21/19--15:00: _Moment of truth has...
- 03/21/19--15:00: _Mweya to judge in K...
- 03/21/19--15:00: _Victory Fest is back
- 03/21/19--15:00: _O-M-GINA!
- 03/19/19--15:00: Company news in brief
- 03/19/19--15:00: State supports non-compliant security firms
- 03/19/19--15:00: Rundu shenanigans continue
- 03/19/19--15:00: Palladium hits record high
- 03/19/19--15:00: Climate change and productivity
- 03/19/19--15:00: Apple unveils new iPad, updates Mini
- 03/19/19--15:00: Unfinished pipeline impacts 7 000 residents
- 03/19/19--15:00: Booys to stay put
- 03/19/19--15:00: Cob plundering suspects nabbed
- 03/19/19--15:00: Africa Briefs
- 03/19/19--15:00: Aluta continua!
- 03/19/19--15:00: Celebration amid the gloom
- 03/19/19--15:00: Thirsty villagers turn to tombo
- 03/19/19--15:00: N$9m to discipline NAC executives
- 03/19/19--15:00: Millions unaccounted for at NDC, says AG
- 03/20/19--15:00: Giving street wear a different flair
- 03/21/19--15:00: Moment of truth has arrived
- 03/21/19--15:00: Mweya to judge in Kenya
- 03/21/19--15:00: Victory Fest is back
- 03/21/19--15:00: O-M-GINA!
Former Steinhoff chairman and top shareholder Christo Wiese is open to negotiations over his US$4 billion claim against the company, he said on Monday, days after Steinhoff released a report that showed the scale of a devastating accounting fraud.
The South African retailer said on Friday that an independent report had found it had overstated profits over several years in a US$7.4 billion accounting fraud involving a small group of top executives and outsiders.
As the largest shareholder in Steinhoff, with a stake of about 20%, Wiese was particularly hard hit by the more than 90% crash in the company's stock price. He acquired the stake in 2014 when he sold his company Pepkor to Steinhoff in exchange for shares.
"I would expect Steinhoff to give me back my money, and I will give them back their worthless shares," Wiese told Reuters. "But everybody knows the company does not have that kind of money, so our approach has been that the only way forward is for all the stakeholders to sit around the table and reconstruct the company," Wiese added. – Nampa/Reuters
Firestone Liberia to lay off staff
Firestone Natural Rubber Co which operates the world's largest single natural rubber plantation in Liberia, said on Monday it will be laying off 13% of its workforce or around 800 Liberian employees.
The announcement is the latest blow to one of the West African country's largest employers, which began reducing production at its rubber wood factory last September in response to falling rubber prices.
These cuts will happen over the second quarter of this year, it said.
In a statement, Firestone said the lay-offs are "necessary due to continued and unsustainable losses resulting from high overhead costs associated with the company's concession agreement with the government of Liberia, low natural rubber production because of the country's prolonged civil wars and continued low global natural rubber prices."
Global rubber prices have fallen by more than 40% since January 2017 and are now only slightly above historic lows. Firestone most recently laid off over 400 workers in 2016, again crediting the decision to falling rubber prices. – Nampa/Reuters
Marriott to open 1 700 hotels
Hotel chain Marriott International Inc on Monday mapped out a three-year plan to open more than 1 700 hotels around the world, return up to US$11 billion to shareholders and make a full-year profit of as much as US$8.50 per share by 2021.
Marriott, which owns the Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis luxury hotel brands, said it would add between 275 000 and 295 000 rooms over three years, potentially adding US$400 million in fee revenue in 2021 and US$700 million annually when stabilised.
During the three-year period, the company plans to pay US$1.9 billion to US$2 billion in dividends and buy back US$7.6 billion to US$9 billion in shares, Marriott said.
Last month, Marriott missed Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter revenue and forecast a lower-than-expected full-year profit, blaming weak demand in North America, its largest market.
The company was hit by a massive data breach involving up to 383 million guests in its Starwood hotels reservation system and chief executive officer Arne Sorenson earlier this month apologised before a US Senate panel and vowed to protect against future attacks. – Nampa/Reuters
Netflix says it will not join Apple TV service
Netflix Inc, the world's dominant streaming service, will not make its TV shows and movies available through Apple Inc's upcoming video offering, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said on Monday.
"We prefer to let our customers watch our content on our service," Hastings told reporters at the company's offices in Hollywood. "We have chosen not to integrate with their service."
Apple is expected to unveil a television and video service at an event on March 25, a move that will amp up competition for Netflix and others that deliver entertainment programming online.
Asked about the looming competition, Hastings said the biggest challenge for Netflix is to "not get too distracted" by rivals but still "learn lessons" from them.
Hastings also said he expected Netflix, like other US technology companies, to be blocked in China "for a long time". – Nampa/Reuters
Aluminium producer Hydro hit by cyber attack
Norsk Hydro, one of the world's largest producers of aluminium, was sustaining a cyber attack yesterday that affected its operations, sending its shares lower.
"IT-systems in most business areas are impacted and Hydro is switching to manual operations as far as possible. Hydro is working to contain and neutralise the attack, but does not yet know the full extent of the situation," it said in a statement.
Norsk Hydro's website was unavailable yesterday. The company was not immediately available for further comment.
Hydro's shares were down 2.9% at 0806 GMT, lagging an Oslo benchmark index up 0.13%. – Nampa/Reuters
Another issue they are unanimous on is the need for government to strengthen its requirements for awarding tenders, warning that the state empowers non-compliant companies which in turn gives the impression that it's okay to not adhere to industry regulations.
The labour ministry's executive director Bro-Matthew Shinguadja last week met with private security service providers and relevant trade unions to look at the various concerns and shortcomings facing the industry.
Among the issues raised by the trade unions were the late payment of workers, unlawful deductions of salaries, anti-union attitudes by some employers, sexual harassment at workplaces especially towards female security officers, lack of employment contracts and pay slips, and the “awarding of state tenders to non-compliant companies at the expense of compliant firms”.
