2 NEWS Thursday, July 20 2017 | NEW ERA Product of New Era Publication Corporation (Daniel Tjongarero House) Corner of Dr W Kulz and Kerby Streets Tel: 061 - 273 300 P/Bag 13364 Windhoek Registered as a newspaper, Certificate No. 06/08/91 EDITOR Chrispin Inambao firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL email@example.com Tel: +264 61 - 273 328 Fax: +264 61 - 235 419 EDITORIAL BOARD: Toivo Ndjebela, Chrispin Inambao, Desie Heita, Helvi Shaanika, Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro, Carlos Kambaekwa Supreme Court says NaCC has no jurisdiction over medical aid funds Edgar Brandt Windhoek The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) yesterday lost its ongoing fight against the Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds (NAMAF) when the Supreme Court ruled that the NaCC does not have jurisdiction over medical aid funds in the country. “The Supreme Court concluded that medical aid funds are not undertakings within the meaning of the Act and that the Commission does not have jurisdiction over them. As the constituent funds are not undertakings, it also followed that NAMAF also did not fall within that definition,” read the judgment by the Supreme Court. The ruling effectively overturns the earlier High Court decision, which had found in favour of the NaCC, It declared as illegal the practice of benchmarking tariff structures through the association of medical funds and asked NAMAF members to cease the practice forthwith. NaCC, in its initial court application, had said it was convinced that NAMAF and its medical aid fund members operated like a cartel by annually convening to agree beforehand on medical aid tariffs to charge consumers. This, the NaCC contended, was in violation of the country’s competition laws. On appeal, the Supreme Court found that whilst medical aid funds are businesses in the form of enterprises and are statutorily enjoined to apply sound business principles in their operations, this is to protect their members’ interests by ensuring the solvency of funds. “Being a ‘business’ did not mean that a fund’s economic activity is marketrelated for the purpose of achieving a gain or reward. The Medical Aid Funds Act precluded funds from distributing a surplus and rendered them non-profit concerns. “The social solidarity nature of funds in the context of the protective legislation governing and tightly regulating them and the statutory purpose of promoting funds meant that funds are not businesses carried on for gain or reward for the purpose of the definition of undertaking in the Act, which was also considered in the context of the purpose of the Act to promote and safeguard competition to provide consumers with competitive prices and product choices,” read the judgment. NAMAF, established under the Medical Aid Funds Act of 1995, and medical aid funds registered under the MAF Act, applied to the High Court for an order declaring that they are not undertakings, as contemplated by the Act and that the NaCC consequently has no jurisdiction over them. The NaCC had conducted an investigation under the MAF Act and notified NAMAF and the funds that their conduct in setting prices for medical services by setting benchmark tariffs after collective negotiations amounted to a contravention of Namibia’s competition laws, which prohibit concerted practices between undertakings, that directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices. NAMAF and the funds contended that they are not undertakings, as defined in the Act, because they do not carry on business for gain or reward. They also maintained that they were precluded by the MAF Act from distributing profits to fund members, or anyone else. They further held that the setting of benchmark tariffs was designed to achieve a noncommercial socio-economic objective, thus excluding that activity from the Act. NAMAF further argued that the issue of benchmark tariffs was authorised by the MAF Act and was as a result outside the jurisdiction of the NaCC. The NaCC disputed these contentions and opposed the application. The High Court rejected each of the arguments and dismissed the application. It found that the funds indeed fell within the definition of such an undertaking, as per the Act. The High Court referred to the definition of a medical aid fund in the MAF Act, which states that a fund is a business, and found that a fund operates for gain or reward, even if its profits are not distributed. The High Court had also ruled that the activity of utilising a benchmark tariff was not excluded from the stipulations of the Act. REGIONAL OFFICES Katima Mulilo Office: Tel: +264 66 - 253 049 Cell: +264 81 488 6594 / +264 81 124 2895 Rundu Office: Tel: +264 66 - 256 298 Cell +264 81 217 1888 firstname.lastname@example.org Ongwediva Office: Tel: +264 65 - 238 990 Fax: +264 65 - 231 305 email@example.com Tsumeb Office: Tel: +264 67 - 221 652 Cell: +264 81 456 8643 firstname.lastname@example.org Swakopmund Office: Cell: +264 81 217 9739 Cell: +264 81 204 8078 email@example.com Keetmanshoop Office: Tel: +264 63 - 222 057 Cell: +264 81 312 5975 firstname.lastname@example.org Luderitz Office: Tel: +264 63 - 204 180 Cell: +264 81 245 9714 email@example.com DISTRIBUTION & SUBSCRIPTIONS Ernst Apollus firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +264 61 - 273 326 Fax: +264 61 - 220 584 MARKETING, SALES & PRODUCTION Festus Goseb email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +264 61 - 273 322 Fax: +264 61 - 220 584 MAHAMA From page 1 power to meet its own needs, as well as to neighbouring southern African states. “It’s believed that Namibia is strategic in terms of stabilisation and increasing power supply in the whole of the Southern Africa region,” Mahama said. President Geingob said Namibia is not only strategically located, but is also the land of the brave and, hence, is ambitious in its aspirations. “While the population is very small, we dream big. It will be good that we sit down and exchange views on how we can develop energy sources. It’s a crisis in this part of the world’s driest area. “So, we are really having problems, but we would like to tackle it, both in terms of our energy mix and solar [power]. We also have uranium here. So, all this clean energy you are talking about, we will look for people to join and advise us. All options are open,” Geingob said. Mahama is also expected to meet Minister of