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Tells it All - Namibian Sun
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    Meatco reinstates 15% VAT on cattleMeatco reinstates 15% VAT on cattleNo deal struck as yet While clarifications on the directive and discussions are ongoing, Meatco has announced that it will reinstate 15% VAT. After two months of intensive negotiations between stakeholders in the agricultural sector to address the non-payment of VAT at export abattoirs, Meatco has reinstated the 15% VAT on cattle delivered to its export abattoir.

    This follows after the company in April implemented zero-rated VAT on all cattle transactions at the Windhoek abattoir.

    This was done following a directive from Inland Revenue that as from 15 April cattle delivered to Meatco's export abattoir will be invoiced with zero-rated VAT.

    On Friday, Meatco said in a statement that it received many different reactions and interpretations following the implementation of the directive, which prompted management to set up a meeting with the Inland Revenue commissioner.

    The meeting was aimed at shedding more light on the interpretation of the directive issued with regard to the zero-rated VAT and the practice of self-invoicing.

    During the meeting, the commissioner informed Meatco that he had received a similar request from the industry to shed more light on the directive issued.

    However, due to the current confusion and room for various interpretations, Meatco has decided to re-instate the payment of 15% VAT on all cattle transactions at the abattoir until the industry-led process of clarifying the intention of the directive has been finalised.

    All cattle delivered to the abattoir from 15 April 2018 onwards, and invoices subsequently that have been zero-rated, will thus be re-calculated and sent out to producers within the month.

    All monies due will be paid at the end of June 2018. Cattle delivered to Meatco from 10 June 2018 will be invoiced including 15% VAT going forward.

    The practice of self-invoicing cattle transactions will be continued by Meatco, but a formal request to continue the practice will be motivated to the commissioner for approval.

    The Namibia Agriculture Union thanked Meatco for their willingness to listen to the viewpoint of producers adding that this action will improve confidence in Meatco in the long term.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Housewife is dark web boss
  • Housewife is dark web bossHousewife is dark web boss A 28-year-old housewife with no criminal record has been unmasked as the woman behind a major French "dark web" site which sold drugs and guns until it was shut down last week.

    The woman was among four people arrested last Tuesday when intelligence agents closed the Black Hand website, where fake ID documents and stolen bank data had also changed hands for more than two years.

    Agents from the DNRED intelligence agency seized nearly €4 000 in cash and around N$395 999 in online currencies while swooping on the suspects in four simultaneous raids around France.

    The mother of two, who went by various online pseudonyms including "Anouchka" and "Hades", did not create the site but worked as its administrator, a DNRED agent said.

    "A woman active at that level, it's pretty unusual," the agent said, adding that Anouchka, who did not have a job, was arrested near the northern city of Lille.

    Although she did not have what he termed the "geeky profile of an IT technician", this was not her first experience on the dark net, he added.

    Around 40 DNRED agents were involved in the year-long operation, "the first of its kind in France", according to public accounts minister Gerald Darmanin.

    Several other dark net sites where drugs, guns and even contracts for assassination jobs are exchanged online - most famously the notorious Silk Road - have been smashed around the world in recent years.

    The DNRED officer said it was difficult to determine how much money passed through Black Hand, but he estimated that Anouchka earned tens of thousands of euros a year from its operations.

    Two others who acted as moderators and who sold illicit items on the site have been charged, as well as another vendor, following police raids near the cities of Montpellier and Marseille as well as Lille.

    They were among dozens of active users on the forum, which had 3 000 listed accounts.

    The moderators had various ways of making money, the source said, charging membership fees of €25 to €50 as well as commissions of 2% to 5% on transactions.

    Members could also pay to get a higher rating on the site.

    The DNRED agent declined to say how authorities tracked down those behind the website - whose content, like other sites in the hidden "dark" section of the internet, is particularly difficult to access.

    Although the raids have not yet led to more arrests, "we continue to take an interest in the buyers," the agent said, adding that Black Hand's former users will be watching the investigation closely.

    "They're right to be worried," he said.

    Investigators were able to access Black Hand's servers and retrieve large amounts of data during last week's raids, the official said.

    He noted the site had been running since at least 2015 - a considerably long time by the standards of the dark net, where "platforms are often volatile because crooks often run off with the takings".

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Massive oil losses
  • Massive oil lossesMassive oil losses400 000 barrels destroyed Libya will see a large drop in oil income following an attack by armed groups on a storage facility. Libya's National Oil Company said on Monday that it suffered "catastrophic losses" when two storage tanks were destroyed during fierce clashes in the country's northeastern oil crescent.

    Armed groups on Thursday attacked the Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra terminals held by forces loyal to Libyan strongman's Khalifa Haftar around 650km east of Tripoli.

    On Sunday, Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive to push the militias - loyal to rebel leader Ibrahim Jadhran - out of the oil crescent.

    The NOC said it had lost "storage tanks 2 and 12 at the Ras Lanuf port terminal following Thursday's armed assault by militia in the Oil Crescent, led by Ibrahim Jadhran".

    Ras Lanuf's storage capacity - at 950 000 barrels of crude before the attack - has now been reduced to 550 000, the NOC said.

    Jadhran's Petroleum Facilities Guard controlled the terminals for years following the 2011 ouster and killing of longtime Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, but were eventually forced out by the LNA in September 2016.

    "This incident will result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs, and billions in lost sales opportunities", the NOC said, adding it would take years to rebuild amid the country's current security circumstances.

    The NOC on Thursday said it had halted oil exports from Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra because of the violence.

    NOC chief Mustafa Sanallah warned that if oil exports from these terminals remain at a standstill it could cause a "national disaster".

    Libya's economy relies heavily on oil, with production at 1.6 million barrels per day under Gaddafi.

    The 2011 uprising that ousted and killed the dictator saw production fall to about 20% of that level, before recovering to over one million barrels per day by the end of 2017.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Americans own 40% of world’s gunsAmericans own 40% of world’s guns Americans make up only 4% of the global population but they own 40% of the world's firearms, a new study said on Monday.

    There are more than one billion firearms in the world but 85% of those are in the hands of civilians, with the remainder held by law enforcement and the military, according to the Small Arms Survey.

    The survey, produced by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, says it bases its estimates based on multiple sources, including civilian firearms registration data from 133 countries and territories and survey results in 56 countries.

    Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the US - more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined.

    "The biggest force pushing up gun ownership around the world is civilian ownership in the United States," said Aaron Karp, one of the authors of the report which compiles new data from the last 10 years.

    "Ordinary American people buy approximately 14 million new and imported guns every year," Karp told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York.

    Americans have access to powerful firearms that are not available in many other countries due to tighter legislation.

    "Why are they buying them? That's another debate. Above all, they are buying them probably because they can. The American market is extraordinarily permissive," he said.

    Gun ownership rates vary across the world, with 121 firearms for every 100 residents in the US compared to 53 in Yemen, 39 in Montenegro, and 35 in Canada.

    Japan and Indonesia are at the other end of the spectrum with less than one firearm per 100 people.

    Only 28 countries released information on their military stockpiles while 28 nations offered information the firearms owned by law enforcement agencies.

    Civilian firearms registration data was available for 133 countries and territories.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Kicking dirt in poor faces
  • Kicking dirt in poor facesKicking dirt in poor faces The growing disrespect for the poor and vulnerable, characterised by utterances by those who are now voted into power, leaves much to be desired.

    After Utoni Nujoma's so-called 'entrapment' when he explicitly said the poor cannot run expensive farms, while being interviewed by South Africa's eNCA, justice minister Sacky Shanghala has now entered the fray. Shanghala, who is reportedly himself a beneficiary of government business deals, was quoted by the local media as saying that fishing rights are not for everyone in the country. “Now, the new thing is fishing quotas, fishing rights. People, it is not for everybody. If it were for everybody, then fine. Walking around here, there are many opportunities, but nobody is taking them,” Shanghala was quoted as saying in The Namibian on Monday. Just the other day, a fisheries official told a consultative meeting to discuss the new requirements when applying for fishing rights that a Namibians should look beyond fishing. While it is true there are indeed limited opportunities in various industries, including the fishing sector, which this time has only reserved 96 new fighting rights, vulnerable members of our society can no longer just be bystanders of economic activity in their own country. Politicians preach economic emancipation all the time, but once in power, they totally forget about those who mandated them to lead in the first place. This begs the question: Who are our leaders representing and in whose interests are they speaking and acting when making such damaging and disparaging remarks in the public domain? The previously disadvantaged, which include the middle class and downtrodden of our society, need the encouragement and facilitation of an environment in which they can prosper, instead of being swiped away by those with fat fingers who already had their fill of tenders and other advantages. The key, in terms of all these so-called economic opportunities, is that decisions by the powers that be should not be made to enrich a few. That has been a major stumbling block in our 28 years of democracy. The patience of the poor and vulnerable, when it comes to the sharing of the economic cake, is running out.

    We cannot just see the same faces benefitting ad infinitum. How greedy can they really be?

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day MOBILITY: A young man travels by bicycle with his luggage from one village to another in northern Namibia. Owning a bicycle in the village is a privilege as it allows for quick transportation, whether to carry news, or to transport items. PHOTO: LIMBA MUPETAMI

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Dukwe refugees turn to SADC
  • Dukwe refugees turn to SADCDukwe refugees turn to SADCLast ditch effort to avoid repatriation The estimated 916 Namibians currently residing in a refugee camp in Botswana have now turned to SADC, as the deadline for their repatriation creeps ever loser. Namibian citizens currently exiled at the Dukwe refugee camp in neighbouring Botswana this week made a last ditch effort to avoid being repatriated.

    The refugees have petitioned the Southern African Development Community (SADC) office in Gaborone, according to a news report by Botswana commercial radio station Yarona FM.

    There are an estimated 916 Namibians currently residing in the refugee camp.

    The group through its spokesperson Felix Kakula said they want SADC to arrange a meeting with the Namibian government.

    The group has until 11 July to return to Namibia.

    If they do not do so, they will then be residing in Botswana illegally.

    Botswana defence minister Shaw Kgathi issued the 11 July deadline in May and said the group would have to voluntarily return to Namibia.

    The Namibian government through home affairs minister Frans Kapofi has in the past given the group assurances that they will be safely repatriated back into Namibia and will not face any discrimination.

    The Namibian government is working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Botswana government to guarantee the safe return of the group.

    “Government is committed to the principle of voluntary repatriation as a durable solution; hence we are working together with the government of Botswana and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure their return in a dignified manner,” Kapofi said.

    According to Kapofi, consultations on a tripartite commission on the matter are at an advanced stage.

    “Twenty Namibian refugees from the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana were repatriated in dignity and safety and are now with their family members in Namibia,” Kapofi said.

    Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi said during visit to State House in April that his government was exploring all options to ensure the Namibians at Dukwe are returned home.

    He said they no longer had refugee status and Botswana regarded them as illegal immigrants.

    “There are laws that govern what you do and how you conduct the business of illegal immigrants, and that will follow.

    “If there are Batswana who are in Namibia as illegal immigrants, I am sure the laws of Namibia will also result in them being assisted to go home.

    “So we await the outcome of possible engagement but we want to make this clear,” Masisi was quoted as saying.

    The group fled to Botswana after a failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi Region from Namibia.

    The Botswana government initially planned to deport the remaining Namibians living at Dukwe by 31 December 2015.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Shilongo's selflessness rememberedShilongo's selflessness remembered Oshakati mayor Angelus Iyambo has described the sudden passing of councillor Johannes Hapeni Shilongo as a big loss for the local authority and the country.

    Shilongo died on Sunday at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital after a short illness. He was 48.

    Iyambo said Shilongo's sudden passing is a great loss for the council, following his immense contribution to the development of Oshakati.

    He described Shilongo as a trustworthy man who they relied on.

    Iyambo said he always fulfilled his obligations to the best of his ability.

    “Councillor Shilongo left us very soon and unexpectedly. He was a man who had the vulnerable at heart and always gave his best when a task was bestowed upon him. His death has left us with big shoes to fill because he had all the great qualities a leader should have. Namibia has lost a great leader. He will be missed dearly,” Iyambo said.

    He called on fellow Namibians to keep Shilongo's family in their prayers during this difficult time.

    “Let us keep his family in our prayers because not only did we lose a leader, a family lost a breadwinner and we should have them in our prayers. May his soul rest in peace,” Iyambo said.

    Shilongo had served as a councillor for Oshakati since 2011.

    At the time of his passing he was serving as a member of the management committee.

    Before his role as a councillor, Shilongo served as the Swapo district coordinator for the Oshakati West constituency.

    Shilongo is survived by his wife Veronika Nyanyukweni and seven children. A condolences book is available for signing at the Oshakati town council office.

    A memorial service will be held tomorrow at the Oshakati civic centre from 15:00, while another will be held on Friday at Shilongo's homestead at Onduulu Nomongwa village.

    He will be buried on Saturday at his village.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    MTC hands over N$700 000 for new homesMTC hands over N$700 000 for new homes A cheque of N$700 000 has been handed over by MTC to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), through the Standard Bank Buy-a-Brick initiative, which will help build 20 new homes for families currently living in shacks.

    “We are well aware of the extreme housing shortage and the SDFN has been extremely positive and efficient in making a difference by building complete houses for their members at a cost of only N$40 000 (each),” MTC executive Tim Ekandjo said at the handover.

    Heinrich Amushila of the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG), the SDFN's longstanding NGO supporting partner, said the organisation was overwhelmed by MTC's contribution through the Buy-a-Brick initiative.

    He said the funding comes at a time when the SDFN has not been able to secure sufficient money to build its 1 000 envisioned homes this year, and had to reduce the target to 500.

    “This donation by MTC forms part of the Buy-a-Brick funds, totalling N$3.7 million, and will be used to construct houses in Mariental, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo and Kalkveld.”

    Amushila underlined the crucial need for corporate as well as government support for groups such as the SDFN.

    “We are happy that more corporate entities are joining hands with the federation to construct houses for the ultra-low-income community. Urban centres have seen the mushrooming of shacks and all these people are looking at the federation to assist them with affordable housing. With MTC now on board, it means we can now build more houses by scaling up.”

    Ekandjo said the 20 new homes will only make a relatively small dent, “considering the huge shortage of houses in Namibia”.

    “But if we can all participate and make our contribution, it will become impactful in the fight for housing.”

    Ekandjo said it is the collective responsibility of all Namibians to help their fellow citizens, so they can secure decent housing; especially for those who have struggled with severe poverty because of a lack of equal opportunities.

    The Standard Bank Buy-a-Brick project is geared towards addressing the housing shortage in the country by raising funds for the SDFN.

    The flagship corporate social investment initiative aims to facilitate poverty alleviation and improved shelter, in partnership with the SDFN, and has worked on mobilising the private sector and the public in raising the funds required by the federation to build affordable housing for disadvantaged Namibians.

    Amushila further thanked Ohorongo Cement, FNB Namibia, Pupkewitz and Neo Paints, which have also funded SDFN housing initiatives.

    In kind assistance was also provided by CPP, Suremix and the Baard Group in Walvis Bay, he said.

    He added the urban and rural development ministry has increased its annual allocation for housing to the federation by N$3 million, from N$7 million to N$10 million.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Wider sanitary roll-out cut
  • Wider sanitary roll-out cutWider sanitary roll-out cutBudget to blame A lack of financing has limited the reach of the sanitary pad roll-out for school-going girls in Namibia. While around 600 teenage girls have so far benefited from government's free sanitary project since last year, as many as 150 000 school girls could be struggling to access safe sanitary products across Namibia each month.

    In efforts to address one of the many barriers to quality education faced by vulnerable and marginalised Namibian girls, the education ministry, through its partner the Forum of African Women Educationalists Namibia (Fawena), last year launched the Sanitary Pads Project.

    Fawena national chapter coordinator Marlene Mungunda told Namibian Sun last week that the figure of vulnerable and marginalised girls who are unable to access sanitary products on a regular basis could roughly total 150 000 or more, based on national statistics of vulnerable female teenagers across the country.

    Since the launch of the Sanitary Pads Project more than 600 girls attending grades 10 to 12 in several regions have benefitted, she said.

    Each girl is provided with a pack of ten pads each month. Mungunda said just over 2 000 beneficiaries have been identified through various scholarship programmes, who are to join the programme in the coming future.

    She however highlighted that since the launch of the programme last September, the scale of the problem has become obvious.

    “After the launch, so many schools and regions called us to ask for help. But unfortunately we have to work according to the budget and attend to the beneficiaries currently listed.”

    A total of N$250 000 has been budgeted for the programme to date, with several private sponsorships adding to the purse.



    Problem solving

    Mungunda, and others, have pointed out that in line with the distribution of free condoms in Namibia, a similar initiative should be launched with sanitary pads for those in need.

    “The cost of menstrual products is very high. Government succeeded in addressing the HIV/Aids challenge to provide condoms for free. It would also be very conducive and commendable to provide free sanitary products for girls, for whom menstruation is not a choice, but a biological fact.”

    While the issue of sanitary pads was brought to national attention again last year, Sister Namibia had long worked on addressing the issue.

    The Sisterpads project was launched in 2014 after the organisation was learned of the high level of school absenteeism in the Kavango Region, due to female learners lacking sanitary materials. Elsarien Katiti told Namibian Sun that in areas where resources and information is slim, many rely on “traditional or home-based alternatives, which may be unhygienic or even unhealthy.”

    Girls miss between three to four days of school each month if they cannot access proper sanitary products or “find harmful ways, including sugar daddies, to provide these products,” she said. Katiti said ensuring that all Namibian girls have access to safe sanitary products “goes beyond access to products and attending school. A lack of menstrual products also concerns dignity, health and lost or delayed potential.”

    Further, being able to access sanitary products gives young girls “a sense of dignity and self-determination through the mobility they get from having something sanitary to use.”

    In response to the issue, Sister Namibia has designed reusable sanitary pad kits which provide a permanent solution for a two-year duration.

    This helps girls put aside the worry of monthly menstruation and allows them to “focus on her education”, the organisation stated.

    Katiti added that while many in Namibia have begun to assist, and to create awareness, “from the legislative side of the equilibrium, a lot still has to be done to provide these free products for the girl child. There is still a lot to be done to amplify awareness.”

    She emphasised that while “all problems Namibia faces are not there for government to solve alone”, reducing or cutting taxes on menstrual products, or providing them for free, could go a long way to address the issue.

    Moreover, providing reusable sanitary products would not only be cost-effective, but environmentally sustainable. Fawena's Mungunda said the health ministry has begun to investigate alternative options and has been presented with various presentations on reusable products for distribution through the state sanitary programme.

    However she said testing on the products is necessary and without the green-light from safety authorities no alternative products can be distributed. In June 2017, Kenyan government enacted a law which guarantees sanitary wear for all girls attending public school. The act states that “free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels” must be provided to every girl registered at school, as well as providing “a safe and environmental sound mechanism for disposal”.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Editors' forum celebrates spy case victoryEditors' forum celebrates spy case victory The Editors' Forum of Namibia (EFN) has welcomed the High Court's dismissal of an application by the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) to bar The Patriot newspaper from publishing a story about alleged dubious land deals by the government, involving retired spy operatives.

    In his judgment on Monday, Judge Harald Geier said there was a need to balance what the law says and the constitutional provisions on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

    EFN secretary-general Alna Dall said the judgment was an immense victory for freedom of speech and democracy in Namibia, which set a firm precedent for those who want to censor the media in the name of “national security”.

    “It sends a strong warning to other government officials, and anyone else for that matter, that they cannot willy-nilly invoke archaic legislation such as the Protection of Information Act of 1982 to trample on ingrained constitutional rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of the media,” Dall said.

    The EFN also commended the Namibian judiciary for upholding the protection of press freedom provided for in article 21 of Namibia's constitution, adding that the forum was confident the court case would act as a benchmark for the rollout of the Access to Information Bill.

    This case emanates from an urgent interdict sought by the state security agency in April to stop The Patriot from publishing allegations of the acquisition of two farms to the tune of N$57 million in the Otjozondjupa Region by the government, under the guise that it was classified information.

    The NCIS had sought to urgently interdict The Patriot newspaper from publishing any information relating to the purchase of the two farms and another property in Windhoek, which the government had purchased for the intelligence service at a cost of N$8.2 million.

    It emerged in the court proceedings that the two farms bought for resettlement purposes were being used by retired members of the NCIS, who are organised in a voluntary association.

    The NCIS had argued that the information the newspaper intended to publish was a threat to national security.

    It said the information might jeopardise the effectiveness of the service if its operations were exposed, as the information fell within the Protection of Information Act, under the scope of sensitive and classified information as defined in the Namibia Central Intelligence Service Act.

    The NCIS argued that the Act prohibits anyone who is not in possession of security clearance from publishing classified and sensitive information.

    The Patriot had argued that the information did not expose the operations of the NCIS or identify its agents, but rather corrupt practices, which cannot be defined as classified or sensitive information.

    The newspaper said the public was entitled to be informed about corruption in the government or the NCIS.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Workers' rights still at riskWorkers' rights still at riskNamibia shows slight improvement More and more workers in the global workforce are excluded from any protection under labour laws, the Global Rights Index indicates. Namibia has been placed in the category of countries with repeated violations of workers' rights.

    Although workers' rights have improved in Namibia over the past two years, a global report has found the county was still guilty of repeated violations, including violating the collective bargaining rights of workers.

    The report investigates the violations of internationally recognised labour rights by governments and employers.

    Namibia now ranks as one of the top five countries when it comes to workers' rights in Africa.

    The 2018 Global Rights Index that was released recently says internationally there were restrictions on free speech and protests, as well as increasingly violent attacks on the defenders of workers' rights.

    The index covers internationally recognised core labour standards, specifically civil rights, the right to bargain collectively, the right to strike, the right to associate freely and access to due process rights.

    It highlights the world's worst countries for workers by rating 142 countries on a scale from 1 to 5, based on the degree of respect for workers' rights, according to 97 indicators

    Namibia this year received an overall ranking of 2, placing it in the category of countries with repeated violations of workers' rights.

    This is in comparison to its 2017 score of 3, when it was ranked in a worse category of countries with regular violations of workers' rights.

    Other African countries that received the same score as Namibia this year were Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa and Togo. However, South Africa was still highlighted in the report for its 1 500 workers that were summarily dismissed after staging a strike at Sibanye's Cooke mine.

    There was no country in Africa that received a ranking of 1 this year. This category means that there are irregular violations of workers' rights and countries that are rated with the best labour practices fall into this category.

    Meanwhile Africa received an overall ranking of 3.9, falling just short of the category of systematic violations of workers' rights. Some of the worst performing countries in Africa were Zimbabwe and Algeria that was ranked 5. This category means there is no guarantee of workers' rights in the country.

    According to the report, in Africa 84% of countries exclude workers from labour laws, while 36 out of 37 countries violated the right to strike. It also says all 37 countries in Africa violated the collective bargaining rights of workers, including Namibia.

    Furthermore 65% of countries in the Africa region exposed workers to physical violence.

    According to the report the number of countries that deny or constrain freedom of speech increased from 50 in 2017 to 54 in 2018.

    A total of 81% of countries have violated the right to collective bargaining.

    The ten worst countries for workers in 2018 were Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

    The number of countries where workers were exposed to murders, physical violence, death threats and intimidation significantly increased from 59 in 2017 to 65 in 2018.

    The number of countries with arbitrary arrests and the detention of workers increased from 44 in 2017 to 59 in 2018.

    The report adds that global shifts are under way in working conditions for people, with 65% of countries excluding workers from the right to establish or join a trade union, an increase from 60% in 2017.

    More and more workers in the global workforce are excluded from any protection under labour laws, the report added.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    NSFAF: Letter is malicious, derogatoryNSFAF: Letter is malicious, derogatory The management of the beleaguered Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) says it is confident that an anonymous letter doing the rounds on social media, making damning allegations against certain staff members, did not emanate from its rank and file.

    The letter, sent to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 7 June, alleges malpractice and possible corrupt or fraudulent activities by the acting CEO, Kennedy Kandume, and a number of other staff members. It also alleges the use of company resources for “political messages”. One such alleged message inserted in the letter suggests that NSFAF “was linked to Team Swapo”. While the author or authors of the letter pretend to be concerned internal whistle-blowers and junior staff members, the NSFAF management says that is unlikely because its content reflects knowledge of discussions that took place at management level. The management says the letter is “derogatory and malicious” and aims at creating the impression that the current situation at the company is intolerable and that staff are unhappy.



    Analysis

    The NSFAF management held a press briefing yesterday to address the letter.

    Its head of corporate affairs, Olavi Hamwele, said the letter appeared to be an attempt to sow suspicion, disunity and distrust among the workforce.

    He said it targeted staff listed for interviews in the ongoing forensic investigation at the institution.

    While the management said the letter could not have originated from within, Hamwele said it appeared to be from someone at management level or someone from outside who did not have the company's best interest at heart. Hamwele said it was a deliberate attempt to cast doubt on the current management and to paint it as incompetent. He said junior staff had platforms to use to air their grievances.

    The management said it did not see suspended CEO Hilya Nghiwete's hand in the letter.



    ACC considering it

    “Everything is fine at NSFAF at this stage but we welcome an investigation by the ACC,” Hamwele said.

    ACC chief investigator Nelius Becker confirmed receipt of the letter and said the ACC was still “deliberating on the matter”.

    The board chairperson of NSFAF, Jerome Mutumba, said there was “nothing new” about the allegations. “Much of that stays at the centre of the alleged maladministration levelled at the substantive leadership of the organisation before the new board came on board. Unfortunately I cannot comment on rumours,” Mutumba said.



    Performance

    Acting CEO Kandume said the NSFAF's 2018 awarding of student loans had been completed and letters to inform the successful applicants were being written.

    This year NSFAF will give funding to 9 726 students at tertiary institutions. It also considered the applications of 4 480 others to attend vocational training centres.

    For 2019 plans are under way to start the application process as early as September so that students can receive their letters before the start of the new academic year. Kandume said that would allow them to register as students without having to pay registration fees. He said NSFAF would report back to the parliamentary standing committee on public accounts on the alleged unaccounted for N$1.7 billion by September. Kandume said to lay the matter to rest management had embarked upon a document retrieval and reconciliation exercise involving tertiary institutions to which the funds have been paid out. He further said the relationship between the new board and management had improved, and staff welcomed the internal investigation and supported an expansion of its scope should the need arise.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Closing date for Nedbank National Kapana Cook off for Northern round Closing date for Nedbank National Kapana Cook off for Northern round Nedbank Namibia in conjunction with the Namibia Chefs Association, Meatma, Pick n Pay and Bakpro are proudly anticipating the National Kapana Cook Off, Northern Round. On 30 June 2018, our esteemed judges will get to work to find the best kapana for the Northern region. The event will take place in front of Pick n Pay, Ondangwa.

    The response by Namibian entry level vendors has been both inspiring and exciting and there is great exhilaration as to what these skilled entry level vendors will prepare at the cook off. Professional chefs working in the Northern region are also encouraged to enter to demonstrate their culinary expertise and special take on Namibia’s most loved dish, Kapana. Entries are open in both categories until 22 June 2018 for the Northern Round of the Competition.

    Nedbank and the Kapana Cook off sponsors are locked down in anticipation to see who will go through to the finals, which will take place in the capital city, Windhoek during the month of August. Preliminary rounds will be held across Namibia and entrants are reminded of the following important closing dates:

    Northern Round: 22 June 2018

    Coastal Round: 29 June 2018

    Eastern Round: 06 July 2018

    Central Round: 13 July 2018

    The coveted prize of a fully fledged Kapana container shop along with a Nedbank bank account with a N$15 000 cash balance, SME training and mentorship is what all entry level kapana vendors hope to win. The Kapana National Cook off is one of the vehicles Nedbank Namibia utilises to reach out to the small players in the market to aid them in formalising their business operations. Entries are free and the competition is run nationally to ensure that no one is left behind, providing an opportunity many Kapana vendors only dream about.

    Collect your entry form at your nearest Nedbank Namibia branch.

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    Liberty to be quizzed by regulatorLiberty to be quizzed by regulatorOver cyber attack Insurer Liberty Holdings faced questions from South Africa’s Information Regulator on Monday, a day after the company said it had become the victim of a cyber attack. “I feel exposed because they have a lot of confidential information about me,” Marieta le Roux, Liberty Life client, Namibia The regulator said it was concerned about the data breach and wanted to meet the insurer to get more details.

    Liberty’s shares fell 5% on Monday, after the company said on Sunday that an external party claimed to have seized data from the firm and demanded payment.

    Liberty said it made no concessions to the hackers and that there was no evidence that any of its customers had suffered any financial losses.

    On Monday it said its IT specialists and security personnel had worked around the clock to ensure the protection of its customers and their details.

    The regulator said it had written to Liberty’s chief executive David Munro requesting information on the extent of the data breach and security measures taken by the company.

    “The Information Regulator has noted with concern various media reports regarding a material data breach at Liberty Holdings,” Pansy Tlakula, chairwoman of the regulator, said in a statement.

    Shares in Liberty later pared some losses but still closed 4.03% lower at 119 rand, their worst daily fall since April 4.

    Traders said the market had not panicked over the attack.

    “The management did very well to come out and explain their side of the story,” said Cratos Capital trader Greg Davies.

    “What they need to do now is assure the market that they’ve spent enough on their defences and that there won’t be a repeat of this.”

    Liberty’s biggest shareholder Standard Bank, which has a 53% stake, said in an emailed response to questions it was supportive of the measures that Liberty has taken.

    However, in neighbouring Namibia, Marieta le Roux, a Liberty Life client since 2011, told Reuters that she had not been informed of the data breach.

    “I feel exposed because they have a lot of confidential information about me,” she said.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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    Scramble to avoid RCC assets saleScramble to avoid RCC assets saleHead office first on the auction block The beleaguered RCC is facing the real possibility that its prized head office will go under the auctioneer's gavel. The ministry of works is trying to avoid the auctioning off of Roads Contractor Company (RCC) assets, the parastatal's acting CEO Seth Herunga has confirmed.

    This comes amid the planned auction of its head office in Windhoek's southern industrial area.

    It was reported this week that a commercial bank plans to auction off the building to recover money it had lent to the parastatal.

    Herunga told Namibian Sun, however, his line ministry was working hard to avoid the sale of assets through auctioneering.

    “The minister has tried to engage other ministries to ensure that we avert that assets will be auctioned off. My understanding is that he is engaging with the bank as well,” said Herunga.

    Works minister John Mutorwa has written to the finance ministry in a bid to ward off the sale of RCC assets through auctioning, while making particular mention of its head office.

    According to Herunga, if the head office were to be sold, a new developer stood to make considerable money off the sale of the property. He added the RCC's machinery and equipment had been sold in the past for a song by auctioneers.

    Works ministry permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann has been instructed to engage RCC's lender to avoid having its property auctioned off this week, while Herunga had also received a set of instructions from Mutorwa.

    Nampa reported the RCC risked having its Windhoek head office auctioned off.

    “The company's dire situation has been worsened by lawsuits against the company for non-payment of creditor's obligations,” Herunga wrote to Mutorwa.

    In the letter, Herunga said the RCC's main financial banker, Bank Windhoek, whose outstanding debt is secured against the entire head office property, was calling up the debt and invoked the security clause, which would result in the forced disposal of the property, should the company fail to pay the outstanding instalments overdue by 30 days.

    “However, the property is having an investment development portfolio of N$2 billion. If we lose the property, it will be a big loss to government,” he said.

    “We thought we secured funding, but we lost it,” he continued, referring to the controversial N$580 million partnership deal the RCC had signed with Chinese company Nantong Sanjian to boost its finances and survival chances, but which government recently declared illegal.

    Herunga said it was difficult to manage the company's precarious financial situation without funding.

    “Without funding, we are against the wall.”

    Cabinet in September 2017 proposed having the RCC placed under judicial management. Under judicial management, a manager will be appointed by the High Court to try and revive the operations of the entity, while its assets cannot be sold off to pay creditors.

    Mutorwa must still table a bill to place the entity under judicial management.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Nam’s trade with SA ails
  • Nam’s trade with SA ailsNam’s trade with SA ailsTrade deficit deepens Namibia’s total exports and imports rose by about N$10 billion in the first quarter of 2018, but trade with South Africa, the country’s historically biggest trading partner, declined. “The European Union (EU) became the largest export destination for Namibian products after overtaking the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which has maintained dominance over a long time.” NDAMA NAKASHOLE

    Trade statistics from the Namibia Statistics Agency yesterday show that Namibia’s overall trade stood at N$46 billion (N$18.8 billion exports; N$27.1 billion imports) in the first quarter of 2018, compared to N$36.1 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2017 and N$42.2 billion estimated in the last quarter of 2017.

    Namibia realised a trade deficit of N$8.3 billion in the first quarter of 2018, which is almost double the N$4.8 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2017. This is also higher than the N$5.5 billion observed in the fourth quarter of 2017.

    The persistent trade deficits recorded in the past 20 quarters were mostly driven by Namibia’s high demand for high-value manufactured commodities and machinery from the rest of the world, while it exports mainly primary commodities that are of low value, with the exception of diamonds.

    The country’s trade deficit for the first quarter of 2018 is higher than the average trade deficit over the past 20 quarters.

    LOSING TOP SPOT

    South Africa lost the top spot as importer of Namibian goods to China in the first quarter of 2018. Among the largest export partners, the highest growth rates were recorded with China (779% annual growth), Belgium (188%), Italy (110%) and Botswana (20%).

    Exports to South Africa, which was Namibia’s largest export partner during the last quarter, grew by a mere 2%.

    China now tops the list as the largest export destination by value, followed by South Africa, Belgium, Botswana and Italy.

    Compared to the last quarter (fourth quarter of 2017), Namibian exports to South Africa dropped. Of all the top export destinations, only exports to South Africa and Botswana dropped quarter-to-quarter, with the biggest drop in value recorded in South African exports.

    Overall, exports to those top export destinations grew by 86%.

    Namibia’s top exports in terms of value in the first quarter of 2018 were copper cathodes, diamonds, jewellery and precious metals, fish, ores and concentrates, and zinc.

    LOWER DEMAND FOR SA GOODS

    While the overall imports increased by 3.2 billion (14%) in the first quarter of 2018, imports from South Africa weakened compared to both the first and last quarters of 2017.

    Imports from Botswana fell too (38.5%) but the other three top import destinations realised an annual increase. Imports from the Bahamas grew by 14 612%, from Zambia by 259%, and from China by 73%.

    Namibia’s top imports in terms of value in the first quarter of 2018 were vessels, mineral fuels and oils, boilers and vehicles.

    REGION OVERTAKEN

    The European Union (EU) became the largest export destination for Namibian products after overtaking the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which has maintained dominance over a long time. Exports revenue from the EU rose by 79% compared to first quarter of last year. When compared to the previous quarter, exports to the EU rose by 40%. Furthermore, the EU absorbed 35% of Namibia’s total exports, the largest share relative to other economic regions. SACU dropped one place down to occupy the second position as leading export market for Namibian goods. Although its share in Namibia’s total import requirements fell in the first quarter of 2018, SACU still maintained its long term dominance as largest market for imports for Namibia.

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: LHU and MUN reach agreement
  • LHU and MUN reach agreementLHU and MUN reach agreement ADOLF KAURE

    The Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) management and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) have reached an agreement on severance payments after the mine was put on care and maintenance due to low uranium prices.

    With the mediation of the Erongo regional governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua, LHU and MUN signed the agreement which provides for an improved retrenchment package.

    In terms of the agreement, laid-off workers will receive two months’ notice pay based on their total cost of employment. The notice pay excludes variable payments such as shift and overtime allowances.

    They will also receive severance pay equivalent to two weeks’ pay per year of service as stipulated in the Labour Act.

    The company will assist with applications for tax directives from the receiver of revenue where applicable.

    Furthermore, employees owing the company for relocation costs will not have to pay back the money.

    “At least we reached something that we agreed on. The Labour Act is just a start; it doesn’t stop you from valuing the people that have been working for you. I didn’t think that we could reach this agreement, but finally we did,” said the local branch chairman of MUN, Paulus Iipumbu.

    The LHU’s human resource manager, Johan Roux, thanked the governor for mediating, and MUN for reaching an agreement.

    “Retrenchments are something that is very difficult to handle. I am happy at this point to sign this agreement,” said Roux.

    Governor Mutjavikua said conflict in labour relations is normal, as long as it is managed properly.

    “Conflict in labour relations points out some issues that are normally not pointed out. It also removes certain issues like complacency. We bargained until we reached where we are now. Understanding of the issues is the cornerstone behind all agreements,” said Mutjavikua.

    The mothballing of the uranium mine started on 13 June and will continue until August. About 300 LHU employees lost their jobs and another 300 contract workers will also be retrenched.

    The mine has spoken to the Chamber of Mines of Namibia and the human resource departments of other mines about possibly employing some of its retrenched workers.

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Consumer agony deepens
  • Consumer agony deepensConsumer agony deepensStaple food hikes signal bad news for poor With the fuel price on the rise, having already increased by 60 cents this month, consumers face even harder blows. Namibian consumers, especially the poor, should brace themselves for steep increases in the price of staple foods at the end of next month.

    Namib Mills has announced price increases for all its products - maize meal, Bakpro wheat flour, rice, pasta, yeast, instant maize porridge and mahangu – effective from 31 July.

    According to Namib Mills the wholesale price of maize meal will increase by 3.2%, while wheat flour will increase by 3.2%, Complete Mix by 3.2%, rice by 4.4% and pasta by 3.3%.

    The price of yeast will increase by 1%, instant porridge by 3% and mahangu by 2%.

    There will be no increase in the price of sugar.

    “Costs to our business have increased over the last 24 months with Namib Mills absorbing these by not implementing any inflationary price increases over this period, irrespective of the fact that inflation has increased by 10% over the last 24 months,” said the company's spokesperson, Ashante Mannetti.

    According to Mannetti the direct input cost, which comprises the bulk of the company's cost structure, has increased more than the inflation rate.

    Electricity costs have increased by 12% and 6% respectively over the last two financial years, with an expected further 8% increase this year, effectively totalling a 28% increase over the period.

    Electricity is expected to further increase in July after the Electricity Control Board (ECB) approved a 5% bulk tariff increase by NamPower.

    This increase means that the bulk power tariff will increase from N$1.61 per kilowatt-hour to N$1.69 per kilowatt-hour.

    Furthermore, fuel costs have increased by 13% over the last two years, affecting production and distribution costs.

    The prices of both petrol and diesel increased by 60 cents a litre at the beginning of this month. The new pump prices at Walvis Bay are N$12.30 per litre for petrol, N$12.63 per litre for diesel 500ppm and N$12.68 per litre for diesel 50ppm.





    “We therefore have no other option than to announce price increases on our product categories,” said Mannetti.

    The last price increase announced by Namib Mills was in 2016 when prices skyrocketed because of drought.

    Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index for May indicates that inflation in the category Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages increased to 3.9% compared to 3.7% recorded in May 2017.

    This slight increase emanated from increases registered in the sub-components of bread and cereals from -3.7 to 2.3%; meat from 6.6 to 8.5%; fruit from 1.5 to 12.6%; oils and fats from 0.7 to 2.6% and vegetables, including potatoes and other tubers, from -4.0 to 5.8%.

    The monthly inflation rate for Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages was 0.5% compared to 0.3% registered in the previous month.

    The Economic Association of Namibia says the increase in food prices is bad news for the poor since they spend the largest share of their total consumption on these items.

    “We expect food prices to continue to increase. Futures prices at the South African Futures Exchange suggest price increases for white and yellow maize of some 7% by December 2018 and some 1% for wheat. Oil prices have also been on the increase, triggering fuel price increases that will have impacts on the transportation costs of goods and eventually on the production goods of businesses as well as the costs of consumer products,” it said.



    ELLANIE SMIT





    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/19/18--16:00: Teachers want winter holiday
  • Teachers want winter holidayTeachers want winter holiday The Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) has rejected the adjustment of school times in winter, saying it is a recipe for disaster and must be nipped in the bud.

    In a statement issued yesterday, TUN secretary-general Mahongora Kavihuha said his office has been inundated with complaints by parents following the education ministry's directive that schools may not start earlier than 07:30 or later than 08:30 in winter.

    “By the logic of the minister it means that parents have to deliver their children at school a whole hour or more before 08:00, which means children will languish on the school premises in the cold inhospitable environment before they enter classrooms. You can imagine the mischief children that are totally unattended can get up to,” he said.

    The TUN instead suggested that the government revert to the four-term system that was in place before independence.

    “The four-term system had its problems but the winter time schooling with its darkness hazards and concomitant cold was averted by the fact that in June, which is the darkest and coldest month, it was school holidays.

    “The children could happily hibernate in the warmth of their homes and their parents were saved the agony of getting up early in the cold mornings,” Kavihuha said.

    The education ministry's directive followed numerous appeals to schools to adjust their hours following the abolition of the Time Act that made provision for a different time zone in winter.





    These appeals appear to have fallen on deaf ears, the ministry says.

    In a statement issued on Friday, the ministry's permanent secretary, Sanet Steenkamp, also pointed out that schools with 'platoon systems' – two school sessions per day - should finish teaching no later than 16:30.

    “While noting the directives, the ministry observed that some schools in the Khomas Region have not adjusted their times as directed due to circumstances that prevail at these schools. The ministry is equally aware of the fact that some schools in the country face several dynamics and that time changes may not be applied uniformly,” Steenkamp said.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Zim MP's money woes halt Caprivi appealZim MP's money woes halt Caprivi appeal Two Zimbabwean lawyers, Jonathan Samukange and Christopher Dube, employed by the directorate of legal aid, halted court proceedings when they did not appear for their clients, allegedly due to non-payment by the state.

    Interestingly, Samukange is also the Zanu-PF parliamentarian for Mudzi South in his home country.

    Dube and Samukange are allegedly paid monthly for their services, unlike other state-sponsored lawyers who are paid per court appearance.

    Their absence halted the State's application for leave to appeal the acquittals in the Caprivi treason trial.

    High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Monday postponed the matter to a date still to be determined. Deputy legal aid director Prince Daringo told Namibian Sun that he was not allowed to speak to the media.

    Forty-two of the acquitted treason accused will be back in court after the State applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

    State advocate Lourens Campher, in his written grounds of appeal, said the presiding judge, Elton Hoff, now acting judge of the Supreme Court, created at far-reaching precedent at the end of the treason trial.





    This was said to concern the future admittance of evidence, especially on constitutional issues, such as the right to legal aid before a confession is made.

    According to him the decision by the High Court to acquit the 42 men on charges of high treason, murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of arms and ammunition will especially bind the lower courts.

    Campher argued that this issue, with its far-reaching consequences, should be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

    Judge Christie Liebenberg was assigned to hear the application for leave to appeal after Hoff was appointed as a Supreme Court judge.



    The August 1999 attacks in Katima Mulilo, orchestrated by the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA), rocked Namibia and resulted in a state of emergency being declared in the then Caprivi Region.

    The trial started in a specially constituted court at the Grootfontein prison with 122 accused in August 2004.

    They were charged with high treason, murder, sedition and many other offences, eventually facing over 270 counts of criminal conduct.

    Of the 122 men who went on trial before Judge Hoff at the end of October 2003, 44 were eventually discharged by the High Court after the prosecution closed its case, and during a Rule 174 ruling in February 2013, and a subsequent one in August 2012. Twenty-two accused have died since their arrest.

    Thereafter, 35 accused were found not guilty on the main charge of high treason and related counts, while only 30 accused were found guilty and subsequently sentenced.

    The same lawyers that represented the defendants in the main trial, instructed by the directorate of legal aid, will represent them during the appeal.

    The State wants to appeal the acquittal of Fred Ziezo, Richard Mungulike, Phelem Mboozi Mutuwangele and Gilbert Poshowe, who were defended by Christopher Dube.

    The prosecutor-general's office also wants the Supreme Court to set aside the discharge and acquittal of Calvin Malumo, Joseph Kamwi Kamwi, Herbert Mboozi Mutahane, John Tebiso Masake, Chist Sitale Mushe and Kisko Twazmango Sakusheka.

    The State will also appeal the acquittal of 36 others.

    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: Dome Olympics dazzles
  • Dome Olympics dazzlesDome Olympics dazzles Coca-Cola Dome Olympics event organiser Dave Hammond says he is delighted with the way the multi-disciplined event turned out this year.

    Teams competed in an array of sporting fun, including inline and indoor hockey, indoor soccer, gymnastics, table tennis and basketball, among others.

    The annual competition took place at The Dome in Swakopmund over the weekend with 30 teams showcasing their skills.

    Hammond feels the competition has grown from strength to strength and was even better than the organisers expected.

    “This was the biggest Coca-Cola Dome Olympics to date and we are confident of growing it in the future.

    “We hope to make this the biggest event of its kind at the coast and urge all companies to sign up teams.

    “It is great for team building and has something to offer each and every individual. We would also like to thank Coca-Cola for their support,” Hammond said.

    Weimann's Carpentry, who has won every single edition of the Coca-Cola Dome Olympics thus far, proved to be in a league of their own once again, as the defending champions raced to yet another overall win in emphatic fashion.

    Second-placed Dome Dragons comprised of athletes from Namibia, Canada, New Zealand and Germany.

    They put up a great fight but ultimately failed to dethrone their foes. Third place went to the strong Super Heroes in Training team.

    Great athleticism was also witnessed in the social division, where the biggest number of teams entered.

    Although the rules were a bit more relaxed than for the pros, competition was fierce throughout the day.

    The Mugg and Bean Seniors got off to a good start and managed to keep the upper hand until the final whistle. Silver went to Swakop Tiles, while the Coastal Raiders came in third. Heated battles took place in the youth division as well. International Stars, Dome Junior Athletes and ISWB Lions made it clear from the word go that they would be in contention for the prestigious number one spot.

    Little separated the leading trio, but eventually, International Stars edged past the rest to claim gold.

    Dome Junior Athletes followed in a close second and the ISWB Lions came in third.



    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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    Black Mamba to strike at RussianBlack Mamba to strike at RussianShihepo upbeat about IBF title fight Local boxing trainer Nicky Shihepo is confident that Wilberforce 'Black Mamba' Shihepo will bring home the IBF International cruiserweight title. Former WBO Africa middleweight champion Wilberforce 'Black Mamba' Shihepo will be in action over the weekend against Alexei Papin in their much-anticipated IBF International cruiserweight title fight that will take place in Russia.

    Known as Black Mamba by his affectionate fans, the Namibia boxer will take on the heavy-hitting Papin on Saturday after a few months of inaction.

    “Shihepo is readier than ever before.

    I have personally never seen him in this space and shape. We will bring the title home to the Land of the brave,” his trainer Nicky Shihepo said.

    Shihepo last fought in April and beat Mussa Ajibu of Malawi on a third round technical knockout at the Ramatex complex in Windhoek.

    The fight ended up in brawl, as the two fighters exchanged some heated words and exchanged blows, even after Shihepo had already won.

    Before that Shihepo fought against Anos Temfuma in 2017 and lost by unanimous decision.

    He then went on to lose against Callum Johnson in 2016, in their Commonwealth Games (Brit­ish Empire) light heavyweight title fight, via a knockout.

    However, Saturday's fight will be much tougher for the Namibian, as the Russian is not one to play around with.

    Papin is hungry to make a name for himself after moving away from kickboxing a few years ago.

    He demolished Ismayl Sillakh of Ukraine in one round in November last year.

    Papin began kickboxing when he was just seven years old and was very successful; he is a six-time WAKO amateur champion of Russia, three-time European champion and two-time World Cup winner, as well as a kickboxing world champion.

    This fight is a great distraction for the Namibian who late last year appeared in the Okahandja Magistrate's Court and is out on bail, following a road crash near Okahandja that resulted in the death of 54-year-old Likius Petrus and six-year-old Toivo Linda Teopoline Nhiguyoonda.

    The charges he faces include culpable homicide, failure to ascertain the nature and extent of injuries sustained by a person after an accident, failure to render assistance to injured person(s) after an accident, failure to ascertain the extent of damage after an accident and operating an unroadworthy vehicle.

    -Additional info by RINGTV

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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    Senegal keeps African hopes aliveSenegal keeps African hopes aliveWorld Cup win over Poland celebrated across continent Senegal beat Poland on Tuesday night, giving African supporters hope at the Russia World Cup. Prolific Poland striker Robert Lewandowski's World Cup campaign opened in frustrating fashion on Tuesday, as Senegal starved him of possession and claimed a 2-1 win in Moscow.

    The 29-year-old arrived in Russia newly crowned as the Bundesliga's top scorer for the third time, and having netted a record 16 times for Poland in 10 World Cup qualifiers.

    The Bayern Munich forward also admitted he had a point to prove after a disappointing Euro 2016, when he scored only once during Poland's run to the quarterfinals.

    But Senegal ensured he saw little of the ball in their clash at Spartak Stadium, preventing him from having a shot on target until the 50-minute mark.

    “We knew exactly how this team was going to move and that Lewandowski was their main threat, and we implemented the right system to play them,” the West Africans' coach Aliou Cisse said.

    The match was billed as a shootout between strikers Lewandowski and Senegal's Sadio Mane but neither found the net.

    However, Mane helped set up Senegal's opening goal and combined well with Torino winger Mbaye Niang to pressure Poland's defence.

    The taller Lewandowski operated more as a traditional target man, trying to create options for Poland in the box when they were on attack.

    But he was left isolated up front for long periods and was swarmed by the well-drilled Senegal defence when he did gain possession.

    He was closely marked by Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly but created a chance in the 22nd minute, neatly controlling Jakub Blaszczykowski's pass only to shoot wide.

    Lewandowski showed a willingness to drop back to midfield and perform what he has referred to as “donkey work”, but clearly missed the quality balls provided by the likes of Arjen Robben at Bayern.

    He made a blistering run from midfield early in the second half and was almost through on goal before being brought down by Salif Sane, who earned himself a yellow card.

    Lewandowski curled the resulting free kick beautifully over the wall but Senegalese 'keeper Khadim Ndiaye dived to his left to push the ball away.

    The striker continued to toil, but his night was summed up in the 81st minute, when he controlled a pass in the box, only for three Senegal defenders to surround and dispossess him.

    Lewandowski has been speculatively linked with Real Madrid after his agent last month said he wanted “a new challenge”.

    He will hope for better returns when Poland play Colombia on Sunday.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: More Gaza-Israel violence
  • More Gaza-Israel violenceMore Gaza-Israel violence Israeli fighter jets hit 25 targets in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian territory, the army said.

    Around 45 rockets were fired overnight from Gaza towards Israel, the army said in a statement. Seven were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

    In retaliation, Israeli planes carried out three raids against military compounds belonging to the Islamist movement Hamas, it said.

    The fresh hostilities come with tensions high in Gaza after mass protests and clashes broke out along the border on 30 March. At least 132 Palestinians have been killed. There have been no Israeli fatalities.

    Palestinians are demanding the right to return to the homes their families fled or were expelled from during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.

    The Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas, which Israel considers its bitter enemy.

    “The Hamas terror organisation targeted Israeli civilians throughout the night with a severe rocket attack and is dragging the Gaza Strip and its civilians down a deteriorating path,” the Israeli army said.

    Israel maintains the use of live ammunition is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations. It accuses Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover for attacks.

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other international stakeholders have warned that Gaza is close to the brink of war.

    Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense ceasefire that is regularly shaken by hostile acts.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Prosecute immigrants, take their kids away - TrumpProsecute immigrants, take their kids away - Trump President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended the 'zero tolerance' policy leading to thousands of migrant families being split on the US border as the only effective way to fight illegal immigration.

    “I don't want children taken away from parents,” he told a gathering of small business owners, before adding: “When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away.”

    “We don't have to prosecute them, but then we are not prosecuting them for coming in illegally. That's not good.”

    US officials say more than 2 300 children have been separated from their parents or guardians since early May, when the administration announced its push to arrest and charge anyone illegally crossing the US-Mexico border, regardless of whether they were seeking asylum.

    Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated from them.

    A chorus of critics - rights groups, Christian evangelicals, former US first ladies and some within the president's own Republican Party - are demanding an immediate end to the family separations. But a defiant Trump has vowed America will not become a “migrant camp”.

    “We don't want people pouring into our country,” he told Tuesday's gathering. “We want ultimately a merit-based system where people come in based on merit.”

    Hammering home the need to combat smugglers who he said “game the system”, Trump accused the media of helping human traffickers.

    “Those who apply for asylum legally at ports of entry are not prosecuted. The fake news media back there doesn't talk about that,” he charged.

    “They are fake,” he said. “They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe.” Trump was headed later on Tuesday to Congress to huddle with Republican lawmakers, many of whom are deeply uncomfortable with the separation policy.

    The president has accused Democrats of provoking the crisis by blocking legislation to combat illegal immigration.

    “We want to end the border crisis by finally giving us the legal authorities and the resources to detain and remove illegal immigrant families all together and bring them back to their country,” he said.

    The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to consider two immigration bills.

    One is a hardline measure favoured by conservatives, and the other a compromise bill - which the White House has signalled has Trump's support - that would end family separations, protect so-called Dreamer immigrants brought to the country as children, pay for boosted border security and curtail legal immigration.

    Tuesday's Republican huddle will be closely watched, in part to see whether any lawmakers directly confront the president.

    Several House Republicans face tough re-election fights in November, and some may worry that public outrage over the family separations could hurt their chances. Democrats say the crisis is of Trump's own making, and accuse him of using children as pawns.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: South Sudan crippled
  • South Sudan crippledSouth Sudan crippledWorld's newest country still on its knees Political and leadership struggles, violence, infighting, civil war, oil reserves and a stagnant economy have kept South Sudan paralysed. South Sudan, the world's newest country, has been mired in a devastating civil war for more than four years, with tens of thousands of people killed, nearly four million displaced and its economy in ruins.

    War broke when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup just two years after the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

    With the two men having met yesterday in the latest international effort to stop the fighting, here is some background.



    World's youngest state

    Before independence, the south of Sudan was ravaged by two civil wars (1956-1972 and 1983-2005) that pitted mainly Christian and animist insurgents in the south against Khartoum's Arab-dominated government. Millions died in the conflicts.

    A peace accord signed in 2005 by the government and southern rebels exempted the south from Islamic Sharia law and granted it six years of self-rule ahead of a referendum on independence.

    The 2011 referendum went nearly 99% in favour of secession from the north and on 9 July that year, South Sudan proclaimed its independence. Kiir was sworn in as the country's first president with Machar as his deputy.

    The international community - led by the United States, China, Russia and the European Union, as well as Sudan - quickly recognised the new African state.

    Former allies turn enemies

    Kiir and Machar were on the same side in the push for independence from Khartoum, but were separated by ethnic and political rivalries.

    Tensions spiked when Machar - from the country's second-largest ethnic group, the Nuer - was fired as vicepresident in 2013.

    His sacking came after Kiir, from the majority Dinka people, accused him of a failed coup. Machar rejected the charge, in turn accusing the president of purging political rivals.



    Civil war erupts

    By December 2013 the new country had descended into civil war, including fighting within the national army, undermined by differences fuelled by the rivalry between Kiir and Machar.

    The conflict spread to several states and was characterised by ethnic massacres, attacks on civilians, widespread rape, the recruitment of child soldiers and other forms of brutality and human rights violations.

    A 2015 peace deal saw Machar reinstalled as vice-president and return to the capital, but fighting broke out in the capital Juba in July 2016, and Machar and his forces fled.

    In February 2018 the United Nations said there was sufficient evidence to charge at least 41 South Sudanese senior officers and officials with war crimes and crimes against humanity.



    Economy ruined

    Following more than four years of civil war, the Juba government is broke and hyperinflation - which peaked at around 500% in 2016, decelerating to 155% in 2017 - has sent prices soaring. The South Sudanese pound has collapsed.

    Oil production - from which South Sudan gained 98% of its revenues on its independence - has plummeted to about 120 000 barrels a day from a peak of 350 000, according to the World Bank.

    Juba, which inherited three-quarters of the former Sudan's oil reserves during independence, depends on its northern neighbour's oil infrastructure - refineries and pipelines - for its exports.

    The conflict has also heavily disrupted agriculture, sparking a major food crisis. In 2017 South Sudan went through four months of famine, which affected around 100 000 people. Seven million South Sudanese, more than half of the population, will need food aid in 2018, according to the UN.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Elelo lyaShakati lya kanitha oshilyoElelo lyaShakati lya kanitha oshilyo Mayola gwondoolopa yaShakati, Angelus Iyambo, okwa hokolola kutya eso lyakansela Johannes Hapeni Shilongo, oli li ekanitho enene komalelo goondoolopa oshowo koshilongo ashihe.

    Shilongo okwa hulitha mOsoondaha moshipangelo shaShakati, konima yuuwehame wethimbo efupi. Okwa hulitha mepupi lyoomvula 48.

    Iyambo okwa popi kutya eso lyaShilongo oli li natango ekanitho enene kelelo lyondoolopa yaShakati, molwaashoka okwa longa oshindji mokuyambulapo ondoolopa ndjoka.

    Okwa tsikile kutya Shilongo okwa li omulumentu omwiinekelwa ngoka aluhe ya kala yiinekelwa muye na okwa kala nokugwanitha po iilonga ye.

    Iyambo okwa indile AaNamibia ya kaleke ofamili yanakusa momagalikano gawo.

    “Natu kalekeni ofamili ndjoka momagalikano getu molwaashoka inatu kanitha owala omuleli, ihe ofamili oya kanitha woo omusilishisho gwawo na otwa pumbwa okuya galikaneneni. Omwenyo gwe nagu vululukwe nombili,” Iyambo a popi.

    Shilongo okwa longa onga kansela gwondoolopa yaShakati, okutameka omvula yo 2011.

    Pethimbo a hulitha okwa woo oshilyo shokomitiye yelelo lyondoolopa ya Shakati. Okwa longa woo onga omukwatakanitho gwongundu yoSwap moshikandjohogololo shaShakati yokUuzilo.

    Okwa thigako omukulukadhi gwe Veronika Nyanyukweni oshowo aanona ye yaheyali.

    Embo lyokushangela omahekeleko otali adhika poombelewa dhelelo lyondoolopa yaShakati.

    Oshituthidhimbuluko she otashi ningwa nena potundi onti 15:00 mendiki lyOshakati civic centre omanga oshikwawo tashi ningwa ngula okuzilila megumbo lye momukunda Onduulu Nomongwa.

    Shilongo ota fumbikwa mOlyomakaya momukunda gwawo.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Oondando dhiikulya tadhi gwedhelwaOondando dhiikulya tadhi gwedhelwaOmathimbo taga dhigupala Aalandi AaNamibia unene mboka taya lumbu moluhepo otaya kiimanga omapya omolwa oondando dhiikulya ndhoka kwa tegelelwa dhi londe pombanda okuya pehulilo lyomwedhi twa taalela. Shoka otashi landula sho ehangano lyoNamibia Mills lya tseyitha kutya otali ka gwedhela oondando dhalyo miikulya ngaashi omausila gepungu, omausila goomboloto, olwishi, omakoloni oshowo omausila gomahangu. Oondando ndhoka otadhi londo pombanda momasiku 31 gaJuli.

    Pauyelele mboka wa pitithwa kehangano lyoNamib Mills, oondando dhokulanda pahwata uusila wepungu otadhi londo noopresenda 3.2, uusila wiilya opresenda 3.2, olwishi opresenda 4.4 omakoloni 3.3 omanga omahangu oopresenda 2. Ondando yosuuka itayi londo pombanda.

    Ehangano ndyoka olya popi kutya omagwedhelo ngoka otaga etithwa kelondo pombanda lyoondando dhiinima mbyoka hayi longithwa mokunduluka nokweetapo omausila ngoka, muule woomwedhi 24 dha piti.

    Omupopiliko gwehangano ndyoka, Ashante Mannetti okwa popi kutya, shimwe natango shoka tashi etitha ngaaka ondando yolusheno ndjoka ya londa woo pombanda noonkondo muule woomvula mbali dha piti, sho ya londo pombanda noopresenda 12 oshowo noopresenda 6.

    Nonando ongaaka, ondando yolusheno natango okwa tegelela yi ka londe pombanda noopresenda 8 omvula ndjika ne yo pombanda ndyoka muule owala woomvula dhika otali kala poopresenda 28. Ondando yolusheno okwa tegelelwa yi ka londe pombanda momwedhi Juli nuumvo, sha landula shoElectricity Control Board (ECB) ya zimine egwedhelo lyondando yolusheno noopresenda 5, okuza kehangano lyaNamPower.

    Omagwedhelo ngoka otaga utha kutya olusheno otalu ka kala talu landwa kondando tayi londo okuza pooN$1.61 mo kilowatt-hour okuya pooN$1.69 per kilowatt-hour.

    Natango ondando yomahooli oya londa pombanda nopresenda 13 muule woomvula ndatu dha piti. Ondando yomahooli gopetrol oshowo odiesel oya londo pombanda noocenda 60 molita, petameko lyomwedhi nguka.

    Oondando ompe yomahooli mOmbaye, opetrol oyi li pooN$12.30 molita, omanga olita yimwe yomahooli goDiesel 500ppm yi na N$12.63 nomaholi goDiesel 50ppm taga landwa kooN$12.68 molita.

    Mannetti okwa popi kutya onkalo ndjoka yoondando tadhi yi pombanda oyo ya thiminike ya gwedhele oondando dhawo.

    Lwopokati mpoka, oConsumer Price Index yomomwedhi Mei oya holola kutya oondando dhiikulya oshowo iikunwa mboka kayi na iikolitha odha londo pombanda noopresenda 3.9 okuyeleka noopresenda 3.7 ndhoka dha lopotwa mo 2017.

    Ehangano lyoEconomic Association of Namibia olya popi kutya egwedhelo lyoondando dhiikulya oli li onkundana ombwiinayi kAanamibia unene mboka taya lumbu moluhepo molwaashoka ohaya longitha oshindji shomiiyemo yawo mokulanda iikulya.

    Oya popi kutya oondando dhiikulya okwa tegelelwa dhi tsikile nokulonda pombanda , sho oSouth African Futures Exchange ya popi kutya ondando yepungu otayi ka londa pombanda okuya poopresenda 7 momwedhi Desemba nuumvo.

    Ondando yomahooli nayo otayi ka thiminikwa okuya pombanda woo.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Aalongi ya hala efudho lyopokufuAalongi ya hala efudho lyopokufu Ehangano lyoTeachers Union of Namibia (TUN) olya tindi okuzimina etokolo ndyoka lya ningwa kuuministeli welongo opo ku ningwe omalunduluko gootundi dhokuhita ooskola pethimbo lyokufu.

    Momukanda ngoka a pititha, amushanga gwo

    TUN, Mahongora Kavihuha okwa popi kutya ombelewa ye oyuudha omanyenyeto okuza kaavali, sha landula etseyitho ndyoka lya ningwa kuuministeli opo ooskola pethimbo lyokufu dhi kale tadhi tameke pokati kotundi onti 07:30 sigo otundi onti 08:30.

    “Shoka osha hala okutya aavali otaya kala nokufala aanona yawo koskola mbala naanona otaya ka kala taya si uutalala nokukala monkalo yaahe na aatonateli sigo ootundi dha tameke.”

    TUN okwa gandja omagwedhelepo opo uuministeli wu shune miilonga iikako ine mbyoka yali po nale omanga oshilongo inashi manguluka. Oya popi kutya ngele iikako mbyoka oya shuna miilonga, nena ethimbo lyokufu otali kala efudho lyoskola, naanona itaya ka kala muupyakadhi wokuya kooskola momautalala nomausiku, nokutula moshiponga oomwenyo dhawo.

    Omukanda ngoka gwa gandjwa mEtitano, Amushanga gwuuministeli mboka, Sanet Steenkamp, okwa holola woo kutya ooskola ndhoka dhi na ootundi lwaali nadhi kale dha mana ootundi dha hugunina potundi onti 16:30.

    Uuministeli owa holola kutya owa nongele omikundu dhimwe po ndhoka tadhi dhidhilikwa kooskola dhimwe po uuna dha lundulula omadhimbo gadho, ngaashi unene ooskola ndhoka hadhi kala nootundi lwaali mesiku.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: Elyenge lyoluhepo itali hulu
  • Elyenge lyoluhepo itali huluElyenge lyoluhepo itali hulu Onkalo yoluhepo ndjoka ya dhidhilikwa moonkalamwenyo dhoyendji pethimbo taya koko otayi tsikile nokuya komeho momapupi taga landula.

    Onkalamwenyo otayi monika itayi shambula mokati kaanona mboka ya kokele moluhepo sho aasilishisho yawo ya nyengwa okuya gwanithilapo oompumbwe dhawo, nonkalo ndjoka otayi ya thiminike ya thigepo ooskola nokweetitha onkalo yelyenge lyoluhepo ndjoka itayi hulu.

    Oshifokundaneki shoNamibian Sun osha ningi omakonaakono moshikandjohogololo Okaku moshitopolwa shaShana momagumbo moka mu na aanona haya yi koskola na ohaya mono iiyemo okuza kepangelo kehe omwedhi yooN$250.00.

    Anna Sheya, 46, omukalimo gwoshikandjohgololo shoka okwa popi kutya onkalo yoluhepo italu hulu, okuyi wete mofamili ye.

    Okwa popi kutya okwa koko e li na yinakulu ngoka a hepa na okwa kala ita vulu okumu gwanithila po oompumbwe dhe, naashoka oshe mu thiminike opo a thige po oskola andola a ka konge iilonga nokukwathela ofamili ye.

    Nonando ongaka onkalo ndjoka oya gwedha ko owala kondjele yoluhepo mofamili ye.

    “Konima sho nda zi moskola onda kala handi yi koondoolopa ngaashi Ondangwa, Ongwediva nOshakati tandi kongo iilonga sigo omomvula yo 2012 sho kuku hulitha. Sho kuku a hulitha onda ulikwa mofamili yandje opo ndi sile oshisho egumbo. Onkalo oya nayipala molwaashoka itandi vulu we okukonga iilonga, na onda pumbwa okusila oshisho aanona mboka ye li megumbo. Onkalo yoluhepo moka nda kokele omo ndi wete tamu kokele aanona mboka ndi li nayo megumbo ngashiingeyi.”

    Okwa tsikile kutya epangelo ohali gandja kaanona yaali megumbo lyawo mboka haya yi koskola oshimaliwa shooN$250, na ohashi kwathele mokulanda iipumbiwa yimwe po megumbo ngaashi iikulya.

    “Ethimbo limwe uuna iimaliwa ya landa iipumbiwa yomegumbo, kape na we shoka tashi dhigalapo opo shi kandulepo oompumbwe dhaanona mboka.

    Kehe ethimbo otaye ya taye ku lombwele kombinga yoompumbwe dhawo dhoskola ihe kape na iimaliwa. Onkalo otayi uvitha nayi noonkondo.

    Kwaashoka nda dhidhilika kungame mwene onkalo ndjoka otayi ya sitha uunye, na otashi vulika yi ya thiminike ya thige po ooskola ngaashi oyendji ye shi ningi nale.

    Kehe ethimbo otandi galikana opo tu mone omusihenda ngoka ta vulu oku tu kwathela.”

    Sheya okwa popi kutya maandjawo ngashiingeyi omu na owala aantu yane, molwaashoka yamwe oya thiga po egumbo moonkambadhala dhoku ka konga uuhupilo na otaya ikwatha kuyoyene.

    Okwa tsikile kutya ohaya tumu owala iimaliwa kegumbo ethimbo limwe.

    Alina Efraim, 35, ogumwe gwomaanyasha mboka kaye na iilonga ta kwatele komeho egumbo ndyoka li na aanona haya yi koskola yeli yatatu, momukunda Ombugayashigunda moshikandjohogololo sha faathana.

    Efraim okwa popi kutya okwa tameke okukwatela komeho egumbo ndyoka momvula yo 2005 konima sho yina a hulitha. Ngaashi Sheya nayo oyiikolelela owala moshimaliwa shoka hashi pewa aanona mboka haya yi koskola, okuzakepangelo.

    “Monena iilonga mbyoka tandi vulu okumona okulonga owala momagumbo gopopepi nenge moondunda dhomanwino dhopopepi molwaashoka itandi vulu okuya kokule negumbo, molwaashoka onda pumbwa okusila oshisho aanona.

    Aluhe ohandi kala noshisho opo ndi kwashilipaeke kutya aanona oye na iikulya na oye na uumbaki wokuya koskola. Ohandi kambadhala woo okukandula po oompumbwe dhawo dhopaumwene, na kashi shi oshipu.”

    Elyenge lyoluhepo ohali tameke ngele okanona oka valwa mofamili ya hepa.

    Oofamili ndhoka aluhe odhi na engambeko mwaashoka tadhi pumbwa na kape na oonzo tadhi vulu okuetapo oompito dhokwiihupitha, nonkalo ndjoka otayi kala nokuya thiminikila moluhepo.

    Aanona oyo unene haya gumwa konkalo ndjoka, molwaashoka ohaya kala ya tala maasilishisho yawo onkene itaya vulu okwiikutha mo moluhepo, molwaashoka aashona na kaye na oonzo.

    Anna Ndahafa Shilongo omunambelewa gwopombanda gwiilonga melelo lyoshitopolwa shaShana moshikandjohogololo Okaku okwa popi kutya moshikandjo shawo omu na omagumbo ogendji ngoka ga shangithwa na otaga kwatelwa komeho kaanyasha mboka kaye na iilonga.

    Okwa tsilile kutya uuna pe na omakwatho taga zi kepangelo, nena aantu mboka oyo haya talika tango.

    “Aluhe ngele ope na omayambidhidho ngaashi iikulya nenge oompito dhiilonga ohatu tala tango komagumbo ngoka omolwa aanona mboka haya yi kooskola.

