REGION PAYS MORE ATTENTION TO LAWS AS PEOPLE DEMAND EQUITY

SADC: REGULATION/NBC/27/11/18 SABANews 1

SWAKOPMUND – The SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General is this year meeting in NAMIBIA.

SADC Legal Committee members (Pic. SADC)

The gathering in the NAMIBIAN coastal city of SWAKOPMUND comes amid increasing demand for justice in different social areas within member states and across borders.

NBC News says the delegates aim to implement the regional action plan designed to deal with a host of burning legal matters in the 16-member economic bloc.

It says issues to receive attention at the meeting are money laundering and terrorism funding; child abduction; human trafficking; gender-based violence; other organised crime, as well as regional, mutual legal cooperation.

The Acting Senior Legal Counsel of the Committee, NTHABISENG LIPHAPANG of LESOTHO, says the delegates will come up with recommendations on how to implement such pressing matters.

The official says their proposals will in turn help the SADC Secretariat and member states with a clear direction on the way forward.

Secretariat Legal Matters Chairperson BERDINE FOURIE of SOUTH AFRICA has handed over the chair to in the NAMIBIAN Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary ISSASKAR NDJOZE during the meeting.

Meanwhile, NAMIBIA has been hosting the Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General meeting at a time it is facing serious legal problems regarding the distribution of land in the country.

Most of the cases are linked to the events dating as far back as 1884, when GERMANY colonised the territory; during which the black population lost its homes and became farm labourers for the invaders or simply wondered from ONE place to another.

This week the WINDHOEK High Court has started hearing a case by EIGHT members of the HAI||OM SAN community, the largest and most widely dispersed SAN population in NAMIBIA.

NBC News says the complainants are seeking permission from the judges to apply for a Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of their ethnic community against the Government.

It says they are reclaiming ownership of the land covering the ETOSHA National Park and the MANGETTI WEST area north of TSUMEB Town in OSHIKOTO Region.

Long displaced San community living destitute lives (Pic. Agencies)

The national broadcaster says the majority of the people now live as farm workers, and they are demanding compensation or land measuring the size as the MANGETTI WEST and ETOSHA National Park.

It says the HAI||OM claim their ancestors are the original inhabitants of land of both the ETOSHA NATIONAL Park and MANGETTI WEST, before colonial governments forcefully evicted them without any alternative land to settle on.

There are about SIX-THOUSAND-500 HAI||OM SAN community members scattered across the country, and some TWO-THOUSAND-476 of them have agreed to support the plea to be represented by the EIGHT persons to restore their ancestral land rights.

Researchers say like many other SAN peoples in Southern AFRICA, the HAI||OM were dispossessed, marginalised, and discriminated against by other groups and by the colonial state.

They say the SOUTH WEST AFRICA Administration in 1949, appointed a Commission for the Preservation of the BUSHMEN under a former STELLENBOSCH University Professor, PIETER JOHANNES SCHOEMAN.

P J Schoeman, one of the architects of apartheid in SOUTH AFRICA (Pic. Agencies)

Professor SCHOEMAN is reportedly ONE of the architects of apartheid in SOUTH AFRICA, and the final report of his Commission that came out in 1953 ignored the HAI||OM, because he did not see them as authentic BUSHMEN.

Legal commentators say it is high time regional gatherings like the Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General meeting in NAMIBIA come up with practical ways to correct such gross legal imbalances in the SADC countries./Sabanews/cam

NORTHERN REGION REPORTS ANTHRAX OUTBREAK

NAMIBIA: LIVESTOCK/NBC/15/11/18 SABANews 1

SESFONTEIN – NAMIBIA has reported an outbreak of anthrax in the SESFONTEIN Area of the north-western region of KUNENE.

Their livestock is in danger from anthrax (Pic. Agencies)

Ministry of Agriculture Public Relations Officer MAGRETH KALO has issued a statement saying the outbreak has affected at least 13 people in SESFONTEIN.

She says 35 community members also ate meat from livestock that died in the SESRIEM veld area, but there has been no report of human deaths so far.

However, a total of 92 small stock like goats, THREE head of cattle and THREE donkeys died of anthrax at the beginning of this month in SESFONTEIN.

Ms KALO says the Agriculture and Health ministries are collaborating in efforts to contain the outbreak and have informed all farmers and other people in the area about the dangers of the disease.

Medical experts say anthrax symptoms and signs in humans include swollen and painful lymph glands, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, loss of appetite, fever, and sore throats.

NBC News says veterinary officers are investigating the disease within a radius of 30 kilometres of affected kraals, vaccinating exposed cattle, sheep, and goats in and around.

Meanwhile, more than 200 families in the neighbouring region of OHANGWENA have refused to barred health teams spraying against malaria into their homes.

The national broadcaster says the indoor residual spraying campaign started about TWO months ago, with the aim to scale up malaria control and eliminate the disease.

However, it says the efforts will not produce the desired results after some communities have refused to cooperate with the spray teams.

The Health and Social Services Ministry is also experiencing vehicle shortages, since it only has 20 of them available – as opposed to 43 required for 205 spray operators.

The Malaria Spray Program targets malaria-prone areas such as the NAMIBIA-ANGOLA Border, OKONGO and EENHANA municipalities.

The NAMIBIAN Anti-malaria campaign targets to spray more than 300-THOUSAND-500 households in OHANGWENA Region, which this year recorded ONE-THOUSAND-654 malaria cases and 29 fatalities./Sabanews/cam

PARLIAMENT INTRODUCED TO FIRST EVER LOCALLY PRODUCED COMPUTER

NAMIBIA: TECHNOLOGY/NBC/7/11/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – An instructor with the NAMIBIA Airforce School of Airpower Studies has successfully developed and introduced a locally manufactured computer into the market.

Information Technology helps improve education (Pic. OER Africa)

NBC News says the National Assembly has welcomed this FIRST ever locally assembled machine built on what is known as the Psychology Experiment Building Language, PEBL.

Designers say PEBL is a free psychology software for creating experiments that allows you to design your own experiments or use ready-made ones, and lets you exchange experiments freely without license or charge.

NBC News says VINCENT VAN WYK, a Chief Instructor at the NAMIBIAN Air Force School of Air-power Studies, started the PEBL project in 2015 and released it onto the local market ONE year later.

It says ruling SWAPO Parliamentarian PENDUKENI IIVULA-ITHANA has presented the computer in the National Assembly, describing it as a high tech central processing unit developed for all IT-related needs.

The national broadcaster also says the low-cost high tech computer will help ensure all NAMIBIAN children have access to ICT facilities, even in rural communities.

It says Information and Communication Technology Minister STANLEY SIMAATA has called on government departments to use the locally manufactured computer in their executive services.

He says the Public Procurement Act demands special treatment of domestic products, but some State institutions still import tools that are available locally.

Prime Minister SAARA KUUGONGELWA-AMADHILA has also added her voice to the call for use of locally made products.

She says the government has a policy that specifically directs the support to such goods, while developing their capacity to market them regionally and internationally.

The authorities in NAMIBIA have now developed a national plan to open a processing plant next year to enable local production of the PEBL based computer./Sabanews/cam

MOTORISTS FACE ANOTHER FUEL PRICE HIKE

NAMIBIA: TRANSPORT/NBC/6/11/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – Fuel prices in NAMIBIA are going up again, for the FIFTH time this year.

Vivo Energy Shell branded fuel service station in Windhoek Lafrenz industrial area (Pic. PetrolWorld)

Mines and Energy Minister TOM ALWEENDO says the latest round of increases will be effective from tomorrow (WEDNESDAY) night.

He says petrol will now cost 13 NAMIBIA dollars 58 cents per litre and all grades of diesel will be 14 NAMIBIA dollars 40 cents per litre.

Minister ALWEENDO says continued depreciation of the NAMIBIA dollar against the US dollar has contributed to the rising cost of fuel.

Prices had remained unchanged from FEBRUARY to JUNE this year, when petrol cost 11 NAMIBIA dollars 70 cents per litre.

The FIRST fuel price increases were in JUNE, when the cost of petrol went up 60 cents and diesel prices rose above 12 NAMIBIA dollars 30 cents.

Prices went up the following month to bring the cost of petrol to 12 dollars 40 cents per litre and 12 dollars 55 cents within weeks.

Fuel prices increased by 40 cents a litre in SEPTEMBER, and the latest increases have pushed up the cost by a further 50 cents per litre for petrol and 70 cents per litre for diesel.

The cost of fuel, both petrol and diesel, in NAMIBIA is State-regulated, which means there will be uniform prices at every fuel station at any given time./Sabanews/cam

LAND REFORMS LIKELY TO TAKE NEW TURN AFTER CONFERENCE (Exclusive)

NAMIBIA: LAND/NBC/17/10/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – The government of NAMIBIA has finally released the full list of people who have benefitted from the national land reforms since independence in MARCH 1990.

Communal Land Development Program at Amarika village (Pic. NBC News)

The Ministry of Land Reform document says out of a population of TWO-POINT-ONE-MILLION, only FIVE-THOUSAND-731 people benefited from the National Resettlement Program schemes carried out on 494 farms.

NBC News quotes Ombudsman JOHN WALTERS as saying his Office has received the list, as Minister UTONI NUJOMA promised at the recent SECOND National Land Conference, to which leading groups like the NAMIBIAN AGRICULTURAL UNION also contributed.

Roelie Venter, Namibian Agricultural Union Executive Manager (Pic. NBC News)

The broadcaster says Ombudsman WALTERS is scheduled to go through the record before making it available on the official website.

It says the latest development follows continuous calls before, during, and after the SECOND National Land Conference for the government to reveal names of people who have benefitted from the land reforms so far.

Ombudsman WALTERS has described the Conference as a success, saying despite most of the views from delegates being of a general nature, discussions were inclusive and created a window for everyone to speak.

Like other nations such as TANZANIA, ZAMBIA, ANGOLA, MOZAMBIQUE, and ZIMBABWE, NAMIBIA was under colonial rule for more than a century – during which thousands of its people were killed as they fought for freedom.

Yet, some 134 years after the seizure of residential and farmlands from black communities by foreign settlers, and 28 years after independence, the SADC country still has to solve the major grievance of the liberation struggle – the land.

With the conclusion of the SECOND National Land Conference and the release of the full list of the resettlement program beneficiaries, questions rise about how effective will be the new approaches (if any) to the matter.

Nevertheless, observers can benefit from TWO academics who may have managed to capture the major problems facing the authorities and the rest of the nation.

KAZEMBIRE ZEMBURUKA, a communications practitioner and lecturer in broadcast media, as well as YARUKEEKURO NDOROKAZE, a lawyer with the High Court and broadcaster, shared their views in the media TWO months ago.

Their article in THE PATRIOT newspaper says the so-called FIRST Land Conference of JUNE to JULY 1991 took place about 16 months into independence, with national reconciliation seemingly being the buzzword.

It says while the Conference accepted there was injustice regarding land acquisition and resolved practical moves be made, no specific action was agreed on – which means it is still work in progress.

Additionally, ancestral land claims are complicated issues due to overlapping boundaries of the different communities, which make restitution impossible: and the FIRST Conference failed to find a lasting solution.

Foreign ownership is a different matter because the Conference agreed foreigners should only get access to use and develop the land for investment purposes: but foreigners own large tracts of farmland, which means the resolution was not complied with.

As for abandoned and underutilised commercial land, the Conference resolved to reallocate and productively use it: but the government has failed to do so or to help communities trying to take action.

