Southern Times becomes 'regional baby'

NamZim is to be dissolved and the newspaper transformed into a SADC mouthpiece, even though workers have been told to pack up.

30 April 2019 | Africa

The executive director in the information ministry (MICT) Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana says the Southern Times newspaper will be transformed into a multi-lateral regional mouthpiece for the 16-member SADC.

Ua-Ndjarakana said the original owners of the newspaper – the Namibian and Zimbabwean governments under the NamZim company – felt the “impact” made by the newspaper makes it “worth sharing” with the other SADC member states.

“It is no longer a Namibian/Zimbabwean baby; it is now a SADC baby,” Ua-Ndjarakana said.

He said the idea for greater SADC member states' participation in the newspaper was first broached at an SADC ICT ministers meeting in Durban in 2017.

There the Southern Times newspaper was endorsed as a mouthpiece of SADC summits and it was decided to transform the newspaper into a regional initiative in which all member states would join in.

This was later discussed at the Council of Ministers for SADC, which then made a recommendation to the regional body where it was endorsed.

“The recommendation is now with the SADC Secretariat which has to decide how to go about creating the Southern Times SADC mouthpiece and how member states can contribute. It is no longer our entity,” Ua-Ndjarakana said.

The secretariat will discuss this matter further on 17 April, Ua-Ndjarakana said.

Board chairperson of the Southern Times, Franna Kavari, said information minister Stanley Simataa and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, met on 29 March where they reviewed the agreement signed by the two countries about 15 years ago.

Kavari said one of the decisions made was that the NamZim company be dissolved to ensure that Namibia and Zimbabwe “pay full attention to the growth of the Southern Times newspaper as a SADC project”.

“[If] information pertaining to development of SADC states is left to efforts of individual countries the vital information on regional development as a whole may inevitably not reach the greater SADC region,” Kavari said.

Ua-Ndjarakana denied allegations that the Zimbabwean government has not sufficiently contributed to the bi-lateral arrangement during the 15 years the newspaper has been in existence.

A source at the newspaper said the Namibian government over the years has contributed about N$100 million while the Zimbabwean government begrudgingly only contributed N$20 million, while the Zimbabweans for all intents and purposes retained control over the newspaper.

Ua-Ndjarakana would not say how much each government has contributed, but was at pains to point out that the Zimbabweans have contributed in kind by providing human resource and technical capacities.

“It was an agreed format of the contributions among the bi-laterals. To say that Zimbabwe did not contribute is not correct. The Zimbabweans have done all sorts of contributions within their means,” Ua-Ndjarakana said.

Staff at the Windhoek office speaking on condition of anonymity said they were for the first time informed on Tuesday, 23 April that that weekend's edition would be the last and that they would have to get ready to pack up and go.

They were unsure of what their future at the newspaper will be.

“We were given assurances that the board of directors will follow the law and give us what is due to us,” one said.

Ua-Ndjarakana said it is “anticipated” that the staff will be “absorbed” into the national bureau of the regional news centre the Southern Times is to become.

Kavari added: “In essence, the Southern Times newspaper has as yet not closed for business. The necessary modalities and strategies are being honed to allow the two countries to facilitate the joining of the rest of the SADC member countries and thus the timeframe within which this is to happen has not been determined.”

She said the requisite laws pertaining to the dissolution of the company and the termination of employment contracts are naturally to follow due processes “as and when the necessary assessment has been made as to how many staff members to retain or deploy for the SADC project and how many to release”.



CATHERINE SASMAN

Similar News

 

Comet Neowise visible just after sunset

1 week ago - 30 July 2020 | Africa

ELVIRA HATTINGH WINDHOEKComet Neowise (C/2020 F3) is now visible in the southern hemisphere just after sunset.The Astronomy Society of Southern Africa said it has received...

Namibia stagnates on several SDGs

1 week ago - 29 July 2020 | Africa

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Namibia has been ranked 119th among 166 countries in achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This...

Africa should become the conservation continent

1 week ago - 27 July 2020 | Africa

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Protecting 30% of the earth's surface by 2030 could result in greater economic opportunities for emerging economies...

Response plan to improve health access, protect economies

3 months ago - 06 May 2020 | Africa

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) has launched a COVID-19 Response Plan of Action to assist African countries to improve access to sustainable and resilient...

Namibian companies consider AfCFTA boon

8 months ago - 19 November 2019 | Africa

CATHERINE SASMANNamibia recently signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) that could potentially unlock the massive African market of 1.2 billion people as the...

Small burial for Mugabe

10 months ago - 30 September 2019 | Africa

The body of Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was buried on Saturday in his rural village of Kutama, an AFP reporter at the scene said.The...

Another dos Santos falls

10 months ago - 30 September 2019 | Africa

One year ago, the dos Santos family handed the Angolan presidency over to Joao Lourenco. The new president promised to tackle corruption which crippled the...

South Africans are not xenophobic

10 months ago - 17 September 2019 | Africa

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has apologised for the violent attacks by South Africans against nationals of other African countries, saying South Africans are not...

Mugabe: Hero or zero?

10 months ago - 16 September 2019 | Africa

Some believe the late Robert Mugabe was thrown into the dustbin of history when he was deposed as president of Zimbabwe in 2017, yet many...

Mugabe: Liberation hero turned despot

11 months ago - 06 September 2019 | Africa

Robert Mugabe, who has died aged 95, used repression and fear to hold on to power in Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was finally...

Latest News

Nacc prohibits proposed Chinese merger

16 hours ago | Business

Phillepus Uusiku The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) made a decision to prohibit the acquisition of Schwenk Namibia Pty Ltd by West China Cement Limited due...

River-crossing fugitive in custody

16 hours ago | Crime

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKImmanuel David, a Namibian-born South African passport holder who entered the country illegally by crossing the Orange River in a canoe in June, has...

Harambee goal down the toilet

16 hours ago | Government

Jo-Maré Duddy WINDHOEK Of the 50 000 toilets in informal settlements in rural areas President Hage Geingob promised in his Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP)...

Contraceptive shortage: 27 900 unintended...

16 hours ago | Health

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKA study predicts that up to 27 900 unintended pregnancies may occur in Namibia because of a shortage of contraceptives brought about by the...

RFA spend massive amounts

16 hours ago | Economics

The Road Fund Administration (RFA) has over the past five-years allocated N$ 177.2 million to the City of Windhoek towards road maintenance and traffic law...

Rid Namibian police of rogue...

16 hours ago | Opinion

Videos of Namibian police officers assaulting alleged illegal immigrants from Zambia are a continuation of many violations that have become common place within the national...

'Covid-19 used for hidden agendas'

16 hours ago | Labour

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) yesterday accused government of purposefully using the Covid-19 pandemic to clandestinely and deliberately destroy parastatals,...

Otavi man commits suicide by...

16 hours ago | Crime

NAMPAOTJIWARONGOA 30-year-old man from Otavi committed suicide by allegedly drinking acid on Monday.Otjozondjupa police spokesperson, Inspector Maureen Mbeha, said yesterday the deceased has been identified...

N$5.5m for wildlife protection

16 hours ago | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK The Game Product Trust Fund (GPTF) has become increasingly important in protecting wildlife due to a lack of funding from government. The...

Load More