40,000 Chinese in Namibia, (The Namibian, 2006-11-21):-Large numbers of foreigners from the Far East, especially China, are flocking to Namibia to work and are granted working visas and residence permits at the drop of a hat, says an opposition politician. An estimated 40 000 Chinese nationals were already in the country, Jurie Viljoen of the Monitor Action Group (MAG) party said in the National Assembly yesterday. Speaking on a motion on alleged malpractices in the Namibian construction industry, Viljoen warned that the scramble for Africa was on again, hinting at the rising Chinese interest in Africa lately. "There are an estimated 44 000 of these (Chinese) people in Namibia," Viljoen said yesterday. In a tongue-in-cheek way, Viljoen "congratulated" the Home Affairs Ministry on "speedily processing visa and working permits" for Chinese nationals coming to Namibia to work, mainly in the construction sector. "I think it is a record and an achievement for any group to be able to get the necessary documents in such a short period," he said. Africa could benefit from China's interest, Viljoen added, "but at what price?" CoD President Ben Ulenga introduced a motion at the start of the Parliamentary session in September, requesting MPs to debate what he called "malpractices in the building industry, like non-compliance with tender regulations, lack of standards and the role of foreign contractors". Ulenga claimed that often buildings constructed by foreign companies, some with Chinese ownership, did not adhere to Namibian labour laws, paid wages lower than the minimum set by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and did sub-standard work. In his contribution on the topic, Works and Transport Minister Joel Kaapanda said construction tenders issued by Government during this financial year did not favour Chinese companies. Out of 16 tenders, six were granted to Chinese firms, while the remaining 10 went to Namibians, Kaapanda said. Foreign-owned companies operating in Namibia had to comply with all tender requirements if they wanted to be recommended by his Ministry, Kaapanda told the House. He provided a list of the six Chinese building contractors that were granted tenders. China Nanjing International Namibia (Pty) Ltd was registered in Namibia, had 23 employees registered with the Social Security Commission (SSC) and was also registered at the Finance Ministry for tax purposes, including Value Added Tax (VAT). The company was training Namibian students at the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre. "This is confirmed by way of a letter from the VTC," Kaapanda said. Jiangsu Zhengtai Construction Group was locally registered, had 50 staff members registered with the SCC and at the Finance Ministry and also trained VTC students. The firm also sponsored some students at the University of Namibia, the Minister said. New Era Investments (Pty) Ltd was also Chinese owned with 26 employees, had a Namibian shareholder, had the employees listed at the SSC, was registered at the Ministry of Finance and trained VTC students. China State Construction & Engineering Corporation Southern Africa was also active in Namibia, according to the Works and Transport Minister. It was properly registered and had 22 employees who were also listed for SSC payments. The company was registered as tax and VAT payer and also trained students at the VTC. "The company employs ex-combatants and is a member of the Construction Industry Federation," Kaapanda added. China Jiangsu International Namibia Ltd has 46 employees and is registered with all relevant authorities, Kaapanda's list revealed. Last on the list was China Jiangxi International (Namibia) cc, which only has three employees. They are registered at the SSC. It has registered with the Ministry of Finance for tax and VAT purposes. Minister Kaapanda did not say why this small company earned recommendation for Government tenders.  

South African Migration Project (SAMP) - Queen's University -