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Pervasive net fishing in protected areas forces Sikunga Conservancy to employ full-time fish guards – costs have become prohibitive

Pervasive net fishing in protected areas forces Sikunga Conservancy to employ full-time fish guards – costs have become prohibitive

Policing the Sikunga Channel against illegal fishing has turned out to be a more costly exercise than what the Bhukalo Traditional Authority anticipated when it applied for legal protection of the channel’s conservation status in 2015.

The application was submitted to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources by the Sikunga Conservancy in cooperation with the Bukalo Traditional Authority and on 25 November 2015, both the Sikunga and Kasaya Channels were recognised legally as fish protection areas.

These channels are shallow backwaters of the Zambezi river where fish spawn during specific times of the year. As such they are important ecological reservoirs to replenish fish populations in the main river. The areas adjacent to the channels usually flood seasonally but the channels themselves remain clear and running, providing the terrestrial link to the Zambezi.

As part of the successful application to turn the Sikunga channel into a reserve, the conservancy is under the obligation to conduct patrols and train fish monitors. These functions have developed to the level where the conservancy now fields fifteen full-time fish monitors acting as guardians of the reserve.

It is their job to prevent or detect any illegal activity of which the most pressing problem is the pervasive fishing with nets by delinquent Caprivians. This problem has become worse over the past ten years with the free distribution of mosquito nets as a preventive measure against malaria. These same nets, designed and distributed to save human lives, are now the bane of fish stocks in many areas along the Zambezi.

Initially, it was expected that the income to pay the fish monitors will be generated by utility rights for which lodges and recreational anglers had to pay. But the criminal problem was so large that the number of guards grew to fifteen, to protect only 8 kilometres of channel. The income from selling fishing rights to angling clubs proved to be vastly inadequate.

Helping to ensure the sustainability of the guarding effort as well as the conservation area, FNB Namibia through the bank’s CSI arm, the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, recently committed to support the conservancy with nearly N$800,000 over three years.

“We want to thank the team of Sikunga Fish Protection for their hard work and for playing an active role in the guardianship of our environment, particularly in Zambezi River ecosystem”, said Allan Matengu, FNB Branch Manager in Katima Mulilo.

Dgini Visser of the Gondwana Care Trust echoed “Conservation of our natural resources is only possible when like-minded organizations and communities work together to preserve these resources. The Gondwana Care Trust is sincerely thankful to FNB Namibia and the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust for its generous contribution to the Fish Protection Project in the Sikunga Conservancy.”

Caption: Fish monitors Bernard Sikwana, Obby Sifaya, Morrison Melida and Nelson Ndopu, with Allan Matengu (centre) of FNB, Willem Steenkamp (right) and Lappies Laubscher.


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The staff reporter is the most senior in-house Economist reporter. This designation is frequently used by the editor for articles submitted by third parties, especially businesses, but which had to be rewritten completely. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.