2 NEWS Tuesday, August 15 2017 | NEW ERA Future leader… This photo of a child playing with a toy was taken at Endombo compounds in Tsumeb last week. The compounds previously belonged to employees of Tsumeb Corporation Limited (TCL) mines, but are now rented out to the general public. Most of the people living at the compounds are said to be low-income workers such as domestic workers and security guards. Photo: Contributed SCHLETTWEIN From page 1 Government needs to closely look at spending on such entities, he said, as they continue to suck the national coffers dry. The minister made the statement yesterday when addressing the recent downgrade by Moody’s Investor Services of Namibia’s international credit rating to sub-investment grade. The downgrade essentially put Namibia’s international bond issuances in the sub-investment category, or what is commonly referred to as “junk status”. The comments come at a time that Cabinet is considering the fate of the Roads Contractor Company, a state-owned construction company that is unable to pay the salaries of its staff, as well as that of the national rail and freight company, TransNamib. Many state-owned companies still rely on handouts from Treasury to survive, a situation that is currently untenable, given the economic challenges facing the country. While Schlettwein refuted many of the factors cited in Moody’s downgrade. He said government must move away from non-essential expenditure to spending only on the essentials. However, the finance minister stood firm in his view that the Namibian economy is now in a better position than in December 2016. “The [domestic economic] situation has not deteriorated and therefore we question the rating,” he said. He further said the process followed by Moody’s was not systematic, as government is developing the mid-year budget review, which he said would provide for better informed ratings action and a more effective country assessment would have benefited from the review due in October 2017. Also, new policy instruments, such as publicprivate partnerships and the Namibian Industrialisation Development Agency, as well as the ongoing public enterprises reforms support the fiscal consolidation efforts of government and will help put the economy back on a higher growth trajectory, as well as addressing the structural challenges of economic reliance on imported commodities, high unemployment and poverty. Schlettwein was also adamant that no additional borrowing has been incurred to pay for the outstanding invoices (to date N.7 billion worth of outstanding invoices have been paid) and said the funds paid were from government’s cash reserves and budgeted funds. “All borrowings undertaken this year are in line with the expectations in the budget and therefore the statement from Moody’s that there are ‘sizeable fiscal imbalances and an increase in debt burden’ does not hold,” he said. With regard to Moody’s assertion that Namibia’s fiscal strength has eroded due to sizeable fiscal imbalances and an increasing debt burden, Schlettwein said a review of the country’s rating only four months into the budget implementation for 2017/18 financial year is somewhat premature and therefore relies on a very narrow base, and may in fact contain speculative conclusions on the performance of the budget for the whole financial year. He added that the latest records from the fiscus indicate a current debt level of 41.9 percent, which is within the threshold of 42 percent for middle-income countries the size of Namibia to be considered sustainable. “The debt level of 43 percent is, therefore, overstated by Moody’s. Moreover, Namibia’s overall voluntary debt ceiling of 35 percent of GDP has been conservative and is well within the SADC convergence threshold of 60 percent of GDP,” the finance minister pointed out. NCA From page 1 The call by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry resulted in the two companies being awarded the abattoirs on July 1, 2016. Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa yesterday announced that government had found new operators for the two abattoirs and that this will ease the burden of farmers in the NCAs when it comes to marketing and selling their livestock. Meatco at the time of the closures said it had spent about N million during the 2014/15 financial year, which prompted it to instead introduce a mobile slaughter unit. Agriculture permanent secretary Percy Misika said government needed N million for the Oshakati slaughterhouse, while another N million is needed for Katima Mulilo for maintenance purposes. Misika said the funding would come from the European Development Fund, referring to an agreement signed recently between the European Union and the Namibian government. He also said the recent disease outbreaks and the problem of free-roaming wild buffaloes in the NCAs are not helping Namibia to be declared disease-free in those areas by the World Animal Organisation (OIE) that require laborious steps. He said although Namibia has entered into meat export agreements with various countries, China for example insists that the meat should come from Mouth and Feet Disease -free areas, as declared as such by the OIE, while Namibia is also still waiting on Zimbabwean veterinary officials to visit the country to inspect meat production facilities. Further, he said the meat from the NCAs can be bought by government for schools, prisons and hospitals, among other public institutions. Mutorwa said the myth that meat from the NCAs does not reach outside markets is unfounded. “I still remember when we went to Cape Town with Meatco. The meat is slaughtered in Oshakati and Katima Mulilo. The carcasses are taken to Walvis Bay and shipped to South Africa. That meat reaches the factory in Cape Town. “The whole cutting and value addition is done there and then the meat reaches top markets, such as Woolworths, and the prices that meat fetches is so high. Sometimes that meat reaches here and you are told that this meat is not from the NCAs,” he said. “We should not live with the myth that we produce what we don’t consume and consume what we don’t produce. It’s now too long, 27 years after independence that things we produce - whether it’s a diamond, meat or fish or raw meat. When it comes back you are told it’s not your meat. It’s your meat,” Mutorwa emphasised. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has also directed Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) to manage the abattoirs on behalf of the government. AMTA managing director Lucas Lungameni has accepted responsibility for the management of the abattoirs. SHANINGUA From page 1 According to Shaningwa, the Land Rover driven by Uolevi was approaching him at speed after he had gotten out of his car, following a collision in which the Land Rover had rammed into the rear of his car. With the intention to stop the Land Rover from running him over, Shaningua said, he took out his revolver - which was holstered on his belt - cocked it and started shooting at the wheels of the Land Rover. According to the judge, the accused’s version as to what happened was totally contradicted by the two eyewitnesses, who testified that the accused had already drawn his firearm when he alighted from his vehicle and not thereafter, as he claimed. “They further disputed that there was an unlawful attack on the accused and that the deceased charged down on the accused with his vehicle,” Liebenberg remarked. He said “both [witnesses] described how the accused immediately started shooting at the Discovery [Land Rover] the moment he stepped out of his vehicle”. “There had been no reversing, revving of the engine, or screeching of tyres, as testified by the accused,” the judge noted. He said an important aspect of the evidence of the two eyewitnesses is that at no stage was the accused’s life in any danger, as the vehicle passed him on the side. When asked why he did not simply move out of the way of the approaching vehicle, he said everything happened in a split-second and he was overcome with fear, Judge Liebenberg noted. This notwithstanding, Shaningua managed to move to the other side of the road with relative ease ahead of the fast approaching vehicle and did not elaborate on any of the alternative options open to him. “Both witnesses saw the accused continuously firing at the Discovery, which according to them slowly drove past him. Both said the first shots were fired either in the direction of the tyres or down into the ground, whilst those fired subsequently were aimed directly at the cabin of the vehicle,” Liebenberg stated. According to the judge, he was satisfied that the State had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Shaningua did not act in self defense when he fired the shots that killed Uolevi that night and that the defense he raised was a mere afterthought. He said he was satisfied that Shaningua acted with intent when he unlawfully fired several shots into the cabin of the deceased’s vehicle and thus he found Shaningua guilty of murder with intent – but not with direct intent.
Tuesday, August 15 2017 | NEW ERA NEWS 3 To pay or not to pay School Development Fund? Helvy Shaanika Ongwediva While government has dismissed as false the rumours concerning the alleged re-introduction of the School Development Fund (SDF) at government schools, there are some educators who actually wish the rumour were true. Although a number of school principals, mostly at primary and combined schools located among lowearning communities, are in favour of absolutely free education, principals at secondary schools, especially within towns, feel that SDF was a better option that helped to fund some of the day-to-day school operations. In 2012, government abolished SDF and schools have been receiving grants from the Ministry of Education. The educators, however, feel that the government grant is not enough to cater for school needs. As a result, some schools had to downgrade and cut on their usual spending to fit stretch the funds allocated by government. Others had to come up with extra activities such as school bazaars to raise funds so that they could maintain their standards. “The constitution is clear that primary education must be free, but when it comes to secondary education parents must pay. They can afford. Government should rather concentrate on primary education and tertiary education, which is more expensive than secondary education,” said a school principal from Oshana Region. Another teacher told New Era that government funding to schools “is a good idea, but only if it is sustainable and if government was giving the grant to schools at the beginning of the year”. “Now, the problem is that the government financial year starts in April while school begins in January. If the schools were getting the money in January, then schools will not cry for SDF,” another senior school teacher in Omusati Region adds. Schools that reside among the rural poor are, however, grateful that they are receiving a government grant, as the SDF was never enough to cover their daily operations. A principal at Ohangwena Region school said prior to the abolishment of the SDF, his school struggled to make end meet. “You cannot take a child out of school because of SDF, so it was difficult to enforce it. Some parents could obviously afford to pay, but they simply refused. In fact, there are children who are getting government grant as vulnerable but their parents too refused to pay SDF. Our community did not understand the importance of SDF, it was a struggle,” he said. This week, the Office of the President has refuted information that has been circulating on social media that government intends to make a U-turn on free education. According to the fake post circulating on social media, President Hange Geingob had cancelled free education because government could no longer sustain the expenditure. However, the secretary in the Office of the President, Albertus Aochamub, rebutted the information, saying there is no logic in the circulating text. Geingob sets tone on contest for Swapo positions Albertina Nakale Windhoek President Hage Geingob urged Swapo leaders at different levels not to allow the contending for positions to divert their focus from the primary aims and objectives of the party. He made the plea when he opened the just-ended Central Committee of the Swapo Party held over the weekend in Windhoek. He reminded the leadership that contestation is part of democracy, which the