The Patriot’s Writers Look Back At Culture, Economics, Politics, And The Stories That Shaped 2016.
In 2016, the fight against marine phosphate mining was partly won after public objection forced the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to withdraw an Environmental Clearance Certificate issued to Namibia Marine Phosphates. Bernadus Swartbooi became the first government appointee to be fired by President Hage Geingob. For the first time, a Namibian President left the country for more than three weeks. Teachers went on strike and forced Government to increase their salaries. Chinese expand poaching web. Here are the numbers that made some of the biggest stories of the year so memorable.
President Hage Geingob was in the United States of America for 24 days as part of his 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly trip, accompanied by his key staff and seven ministers. The President faced criticism for deciding to stay out of the country for so long, and to make things worse, it was at a time when the teachers were planning to go on strike over salary increments.
The total number of rhinos poached this year has now reached 45. All eyes are on Etosha, as the epicenter to the war on rhino poaching.
Etosha is classified by many as the poaching haven of Namibia.
Villages surrounding the park such as Onamatanga, Utsatsima and Verda have been identified by the police as the most poaching-prone regions.
Countrywide, rhinos have been killed at the rate of four per month since the beginning of this year. Rhinos are killed for their horn which in 2014, could fetch around US$60 000(N$840 000 current exchange rate) per kilogram, with some reports quoting as much as US$100 000(N$1.4 million) per kilogram.
The embassy of China in Namibia has expressed its disappointment with Chinese nationals who make themselves guilty of poaching.
The embassy’s head of the Visa Section, Guilin Giu, expressed the utter disappointment of the Chinese authorities, regarding poaching activities by Chinese nationals in Namibia.
Chinese business people pledged an amount of N$30 000 which will be given to Government to signify their solidarity against illegal wildlife trading.
According to official statistics from the MVA Fund, from 1 January 2016 to 11 December 2016, 3842 crashes were recorded which resulted in 6619 injuries and 662 fatalities. The statistics indicated a decrease when compared to the same period in 2015 when 4059 crashes were recorded. During that period, the crashes resulted in 7322 injuries and 674 fatalities.
According to reports, on average 56 people have died every month since January on Namibian roads, mainly due to reckless driving and ignoring traffic regulations which translates 616 lives lost annually. For a country with a population of 2.5million, losing so many lives is too much.
The central bank has kept the repo rate unchanged at 7 per cent to support growth and maintain the one-to-one link of the Namibian Dollar to the South African Rand.
The repo rate refers to the rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks such as First National Bank (FNB) Namibia, Standard Bank Namibia, Bank Windhoek and Nedbank Namibia in the event of any shortfall of funds.
The BoN repo rate has been at 7 per cent since April 2016 following a hike of 25 basis points in response to the South African Reserve Bank also raising its repo rate, also to 7 per cent.
The number of Namibian teachers who voted in favour of a strike action following a pay dispute with government earlier this year, while 4.7% voted not to strike. Namibia National Teachers’ Union said of the 20 473 votes cast, 19 473 of the teachers voted in favour of the strike, with just under 1 000 voting against the strike. There were 42 spoiled votes. The teachers demanded a salary hike of 8%.
This year, 38 240 Full-time Grade 10 candidates sat for the national examinations. The Ministry has kept since 2000 the minimum points at 23 and F grade as a minimum symbol in English for admission to Grade 11 in 2017. Out of 38 240 candidates who wrote the Grade 10 examination in 2016, 21 291 have qualified for admission to Grade 11 in 2017, representing 55.7% of the candidates who have qualified for Grade 11.
The number of candidates qualifying for admission to Grade 11 in 2017 might increase to approximately 24 291 because part-time candidates build up subject credits over a couple of years and normally meet the admission requirement to Grade 11 only after a number of years.
On average, since 1993 the percentage of learners qualifying for admission has increased steadily from 37.2% to 55.7% this year.
Namibia Marine Phosphate claims it has spent more than N$780 million on developing the Sandpiper project, including the expenses paid towards exploration, environmental, technical and feasibility studies, administration and local employment, the statement reads. Furthermore, the project development is estimated at more than N$5 billion in investment capital, and expects revenues topping N$4 billion annually. Roughly 450 Namibians will be employed in the first stage of the project, while an estimated 160 employees will be required full time.
The time limit President Hage Geingob gave former deputy minister of lands Bernadus Swartbooi to issue a written public apology to Nujoma because of his alleged inappropriate remarks that have the potential to disrupt peace and stability in the country. Swartbooi made the remarks publicly against minister Utoni Nujoma at Hoachanas regarding the resettlement programme. Swartbooi allegedly accused Nujoma of resettling people from other regions in the South while the Namas – from whom the land was taken initially – are being sidelined. Swartbooi refused to apologise and subsequently given his marching orders. He was replaced with former deputy minister of Poverty Eradication Priscilla Boois.
The amount currently paid out by Government on a monthly basis to old age pensioners. There are currently 159 315 senior citizens that receive a monthly old age pension.
The number of soccer matches played in the Namibian Premier League this year. The league administrator NPL failed to secure sponsorship for the 2016/17 NPL season, hence over 450 soccer players are currently languishing at home struggling to make a living. NPL says the league needs N$24 million to kickoff but no sponsors are willing to commit that much, with many citing lack of accountability within the NPL as the major reason.