Namibians will have to continue with the tradition of switching to winter time on the first Sunday of April, while the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration is reviewing public suggestions and input on whether or not to keep the winter time-change.
Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana confirmed this at the weekend, but did not give further details on when the ministry will conclude the analysis. The ministry issued a statement on Thursday, saying: “the current time-change that is applicable in Namibia will remain the same” until further notice.
“With regard to the public opinion gathered on the time change in Namibia the ministry is still busy analysing them. This is a process, which has to meticulously adhere to the procedures applied in changing the law. The ministry appreciates the contribution so far received and will keep you posted on all the developments related to this process,” read the statement by the permanent secretary Patrick Nandago.
This means that on April 3 Namibia would, as has been the case in recent years, be adjusting its time to an hour behind and change it back again on September 4 for summer time change. The long debated issue of whether Namibia should stop switching to ‘winter time’ for five months of the year has caused public uproar.
The ministry had set end of January as the deadline for public submissions on whether on the matter, after the business sector complained repeatedly about the inconvenience brought about by the time change.
Many, in particular businesspeople, parents and learners, are left in limbo as to whether the time will change, given that winter is fast approaching. Business owners and members of the public have on various occasions complained about the twice-yearly time changes, arguing that they lead to a loss of productivity.
In accordance with the Namibian Time Act of 1994, Namibia enters summer time at 02h00 on the first Sunday in September, and switches to winter time at 02h00 on the first of April every year.
The time change is not applicable in the Zambezi Region, which means for five months of the year there are two time zones in Namibia. In winter the rest of the country is an hour behind the Zambezi Region.
Since January home affairs officials have been engaging relevant stakeholders on the relevance of the time change. This follows a request for public consultations on the issue, which was approved by Cabinet last year. She said various stakeholders, such as the education sector and sport organisations have been consulted on the matter.
Former DTA member of parliament Anna Frank initiated the debate in the National Assembly in 1992. Shortly afterwards, the National Assembly unanimously adopted two motions supporting a time change in principle.
Frank took issue with the fact that during winter children have to go to school in the dark. She said it is unsafe, as children could get injured or even assaulted on their way to school.