Jonathan Cobra has been disparaging about me on social media, specifically on Facebook since many newspapers in Namibia have reported and published news articles about our Otavi Steel Mill development in Otavi, Namibia.
After these articles which have appeared back to back since about 2 weeks ago in Die Republikein, which is Namibia’s largest Afrikaans newspaper, Allgemeine Zuitung, which is Namibia’s largest German newspaper, Namibian Sun, The Namibian, which is the largest English newspaper in Namibia, New Era, and Prime Focus Magazine, John went on a rampage, posting lots of nonsense specifically about me, personally, on our Groot Town Center’s Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/GrootTownCenter, my personal Facebook profile, as well as on any Facebook Page associated with me personally. And this has become more like an obsessive stalking.
His argument is regarding a 16 year old issue about WEA, which was an organization I founded in Dayton, Ohio USA. The Namibian has written on this issue at about the time it happened, and in 2010 or 2011, Die Republikein and Insight Magazine also published an article and mentioned the same issue. I wrote and published a rebuttal statement on this issue on my personal blog, see https://princesimon.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/die-republikein-news-article-by-ronelle-rademeyer-about-simon-kapenda/
The news article in Die Republikein regarding this issue was written by Ronelle Radameyer, see http://www.republikein.com.na/politiek-en-nasionale/prins-simon-had-al-swaarde-gekruis-met-ierse-premier.107707.php, whom last week Saturday, I sat down with her for about 3 hours at Turingerhof Hotel, interviewing me on our Groot ecosystem and our planned Otavi Steel Mill development. Her article was published on Wednesday, the following week. Prior to sitting down with Ronelle, she had written about 3 or 4 news article in Die Republikein, and hers were based on an ill informed journalist, who was writing news on economics and our economic development projects which is not her area of expertise.
Moreover, after the said 3 or 4 different news articles by Ronelle, I went and sat down with Dani Booysen, the Editor of Die Republikein, we sat for about 3 hours at Turingerhof Hotel in Windhoek interviewing me and discussing about our Groot ecosystem development in Namibia. Thereafter, Dani went and published an article regarding that interview, see http://www.republikein.com.na/politiek-en-nasionale/algemeen/groot-droom-mik-plaas-toe.122167.php. I had also sat down with Tangeni Amupadhi, then Editor of Insight Magazine and now currently Editor of The Namibian and Elvis Muraranganda, for a lengthy interview on our Groot ecosystem development and the same topic. Their article was published in the Insight Magazine of March 2011.
For whatever else John is writing about me personally, he is doing so to attack my personality, character, kindness, integrity, and sincerity. His argument is baseless, irrelevant, foolish and based on an uninformed journalist.
He is arguing that our Groot ecosystem development in Namibia is fraud, unsubstantiated, and has no merit due to the fact that such as our Steel Mill in Otavi, with an output capacity of 10 million tons per year, that it is fraud, not real, and not feasible because there is no Iron Ore in Namibia, hence no materials to produce the planned output capacity.
He is arguing that our appointed engineering company, Scorpion Mineral Processing, does not exist in South Africa and that they have no credibility. He is arguing that our Steel Mill has no agreement in place with Lodestone, I have never heard of this name before and do not know who they are.
He is arguing that our Steel Mill will consume 500 MW a day of electricity, I do not know where he got this information, which is not true. See below for the facts. He is further claiming that our posted trainee positions of 150 to be trained in steel-making in Italy is fraud since we will charge fees, which is not true. Those who attended our Meeting at Safari Hotel on February 12 heard from our engineering partners, Danieli, the need for these trainees and no, we are not charging any fees for anyone to be trained for our steel-making.
His also argument is that the development of Groot in the Kunene Region is also fraud and not feasible due to the fact that in the Kunene Region, there are no infrastructures hence no customers to support the Groot development. His other argument is that we are building a 900 MW CCGT power plant when Namibia only consumes about 550 MW a day.
Let us look at his individual arguments, starting with our planned Steel Mill in Otavi.
Our steel mill development is by Otavi Steel (Pty) Ltd, a company set up to be involved in an integrated steel production with its headquarter offices and base of production operation to be based in Otavi, Namibia. This company plans to have an annual gross production capacity of 10.3 million net tons of steel, making it the largest steel manufacturing plant in Africa. Our plan is to focus on the manufacturing of a wide range of short and long steel products as well as value-added steel sheet and tubular products for the automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction, and oil and gas industries around the world.
Budgeted at N$25 billion for the development and construction, the Otavi Steel Mill expects to create more than 25,000 of direct manufacturing jobs in Otavi with more than 150,000 of sustainable indirect jobs throughout Namibia. Otavi Steel will have an exponential positive impact on the overall Namibian economy as it will affect nearly every sector; from energy, water, roads, railway, shipping, mining, human capital, medical clinics, agriculture, education, and more. It is an economic ecosystem by itself as more developers and investors are expected to come to the Otavi area to setup new businesses to offer products and services for the Otavi Steel Mill workers.
The Otavi Steel Mill is being developed in two different production capacity mills, a Nanomill with a production capacity of 300,000 net tons of rebars and is expected to be commissioned by mid 2014 and a Megamill with an annual production capacity of 10 million net tons of short and long steel products, which is expected to be commissioned by mid 2015. However, only 3 million net tons of the Megamill will be initially commissioned and the remaining will be thereafter added annually with a pair of the same capacity to reach the planned 10.3 million tons a year.
The combined Otavi Steel Mills will require 1260MW of electricity per day, (1200 MW of that is for the Megamill and 34 MW is for the Nanomill), 80,000 cubic meters of water per day, a dedicated shipping dock at the Walvisbay Port to load and unload 30 million tons of raw materials and finished products per year, 20 million tons of Iron Ore per year from yet–to–be–developed Iron Ore mines in Namibia and Cassinga in Angola, a railway from Oshikango in Namibia to Cassinga for the transportation of Iron Ore and Scrap Metals from Cassinga, as well as a production of blackthorns found between Otjiwarongo and Otavi for biofuel energy, and more infrastructure as needed for the full efficiency operation of the Otavi Steel Mill.
SMS Group South Africa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Germany based SMS Group is the development, technology and equipment providing partner for the Otavi Steel Megamill, and Italy based Danieli is the development, technology and equipment providing partner for the Otavi Steel Nanomill, while South Africa-based Scorpion Mineral Processing is the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) for the overall Otavi Steel Mill development.
Otavi Steel (Pty) Ltd is a Namibia based and owned company, incorporated and registered in Namibia (registration #2007/0307) under the laws of the Republic of Namibia Companies Act, 1973 (Act 61 of 1973). Our founding members with equal shareholding ownership in the Company are Groot Group, Otavi Town Council, SDS Group Namibia, and Andre Neethling Family Trust. Our Directors are Daniel Kamunoko (Namibian), Managing Director of SDS Group representing SDS Group, Andre Neethling (Namibian), Co-Founder of Ohorongo Cement representing Andre Neethling Family Trust, Simon Kapenda (Namibian–American), CEO of Groot Group representing Groot Group, and Moses Matyayi (Namibian), CEO of Otavi Town Council representing the Otavi Town Council.
Regarding our power plant
“Recent regular power cuts in Windhoek have raised concerns of NamPower’s energy generation stability, given that South African national power utility, Eskom, is said to have again communicated its inability to supply Namibia with electricity during this winter” (New Era Newspaper, July 4, 2011).
Namibia, with a population of slightly more than 2.2 million, has a dire need of electricity supply; hence the development of a reliable, clean, safe and adequate electricity generation plant to power the entire urban and rural areas in Namibia is regarded by some of the Namibian government officials as a matter of national security urgency.
The Country currently consumes about 3.2 Terawatts (TW) per year, which equals to an average of 550 Megawatts (MW) per day. Namibia Power Corporation (Pty) Ltd (NamPower), a national power utility company of Namibia, currently generates about 34% of electricity from its Hydro Power Plant in Ruacana, Coal Plant in Windhoek, and Diesel Power Plant in Walvis Bay and imports about 65% of its electricity requirements from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the DRC for distribution in Namibia.
South Africa has been the primary source for electricity generation for Namibia since the beginning of time. However, about 15 years ago, it informed NamPower that by around 2014, it will no longer be able to supply electricity to Namibia. South Africa has since reduced its electricity supply to Namibia in 2011 and it only accounts for 10%. Zimbabwe has also been supplying 150 MW of electricity to Namibia. However, it has informed NamPower about 10 years ago that by around 2014 it will also cut off its supply to Namibia.
In mid-November 2010, His Excellency President Pohamba and his counterparts from Zambia and Botswana inaugurated the Caprivi Link Interconnector, an N$2.4 billion (US$348 million) electricity line financed by NamPower to supply 300 MW with a capacity of 600 MW of electricity to Namibia, Zambia and Angola. But, that’s not sufficient because it’s shared among the three countries and it may experience frequent congestion depending on which country’s heavy usage at any given time.
Our Steel Mill alone, the Nanomill will need 34 MW of electricity a day, which during our meeting of February 19, 2012 with NamPower and our engineers from Danieli stated that they are able to supply us with our electricity need. This was also reported in Die Republikein article of Wednesday last week.
