Institutions of higher learning urged to understand labour market needs


RUNDU: Vice President (VP) Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said institutions of higher learning in the country including the entire education system should understand the needs of the labour market.

Nandi-Ndaitwah when she delivered her keynote address during the 2024 University of Namibia Rundu Campus graduation ceremony here on Tuesday said that students should be trained to meet the needs of the market.

‘It is a challenge when the education sector and the market are not talking to each other. Institutions of higher learning should not train for the streets,’ she said.

The VP said Namibia is now positioned to become one of the centres of renewable energy, oil and gas.

‘The question now is, to what extent is our education and training system prepared to supply those emerging industries with human power,’ she asked.

The education sector must be ready to feed the market with appropriate skills, hence the importance of vocational training that should be seen as a critical sector for sustainable development to be re
alised.

Nandi-Ndaitwah added that Namibia should not be a rich country with poor people.

‘We must be prepared to work together as Namibians as it is the only way we can create the Namibia we want,’ she noted.

She said it is important that the country prepares itself to benefit from its resources while it continues to be relevant in the international arena.

About 654 students graduated in different disciplines such as Education, Nursing and Public Health and Business Administration.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Otjiwarongo’s political leadership at each other’s throats


Otjozondjupa Region Governor, James Uerikua on Tuesday rubbished accusations from the Otjiwarongo Municipality, accusing him of interfering in its development projects and activities.

Uerikua in the presence of several political leaders from the region explained to Mayor Gottlieb Shivute shortly after a meeting that his appointment is higher than that of the mayor as he represents the president in the region.

‘I am therefore not interfering in anything, but as the regional head of Otjozondjupa, I have the right to advise the local authorities,’ the governor said.

The Otjiwarongo Municipality’s political leadership last Friday issued a media statement accusing Uerikua of interfering in its development activities and claiming that he wants to create the impression that he initiated projects that were actually conceptualised by the municipality.

These include the recent resuscitation of the Biomass Industrial Park, which Uerikua visited along with a delegation of biomass specialists from Germany on 08 April
this year.

Shivute also expressed dismay over remarks Uerikua and the Otjiwarongo Constituency Councillor Marlayn Mbakera made at a media briefing on 04 April, where the governor tasked the municipality to urgently rename Lothar Von Trotha Street and accused them of not prioritising the renaming.

Mbakera at the time also lashed out at the municipality councillors on potholes which she said are visible in every street in the town and has become a major concern to all road users.

She described the situation as an injustice to Otjiwarongo residents and said the local authority should serve the community with dedication.

This, according to Shivute, is aimed at portraying the councillors as visionless leaders who are incapable of running the affairs of the town.

Mbakera on her part on Tuesday said she is empowered by the Regional Council Act of 1992 which states that she can assist any local authority council in performing its powers, duties and functions.

Mbakera is also the Otjozondjupa Regional Council ch
airperson.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Gender ministry spends N.dollars 3.4 billion on grants in 2023/24


WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has spent a total of N.dollars 3.4 billion on old age, disability, orphans and vulnerable children grants during the 2023/2024 financial year.

Giving an update on the ministerial performance for the 2023/2024 financial year here on Monday, line minister Doreen Sioka said the grants led to a total coverage of 208 170 old age beneficiaries, 53 835 disability grants and 377 743 Orphans and vulnerable children.

She further highlighted that the ministry has successfully converted the food bank programme from an in-kind food parcel into a cash transfer in April 2022, to what is known as a Conditional Basic Income grant of which a total of 8 907 households have benefitted to a total expenditure of N.dollars 81.3 million.

‘The goal of this programme is to contribute to Namibians’ social and economic upliftment while eliminating poverty through adequate and durable safety nets,’ she said.

Sioka further highlighted that 2 835 marginal
ised community learners were successfully transported to and from hostels in all 10 regions where marginalized communities are found, while 308 marginalised students have access to institutions of higher learning through the ministry’s interventions and 287 were paid living allowance.

Equally, she noted the ministry provided support to 265 students with disabilities to cover their tuition accommodation, transport and other needs to the tune of N.dollars 7.5 million, while 800 persons with severe disabilities from various regions were assisted with diapers, formula milk and portable toilets amounting to N.dollars 4 million.

Sioka indicated that the ministry provided psychosocial support services to 1 200 children hosted at the Namibian Children’s Home and After School Centres in Windhoek, while at the regional level, 3 200 children received psychosocial support.

Equally, she noted the ministry provided food supplements to 29 000 households across the 10 regions where marginalised communities live.