Many of these issues were also laid on the table by compliant security firms who have broached the issue of widespread non-compliance and lack of accountability and oversight for many years.
Last year Namibian Sun reported that an estimated 80% of Namibian security firms are believed to be non-compliant, refusing to pay the minimum wage, and breaching a host of other regulations.
Security Association of Namibia (SAN) president Hans Miljo told Namibian Sun at the time that the association believes that besides the 48 security firms operating under the SAN umbrella, an estimated 200 to 300 security companies operate in Namibia, most under the radar and in breach of regulations, including minimum pay and other labour related laws.
Last week, SAN representatives and trade unions agreed that a key issue that adds to the widespread non-compliance is government institutions awarding security tenders to non-compliant companies which “empowers them unfairly and in a way gives a wrong impression that it is okay not to comply”.
The employers' association also emphasised the need for and the importance of providing training to employees before they are dispatched to provide services.
At the talk last week, safety and security ministry representatives informed the participants of a review of the Security Enterprises and Security Officers Act of 1998 and that the private security service providers will be consulted in due time for their inputs.
The Act serves the purpose of establishing a security enterprises and security officers' regulation board to regulate the registration of companies and security officers, and to establish a fidelity guarantee fund, amongst other items.
At the conclusion of the meeting Shinguadja assured participants their concerns will be raised at the relevant platforms and urged them to alert the ministry of anyone violating the provision of laws and to report non-compliant companies.
Haihambo made the remark on Monday following an unsuccessful bid to swear in a third councillor to serve on the management committee, as required by the governing act.
The Rundu council's management committee should include technocrats (officials), as well as at least three councillors, excluding the mayor and deputy mayor. Swapo councillor Anastacia Shinduvi-Foya and All People's Party (APP) councillor Matheus Wakudumo were previously elected as members.
“It is going to make things go slow. You have an organ that has to filter through matters, scrutinise and add value before it is considered by council and that organ is not there,” he said.
Haihambo said he will have to seek advice from the line ministry in terms of what should happen next, saying that the issue is affecting the administration of the council.
The Rundu town council is faced with a number of challenges, including its inability to effectively collect refuse and keep the taps running at all times, due to a N$60 million water debt owed to NamWater.
Making serviced land available to residents is also a pressing issue.
Swapo councillor Ralph Ihemba was nominated by deputy mayor Toini Hausiku as the third member of the management committee, but he declined.
This resulted in the meeting being adjourned until further notice.
Ihemba, former mayor Verna Sinimbo and Rundu Concerned Citizens Association (RCCA) representative Reginald Ndara are eligible to fill the position.
Sinimbo could not be nominated yesterday as she was not present, while no one nominated Ndara.
The disunity among Swapo councillors emanated from a directive issued last year by party secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa, which was also endorsed by the politburo.
Shaningwa's directive was that no changes should be made to the then office-bearers structure.
She wanted Sinimbo to retain her mayoral chain, while it was expected that Ihemba would be retained as her deputy.
However, three Swapo councillors, newly elected mayor Isak Kandingu, Hausiku and Anastacia Shinduvi Antonio, refused to follow the directive. The saga was eventually defused by a meeting that included President Hage Geingob.
At the time Swapo's Okahandja councillors also defied Shaningwa's directive, which was also dealt with during the meeting at the party's headquarters in Windhoek.
When contacted for comment on Monday about what had transpired in Rundu that day, Swapo Kavango East regional coordinator Otillie Shinduvi said: “This is news to me, I can only comment once I have been informed. The council reports to the district and then they report to me.”
Lawyer Silas-Kishi Shakumu said the line minister ministry has the power to take legal action against any councillor who refuses to accept a nomination.
“The position on the management committee must, however, be filled soonest and if the members continue to refuse to avail themselves for service, the minister must step in and take the necessary legal action against such members in terms of section 13 of the Act,” Shakumu said.
He said the section gives the minister the option to request a political party to direct its members to serve on the management committee or face removal from the council.
Such change is observed in temperature and rainfall patterns, amongst others.
It has consistently been reported that the earth's temperature is on an increase and that rainfall activities have become unpredictable in many parts of the world, and Namibia is evidently also experiencing the adverse effects of climate change.
Agricultural output is primarily driven by climatic events, and these have adverse effects on both food and water availability in agro-ecosystems, hampering sustainable crop and livestock productivity, as well as farmers' livelihoods.
Climate change effects can be direct or indirect. Livestock productivity is directly reliant on rangeland productivity, which in turn is determined by soil moisture availability and environmental temperature.
The management aspects, as secondary determinants of agricultural output, should therefore aim at mitigating or enhancing farmers' adaptation to climate change events. Climate change has been characterised by increases in environmental temperature, hence the extreme heat wave being experienced in all parts of Namibia currently, and figures of more than 40 degrees Celsius were recorded, especially in the southern regions.
The direct impact of this on livestock is heat stress, which negatively affects their wellbeing and performance.
Heat stress and feed intake
When an animal is eating, the digestive processes generate heat and increase the body temperature. For example, the normal body temperatures of cattle, sheep and goats are 38.5, 39 and 39.5 degrees Celsius respectively.
When the body temperature increases beyond normal, then an animal's physiological functioning is affected and could be detrimental or life-threatening in extreme cases.
These ruminant animals (cattle, goats and sheep) under normal circumstances will prefer to graze/forage during cooler hours of the day (early morning, late afternoon or night) to avoid heat stress. They would only rest during the hot hours of the day to ruminate or re-chew the food they have eaten, breaking it into smaller pieces to enhance digestion further.
Grazing during hot hours will mean too much heat on the animal, from sunlight and the internal digestive processes, causing heat stress.
This means the animal's physical activities such as walking and feed intake will have to be reduced in order to maintain normal or optimal body temperature, and this in turn compromises the animal's nutrition and health status, and the overall performance.
This will be experienced as nutrient deficiencies, poor growth rates and body condition, reduced milk yield and poor reproduction, amongst others.
Heat stress and reproduction
High temperature also affects livestock reproduction.
