Daily Archives: November 22, 2012

‘Namibia has been transformed into a transit country, especially for human trafficking’

WINDHOEK; Namibia has been transformed into a transit country, especially for human trafficking, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has warned.

Patrick Nandago made this revelation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security during a public hearing of his ministry’s annual report for the period 2008/2009 to 2009/2010 yesterday.

Nandago said his ministry also rejected thousands of business visa applications, employment permits, permanent residence permits as well as temporary and study permits during the period under review.

The ministry approved 27 398 applications, and rejected 71 968 work visa applications during that period.

Anyone applying for a visa or permit must provide proof of his or her credibility by providing contact details to be used during his or her stay in Namibia.

‘Unfortunately, some withheld such information to qualify for a passport,’ Nandago said, adding that some individuals applied for visas or permits under false pretensions.

Eight alleged murder suspects denied bail

SWAKOPMUND; Eight suspects, including three minors, appeared in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court for the second time on Wednesday on a charge of murder.

They stand accused of being involved in an attack on 23-year-old Thaddeus Makambe in Swakopmund’s Mondesa residential area on 30 October.

Makambe died while being rushed to Windhoek for treatment.

The 20-year-old Patrick Snewe; George Bloodstaan, 20; Censley !Nanuseb, 29; Bonny Katamila, 18; Julius Lenga, 20; and three minors appeared before Magistrate Hannelie Prinsloo.

The magistrate postponed the matter to 24 January 2013 after Public Prosecutor Hezekiel Iipinge indicated that a response is still awaited from the Ministry of Justice’s Directorate of Legal Aid on applications for legal aid by the accused.

Prinsloo further explained to the accused and their respective guardians that the State is opposing bail and in light thereof, they would have to lodge a formal bail application if they want to be released on bail.

All of the accused indicated that they will apply for bail.

The Namibian Police Force (NamPol)’s acting Crime Investigations’ Coordinator for the Erongo Region, Detective Inspector Erastus Iikuyu told Nampa on a previous occasion that the group “kicked and stoned” Makambe.

“The victim was taken to the Swakopmund State Hospital shortly after the assault and was transferred to Windhoek, but he died while being transported there,” he said.

All the attackers remain in police custody.

Napa criticise national airliner for paying exorbitant wages to foreign pilots

WINDHOEK: The Namibia Airline Pilots’ Association (Napa) has criticised the national airliner for paying exorbitant wages to foreign pilots during the strike that started nearly a week ago.

In a media statement issued yesterday, Napa president Christian Schneider blamed the Air Namibia management for not finding an amicable solution through wage negotiations with the union, but instead opting to spend exorbitant amounts of money on employing foreign pilots to fly domestic and international routes.

Schneider said Air Namibia is able to prolong the strike through their employment of foreign pilots, many of whom cost the company more than double what a Namibian in the same position currently earns, adding that the total monthly cost of Napa’s demand is a fraction of the daily cost of this strike.

Air Namibia spokesperson Paulus Nakawa indicated to local media earlier that the strike is costing the company about N.dollars 5 million per day.

The pilots started striking last Friday, following a deadlock in salary negotiations between management and the association.

Management had offered a five per cent salary increase across the board, backdated to 01 April 2012, but this was rejected by the pilots.

Presidential Remuneration Bill sails through NC

WINDHOEK: The much-talked Presidential Remuneration and Other Benefits Bill aimed at providing for payment of remuneration and other benefits to the president and his spouse, in addition to providing for “incidental matters”, has sailed through the National Council (NC) on Thursday.

This bill together with the Former Presidents’ Pension and Other Benefits Amendment Bill as well as the Financial Intelligence Bill were unanimously passed by members of the House of Review (NC) without amendments or objections this (Thursday) morning.

The three bills were passed after they went through extensive debates on Committee Stage of members of the NA, which was chaired by Henock Kankoshi, the Swapo-Party Regional Councillor for the Onyaanya Constituency in Oshikoto region.

The Presidential Remuneration and Other Benefits Bill particularly looks at remuneration payable to the President, which according to clause two of the Bill states that in terms of the Public Office Bearers Commission Act of 2005, remuneration and benefits of a person holding this office is fixed at a rate of 15 per cent above the remuneration and benefits currently payable to the Prime Minister.