‘The min
istry remains committed to ensure that it implements and strengthens the programme under its mandate,’ she said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Biggest chunk of MURD budget goes to regional and local governments


WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) has allocated over N.dollars 1.3 billion out of its total budget of N.dollars 2.6 billion to regional and local governments as well as the traditional authorities.

Recently motivating his ministry’s 2024/25 budget, Minister Erastus Uutoni informed parliament that over N.dollars 904 million in subsidies will support the operational and service delivery capacity of regional councils, local authorities, and traditional authorities.

The remaining N.dollars 362 million will be used for revision of the Local Authorities Act of 1992, the Councils of Traditional Leaders Act of 1997 and its Amendment Act No. 31 of 2000, and the Traditional Authorities Act of 2000.

The ministry is also finalising the development of the Urban Land Reform Policy and Strategy, he said.

Uutoni also said the money will be further spent on upgrading and constructing ten open markets in various localities, including Bukalo, Eenhana, Keetmanshoop, Okakarara, Omaruru, Omuthiya, Op
uwo, Oshivelo Settlement, and Outjo.

He said the ministry has also allocated N.dollars 16 million to fund activities related to the decentralisation of additional functions from ministries to regional councils.

‘In addition, over N.dollars 1.04 billion has been allocated towards supporting urban and regional planning, infrastructure, and housing development programmes. This allocation is part of the development budget amounting to N.dollars 1.203 billion,’ he said.

According to Uutoni, the ministry plans to spend N.dollars 360 million on massive urban land servicing countrywide, while N.dollars 193 million will be spent on upgrading informal settlements.

The ministry further allocated N.dollars 221 million for housing delivery through government-funded programmes such as the Mass Housing Development Programme and Build Together Programme and support to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia.

‘The budgetary allocation to this programme will be deployed to sustain and scale up our existing and new policy
initiatives aimed at creating increased and inclusive access to and opportunities for land tenure security and decent housing for our citizens,’ he said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Mbumba conveys condolence message to Botswana


WINDHOEK: President Nangolo Mbumba conveyed a message of condolences to President Mokgweetsi Masisi of the Republic of Botswana and the people of Botswana, following the death of 45 nationals from the neighbouring country in a tragic bus crash last week Thursday.

The incident took place when the bus transporting Easter pilgrims from Botswana to Moria in South Africa allegedly crashed on the R518 road in Limpopo Province of South Africa, killing 45 people from Botswana, with only one victim surviving.

Mbumba in his message shared by the Presidency on Sunday said: ‘It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that I extend my deepest condolences on behalf of the people of Namibia to President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the people of Botswana, following the tragic bus crash near South Africa’s Limpopo province.

The loss of 45 lives, predominantly citizens of Botswana, in this devastating accident has deeply saddened us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims during this diff
icult time.’

Namibia, he went on to say, shares in the grief of Botswana and stands in solidarity with the affected families as they mourn their loved ones.

The news of the sole survivor, an eight-year-old girl, brings a glimmer of hope amidst this tragedy, the Namibian Leader said, adding: ‘We pray for her swift recovery and extend our support to her and her family as they navigate through the aftermath of this harrowing experience.’

May the bereaved families find strength and solace during this period of mourning, Mbumba expressed.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Diop wants more women in higher political positions


The Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Bineta Diop has encouraged African women to take up higher positions in politics.

Diop in a recent interview with Nampa strongly articulated and advocated for the promotion of women leaders, emphasizing the existing political will and the abundance of policies, such as the equality principle at the AU.

The special envoy, while referencing the historic election of former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, underscored that it is time to translate this will into action by electing more women into leadership positions, particularly at the highest levels.

‘Women are just as competent in their capacity to lead, drawing from their roles in liberation movements, peacemaking endeavours and development agendas, can be transformative and have a great impact,’ she expressed.

The chairperson further emphasised the transformative impact of women in leadership roles, while acknowledging the efforts of past female leaders
in various African nations and the establishment of networks like the Africa Women Leaders Network.

Diop also strongly commended and supported Namibia’s efforts in enabling women leadership by advocating for its first female president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, adding that the country is indeed ready for female leadership.

‘By bringing a different perspective to the table and prioritising human security dimensions such as education and healthcare access, women leaders can drive meaningful change in society.

We therefore urge for the acceleration of implementation towards achieving gender parity in leadership roles.’

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole Adeoye acknowledged Diop’s sentiments, adding that the recent AU seminar on high-level peace and security which took place at Swakopmund adopted the Swakopmund Process, which is aligned with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, further solidifying the commitment to advancing the agenda of women, peace and security.

Acc
ording to Adeoye, the endorsement of the Swakopmund Process by the AU Peace and Security Council marks a significant milestone, signifying an ongoing commitment to championing women’s causes in peace and security.

‘This initiative, to be held annually or biannually across five regions, will serve as a platform to amplify the voices of women in advancing peace and security agendas,’ he noted.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Hamata calls on government to regulate private schools and vocational training centres


KEETMANSHOOP: Popular Democratic Movement Member of Parliament Hidipo Hamata has urged the government to regulate private schools and vocational training centres to ensure fairness and equality for all students and teachers.

Hamata, while speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, said a financial burden is placed on parents due to additional payments demanded by these institutions alongside tuition and hostel fees, adding that it is unsustainable.

‘Government oversight is essential to strike a balance between sustaining private institutions and protecting the interests of parents. The pressing concerns in Namibia’s private education system include fair compensation for teachers, access to education for all students and responsible financial practices,’ said Hamata.

He added that these concerns need immediate government intervention and the establishment of comprehensive regulations to ensure fairness, equality and ethical treatment within both private schools and vocational training centres.

Hamata stated that r
egulating private schools is crucial to addressing fraudulent practices related to tax and social security deductions and advocated for mandated regular reporting and provision of evidence regarding accurate payments on behalf of employees, backed by periodic audits and inspections by relevant authorities.

‘Transparent communication regulations must ensure private schools disclose salary details, including tax and social security deductions, establishing clear legal consequences for fraudulent practices, protecting employee rights to accurate financial information and implementing whistle-blower protection mechanisms are essential components of these regulations. By enacting these measures, we uphold accountability, transparency, and fairness in the financial dealings between private schools and their staff,’ he stressed.

Hamata further expressed concern about the treatment and compensation of instructors at vocational training centres.

‘Government intervention is necessary and in cases where these centres
are found violating employee rights or failing to meet education standards, strict penalties or withdrawal of funding should be implemented. This will serve as a deterrent and ensure that private vocational centres adhere to the regulations set forth, fostering a culture of accountability and commitment to quality education,’ said Hamata.

Source:The Namibia Press Agency

Hamata calls on government to regulate private schools and vocational training centres


KEETMANSHOOP: Popular Democratic Movement Member of Parliament Hidipo Hamata has urged the government to regulate private schools and vocational training centres to ensure fairness and equality for all students and teachers.

Hamata, while speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, said a financial burden is placed on parents due to additional payments demanded by these institutions alongside tuition and hostel fees, adding that it is unsustainable.

‘Government oversight is essential to strike a balance between sustaining private institutions and protecting the interests of parents. The pressing concerns in Namibia’s private education system include fair compensation for teachers, access to education for all students and responsible financial practices,’ said Hamata.

He added that these concerns need immediate government intervention and the establishment of comprehensive regulations to ensure fairness, equality and ethical treatment within both private schools and vocational training centres.

Hamata stated that r
egulating private schools is crucial to addressing fraudulent practices related to tax and social security deductions and advocated for mandated regular reporting and provision of evidence regarding accurate payments on behalf of employees, backed by periodic audits and inspections by relevant authorities.

‘Transparent communication regulations must ensure private schools disclose salary details, including tax and social security deductions, establishing clear legal consequences for fraudulent practices, protecting employee rights to accurate financial information and implementing whistle-blower protection mechanisms are essential components of these regulations. By enacting these measures, we uphold accountability, transparency, and fairness in the financial dealings between private schools and their staff,’ he stressed.

Hamata further expressed concern about the treatment and compensation of instructors at vocational training centres.

‘Government intervention is necessary and in cases where these centres
are found violating employee rights or failing to meet education standards, strict penalties or withdrawal of funding should be implemented. This will serve as a deterrent and ensure that private vocational centres adhere to the regulations set forth, fostering a culture of accountability and commitment to quality education,’ said Hamata.

Source:The Namibia Press Agency

Nujoma seeks one-year extension for EEC commissioner


GOBABIS: Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma, has formally requested an extension of Employment Equity Commissioner Otniel Podewiltz’s tenure for an additional year to facilitate a seamless transition.

Podewiltz assumed office on 01 April 2019 and his term is set to conclude on 31 March 2024.

Nujoma presented a motion in the National Assembly on Tuesday, advocating for an extension to allow Podewiltz conclude ongoing projects initiated during his tenure in office.

‘It is necessary to highlight a few aspects here for the consideration of this request. The principal consideration here is the future of the Equity Commission, which it at risk if we fail to ensure a smooth transition and stability,’ Nujoma said.

Highlighting operational concerns, Nujoma pointed out that the commissioner currently lacks an immediate subordinate, as the deputy director who previously served was promoted and transferred to the health ministry.

‘The recruitment is underway but is not ye
t completed. The next level employee after the commissioner is a senior employment officer in Grade 8. With the commissioner out of office there will be a serious leadership gap and more importantly, no opportunity for a smooth transfer,’ the minister said.

Nujoma also outlined ongoing initiatives within the commission, such as the development and implementation of an Integrated Review Scorecard assessment to evaluate employer compliance.

The assessment is to be tested during the 2023/24 fiscal year before the new system is implemented, and potential adjustments anticipated.

‘The expectation is that further adjustments and improvements may be required for the new system, which puts the whole process in jeopardy if the key architect is no longer available,’ he noted.

Nujoma also noted that the Employment Equity Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2023/2024 and 2024 is in its final stages under Podewiltz’s leadership. Delays in its release were attributed to issues with the Employment Equity Commission Electro
nic Case Management system.

He further clarified that Podewiltz is not seeking a full five-year reappointment.

‘In reality, we are asking for a one-year extension instead of a full reappointment for five years. Podewiltz does not seek a five-year term of office but is prepared to continue for one more year only,’ Nujoma said.

Source:The Namibia Press Agency

Nujoma seeks one-year extension for EEC commissioner


GOBABIS: Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma, has formally requested an extension of Employment Equity Commissioner Otniel Podewiltz’s tenure for an additional year to facilitate a seamless transition.

Podewiltz assumed office on 01 April 2019 and his term is set to conclude on 31 March 2024.

Nujoma presented a motion in the National Assembly on Tuesday, advocating for an extension to allow Podewiltz conclude ongoing projects initiated during his tenure in office.

‘It is necessary to highlight a few aspects here for the consideration of this request. The principal consideration here is the future of the Equity Commission, which it at risk if we fail to ensure a smooth transition and stability,’ Nujoma said.

Highlighting operational concerns, Nujoma pointed out that the commissioner currently lacks an immediate subordinate, as the deputy director who previously served was promoted and transferred to the health ministry.

‘The recruitment is underway but is not ye
t completed. The next level employee after the commissioner is a senior employment officer in Grade 8. With the commissioner out of office there will be a serious leadership gap and more importantly, no opportunity for a smooth transfer,’ the minister said.

Nujoma also outlined ongoing initiatives within the commission, such as the development and implementation of an Integrated Review Scorecard assessment to evaluate employer compliance.

The assessment is to be tested during the 2023/24 fiscal year before the new system is implemented, and potential adjustments anticipated.

‘The expectation is that further adjustments and improvements may be required for the new system, which puts the whole process in jeopardy if the key architect is no longer available,’ he noted.

Nujoma also noted that the Employment Equity Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2023/2024 and 2024 is in its final stages under Podewiltz’s leadership. Delays in its release were attributed to issues with the Employment Equity Commission Electro
nic Case Management system.

He further clarified that Podewiltz is not seeking a full five-year reappointment.

‘In reality, we are asking for a one-year extension instead of a full reappointment for five years. Podewiltz does not seek a five-year term of office but is prepared to continue for one more year only,’ Nujoma said.

Source:The Namibia Press Agency

Namibia welcomes UNSC resolution for peace in Gaza


WINDHOEK: Namibia has welcomed the adoption on Monday, of Resolution 2728 by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which demands amongst others, an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan and calls for the release of all hostages.

In a media statement availed here Tuesday, Executive Director in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Penda Naanda stated that the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2728 is a welcome relief for the people of Gaza who have endured constant bombardments of their homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship, during which thousands of Palestinians have lost their lives.

‘In line with the provisions of our Constitution, Namibia has been calling for the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means. While adopting the resolution is a step in the right direction to end the sixth-month war, Namibia continues to encourage a peaceful solution that will not only end in a permanent ceasefire but also in two states living side by side in peace and security wi
thin the pre-1967 border, East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine,’ he said.

He further stated that the conflict has left about 32,333 people killed, including more than 13000 children and about 8400 women while more than 74 694 people were injured including about 8663 children and 6327 women.

Namibia, he said calls on the members of the UNSC to fulfil their obligations and ensure that the UN Secretary Council Resolution 2728 is implemented without further delay.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

OPM turns to technology to curb delays in assisting communities


GOBABIS: Executive Director (ED) in the Office of the Prime Minister, I-Ben Nashandi on Wednesday said the government is making use of technology to accelerate their assignments, including the delivery of drought relief food to affected communities.

Nashandi made the remarks at a three-day annual plan development workshop for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, taking place at Gobabis in the Omaheke Region.