    Ohatu ya talelepo nokutala nkene taya hupu nokupulakena komaupyakadhi ngoka ya taalela.

    Oyendji otaya nyenyeta oluhepo nongele ope na ooprograma dhokukondjitha oluhepo oyo hatu tala tango,” Shilongo a popi.

    Okwa popi kutya omayambidhidho giiyemo ngoka haya pewa kepangelo oga kwatha oshindji nokukaleka woo aanona mooskola, molwaashoka ngele oya hulitha po okuya kooskola nena itaya mono we omakwatho ngoka.

    Okwa tsikile kutya inaku lopotwa iipotha oyindji yelongitho pambambo lyiimaliwa mboka moshitopolwa shawo.

    Okwa tsikile kutya ope na aaleli yoshigwana moshigwana mboka taya kondolola kutya iiyemo mbyoka hayi gwandjwa kepangelo ohayi longithwa tuu ngaashi ya nuninwa, na ohaya gandja olopota.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: A victory to savour
  • A victory to savourA victory to savour Our courts run on the faith of all Namibians, as they are trusted to deliver efficient and effective justice. Hence, independent courts and judges should always remain faithful to the rule of law. High Court Judge Harald Geier's ruling on Monday, in which he rejected attempts by the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) to prevent The Patriot newspaper from publishing damning revelations of alleged dubious property deals by the spy agency, has rekindled our trust in the country's judiciary. In his ruling, Geier said although legislation may exist to protect national security interests, the law in general can't be used in instances where the media may potentially be uncovering illegal and corrupt activities. He consequently dismissed the application brought by the NCIS with costs. The NCIS had desperately tried to block an article from being published in the weekly newspaper. It relates to the acquisition of two farms in the Otjozondjupa Region as well as a house by the spy agency. The combined cost of the two farms, which were bought by government in 2015, was N$57 million, while N$8.2 million was spent on a house in 2016, The Patriot's editor Mathias Haufiku said in an affidavit. The NCIS claimed the publication of the article would contravene the 1982 Protection of Information Act and threaten or jeopardise national security. It further insisted that all information about the activities and assets of the NCIS must be kept secret. This assertion by the spy agency does certainly not hold water, as the judge insisted the NCIS cannot be a law unto itself and should be subject to judicial scrutiny, just like other institutions. This judgement will have far-reaching consequences for those who hide behind national security and secrecy to hide essential information from the media and members of the public and is certainly a victory for press freedom in our country. The media has an important role to play in society and that includes keeping the authorities and government on their toes, to ensure greater levels of accountability. As much as the court ruling is a triumph for the media, it should also be celebrated by ordinary Namibians, who have been told over the years that certain information is being hidden or withheld to protect 'national security'.

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day DREADED WALK: A young man walks back to his homestead in rural Namibia after fetching water from a village nearby. Men and women walk long distances to collect water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and other household needs, many spend hours every day traveling to water sources, waiting in line, and carrying heavy containers - often several times a day. PHOTO: LIMBA MUPETAMI

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Deloitte reviewing summons over Steinhoff audit

    The Deloitte branch in the Netherlands has received a writ of summons from Dutch investor group, the VEB, over its audit of Steinhoff, and is currently reviewing the document, according to Lwazi Bam, CEO of Deloitte Africa.

    Bam added in an emailed response that Deloitte Netherlands had indicated it would not provide any further comment.

    The VEB announced on its website on Tuesday that it had served Deloitte Netherlands with a summons to appear before the District Court of Rotterdam "for the damage suffered by the Steinhoff shareholders".

    -Fin24

    Aveng shares leap as M&R moves closer to tie-up

    Shareholders in South Africa’s Murray & Roberts voted on Tuesday for the company to look into a potential tie up with construction rival Aveng, sending Aveng’s shares around 25 percent higher.

    The resolution got the backing of 52.06% of votes at the Murray & Roberts’ (M&R) annual shareholder meeting.

    M&R and Aveng announced the potential merger in May, saying it would create scale in M&R’s key markets such as Australasia and Africa, while shoring up liquidity in loss-making Aveng in the near term.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Fox to craft script for M&A summer blockbuster

    Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s board is set to decide on Wednesday whether to entertain Comcast Corp’s US$65 billion cash bid for the New York-based media company or stick with its roughly US$52 billion all-stock offer from Walt Disney Co , people familiar with the matter said.

    Disney and Comcast are battling to win Fox’s movie and television studios at a time when legacy media and distribution companies are looking to expand to better compete with younger media firms like Netflix Inc that sell their content directly to viewers. Fox’s international assets such as Star India appeal to both Disney and Comcast, which want to expand their global presence.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Vitol launches Viva Energy float

    Global energy trader Vitol kicked off the planned A$5 billion (US$3.7 billion) float of its Australian refinery and fuel supply network Viva Energy on Wednesday, in what would be the country’s biggest initial public offering in four years.

    The sale of the unit, which supplies about a quarter of Australia’s fuel, is Vitol’s second IPO this year after the London listing of an African fuel business and is expected to raise up to A$3 billion for the energy trader and its partners, who will retain a 40 to 50% stake.

    It comes amid a shake-up of Australia’s petrol retailing, with BP looking to take over top grocer Woolworths’ petrol stations and Caltex Australia ditching its franchise model to run its own operations.

    -Nampa/Reuters

    Starbucks closing cafes

    Starbucks Corp forecast on Tuesday slower sales growth than Wall Street expected this quarter and plans to close about 150 US cafes next fiscal year to boost performance, sending its shares down 2% after hours.

    The world’s largest coffee chain is facing competition both from upscale coffee houses and lower-priced fast-food chains like McDonald’s Corp and Dunkin’ Donuts .

    It has missed analysts’ estimates for same-store sales in the US-dominated Americas region in five of the last six quarters.

    The company anticipates lower net new store growth in the United States for fiscal 2019 and said it would address rapidly changing consumer preferences by introducing new cold drinks like a mango dragon fruit beverage and focusing on growing health and wellness trends.

    -Nampa/Reuters

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    De Beers shakes up the synthetic diamond marketDe Beers shakes up the synthetic diamond marketTo launch new brand Anglo American’s 85%-owned De Beers may have pulled off a strategic coup by unveiling plans to launch a new brand of synthetic diamonds. “By strengthening the appeal of natural stones to the consumer, while simultaneously flooding the synthetics market, De Beers will effectively address two of its most crucial strategic challenges with one stone,”- Bank These are the stones that are ‘grown’ in a laboratory and against which the diamond giant has long fought a marketing campaign.

    In fact, the group spent some US$140million in 2017 alone promoting naturally occurring diamonds, which it says truly represent the profound emotions that inspire wedding bands and other anniversary gifts.

    Now, however, De Beers has performed an about-turn by unveiling its Lightbox range of synthetics.

    What could it portend?

    According to analysts, this is not really the acknowledgement of diamond synthetics that it appears (although De Beers has a line of synthetic diamonds that is used primarily for industrial purposes).

    Instead, it’s a clever commercial ploy aimed at better controlling the proliferation of lab-grown diamonds by other producers.

    By establishing a much lower price point for synthetic diamonds – the Lightbox range will retail at between US$200 and US$800 apiece – the company is aiming to force down prices in the existing synthetic market and drive open an even greater discount to naturally occurring diamonds.

    “By strengthening the appeal of natural stones to the consumer, while simultaneously flooding the synthetics market, De Beers will effectively address two of its most crucial strategic challenges with one stone,” said a bank that is not permitted to speak to the media.

    This will be achieved by “creating and maintaining demand for its premium luxury products and reducing the single largest threat to its future profitability, the synthetic diamond market. We expect depressed prices will negatively affect the margins of competitive producers who will find it difficult to compete should they not be able to match De Beers’ scale,” it said.

    Said ABN AMRO, a Dutch bank that has an extensive affiliation with the diamond sector: “De Beers is known to be ahead of the game and brilliant in its marketing campaigns.

    This strategic move shows how serious the laboratory-grown diamonds threat is to the natural diamond industry.”

    So far, the response has been mixed. While some see it as De Beers finally tackling the threat posed by synthetic diamonds, others fear it will blur the lines between naturally occurring diamonds and fabricated pieces yet further.

    “By launching Lightbox, De Beers has blurred the idea of real diamonds,” said Ya’akov Almor, a diamond consultant, in an article published by The Business Times, a UK publication. “When a consumer walks up to a Lightbox salesman and asks whether the diamonds are ‘real’, what will the answer be?

    The salesman will honestly say they are real diamonds but they are manufactured in a factory. They are, however, exactly the same as the product from a mine.

    “If synthetics can take over the emotional significance messaging that the natural diamond industry has so painstakingly built up over decades, the bottom could well fall out of the market,” said Almor in the publication.

    ABN AMRO said that while it “isn’t in the De Beers boardroom”, it feels the ultimate beneficiaries of De Beers’ Lightbox range will be the consumer.

    “In the end, the consumer is the winner because there will be affordable laboratory-grown diamonds on the market that have the same beauty as a natural diamond. The main question is if a consumer will in the end go for the beautiful, affordable and the more sustainable option, or the beautiful, rare, less affordable option.

    “This will be a personal decision,” it concluded.

    -Fin24

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    Trump's latest swipe at Canada? Smuggling US shoesTrump's latest swipe at Canada? Smuggling US shoes After citing national security reasons for slapping tariffs on Canadian metals, US President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on America's northern neighbor Monday, claiming its citizens were smuggling shoes across the border.

    Trump has angered Canada with his protectionist rhetoric, and wants to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in favor of a new bilateral trade deal.

    "The tariffs are so massive. The tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that they have to smuggle them in," he said in a speech Monday.

    "They buy shoes, then they wear them. They scuff them up, they make them... look old," Trump continued.

    "Canada is not going to take advantage of the United States any longer."

    Canadians returning to their country from abroad receive certain duty exemptions if they have been away for more than 24 hours.

    As part of NAFTA renegotiations, Washington wants Ottawa to expand these waivers to encourage Canadians to spend more in the US.

    Such a measure would negatively impact Canadian vendors.

    Nearly 4.9 million Canadians traveled temporarily to the United States between January and March 2018, according to Canadian figures.

    -Fin24

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    Nujoma wants Kahimemua's traditional belt backNujoma wants Kahimemua's traditional belt back Founding President Sam Nujoma has appealed to the Voigts family to hand over a belt of historical and cultural significance to the chief of the Ovambanderu people, Kilus Munjuku III Nguvauva.

    The traditional belt worn by the late chief Kahimemua Nguavua is said to have represented many important aspects within the Nguvauva clan.

    Nujoma, who made the appeal early this week during the 122nd commemoration of the battle of Otjunda at Okahandja, said giving back the belt will serve as a token of reconciliation and goodwill.

    “I am reliably informed that Gustav Voigts was the soldier who was tasked to disarm the late Chief Kahimemua and he took off from him a sacred traditional belt of historical significance, which he presented to one of the museums in Germany for safekeeping, but later went back to collect it,” said Nujoma.

    Chief Nguvavuva Nguvauva of the Ovambanderu people in Botswana concurred that the belt is of historical significance to them, appealing to whoever is in possession of it to heed the call of the founding president and return the item.

    The belt, according to the advisor to the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority, Ueriurika Nguvauva, was among many items donated to the Braunschweig Museum in Germany, but was reportedly collected after a certain time by Voigts.

    “What is significant about this particular belt of (our) grandfather is that when he was about to die, he untied all the knots except two, which represented the then Ovamboland and his son Hijatuvao Nguvauva.”

    “The knot representing Ovamboland meant that it was through this part of the country that Namibia's independence would be achieved. The one representing Hijatuvao meant that someone who will lead the Ovambanderu in Namibia will hail from Botswana.”

    Nujoma described Kahimemua as “the first person to have paid the highest sacrifice (wrought) by the brutal forces of imperial Germans, who converged on Africa in general and Namibia in particular when they decided to divide Africa amongst themselves on a silver platter at Potsdam near Berlin in 1884”.

    Chief Kahimemua, according to Nujoma, refused to give land to the German administration when they demanded it from him.

    The battle of Otjunda (Sturmfeld) took place on 6 May 1896, where the Nguvauva clan was nearly wiped out by the German colonial troops. Kahimemua, who was wounded, left the battle unnoticed. However, he was later arrested and disarmed.

    He was then forced to walk from Gobabis to Okahandja, where he was shot with 12 bullets.



    NAMPA

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    Teacher caught in alleged teen sex trystTeacher caught in alleged teen sex tryst A case in which a Keetmanshoop female teacher is being accused of abducting and committing an immoral act with a 15-year-old grade 9 schoolgirl has been postponed to 31 July for further investigation.

    Magistrate Melissa Elizabeth Mungunda did not ask the 45-year-old accused, Valery Bock, to plead.

    She is facing three counts of abduction and one of inciting the underage girl to conduct a sexual act.

    Bock, who is a Suiderlig Secondary School teacher, was granted bail of N$4 000.

    She indicated she would be applying for government legal aid.

    According to media reports Bock often took the girl to her house, allegedly to perform sexual acts, without the consent of her parents. The victim is a pupil at PK de Villiers High School, also in Keetmanshoop.

    The police acted after her parents complained of an inappropriate romantic relationship between the two since February this year.

    They also said their child has been abducted and when they searched Bock's house, they allegedly found the schoolgirl hiding in a wardrobe.

    Bock is alleged to have bought the schoolgirl cellphones, clothing and food.

    The parents allegedly do not trust the teacher and want the education ministry to dismiss her.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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    Shack dwellers accuse City of delaysShack dwellers accuse City of delaysWindhoek defends is support for formalisation The Shack Dwellers Federation, which has erected thousands of homes for informal settlers, says Windhoek's municipality frustrates their efforts in the city. The City of Windhoek has been accused of frustrating efforts by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) to speed up the delivery of houses, while ensuring affordability.

    However, the municipality has strongly defended its support and commitment to the upgrading of informal settlements in Windhoek.

    It was responding to complaints that it had shut out the SDFN.

    Countrywide, the federation has helped members build a total of

    4 800 homes through the dedication and hard work of 23 000 members, belonging to 747 groups.

    In total, the groups across the country have saved over N$25 million with the help of their members, in addition to funds from private sponsors and government.

    “The City of Windhoek has not been very helpful. It looks like the Windhoek municipality prefers to do everything themselves,” Edith Mbanga of the SDFN recently told Namibian Sun.

    She said since 2005, the City of Windhoek has not come to the table to assist SDFN groups.

    The first SDFN savings group initiated an upgrade project 13 years ago and an agreement was signed with the City of Windhoek.

    “What was lacking was a strong multi-stakeholder team to maintain the momentum until the community could also build their houses,” she said.

    She emphasised that involving the community speeds up informal settlement development and improves affordability.

    According to Mbanga however, the Windhoek municipality “insists it is not according to their standards and that the municipality will do it”.

    “This is delaying all the development and the securing of tenure by groups,” Mbanga added.



    Top priority

    The City of Windhoek this week strongly defended its prioritisation of informal settlement development, and acknowledged that cooperation between the community and authorities is crucial and that “sustainability means developing with the people, and not for them”.

    Instead of being viewed as “unhelpful”, City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya this week said it is merely complying with standards as stipulated by the Town and Regional Planners' Amendment Act 32 of 1998.

    Amutenya highlighted that the City has prioritised the urgency of informal settlement upgrading in its main strategic plans and sticking to set standards “should not be perceived to be delaying development”.

    She added in the past the City did allow groups to design their own layout and services, but “due to lack of technical and qualified expertise those designs were found not to meet the required standards”.

    She added that compliance “is critical to any development to avoid developmental problems later”.

    Amutenya said the emphasis on compliance should not be regarded as a tactic to delay development, “but it is the responsibility of the City of Windhoek to ensure that development conforms”.

    In May, Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua was quoted by Namibian Sun at a groundbreaking ceremony in the Rocky Crest suburb, saying that the next agreement he signs must be to service land in informal settlements.

    “As we know, the demand for serviced land and housing in Windhoek is overwhelming - a reality which rendered council unable to meet this demand alone.”



    Teamwork

    Mbanga cautioned that when developers are brought in prices skyrocket and “the very poor will not be catered for, and will remain poor because they cannot afford these services”.

    She added it is unlikely that without community input, developers can know what the needs are.

    “We feel that you cannot really get someone who lives in Kleine Kuppe come and formalise informal settlements without us.”

    Mbanga said the SDFN has learned that instead of solely relying on government, SDFN groups take pride in doing what they can to ensure better lives for their families.

    “Instead of government and local authorities planning for us, we want them to plan with us. Because we know what is happening in our informal settlements. We know what we want, we know what our needs are and we can prioritise.”

    Amutenya said City officials agree that “there is no room for working in silos and being non-supportive as alleged” and that it “has always regarded the SDFN as a development partner, when it comes to the development of low-income communities”.

    In addition, the City has developed its own community development programmes through which residents are “mobilised to form saving groups that are not affiliated with the SDFN”.

    More than 40 such groups have received direct technical support “and some are doing very well”.

    Furthermore, the City explained its planners conduct community surveys when upgrades are in the pipeline, to assess the affordability levels and the types of services required, on which layout and designs are based.

    Small steps

    The SDFN has identified incremental development as key to successfully address informal settlement development.

    Mbanga said incremental development allows families to “start small, and grow bit by bit”.

    “That is what the community can pay and afford.”

    The City said incremental development “cannot be disputed and as a partner in development.

    “We have been and continue to be supportive in this regard.”

    In line with this, City officials are reviewing the current Upgrading and Development Strategy of 1999, which allows for incremental development.

    Moreover, the new Flexible Land Tenure System “will allow incremental tenure systems that will permit the savings group to migrate from starter title to freehold title”.

    Nevertheless, the City emphasised that to ensure sustainability, all standards must be met in terms of design and layout, as well as services.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Construction makes dramatic comebackConstruction makes dramatic comeback The construction sector appears to have made a dramatic comeback - posting growth of 23.7% - according to first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

    About N$27.6 billion flowed through the Namibian economy in the first three months of 2018, which resulted in -0.12% growth.

    However, the good news is this is an improvement on the -1.5% retraction during the last quarter of 2017 and the -1.1% growth experienced during the third quarter of last year.

    “The performance is largely driven by a construction sector that posted strong growth of 23.7% in real value added, relative to the contraction of 36.9% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2017,” the NSA said.

    Furthermore, slight improvements were observed in the wholesale and retail trade, as well as the transport and communication sectors. “The wholesale and retail trade sector posted a negative growth of 1.3%, indicating that demand for goods and services remain suppressed, however, showing signs of recovering, when compared to the same period of 2017, whereas transport and communications registered a growth of 2.5% during the period under review,” the NSA said.

    Despite the observed improvement, government activities dragged down the performance of the economy, posting contractionary growth due to fiscal consolidation, the NSA noted.

    Furthermore, decelerating growth was recorded in hotels and restaurants (5.3%), manufacturing (2.1%) and fishing (13.6%).

    “Additionally, the following sectors accordingly recorded slower growths in real value added - mining and quarrying (4.7%), financial intermediation (1.4%) and agriculture and forestry (1.4%),” the NSA said.

    It also revised its GDP growth figures for the fourth quarter of 2017. “Real GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2017 is revised downward to negative 1.5% from a contraction of 1% previously recorded. This represents a decline of 0.5 percentage points.”

    The NSA statistics further showed how the recession has loosened its grip on the economy, after taking hold in the second quarter of 2016, leading to an overall -0.4% retraction last year.

    With -13.6% growth, fishing experienced a stormy 2018 first quarter.

    The N$727 million sector contributed to GDP in the first three months of 2018 was N$114 million less than over the corresponding period last year.

    According to the NSA, weaker catches, rising petrol prices and more favourable exchange rates for the Namibian dollar contributed to the sector's headaches, as a weaker currency actually favours export earnings.

    The manufacturing sector is also officially in recession, after posting negative growth for two successive quarters. During the fourth quarter of 2017 it posted -12.5% growth, while during the first three months of the new year, growth retracted by -2.1%.

    Agriculture also experienced its worst quarter since the last three months of 2014 and only grew by 1.4%.

    It contributed N$1.4 billion to GDP in the first quarter of 2018.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Hostel caretaker denies raping boysHostel caretaker denies raping boys A former hostel caretaker at the Karundu Primary School in Otjiwarongo charged with the rape of ten boys at the school hostel over a period of three years on Wednesday denied committing the offences.

    Mervin Nguyapeua denied the offences when he entered “not guilty pleas” to 32 charges of rape and 27 alternative charges of committing sexual acts involving ten boys younger than 16 from 2013 to 2015 when he was employed as caretaker at that school hostel.

    The 48-year-old pled as per the instructions he gave his State-funded defence lawyer Milton Engelbrecht, when his trial kicked-off before High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka on Wednesday.

    Nguyapeua did not disclose anything in respect of his “not guilty pleas” to the charges, and is now challenging the prosecution to prove each and every element contained in the charges against him.

    State witness Anna Amalama Timoteus, a teacher at the school in her evidence before court gave detailed information about the boys who approached her in respect of the former hostel caretaker's behaviour.

    Timoteus continued with her testimony for the rest of Wednesday after which she will cross-examined by Engelbrecht today.

    A case of sexual molestation was opened against the former hostel caretaker at the Otjiwarongo police station in March 2016 and the accused was arrested shortly afterwards.

    According to a summary of substantial facts contained in the charge sheet, he allegedly committed the offences while living at the hostel of that school.

    He was regarded as a father figure by learners who stayed in the hostel at the time.

    The trial continues today.

    Nguyapeua remains in custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility's trial-awaiting section, where he has been since his arrest with no option to post bail.

    State advocate Seredine Jacobs is appearing for the prosecution.

    NAMPA

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    Accounting body charges former Eskom CFOAccounting body charges former Eskom CFO21 days to respond The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants announced on Tuesday it will start disciplinary proceedings against former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh. “[He] failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that staff under his control and persons from whom advice and assistance is obtained respected his duty of confidentiality.”- Saica This follows a period of investigation and the professional body's decision to issue charges of misconduct against the chartered accountant.

    Saica’s professional conduct committee or disciplinary committee said in a statement Singh is charged for conducting himself in a way that is “discreditable, dishonourable, dishonest, irregular or unworthy, or which is derogatory to the Institute, or tends to bring the profession of accountancy into disrepute”.

    Singh was also charged with failing to “maintain and adhere to the fundamental principles in the Saica Professional Code of Conduct for Chartered Accountants”.

    Singh has 21 days to respond to Saica with a response to the charges. The Saica secretariat will then review the responses and table it for adjudication by the professional conduct committee.

    The disciplinary hearing will take place once the details are confirmed, however these hearings are not open to the public, Saica said.

    “Accused members appearing before the Professional Conduct Committee are not permitted legal representation,” the statement read.

    If the committee is not pleased with Singh’s responses to the charges, it can impose a R250 000 fine per charge, suspend Singh from membership for not more than a year or refer a formal complaint to the Disciplinary Committee. Hearings before the disciplinary committee are open to the public at the chairperson’s discretion, Saica said.

    Singh has been a member of Saica since January 2000. Saica had investigated Singh for improper conduct after the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse had laid a complaint against him in September 2017, Fin24 previously reported.

    Ben Theron, OUTA’s COO said that the charges against Singh are a “positive step in eradicating corruption” within state-owned enterprises.

    “It shows that Saica has some teeth and is willing to take action against chartered accountants who let down their profession and their country.”

    Saica explained that in terms of the code of conduct, Singh is in contravention of several grounds - integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and professional behaviour.

    Saica said with regard to integrity, Singh failed to disclose to the Eskom board of directors the true reason for Tegeta’s request for R600million from Eskom.

    “Mr. Anoj Singh was knowingly associated with reports, returns, communications or other information where he knew or believed, or ought reasonably to have known, that the information contained a materially false or misleading statements; contained statements or information furnished recklessly; or omitted or obscured information required to be included where such omission or obscurity would be misleading.”

    After becoming aware that he is associated with such information, he also failed to take steps to disassociate from the information, Saica explained.

    With regard to objectivity, Singh compromised his professional or business judgement because of “bias, conflict of interest or the undue influence of others”. Singh was also found to have performed a professional service where “a relationship bias unduly influenced his professional judgement”.

    Thirdly, Singh was in contravention of the principle of confidentiality when he disclosed confidential information he acquired from professional and business relationships without having the proper and specific authority to do so.

    He also used the information to his personal advantage or the advantage of third parties.

    “[He] failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that staff under his control and persons from whom advice and assistance is obtained respected his duty of confidentiality.”

    Finally, Saica found that Singh’s professional behaviour was compromised when he failed to comply with relevant laws and regulations. He also failed to avoid conduct that he knew or should have known would discredit the accountancy profession.

    “This includes conduct that a reasonable third party, weighing all the specific facts and circumstances available to him at that time, would be likely to conclude adversely affects the good reputation of the profession.”

    -Fin24

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    Germany still mum on genocide apologyGermany still mum on genocide apology The German foreign ministry has confirmed the 1904-1908 massacre of the Ovaherero, Nama, Damara and San was indeed genocide, despite previous attempts to veer from a 2012 parliamentary motion that had acknowledged this.

    German foreign ministry spokesperson Martin Schäfer, while speaking to media in his country recently, would however not say whether his government was working on an apology to the descendants of the affected communities. He stressed the negotiations between the German and Namibian governments are not yet complete.

    “I tried to explain that in the end we are concerned with the construction of the future of Namibia. But to do this responsibly one has to have a common dealing with the past,” Schäfer told journalists.

    Kenneth McCallion, the legal representative for the Ovaherero and Nama in their genocide case in a New York district court, said in correspondence with Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro and others this was a “significant development”.

    This was especially because the German government had said previously that prior admissions by government officials were a “mistake” or unofficial.

    Schäfer acknowledged the ministry's position on the matter is “exactly” the same as the motion tabled by the Social Democrats and the Green Party in March 2012 in the Bundestag.

    Schäfer said German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had co-signed the motion.

    A passage of the motion reads: “The German parliament recognises the severe guilt, which the German colonial troops have taken upon them with the crimes committed against the Herero, Nama, Damara and the San, and emphasises, just like historians have proven a long time ago, that the war of extermination in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 was a war crime and a genocide. The German parliament emphasises the continued… responsibility for the future of Namibia.”

    Schäfer, when pressed for answers, said this was the position of the German government, adding the ongoing negotiations with the Namibian government were aimed at finding a “common understanding on what has happened”. He said the negotiations aim to agree on the vocabulary of the matter and after completion of the discussions they will produce a publication.

    On this basis the development of a collection of projects will start “with which we can answer and engage the continuously felt consequences today of the actions that were committed in the German name”.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: Local ARV production stalled
  • Local ARV production stalledLocal ARV production stalled Local pharmaceutical company Fabupharm is hopeful government will come to the party and clinch a deal to procure anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs from it, so it can proceed with production.

    The company announced plans to manufacture the critical drugs in June 2015 and says government support is necessary if it is to push forward.

    Fabupharm managing director Fanie Badenhorst Snr says government, in line with its 'Growth at Home' strategy should come on board and conclude a purchase deal, so it can produce these drugs locally.

    “Regrettably and sadly we are yet to get new products registered for the Namibian private and public market. We are hopeful that in line with government's Growth at Home strategy and industrialisation policy that those tasked with procurement will recognise our efforts and procure locally,” said Badenhorst.

    In December 2016, the company's plans to supply the local market were delayed by the planned construction of a pharmaceutical plant in Okahandja.

    While Fabupharm had met with a government team to discuss the idea of procuring ARVs locally, not a lot of progress had been made.

    “The physical planning of such a facility and sourcing of equipment has already been done. Some of our new equipment can be utilised for the production of ARV products but it must be in a separate facility. The government's project team did meet with us, but we are not sure about their intentions to manufacture antiretroviral drugs,” Badenhorst said in a 2016 interview with Namibian Sun.

    The health ministry in 2016 ordered a large consignment of unregistered ARVs, with an approximate value of N$64 million, allegedly without going through a tendering process.

    According to the 2014 National HIV Sentinel Survey, there are about 215 000 people living with HIV/Aids in Namibia while 131 103 currently receive ARVs.

    Director of the Centres for Disease Control and the Prevention at the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar), Eric Dziuban, said this week the number of adults (aged 15 and over) living with HIV had decreased from 240 000 to 200 000 between 1991 and 2016.

    “This means one out of 10 adults are infected with HIV, with 25 new infections and 11 deaths related to HIV/Aids per day,” he said at a media briefing.

    Data suggests that 70% of people living with HIV, and who are on treatment, are virally suppressed.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 06/20/18--16:00: An endless cycle of poverty
  • An endless cycle of povertyAn endless cycle of povertyKids drop out of school to look for work The poverty many experienced while growing up is being passed down from generation to generation. The future looks grim for children growing up in poverty, as their guardians fail to provide for their needs - a situation that forces them to drop out of school, creating an endless poverty cycle.

    A Namibian Sun investigation into households in the Okaku constituency in Oshana, which depend on schoolchildren who receive N$250 monthly child grants provided by the government, revealed an endless cycle of poverty.

    Anna Sheya, 46, a resident of Oshityani village in the constituency, says she can attest to the poverty cycle in her family.

    She said she grew up with a poor grandmother, who hardly provided for her personal needs, which forced her to drop out of school with the aim of looking for employment to start supporting her family.

    However, this only worsened the poverty in her family, which has been passed down from generation to generation.

    She said fortunately the government gives a monthly social grant for to two of the school-going children in their household, which is used to buy some household items, including food.

    She added they have a mahangu field, which produces enough to feed the family.

    “Sometime after solving the household needs, there is no more money to provide for these children's personal needs. Every time they come to you to tell you about their personal needs at school, but since there is no money it becomes very stressful. Also with my own experience, it is very discouraging for them and it might force them to leave school as many others have done it already. Every day you are just praying to get Good Samaritans to assist you.”

    Alina Efraim, 35, is another unemployed young person heading a household consisting of three school-going children at Ombugayashigunda in the same constituency.

    Efraim said she started heading the house in 2005, when her mother died. Like Sheya, she said they also depend on social grants.

    “At the moment, the only kind of job I can get is working as domestic worker in a house around our village or in local shebeens as a bar lady. I cannot go far from the house because I have to take care of the children. You always try to make sure the children have food in the house and some to take in their lunch boxes for school. I also take care of their personal needs, which is not easy for me,” Efraim said.

    Anna Ndahafa Shilongo, a senior administrative officer at the Oshana regional council's Okaku constituency office, said there are number of houses in their constituency registered as headed by unemployed young people. She said whenever there is social support offered by the government, these are the people who receive first priority.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Namibia close to reaching HIV targets Namibia close to reaching HIV targets A world leader in combating the Aids epidemic Namibia is one of 13 African countries that are poised to reach the United Nations’ 90-90-90 HIV targets by 2020. JANA-MARI SMITH



    Namibia is just 8 000 people short of the 2020 target of 90% of all people living with HIV knowing their status, close to the target of 90% of all those people receiving treatment and just under 6 000 people short of 90% of those on treatment being virally suppressed.

    Statistics revealed by the Namibian team of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) this week show that the country is inching closer to reaching the 90-90-90 global targets and that the country is increasingly lauded as a leader in its response to the epidemic.

    The country has further been identified as one of 13 African countries that are poised to reach the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

    The 90-90-90 targets aim to diagnose 90% of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90% of those treated by 2020.

    Nevertheless, experts warn that the last stretch may be the hardest for a number of reasons and will require continued commitment.

    “Namibia is really making major strides in controlling the epidemic. But we still have gaps remaining and that shows us where the work remains to be done,” said Dr Eric Dziuban of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Based on current data, out of a total of 220 000 adults plus an estimated 10 000 children living with HIV in Namibia, the 90% country specific target of Namibians knowing their status currently stands at 87%, or 199 999 persons who are aware of their status.

    Of those who know their status, the target number of people to be on treatment in Namibia is set at 81%, or 186 300.

    Currently, a total of 186 000 Namibians living with HIV are receiving treatment, just 300 shy of the target.

    About 73% of them are receiving treatment and 162 000, or 70%, are virally suppressed.

    Dziuban explained that a person who is virally suppressed “has every chance of living a healthy life and a greatly reduced risk of transmitting the disease.”

    A person is considered virally suppressed if the HIV viral load drops to an undetectable level, which is possible through continued treatment.

    Dziuban cautioned that critical gaps remained in achieving overall epidemic control, which means fewer new HIV infections than the number of people dying of HIV.

    He said reaching the last 5% to 10% of the targets often presented the most difficult barriers to success.

    He said the remaining HIV-positive people who have not yet been diagnosed are often the hardest to reach for multiple reasons, including personal resistance to finding out their status, or lack of access to services.

    “So there is more effort needed to help get them there.”

    Moreover, data show that men and young people remain less likely to be on treatment, a global issue that many HIV/Aids programmes seek to tackle.

    Milestones

    Nevertheless, since Pepfar joined hands with the Namibian government to tackle the epidemic, the number of people becoming infected with HIV has dropped from more than 15 000 to fewer than 8 000 per year.

    Moreover, the number of people dying from HIV has more than halved, from 10 000 to fewer than 4 000 per year. This was described as a milestone by Pepfar / USAID team leader Dr Abeje Zegeye.

    Moreover, the percentage of HIV-positive babies born to HIV-infected mothers has dropped from 30% to below 5%.

    Zegeye said 21 Pepfar-supported sites last year achieved zero HIV-positive babies born to HIV-positive mothers.

    United States ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson yesterday announced that for the next annual funding cycle starting in October, Pepfar will provide Namibia with US$73.6 million, the equivalent of nearly N$1 billion.

    This is a slight increase from the current year’s funding of US$72.3 million, she said.

    Johnson highlighted the close working relationship between Pepfar and the Namibian government since 2004.

    When Pepfar stepped in, Namibia was facing increasing numbers of new infections each year, coupled with a steep upward trend of deaths.

    Since 2004, the country has seen a steep drop in HIV deaths and new infections.

    0 0
  • 06/20/18--16:00: Totem
  • TotemTotem Quote of the day

    “[Anoj Singh] failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that staff under his control and persons from whom advice and assistance is obtained respected his duty of confidentiality" - South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

    Stat

    N$4.2 billion

    Is the total value of diamonds, jewellery and precious metals exported from Namibia during the first quarter of 2018.

    -Namibia Statistics Agency

    Focus

    Budget

    Almost half less for resettlement

    The ongoing resettlement sub-programme of the land reform ministry got a N$5 million allocation in 2018/2019 compared to N$9 million allocated during the previous year.

    -Development budget

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    Namibians own 396 000 firearmsNamibians own 396 000 firearmsArmed and dangerous At 15.4 guns per 100 people, Namibia has the second highest per capita civilian possession of firearms in Africa. Namibia has 396 000 privately owned guns in circulation, which, when compared to its small population, far outweighs per capita firearm possession in other African countries.

    At 15.4 guns per 100 people, Namibia has the second highest per capita civil possession of firearms in Africa.

    Weapons watchdog the Small Arms Survey has released its latest report on gun ownership around the world, which indicates that of the close to 400 000 guns owned by civilians in Namibia, 195 990 are illegal and 200 010 are legal firearms.

    Only the island of Réunion has a higher civilian ownership of firearms per capita on the continent at 19.61 firearms per 100 people, with 171 000 firearms being in civil hands in that country.

    Although there are more than 5.3 million guns owed by civilians in neighbouring South Africa, this equates to only 9.65 firearms per 100 people.

    The Small Arms Survey estimates there are 97 000 guns in civilian possession in Botswana, which equals 4.3 firearms per 100 people.

    Furthermore, Angola has 11.19 civilian firearms per 100 people, with more than 2.89 million firearms in civil society.

    The survey includes statistics from over 230 countries and is based on the ownership of revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles, carbines, assault rifles and sub- and light machineguns held by civilians, the military and law-enforcement groups.

    It says Namibia has a total of 11 880 military firearms and 15 000 law-enforcement firearms for its 12 438 active members.

    Private gun ownership in Namibia has more than doubled from 2004 to 2017, with handguns dominating new licence applications and self-defence cited as the number-one reason to own a firearm.





    Concern has been expressed over the fact that it is too easy for people to obtain a firearm licence in Namibia.

    A recent briefing paper on gun ownership and gun crime by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows that the number of registered firearms has increased from around 97 000 to more than 200 000 since 2004; up from five guns per 100 000 citizens to nine guns per 100 citizens last year.

    The IPPR made a call for the fast-tracking of amendments on the Arms and Ammunition Act of 1996.

    Some amendments are expected to make it harder to acquire a firearm licence, especially for small arms like pistols. Among other things, the new amendments will require background checks and will raise the minimum age for acquiring a firearm licence from 18 to 25 years.

    On average, 6 653 gun licences are issued annually.

    Although quite an extensive debate took place on this issue in the National Assembly in 2016, no amendments have been made.

    The 'Global Violent Deaths' report released earlier this year indicated that at a rate of 24 violent deaths per 100 000 in Namibia, this is more than double the global rate. Countries with the highest rates of lethal violence typically had a higher proportion of firearm-related killings and Namibia was no exception. In 2016 data indicated that in Namibia at least three deaths per 100 000 were committed with firearms. Namibia was also among the countries with the highest death rate by use of firearm globally, ranking 14th.



    In an effort to clamp down on illegal weapons in Namibia, the government in August 2016 declared an amnesty for the surrender of illegal weapons, which lasted until 1 February 2017.



    During those months a large number of illegal weapons were surrendered to the police. By the end of January 2017, a total of 1 170 firearms, 95 824 rounds of ammunition and 81 explosives had been surrendered.



    According to the Small Arms Survey, there are over a billion firearms in the world today and the global stockpile has increased over the past decade, largely due to civilian gun ownership, which grew from 650 million in 2006 to 857 million in 2017.



    This number includes legal and illegal firearms in civilian hands, ranging from improvised craft weapons to factory-made handguns, rifles, shotguns, and in some countries, even machineguns.



    The estimate of over 1 billion firearms worldwide at the end of 2017 also includes 133 million such weapons held by government military forces and 22.7 million by law-enforcement agencies.



    The survey stressed that the more important number is the estimated rate of civilian-owned firearms per 100 residents.



    At the top of that ranking are Americans, who own 121 firearms for every 100 residents. They are followed by Yemenis at 53 and Montenegro and Serbian citizens with 39.



    Civilian ownership does not only mean weapons owned by individuals but also those possessed by private security firms, non-state armed groups and gangs. While these groups own a small fraction of the civilian total, their weapons can be disproportionately used in armed violence.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Doornboom evictees dumped in corridorDoornboom evictees dumped in corridor The 27 households evicted from Portion B of Farm Doornboom 316 in the Hardap Region are destitute and without water, after they were dumped in a corridor along the reserve of proclaimed road D1282.

    They were given eviction notices in November last year and were removed from the farm on 4 June and dropped off next to the main road.

    It is understood that neighbouring farmers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation and the group has in the meantime been instructed by Roads Authority to remove their livestock from the side of the road.

    “But where do we go?” wondered spokesperson of the group, Willem Katuna.

    He said since their eviction they have been able to access water from Doornboom but have since been unable to collect water there since the owner of an adjacent farm through which they have to travel has closed his gates.

    The evictees consultated with the office of the Hardap governor, Esme Isaack, at the end of May and met with Edward Wambo, a regional councillor, who Katuna said was instructed by the governor to deal with the matter.

    Katuna said neither the governor's office nor the regional council has so far intervened on their behalf.

    He said officials from the prime minister's office were also supposed to have met them this week, but this has not happened.

    According to Katuma, Wambo had said assistance would not be easy and that only a handful of them might be helped.

    Wambo would not give a comment on the matter when contacted on Wednesday.

    In May all 27 households were offered pieces of land for free by Victoria Kauluma on her 20 000 hectare Farm Lahnstein No 193, but Katuna said they do not have the means to get there.



    Although the group had accepted Kauluma's offer in May they now say they view the Farm Lahnstein offer as a “last resort”.



    Representatives of the households have now sought an audience with the Khomas governor, Laura Mcleod-Katjirua for consideration to be resettled somewhere in her region.



    BACKGROUND



    The group had first moved onto Doornboom in April 2016 after, according to Katuna, they were told by former land reform minister, Alpheus !Naruseb, to find empty farms to settle on and to apply for resettlement, or to request farmers with more than one farm to offer land for sale to the government.



    Katuna said after they found Doornboom to be empty and decided to settle on it, the 4 000-hectare government farm was advertised for resettlement purposes and in October 2016 it was allotted to another resettlement beneficiary, Hermann !Garus-Oab.



    “The farm was advertised for resettlement while we were sitting there. I want those who made us promises to stand up and take responsibility,” Katuna said.



    A government official involved in the eviction process preferring anonymity expressed a personal opinion that the government, since Doornboom is a government farm, could have been more lenient towards the 27 households and could have arranged for a co-habitation with the resettlement beneficiary.



    The households have been applying as a group to be resettled since 2014 to no avail.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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     Phosphate mining back to drawing board Phosphate mining back to drawing board Minister Pohamba Shifeta has cancelled the environmental clearance certificate granted to Namibia Marine Phosphate in September 2016. The environment minister instructed that all interested parties must finalise their inputs within three months and the consultation process must be completed within six months starting today. “The order is with immediate effect and binds all parties directly or indirectly affected,” he said. Pohamba made the ruling this morning following a public hearing on Monday where the minister heard submissions from NMP and community activist Michael Gawaseb, who had appealed against the clearance. The environmental clearance for the Sandpiper Project, located about 120km southwest of Walvis Bay, was issued by the ministry’s environmental commissioner, Theofillius Nghitila, on 5 September 2016. In November that year the clearance was withdrawn following a public outcry, court applications and an appeal lodged by Gawaseb. A court case this year ruled that NMP did not have a fair hearing when the clearance was withdrawn and therefore Shifeta decided to hold a public hearing on the matter.
    Ellanie Smit