The heat stress forces animals to reduce their exhaustive physical activities, which also includes mating. The female animal's reproductive system as well as the sperm production process in male animals can be adversely affected by high temperature.
Heat stress is said to depress the release of reproductive hormones such as the oestrogen and progesterone, compromising the consequent processes of oocyte (female egg cell) growth, oestrus (heat) cycle, conception, embryo development and foetus growth, amongst others.
In male animals, high temperature negatively affects the process of sperm production, leading to temporal infertility.
Preventing heat stress in livestock
Although animals have the ability to adapt to environmental conditions and management regimes, hot environments will compromise their potential physiological functioning and overall performance to some degree.
It is therefore advisable to minimise the exposure of your animals to extremely high temperatures.
The most available mechanism is when the animals themselves laze in the shade under the tress when they are out in the veld.
It is critical to provide shade in kraals by having trees or by using shade nets or other appropriate shading structures.
This is very important especially for the calves, kids and lambs that spend a lot of time, or in some cases, a whole day in the kraal without any shelter.
In hot environments or when animals forage during the hot hours of the day, the water demand or intake increases.
Thus, animals should have daily access to clean, cool and sufficient water. Water has the direct role of quenching thirst and in digestion, and is importantly used as a coolant by animals through sweating.
During the current drought, farmers will be relocating their animals to “greener pastures”.
It is important that the animals be transported during the cooler hours of the day, and to have stopovers along the way for them to rest or even drink water, especially when trekking.
The transport vehicle should also be well-covered to provide sufficient shade and ventilation at the same time.
It is also advisable to execute routine husbandry practices, such as vaccination or branding during the cooler hours or early morning.
Lastly, if animals have to adapt to new environments, they will have a lot to change, including food preference, foraging times, respiration rates and water intake, amongst others.
Farmers should also adjust their management regimes to respond to the animals' demand or requirements.
*Erastus Ngaruka is the technical officer: livestock within Agribank's agri advisory services division.
Apple Inc, in a surprise move on Monday, launched a new 10.5-inch iPad Air and updated its iPad Mini ahead of a March 25 event where it is expected to launch a television and video service.
So far in its annual March event, Apple has been making announcements related upgrades for its product lines, but this year the focus is likely to shift to services, especially after it reported its first-ever drop in iPhone sales in January.
The new iPad models, geared with Apple's latest A12 Bionic chip and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, are already available for order at apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the United States and the United Kingdom, along with a few other countries.
“That it announced the new line-up in advance of next week's event suggests it wants to focus on the content next week over hardware,” DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte said.
“Refreshing its lower-end line-up in advance of its streaming video content announcement next week speaks to the potential for Apple in streaming video content, with a strong installed hardware base, iPhones, iPads and Macs.”
The 10.5-inch iPad Air, starts at US$499 for the 64GB WiFi model and US$629 for the WiFi plus cellular model. The new iPad mini starts at US$399 for the WiFi model and US$529 for the WiFi plus cellular model, the iPhone maker said in a statement.
With the new launch, the iPad will come in four different screen sizes, ranging from 7.9-inch to 12.9-inch.
“More iPad sales won't make a big impact on the company's enormous bottom line, but it can help to show consumers and investors that Apple still has the ability to create popular devices and features,” said Clement Thibault, a senior analyst at Investing.com.
In the year ended September 2018, Apple made about US$19 billion in revenue from iPad sales, a very small portion compared with the nearly US$167 billion it generated from the sale of iPhones.
Shares of Apple rose 0.63% at US$187.22 on early Monday trading.
The initial budget for the project was N$46.4 million in 2014, but it ballooned to N$51.1 million in 2017. In March 2017 the contractor stopped working with only 89% of the work complete.
The water ministry terminated the contract and is currently considering an official procurement process for the construction work to resume in the 2019/20 financial year. This is according to agriculture ministry executive director Percy Misika. Misika said the pipeline extension scheme stretches for about 50 kilometres in a south-western direction to Onadhi and eastwards to Onanke and is expected to benefit more than 928 households, constituting 6 932 direct beneficiaries and 33 790 large and 18 395 small stock units.
“The initial budget of the project contract in 2014 was N$46 374 883, but by 2017 the estimated contract value was N$51 116 368. During the construction stage a six-month extension of time was approved for the contractor, based on certain challenges that were experienced by the contractor as well as the ministry.
“Within the granted extension time period the contractor terminated the contract due to extreme cash flow problems caused by late payments,” Misika said in the response to enquiries by Namibian Sun. “The six months lapsed on 31 March 2017; the construction work was therefore not finalised and the contractor stopped all work on-site. The prolonging of the completion of the construction and additional work caused additional costs that exceeded the contract amount.” The Omuntele constituency councillor Sacky Nangula said the pipeline project initially was planned from Omuntele to Onadhi, but was extended by 20 kilometres to Okuma. The budget thus proved insufficient.
Misika added that another challenge that emerged was the bulk water supply by NamWater.
He said due to the considerable increase in water demand on the current infrastructure, additional upgrades of existing infrastructure is envisaged this will contribute to additional costs for the Ondangwa-Omuntele extension scheme.
He said the project was initiated as a drought relief scheme, due to poor groundwater quality (saline and brackish) and the quantity of water in the region.
He said it was found that various parts of northern Namibia are well-known for poor water quality and in certain circumstances the quantity of available water is also problematic.
Government and the relevant authorities had to take action to provide potable water for both the residents and livestock in these parts of the country.
“Due to fact that the original contract was terminated, an official procurement process in line with the Public Procurement Act will have to be started in the 2019/20 financial year. Budget provision is already made for the completion of the scheme.
“The construction of the Ondangwa-Omuntele extension (original contract) is 89% complete. The main outstanding items are special fittings (air valves, scour valves, bulk water meters), a booster pump station in Omuntele, final work at the reservoir in Omuntele, elephant protection measures at some of the water points in the grazing area, and testing and commissioning,” Misika added.
Urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga, who met with the protesters at the municipal council chambers, informed the group that the Regional Councils Act does not allow for the removal of a regional councillor by the minister or otherwise. This can only be done through an election.
