Mariental residents say 'no' to winter time

11 May 2017 17:30pm
MARIENTAL, 11 MAY (NAMPA) – About 25 people who attended the public hearing on the Namibian Time Bill here on Wednesday, are against the time change in winter.
They said this during a public hearing by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security on the Namibian Time Bill at the Danie Joubert Combined School.
Resident Serouna Kanguatuuako said the time should remain the same and only school hours for learners should be changed to prevent them from walking to school in the dark.
Pastor Fritz Gaweseb concurred with Kanguatuuako, saying the time change in winter put women at risk of being raped or robbed when they leave church in the evening.
He added that the time change is also challenging for single mothers as their children are asleep when they come from work.
“Single mothers are always too tired to help their children with homework due to long hours they work and this can affect the performance of learners at school,” Gaweseb noted.
The hearing was also attended by Government officials, traditional leaders and constituency councillors.
Namibia in 1994 implemented the current time system of turning the clock one hour back during winter to accommodate children who have to walk long distances, especially in rural and informal settlements, in the dark to school.
Namibia is the only country in Africa that switches to winter time.
During her introductory remarks, committee Vice-Chairperson Agnes Kafula said Cabinet authorised the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration in October 2015 to conduct public consultations on the Namibian Time Act, Act No.3 of 1994.
“Due to this time change, certain sectors of our economy raised concerns that the time change impact unfavourably on their activities, be it commercial, leisure or academic and that the Zambezi Region is completely cut off when the rest of the country shifts to winter time,” Kafula noted.
She further said as a result of these factors, views and opinions of stakeholders were invited by the ministry through written letters and public notices.
However, only three regional governors responded and a mere 3 507 views were received by the February deadline last year.
The Bill was tabled in February this year, but consensus could not be reached among Members of Parliament and thus the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The committee conducted public hearings in Lüderitz and Keetmanshoop in the //Kharas Region and will also consult with Omaheke as well as the northern regions on the time change.
A report will then be compiled and tabled in the National Assembly for further discussions and considerations.
The consultations will conclude on 24 May 2017.