Minor boys allegedly raped by grandfather in Omusati

OSHAKATI: The Namibian Police Force in the Omusati Region are investigating a case of rape after two minor boys aged 3 and 5 years were allegedly assaulted by their 67-year-old grandfather.

Omusati crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Moses Simaho said the incidents allegedly occurred during this month at Ongatudhiya village in the Elim Constituency.

‘It is alleged that the suspect who is the victims’ grandfather had sexual intercourse with the minors on various occasions,’ he said.

He added that the matter was reported to the police by the victims’ 31-year-old mother recently.

Simaho said the suspect is known but not yet arrested.

Police investigations into the matter continue.

Source: The Namibia News Agency

Man on solo 320km trek for mental health

In a world still grappling with the aftermath of COVID-19, mental health challenges, especially among men, have become increasingly apparent.

The Delivery Room Foundation, a spiritual and mental health clinic based in Windhoek with outreaches throughout the country, has been at the forefront of addressing these issues.

Its chairperson, Elago Nantana, has taken on the mission to inspire and support men facing depression, hopelessness, and a lack of purpose, after witnessing a disturbing rise in suicide rates among men.

Nantana told Nampa in an interview on Saturday outside Arandis that he decided to take on a 321-kilometre solo trek from Okahandja to Walvis Bay, a journey which he themed ‘A walk of Mental Peace’. This is his third walk, in order to inspire men and encourage them to communicate freely about mental health issues.

‘We have seen a troubling rise in men committing suicide, feeling depressed, hopeless, and without purpose. There seemed to be no superhero to lift them up, so Delivery Room decided
to take action,’ he explained.

Nantana’s mission aims to break the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and therefore uses his own experiences to connect with other men, encouraging them to speak up and seek help.

‘Men often hesitate to speak about their struggles, leading to isolation and worsening mental health. Having overcome my own battles with depression, alcohol, and drug abuse, I understand this silence.’

In 2022, Nantana embarked on his first long walk from Oranjemund to Katima Mulilo, a journey which he described as not just a physical challenge but a symbolic gesture to encourage men not to give up.

It marked the beginning of a series of walks aimed at raising awareness about men’s mental health and providing them with a sense of hope.

‘By 2023, suicide rates among men were alarmingly high. I could not stand by and watch these rates climb, so I decided to walk to Ohangwena to encourage men once again, and through videos and personal stories, I have been working to inspire men not to give up,
‘ Nantana narrates.

Nantana’s current walk commenced over one week ago, averaging around 30 kilometres per day and had already covered about 200 kilometres during this interview.

He sets up camp to rest overnight before continuing his walk. He anticipates to arrive in Walvis Bay by Wednesday, where he will meet and talk to men about mental health issues.

Source: The Namibia News Agency

President Ramaphosa signs Pension Funds Amendment Bill into law

President Cyril Ramaphosa has approved the Pension Funds Amendment Bill, which amends pension-related legislation to enable the implementation of the recently legislated two-pot retirement system geared towards bolstering retirement savings.

The new Pension Funds Amendment Act amends the Pension Funds Act of 1956, the Post and Telecommunications-Related Matters Act of 1958, the Transnet Pension Fund Act of 1990, and the Government Employees Pension Law of 1996.

The law provides for the introduction of the savings withdrawal benefit; the appropriate account of a member’s interest in the savings; retirement and vested components, and the deductions that may be made.

The Act requires pension funds to amend their rules, adjust their investment portfolios and prepare administrative systems for pension fund members to apply to access portions of their pension funds from 1 September 2024.

This law complements the Revenues Laws Amendment Act, 2024 (Act No. 12 of 2024), which was signed by the President on 11 June

Government has proposed a reform to the retirement saving regime, which will see the introduction of the ‘two-pot’ retirement system.

The Presidency said from the proposed date of 1 September 2024, one-third of retirement contributions will be split into a savings component, and two-thirds into a retirement component.

‘What is in the savings component will be available for withdrawal at any time before retirement. The ability to unconditionally access amounts from the savings component will be provided without the member having to cease employment or having to resign.

‘A member will be allowed to make a single withdrawal within a year of assessment and the minimum withdrawal amount is R2 000. The ability to withdraw from the savings component will be applicable on a per fund or per contract basis,’ the Presidency said.

Withdrawals from the savings component will be added to the individual’s taxable income and will be taxed at their marginal tax rates.

The Presidency also explained that retirement
funds will on or soon after 1 September 2024 be required to create another component known as the retirement component, which will be housed within the current retirement fund.

Individuals will be required to contribute an amount of two-thirds of the total individual retirement fund contributions to the retirement component.

‘The assets in the retirement component will be required to be preserved until retirement (i.e. withdrawals from this component can only be accessed by the member upon retirement, as per the fund rules).

‘Once a member has reached retirement age and retires, the retirement component is to be paid in the form of an annuity, including a living annuity. This dispensation gives members of retirement funds access to retirement savings without having to resign or cash out entire pension funds,’ the Presidency said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

George attends ministerial meetings on climate action in China

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister, Dr Dion George, will on Sunday attend the Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) Ministerial Meeting, ahead of the 8th Session of the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) taking place in Wuhan, China.

The Ministers responsible for climate change from the BASIC countries will gather for the bi-annual meeting to discuss key issues related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations at the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP29).

These include the need to finalise the rules around carbon markets, adaptation indicators, the Just Transition Pathways Work Programme, the Mitigation Work Programme, and the new collective quantified goal (NCQG) on finance.

George emphasised the importance of ensuring a balanced agenda that addresses issues critical to developing countries, and to pressure developed countries to fulfil their commitments.

The BASIC group plays a pivotal role in unifying developing countries and providing l
eadership in climate negotiations.

‘South Africa reaffirms its unwavering solidarity with fellow members of the Global South. We regard the BASIC group as a key strategic platform for articulating and advancing the interests of developing countries towards a more sustainable, just and equitable international order,’ George said.

MoCA, which is taking place on 22 -23 July 2024, is one of the platforms created at the initiative of individual States in support of the UNFCCC negotiations that seeks to identify issues of convergence and divergence at a political level, with a view to bridge building and exploring potential landing zones ahead of the COP.

MoCA is convened by China, the European Union (EU) and Canada. It was initiated in 2017 to support the Paris Agreement and the multilateral climate process.

The MoCA in Wuhan is a key moment for ministers and senior climate diplomats to gather, coming shortly after the UNFCCC intersessional in June.

It will be a chance to elevate sticky issues in climate nego
tiations to a higher political level.

George said such meetings are important because the negotiations often deadlock at the technical level due to geopolitical tensions and the national interests at stake.

South Africa has traditionally played a key role in the UNFCCC process, helping to secure consensus outcomes, including through special co-facilitation, and chairing roles being conferred to successive South African Presidents and Ministers at Climate Summits and COPs over the past two decades.

‘I look forward to the frank political discussions on the progress and complexities around implementing the COP 28 outcomes, the role of carbon markets, the new collective quantified goal on climate finance beyond $100 billion per annum to be set at COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, as well as other critical negotiations items needed to be addressed,’ George said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Internet boost for rural Kromdraai community

Residents of Kromdraai in the West Rand, Gauteng, will now be able to participate in the digital world, thanks to the Gauteng Provincial Network (GPN) free WIFI launched at Matla Combined School.

The GPN WIFI, which was unveiled on Sunday, is offered by the Gauteng Department of e-Government (e-Gov), a department established to modernise government services in Gauteng.

The department’s main role is to roll out broadband connectivity, which seeks to connect all public facilities, including schools and hospitals. It also provides free public WIFI for Gauteng communities.

Unveiling the sites, Gauteng Department of e-Government MEC, Bonginkosi Dhlamini, said the WIFI will ensure that Gauteng residents have free access to the internet, enabling them to participate in digital activities that can further their education, skills, and career prospects.

Dhlamini said the provincial government wants to ensure that Gauteng residents are able to access services through digital means.

‘Nowadays, we do not expect peopl
e to wait in long queues to access certain services that can easily be accessed online. This can only be achieved through the power of technology and connectivity,’ Dhlamini said.

Mogale City Mayor, who also attended the event, Danny Thupane, said the community of Kromdraai has been struggling with connectivity because the area is situated on the outskirts of the West Rand.

‘We are very excited for this opportunity. It is not only the network that is an issue in these parts, but our people struggle with the ever-increasing prices of data.

‘This project will go a long way in allowing our people to access the internet and participate in the digital world,’ Thupane said.

The GPN also enhances the efficiency of service delivery and eliminates unnecessary duplication of Information and Communication Technology in the Gauteng provincial government while ensuring that information systems remain secure.

In April this year, the Communications and Digital Technologies announced that government plans to connect 5.5
million households in rural and township areas to Wi-Fi hotspots in the next three to four years.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Biosecurity measures implemented to manage Foot and Mouth Disease

Agriculture Minister John Steenhuisen says the department is working with all stakeholders to ensure that biosecurity measures are implemented to manage the current Foot and Mouth (FMD) outbreak in the Eastern Cape.

Steenhuisen emphasised that biosecurity remains a priority for the department, noting that the disease poses a risk for local production and trade, both national and international.

The Minister said the department is also in constant engagement with the Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Agrarian Reform to ensure that FMD control measures are implemented, and that the disease does not spread within the province.

Noting the shared responsibilities for biosecurity implementation, the Minster said the department is also in ongoing engagement with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture to ensure that the disease does not spread to that province.

He said the investigation into the origin and extent of the FMD outbreak in the Eastern Cape continues.

‘Twenty-three farm
s in the Humansdorp area and one farm in the East London have been confirmed as positive for FMD. Locations confirmed to be positive for FMD were placed under quarantine by the Eastern Cape Provincial Veterinary Services.

‘Full epidemiological investigations are continuing. Immediate neighbours and all linked locations have been placed under precautionary quarantine, pending clinical and serological investigation to determine their FMD status,’ Steenhuisen said.

The Minister said a total of 46 applications to vaccinate non-infected farms were received, and of these, 30 farms were permitted to vaccinate, while 17 applications for voluntary vaccination have not yet been approved.

The Minister explained that applications are considered for vaccination if the farms are within the 10km radius of a positive farm.

‘The applications are prioritised to ensure that the farms at highest risk are vaccinated first. It was agreed during the Joint Operations Committee on FMD that the available personnel resources will b
e used in a manner that allows for the maximum number of farms to be vaccinated in the shortest time possible,’ Steenhuisen explained.

The department reiterated the call to farmers to observe biosecurity on their farms and to protect their own herds from becoming infected.

Section 11 of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act No. 35 of 1984) imposes a legal duty on any owner or manager of animals to take all reasonable steps to prevent their animals from becoming infected with any disease and to prevent the spread of any disease from their animals or land to other animals or other properties.

In line with this, a regulation was prescribed in October 2022 by the Minister of Agriculture, stipulating that cloven hoofed livestock may only be moved if accompanied by a health declaration from the owner of the animals, attesting to their health at the time of moving.

In addition, all cattle, sheep, and goats newly brought onto a farm must be kept separated from the resident herds for at least 28 days.

FMD is a contr
olled animal disease in terms of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act No 35 of 1984) and the Act prescribes certain control measures, like isolation and movement control, that are being enforced by veterinary services.

‘Should any suspicious clinical symptoms (salivation, blisters in the mouth, limping or hoof lesions) be seen, it should be reported to the local State Veterinarian immediately and such animals must not be moved under any circumstances,’ the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Warning against electricity scammers

The City of Cape Town has urged residents to be aware of scammers pretending to work for the city to gain access to the residents’ homes.

The city’s Electricity Generation and Distribution Department said its teams have been made aware of scammers in Sanddrift, where a resident recently reported to the city that two scammers visited her home claiming to work for the city’s Electricity Department to check on electricity prepaid meters in the area.

‘Once the resident allows the scammers access to their home, they proceeded to steal items while the resident is not looking. These incidents happen far too often, and we ask residents to always be alert, especially our elderly residents,’ sait the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Xanthea Limberg.

While the city’s electricity staff and contractors are in neighbourhoods to do legitimate meter readings and other work, Limberg urged residents to always be alert and to verify the official’s identity with the city before allowing officials access to their pr

‘Residents are urged to verify the official’s identity and work order number with the city before giving them access to their homes. All legitimate city staff and contractors will identify themselves before asking for access for legitimate city related electricity work.

‘The identification card must display the city logo, the name and surname of the staff member or mandated contractor and must contain an embedded photo of the staff member or mandated contractor. If unsure, please contact the city’s call centre,’ Limberg said.

Limberg also urged the residents refrain from any type of aggressive action, including threats or intimidation of legitimate city staff and contractors doing meter reading or other critical electricity infrastructure work in their neighbourhoods.

To verify the work order, contact the city’s call centre on 0860 103 089. To report suspicious behaviour, contact 0800 1100 77.

Tips for residents:

Always verify the work order number when an official visits your home.

Check the
official’s city-issued identification card.

The ID card must display the city logo, the name and surname of the staff member or mandated contractor and must contain an embedded photo of the staff member or mandated contractor.

If unsure, call the city’s call centre on 0860 103 089.

Report suspicious behaviour to the city’s law enforcement agencies or to the SAPS.

Source: South African Government News Agency