The group's disappointment was palpable and things heated up as Mushelenga was accused of flouting the constitution. Peru Gariseb, who spoke in Afrikaans, pleaded with the minister, saying “we are human beings”. He continued by saying the minister should verify the allegations against Booys and then “take action because we are not here to be hurt”.
The meeting was requested following a petition by the group sent to President Hage Geingob last year on 7 December, calling for his intervention. This was followed by a protest action on 11 January.
Monday's meeting, which was to have started at 14:00, was delayed by 45 minutes as Mushelenga refused to enter the municipal offices before the large crowd of protestors was removed. Namibian Sun was informed that the minister feared for his safety, but the crowd was calm and quiet. They were moved to the adjacent street and told to stand on the opposite pavement, where police - armed with batons - closed off the street and stood in the middle of the road.
At the start of the meeting, Mushelenga berated the group, saying he had arrived in Okahandja at 13:45.
He added he had “given the group three hours” as he had to be back in Windhoek for a meeting at 18:00, and the group “had wasted 45 minutes”.
The members of the group who met with the minister again aired their grievances, which include a lack of service delivery, a lack of development, no new infrastructure or maintenance of existing infrastructure taking place. They also said that children aged between six and 11 survive from the local dumpsite, by selling glass bottles and collecting what they can to eat. They lamented the abuse of dagga and added that schoolgoing children are smoking the drug as well as selling it. Booys was also accused of using his office for his own gratification and for sowing discontent, mistrust, confusion and division. One group member said she was able to raise the money and infrastructure to feed 200 children, but that Booys, who had been in office for nine years, had not been able to achieve that.
Wilfred Goaseb, also a member of the group, told Mushelenga that looking at the Harambee Prosperity Plan and the Fourth National Development Plan, Booys had not met one pillar or target.
Another member, Basie Tjikune, said their grievances were not theirs alone but “were those of the majority of the residents of Okahandja”.
The group wanted to know why, if the minister knew he could not remove Booys, he came to the meeting at all, calling this a “waste of time”.
Mushelenga responded by saying the group had demanded to see him and had refused a meeting with his deputy, Derek Klazen.
“Is it bad that I came here?” he asked, adding, “I have come to hear your concerns and listen to your grievances.”
Mushelenga, after giving the members of the group time to address him, asked several questions and undertook to engage the regional council, as well as Booys, on the issues raised. He also instructed the group to raise the issues discussed with the relevant structures provided. He also undertook to give feedback.
Two men arrested on Saturday for allegedly being in possession of 60 large cob made their first appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Michael Bouwer and Melvin van Wyk were charged with contravening the Marine Resources Act.
They were released on N$5 000 bail each and the matter was postponed to 15 May for further investigation.
They appeared before Magistrate Rhivermo Williams. Lana Fouche van Vuuren represented Bouwer and Maggy Shiyangaya prosecuted.
The fish confiscated from one of the ski boats was donated to the Swakopmund prison and a DRC soup kitchen.
Fisheries inspectors arrested Bouwer and Van Wyk on Saturday and impounded their ski boats.
Bouwer was arrested for being in possession of a large amount of cob, which exceeded the daily bag limit, and for providing false information to a fisheries inspector. The law permits anglers to harvest only two large cob daily.
An inspector confirmed the fish was discovered in a hidden compartment.
Van Wyk, the owner of the second ski boat, ignored instructions to sail his boat to Walvis Bay. He was subsequently traced to Henties Bay, where his wife told police officers he had left for business in another town. The boat was towed from his residence to the police station and he subsequently handed himself over to the police on Monday morning.
A Fisheries Observer Agency (FAO) official said the Marine Resources Act contains a provision which allows for the forfeiture of boats used in illegal harvesting activities and that the agency intends to petition the State for this to be enforced.
He also called for an increase in the fines issued for anglers caught with excessive fish.
South Africa's public enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday he cannot say yet when rolling blackouts will end, as power utility Eskom struggles with capacity shortages that threaten to thwart efforts to boost economic growth.
Eskom supplies more than 90% of the power in South Africa but has suffered repeated faults at its coal-fired power stations, along with low water levels at hydroelectric plants, diesel shortages and loss of imports from Mozambique.
Eskom has continuously implemented power cuts since Thursday, with up to 4 000 megawatts cut from the grid on a rotational basis.
The power cuts have disrupted businesses, particularly the small- and medium-sized firms, and have also prompted frustrations among ordinary people ahead of an election in May.
Apart from faults at the new Medupi and Kusile mega power plants, three other coal-fired plants were suffering severe problems, Eskom executives said. – Nampa/Reuters
SA's business confidence falls for fourth straight quarter
South Africa's business confidence fell for the fourth straight quarter to its lowest level since second quarter of 2017, a survey showed, as the country struggles to prop up its economy.
The Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) business confidence index compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research fell to 28 points in the first quarter from 31 points in the fourth quarter last year, dropping further below the 50-mark that separates net positive and negative readings.
In the first quarter, the business confidence index hovered very close to the low of 27 points hit in the second quarter of 2017, according to the survey of 1 700 business people.
Sentiment deteriorated in four of the five sectors, which comprise building, retail, wholesale, manufacturing and new vehicle trade confidence, the survey showed.
"South Africa will not be able to shift to a lasting higher growth and prosperity path without more short-term pain," said Ettienne le Roux, chief economist at RMB. – Nampa/Reuters
Mozambique wants government guarantees on debt cancelled
Mozambique is seeking the cancellation of government guarantees on debts run up by state-run security firm Proindicus which helped spark a debt crisis in the country, its prime minister was quoted as saying.
Mozambique has a case in London's High Court against investment bank Credit Suisse and a number of other parties linked with the US$2 billion worth of loans, which have sparked investigations in the United States and Mozambique.
Court filings say the case relates to "commercial contracts", but give no further details.
Mozambique state news agency AIM said prime minister Carlos Agostinho da Rosario told the Mozambican parliament that Maputo had approached the London court to attempt to cancel the sovereign guarantee associated with the debt.
