I did not realise it was the final goodbye – Kasete

Martin Endjala

Chamber of Mines President Zebra Kasete, said he was the last business leader to meet the late President Hage Geingob during an official visit at State House in December.

Kasete who is also the Managing Director of Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) in Tsumeb, said this during a memorial service of the late President this week.

“I was told that I was the last business leader who had a meeting with His Excellency. He had to delay his holiday plans to have a meeting with me on 22 December 2023.

He was very happy and his final words on the day were “I am leaving the country in good shape.” I never knew he was saying goodbye to me and the nation,” Kasete recalls.

During the meeting, Kasete shared exciting news about Dundee’s potential acquisition of Osino; the issuance of two mining licenses coupled with the much-anticipated resurgence of the uranium market and critical raw minerals.

He said the President invited him to State House to find out how the mining industry was doing; what Dundee Precious Metals’ future business plans were and how the company was making Tsumeb a better place.

Kasete added that Geingob had a soft spot for the mining industry and Tsumeb.

“It was during this conversation that I gained enough courage to ask President Geingob what his legacy would be. He just smiled and looked at me and then he said, he wants to build strong governance institutions with good systems and predictable processes in Namibia and across the African continent,” Kasete said.

Kasete extended his heartfelt condolences to the First Lady, Monica Geingos, the children, the extended family, and the entire Namibian nation during this difficult time.

“We stand united in honouring the late President’s legacy and the lasting impact he made on our industry,” he said.

In addition, he urged people to continue to honour Geingob’s memory by forging ahead and seizing the opportunities that lie before them.

He described Geingob as a man who displayed remarkable foresight in his development objectives, aiming to create an economically independent Namibia.

He said his dedication and passion for the mining industry will always be remembered, and as the Chamber of Mines members and EXCO, they pay tribute to his unwavering support and commitment, adding that he was always present.

Additionally, Geingob’s commitment was displayed by accepting every invitation to officiate at the opening of new mines.

He had presided over the opening of the Husab Uranium mine, B2Golds’ Otjikoto gold mine, the inauguration of the Tsumeb Smelter’s Sulphuric Acid Plant, as well as the inauguration of Debmarine Namibia’s new mining vessel, the Benguela Gem.

“President Geingob worked relentlessly to remove barriers to investment. He consulted widely and appointed a High-Level Panel on the Economy, and we are grateful for his leadership.

His foresight is seen in his passion for new industries which will be developed around the Green Hydrogen and Critical Minerals,” noted Kasete.

Kasete added that in 2008 during his previous work at Rössing Uranium Mine, he had a matter that reached a critical level that threatened the viability of the business.

President Geingob, when he was the Minister of Trade and newly elected Vice President of the Swapo party was tasked by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba to resolve the matter.

He said the likes of Erkkie Nghimtina, Albert Kawana, the late Rehabeam Hoveka, and Frank Fredrick, as an experienced negotiator, were graciously allowed the opportunity to present the cases to Geingob.

After listening to their versions carefully, Geingob reminded them of the struggles endured for the country’s independence, the United Nations’s Decree No.1 on the Protection of natural resources and no retro-selectivity of Namibian laws.

Kasete said Geingob suggested an amicable solution, and they left his office very satisfied, and this was his hallmark as a diplomat.

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