Archive for June 5th, 2007

05 June, 2007

KASANE – Productivity is improving in the public sector, says Mr Omponye Kereteletswe, the coordinator of public service reforms in the Office of the President.

Mr Kereteletswe said in an interview that Botswana was among the best countries in Africa in terms of productivity but the world ranking was not impressive.

He said the improvement, in some quarters, came after the Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr Eric Molale, toured Botswana to sensitise the nation about service delivery.

Mr Molales tour followed a report presented by the Minister of Local Government, Dr Margaret Nasha, which indicated that productivity was declining.

Thus during his trip, Mr Molale talked about the need to share resources, and he called for coordinated planning.

Mr Kereteletswe said the education ministry has improved by 50 per cent.

Although he did not have the statistics, he said, there has also been significant improvement in the ministries of trade and industry and that of agriculture.

He said motor vehicle registration, timely issuance of passports and national identity cards had improved.

In the past, it took a month for a customer to be issued with a passport, but at the moment its just a week, he said.

He said it was regrettable that some departments still [continue reading]

source: BOPA
05 June, 2007

GABORONE – Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) chief executive officer, John Kaluzi says the black out on Sunday was a result of the problems encountered on the Matimba Power Station in South Africa.

A statement from the BPC chief says Eskom had requested emergency repairs on the 400kV line from Matimba in South Africa to Phokoje in Selebi Phikwe and it was agreed that the repairs would last from 06:14hrs to 16:00hrs on Sunday.

BPC/Eskom agreed to route power imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which are normally destined for South Africa to be routed to Botswana to minimise the need for any load shedding.

The statement says the line was successfully taken out at 06:14hrs on Sunday morning and the situation in the country remained stable during the period of repair and the line was planned to be restored at 16:00 hrs.

While attempting to restore power supplies, regrettably, BPC/Eskom encountered problems, said the statement.

Eskom experienced problems on the South African side of the line which prevented the switching on of supplies in South Africa and whilst Eskom was attempting to solve their problems, the Morupule Power Station was also lost due what appeared to be a systems fault on the lines that feed Gaborone.

It says during this period the rest of the country except areas, which were being fed by supplies from DRC such as Francistown, Sowa, Maun and the environs, and a small section of Gaborone was without power.

The statement says 70 per cent of Botswanas power is imported and 80 per cent of the imported power is sourced through Phokoje link. BOPA

source: IOL
Xolani Mbanjwa
June 05 2007 at 06:38AM

Public sector unions on Monday rejected the government’s revised offer of a 6.5 percent wage increase after another day of marathon talks. This means that the crippling strike action will continue.

Talks between unions and the government reached another dead end when, soon after the government side formally tabled its offer, unions wasted no time in rejecting it. The new offer, said Public Service and Administration spokesperson Lewis Rabkin, was a “comprehensive package” which amounted to R13,7-billion.

“This is an improvement on the R9,3-billion offer initially tabled by government. This is an increase of R4,4-billion from the offer (of 6 percent), which is an extra 3.3 percent increase on the government’s wage bill”, he said.

The offer, said Rabkin, also included a general salary increase of [continue reading]

source: IOL
June 04 2007 at 07:42PM

Eskom has warned of power cuts unless South Africans start saving electricity.

Electricity demand – particularly in peak periods – had significantly increased because of the cold weather, Eskom chief executive Jacob Maroga said on Monday.

This had put tremendous pressure on the already tight electricity supply system, he said.

“We continue to appeal to everyone to double the efforts to use electricity efficiently and sparingly to avoid the need to go into load-shedding.”

Maroga said the risk of load-shedding increased if demand increased and if there were any unplanned plant or network outages.

At the moment, the demand for electricity was being managed by using the available generating capacity and reducing the load to certain, agreed customers. – Sapa, IOL

source: news24
04/06/2007 22:51  – (SA)

Pretoria – Clashes took place at hospitals and schools on Monday, the second day of the public service strike.

Early in the morning, police arrested 12 striking workers at Durban’s Addington Hospital after a group of strikers had apparently entered the institution and attempted to force nurses out.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said the 12 were arrested at about 07:00 and would be charged with violating the Public Gatherings Act.

He said they would also be charged for violating a court interdict obtained by the government on Thursday, which ruled that essential service workers may not go on strike.

Mdunge denied reports that shots had been fired.

“No shots were fired whatsoever. We only used a stun grenade which makes a bang bang noise.” He said that no one had been injured.

Bomb scare

Durban’s Wentworth hospital was evacuated on Monday following a bomb scare at 10:00.

By midday, the hospital was operating with skeleton staff, although there were large groups of protesters [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
SW Radio Africa (London)

4 June 2007
Posted to the web 4 June 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

Patients continued to be turned away at Zimbabwe’s major hospitals on Monday as the strike action by junior doctors and nurses continued. The situation has become so critical the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) described the health delivery system as being comparable to “a war situation.” Speaking at a one-day workshop on human rights at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, the ICRC communication delegate for Southern Africa, Sebastian Brack said the crisis could no longer be ignored if lives were to be saved. The strike is over poor salaries and better working conditions.

The core mission of the Red Cross is to protect and assist civilian and military victims of armed conflicts worldwide, but Zimbabwe’s health system has deteriorated so much that Brack said they had begun slowly increasing humanitarian assistance. He is quoted saying: “We have started setting up health institutions and organising training for health personnel in the remote areas as they are the worst affected by the brain drain.”

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said health service has collapsed. Primrose Matambanadzo, a spokesperson for the ZADHR, said hospitals were not [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

1 June 2007
Posted to the web 4 June 2007

Kopano Olesitse

All police stations and the Immigration department caught and deported more than 400 illegal Zimbabweans in a combined crackdown on Monday. The illegal Zimbabweans are said to be responsible for most of the crimes committed in the country, including prostitution. Assistant Superintendent for Kutlwano Police station Masego Mahatma said they caught 196 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants. “We adopted the stop-and-search strategy and raided homes of suspected illegal immigrants.

The areas covered by our station included Selepa, Somerset West and East Extension and Newstance. We also received some tip-off from some of the people who helped us identify these illegal immigrants,” said Mathetha.

He stated that given the high number of those arrested, they had to deport them the same day because “keeping them would have cost government a lot of money as they have to be fed while awaiting deportation”.

“Usually, these people are kept at the Centre for Illegal Immigrants (CII) at Gerald Estates prison before being returned home. These Zimbabweans at times can stand trial for entering the country through ungazzetted areas and can face up to three months’ imprisonment. The charge for overstaying per day ranges from P10. But repatriating them is always a better option as it helps reduce government spending,” added Mathetha.

Most arrested Zimbabweans were 15 to 35 years old. Meanwhile, the [continue reading]

source: United Nations Environment Programme – Press Release

The Hague, 2 June 2007 – The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has approved exports of elephant ivory from Botswana (20 tons of ivory), Namibia (10 tons) and South Africa (30 tons).

The exports were agreed in principle in 2002 but were made conditional on the establishment of up-to-date and comprehensive baseline data on elephant poaching and population levels.

Today’s meeting of the CITES Standing Committee (which oversees the implementation of CITES decisions between the major conferences) determined that this condition has been satisfied and that the exports may proceed.

“The CITES Secretariat will closely supervise these new exports and monitor future trends in elephant poaching and population levels throughout Africa. By basing future decisions on reliable field data, CITES can develop an approach to elephant ivory that benefits States relying on elephants for tourism as well as those seeking income from elephant products in order to finance wildlife conservation,” said the Secretary-General of the Convention, Mr. Willem Wijnstekers.

CITES banned the international commercial ivory trade in 1989. Then, in 1997, recognizing that some southern African elephant populations were healthy and well managed; it permitted Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to make a one-time sale of ivory to Japan totalling 50 tons. This sale took place in 1999 and amounted to some USD 5 million.

In 2004, requests by several southern African States for annual ivory quotas were not accepted by [continue reading]