The academics say virgin land in the OTJOZONDJUPA, OMAHEKE, and KAVANGO WEST regions, as well as other pockets elsewhere, have always been seen as the answer to overgrazing in communal areas, but there seems to be little appetite to develop the areas.

They say the authorities are even ignoring the drilling of boreholes and finding a permanent solution to the gifblaar, a perennial shrub that is deadly poisonous to stock, or at least provide practical ways to co-habitat with the plant.

Absentee landlords also remain untouched despite the Conference resolution to expropriate their land, after the expropriation attempts stopped following a High Court ruling in the matter between GUNTER KESSL and the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement.

Nonetheless, the High Court provided guidelines on lawful expropriation and no subsequent attempts were made: and, given the nationalities involved and the political sway of their countries on domestic policy, the intervention may never see the light of day.

KAZEMBIRE ZEMBURUKA and YARUKEEKURO NDOROKAZE say the Conference agreed on banning occupation of large pieces of land and multiple ownership of farms.

They say no limit was set on the size of a farm per person, yet it would have been easier to limit the number of properties per person if there had been maximum farm sizes, and as long as such a position had the support of the necessary legal framework.

The 1991 Land Conference introduced land tax for commercial farmland and there might have been implementation challenges on the right level of taxation and the grace period, but the government deserves maximum points on the resolution.

The TWO academics also touch on other issues like Technical Committee on Commercial Farmland, Land Tenure, Farm Workers, Assistance to Commercial Farmers, and the Future Role of the Communal Areas.

Given the token successes of plans under the resolutions from the FRIST Land Conference, there are calls for the authorities in NAMIBIA to take seriously the declarations from the SECOND National Land Conference to avoid continued civil unrest./Sabanews/cam

FORMER COLONIAL BENEFICIARIES STILL HOLDING ONTO LAND

NAMIBIA: LIBERATION/NBC/5/10/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – Beneficiaries of the SOUTH AFRICAN apartheid system in NAMIBIA are still holding on to vast tracts of land at the expense of the majority population.

Records show about FOUR-THOUSAND, mostly white, commercial farmers own as much as 70 percent of all the arable land in the country – as a result of colonial settlement policies.

Landlessness still rife years after independence (Pic. DW)

The State, commercial farmers, and black farming groups have been trying to implement a peaceful and orderly land reform through government buyouts also with financial support from GERMAN, the former colonial power.

However, the government has only manage to acquire just SEVEN farms in the last 28 years since independence, amid growing desperation for settlements and resettlement by majority poor.

The Land Reform Ministry says the authorities bought all the SEVEN properties, measuring 27-THOUSAND hectares, at a cost of 16-POINT-SIX-MILLION NAMIBIA dollars (ONE-MILLION-134-THOUSAND-510 US dollars) in 2005.

Permanent Secretary PETER AMUTENYA says the Land Reform Ministry has never acquired any more land ever since then.

He says the State had initially identified 26 farms for takeover up until 2005, but only managed to get the SEVEN properties situated in the OMAHEKE, KHOMAS, and OTJOZONDJUPA regions.

Mr AMUTENYA says the absence of land expropriation criteria, inflation of prices by commercial farmers, and legal gaps in the 1995 Agricultural Land Reform Act have been stalling the national resettlement process.

However, the government successfully tables a new law last year and the Lands Ministry is explaining the revised expropriation policy at the ongoing National Land Conference.

The gathering comes amid serious imbalances in the ownership and occupation of land in NAMIBIA, where blacks with access to bank loans occupy 16 percent of it while the State owns a mere FOUR percent on which it has been trying to squeeze the majority.

The NAMIBIA Statistics Agency has carried out an audit that reveals 250 farms are in the hands of foreigners.

Meanwhile, delegates to the SECOND National Land Conference underway in the capital, WINDHOEK, have also identified access to land as a fundamental challenge to housing in urban areas.

They say it is expensive to acquire land, service the property, and develop the necessary infrastructure – since private companies driven by profit carry out the servicing.

The delegates have called on the authorities to reverse the situation in the best interest of the masses, especially by revising the model of Public Private Partnership.

A member of the SHACK DWELLERS’ FEDERATION says the Conference should adopt a policy aimed to increase community-based land delivery processes for low and ultra-low income earners.

EDITH MBANGA says the worsening state of access to shelter and security of tenure will result in severe overcrowding, homelessness, as well as environmental health problems.

She blames such conditions on the lack of critical infrastructure, the affordability gaps, and the inefficient control of development.

The NAMIBIAN woman says the situation is forcing the urban poor and a large segment of low and moderate-income groups to rely on informal shelter, causing increased unplanned settlements in cities./Sabanews/cam

HUNDREDS ATTEND NATIONAL LAND CONFERENCE

NAMIBIA: LAND/NBC/3/10/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – At least 800 people from different sectors of society are attending the SECOND National Land Conference of NAMIBIA in the capital, WINDHOEK.

Second National Land Conference underway (Pic. NBC)

The gathering comes amid high hopes of finalising the major grievance that caused the SOUTH WEST AFRICA PEOPLE’S ORGANISATION, SWAPO, to wage war against colonialism.

NBC News says delegates are to review progress made in the implementation of the FIRST Conference held in 1991, ONE year after independence from apartheid SOUTH AFRICA.

It says their task includes revision of the willing-seller-willing-buyer principle the State has followed to acquire farms for poor black communities, as well as the issues of ancestral land.

The willing-seller-willing-buyer concept requires the authorities to buy farms from commercial farmers for allocation to previously disadvantaged people

The government says it has spent some THREE-COMMA-THREE-BILLION NAMIBIA dollars (about 230-MILLION US dollars) on work meant to address the matter so far.

Land Reform Minister UTONI NUJOMA says the authorities spent the money on acquiring 549 farms measuring a combined total of THREE-POINT-TWO-MILLION hectares.

He has told delegates to the SECOND Land Conference the government bought the farms through the willing-seller-willing-buyer and Affirmative Action Loan Scheme programs.

Minister NUJOMA says they managed to resettle FIVE-THOUSAND-338 families, as well as register 119-THOUSAND-227 customary land rights and ONE-THOUSAND-204 leasehold rights.

The NAMIBIAN Member of Cabinet says the 24 resolutions of the 1991 Conference and the land guidelines in the Constitution have directed the work of his ministry all along./Sabanews/cam

MINISTER DEFENDS ECONOMIC AND EMPLOYMENT SCHEME

NAMIBIA: DEVELOPMENT/NBC/19/9/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – Finance Minister CALLE SCHLETTWEIN of NAMIBIA has defended the Targeted Intervention Program for Employment and Economic Growth in his country.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein (Pic. Agencies)

He says the scheme has not been a total failure like some people suggest, as it has created more than 15-THOUSAND permanent jobs and 87-THOUSAND part time ones.

Minister SCHLETTWEIN has responded to claims by POPULAR DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT President MCHENRY VENAANI.

The opposition leader alleges the authorities failed to implement the project fully and most of the funds were stolen.

Mr VENAANI has told journalists at a media briefing earlier this week the program was a total failure, which may have worsened the current economic slow-down.

He says most of the money for the Targeted Intervention Program for Employment and Economic Growth was stolen, and the State should avoid such a scheme in the future.

The opposition politician also says the benefits from project do not correspond with the billions of NAMIBIA dollars the Government pumped into it.

The government introduced the Targeted Intervention Program for Employment and Economic Growth during the 2011 to 2012 financial year.

Authorities say the plan has been to stimulate long-term economic growth by creating jobs in infrastructure development and other sectors.

The NAMIBIAN Government had earmarked some 13-THOUSAND NAMIBIA dollars for the scheme, but at least ONE-COMMA-SEVEN-BILLION dollars returned to the Treasury./Sabanews/cam

WOMEN CAMPAIGN FOR POSITIVE PERCEPTION OF MONTHLY PERIODS

NAMIBIA: GENDER/NBC/13/9/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – Biased social taboos about monthly periods continue to be deprived girls and women in NAMIBIA of chances to take part freely and easily in school and other social activities.

Healthy and comfortable facilities can improve female lives (Pic. Namibia Economist)

NBC News says the situation has driven the WOMEN’S ACTION FOR DEVELOPMENT to launch a campaign on menstrual hygiene management in the capital, WINDHOEK.

Biological experts long proved that the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg every month or so, if a woman becomes pregnant; but if such action fails, the body releases that lining through a process known as menstruation or a period.

However, monthly periods remain distorted among a number of cultural groups around the world – especially in AFRICA and ASIA, where the blood is associated with filthiness and shame.

The WOMEN’S ACTION FOR DEVELOPMENT in NAMIBIA says it is, therefore lobbying to counter the perceptions of impurity and disgrace that such cultures ascribe to menstruation.

The group has dubbed its campaign: My Periods is Awesome, with the aim to create a positive perception of menstruation and other natural processes in girl-children and women.

NBC News says a former Executive Director of the organisation has addressed delegates to the launch of the crusade, saying only 17 percent of female learners in rural areas have access to good sanitation facilities.

VERONICA DE KLERK also says 29 percent of schools in the SADC country have flushing toilets, while at least 25 percent of girls have toilets mixed with the ones used by boys.

She says such type of facilities available to girl-children during menstruation often force them to miss or drop out of school.

Ms DE KLERK says lack of suitable infrastructure robs women of healthy, safe, and hygienic menstrual management, as well as their privacy.

Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Permanent Secretary SANET STEENKAMP says NAMIBIA will only realise quality education when society takes care of the health of adolescent girls.

The WISE ECONOMY Association of SWEDEN, which says all humans have the right to live lives with dignity and independence, has funded the menstrual health campaign in NAMIBIA./Sabanews/cam

LAND OWNERSHIP LOBBY GROUP FORMS POLITICAL PARTY

NAMIBIA: POLITICS/NBC/6/9/18 SABANews 1

WINDHOEK – The pressure group LANDLESS PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT, LPM, of NAMIBIA has applied to the Electoral Commission to register as a political party.

Landless People’s Movement Leader Bernadus Swartbooi (Pic. The Namibian)

Logistics and Events National Co-ordinator IVAN SKRYWER has led the delegation that handed in their letter this (THURSDAY) morning at his office in the capital, WINDHOEK.

Commission Director THEO MUJORO has received the application and explained the process to the LPM leadership, saying he will contact the group when registration is complete.

The national broadcaster says the Constitution requires an application for new party to include proof of about THREE-THOUSAND-500 registered members, who hold voters’ cards, and a registration fee of 25-THOUSAND NAMIBIA dollars.

Meanwhile, THE NAMIBIAN quotes the LPM Chief Campaigner as saying his group is GOD fearing, and it will restore the dignity of people if elected into power during the 2019 national elections.

BERNADUS SWARTBOOI says people in urban areas will get free plots of land within the FIRST 100 days, and the LPM will expropriate farmland measuring TWO-MILLION.

However, he does not say whether, or not, the group that advocates for ancestral land restitution will expropriate land without compensation.

Mr SWARTBOOI says they want to reduce the size of the Cabinet, and the number of parastatals, as well as trim the government by merging some ministries into one in order to save the nation billions of dollars.

He has pledged job creation, especially for the youth, unlike the current administration that he claims focuses on a building model to allow politicians and permanent secretaries to line their pockets through shady construction tenders.

Mr SWARTBOOI has condemned the government for excluding the LPM from the planned OCTOBER Land Conference, which he also calls an agenda to marginalise further people who have already lost their land.

The NAMIBIAN pressure group leader has ruled out the ability of the HAGE GEINGOB Administration to deal with the land, alleging the State will be another respondent in land claims./Sabanews/cam