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Sunday, 24th January 2021
6:31:02pm

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THE Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement plans to establish a labour union to liberate Namibian workers in the public sector from reactionary and co-opted unions.

This was revealed by AR leader Job Amupanda as part of the movement's agenda for 2021 released last week.
Amupanda said the union, to be known as the Revolutionary Union, would strive to liberate Namibian workers from reactionary and ineffective unions of which the leaders have colluded with employers to exploit workers.
The union would seek to gain collective bargaining at state-owned enterprises and the entire public sector.
He said the movement has already started registering the union.
Amupanda said his movement has over the years received numerous calls from workers countrywide to effectively respond to labour-related issues.
He said these workers came to the AR's doorstep despite being represented by registered trade unions.
Amupanda said the current unions representing workers in the public sector – the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) and the Namibia Teachers Union Nantu) – have been co-opted and at times neglect issues affecting their members.
“This is worse for the public sector where a cabal of unions affiliated to South West Africa ... have repeatedly sold the workers for political gain. Workers in the public sector need to be liberated from this tyranny and collusion,” Amupanda said.
He said the union would be autonomous, yet maintain a symbiotic relationship with the AR movement.
Its constitution, programmes, activities, and campaigns would aim to bring about “real emancipation” for the country's workers, he said.
The AR's union would also raise labour awareness and organise workers to fight oppression by “facing black and white oppressors and the capitalist oppression of the working people of Namibia”.
Apart from establishing a trade union, Amupanda revealed the AR would start with the establishment of AR communities, which are equivalent to political party branches.
“The AR community will be the only structure to be established during this phase. It is for this reason that we declare 2021 as the year of an AR community. It is a year in which in every location, every informal settlement, and every suburb an AR community will be established,” he said.

-The Namibian

Italian wine group Zonin has added two new South African wines to its portfolio featuring a Sauvignon Blanc and a Shiraz from the very southernmost tip of Africa.

Dubbed ‘Land’s End’, the two wines bear the Wine of Origin label ‘Cape South Coast’ but the fruit is predominantly sourced from the Cape Agulhas Wine Triangle, an emerging cool climate wine region at the very southernmost tip of Africa.

The fruit is sourced from multiple growers, sustainably farmed and vinified at a Fair Trade accredited winery.

The wines are being released into the US first through Zonin’s subsidiary 1821 Fine Wines & Spirits, priced at US$11 a bottle, joining the other wines in the portfolio from across Italy as well as Chile and the US.

The latest Gomberg Frederikson Report this September noted a 16% increase in volumes of South African wine sold in the US.

Shawn Balzano, national sales director for 1821, said that while many consumers “may not be familiar with this particular area”, more US customers were becoming “aware of the fantastic values coming out of South Africa,” and, “we are excited to be the first in the US to offer wines from this emerging top-quality district at this price point. These are cool-climate wines at a very cool price.”

South African banks are likely to extend loans totalling up to R24.41 billion rand to enterprises until January 2021 under the government’s loan guarantee scheme, the Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) said.

Banks have so far loaned R16.71 billion under the scheme, which was launched by the government in May under a coronavirus relief package, Reuters reports.

The loans are part of a R500 billion package announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa in April to cushion the impact of coronavirus on South African businesses and individuals.

Basa said it has provided up to R33.61 billion in financial relief to individuals and small and medium enterprises up to 24 October. This includes 83% of all individual applications and 95% of requests from businesses since April, it said.

Last week, government announced that it will also extend South Africa’s disability and social relief grants until the end of December 2020.

In a gazette published on Monday (2 November), Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu said that the temporary disability grants which lapsed in July 2020. or are due to lapse during the months of August to December 2020, will not lapse until the end of 31 December 2020 and must continue to be paid until 31 December 2020.

In the same directive, Zulu extended the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 per month until 31 January.

The top-up grant was government’s temporary relief against food insecurity and to cushion households severely battered by the pandemic.

The grant is open to applicants who are not beneficiaries of any other form of social security grant or UIF payment and are not currently receiving income.

Delivering the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in parliament at the end of October, finance minister Tito Mboweni said the Covid-19 grant would be extended but top-ups to social grants would come to an end at the end of November.

Child Support Grant (CSG) beneficiaries received an extra R300 in May and R500 between June and October, while other grant beneficiaries were topped-up with R250 for six months.

-Businesstech

Botswana, home to nearly half of Africa’s wild elephants, is preparing to repatriate thousands of the giant mammals to neighboring Angola to reduce overpopulation and conflict with farmers.

The country is home to more than 130,000 elephants, the world’s largest population in the wild.

But tens of thousands are refugees from Angola’s decades-long civil war, which ended in 2002.

Conservationists like Elephants Without Borders’ Mike Chase, said Botswana’s elephant population has grown too big, leading to conflicts with farmers and shortages of food and water.

"So, a way to release this bottleneck, this compression, is creating safe corridors for elephants to move through, to repopulate and recolonize southeast Angola, where there are not so many elephants," Chase said.

To enable that, Angola has agreed to remove left over landmines from the war and, along with Botswana, fences that are blocking elephant migration. 

A sign shows a kilometer wide elephant corridor leading into Namibia and subsequently, Angola. (Mqondisi Dube/VOA)

Wildlife management expert Erik Verreynne said the movement of the animals is still low.

"We still get reports of poaching incidents in Angola, we know the landmines are still an issue although they are working to try and get them out," Verreyne said. "I don’t know, what I do know is that it is important that we open up these corridors."

Botswana is part of the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA), a five-country partnership to conserve shared natural resources.

The group’s executive director, Nyambe Nyambe, said the partnership’s goal is the free movement of wildlife within the region.

"The long-term survival of elephants hinges on ensuring that we secure and reconnect wildlife corridors on a trans-boundary scale," Nyambe said. "When it comes to what the partner states are doing in terms of supporting particularly Angola, the wildlife dispersal areas are all contributing towards that process."

Botswana’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has said his government is more than willing to work with neighbors to open the borders for elephant migration and better manage their numbers.

-VOA

The government of Angola through Group Sonangol, the parastatal that oversees petroleum and natural gas production in the Central African country, has made the final investment decision with Gemcorp Capital LLP, an independent investment management firm that is focused on emerging markets across all sectors and asset classes, for the construction of Cabinda Refinery.

The refinery, which will be built on the Malembo plain, approximately 30 km north of the capital of Cabinda otherwise known as Tchiowa, will be the first private investment of this nature in the country and it will utilize the latest North American technology for its design, operation, and development in 3 phases, with adherence to the Equator Principles.

The first phase of the project, with an estimated cost of US$ 220M, is expected to include 30 000 BPD of the Crude Distillation Unit, with a desalinator, kerosene treatment, and auxiliary infrastructure, including a conventional float anchoring system, pipelines, and storage facility for more than 1.2 million barrels. The 2nd and 3rd phases will turn the facility into a total conversion refinery, with an additional refining capacity of 30 000 BPD and the installation of a new catalytic reformer, hydrotreater, and catalytic cracking unit. These two will cost a total of US$ 700M.

Work done so far

The formal construction of the site started in March this year and the complete cleaning and preparation of the land were completed five months later. Construction of a fence for the site started in September 2020 for the 313 hectares of land and the main long-term items were ordered at the beginning of this month.

The Refinery is expected to start operating in the first quarter of 2022. It will provide an increase in the capacity for processing crude oil at the national level and a considerable reduction in the country’s dependence on imports of refined products, as provided for in the National Development Plan. It will also create thousands of job opportunities, providing significant long-term benefits for the Angolan economy, especially in the Cabinda region.

-Construction Review

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