Friday, 28 February 2014

Germany to return Namibian skulls

Windhoek - Thirty five skulls and two skeletons of Namibian origin are to be returned to Namibia from Berlin and Freiburg, Germany on March 7 in a second repatriation exercise.

However, unlike the first repatriation exercise, the March repatriation of the ancestral skulls will be a low-key event with a delegation of about 10 government officials expected to receive the skulls in that country. The first exercise, in October 2011, had an entourage of about 65 people, including chiefs of the Nama and Ovaherero people, at a cost of about N$1.7 million. This year’s costs would be N$1 million allocated for the trip. “This time, it will be at minimal cost,” said Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology at a press conference yesterday.

The delegation will include the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo, Acting Director of the National Heritage Council, Esther Mwoobola-/Goagoses, Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Traditional Leaders Chief Immanuel /Gaseb and Namibia’s Ambassador to Germany Neville Gertze.

The delegation will first receive 14 skulls from the Alexander Ecker Collection of the University of Freiburg on March 4, which will be handed over at the ‘Haus zur Lieben Hand’.

On March 5, the Namibian delegation will receive 21 skulls and two skeletons, which were held in the anthropological collections of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin.

The remains were collected during colonial times by the German administration, members of the German military troops or their physicians and scientists to in the early 1900s to ‘prove’ racial superiority of white Europeans over black Africans, among others.

The exact date and time of arrival of the human remains will be communicated to the public in due course, although an official reception ceremony is planned for March 7 from 07h30 to 11h30 at Parliament Gardens. The public will have an opportunity to view the remains and perform traditional or religious rituals from 12h00 to 16h00.

Ua-Ndjarakana said that President Hifikepunye Pohamba would then hand the remains to the youth minister, who would then transfer them into the care of the National Museum.

Ua-Ndjarakana could not give an exact breakdown of the skulls and the skeletons, but said they were of Ovaherero, Owambo, San, Nama and Damara tribes.

In the meantime, some members of the Namibian genocide committees have expressed dissatisfaction with the way in which the second repatriation is being conducted.

They said that they were not informed of the exercise and only learned yesterday from the communications deputy minister Stanley Simataa that repatriation of the skulls would take place next week.

It is believed that about 300 skulls of Namibians slaughtered in concentration camps during the colonial uprising of 1904 to 1908 were taken to Germany to prove perverse racial theories which later emanated in Nazi Germany’s genocidal ideology.

Namibia: heavy rains cause damages

Cloudbursts in the Central and north-western parts of Namibia where rains of 100 mm and more were recorded, caused extensive damage in Uis early Wednesday evening, when more than 50mm rain fell in less than an hour for a second consecutive day. A number of vehicles got stuck in and around Uis due to flooded areas. A number of residents like Basil Calitz  and Louis Geldenhuys assisted to get the vehicles out of the mud, as can been seen in the inset photo on the left that was taken at the Kat River. A deluge hit Karibib causing extensive damage to already challenged infrastructure (Photo: Basil Calitz).

Namibia: National Assembly differs on Air Namibia

Windhoek - A difference of opinion emerged in the National Assembly this week over government’s subsidy to Air Namibia, with the Minister of Defence Nahas Angula questioning the logic behind continued financial support to Air Namibia, while other parastatals in need of funds are not getting the same level of support.

Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina, jumped to his feet to point out to Angula that it is because of Air Namibia that the country’s tourism sector is growing. “Do you know that it is because of Air Namibia that there are so many tourists coming to Namibia? If it were not for Air Namibia our tourism sector would not be growing,” said Nghimtina clearly disappointed with Angula’s comments during the budget debate on Wednesday.

Angula responded by saying that it is high time Namibia owns its economy and that Air Namibia is serving the purpose of lodge and hotel owners, who are mostly foreigners, because tourists go and stay at foreigners’ lodges.

When contacted for further comment yesterday, Angula said although he did realise that his comments did not sit well with his fellow Cabinet minister, he harboured no ill thoughts towards Air Namibia, even though the airline “is a historical liability”.

“I was talking about Air Namibia in relation to Epangelo Mining  [state-owned mining company]. We Namibians have no capital, expertise or technology to run a mine. Government has resources so it can enter into partnerships. So I was saying it would be better if the resources given to Air Namibia could have been given to Epangelo,” he said.

Air Namibia received N$472.2 million for the current financial year, down from N$1 132 million received in the previous financial year. The airline is to receive N$579.8 million for 2015/16, and N$760 million for 2016/17. In contrast Epangelo Mining received N$11 million for the current financial year, as part of the N$5.3 billion granted to the mining ministry over the three-year period to 2016/17 for the development of the Kudu gas power project, rural electrification and support to Epangelo Mining.

“All I am saying is that we should look at companies that are doing well. That is why I also gave the example of MTC, they are one of the profit-making companies,” Angula said, also citing Namdeb as another good example of performing parastatals. Namdeb, he says, is doing a reasonable job by contributing to the growth of the country, creating employment, paying dividends and diamond royalties.

“Air Namibia is a historical liability, we found it here when we took over and now it is our baby. All I am saying is that if the money which is given to Air Namibia could have been given to Epangelo Mining that will open a mine very soon, it can enter into partnership with mining companies and have a real stake in the mining sector so that we can have a true Namibian mine. Every time they [Air Namibia] have a bailout plan, but things are just the same. Every day they tell you the same story. We should look at the companies that can create wealth,” he said, adding that it is up to those with power to decide what to do with Air Namibia.

Namibian Broadcasting Corporation gets a billion dollars

Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) will get just over N$1 billion over three years in State funding despite reporting improved financial results last year.
The State broadcaster has reduced losses in recent years since the government appointed prominent businessman Sven Thieme as chairman in a bid to turn around the financial fortunes of the loss-making corporation.

In the 2012/13 financial year, the corporation’s revenue increased by 10% to reach N$67,9 million with the government providing funding of N$154,3 million during the period.

NBC’s overall deficit was N$2,3 million compared to a deficit of N$48,5 million in 2011/12. This improvement resulted in Thieme saying, last year, that a break even was close.

However, the 2014/2015 budget show that the NBC will be one of the recipients of huge funding with just over N$1 billion in the next three years.

Budget documents tabled in parliament last week by finance minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila say the money for the NBC will be used for operating expenses, infrastructure development, which includes transmitter network improvement, implementation of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration and upgrading of studios.

The documents show that other State-owned media companies and including NamZim, a joint venture with the Zimbabwean government, will be handsomely funded from state coffers.

NamZim will receive N$39 million over three years, New Era will also receive N$39 million over the same period while the Namibia Press Agency will receive N$62 million over three years.

The documents reveal that only a few State-owned companies will bring in revenue in terms of dividends and profit share over the next three years.

The State is expecting to receive N$90 million from the Bank of Namibia in 2014/2015, an increase in revenue of N$98 million in 2015/2016 and the biggest sum of N$114 million expected from the central bank in 2016/2017.

The government is expecting to receive N$565 million from diamond producer, Namdeb in 2014/2915, N$632 million in 2015/2016 and a bumper N$725 million is projected in 2016/2017.

The Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings (NPTH) is projected to contribute N$17 million in 2014/2015 and N$20 million in 2015/206.

State-owned enterprises are due to receive a total of N$9,5 billion during the 2014/15 fiscal year and a total of N$24,8 billion over the next three years.

Part of this funding will go to TransNamib with N$771 million flowing to the transport company over three years. The money will be used for maintenance of railways and the management of the Northern Railway project.

The Namibia Tourism Board will get N$120 million over the same period. Another notable recipient is Agribank, that is expected to receive N$95 million over three years for Affirmative Action loans.

Namibia: disbanded NCC leaves financial mess

Disbanded Namibian Communications Commission (NCC) left behind various financial issues after it emerged that the state-owned enterprise failed to provide financial transactions of about N$7 million that could not be verified by the Auditor General (AG) a year before it ceased to exist.
This is contained in the latest AG report tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday by Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on the parastatal’s financial year, which ended in March 2011, the same year it was disbanded.

According to the AG’s report, since the NCC did not have a fixed register of assets, no description has been charged on assets and no verification of fixed assets or additions could be performed.

On bank reconciliation, AG Junias Kanjeke said even though the financial statements of NCC reflected a favourable bank balance of about N$5,6 million, the cashbook reflects a balance of N$7,2 million and the difference of N$1,5 million could not be explained by the parastatal.

Kandjeke said NCC could not provide investment statements, which means that investments of the parastatal could not be verified.

“No investment statements were available for the audit purposes, and therefore investment income of N$6,3 million could not be verified,” he said.

The NCC is the precursor to the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN).

CRAN regulates telecommunication services and networks, broadcasting services, postal services and the use and allocation of radio spectrum.

CRAN chief executive officer Stanley Shanapinda told The Namibian on Wednesday that it is up to the Minister of Information to take further action on how the financial woes at the former parastatal will be handled.

Troubles of NCC do not end there as the regulatory institution also failed to provide records or supporting documentation for electronic transfer expenses.