However, for our Megamill, NamPower has no electricity capacity to supply us with our electricity need of 1200 MW per day, hence the need for us to develop and build a 900 MW CCGT power plant, which is upgradeable to 4000 MW using Liquefied Natural Gas, an imported natural gas, since Namibia currently has no developed natural gas well to supply for our power plant. Our power plant is being planned for development in Walvisbay and will be commercial operation by mid 2015 in time for the first phase commissioning of our Megamill and will be ungraded in tangent with the Megamill future phases development.
Regarding our Groot Town Center
We are planning to develop Groot (Groot Town Center) as an upscale multifarious community on a private land near Etosha National Park in the Kunene Region, Namibia. It will occupy more than 2.2 million square feet of exceptional interior shopping mall and entertainment space and 300 acres of an upper-class exterior town center featuring high with pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, open-air gathering spaces, fountains, children’s parks, theme parks, and more than 2,100 best-in-class retails from around the world, entertainment, medical facilities, educational institutions, luxury hotels, fine dining restaurants, office spaces and residential properties.
Groot is being developed to be anchored by diverse industries that will create a powerful, perpetual and self-sustained economic ecosystem. It’s being developed on a private land in the area of Outjo, Otavi, and Tsumeb; just about 129 kilometers from Etosha National Park, in the Kunene Region of Northwestern Namibia.
Etosha National Park is one of Southern Africa’s finest and most important Game Reserves. It covers an area of 22,270 square km and it is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish. The Etosha Park is one of the first places on any itinerary designed for a holiday in Namibia.
The entire area is the central gateway to Namibia’s northern regions en-route to and from Angola, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. South Africa on the south is just a few hours of flight time from it and it’s just less than an hour by road to Okaukueyo Main Entrance of the Etosha National Park, Africa’s 3rd largest wildlife park for tourists.
According to Namibia Tourism Board, Namibia’s tourist industry is growing at an average rate of 13% annually. In 2008, 981,111 tourists visited Namibia, while in 2009, the number decreased to 980,173, with 73% of them coming from Africa, namely from Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. German tourists also ranked high in number. Angolan tourists alone spent an average of US$417 million (N$3 billion) in retail outlets in Namibia.
Hence Groot is destined to become the best and ultimate destination for everything about working, shopping, living, and playing in Southern Africa.
Market Analysis for Groot
According to the Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (www.undp.org), Africa’s combined population is more than one billion with a combined GDP (real) of US$2.2 trillion (N$16.1 trillion) and the GDP (PPP) per capita is US$2,200 (N$16,060).
However, Africa’s combined potential wealth value, based on its endowed natural resources, is more than US$100 trillion (N$730 trillion), which is bigger than the aggregate wealth value of South and North America and Europe, but 65% of the African population lives on less than US$2.00 (N$14.60) a day, while only about 15% of the population earns decent salaries of more than US$100,000 (N$730,000) a year.
While it’s estimated to have a great number of overseas tourists as the prospective patrons for Groot, the majority of Groot customers are expected to come from the SADC region, whose combined population is 257.7 million with more than US$471.1 billion (N$5.38 trillion) (2010) of aggregate GDP and a potential wealth value of more than US$65 trillion (N$474.5 trillion).
However still 45% or 116.0 million of the SADC population lives on less than US$2 (N$14.60) a day, and only 15% or 21.3 million of them earns annual salaries of more than US$100,000 (N$730,000) with a gross buying power of about US$2.1 trillion (N$15.5 trillion).
Potential Customers for Groot
Consumers today are more sophisticated and selective of what or where to buy based on the quality of products, designs, styles, shapes, atmosphere, price levels, locations and services. Hence we are developing Groot as an upscale multi-use marketplace to offer only the top-of-the-line products and services. Prospective customers for Groot are those discerning individuals with disposable income to splurge, and demanding only the best in what they want.
Since Groot will be composed of only retail store outlets and facilities that offer superior quality and luxurious products and services, our targeted customers are generally 15% or 21.3 million of the SADC population plus overseas tourists, which would make up about 55,000 daily visitors to Groot.
The individual annual incomes of the stated number are in the income bracket of US$100,000 (N$730,000), and their combined annual income is about US$2.1 trillion (N$15.5 trillion). Out of that number of visitors, we estimate each visitor to Groot to spend an average of US$250 (N$1,825) per visit, which comes to about US$13.8 million (N$100.4 million) a day or US$5.0 billion (N$36.1 billion) a year, and this is the estimated total revenue of the retail tenants at Groot.
Market Growth for Groot
The 10-year plan for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, a consortium of major Namibia’s transportation companies and Namibia Ministry Agencies, is to develop multi-trans highways in Namibia (such as the Trans-Caprivi Highway, Trans-Kunene Highway, Trans-Kalahari Highway, and other similar highways in Namibia), that will interconnect in Grootfontein.
Tsumeb, which is just less than 45 minutes by road from Grootfontein, is the smelting Center for Copper. Countries such as Zambia and DRC are making Tsumeb their Copper smelting Center for their Copper production. Therefore, the construction of a new highway in the Okavango region designed to link Namibia’s border at Katwiwi to Angola with a modern highway, has already reached Tsumeb.
Like all other multi-trans highways aforementioned, this highway to Tsumeb from Katwiwi border in Namibia and Angola will bring heavy traffic to Tsumeb and the surrounding areas, and eventually to Groot. Angolans are already the largest buying group in Namibia, and an entry point with a highway via Okavango will attract a larger influx of Angolans to Groot.
Based on this highway infrastructure, visitors to Groot are expected to exponentially grow by more than 200% within the first 5 years.
Is our Ecosystem Development Feasible?
We are a privately owned Namibian company, and there is nothing wrong with what we are doing by developing our Groot ecosystem projects in Namibia or elsewhere. There are governing laws in Namibia, such as The Foreign Investment Act, The Financial Intelligence Act, The Company Registration Laws, etc., all equally governing all the businesses and operations in Namibia.
Through any of our projects, we are not breaking any laws, either local or international. Our Feasibility Studies for all of our projects are all based on The World Bank Standard. We subscribe to the principles of caring for the environment in which we are working and good citizenship.
Our Company is governed by the Memorandum of Incorporation under the Company Registration Act of the Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as by our Board of Directors.
There are strict laws and rules set up by international agencies such as in case of our Steel Mill development, power plant development, etc. Our Business plan has to meet these standards, rules and regulations in order for our financing institutions and partners to invest in our projects. There is no shortcut to any of these.
Stupid Arguments by John Grobler
His arguments are foolish, baseless, and attention seeking.
We are privately financed, not government funded. Any of our efforts, whether feasible or not, are our own concern. We approach each project with sound business mind. As a private company, we are motivated by profit, just like any other businesses in the world. But the end outcome is meeting the needs for our shareholders, customers, socio-economic development, and improving the quality of life for the people, animals and the environment in which we operate.
To realize our ecosystem development, we are partnering with Namibian entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds, local governments and foreign investment partners to work in tangent with the Namibian central government for the planning, development and implementation of our Groot ecosystem, which encompasses nearly every industry from light to heavy manufacturing, tourism, transportation, energy, medical, agriculture, mining, engineering, and more, all have been specifically designed to help fast track the realization of Namibia Vision 2030.
In doing so, some of these entrepreneurs, which we make all of our available project opportunities through our Facebook page, there are some of those who are children’s, or brothers, or sisters of high ranked government officials and business executives, who have taken up the challenge and the risk for venturing into entrepreneurship for them to making a living with our ecosystem development. There is no law any where that prevents anyone, regardless of his or he family dynasty or background, to go into private business practice or any form of personal choice of career opportunity in order to make a living, just like anyone else, anywhere.
For this, John is also targeting some of our entrepreneurial partners, but there is no wrong doing for them or us to doing so, because we are not committing any crime or corruption to anyone of any kind.
Namibia is one of the finest countries in the world. The SWAPO led government has set up institutions conducive for good business environment, such as the Anti Corruption Commission. And we are doing everything we can to abide by each law in developing our Groot ecosystem.
But who is John Grobler?
According to the SWAPO Party’s Web site, see this link at http://www.swapoparty.org/spotlight_jonathan_cobra.html, John Grobler is a former Koevoet member of the apartheid SADF.
Here is the entire article as written from that link below:
”In THE SPOTLIGHT this time is Mr. John Grobler also known as Jonathan Cobra, pictured on the left. Jonathan Cobra is a pseudo name or cap he has been wearing to demonize Namibia and the Founding President through the then Smith’s Windhoek Observer newspaper before it was taken over by the sons of the soil under the Pragon Investments.
Mr. Jonathan Cobra in his new life is a so-called Investigative Journalist reporting occasionally for the Namibian newspaper and the (RSA) Mail & Guardian. The above does not however reveal that the fellow was a koevoet soldier, an apartheid military wing that murdered so many of Namibian people.
In his natural being as John Grobler, he was a Koevoet soldier (ekakunya) who, along with his fellow brutal apartheid henchmen committed untold atrocities to the Namibian people. Simply put, his hands are soaked in the blood of the Namibian people. After the SWAPO Party government introduced the policy of national reconciliation (forgive but not forget) at independence John Grobler embarked on a vicious strategy to abuse this gesture by demonizing the architectures of that very policy and did not spare Namibia either the only country where he can have a bedroom. ”
In short, basically John Grobler has been an Anti-Namibia, hence his grave hatred against anyone who pose to doing something decent for Namibia and the Namibian people. Anyone who dares to do just that, then that individual becomes a sharp thorn in John Grobler’s foot, and he would want to make sure that he removes that thorn by any means necessary.
Motivation for John Grobler’s Hate Against our Ecosystem Development
John has a brother who is involved or wants to go into the Steel business in Namibia. And for us to develop our Steel mill, that basically may prevent his brother from pursuing his steel business idea. And this is his core motivation to try to write bad about our Steel mill development in order to kill our projects and yields the opportunity for his brother. It may also be possible that John may have been offered some monetary value by someone or anyone for the same purpose, and if our Groot ecosystem development fails, then who really benefits?
More Factors of Motivation for John Grobler
There are some white Namibians who are not in favor of any of our industrial projects, which these projects are designed to efficiently help equalize the distribution of wealth in Namibia, especially among those who have been previously disenfranchised and disadvantaged.
Remember the case with Pupkewitz against the Asian cars in Namibia? Pupkewitz never wanted Asian cars to enter the Namibian market because of the fear of competition, but now he is one of the largest dealers of Asian cars in Namibia.
For some white Namibians like John Grobler, they know the fact that they still control the Namibian economy, but as these projects start to offer better paying employment opportunities and benefits to all the Namibian people, they know that they will no longer be able to be the only employers of choice in Namibia. Hence they hate the idea of someone else coming in and take their cake away, which for ages they have been rudely controlling and eating it.
And some black Namibians are so naive that they do not stand up and defend what is to be their only way of getting out of the informal ghettos and enjoy the Namibian dream that these whites have for years been enjoying.
The Namibian independence that we are enjoying today was not due to only a few people fighting for it, it was a joint effort by the majority of the Namibians. Hence the Namibian economic independence should not be toppled for development just by a small group but should be everyones effort to making it happen, the best way and the fastest.
Here we have a Steel mill, which will make Namibia to be self-sufficient and independent from importing steel from elsewhere, same as with our Power Plant, which will make Namibia to no longer import electricity for the first time ever, but all what John is singing, writing, and complaining is, this is bad and that is bad. If it is bad, why doesn’t he stand up and offer a better solution?
John, if you have a better solution to the current economic woes in Namibia which has left many black Namibians with lousy paying jobs or no jobs, then stand up and offer your version of better solution. Sitting back and offer cheap shots on what is wrong what we are doing or not doing right will not solve anything but make you look like a greedy and white racist and scared moron.
Personal Attacking of Simon Kapenda
Yes, this is me, Simon Kapenda, and yes my educational background as listed is real and I worked and I am still working hard for it. Everything I have or I am about, I made it for myself. Yes, I have family members in key government positions in different ministries but I have never asked any of them any favor of any kind. I work hard for everything I attain in my life.
I have never been arrested for any crime of any wrong doing. Selling and buying Internet domain names, which I used to do, is not a crime. Some of the worlds largest companies such as GoDaddy, Yahoo, Register.com, etc., are in business of selling and registering Internet domain names. And no, I have never operated a porn Web site as you claim. The WEA Lawsuit about 15 years ago is baseless and unfounded that never made it to the court, read my statement on my blog on the link given in this article.
If you want to debate me on any subject, or simply want to meet me for your own publicity stunt, then meet me in a public space such as on NBC One on One program, or if it is in the boxing ring, then let us do it and I will gladly and rudely knock your freaking brain out. Yes, I have obtained my Bachelor of Science in Economics from the College of Arts and Science, The Department of Economics, at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio USA, and I am currently doing my PhD in Economics and Finance. You heard me right!
But who are you really John Grobler?
What is your background and what did you do when you were little growing up? Did you kill little kittens and chickens to practice killing black Namibians once you grow up and join the Koevoet? What else is that you never want anyone to find out about you, John?
My name is Simon Kapenda, I make my home in Beverly Hills, California and New York City, New York, and previously in Dayton, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio USA. I have also lived in Europe. I am a Namibian by birth, and in Namibia, I make my home in Windhoek as well as in the Oshikoto Region. I am the CEO of Groot Group, and Project Director of our Otavi Steel mill development and the Sitentu Power Plant.
And yes, I wrote and endorse this Article.