Mines and Energy Obed GENOCIDE From page 1 Ovaherero and Nama communities from talks with Namibia regarding the genocide. On January 5, they filed a class action lawsuit against Germany with a U.S. federal court in New York under the Alien Tort Statute, a law dating back to 1789 often invoked in human rights cases. A pre-trial conference was held in New York on March 16. The hearing itself was postponed until July, as Germany failed to appoint counsel, despite the plaintiffs’ attempts to serve the complaint to the German Embassy in Washington. In April, the plaintiffs used a legal and litigation support company, Crowe Foreign Service, to serve notice on the defendant in Berlin. That was done via The Hague Service Convention, the method typically employed in serving judicial documents to a foreign Kandjoze to discuss possible energy projects. He said a special letter was already sent from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), expressing interest in collaborating with the Namibian government in power production. He, however, could not shed more light on the nature of the proposed projects, nor its funding components, saying only that it will depend on Namibia’s policies and those of the UAE. Mahama said two months ago he attended an African Development Bank meeting in India, where five priority areas were identified. Of the five selected areas, two were identified as critical, namely agriculture and power. He said he was selected at the meeting in India as one of the advocates for the provision of power: both renewable and clean energy on the African continent. He further noted that in Ghana they have done a lot to expand their power generation capacity, after the country went through a debilitating power crisis. “Our economy has been growing at a very frustrating six percent and above, and as a result, the demand for power kept on increasing… So, it got to the government. The Hague Service Convention is a treaty amongst dozens of countries allowing judicial documents to be processed from one country to another without the use of diplomatic channels, but in a June letter to Crowe Foreign Service, Germany refused to acknowledge the plaintiffs’ complaint. Germany holds that as the plaintiffs’ damages claims were derived from Germany’s sovereign actions, they have no basis under The Hague Convention, which is grounded in the service abroad of judicial documents relating to civil or commercial matters – not sovereign. Plaintiffs’ counsel, Ken McCallion, said Germany’s rejection of the summons “forces us to serve Germany through diplomatic means, through the U.S. State Department”. Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the law that defines jurisdiction of U.S. courts in cases against other countries, the next step is for the plaintiffs to initiate a “diplomatic service” on Germany. This means the point where demand outstripped supply. “We had to go into a load management fix, which was not popular with many people in Ghana. Probably, it was part of the reason that contributed to my loss of the election,” he remarked. Nonetheless, he said they put in place measures to fast-track power production and were now enjoying stable power supply. Therefore, he explained, they were looking at how to supply power to struggling nations with power deficits, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Fasso and Niger. He said the intention is to use solar, gas and other clean energy sources to expand power production. Mahama said since leaving office he has been engaged in several assignments to deepen democracy on the African continent, including resolving conflict in The Gambia, at the request of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He also expressed his condolences to Namibia for losing one of its iconic political leaders, late Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, who died last month at the age of 92. legal papers would be hand-delivered by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin to the German Foreign Ministry. Once the U.S. Embassy serves the summons and complaint on Germany, it is expected that Germany will appoint counsel. Should Germany not appear in court, the applicants believe they have sound basis for filing a motion for default judgment. McCallion has requested an adjournment of the July conference to allow time for the “diplomatic service” on Germany to be completed. Judge Laura Taylor Swain granted the request to postpone the case and rescheduled the conference to October 13. Historical records suggest more than 100,000 Ovaherero and Nama were killed in then German South West Africa during German colonial rule at the turn of the 19th century, and that they were robbed of vast areas of their ancestral homelands. Their descendants claim they remain displaced from that land today. RESIDENTS From page 1 The directive, however, seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as others are reportedly still clearing portions of land. Katima Mulilo’s public relations officer, Pasval Elijah, said last week they had a meeting with the group and instructed them to stop their actions and rather set up a committee that the town council could engage, to reach a mutual consensus. “This committee to be set up will be engaging with the town council. We decided on this because we realised that most of the people that are grabbing land are those that already have plots or houses, as well as those coming from the rural areas just for the purpose of grabbing land. “As for the committee, we would request them to write down the names of all the people that have cleared land at the area, so that we scrutinise, verify and establish those that are really in need,” she further explained. Elijah claimed that since the recent meeting some land grabbers have vacated the plots, but squatters that New Era spoke to yesterday said they were still on site and would remain firm in their resolve until council keeps its promise to allocate them land. They also threatened to stage a mass protest demonstration if the council does not urgently address the plight of the landless. Some said they had lost trust in the authorities after they abided by council’s earlier pledge to avail to the local community the needed residential plots.