The Bill also looks at a monthly allowance payable to the presidential spouse which is equal to the monthly remuneration payable to a deputy Permanent Secretary (PS) employed in the public service.

It further states that the amount of any remuneration, benefits and allowances paid to the President and his spouse, as well as the value of any benefit relating to medical aid received in terms of the Act, are exempted from income tax.

Motivating this bill in the National Assembly (NA) over the past few months, Prime Minister Nahas Angula stated that in a caring society, leaders address the welfare of their citizens before their own, adding that it is typical of President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

“Principles of natural justice demand that it is now time to address the remuneration of the president after seven years,” he said at the time.

The Former Presidents’ Pension and Other Benefits Amendment Bill would help adjust the gratuity and housing benefits payable to former Presidents and their families.

In his earlier motivation on this bill in the NA, Angula stated that a pension payment is one of the most important sources of income for most senior citizens.

The Premier added that is internationally accepted that a pension in a form of a gratuity should be paid to former presidents for each term served.

Another important aspect, the PM said, is that of residential accommodation for former Presidents.

In terms of clause two of the Former Presidents’ Pension and Other Benefits Bill, a former president has four (4) options: namely that of a furnished official residence in Windhoek which will remain State property at all times, a payment of a housing allowance determined by Cabinet, the third option is that the State can acquire a private residence on the former President’s behalf and the last option is a payment by the State of an amount which is equal to the value of a private residence.

“This amendment Bill should not be viewed as an action intended to benefit an individual. This exercise is intended to promote transparency and good practices,” Angula said at the time.

The last bill passed today (Thursday) was the Financial Intelligence Bill which provides for the combating of money laundering in the country.

It further looks to establish an Anti-Money Laundering Advisory Council as well as to provide the Bank of Namibia with the necessary powers to collect, assess and analyse financial intelligence data, which may lead or relate to money laundering.

These three bills will only become legal documents after being gazetted and sign-off by the Namibian Head of State, President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

The House was then Thursday adjourned until Monday next week shortly after the passing of the three bills.

Omaheke behind Geingob

GOBABIS; Swapo-Party Regional Coordinator for the Omaheke Region, Kejamuina Mungendje has pledged his region’s support for the party’s Vice-President (VP), Dr Hage Geingob in his bid to be re-elected to that position.

Geingob is pitted against party Secretary-General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Jerry Ekandjo for the position, to be contested at the Swapo-Party congress slated for 29 November to 02 December.

Mungendje told Nampa on Thursday that a large number of the delegates going to the congress from Omaheke have openly declared their support for the incumbent VP, with the exception of a few delegates who are rooting for the remaining two candidates.

“Although we will be voting as individuals at the congress, I am convinced that at least 90 per cent of the delegates will be going for comrade Geingob. He obviously has the larger support base here,” he noted.

Mungendje could, however, not say if his choice for candidate was motivated by the alleged call from President Hifikepunye Pohamba to regional coordinators to ensure that their regions back Geingob for re-election.

According to the Omaheke regional coordinator, the incumbent VP has a good chance of being re-elected to the position at the watershed congress, and Omaheke will rally behind such cause.

Nampa has it on good authority that most influential members in the party’s regional executive here are backing Geingob for the position.

Other than Mungendje, the former Omaheke party regional coordinator, Festus Ueitele, who is now a Member of Parliament (MP), and outspoken councillor for the Gobabis Constituency, Phillipus Katamelo, have thrown their weight behind Geingob.

Ueitele is the party’s regional mobiliser, while Katamelo serves as the regional treasurer.

The Secretary of the Swapo-Party Youth League (SPYL) for Omaheke, Eben Handura, and the regional secretary for the party’s women’s council, Bianca van Wyk, have also come out in support of Geingob.

Maria Hoeses, the regional secretary for the Swapo Elders’ Council in the Omaheke, similarly confirmed to Nampa that the Elders’ Council here has taken a firm stand to back the incumbent VP for the position.

Although many delegates to the congress refused to state on record who their preferred candidate for the VP position is, this agency can reliably reveal that preference for the other two candidates in the Omaheke region is scattered and sporadic.

Geingob was expected in the region on Thursday to drum up support for his campaign, and possibly win over those delegates who have so far been indifferent on their choice of candidate.

Iivula-Ithana is tentatively expected to address her colleagues in the Omaheke Region on 27 November in a last-ditch effort to secure support.