Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Standard Bank Dream

Samuel George Hamata is a fortunate young man whose hard work and determination have rewarded him greatly over the years. He was one of the hard-working students who were granted with fully-fledged bursaries from Standard Bank Namibia. This enabled him to study for an undergraduate B-Comm (Law) degree at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa from 2007 to 2010."I'm happy to work for a bank that invested in me, and in a few years from now, I see myself applying my knowledge and skills at a more senior level within the Legal Services Department" said Hamata, reflecting on his short productive years within Standard Bank's Legal Services Department since 15 December 2011.

He first completed a National Diploma (Business Administration) at the Polytechnic of Namibia from 2004 to 2006, where he obtained an average of 76.3% with distinctions in six of the modules during his final year. Among the modules he favoured and got a distinction for was Commercial Law. It was because of this module, coupled with the enthusiasm of his former lecturer at the Polytechnic of Namibia, Retha Van Zyl, that he developed an interest in the study of law. He also completed a postgraduate Diploma in Law from UWC in 2011, specialising in Corporate Governance, Corporate Finance, and International Trade Law, among others. He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree through the University of South Africa (UNISA)."I really enjoy the great team spirit at Standard Bank and being part of a vibrant legal team whose primary role is the provision of legal advisory services to business units and the branch network of the bank.

It feels like I'm living my Standard Bank dream. My parents struggled financially to cover for my education. Yet this never made me give up on my dreams to study law, and when I received a bursary from Standard Bank, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and since then never looked back," said Hamata with a smile.He added that he is grateful to Standard Bank for not only ploughing funds into his education, but also giving him on-the-job experience during holidays while he was still pursuing his B-Comm (Law) at UWC. "During my holidays it was required of me to work as temporary staff member in the Legal Services Department, and this was highly valuable to me to gain an understanding of commercial law in practice and learn from those already in the industry," Hamata explained.As part of his daily activities as a Legal Risk Officer, Hamata is tasked with assisting the Legal Services Department in managing legal risks within the bank.

"Legal risk refers to the risk that results from unenforceable contracts, breach of contract, law suits and unfavourable judgements. Legal risk also refers to the bank's exposure to penalties; punitive damages and legal fees, both from the regulator and private settlements. These items are risks to the bank not only because they can result in financial losses, but also reputation risks, where the bank's reputation may be tainted in the public eye, and this affects the earnings of the bank," he stated. "The joys of working in the Legal Services Department of Standard Bank includes, amongst other things, that I am expected to give not only legal advice, but also opinions on other aspects of matters that I deal with. This enables me to combine a mixture of skills and develop non-legal skills as well. I also gain a better understanding of the business through solving legal queries of business units and the branch network." And his final remark: "Always dream big, follow your dreams, know that anything is possible if you put your heart and mind into it and, most importantly, take your studies and career seriously."

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