The AG noted that included in the trade and receivables is a credit of N$1 million which is stated as “cash-book clearing account” and about N$570 000 stated as “deposit unknown”.

“No explanation for these balances could be supplied,” Kandjeke said, adding that another difference that could not be explained is that of trade receivables.

“The list of trade receivables reflect an amount of N$26 million more than the control account and the financial statements,” he said.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Зимбабве: Мугабе: взятки не было

На прошлой неделе президент Зимбабве Роберт Мугабе (Robert Mugabe) ошеломил широкую общественность, заявив в телевизионном интервью, что бывший председатель Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) Гудвилс Масимирембва (Godwills Masimirembwa) не получал от ганской фирмы взятку в размере $6 млн, как ранее утверждал сам президент.
Выступая на государственном телеканале ZBCTV, Мугабе заявил, что ганские инвесторы, желающие осуществлять алмазодобычу в районе Маранге (Marange), не вносили никакого капитала, солгав о даче взятки.
«Меня убедили допустить резидентов Ганы к деятельности после того, как они заявили об имеющихся возможностях по осуществлению добычи. Об одном из этих людей говорилось, что он является владельцем банка, - заявил Мугабе. – Они лгали нам. Они не вложили никаких средств. Даже тех, которые, как мы ранее предполагали, были приняты Масимирембвой. Вовсе нет! Они лишь рассказали о том, что якобы внесли некоторые средства – то ли 5, то ли 6 миллионов долларов?.. Они были заняты лишь контрабандой золота, и у них были соответствующие договоренности с южноафриканской группой, вот почему один из этих людей был арестован. В то же время другой «инвестор» признал себя невиновным и заявил, что он не был осведомлен о данной ситуации и не имел никакого отношения к арестованному лицу…»
«Теперь выясняется, что эти лица не вкладывали средства, и мы обнаружили, что инвестор не является владельцем банка, как он заявлял ранее», - пожаловался Мугабе.
Тем временем, Мугабе сообщил, что правительство работает над реорганизацией алмазного сектора, чтобы разрешить лишь двум компаниям вести деятельность в стране.
«Фактически мы занимаемся перестройкой алмазной промышленности таким образом, чтобы в этом секторе работала только одна или две компании, не более, как это организовано в ЮАР, Ботсване, Намибии, Анголе. Там нет множества компаний, добывающих алмазы, - добавил президент Зимбабве. – Там есть только одна-две компании, и государство привлекает партнеров, если оно хочет участия каких-либо зарубежных игроков...»

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Oanob Dam land dispute

A massive development planned to boost tourism at the Oanob Dam near Rehoboth has been temporarily stopped in its tracks.
The N$250 million project, started by Dax Oanob Investments that will consist of more than 100 new chalets and a waterfront development on the southern edge of the Oanob Dam, is now a subject of a court dispute.
The bone of contention is the long dragging land dispute at the dam, with NamWater claiming it belongs to the government, while the Rehoboth Town Council is of the opinion that it forms part of the town land and falls under their jurisdiction.
The applicant in the matter is Acasia Resorts with Christie Benade as the chief executive officer, who claims that the 25-year lease agreement with the Rehoboth Town Council for the 4 060 hectares of land to Dax Oanob Investments, is null and void.
The partners of the project are former Swapo MP, Alfred Stefanus Dax, Benhard Mumbashu, and Hendry Dirk. Dax is also the second respondent, with the Rehoboth Town Council as the first respondent.
According to Benade’s founding affidavit, he entered into a written lease agreement for a period of 50 years with the government in November 1994, and that a portion of the area allocated to Dax is located within the area he is leasing from government.
Benade further argued that Dax therefore does not have the right to occupy that specific area and has to vacate it. 
It is expected that the case would resume towards the end of the month.

Namibia: civil service expands by 15 000

Despite complains from government leaders for nearly two decades that the civil service was bloated and inefficient, the number of government employees have continued rising sharply and will balloon by another 15 000 in the coming few years to about 130 000.
In the National Budget tabled last week by finance minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, funding for 14 741 new positions has been set aside.

Salaries and related conditions of employment for individual employees are expected to gobble up more than a third of the total budget.

At the moment there are 97 535 civil servants employed but the structure provides for 129 560 positions. With the 14 741 positions set to be filled in the fin newancial year, the number of civil servants will reach 112 276.

Among institutions set to recruit the most workers is the police force with 18 475 positions funded compared to 16 781 at present. The department has an establishment of 27 894 positions.

The Namibia Defence Force has 3 549 new positions funded in the budget compared to 16 781 filled at present. The defence force has an establishment of 26 445 positions according to the document. The education ministry will see 4 859 new positions funded in the budget from the 34 590 positions filled at present. The education establishment provides for 39 193 positions.

The latest figures contradict pronouncements by government leaders such as Prime Minister Hage Geingob and Kuugongelwa-Amadhila who have raised concerns about the bloated civil service and suggested it should be leaner.

A government study called the Wages and Salary Commission (Wascom) in 1996 recommended that Namibia should have a smaller, better paid, more professional and more efficient public service. Even at about 60 000 employees at the turn of this century, the civil service was considered too saturated with unnecessary positions filled.

By some estimates as much as 55 percent of all Namibian employment in the government sector, including parastatals.

The budget document also shows that the ministry of health is not understaffed as commonly perceived with only 1 210 new positions funded from the current 9 625 positions that are filled at present. This will result in 10 835 positions being filled against the establishment provision of 10 852 positions.

The prisons ministry is one of the most understaffed government institutions, according to the document, with only 2 038 positions filled out of a provision of 6 209 positions in the establishment. Only one new position has been funded in the 2014/2015 budget.

Personnel expenditure for the civil service is set to increase to N$21 billion in the 2014/15 budget from N$17 billion in 2013/14 with a further increase to N$22 billion in 2015/2016 and N$23 billion in 2016/2017.

Minister Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said in an interview yesterday that the funding of new provisions is based on recommendations by the various institutions with the approval of the Public Service Commission. The budget has 31 votes, which includes the Office of the President, Office of Prime Minister, the National Assembly, the Auditor General, the National Council, the Electoral Commission of Namibia and the various ministries.

In a statement released yesterday by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the post-budget discussion hosted by the chamber on Friday, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was quoted as saying increases (in personnel expenditure) were necessary to ensure that government could offer market related wages therefore attracting and retaining skilled workers who are currently shunning government service.

James Cumming, Head of Research at Simonis Storm Securities said he was concerned about the over-reliance of revenue from the SACU pool. He said the government must diversify its revenue sources as future adjustments to the SACU revenue formula could lead to lower revenue receipts.

In response, the minister said new sources of revenue have been identified with preliminary studies already underway in order to secure a consistent revenue stream in future.

Namibia: conflict over Hochfeld elephant

The hunter who was named as the contact person in an advertisement for a trophy hunt on two elephants in the Omitara and Hochfeld areas has denied he was the author of the ad or linked to its existence in any way.
In response to the ad, several Namibians expressed their concern yesterday that a trophy hunt is being advertised although no permits have been issued for this particular hunt and neither have the two elephants in question been declared as problem animals.

The two elephants have been roaming around the Hochfeld and Omitara areas for several weeks, and have generally received a warm welcome by those in the area. Several farmers have shared snaps of the surprising visitors with the media.

Yesterday, an MET spokesperson said so far the elephants have caused only “minimal damage”. The spokesperson furthermore said that hunting permits would not be issued at the moment.

Jofie Lamprecht, the professional hunter, who was named as the contact person in the advertisement for the trophy hunt, yesterday denied that he was scouting around for buyers for the permits or that he was involved in the alleged ad. He said he had no knowledge of the advertisement nor could he explain why his name was linked to it.

“There are no permits. They have not been declared as problem animals. There are people interested in hunting those animals, but nothing can be done before a permit is issued,” he said.

Lamprecht told The Namibian that while there is discussions in the local hunting community around the fact that these elephants could possibly “at some stage be hunted”, no one would put the permit wheels in motion until after the animals were declared as a problem animal.

As to why his name was attached to the advertisement, Lamprecht said he had no idea. “I sent no such email. I really don’t know”. He said it might be because he is a well-known big game hunter, and the unidentified author knew that should the elephants be declared as problem animals, he could facilitate such a hunt.

The Namibia Professional Hunters Association (Napha) in a statement requested “members to try to avoid shooting these elephants”.

Napha stated that while they hope the animals make their way back “peacefully to their last stretches of intact habitat in the north-east”, wild elephants could pose a danger to humans and should be kept at a respectful distance at all times.

One of the Hochfeld farmers said that many farmers in the area were shocked and concerned when reports of the advertisement began circulating.

“We are in a farming area and we would like to have all these wild animals back in the area. And why shoot an animal who is clearly so gentle and not doing any harm. Why should it be shot?” the woman asked.

She added that while she would understand that measures would have to be taken if they caused severe damage, the farmers hoped that the MET would instead transport the animals back to a safer area instead of proclaiming them as problem animals.

