Archive for July 24th, 2007

source: Daily News
By Moabi Keaikitse

GABORONE – The Gaborone Central Business District (CBD) is not attracting the right type of development initiatives, Mayor Harry Mothei has observed.

He complained that government has serviced the area at huge costs, but the planned developments have not materialised.

He was officiating at last week’s joint workshop hosted by the Gaborone City Council (GCC) in collaboration with consultants from Planted Africa and Mosienyane & Partners International as part of an ongoing consultation exercise on the review of the city plan for the period 1997-2021.

It was held under the theme: “Making Gaborone a livable, safe, functional and economically sustainable city”. Mr Mothei noted the construction of some major office developments elsewhere in Gaborone, which ideally should have been build at the CBD.
Consequently, there is need to assess the reasons for the slow development of the area and to come up with ways of attracting the right developers.

Also, there is need to revitalise the Gaborone Main Mall and to make it look attractive even after normal business hours.

Mr Mothei noted that informal businesses have invaded the place and have located themselves in inappropriate areas such as pedestrian walkways, road reserves and residential areas.

To make matters worse, some of the businesses have built structures with unsightly temporary materials such as plastics and cardboards.

However, the mayor said, the informal sector is the heartbeat of African cities, and it needs to be natured, tolerated and accepted. He said the government also [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
22.07.2007 3:57:41 PM

More than 1 500 American soldiers may be permanently based in Botswana from next year, should government go ahead with alleged plans to host America’s recently created Africa Command (Africom).
The Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week could not confirm reports by Democracy and Governance that Botswana is alleged to have indicated interest to host Africom.

Africom is aimed at stemming the assumed threat posed by swathes of Africa’s “ungoverned” spaces, feared to be potential hide-outs and training fields for terrorists. According to the controversial 2007 “Failed States Index” recently released by the US-based Foreign Policy, Africa tops the list of failed states.

The US budget for the Trans-Saharan Counter-terrorism partnership for 2007 is some $115 million (P1, 5 billion), while non military assistance has increased by [continue reading]


The government says most of the 54 private importers are abusing foreign currency allocated to them

July 23, 2007, 19:00

By Supa Mandiwanzira
The Zimbabwean government is set to take over all importation of fuel. This is in a bid to harness misappropriation of foreign currency by the country’s petroleum sector. However, some are questioning if the state can provide sufficient funds, given the scarcity of foreign currency in the country.

Private fuel importers have come under heavy criticism from government, accusing them of profiteering to the detriment of the poor. The government says most of the 54 private importers are abusing foreign currency allocated to them. Dealers are accused of trading on the black market and charging exorbitant prices. The government wants the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe parastatal to take over.

Mike Nyambuya, the energy and power development minister, says: “… We would like Zim to be the sole importer of fuel, so that we direct all the foreign currency… to one source, so that we avoid duplication like speculative behaviour, which was now characteristic of the oil industry.”

Motorists pessimistic
Joyce Mujuru, the vice president of Zanu (PF) says: “As government, we have a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

23 July 2007
Posted to the web 23 July 2007

Lekopanye Mooketsi

It seems there is not much progress at the Gaborone City Council market structure located within the Bontleng Mall in Gaborone South. Information reaching Monitor is that the council has since entered into partnership with a private individual to develop the facility, but the developer ran into financial problems hardly before the ink was dry on the agreement, though the man denies this.

Be that as it may, the edifice was put up by the council as a marketplace in the mid-1980s. But it became an instant white elephant because vendors, for whom it was built, said it was not strategically located and that there was no business in the area.

They preferred the Gaborone train and bus station which was – and is – always teeming with people.

Ironically today, vendors selling cigarettes, candies and other small items are ‘squatting’ in the area surrounding the very market they or their predecessors rejected.

The market was built during the tenure of the late Paul Rantao, the flamboyant former mayor of Gaborone. This was just after his Botswana National Front (BNF) took over control of the Gaborone City Council for the first time.

Over the years, the council has apparently failed to have the massive structure occupied, or converted to another use. At some stage, various business people showed interest in taking over the structure, but negotiations with the council never met with success.

It was only after the magical Year 2000 that the city council put out advertisements inviting people interested in developing the structure on a partnership basis.

Subsequently the council agreed with a local businessman, Peter Molatedi, to develop a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

23 July 2007
Posted to the web 23 July 2007


An urgent call on Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF government and the international donor community to mobilise food aid to avert an impending crisis has been met with assurances by government that “no one will starve”.

“There is a general consensus that Zimbabwe’s 2006/07 cereal production has to be complemented by imports of over one million mt [metric tonnes] if the country is to meet cereal requirements for the 2007/08 consumption year,” said the latest overview of sub-Saharan food security by Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS NET) for June.

The government and donor community need to address the growing levels of [food] insecurity in the country

“The government and donor community need to mobilise for an immediate and coordinated response to address the growing levels of [food] insecurity in the country,” said the US-based FEWS NET, which provides food security information on 17 countries in the region.

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister, Rugare Gumbo, admitted in June that the country was facing a food crisis after a growing season marred by drought and widespread shortages of inputs, and that maize production of between 600,00mt and 800,000mt “falls far short of the national requirement of about two million mt”.

After publication of the FEWS NET report, the deputy minister of information, Bright Matonga, told the official daily newspaper, The Herald, that “no one will starve”.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) recently conducted a [continue reading]

source: IOL
Tony Carnie
July 24 2007 at 04:28AM

The lives of thousands of South Africans are being harmed or cut short every year because of dusty, poisonous or otherwise unhealthy workplaces, yet very little is being done to investigate or remedy the problem.

“It is backwards and barbarous that so many deaths and sicknesses simply go unnoticed by our legal system,” said specialist attorney Richard Spoor, who has been involved in several legal battles to hold industries accountable for occupational injuries and diseases.

David Rees, Wits Professor of Occupational Health and a senior member of the National Institute for Occupational Health, said the problem was grossly under-reported because South Africa did not have an official register of occupational disease.

“We don’t really have a clue how many people are involved, because we don’t have any reliable statistics,” said Rees.

Nevertheless, a study published in the SA Journal of Science by Rees and two colleagues in 2004 suggested that as many as 800 000 workers (nearly 10 percent of South Africa’s nine-million-strong workforce) were absent at some point every year because of preventable, work-related illnesses or injury.

Spoor, who has represented scores of workers alleged to have been poisoned by toxic levels of manganese dust and fumes in KwaZulu-Natal, said there had been extensive media publicity around alleged cases of disease and death in asbestos mining (Cape Plc in the Northern Cape), vanadium (Xstrata’s Vantech mine near Lydenburg) and mercury (Thor Chemicals in Cato Ridge).

However, these were likely to be the tip of a much larger [continue reading]