The prime minister was answering questions on the debts tabled by an opposition party, in particular whether Mozambique would continue restructuring the debts and whether it would pay them, the news agency said. – Nampa/Reuters
Tanzania sets up mineral trading centres
Tanzania has ordered all mineral-producing regions in the East African nation to set up government-controlled trading centres by the end of June, accelerating efforts to curb illegal exports of gold and other precious minerals.
The trading centres will give small-scale miners direct access to a formal, regulated market where they can go and directly trade their gold. They currently struggle to access formal gold dealers who mostly based in the capital Dar es Salam and major towns.
A statement from the prime minister's office said the first mineral trading centre was inaugurated in the northwestern town of Geita on Sunday, close to the country's biggest gold mine owned by South Africa's AngloGold Ashanti.
The Geita centre would serve as a model for others, the statement said, adding the centres were aimed at controlling smuggling of gold and other minerals.
Small-scale miners produce around 20 tonnes of gold per year in Tanzania, but an estimated 90% of the output is illegally exported, according to a report by a parliamentary committee.
Egypt plans increased rice cultivation
Egypt's agriculture ministry said it would grow about 1.1 million acres of rice in the 2019 season, up from 800 000 acres last year, in an effort to reduce the country's import bill.
The North African nation began importing rice, a crop it typically had in surplus, in 2018 to save water. Rice cultivation had been slashed in an effort to conserve vital Nile river resources as Ethiopia builds a US$4 billion dam upstream that Cairo fears could threaten its water stocks.
Egypt's state grain buyer GASC has issued three international purchasing tenders since last year. – Nampa/Reuters
Independence Day also serves as an opportunity to reflect and share experiences, stories and progress we have made as a nation since achieving democracy in 1990.
It is a significant occasion, which we can ill-afford to downplay, and despite the myriad of challenges befalling our beloved country, we owe it to our forefathers whose blood continues to water our freedom. It is true that Namibia is a far better country than it was 29 years ago.
There has been tremendous development across various sectors of our economy and democracy is alive and well.
However, the status quo, which has seen high levels of inequality, coupled with high unemployment rates, a housing crisis and perennial challenges in healthcare and education, requires retrospection.
The truth of the matter is that the current socio-economic climate in Namibia is depressing, to say the least.
Unfortunately, freedom alone is not good enough, as thousands continue to languish in poverty, while the privileges of the previously advantaged and current crop of leaders are sustained at the expense of the taxpayer.
There are also serious concerns that government is not pulling out all the stops to ensure that these challenges are overcome.
Instead it has turned a blind eye to the suffering of the poor and only seems to portray a caring attitude every five years, when elections are around the corner.
A government that does not engage with its citizens is in complete denigration of our struggle objectives, and betrays of our fallen heroes.
All Namibians must enjoy the fruits of independence and should not be treated as second-class citizens in their own country, while those with proximity to power are the only ones given VIP and red-carpet treatment.
Namibians deserve better. Happy Independence Day! Aluta continua!
However, political commentator Phanuel Kaapama said while the picture is not perfect, everything is not gloomy and Namibians have plenty to celebrate.
Namises highlighted continued outbreaks of hepatitis, the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies and disturbing poverty levels as some of the challenges Namibia faces as it prepares to celebrate 29 year of independence tomorrow.
She also said increasing violence in the country is a growing concern and stems from the poor socio-economic conditions Namibians live in.
She added that Namibia can celebrate being independent and that it is regarded a friendly neighbour.
“But I really do not have much excitement; we are in trouble. Our socio-economic living conditions are to be questioned. The way hepatitis is breaking out is something I never thought could happen,” she said.
Namises added the outbreaks point to the fact that government has failed to provide proper sanitation.
“Instead people are told they must stop drinking tombo, but that it not where the problem is coming from. People's basic human rights are not met at all,” she said.
Namises believes that government's failure to declare a drought state of emergency, despite little rainfall for more than six months, is a sign that it is of touch with reality. Social commentator Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi said the failure to address gender-based violence is a serious indictment on government.
“Life goes on but we celebrate independence without drastic measures to address issues like baby dumping and gender-based violence; this is tragedy. Namibia as a country must address this through an emergency plan,” he said.
Kaapama said most critical is political freedom, which has brought about many rights that Namibians enjoy. This in particular includes the right to vote. However, challenges are there and must be addressed by government, he said.
“When you are talking about economic challenges there are quite a number that lie ahead that we must address.”
Senior citizen Andreas Marthin said when villagers drink water straight from the wells they develop diarrhoea.
He said since the wells have claimed many lives through drownings, some households have raised money to buy water pumps in order to avoid using them. “Our wells have water but this water is inconsumable. It has turned green and salty; once you drink it you will immediately get a running stomach,” said Marthin.
“There is no other option, but we only have to use this water. For cooking one has to be very careful, otherwise the porridge will get spoiled. For drinking it becomes better once it's brewed into tombo.”
The Omusati regional council, through the agriculture ministry's rural water supply and sanitation division, used to supply the community with potable water until the water tanker broke down last year.
The truck was fixed earlier this year, but sustained tyre punctures again due to the inaccessible roads that lead to destitute communities in the region.
The community now depends on poor quality, salty water that they drink straight from the wells, and locally brewed tombo.
Oshikoto health director Alfons Amoomo confirmed they supply their clinic at Amarika with potable water every month, as the water in the community was not good.
“(However) no single health condition was reported to our health facility emanating from using the salty water. We, however, supply the Amarika clinic with potable water on a monthly basis for staff consumption, as well as our patients, but not the whole community,” Amoomo said.
In 2006, CuveWaters, a German/Namibian research project, through Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), using funds from the German education and research ministry, installed two solar-powered desalination plants at Amarika and Akutsima at a cost of N$200 million.
The system is capable of producing 3.3 cubic metres of clean drinking water daily, bThe system is capable of producing 3.3 cubic metres of clean drinking water daily, but the Amarika plant broke down immediately after the agriculture ministry handed it over in 2010, and it has not been functioning optimally since.
Another resident Andreas Kayena said the plant has not been functioning since mid-2017.
“Maybe it is our own fault that we came to settle here. We are suffering and our government is forever making empty promises to us. We are forever being told about water coming from Okatumba, but that never materialises,” Kayena said.
Kandjala said Amarika was being supplied with water by a tanker, until permanent water supply infrastructure could be constructed.
“It is true that the tanker broke down last year, but we fixed it. As a result, the shortage of water was addressed immediately through supplying water to the community of Amarika.
However, the council continues to face tanker breakdowns, especially tyre punctures due to the inaccessible roads to Amarika. Currently, this activity has been put on hold until new tyres are purchased from Windhoek. It is hoped that this activity will be resumed once new tyres are procured,” said Kandjala.
He said government, through the land reform ministry, has embarked on two projects to address the water scarcity in Amarika.
“A bid worth N$3 052 733 was awarded to Neu-Olulya cc to construct a water pipeline from Okatumba to Amarika in the Otamanzi constituency. The work will be supervised by Lund Consulting Engineers and the final inspection date was 15 March 2019.
“Another bid for civil works worth N$5 787 759 in Amarika/Ongandjera East for the construction of an elevated solar water pump station at Okatumba, about 53 kilometres from Amarika village and various cattle posts, was awarded on 5 November 2018 to Kambwa Trading cc and the site handover was conducted on 28 November 2018.
The work is being supervised by Lund Consulting Engineers,” Kandjala added.
It was also revealed that the forensic audit and disciplinary proceedings against four NAC executives, including Sem, had allegedly cost a whopping N$7.1 by November last year, and that this figure was expected to rise to N$9 million.
Two other NAC executives - human resources manager Josephine Soroses, finance and administration manager Verengai Ruswa - were let off the hook, while the manager for resourcing and relations, Albert Sibeya, resigned.
The quartet were suspended in October 2017, without substantive charges being revealed.
Sem's lawyer Richard Metcalfe has accused the chairperson of her disciplinary hearing, Norman Tjombe, and the initiator Mbushandje Ntinda of Sisa Namandje & Co. of bias.
“It is notable from the so-called forensic audit report that no attempt was made to obtain an explanation of the allegations against our client and that she was denied audi alteram partem and administrative justice and fairness in terms of article 18 of the constitution,” he wrote on 27 February in a letter to acting NAC CEO Lot Haifidi.
According to Metcalfe, Tjombe was not available for three scheduled appointments, on the grounds of ill-health, while the initiator was absent on one occasion due to a bail application he had to attend to.
This had meant the NAC had spent over N$7 million on the forensic audit and disciplinary hearings up until November 2018, Metcalfe claimed.
“Up to November 2018 this sorry corporate saga of abuse of our client and three other employees had cost the NAC a staggering amount of N$7.1 million,” he wrote.
Tjombe was also accused of not sending Sem's lawyer a notice of a planned new date for a subsequent hearing.
“Contrary to any previous postponement, Mr Tjombe failed to send a notice of set down to our offices,” Metcalfe wrote.
“The chairperson and the initiator vehemently opposed such postponement on the grounds that the disciplinary hearing would continue with or without legal representation. Mr Tjombe nastily told Mrs Sem that the matter would proceed without her legal representative and no postponement would be granted,” he added.
According to Metcalfe, Haifidi had instructed Ntinda and Tjombe to finalise the disciplinary hearing by 28 February.
“This was the ostensible reason for Mr Tjombe to refuse a reasonable request for the postponement to a suitable date for all parties,” he wrote.
The failure on the part of the NAC to finalise the case also meant that N$9 million would be spent on the investigation and disciplinary hearing, Metcalfe added.
There are still further monies to be paid by the NAC to Sisa Namandje & Co. for Sem's disciplinary hearing as well as to Deloitte.
In the event Mr Tjombe did not act pro bono, it would be assumed that a further bill would be sent by his firm, Metcalfe said.
“This would mean that this corporate victimisation of our client has cost in excess of N$9 million,” he wrote.
“In the circumstances you are humbly requested to convene a disciplinary hearing with an impartial chairperson in order for our client to be legally represented and to enjoy administrative justice.”
Tjombe did not comment on the allegations raised by Sem. “It will be inappropriate for me to comment on an internal disciplinary inquiry in which I am chairperson. You should contact the initiator, Mr Ntinda,” Tjombe said in a text message. Responding to the allegations raised by Sem, Ntinda wrote to Metcalfe on 28 February: “It is bizarre that you now again raise these points while well-aware that the forum where your client can raise such points is the hearing. It is thus very opportunistic that you have taken such an ill-advised approach.
“Further, be informed that there is no instruction to the chairperson or initiator on how to conduct the hearing. However, note that the initiator will always act in the best interest of the NAC and will not entertain self-serving delaying tactics by you and your client to the prejudice of the NAC.” Namibian Sun understands that Sem's disciplinary hearing has been concluded and that it was recommended that she be dismissed.
A source said the verdict was still to be delivered to Sem.
The report, in which the NDC received an adverse opinion from AG Junias Kandjeke, poked holes in the corporation’s accounting processes.
An adverse audit opinion is a professional opinion made by an auditor indicating that a company's financial statements are misrepresented, misstated and do not accurately reflect its financial performance and health.
The report was submitted to the National Assembly by deputy finance minister Natangwe Ithete last week.
Kandjeke pinpointed eight irregularities in the parastatal’s financial statements for the financial periods between 2015 and 2017.
Predominantly, the auditors found that the NDC had an unreconciled bank clearing account amounting to N$13.4 million in 2016.
It was further found that a bank control account amounting to N$18.9 million was not reconciled in 2017.
Coupled to this are receipts amounting to N$4 million in 2015, N$11.6 million in 2016 and N$11 million for 2017 that were also not reconciled.
The report further said the adverse audit opinion was issued because of the existence of inventory related to the dates’ stock of N$12.1 million (2015) and N$10 million (2016), for which no observation of the physical counting process was facilitated.
Moreover, the auditor found no letter for special fund amounting to N$8.2 million was provided for audit purposes.