As to the reports that already many hunters are oiling their guns in anticipation of a possible trophy hunt on the two elephants, she said, “It’s all about money. I think these people just want to make more and more money. They are not concerned about our environment and animals”.

The ministry has continually said that the elephants were causing only minor damage, not enough to warrant them being declared as problem animals.

Colgar Sikopo, head of the Directorate of Regional Services and Parks Management at MET, told the media yesterday that he was not aware of any hunting permits having been released. Sikopo said the elephants must be monitored closely with the hope that they return to the northeast, where their interaction with humans is limited. The second option, according to Sikopo, is to capture the elephants.

If those two options do not work, only then would the ministry declare them as problem animals and have them hunted.

Дипломаты РФ в ЮАР возложили венок к могиле погибшего русского офицера

УТРЕХТ /ЮАР/, 25 февраля. /Корр. ИТАР-ТАСС Александр Нечаев/. Сотрудники посольства России в ЮАР возложили венок к памятнику и могиле погибшего в англо-бурской войне (1899-1902 годы) русского офицера. Впервые на территории протестантской церкви в городке Утрехт в провинции Квазулу-Наталь прозвучала православная молитва по капитану Льву Покровскому. Ее отслужил настоятель единственного на юге Африки православного храма преподобного Сергия Радонежского отец Даниил.

Военный атташе РФ в ЮАР Николай Пушистов заявил корр. ИТАР-ТАСС, что церемония была приурочена ко Дню защитника Отечества. "Мы продолжим эту традицию почитания русских героев, павших в Южной Африке", - сказал он.

В минувшем году аналогичная церемония прошла на могиле лейтенанта Бориса Строльмана в Претории. Сражавшийся за буров капитан Покровский был смертельно ранен английским снайпером под Утрехтом и скончался 25 декабря 1900 года. Через 25 лет он был перезахоронен на территории церкви, где ему установили памятник. "Он добровольно отдал жизнь за угнетенный народ", - написано на постаменте.

"Спасибо за то, что храните память о нашем соотечественнике и общем герое", - заявил советник-посланник посольства РФ Павел Меркулов, обращаясь к сотрудникам музея Утрехта и городским властям.

На стене памяти музея выбиты имена около 90 русских, сражавшихся на стороне буров. Среди них князь Багратион-Мухранский, графы Бобринский, Канецкий, Комаровский. В войне участвовали, по некоторым данным, 225 русских солдат и офицеров и большое число русских переселенцев, действовало отделение российского Красного Креста. Также достоверно известно о гибели капитана И. Никитина, поручиков С. Дуплова, Н. Петрова, В. Стесселя, П. Риперта. Одним из наиболее выдающихся и отважных военачальников был Евгений Максимов, дослужившийся до звания генерала бурской армии. Его фотография выставлена в музее Утрехта.

В октябре прошлого года архиепископ Егорьевский Марк освятил часовню на территории храма преподобного Сергия Радонежского в Йоханнесбурге в память о погибших в англо-бурской войне русских воинах.

"Многих русских хоронили в общих могилах, поэтому точных данных о погибших мы не знаем. Эти люди приехали сюда по зову сердца, они не были наемниками. Историческая память о них очень важна", - заявил отец Даниил.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Namibia Internet connection: Rain? What rain?

Users of Telecom Namibia’s I-way internet service have experienced ongoing problems with the service since mid-December with often very slow connection speeds, especially in early January where there was no internet at all.

Customers complain that this seems to happen every year during the rainy season and they question why Telecom network infrastructure is not rainproof and always has problems whenever it rains.

Telecom’s Senior Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Relations Oiva Angula says that since December last year, Telecom Namibia has experienced a number of cable thefts especially in the Windhoek area.

He added that these criminal activities continue to cause damage to localised feeder cables, which had affected the few customers directly connected through these damaged cables.

“Our technical staff had to work around the clock to replace the damaged cables,” Angula said.

Telecom Namibia has dismissed speculation that the rain is to blame for the erratic internet services and claimed that the rainy season has no overall impact on internet services.

“Of course, in specific localities, lightning does cause power interruptions and then equipment at customers premises might go into resetting procedures. Therefore, Telecom Namibia always recommends connecting all telecommunications equipment to Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) units at the customer’s home.

Telecom Namibia has however failed to respond to question of when they will find a permanent solution to these problems.

The company could also not answer the question of whether it will be able to provide customers in the country with internet service comparable to that found in technologically advanced countries anytime in the near future.

Telecom Namibia did however acknowledge that there was slow internet access to certain specific international websites from 9 February to 10 February due to overloading on five of the international internet links caused by an external network to Telecom Namibia’s network.

“While the one link was not available for internet traffic, the other remaining links took over that additional traffic demand for that period,” Angula explained.

He further gave the assurance that Telecom Namibia would monitor internet capacities and performance on a full-time basis and that the internet experience of customers would be fast and reliable.

Namibia: Ndeitunga ambushed by Palazzolo

Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga has warned local businesspeople against ambushing national leaders in their offices with foreign investors who turn out to be fugitives. Ndeitunga was referring to an ambush he experienced two years ago when he agreed to receive the son of the Founding President Sam Nujoma Sacky Nujoma, and to his surprise, Vito Palazzolo came along for an introduction.

“Sometimes those of us in these offices just get a call and somebody just tells you I’m coming to see you. You see no harm in it until this person arrives with some or other investor you know nothing about,” he said.

He said he frowned on the habit of Namibians to just take people on as business partners without having scrutinised their background, and then just made appointments for them left right and centre.

“You parade this person from one office to another not knowing that this person is looking to enrich his CV, because when he goes to discuss business with someone else he will say I have seen General Ndeitunga and minister so and so, even when their background is not clean.”

According to Ndeitunga, one only realises later who this person really is and what they are all about.

He stressed that Namibians needed to be more security conscious when dealing with these investors who come to Namibia.

He noted that verbal appointments were problematic, because if people requested the appointment in writing one could at least look at who would be coming and scrutinise the list of people beforehand.

The head of the Namibian Police further remarked that in his view, when investors come to venture into any business in Namibia they should do so through the appropriate structure of Government, namely the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Alternatively, they should go through the Ministry of Home Affairs to obtain the different documentation that they might need.

He found it deplorable that a trend had emerged where those who come under the umbrella of wanting to invest in Namibia, befriended local business personalities and used them to secure appointments with higher offices in Government.

“We have no problem with the genuine ones. In fact, in most cases, we will just hear that these wanted people residing in Namibia have visited so and so, or they have made a donation here and there,” he said.

He continued to remark that the investors started splashing money around and only much later did one hear that a clinic or an office was built with the money of these kinds of people.

Namibians therefore needed to be more cautious, as much as they might be desperate, and it appeared as though some people did not understand the objective of security measures.

Namibia Breweries Limited launches solar rooftop plant

NBL officially switched on its solar rooftop plant after it was inaugurated at its head office in Windhoek yesterday.
The 1.1 MW plant, which will cover up to 34% of the total NBL consumption, was installed by the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group of Companies together with its subsidiaries O&L Energy.

According to O&L, the roof- mounted PV (photovoltaic) plant, which is believed to be Africa’s largest rooftop plant, is fitted with a 4200 panel facility with 66 SMA inverters, spans a 6 400 sqm roof area and has a special design that provides an east-west orientation on a 10 degree mounting system without penetrating the roof. It is valued at N$22,8 million, Managing Director of NBL, Wessie van der Westhuizen, said the plant was designed to have a more efficient output in the mornings and afternoons to reduce the wind loads, which will cater for sufficient ventilation to ensure the highest efficiency with an annual output of 1.9 GWh.

The plant also includes a hybrid management system that integrates and co-ordinates the supply from solar power, diesel generator and national grid.

“The grind connection power solution generates electricity partly from the solar systems during the day and totally switches over to the national grid for night operations” he said. Van der Westhuizen added that “we are extremely proud to follow the green route in an effort to reduce energy cost and become partly self-sufficient.”

Executive chairman of O& Lgroup companies, Sven Thieme, said the solar plant aims to assist in relieving the pressure on electricity from neighbouring countries by becoming self-sufficient while creating employment for Namibians and in so doing contribute to alleviate the pres- sure that rests on government’s shoulders.

“This is an exciting development for Namibia and will be the forerunner of a range of renewable energy projects currently being developed in Southern Africa ... we need to harness these in building an inclusive and sustainable green economy,” said Thieme.

Deputy Director of Mines and Energy, Noddy Ipangelwa, who conveyed a keynote address on behalf of the Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, commended the O&L Group of Companies on their latest innovation.

Ipangelwa said although there are private households in and around Windhoek using solar power for their geysers, more corporate, companies and businesses must consider solar power as their first sources of energy.

“The government is 100% behind anyone who wishes to embark on such a project. I [therefore] appeal to other cor- porate, companies and businesses [and] also individuals to consider solar power,” said Ipangelwa.

Swakopmund, Namibia: construction of Bahnhof Square to start soon

#SwakopmundNamibia #BahnhofSquareSwakopmund #BahnhofSquareMall

Swakopmund, Namibia:  construction of Bahnhof Square to start soon

The developers of the much-hyped Bahnhof Square Mall in Swakopmund say construction will start within two months and that all major retailers in town will move over to the new shopping complex.