Swapo Party fought for and achieved, and thus the party shall continue to champion democracy within its structures. Giving the outcome of the meeting, Swapo Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba yesterday said the meeting discussed “issues pertaining to preparations for the party congress, which will take place later this year as well as the process and the pace of the renewal of mandates of the Swapo Party wings and regional structures.” Mbumba said the Central Committee “noted with appreciation that the Swapo Party Elders’ Council has concluded its elective congress in preparation for the party congress later this year”. Central Committee was also pleased that progress has been made regarding preparations for the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) congress scheduled for later this month in Katima Mulilo The party urged those in charge of the league to demonstrate leadership during what might become a hotly contested affair in Katima. The Central Committee also received and endorsed the regional conference reports of Erongo, Hardap, Ohangwena, Omusati, Otjozondjupa, Oshana, Oshikoto, //Karas, Kavango East, Khomas, Kunene and Zambezi regions. The newly elected and re-elected Swapo Party regional coordinators from the above-mentioned regions were sworn in as members of the Central Committee of the party. The Central Committee noted and condemned the irresponsible and destructive use of social media platforms to tarnish the names of especially the leadership of the party and the country. “The Central Committee also President Hage Geingob noted with concern the growing tendency of tribal expressions and utterances. In this regard, the Central Committee condemned such practices and called upon the rank and file leadership and membership of the party to desist from this practice forthwith,” Mbumba said. Mbumba said the President informed the meeting that Moody’s Investment Services had just downgraded Namibia’s long-term senior unsecured bond and issuer ratings to Ba1 from Baa3 and maintained the negative outlook. He expressed dismay over the rationale used by Moody’s Investment Services in downgrading Namibia, including the upcoming Swapo Party congress and the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections as these do not have any correlation whatsoever to the country’s liquidity position. Geingob stated that fiscal improvements regarding liquidity position have been totally ignored. Geingob further invited Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein to brief the Central Committee on the Moody’s downgrading of Namibia. Mbumba said Schlettwein informed the Central Committee that Moody’s Investor Services has downgraded Namibia to a “junk status”. Schlettwein stated categorically that the country does not agree with this assessment. Equally, he noted that a substantive rating change should have been preceded by an in-depth assessment and engagement of the Namibian authority. He further stated that the recent ratings were merely based on email exchanges on a single item of outstanding invoices. Mbumba reported the President further urged the Namibian people in general and Swapo Party members to choose the right words in exercising their democratic right of freedom of expression. Moreover, Mbumba noted Geingob condemned the incidences of tribalism that have been witnessed recently. He stated that Namibians have the right to criticise and to disagree but these should be done in a civilised manner. The President congratulated those candidates who were elected during the regional conferences and commended those who accepted defeat graciously. Geingob urged Namibians to be considerate of others and condemned the greedy ones who do not wish to share with others. He asserted the resolve of the government to introduce the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF). No alarming incidents of Congo Fever Staff reporter Windhoek Three people who were admitted for close monitoring of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) have been cleared after the blood results came out negative. A statement signed by Acting Permanent Secretary Bertha Katjivena states, “No alarming incidents have been reported from the Omusati Region, where the case originated from.” Last week, The Namibian newspaper reported that three people who were in contact with a man who died of Congo Fever were being kept in isolation at the Windhoek Central hospital. Katjivena stated that the regional veterinarian, and other concerned parties, are still working closely with the health team to contain any further spread of the disease. She said that in-service training of health professional for both private and public institutions is ongoing. “All necessary precautionary measures have been put in place to avoid further contamination and infection as per infection control protocol,” Katjivena said. Signs of Congo Fever include sudden onset of high fever, headache, back pain, joint pain, abdominal pain and dizziness or feeling that you are losing your balance and about to fall. A person can also experience neck pain and stiffness, bleeding, bruising, or a rash and the person who has been in contact with a person who has similar symptoms or animal infested with ticks or has had a tick bite. Katjivena further said in order to prevent Congo Fever people are advised to check for ticks after working with animals and remove them immediately using fine-tipped tweezers (or a thread) and protect hands. “Further, if the animals are infested with ticks spray them using a recommended acaridae to kill the ticks. The person is also advised to avoid direct physical contact with body fluids such as blood, saliva, vomit, stool, urine and sweat from infected persons. In case you get in contact with a suspected patient, wash your hands with soap and water immediately,” said Katjivena, among others. “African Leadership, Development & Sharing of National Resources” SAVE THE DATE Prof. Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba is coming to Windhoek for two events on the 06th September 2017. Join New Era Publication Corporation, as we host one of Africa’s leading Pan-Africanists and foremost homebred intellectuals. Watch this space! Brought to you by: