Namibians don’t want winter time-change – report

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security has submitted its report on the Namibian Time Bill, advising the National Assembly to pass the Bill as tabled by Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana.

Iivula-Ithana tabled the Namibian Time Bill in February to change the current system that requires some parts of Namibia to change their clocks in winter. The Bill was however referred back for wider public consultations. Chairperson of the standing committee Leevi Katoma said during the public hearings that started on April 5 and ended on May 24 in Windhoek that the majority of stakeholders and participants were in support of the Namibian Time Bill and requested the adoption of the bill.

He said most participants argued that Namibia is a unitary state in terms of the Constitution of the Republic. “The fact that the Zambezi Region does not adjust its time during winter dilutes the notion of “The Namibian House”, as communities in the Zambezi Region are observing summertime, while the rest of the country observes wintertime,” he said.

The current Namibian Time Act of 1994 states that during the summer period, the time be set two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and then shifted one hour ahead for the winter period.

Iivula-Ithana’s proposal is that Namibia should use the current summer time as the only time measure for the entire country all-year round. If passed by parliament, the current time zone will not be changed in April next year, as has been the case at the start of every winter season. Katoma said during wintertime the change has an adverse effect on daily operations in the region, as communities, residents and the public and private sectors have to wait an extra hour in the morning for public and private offices and businesses to open in Windhoek and the rest of the country.

“At 13h00 in Zambezi, it is 12h00 in the rest of the country; and at 14h00 in Zambezi, it is 13h00 in the rest of the country. At 17h00 in Zambezi it is 16h00 in the rest of the country,” he explained.

The committee also recommended that Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa regulate the hours of school instruction and the school calendar in terms of Section 37 of the Education Act, subject to further consultation with parents and other stakeholders. The standing committee also recommended the education ministry consider the introduction of a quarterly system (four school terms) with a specific focus on providing a proper winter school-holiday, preferably from mid or end of June to end of July, subject to further research and consultation.

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