Thursday, July 20 2017 | NEW ERA NEWS 3 Swanu calls for universal healthcare Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek Swanu president Tangeni Iijambo has called for the establishment of a universal government-run health plan whereby all Namibians would enjoy a socialized healthcare system. Addressing the media for the first time in months, Iijambo said if conditions are made conducive for people to expand mentally, physically and psychologically, a healthy, thriving nation would become inevitable. “The country has witnessed the constantly deteriorating situation of our healthcare system – insufficient drugs for all, a separate system for the well-to-do [from] the majority masses,” he said at a press conference held in Windhoek on Tuesday. “All Namibians must be registered with a medical aid and not just the current 16 percent elitist and segregator system,” he stressed. Iijambo said that due to the subjugation that most Namibians underwent, a kind of national counselling, rehabilitation and restoration is needed. Furthermore, Iijambo also touched on the issue of education, saying “considering the country’s abundant resources and the small population of roughly 2.3 million, Swanu of Namibia envisages uncompromised, complete funding of the sector.” “Emphasis with reflexive system concentration will be placed on vocational training in all its various dimensions,” he said, adding that regardless of all discriminatory aspects, quality education must ultimately entail people, particularly youth, empowerment. He said social-mental, physical, psychological and spiritual child-development centres up to postdoctoral studies should be effected countrywide. “A cultural revolution is Swanu president Tangeni Iijambo long overdue for this fragile nation.” Commenting on the country’s economy, Iijambo said political independence did not translate into the desired socio-economic policies and practices. “Any government entrusted with the responsibility of serving vulnerable Namibian people must see to the well-being of the nation,” he said, adding that Swanu is the trailblazer of fighting national poverty, high unemployment, endemic nation-draining corruption, destructive nepotism and serious inequalities that are negatively affecting the nation. He said unacceptable social injustice and, as per the Gini co-efficient, and continuous unequal distribution of resources among the population are detrimental to the common economy. “Numerous presidential commissions such as [concerning] the GIPF, Development Bridge and Social Security would be informative if released to avert the current economic slump the country finds itself in.” He said the SME Bankgate is the latest “tip of the dune” which warrants the highest authorities in the country to intervene. Iijambo is Swanu’s 7th president. He replaces Usutuaije Maamberua who had served the party in that position for 10 years since 2007. Eveline de Klerk Walvis Bay The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) manager for Walvis Bay Airport, Chrizelda George, was arrested on Tuesday at the airport. The 32-year-old George stands accused of abusing her power as a manager when she allegedly stopped a customs and excise official from searching a fellow NAC employee upon arrival on Friday. NAC airport manager arrested It is not clear whether the NAC employee in question was arriving from a domestic or international flight. The law requires all persons to be searched upon arrival and departure except VIPs such as the president and first lady, vicepresident, prime minister, who are usually received or seen off at the airport by protocol officers. Unhappy customs officials on Friday allegedly questioned George about her behaviour, which resulted in a confrontation during which she allegedly also grabbed an NAC access card from one of them. An emergency meeting was then held on Friday shortly after the incident so that George could explain herself but she allegedly refused to do so. This resulted in customs and excise laying a charge against her on Tuesday, leading to her arrest the same day. Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu confirmed the case to New Era yesterday morning saying that George was charged under the Customs and Excise Act of 1998. An enquiry at the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court revealed that George was granted bail of N,000 after her legal representative, Richard Metcalfe, arranged so with the control public prosecutor, which avoided her being detained. She made her first appearance in court yesterday and the magistrate John Sindano postponed the case to August 24 on request of the public prosecutor, Tresia Hafeni, to obtain outstanding statements. Couple in court for possessing cocaine worth N million Maria Amakali Windhoek A couple accused of possession of cocaine worth N million were denied bail in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Enasi Costa, 46, and her partner Elvis Lubaki, 43, made their first appearance before magistrate Bernadine Kubersky for dealing in cocaine. The prosecution opposed the two being granted bail on the basis that they are a high flight risk and investigations Photo: Nampa Cocaine, photo for illustration purposes are still at an early stage. The prosecution alleges the duo unlawfully dealt with a dangerous dependenceproducing drug, which was found to be cocaine. The prosecution further notes that the duo were found in possession of 4.1kg of cocaine with a street value of N million. Namibian police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said the two were indeed arrested on Monday following a report by a taxi driver. The male suspect’s vehicle rammed into a taxi on the corner of Daan Viljoen and Otjomuise roads. “After hitting the taxi, he grabbed a bag and tried to flee the scene but the taxi driver caught up with him,” said Kanguatjivi. Upon the police’s arrival a search was conducted and four blocks of cocaine were discovered in the vehicle of the accused, explained Kanguatjivi. The couple’s defence lawyer Leena Shikongo informed the court they would lodge a formal bail application on July 27. If convicted the two face a fine not exceeding N,000 or alternatively imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 years if they are first-time offenders. However, should they have been on the wrong side of the law before, they are likely to face jail time of up to 25 years or be fined an amount not exceeding N,000. The couple will remain detained at Wanaheda Police Station until their next appearance for their bail hearing.