Project Development Manager Niël Freislich, who is heading up the construction project on behalf of Eris Properties, said last week that “The lifting of the (railway) tracks commenced two weeks ago and the platform of the centre will commence as well within the next week.”

Locals have pointed out that there is no visible sign as yet of any progress or construction at the site of the existing railway and many are asking whether the Bahnhof Square project is a genuine proposition. In a written response to questions, Freislich assured that “actual” construction work will commence in April 2014, which will include the station buildings, as well as the (Bahnhof Square) centre development.” The developers have the required permission from the Council to commence with construction, he said.

“The buildings plans were submitted on Monday (11 February) and we await approval with-in the next two weeks. The Council gave us approval to commence with earthworks prior to plan approval. Therefore all is in place,” he said, adding that “Rezoning-wise everything is in place.” Asked whether setting up more retail outlets in the current economic climate would be a viable proposition, Freislich said “The current retail in Swakopmund is scattered around the CBD (Central Business District) area and parking is a major problem for customers. It is the (Bahnhof Square developers') intention to create a one-stop convenience facility for all retailers and customers with adequate parking facilities and a variation of products.

He claims that leading retailers in town “will not open “another” shop in the centre and will close their existing stores in the CBD and trade from the planned development.” He feels though that “The CBD of Swakopmund will still be vibrant due to the tourist attractions and other historical buildings situated within the CBD. The space will not be left open and some or other coffee shop or other similar tenant will occupy the space in the future.”

Once completed, the multi-year phased Bahnhof development is expected to accommodate around 1 000 residents, 2 000 office workers and thousands of daily shoppers. Core investment funding for the N$360 million shop-ping centre was said to be in place already last year, based on pre-leasing of 70% of the shops.
Billed as the largest shopping mall in the Erongo, it will have Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Henties Bay and the surrounding mines as its catchment area and is banking on the further development of new mines. The developers say it would create up to 600 jobs during the construction phase and 1 500 jobs once the centre opens.

Prominent local businessmen, Paulo Shipoke and Steven Skoppelitus of Stark Property Development CC were the initial backers of the project, which took shape after Shipoke approached Transnamib and Skoppelitus to jointly develop the Bahnhof Square and Lifestyle Centre near the new train station on a piece of “underutilised” land spread over two large plots, measuring well over 180 000 square metres. Bahnhof Square Developments entered into a joint venture with South-African-based construction company, Eris Property, which recently completed a major construction project in Tsumeb.

They intend to construct 400 apartments, a massive shopping centre, motor dealerships and upmarket offices. Construction of the shopping centre and railway station would be part of the first phase, followed by a Lifestyle Centre to the west. In 2012 Shipoke told the press the initial cost would be N$400 million and this could rise to N$1.2 billion by the time the project is finalised in 2017. The start of construction has however been postponed several times. Construction work was initially set to begin in mid-2012, but the developers announced last year that it would commence during October 2013 and would take 17 to 18 months to complete. It is now set to start in April.
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Possible strike at Air Namibia

Namibia’s national airline is faced with a possible strike following a deadlock in wage negotiations with the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU).
Air Namibia yesterday alerted its passengers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders of possible flight and service disruptions if the union votes in favour of industrial action.
Workers at the company started the strike ballot last week Friday and continued throughout yesterday.
“After the ballot results become known the company will be given 48 hours’ notice informing them of the time and date when the strike will commence,” Likius Vilho, the Deputy General Secretary of NATAU, said yesterday.
The Head of Corporate Communications at Air Namibia, Paulus Nakawa, said if the strike goes ahead, the public should anticipate some unavoidable delays and a reduction in general service levels which Air Namibia will aim to minimise and manage. Nakawa said that Air Namibia granted a 6.4% across-the-board salary increase in May 2013 as part of its commitment to keep up with the cost of living.
According to Nakawa, the union rejected the increase as having been made unilaterally, declared a dispute with the Office of the Labour Commissioner and was issued a certificate of unresolved dispute on November 18 last year.
Several engagements have taken place, including mediation by the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, after which a proposal was made to NATAU that increases of 9% be given to employees in the A-band, 7.25% to the B-band and 7% to the C-band this year.
NATAU rejected this proposal, said Nakawa.
“This is most unfortunate because considering the recent salary increments offered by other State-owned enterprises and the market in general, and the challenging industry in which Air Namibia operates, we believe we made a reasonable offer to NATAU to address the concerns raised by employees,” said the Managing Director of Air Namibia, Theo Namases.
She continued, “We are satisfied that we have done everything in our power and within our financial constraints to avert the possible strike action by NATAU.
We are very aware of the negative impact of another strike on Air Namibia but we must however respect the democratic right of NATAU members to ballot.”
Vilho said the union has allowed Air Namibia ample time to reconsider the issuance of the certificate of unresolved dispute, but it is evident that the company does not consider the matter as a serious one.
“Our members are forced to take drastic action in an attempt for their pleas and demands to be heard by Air Namibia’s management.”

Rundu, Namibia: another crocodile attack

The police in the two Kavango regions have once again urged residents to be extra cautious when making use of the river.

The warning comes in the wake of a drowning at Mupini village in Kavango West on Thursday as well as a crocodile attack on Friday.

The deadly croc attack occurred at Kake village in Kavango East where a pregnant woman Stephania Kakuru, 25, was attacked by a crocodile at about 08h00 and the crocodile has not yet been caught.

Her body was later recovered.

A 46-year-old woman drowned last Thursday at Mupini village where her body was recovered. She has been identified as Mbalasha Malakia.

“People should be careful, especially now that the river water level is high, this is the time when the river becomes dangerous, we can’t tell people to stay away from the river as it is a source of many things for the people living near it. But please be careful, be in someone’s company and I’m sure they know the safe spots, “ said Chief Inspector Chrispin Mubebo the spokesperson for the Namibian police in both Kavango East and West.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Namibia: MTC Money - digital money revolution

Namibian cellphone service provider giant, Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC), and local mobile financial services provider MobiPay, have announced a major deal to provide customers with a new product called MTC Money.
Speaking at the launch of the product yesterday, MobiPay board chairman Amos Shiyuka said that, “mobile money presents an opportunity to empower large segments of the population by providing access to finance through open access ecosystems, enabled by mobile telecommunications companies such as MTC.” “As a registered and licensed payment service provider, licensed by Bank of Namibia, Mobipay has strategically formed a partnership to provide mobile money to all MTC customers,” he said.
MTC’s chief for human capital and corporate affairs, Tim Ekandjo said that, “when MTC looks at a mobile phone, we see more than just a device to make calls and send text messages.
We see a new tool in the hands of the globally mobile workforce, and an interacted connection to family and friends. With more than two million mobile subscribers, it is clear that mobile platforms have become an essential element of our customers’ lives.” He explained that offering customers multiple pro-
ducts, multiple platforms, and the convenience of choice is a key part of MTC’s business strategy. “One can say that we are bringing mobile payment solutions to the unbanked; we are investing in communities and giving them convenience and affordability.
This is especially relevant for Namibia, as the market for financial services has yet to fully mature, whereas the mobile phone revolution has taken one step into the realms of global village connectivity,” he said.
According to Shiyuka, “MTC Money will give access to the entire MTC database and will create the possibility and opportunity to deliver financial inclusion to all Namibians, and especially to poorer communities by leveraging secure and low-cost mobile transactions.”
MTC Money allows customers to use cellphones to transfer, withdraw and deposit money, buy airtime or electricity, pay bills and make point of sale payments at any MTC Mobile Home or MobiPay agent or merchant. According to its website, MobiPay currently has more the 180 agents across the country, including Woermann Brock, Pick‘n Pay, and NamPost outlets.
The service is available everywhere that MTC has signal coverage, features no registration or monthly fees, and also includes subscribers of other local cellphone service providers.

Namibia: Black rhino hunt goes ahead

The envisioned controversial trophy hunt of an aged male black rhinoceros in Namibia by an American hunter, Corey Knowlton, will go ahead once the 2014 hunting season is officially opened, despite widespread condemnation of the killing of the animal in the name of conservation.
This was this week revealed by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) Simeon Negumbo. Namibia’s annual hunting season commences in February until 30 November.
Knowlton bid N$3,7 million (US$350 000) for the permit auctioned by the Dallas Safari Club through the Namibian government tender in January 2014. The 35-year-old Dallas native is a hunting consultant for The Hunting Consortium, an international guide service. His history indicates that he has hunted more than 120 species around the world.
The ministry sold the hunting quota to the United States based Dallas Safari Club through a tender process in 2013, after the ministry was approached with a proposal to auction one black rhinoceros directly to foreign hunters. Negumbo said that the revenue generated will be re-invested to cover the costs of conservation-related programmes which are all costly. “In accordance with our laws, conservation of such animals is sustainable and it is required for the community to benefit for sustainably protecting the rhinoceros. When the community benefits through such activities, poaching will be discouraged and ultimately limited,” Negumbo opined.
Besides Knowlton’s hunt, Negumbo said government tendered out at N$1,8 million and N$2,1 million respectively, approved and witnessed the hunting of two other black rhinoceros by two Namibian companies in November 2013.
Trophy hunting on state land began in 2009, after the practice was approved by Cabinet and the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Namibia’s trophy-hunting industry ranks third in Africa, after Tanzania and South Africa.