It was also established that NDC does not have a policy in place to ensure adequate valuation of vineyards, date plantations and agricultural produce while the accounting standards it used are not applicable for public interest entities, the report further reveals.
“The rights to properties without title deeds could not be determined and in addition, valuation of the properties did not conform to the adopted company policies,” the reports states.
The company’s value added tax was understated by N$1.7 million.
“The accompanying financial statements do not give a true reflection and fair view of the financial position of the entity as at 31 March 2015, 2016 and 2017 and its financial performance,” Kandjeke said in the report.
The NDC existed to promote, develop and support all sectors of the Namibian economy for sustained economic growth and the economic empowerment.
Last year, the government created the Namibia Industrial Development Agency to replace the Offshore Development Company and the NDC. - Nampa
Clearing up why he chose to add the suffix couture to a street-wear brand, Illarius mentioned that the term couture represents specific designs that make them stand out. Narrating his upbringing and sharing how that environment influenced his style, Illarius said he grew up at Sauyemwa, a township in Rundu. “Growing up I wouldn’t say I had style back then. Nothing, zero. But the environment we grew up in really played a huge role in the ‘something’ that we are today,” shared Illarius. He is now an entrepreneur and 6th year medical student at People’s Friendship University of Russia.
Four years ago he launched a website POMdigital.com. On this platform he creates awareness on health issues. “Being a medical student, I felt the need to create awareness on some of the heated topics that spark debates in our society and circumcision was and is still one of them. The engagement was good. It was well received.” Around the same time he also co-founded a non-governmental organisation called The Youth Environment (TYE) aimed at sensitising the youth on preserving their environment.
“The following summer holiday we were doing outreach programmes with TYE. When the time came before I left Moscow I purchased a sweatshirt online then printed “POM” on it with a motivational quote and that is how POM Couture was born,” he said, adding that his friends asked him to make more similar sweatshirts and were willing to pay for it.
Illarius is hands-on when it comes to putting designs together and how the logos should be placed on garments. POM Couture however has a team of five members that he bounces ideas off during the creating process until they find the final piece. The team comprises of Esther Thomas, Axel Mukwena, Joanna Illarius, Mashinde Veiko and French Sebastian. “Esther runs all our operations in Namibia, Mukwena is our technical wizard, but we’re all involved in creating the designs,” said Illarius.
The inspiration for the designs is drawn from day-to-day situations the creators go through. “With our last range ‘Sorry 4 the Wait’, I know it sounds like a name of a mixtape, but we had to apologise to our clientele because we faced a halt logistically and couldn’t get our clothes to Namibia on time.
“Before that our summer collection was called ‘Couture Kulture’ - pieces that represented different ethnic groups and their culture,” added Illarius. He maintains that when it comes to designing, POM Couture likes to give themes to their ranges. “That way it keeps us consistent and it lets us tell our stories in a unique way.”
Asked where the clothes are made, Illarius chose to keep that a secret. He however mentioned that their clothes are made from a place of love and skills. “Strings and the stitches of every garment are appreciated and handled with care to make sure that we have 100% premium, high-quality products,” he said.
POM Couture has exhibited their designs on the runway at the Diversity Vogue Russian fashion show in Ryazan in Russia. He described the experience as beautiful; he however looks forward to taking centre stage of some prestigious fashion shows in Namibia. “I am pretty sure they are watching.”
The brand carries a strong hip-hop feel and it is for this reason they decided to align themselves with the hip-hop group Mighty Ill Game (MIG) as their brand ambassadors. “With MIG it really came natural, I felt like we are the leaders of the new school. Besides that their fashion sense is impeccable and they have a strong connection with the youth.”
“I can only do so much. Aligning with MIG helps because they also spread it out to their fan base and so on. Most importantly we have fun with it and it comes naturally,” he said.
Paulus ‘P-Star’ Musongo, one of the members of the rap group MIG, told tjil that POM Couture is a representation of a hustler’s life whose love for fashion means looking good at any cost. “The brand represents hustle in cutting out the middleman and sourcing swag from the factory to the streets. In a world where most brands are profit-driven, POM Couture takes a step back in quantity and sacrifices for the necessary high-end apparel,” said P-Star.
As a way of giving back to his community, the entrepreneur revealed that they are working on gathering funds to construct POM Couture headquarters in Rundu. He shared that the facility will consist of an office space, warehouse, restaurant and fully fledged gym. “With sufficient funding we are projecting to commence construction in the last quarter of 2019,” he publicised.
Hope for a berth at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt rests on the shoulders of Brave Warriors gaffer, Ricardo Mannetti, as his side readies to clash with the Copper Bullets of Zambia tomorrow in Lusaka at the National Heroes Stadium.
Mannetti is the hero football fans look to in order to bring back the glory days to the Warriors' side who last took part in the competition in 2008.
“It's now or never. We are finally here. Project 2019 is finally about to be decided. It will be one match in Lusaka where we have to do our best to realise both our dreams and our destiny.
“So much work, so much pain over the years and in recent times, and we are finally here, only one match left,” Mannetti said.
The team left for Lusaka yesterday from South Africa where they were training and despite the fact that some players were supposed to be dropped ahead of the clash, it was decided otherwise.
“All 26 players in camp will travel to Lusaka from which 18 will be drawn and the rest will be the supporting cast for the grand finale of a possible wonderful journey to Egypt.
“These boys deserve to be around and to support each other. We are family. Team spirit and harmony is much more important and has been key in our campaign.
“The boys understand the task at hand and the technical team has worked very hard to prepare them for the battle on Saturday,” said Mannetti.
If Namibia happens to beat Zambia, Mannetti, who has been at the helm of the Warriors since 2013, will add another accomplishment to his list as he not only scooped the Cosafa 2015 Cup title, but also took the country to the African Nations Championship last year.
“I really hope that he will pull another surprise and lead the country to the 32nd edition of Afcon.
“The task is however not an easy one as Zambia has pulled a strong squad, but to be honest, Mannetti is capable of doing it,” said loyal fan Paul Timoteus.
