10 Jun 2013 11:40
ONGWEDIVA, 10 JUN (NAMPA) - A prominent business tycoon in Namibia and neighbouring Angola, Ben Hauwanga, has called on the chairperson of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) in northern Namibia to apologise for making a false public statement.
Hauwanga convened a media conference on Monday at his Ongwediva-based business, where he distanced himself from Tomas Iindji?s statement.
?Iindji made a public statement in the Namibian newspapers and radio which gave the impression that Angolan border officials detained Namibian businesspeople who were on their way to a business workshop at Ondjiva, for no apparent reasons,? Hauwanga told journalists.
According to him, Iindji?s statement has caused tension between Namibians and Angolans, and has resulted in some visiting Angolans being ?bullied? in Namibia these days.
?I want Iindji to apologise in public, the same way he informed the public regarding the so-called detention of the Namibian business delegation by the Angolan authorities at the Oshikango border post,? Hauwanga, who is also a member of the NCCI, appealed.
He went on to say the Namibian businesspeople were held back because information on their mission to Angola was not immediately available at the border point, and was supposed to come from Ondjiva.
The border post also accommodates Angolan immigration officials.
The Namibian businesspeople were without a clearance document for their vehicles and the names of some members of the delegation were not on the list, which caused them to be held back and their travel delayed.
The Namibian businesspeople, according to Hauwanga, were attended to and given necessary assistance despite the fact that they arrived at the border at knock-off time.
This, Hauwanga believes, was done because of peace and good relations which exist between these two nations as from the colonial era when the Angolan Government housed Namibian freedom fighters for about 30 years.
?No authority, even in Namibia, will allow anybody to enter its country before complying with the immigration laws or without following procedures,? Hauwanga noted.
He explained that the Namibian business delegation, which travelled in two separate groups on two consecutive days, was allowed to proceed to Ondjiva after they have been cleared.
Approached for comment, Iindji told Nampa that it was only the first group of Namibian businesspeople who left for Ondjiva on 27 May, which was delayed for several hours after the Angolan border officials held them back at the Santa Clara border post, which is commonly referred to as the Oshikango border post by many Namibians and Angolans.
Iindji explained that the second group, which he was part of, left for Ondjiva in the morning of 28 May, the day of the workshop.
?Our group experienced no delay, but I was informed that the first group was not treated very well when it tried to cross the border on 27 May to overnight at Ondjiva to wait for the workshop the next day,? Iindji stated.
He added that members of the first group informed him that they were harassed and humiliated by Angolan Government officials at Santa Clara.
Iindji disagreed that the first group arrived at the border at knock-off time, saying they arrived there at about 14h00 and were held back and delayed for several hours.
?This was done despite the special arrangement we made with all relevant Namibian and Angolan offices that applying for clearance documents for the cars will take long and, as such, we were asked only to provide the make and the plate numbers of our vehicles,? said Iindji.
He also denied that the names of some of the delegates were not on the list.
?We registered 48 Namibian businesspeople for the workshop and we submitted their names to the relevant Namibian and Angolan authorities on time,? Iindji noted.
A total of 35 Namibian businesspeople attended the business workshop, which was mainly aimed at discussing business and trade between the two countries.