Namibia: retirement mansion for Pohamba

A well-hidden budget allocation has revealed the construction of a luxury retirement mansion for the Head of State, Hifikepunye Pohamba, in the posh Auasblick suburb with a view on State House that he currently occupies.
No trace of tender procedures could be found, but yesterday afternoon with the tabling of the budget for the 2014/2015 financial year by Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the building site in Auasblick was pointed out by senior officials where the foundation of the retirement house of N$35,7 million is being built (see picture).
In terms of the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) 2014/2015 (development programs) “the project is focusing on the construction of the resident facilities”, and will provide accommodation and security to President Pohamba.
An amount of N$3,25 million would be spent on the feasibility study, design and supervision.
However, according to the officials the money budgeted for this project could be insufficient to build a mansion of this calibre, and the funds expenditure could rise up to N$100 million.
A Chinese company started with construction of this elaborate double-story mansion apparently at the beginning of this year.
The construction of the house at the expense of the ratepayers, which should be completed before March next year, is an additional benefit for Pohamba, apart from the pension and benefits for former presidents.
The pension and benefits include a monthly pension equal to his current basic salary, as well as payment of a gratuity of an amount equal to the annual salary payable to him before he ceases to hold office as president.
The construction of the Pohamba mansion was allocated to Qingdao Construction, the same Chinese company which built the Sam Nujoma Foundation at a cost of about N$60 million.
In another surprise move, the City of Windhoek apparently donated the two erven, totaling about 5 400 square meters, on which the house is being built in the Auasblick suburb. To buy the erven would have cost the man in the street about N$8 million.
The MTEF (development programs) confirmed that the erven were a grant from the City of Windhoek.
The ground floor will, inter alia, consist of four garages for vehicles, three guest rooms, and a dining area for 30 persons, main guest lounge, as well as a private lounge, kitchen and laundry room, bar and braai area, a double volume lobby, and a library and office.
The top floor will have three family bedrooms, accommodation for staff, another two bedrooms, a family lounge, gym and a helicopter landing space.
Pohamba will step down as Head of State on 20 March next year.

Namibian cartoon

Бывшего конгрессмена США депортировали из Зимбабве

Бывшего конгрессмена-демократа США Мелвина Рейнольдса, отбывшего в США 4 года за изнасилование, депортировали из Зимбабве за нарушение миграционных законов, сообщил AFP его адвокат Артур Гурира. Его также обвиняли в хранении порнографии, но эти обвинения суд отклонил.

Суд в Зимбабве постановил депортировать 62-летнего Рейнольдса после отбытия им пяти дней в тюрьме или оплаты штрафа в $100. Экс-конгрессмен выбрал второй вариант.

18 февраля бывшего политика арестовали за нарушение миграционного законодательства и хранение порнографии. Один из близких к экс-конгрессмену людей рассказал, что Рейнольдс снял около 100 видео и 2 тысяч фотографий, на которых изображены не менее 10 обнаженных девушек, включая «известных моделей». По его словам, у бывшего политика есть неоплаченные счета в двух отелях на общую сумму в $24,5 тысячи долларов.

«Его проездные документы не были своевременно оформлены, и он несколько раз приводил девушек к себе в отель. Он нанял пятерых человек, включая личного водителя и персонального помощника», — уточнил другой знакомый с ситуацией источник и добавил, что Рейнольдс прибыл в Зимбабве 13 ноября 2013 года, ему выдали 14-дневную визу, которую бывший политик позднее обновил. С 10 декабря экс-парламентарий находился в стране нелегально.

Демократ Мелвин Рейнольдс стал конгрессменом от штата Иллинойс в 1993 году. В 1995 году его признали виновным по 12 пунктам сексуального насилия, в том числе за изнасилование 16-летней девушки, бывшей волонтером во время его кампании в 1992 году. Его должны были выпустить в 1998 году, но годом ранее его признали виновным в банковских махинациях. На свободу он вышел в 2001 году, его помиловал занимавший тогда пост президента США Билл Клинтон.

Zimbabwe's Mugabe: "I am fit as a fiddle"

Marking his 90th birthday, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said he isn't ready to consider retirement.
"Why should it [retirement] be discussed when it is not due?" he said in an interview broadcast on state television.
"The leadership still exists that runs the country. In other words I am still there... When the day comes and I retire... I do not want to leave my party in tatters. I want to leave it intact."
Mugabe claimed he is "fit as a fiddle", but appeared frail in the prerecorded televised interview, at times stumbling over his words and slumping in his chair.
Mugabe's actual birthday was on Friday when he was in Singapore for a cataract operation on his left eye, according to the president's office. Mugabe returned from Singapore on Saturday and celebrated his birthday at a sports stadium yesterday.
Yesterday's birthday celebrations, estimated to cost US$1 million (N$11 million), will be held in a 50 000-seat stadium in Marondera, 74 km east of Harare, where organisers said potholed streets have been repaired for the event.
Critics say Mugabe won't discuss his retirement because he wants to die in office.
"The truth is we are faced with a very sick president who doesn't want to retire," analyst Ibbo Mandaza told AP.
Mugabe's 90th birthday comes amid intense speculation on Zimbabwe's future when his grip on power loosens.
Vying to replace him are Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In July, Mugabe who has ruled the nation for 33 years since 1980, won disputed elections for another five-year term that will take him to age 94.
In his early years in power, Mugabe expanded public education and health services that were the envy of the continent.
But Zimbabwe's economy went into meltdown in 2000 after Mugabe ordered seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms, leading to the collapse of the agriculturally based economy, once the region's breadbasket.
Unemployment has soared to an estimated 80%. Hundreds of long established industries have closed, often blaming Mugabe's new black empowerment laws that compel companies to give black Zimbabweans 51% control.
Mugabe has blamed the economic slump on Western economic sanctions, mostly travel and banking bans imposed on him personally and his closest associated to protest human and democratic rights violations.
In recent weeks the country has been seen allegations of massive corruption in state enterprises at a time when many Zimbabweans are surviving on less than US$2 (N$22) a day.

Namibia: huge boost for tourism marketing

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has been allocated N$2.3 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period (2014/15 to 2016/17) for tourism marketing and to improve park infrastructure and tourist facilities.
For the next financial year N$725 million has been allocated to the ministry. The ministry is also aiming to collect revenue of N$64.3 million during the 2014/15 financial year.
The biggest sources of revenue for the ministry are park entrance fees (N$58 million), tourism concessions (N$3.5 million) and wildlife utilisation permits (N$1 million).
According to the MTEF report the Ministry of Environment and Tourism will sustainably manage 22 protected areas during this period to generate more than N$30 million a year for the State by 2016/17. It will also provide for socio-economic development and poverty alleviation through wildlife and tourism concessions in protected areas and other State land. Five concessions will be awarded in 2014/15, three concessions in 2015/16 and three concessions in 2016/17.
The Ministry will furthermore support the establishment of two tourism facilities for Namibia Wildlife Resorts by 2016/17.
A big chunk of the budget for this financial year is going towards Tourism Development and Gaming. With a total of N$104 million allocated, the programme focuses on the registration of illegal gambling operations and on the promotion and marketing of Namibia as tourist destination.
The purpose of this programme is to support environmentally and socio-economically beneficial tourism development. The programme also regulates the gaming industry and supports the social welfare system. The Wildlife and Protected Area Management programme was allocated N$241 million.
This programme promotes the conservation of natural resources and wildlife habitat in Namibia and ensures that wildlife resources are used sustainably.
It includes improving the efficiency of protecting and managing protected areas, increasing their socio-economic value through improved revenue generation, increasing their role in biodiversity protection through increased representation of the country’s biomes and biodiversity. This will enhance the role of protected areas as the main tourist attractions of Namibia.
An amount of N$49.7 million was allocated to the Protection and Management of Key Species and Natural Habitat, which aims at improving the efficiency of protecting and managing key species and natural resources.
The Environmental Management and Regulation Management programme was allocated N$52.1 million with the purpose of ensuring sustainable development by avoiding environmental degradation and non-sustainable use of renewable resources.
The ministry’s Planning, Co-ordination, Infrastructure Development, Maintenance and Monitoring and Evaluation programme was allocated N$146.1 million. This programme is responsible for policy planning and co-ordination of development co-operation and international programmes.
The programme is also responsible for the development and maintenance of infrastructure in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
Lastly, N$130 million was allocated to administration, co-ordination and investment by the ministry.

Namibia: Nedbank Cycle Challenge

There seems to be no stopping Namibia’s internationally acclaimed cycling wunderkind Costa Seibeb.

The 22-year-old cyclist left a strong field indulging some of the country’s leading cyclists lurking behind to cross the finishing line in an astonishing time of 2 hours 28 minutes and zero six seconds (2h 28’ 06’’) to clinch 1st spot in the gruelling 106-kilometer race of the 29th edition of the annual Nedbank Cycle Challenge that wound its way through the surrounding areas of Windhoek yesterday.

Seibeb got out of the blocks in a very competitive field of 188 cyclists – leaving the much improved and highly synched up cyclist to time his race to near faultless perfection.

The fast improving Seibeb calculated his race by staying put with the leading bunch before he broke free to stamp his authority and wrestle momentum at the halfway mark as the boys were separated from the men.

Seibeb showed no signs of fatigue after the race and said he enjoyed every minute of it, adding that he was looking forward to the upcoming national road race on February 28.

“It was a bit tough but nevertheless a good race in excellent cool weather conditions but I must applaud my team mates and all other fellow competitors for setting the pace while maintaining good discipline during the race.”

Loto Petrus and Pascal Markgraaff found themselves entangled in a photo finish to claim 2nd and 3rd place respectively with both cyclists clocking an identical time of 2 hours 28 minutes and 3-2 seconds.

It was second time lucky for veteran cyclist Irene Steyn, who cleared the field in the women’s 106-kilometer category to resurface first over the finishing line way ahead of her competitors.

The 36-year old Steyn finished runner-up last year.

The popular cycle challenge attracted a total of 1 080 cyclists competing in the 106 (188), 75 (319), 35 (341) and 20 (231)-kilometer categories.

Namibia participates in London Conference

Recently Namibia was one of 46 countries that signed the London Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade. The declaration outlines the steps that need to be taken to curb illegal wildlife trade globally.
Namibia’s delegate to the London Conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, was able to offer hope at the conference by sharing one of the “greatest wildlife recovery stories ever told”.

Namibia’s successful implementation of conservation policies has seen the country’s wildlife population rebound dramatically in the past two decades.

Despite poaching showing “its ugly face in our country” in 2012, when 78 elephants were poached, Nandi-Ndaitwah said that in response Namibia’s govern- ment acted swiftly and since 2012 only 30 elephants have been poached.

More than 25 000 elephants exist in Namibia currently, up from a mere 700 elephants in 1995.

During the past few years, Namibia has stepped up its anti-poaching measures, including policy and conservation law amendments, capacity development and increased use of technologies and tactics to fight poaching.

Furthermore Namibia has the largest population of free roaming black rhinos in the world, while in 1982 the species was nearly extinct. Namibia remains “the cheetah capital” globally, with more than 2 500 animals.

Much of the success of Namibia’s re-population of wildlife is linked to the successful implementation of the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme, which gives local communities access to state land and the power to manage the biodiversity in terms of both fauna and flora.

The minister noted that to date, Namibia has 78 conservancies run according

to the CBNRM model and more than 200 000 Namibians benefit.

“This programme has become a successful conservation drive and has resulted in the exceptional recovery of wildlife”, she said. In addition, the pro- gramme has seen a link between conservation activities and poverty reduction.

The minister admitted to her global colleagues that success in conservation “has come at a cost”. Due to increased wildlife in areas where human populations live, “incidents of human wildlife conflict are increasing, and consequently human lives and properties are lost”.

Put simply, Namibia’s policies on sustainable utilisation have become critical and in order to “create a balance for human and wildlife to co-exist” communities are annually allocated quotas for own use and for commercial use to earn an income for their livelihood from wild- life products. Nandi-Ndaitwah said that Namibia’s government “strongly believes that to effectively fight poaching, ensure sustainable conservation of wildlife, and bring an end to illegal trade on wildlife products. The communities who live with wildlife need to be empowered, so that, the would-be international criminal gangs will not get a chance to influence them and thus turn a blind eye on the poaching”.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Namibia: S&T balloons to N$700m. Government will not increase the N$600 old age pension


Government’s subsistence and travel (S&T) allowances, which have come under fire repeatedly in the past, are set to balloon to N$700 million during the 2014/15 financial year.
This is up by N$110 million from last year’s figure of N$590 million.
The chairperson of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee, Swanu MP Usutuaije Maamberua, said the increase could be linked to a number of things including the pivotal role Namibia is playing on the global stage, as well as efforts by the government to take its services to the regions.
“It is not so much about money but accountability. Are we getting value for money? Are we providing the services?” Maamberua asked yesterday.
The biggest S&T spenders are the police at over N$95 million, followed by Ministry of Health – N$65 million, Ministry of Environment and Tourism– N$55 million, Defence – N$54 million and the Ministry of Agriculture with N$53 million.
This is in stark contrast to the N$1.9 million allocated to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
These figures are contained in the ‘Estimates of Revenue, Income and Expenditure’ document tabled in the National Assembly this week as part of the national budget.
The document projects that S&T claims by civil servants will rise to N$760 million in the 2015/16 financial year and N$860 million in 2016/17.
S&T spending in the office of President Hifikepunye Pohamba will receive N$14.1 million, which is double the amount it spent in the current financial year.
Prime Minister Hage Geingob’s office last year spent N$9.5 million on S&T but will receive N$853 000 less than that amount this year.
The National Planning Commission, under Tom Alweendo, last year spent N$3.3 million on S&T but will now receive a handsome N$15.3 million from Treasury.
The ministry of agriculture will this year have to make do with N$53 million for S&T compared to the N$70 million spent last year.
Parliamentarians and the support staff of the National Assembly racked up a heavy S&T bill of N$15.6 million last year, and can look forward to getting only N$1 million more this year.

Maamberua said this figure may be justified if the government’s intention is to bring services closer to the nation by sending people such as agricultural extension officers, nurses, doctors and road inspectors into the regions.
“The figure can be reduced by the decentralisation of government services. But the [policy of] decentralisation is not working. It was conceptualised in the mid-90s but it has not been implemented yet.”
Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said S&T and the purchasing of new government vehicles are some of the drivers behind the large increase in the total budget for the year.
The government will spend close to N$1 billion on new cars this year.
“Six votes alone represented 60% of the increase in operational expenditure in 2014/15,” financial services company IJG Securities indicated in its budget analysis.
“Large increases in defence and education remuneration [add] almost N$3 billion of additional expenditure to the operational costs of government,” it added.


The heartbreaking news that government will not be increasing the N$600 old age pension this year has left the elderly to soldier on in poverty and misery.
This, coupled with the continued drought in the northern regions, has left many questioning why Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila did not include an increase for them as part of the country’s N$60 billion national budget announced on Wednesday.
The minister said the elderly will only get an increase during the 2015/16 financial year.
This comes amid huge food price hikes.
Paulina Kamanya, a 78-year-old pensioner from Ompumbu in the Oshana Region, claims that with the pension payout she receives every month she has to feed her family, buy toiletries and pay school fees for her grandchildren, among other things.
“Just do the mathematics. If I buy soap, body lotion, cooking oil and food for my family, there is very little left of the N$600 I receive every month,” said Kamanya.
With four grandchildren living under her roof, who all attend school, Kamanya added that she also has to buy school uniforms and make sure that there is always a little money available should one of the grandchildren fall ill.
Although four of her nine children are still alive, Kamanya insists that they do not financially aid her, as they also have families of their own to support.
“Two of my children work, but no one supports me because they have their own families to feed. I am entirely dependent on my pension and what I get from my mahangu field. With the poor rains we have been receiving though, I don’t have a lot of hope that we will produce any crops this year,” explained Kamanya.
“We were all looking forward to an increase of N$100 this year and I really don’t know how we will manage.”
Another pensioner at Ompumbu, 76-year-old Julia Joshua told Namibian Sun that although she received her pension just yesterday, she has only been left with N$300 after buying basic necessities.
“I bought bread for my grandchildren, sugar for tea, a few toiletries and meat for us to eat and half of my pension was up.
I was really looking forward to an additional N$100 on the pension payout,” said Joshua.
Joshua, whose husband died many years ago, has six grown children who occasionally assist in supplementing her pension that often doesn’t last all month.

“Some of my children support me financially, but others are struggling to take care of their own families. In fact, some of them brought their children to live with me because they are also struggling to take care of them,” she said.
Kamati Nekwaya, 75, from Omuthitu in the Omusati Region has expressed disappointment at government’s failure to increase their pension during an election year and at a time that many farmers are struggling after several years of drought.
Although Nekwaya does not financially support his grandchildren, he claims his money is mostly spent on his livestock and making sure that those living under his roof do not go to bed hungry.
“My wife is too young to receive pension, so we both have to survive on what I get. Most or all of them time, the money never reaches the next payout. Government should have thought long and hard before deciding against giving us an increase at a time when we need it the most,” said Nekwaya.

Namibia: commercial real estate boom

The countrywide boom in the real estate sector is now visible in Namibia, especially in Windhoek, which soon will be getting a largest commercial property development, the 54,000 sq m Mall of Namibia - The Grove.

South African property investment and development company Atterbury will develop Namibia’s largest single commercial property development, the Mall of Namibia - The Grove in Windhoek, with Demashuwa Properties and Safland Property Group.
Atterbury Property Developments MD James Ehlers says: “The three-levels of appealing shopping, restaurants and entertainment at The Grove will open in September 2014, launching Namibia’s dominant retail mall.”

The R1.3 billion Mall of Namibia - The Grove is at the heart of the Hilltop mixed-use estate in Windhoek’s fastest growing node, Klein Kuppe. This mixed-use estate will include a hotel, offices, apartments, medical centre and health and fitness centre. Already Mall of Namibia - The Grove’s neighbours include Food Lover’s Market and Metro, creating an exciting retail precinct in Namibia’s capital city, with superb access for local residents, visitors and tourists alike.

Mall of Namibia - The Grove has already secured Game, Shoprite, Woolworths, Edgars and Spar stores as anchor tenants.

“The development has been greeted with enthusiastic retailer interest for its 126 stores with most South African national retailers already represented in Namibia lining up to trade at Mall of Namibia - The Grove. Several retail brands have also chosen to make their Namibian debut at the Mall” says Cobus van Heerden, Retail Director at Atterbury Property Developments. “There is also keen interest from local Namibian retailers.”

Entertainment and restaurants are also key ingredients in Mall of Namibia - The Grove. It will include Namibia’s most cutting-edge cinema experience as well as a great variety of contemporary restaurants offering open-air dining under the African Sky, with spectacular views of Windhoek.

Other tenants already signed include Truworths, Dis-Chem, Jet, Tekkie Town, Pep, Ackermans, Jay Jay's, Legit, Sportsmans Warehouse, Rhapsody's, Vida E, Clicks, Spar, Cappuccino’s and Wimpy.

Van Heerden says: “Besides being a valuable retail asset for Namibia and a major tourist attraction, The Grove will boost the local economy with valuable employment generation.”

During its construction, Mall of Namibia - The Grove will create direct employment opportunities for 700 people. Once open, retailers and centre operations will create between 1,200 and 1,500 permanent employment opportunities.

The superlative design of this world-class mall is a product of collaboration between South African Boogertman Architects and Namibian Howard and Chamberlain.

Providing an excellent retail experience in an uplifting environment, Mall of Namibia - The Grove is designed to be accessible, whether shoppers visit the mall by car, foot or public transport and even for tourists visiting Namibia by aeroplane. It provides ample, secure parking on all three retail levels. The Grove is easy to reach from almost every suburb in Windhoek and enjoys simple access to two international airports.

South Africans are interested in buying property in Namibia

Namibia is experiencing increasing interest from South African home buyers, mainly among those seeking to acquire homes in Windhoek and leisure and residential properties in Swakopmund, says Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the Pam Golding Property group.
Dr Golding was speaking in Windhoek
Commented Dr Golding: “Due to its proximity, Namibia remains an attractive option for South Africans, including real estate investors looking to diversify their investment portfolios.  Many of the South African enquiries are for Swakopmund as the town is a sought after recreational centre. With similar banking and property laws, Namibia is a ‘familiar’ environment for South African investors – residential property can be purchased and sold without restrictions and offers sound returns.
“The appeal of the Namibian property market is further aided by the fact that Namibia is part of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community, which plays a significant role in facilitating trade between the countries. All indications are that this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Further positive news is that the Namibian economy is showing resilience in the face of the global economic challenges and we see the potential not only for growth but increased cross-border trade in regard to the Namibian and South African housing markets.
“We have every confidence that our Namibian operation will continue to increase market share as they imprint the PGP brand during 2013 in the central region of the country. In fact, a third PGP office is already planned for Walvisbay. Although a relatively small market, house price growth and activity levels in Namibia in general have been impressive. According to the latest House Price Index from FNB, in 2012 the average house price increase was 22 percent. Nationally, the average price for a small house was N$250 000, a medium sized house N$560 000 and a large house N$950 000. However in the larger centres, such as the capital city of Windhoek, prices are higher. We find that most activity is between N$1.5 million and N$3.5 million for houses, and between N$900 000 and N$2.5 million for new sectional title units,” said Dr Golding.
In addition to this, PGP Namibia is receiving enquiries from buyers in neighbouring Angola, particularly for Windhoek leisure, residential and commercial properties. Commented Leon Jooste, joint shareholder of PGP Namibia: “Namibia has become an attractive shopping and holiday destination for Angolans and the ongoing development of new transport infrastructure in Angola, together with a vibrant trade regime between these two countries, augurs well for this trend to continue and grow. Currently, enquiries for residential property in Namibia are 10 percent from South Africans, 20 percent from Angolans and the remainder from local buyers.
“From a business perspective, Namiba is also an excellent entry point from where investors can launch businesses into the rest of Africa. Windhoek makes a strong case for corporate headquarters with excellent support structures, good logistics and an appealing quality of life. Attractive investment opportunities are available in new developments in Windhoek and the immediate surrounds. Some of the most exciting opportunities are in new residential developments, where demand continues to significantly outstrip supply. New units priced between N$1.2 million and N$2.5 million offer the potential for sound capital growth and return on investment. In addition, there is also a strong demand for livestock and game farms all over the country, with prices having increased considerably due to high demand and the flourishing agriculture and tourism sectors,” said Jooste.
Added Paul Kruger, who is also a shareholder of PGP Namibia: “The trend towards the development of lifestyle estates is set to continue with a number of new estates in various stages of planning. One of these is the strategically located “Eros Valley Golf Estate” which is being conceptualised and is expected to become a successful world-class estate right in the middle of a Windhoek suburb. PGP is currently marketing Omeya Golf and Residential Oasis, Namibia’s first residential golf estate situated 25km south of Windhoek. Omeya offers a combination of different sized erven, sectional title units, a retirement component and a few commercial opportunities as part of the ‘village’ development.
“While most development in Namibia occurs in the major centres of Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvisbay, it is anticipated that a number of smaller towns will benefit by the emergence of new mines. Towns like Arandis in the Erongo Region and Otavi in the Otjozondjupa Region will receive an influx of new residents once the mines become a reality, which will create interesting opportunities for developers and investors.”
Kruger said in Namibia’s hospitality sector, many new attractive locations have been unlocked for tourism development. “There are many untapped opportunities for new products, along with current products available in a number of locations. Swakopmund remains one of the most popular tourist destinations and various B&B establishments are available in the market.” PGP Namibia also has an attractive portfolio of lodges on the market in various parts of the country, as well as an exclusive, upmarket boutique hotel in Windhoek.
Concluded Dr Golding: “In regard to the PGP group’s continued foray into markets in Africa, we will continue to look further afield to find real estate partners in East and West Africa, including possibilities in Tanzania and Angola, as we remain bullish and optimistic about the Africa region and specifically our opportunity to be the preferred property services company of choice throughout the continent over the medium-term.”
at an event which officially marked the successful launch of the new Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP) operation in Namibia, as well as the opening of a second PGP office this month (February) in Swakopmund. The event was attended by prominent local government and business leaders, including those involved in the property industry in Namibia. PGP Namibia provides a broad range of specialised and advisory services which include residential sales, letting and property management and property developments.

Namibia: This year Walvis Bay "Fishtival" is in April

This year's Walvis Bay Fishtival event will take place on 4 and 5 April at the Jan Wilken Stadium.

The Fishtival was previously known as the Fish Festival, and was first held in 2012. The organisers promised that this year's event will have much more to offer and will be different in comparison to the first event. The aim of the event is to promote the fishing industry and to support and develop young enterprises in the industry. It also provides a platform for businesses to link.“The fishing industry is the backbone of our beautiful town. We should therefore celebrate the contributions from the thriving industry in unison, and keep supporting it for it to keep on thriving,” said Mayor Uilika Nambahu at a press conference about the event.

The Walvis Bay Indoor Sport Complex will house 53 stalls with the focus on exhibiting products and services. There will be 10 outdoor food stalls on the rugby field with live entertainment, a playing area and activities for kids, a cultural area and also a restaurant. This year's event will be strictly about fish and seafood and will offer various products to consume. For those who are allergic to seafood there will be a chicken and meat stall.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Встреча президента Намибии с руководством дипмиссий

Белорусский дипломат принял участие в ежегодной встрече президента Намибии с руководством аккредитованных дипмиссий
Минск, 21 февраля. 17—21 февраля проходит рабочий визит посла Беларуси в ЮАР и Намибии по совместительству Андрея Молчана в Виндхук (Намибия).

Как сообщила пресс-служба МИД Беларуси, 19 февраля Молчан принял участие в ежегодной встрече главы намибийского государства Хификепунье Похамбы с руководством аккредитованных в Намибии дипломатических миссий. В рамках мероприятия глава белорусского диппредставительства провел беседу с президентом Намибии, во время которой были обсуждены перспективы расширения белорусско-намибийского взаимодействия.

На встрече посла Беларуси с премьер-министром Намибии Хаге Гейнгобом обсужден широкий круг вопросов двустороннего сотрудничества, в первую очередь в сфере промышленной кооперации, сельского хозяйства, поставок белорусской сложнотехнической продукции, участия белорусской стороны в проектах по развитию сельских районов Намибии.

Премьер-министр выразил заинтересованность в активизации контактов между Беларусью и Намибией, подтвердив готовность к налаживанию сотрудничества в различных сферах.

Запланированы также встречи Молчана с руководством министерств иностранных дел, торговли и промышленности, сельского хозяйства и торгово-промышленной палаты Намибии.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Составлена карта стран с самыми смертоносными в мире дорогами

В среднем 18 из 100 000 человек на планете ежегодно погибают в автокатастрофах, но в разных странах количество таких смертей тоже разное. Рекордсмен в этой ужасной категории - Намибия, где 45 человек из 100 000 ежегодно погибают в автомобильных авариях. А, например, на Мальдивах в ДТП погибают только два человека в год.

Большинство стран с самыми высокими показателями дорожного летального исхода располагаются в Африке, а самые низкие показатели — в основном в Европе. По данным Всемирной организации здравоохранения, уровень смертности в ДТП сравним с уровнем смертности от рака, болезней сердца и инсульта. Во многих странах мира смерть в автокатастрофе является основной причиной смерти людей.

Самый высокий процент смертельных случаев в ДТП наблюдается в Объединённых Арабских Эмиратах — 15,9% от общей смертности. Тем не менее, по количеству ежегодных смертей в ДТП ОАЭ занимают в списке 32 место. Такое несоответствие происходит в первую очередь потому, что в ОАЭ уровень смертности в целом низкий — ежегодно в этой стране умирает 155 человек из 100 000.

По сравнению с некоторыми африканскими странами разница огромна — например, в Чаде, стране с самым высоким уровнем смертности в мире, по разным причинам ежегодно умирают 1717 человек из 100 000.

В десятку стран с самым высоким уровнем смертности в ДТП входят:

    Намибия — 45 человек в год;
    Таиланд — 44;
    Иран — 38;
    Судан — 36;
    Свазиленд — 36;
    Венесуэла — 35;
    Конго — 34;
    Малави — 32;
    Доминиканская Республика — 32;
    Ирак — 32.

Namibia: Brandberg climb to support ending gender-based violence

Twenty five climbers, mainly young people, will embark on a mountain climb in the Brandberg area in support of ending gender-based violence.
The initiative is organised by Victims 2 Survivors to raise awareness and find solutions to end acts of violence against women. The climb takes place from 18 to 21 April 2013 at the Brandberg Mountain in Damaraland. The Brandberg is Namibia’s highest mountain,
According to Hem Matsi, founder of Victims 2 Survivors, the increase in gender-based violence prompted the Brandberg mountain climb following a similar initiative by the UN Women Regional Creative Artist Council called the Africa Unite Mount Kilimanjaro climb which took place from 5 to 9 March 2012 in Tanzania. Matsi is the country’s representative to the UN Women Regional Creative Artist Council and successfully completed the climb.
She said although many campaigns exist to fight gender-based violence, very few exist on finding solutions to the pervasive malaise. “We know that gender-based violence is mainly a youth problem hence we decided to get this group to climb Namibia’s highest mountain, Brandberg,” said Matsi, adding that even though the initiative is meant to be fun, the group will be discussing possible solutions to over come gender-based violence. “At the end of the day we will come up with tangible lasting solutions to finally end gender-based violence and present our solutions to the line ministries as well as all gender-based violence partners. From there, we will start with action and   implementation,” said Matsi
Matsi argues that crime is not a problem that should be left to the police alone but that communities should step in to help curbe crime including gender-based violence. She referred to her own experience when she was mugged and robbed of her handbag in the presence of onlookers who did little to help her. “I have come to realize that we as members of the public are perhaps too scared to report the perpetrators and instead we protect these criminals which should not be the case, we need to stop them and report them to the authorities other wise crime will continue to escalate,” the seemingly distraught Matsi elaborated.
The group of climbers is composed of journalists, poets, musicians, fashion designers, boxers and soccer players. Prominent names amongst the climbers include Dr. Elijah Ngurare, Swapo Party Youth League Secretary General, professional boxer The Rock and musicians Smokey, Dnaff and Frieda from Gal Level. Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Ministry of Gender, as well as Childline Lifeline Namibia are also expected to form part of the climbers.
Asked why he decided to join the group of climbers, musician Smokey said this initiative is an excellent platform to prove to victims of gender-based violence that they are not alone in the fight against the pandemic. “We will expose ourselves to the harsh environment all for a good cause,” he said.
Against the recent spate of rapes and killings of young women, Siegfried Neumann of the Men for Healthy Relationships, a local organisation that fight gender-based violence, says that many men who abuse their partners usually come from homes that have no values and norms. He believes that the death penalty is not the solution to end crimes. “ We live in a community where houses are headed by only one parent. We need to bring back the concept of both parents being present in our homes and balancing the upbringing of children, therefore establishing values and norms in our homes,” Neumann noted.
The initiative is sponsored by Social Security Commission, Shoprite, Coca Cola, National Youth Service, Hemline, Men for Healthy Relationships, NBC and the Kilimanjaro Initiative.

Windhoek, Namibia: another luxury apartment complex

Construction work is almost set to start on the mixed-use high-rise building that will comprise of upmarket retail shops and 11 floors of apartments.

A skyscraper in Namibian terms, the complex will be erected in the central business district of the capital and named the ‘77 On Independence’.

“This exciting development will include an upmarket retail floor on ground level as well as 11 apartment floors totalling 164 apartments.  All apartments have been sold and completion of the development is anticipated for the first quarter of 2016.  The apartments range from one to three-bedroom units and will include free access to an in-house gym and pool facilities,” said Marco Wenk, the Managing Director of Broll Namibia.

The development is a joint venture between the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group of Companies and Howard Chamberlain Architects. Broll Namibia, a subsidiary of the O&L Group, have been appointed as the exclusive sales and leasing agents for the development. Building work will start in the second quarter of 2014.

The building will, through its retail component, link Independence Avenue to the Old Breweries Craft Market, a precinct that already includes numerous high-quality retailers, businesses and service providers, as well as a gym, arts-and-crafts shops, exclusive hair salon, art gallery, a diamond retailer and various coffee shops.

With the recent rain that Windhoek received, some members of the public expressed their concern about the seemingly rising water at the site. “The erf on which 77 On Independence will be built has been vacant since the first quarter of 2012.  The property is situated above an underground water fountain and with time the ground water started to infiltrate through the surface.  The rising water level is being monitored by the project engineers to ensure that there is no risk to the adjacent buildings as well as the public.

With construction to commence in the next couple of months, the standing water matter will be addressed and should thus no longer be a cause for concern,” said Wenk.

Namibia: Goreangab (Windhoek) residents attack police

Residents of the Goreangab informal settlement yesterday attacked police officers with stones and damaged seven police vehicles.
City Police Chief Abraham Kanime confirmed the attack yesterday, saying the residents became violent towards the police who were demolishing an illegal shack in the area.

“The members of the community started throwing stones. We first tried to stop them by talking to them, but when it got worse we fired warning shots. No one was injured although they say we shot someone, which is not true,” Kanime said.

He said five people were arrested and are being charged for obstructing the police from carrying out their duties, instigating others to become violent, and damaging government property.

The police chief warned members of the community not to occupy land without council permission. He also called on citizens to report illegal structures.

A resident, who asked not to be named, condemned the demolition of the shack saying it was meant to be a shop since they do not have any shops nearby.

“In this area, we need a shop as most of the shops are very far. That is why we got angry and started attacking the police,” the resident said.

The last time members of the public fought the police was two years ago when some taxi drivers on strike engaged in running battles with City Police in Windhoek.

Windhoek City Police officers assigned to go and demolish a new shack in Goreangab yesterday were attacked with bottles and rocks by a mob.

The riotious mob of over a hundred were angered by the fact that the police were demolishing a shack shebeen. In return the police, who initially ran for cover from the  hail of flying bottles and rocks, fired tear-gas into the air to disperse the unruly mob. But the mob remained defiant and continued to throwing every conceivable missile they could lay their hands on at the police even after tear-gas was fired by the police. Police vehicles were also damaged during the riot as car windows were smashed with stones and both the police and journalists had to shield themselves behind their vehicles to dodge the fussilade of missiles.

Three of the protesters were arrested. Residents complained they needed land, but the government is not responding to their plight, but instead offers land to foreigners. “They gave land to the Chinese to do business in the area, they even have a farm here where they keep pigs and they have gardens there, but why can’t they give us land?

They bring their tent here wanting us to register to vote instead of bringing services to us, what are we going to vote for?” complained one resident. They further said they work extremely hard to build shacks for their children. “We can’t afford to buy houses, this is the only way to put a roof over our children’s heads and the City Police come and destroy it and when our children come home from school the house is not there,” said another. “Where are we going to live if they are not giving us free land to live?” queried another. New Era tried to get comment from the City of Windhoek’s public relations division, but no one was available to answer questions. However, one police officer said they will continue demolishing illegal shacks and they will not be intimidated in the execution of their duties.