Mannetti, who was a regular in the Warriors squad until 2003 and his players have the backing of the President Hage Geingob.
“I'm confident of a win in Lusaka to take us to Afcon 2019 in Egypt. The whole nation is behind the Warriors. Finish the job you have started,” Geingob said on Twitter on Wednesday.
Mannetti, whose contract expires in July, also depends on this win to motivate his contract extension.
Hilda Basson-Namundjebo, chairperson of the Fifa Normalisation Committee, said they will sit down and discuss his contract.
“It is not my decision alone so we will sit and apply ourselves on the way forward soon,” she said.
“We are definitely going to win tomorrow and then we will focus on other international tournaments coming up,” an upbeat Basson-Namundjebo said.
Mannetti played international football under the national team from 1994 to 2003. In 2005 he joined South Africa's Santos football club. From 2007 to 2008 he coached Civics in the Namibia Premier League and then moved on to coach Black Africa in 2009.
He was the assistant coach of the senior national team as well as head coach of the national under-20 team before taking up his current role.
The match is scheduled to kick off at 18:30.
The fight will be between Kenya's Fatuma 'Iron Fist' Zarika and Zambian challenger Catherine Phiri. Zarika has promised to give her all when the two clash. The bout will be a rematch of their bruising encounter in December last year, which the Kenyan boxing queen won by unanimous decision.
Mweya will be joined by Michael Neeqwaye from Ghana and Irene Semakula from Uganda as the judges for the bout. 'I'm the only Namibian referee registered with the WBC, the number one best boxing body in the world.
“The appointment is not a surprise, because of the boxing convention I attended in Kyiv, Ukraine last year in October.
“I went through many tests, but through my dedication, hard work and commitment, I managed to be awarded with a diploma on judging and refereeing,” Mweya said.
The Namibian boxing guru attended a referee and judges workshop, which covered topics like scoring theory, judging criteria, knockdowns and knockouts, and successfully completed a written exam to be awarded his diploma.
He thanked the following sponsors of his Ukraine trip last year: Air Namibia, Solitaire Press, Green Enterprise Solutions, Embalangadja Investment, Scorpion Upholstery Trading and Lingua College.
One of the organisers of the show, Franklin Newman told tjil that the success of the first show compelled them to make this event an annual show.
“We wanted to create a platform for gospel artists regardless of the music genre they do as long as the music is gospel.
“The first show we had was successful with over 500 people. There has been an awesome response and demand from the people,” said Newman.
He mentioned that the international acts are coming on the basis of friendship and were not paid.
He however admitted that it has been stressful putting together the list of the local artists because they have received a lot of requests but they do not have enough time to accommodate them all.
“Last year we took pride in starting on time. People who showed up around 22:00 found that the event was already over.
“We are trying to maintain being punctual because after all, it is a gospel show and some people come with their kids and their safety is very important to us,” he said. Newman promised an exchange of gospel by gospel singers from different backgrounds who have different experiences of life. “It is going to be magical.”
Gina Jeans is something of a Namibian successful creative already. Now the rest of the world is getting to know her better. She mentioned that she has always been visually and sonically inclined from a young age. She played a violin growing up and art was her favourite and best subject in school.
“I was fortunate enough to have teachers who encouraged me to pursue my talents; I knew that I would be doing something creative after high school,” she said, adding that she went on to study graphic design and graduated cum laude from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and since then she has applied all her skills to building her brand.
Speaking on artists who influenced her musical ear, Gina Jeans said that she has a list of so many producers she looks up to but if she'd have to a favourite it would be Timberland.
“He has inspired the way I produce my own tracks; he doesn't limit his sound to a specific genre which in turn allows the notion of fluidity in his production. He is one of the most versatile producers of our time,” said Gina Jeans.
She is also very hands-on when it comes to creating music as far as production is concerned.
She shared that her passion comes from creating from a space of 'no mind'. She taps into a deeper part of herself that allows her to explore and create music that is experimental and compelling.
“I love that I can be an artist in my own right in this sense.” She stated that creating from a space of 'no mind' is a state of being focused on one thing, truly present and aware of the process. The outcome in this case, a track she has produced as the result of that state and it truly fulfils her.
She describes her sound as electronic, stating that she has always struggled to define her sound because she has never liked being boxed into one specific genre. “I draw from my surroundings, people I meet and the countries I travel to. I'm fully aware and in tune with any environment I find myself in and that's where I draw a lot of inspiration from.”
She has released good singles that have gone on to get radio play and a good public response, so there is momentum now on a broad platform.
Asked if she is working on body of work in the form of an EP or album and when we can expect it, Gina Jeans said that she normally does not mention release dates for her projects until they are ready.
“The reason for this is that I tend to change my direction and I don't want to rush the process because of a 'due date'. It's also different for me because I'm not a singer; my process and formula are not the same. I allow myself to create freely and honestly but I am definitely working on a number of projects that will roll out throughout the year,” she said.
Besides creating music, Gina Jeans' fashion sense is striking. She said that what informs her style is derived from her experience as a model for the past nine years. She added that she has gained much insight behind the scenes and that includes how she styles her outfits and does her makeup. “I have learned to dress for my body type and I'm aware that certain garments won't look good on me and that is okay. The beauty about fashion is that there are no rules and it's up to the individual to identify what works best for them,” said the stylish Gina Jeans.
Pointing out the highlights of her career thus far, she mentioned that she has had the pleasure of being featured in a number of magazines and campaigns as a model.
“From Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Elle and GQ just to name a few, as well as local and international campaigns or television commercials. As a music producer playing at Rocking the Daisies in 2017 and 2018 was great,” she shared.
Gina Jeans acknowledged that being based in Cape Town, which is one of the biggest hubs for creative, has immensely benefited her career. She said living in the Mother City has opened up a number of opportunities for her over the past few years.
“I make an effort to continue to learn because it's essential to keep adding to my skill set. That means attending workshops, creative functions and courses that benefit my craft. You never know who you could meet and what you could learn to catapult your career to the next level.”
When it is all said and done career-wise, she wants her obituary to read as: “She lived an intentional life doing what she loved.”