The ED said the use of technology would improve the delivery of food assistance under the drought relief programme, adding that his office has observed that the logistics of extending services at times leads to delays.

‘We want to make sure that we undertake assessments because the rain this year is a bit challenging. Since last year there have been predictions that we will be having an El NiƱo phenomena that will have an impact on our food production and food security in particular,’ he said.

The grass condition in most parts of the country has not improved and this has necessitated his office to assess the si
tuation before the current drought relief programme ending in March lapses, he said.

Nashandi said his office has thus put concrete interventions in place to assist the most vulnerable communities.

‘Key to assisting is the timely delivery of that assistance, and that is what we are planning to do. Among other things, we are also going to review our administrative operational procedures and ensure effective coordination between offices in ministries and agencies and making sure that correct information reaches people appropriately,’ he expressed.

The ED also said his office has urged farmers to de-stock as early as possible while their livestock are in good condition, saying that it will become very challenging to sustain the animals throughout the drought.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Ministry of Agriculture dispatches spray teams to Zambezi


KATIMA MULILO: The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform on Wednesday dispatched extension officials to some parts of the Zambezi Region’s river field areas, following an outbreak of African migratory red locusts.

According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Jona Musheko, in an interview with Nampa, the locusts were detected at Lake Liambezi and old Masokotwani, destroying maize crops, with about 10 hectares destroyed last week.

He said the locusts were also detected in the Ohangwena Region, on 29 February 2024.

Farmers in the surrounding areas of the Kapani, Kanono, Linyanti, Nakabolelwa, Masikili, Ngoma, Isuswa, Loma, Mutikitila, Ibbu, Mahundu, Ngala, Kapani, Chinchimani, Singobeka, Maunga, Sangwali and Oshikunde village have been warned to be on the lookout for locusts and to report any sightings to the constituency offices.

Musheko said four teams consisting of extension officers were dispatched on Wednesday to intensify surveillance and spray the affected areas.

‘In most of the areas where the
locusts were reported, they are still in the hopping stage, which is easy to control, which is why we are in a hurry so we can start spraying because it becomes very challenging when they start flying and they can spread to other reshoots not presently affected,’ Musheko said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Mbumba to deliver SONA on Thursday


KEETMANSHOOP: President Nangolo Mbumba is expected to deliver the 2024 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday.

A statement issued by the NA on Wednesday indicated that the SONA is delivered during the committee stage of debates on the annual Appropriation Bill in the NA.

According to the statement, the address is in accordance with Article 32 (2) of the Namibian Constitution that states that, ‘In accordance with the responsibility of the executive branch of Government to the legislative branch, the President and the Cabinet shall each year during the consideration of the official budget attend Parliament. During such session the President shall address Parliament on the state of the nation and on the future policies of the Government; shall report on the policies of the previous year and shall be available to respond to questions.’

This is the first time President Mbumba delivers the State of the Nation Address, which was initially going to be the last SONA of the late
President Hage Geingob. Mbumba was sworn in as President on 04 February 2024, following Geingob’s passing on the same day.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Botswana celebrates Geingob’s life


OSHAKATI: Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said that the late President Hage Geingob significantly contributed to the excellent relations between Namibia and Botswana.

Masisi made the remarks during a memorial service held for the late President Geingob in Gaborone, Botswana on Wednesday.

In a live broadcast by Botswana Television (BTV), Masisi highlighted the longstanding nature of this relationship, recalling that before Namibia gained independence in 1990, Botswana provided refuge and safe passage to Namibians fleeing oppression and persecution from white minority settler regimes.

‘We are humbled that such an enduring legacy of sustained democratic ideals and a climate of peace gave the necessary assurance to our neighbours who fled atrocities from East, West, North, and South, to finally settle in Botswana, or opted to use Botswana as a reliable conduit to Lusaka, to Arusha, and Dar es Salaam,’ he said.

Masisi then described the late Geingob as a towering figure, a leading statesman both in stat
ure and accomplishments, who however bowed himself lowly and dressed himself with unmistaken humility.

He noted that Geingob was never in a hurry to outpace some of them who came well after him and needed to lean on him, learn from him, and mimic his well-orchestrated craft of steering the presidency, not to mention his nimble dancing skills, particularly on the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, President Nangolo Mbumba, at the same ceremony, indicated that the bond between Masisi and the late Geingob transcended governance.

He highlighted that Masisi was the first Head of State to visit President Geingob last year following an operation he had, and also the first to travel to Namibia after news of the late president’s death broke to support the bereaved family.

President Geingob, who died at the age of 82 in Windhoek, was buried at Heroes’ Arce on 25 February 2024.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency