Archive for August 15th, 2007

source: IOL
August 15 2007 at 04:26PM

An unemployment lobby group on Wednesday said it was not involved in blowing up ATMs, but only encouraged those without jobs to do so.

“It is ordinary members of the unemployed who are encouraged by Icemusa to continue with the blastings, not only of ATMs, but of all other business and government establishments such as power stations,” said Icemusa leader Plaatjie Mashego.

He was responding to an article in Monday’s Sowetan newspaper, in which it was reported that “his organisation was responsible for the ATM blasts that have rocked the country in recent months”.

Icemusa stands for the International Campaign for the Establishment of a Ministry for the Unemployed in SA.

He said about 23 members of a group which [continue reading]

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source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

LUSAKA – President Festus Mogae is expected here today for a SADC meeting which political commentators believe has the potential to usher a new era for the region in both political and economic fronts.

Already the civil society is here to lobby the regional leaders into acceding to what they consider landmark concessions.

These include the protocol on gender and development, the launching of the regional brigade as well as deliberation on the crisis in Zimbabwe, among others.

The meeting will also put pressure on the member countries to add pace to efforts towards regional integration. Customs Union must be in place by 2010.

The summit, according to the Executive Secretary for the Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations, Mr Baboloki Tlale, gives the leaders an opportunity to confront and commit themselves to issues that they have ignored for long.

There has been a long silence on the gender protocol, despite the fact that the protocol was agreed on a long time back. We are looking forward to seeing our leaders adopting it (the protocol), Mr Tlale said.

The development of the Draft Protocol on Gender and Development was based on an intensive audit in 2005 of the implementation of the SADC declaration on Gender and Development.

The declaration was adopted and signed by the regional leaders in 1997.

The audit bemoaned failure by member countries to reach the target of 30 per cent of women in decision making positions, among others.

It was also noted that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Parliament has adopted the draft national Information Communications Technology (ICT) Policy after two weeks of debate.

Supporting the policy before it went through the final stages on Monday, Maun West MP, Mr Ronald Ridge, said the policy would need certain support structures such as relevant legislation for it to be implemented.

He said a cyber crime law should be put in place as the policy was extensive and touched on new technologies.

Mr Ridge said policy implementation should not wait for electricity in villages. He called for use of solar energy, as computers did not use a lot of power.

You should also look at the digital divide and see how it could be overcome between urban and rural areas, he added.

Mr Ridge said he feared that once the policy was implemented, foreigners might come in and set up here without imparting skills to Batswana.

Thus, he called on government to re-direct the careers of the youth towards ICT.

Mr Akanyang Magama, the MP for Gaborone South, supported the policy and said to use ICT, one needed to have a certain level of education as well as understanding of English.

He said only 10 per cent of people in the rural areas spoke the language.

Mr Magama also welcomed the move to computerise primary schools.

ICT should also have been incorporated in [continue reading]

source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

GUMARE – Artists in the Okavango area have been advised to register their patents under the Intellectual Property Law in order to protect their products design from being copied by their competitors.

Officially opening Okavango Home Economics Show at Etsha 1 Village Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) chief executive officer Mr Abel Modungwa said this required consulting the Ministry of Trade and Industry to register patents under the law.

This will protect your products design from being copied by your competitors, he said.

The theme of the show was Your Shopping Spring Oasis. He cautioned the artists to ensure that the harvesting of the natural resources for materials that they used for making the baskets did not get depleted.

In this regard, he urged them to follow the example of another group who had taken the initiative to plant the plants.

He commended the efforts of the Social and Community Development Department in the area for their pursuit of an approach, which empowered people to face the current challenges of life such as unemployment and poverty.

Mr Modungwa said BOTA was working with the department to coordinate artists and to develop arts and crafts qualifications, record and harness the culture, arts and craft skills with a view to preserve and transfer skills to young generation.

He said the benefits of transfer would also enable young generations to make a living out of the skills and these would led to self employment and poverty eradication as well.

He said the Botswana National Vocational Qualifications Framework (BNVQF) had identified five sub field of learning in the area of culture and crafts.

These subfields, he said included [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

14 August 2007
Posted to the web 15 August 2007

Gideon Nkala
Gaborone

This coming Saturday, a new pay television broadcaster will launch in Botswana. The new channel, GTV, comes at a time when there is a groundswell of disillusionment particularly amongst football lovers after Multi Choice failed to buy the rights to televise live a great chunk of the English premiership games.

GTV is owned by Gateway Communications. Although a release from the group has not given an indication of how much the service would cost, they are adamant that theirs would be available at an affordable price.

“When it comes to television, all too often Africans have been faced with limited choice, low quality and poor value for money but that is about to change,” the release says adding that GTV will bring quality viewing and a great choice.” Viewers will have access to major international channels as well as GTV’s own channels created especially to satisfy local tastes. Programming will include a diverse range of news, sports, movies, popular series, music, and religious content. Among GTV’s own channels will be prime, ‘G Prime’, an exciting entertainment and movie channel, and G sports, showing the best in live international and African sports including European football.

“GTV will reduce entry level pricing and boost customer service, providing real value for money. GTV will be a natural choice for Batswana previously limited to viewing national free to air television stations.” Talking about Botswana, the statement observes that the Botswana market has been artificially constrained by monopoly pricing and non-relevant content. “Consumers want to watch the latest high quality television programming that combines international and local content at an affordable price. Whether for sports, entertainment, news or education, GTV will ensure quality content is accessible to many rather than a select few.”

The release notes that currently only about 4 percent of households in Botswana subscribe to satellite service.Although information is still [continue reading]

source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

GABORONE – Prime Minister Martinho Dafa Cabi of Guinea Bissau says his visit to Botswana has given them an opportunity to exchange ideas on how to development their country.

Speaking during a news conference before his departure, Mr Cabi said through discussions held with cabinet ministers his entourage had been able to learn how Botswana do things in terms of governance, financial and mineral management.

The official meetings provided an experience for sharing of ideas. We also used this visit to share with our colleagues the opportunities that Guinea Bissau has and to discuss opportunities that lies between the two countries, he said.

He noted that Botswanas good reputation had provided a platform of a learning experience now that Guinea Bissau was on the mission towards development.

Mr Cabi was on a two-day official visit to benchmark on issues of governance, democracy and management of mineral resources.

He said what he had realised on arrival was the national solidarity, which made Botswana successful and proud of its achievements.

Mr Cabi had an opportunity to visit Mokolodi Nature Reserve and Jwaneng Mine. He said the two were an example of good management of natural resources demonstrated by the country.

He said what he appreciated most was the cooperation that existed between the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

KASANE – Postal services constitute a very important part of peoples daily life all over the world, says finance assistant minister Duncan Mlazie.

Officially opening Chobe Communication and Business Centre in Kasane, Mr Mlazie said: like elsewhere, it is the post office that provides the basic links that connect Botswanas population.

He said the post office also played an important role in business and commerce and challenged the post office to keep pace with contemporary developments, especially the rapidly changing information and the communication technologies.

Mr Mlazie said the provision of services was in line with the primary responsibility of providing universal postal services to all citizens of Botswana.

It is critical that the post office moves beyond what is traditionally regarded as its core business. This is particularly the case in the current era where we talk about an information society characterised by the use of Internet and related services, he said.

He said the opening of the Chobe Business and Communication Centre was a demonstration of government commitment to improve the lives of Batswana.

This is in pursuit of fulfilling national aspirations as espoused in the Vision 2016 pillars of building an educated and informed nation that is also prosperous productive and innovative, he said.

Botswana Post board chairperson Mr Martin Makgathe said the [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

15 August 2007

Despite the recent spate of industrial action, worse than expected inflation figures and higher interest rates, the Stellenbosch-based Bureau for Economic Research (BER) came out with an upbeat economic forecast for the third quarter on Tuesday.

Upgrading its forecast for South Africa’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the short term, the BER projected strong fixed investment growth, robust exports and continued employment growth in the third quarter.

The BER’s Hugo Pienaar said in a statement that the bureau’s optimism was based to a large extent on “the relative ease with which the consumer has so far been able to cope with a more challenging macroeconomic environment.”

Expectations that South Africa’s employment growth would remain robust “should help to shield the disposable income of households against the negative impact of higher food costs and interest rates,” Pienaar added.

The outlook for fixed investment was also favourable, the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Debate on the National Archives Amendment Bill adjourned on Monday after Palapye legislator, Mr Boyce Sebetela, proposed an amendment.

The bill, which is at committe stage, was presented to parliament by the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Maj. Gen. Moeng Pheto.

The bill, which seeks to amend the National Archives Act, proposes that the current membership of the Archives Advisory Council which stands at 5, be increased to 10 to broaden its scope and also to provide for a more diverse representation.

Debating the Bill, Mr Sebetela said he was not comfortable with the part relating to penalties.

Under the current law, penalties for breach of any aspect of the Act are up to P1000 with a prison sentence not exceeding one year or both.

The amendment as suggested by Mr Sebetela calls for a fine of up to P5000 and an imprisonment term not exceeding five years or both.

Mr Sebetela urged the minister to consult further with other MPs since meddling with national archives was not just petty theft but white collar crime which needed a heavy penalty.

Mr Sebetela also asked the minister to explain why it took the ministry 15 years to bring the Bill to Parliament.

The minister should give us some background on what caused the delay on these amendments, he said. This House should take ministers to task if they show lack of commitment.

Also calling for further consultation was the MP for [continue reading]

source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

MASUNGA – Continuous improvement is needed on college programmes and facilities to ensure competitiveness in the global village where graduates can compete effectively.

Giving a keynote address at the 11th graduation ceremony for colleges of education and vocational institutions at Masunga, the former vice chancellor of the University of Botswana, Prof. Thomas Tlou, said it was imperative that education and training of teachers should be of world standard.

Prof. Tlou advised teachers to continue requesting for improved infrastructure as well as continuous training to keep themselves abreast with information and knowledge they needed to pass onto students.

He said teaching was an important and instrumental organisation, and should massively be confined to embracing promotion of delivery of quality education and professionalism, other than confining its matter on teacher welfare issues.

Find new ways of introducing excellent programmes that will ensure quality and high standard in teaching profession where quality students would be produced, he said.

For Botswana to realise quality assurance and control measures in colleges, it should position itself to offer competitive teacher training programmes which are recognised both regionally and globally.

Prof. Tlou told the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
15 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi says she is not aware of any Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC) employees whose years of service have been reduced for the purposes of computing exit packages when BTC is privatised.

Answering a question from the MP for Francistown South, Mr Khumongwana Maoto, Mrs Venson-Moitoi said the BTC was in the process of implementing a revised structure of the corporation, as proposed by the management.

Mrs Venson-Moitoi said the revised structure was developed by the corporation for the purposes of operational efficiency and in response to the increased competitiveness in the communications industry arising from the liberalised market.

She said the process of rationalisation was a normal management action that was guided by the fact that the corporation was positioning itself for intense competition unleashed by competitive market forces.

She said these actions of the corporation should not be linked to privatisation.

Mr Maoto had asked the minister to state which BTC employees would have [continue reading]

source: IOL

By Gill Gifford, Solly Maphumulo and Botho Molosankwe

South African toy shops are recalling several toys that are feared harmful to children.

The toys affected contain either lead paint, or tiny magnets that young children might swallow.

This comes after United States toy giant Mattel Inc recalled more than 18-million Chinese-made products worldwide, [continue reading]

source: IOL
Anna Cox
August 15 2007 at 10:18AM

Catching up on the maintenance backlog in South Africa’s electricity network would cost R7-billion, while power cuts cost the economy up to R8,6-billion a year.

So says Phindile Nzimande, chief executive officer of EDI Holdings, a public entity established by the government to restructure electricity distribution in the country.

Speaking in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Nzimande said EDI Holdings was mindful of the urgent need for the restructuring of the industry and the tight timeframes that had been set.

“The daily electricity supply, interruptions, the huge infrastructure maintenance backlogs, the huge disparities in tariffs that often lead to unequal treatment of customers… are a constant reminder that any further delays can have serious implications for the realisation of the country’s socio-economic objectives,” she said.

These include the 2010 World Cup, universal access to electricity by 2010 and the goal of halving poverty by 2014.

Nzimande said the establishment of  [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
12.08.2007 7:42:21 P

British Airways/Comair seems set to oust SA Airlink as the strategic equity partner in the controversial privatization of Air Botswana.

BA/Comair, which decided last year not to bid for a stake in air Botswana allegedly because they felt the process was being stage managed to favour SA Airlink, recently asked the government if the bidding process could be reopened, but were told it was too late.

This was confirmed by the Works and Transport minister, Lesego Motsumi, who told The Sunday Standard that “right now we are only negotiating with SA Airlink.”

Although Airlink announced last week that it was going ahead with preparations to become the Air Botswana strategic partner there is already talk that Cabinet may reject Minister Motsumi’s recommendation for a partnership with Airlink and start negotiations with BA/Comair.

While the Airlink chief executive officer, Rodger Foster, admitted in an interview with the South African media that their deal with Air Botswana could be derailed for political reasons following objections by [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
East African (Nairobi)

14 August 2007
Posted to the web 14 August 2007

Kevin J Kelley

Bush administration officials are working to refute claims by both Africans and Americans that the Pentagon’s new Africa Command (Africom) signals a shift in US policy away from development and diplomacy and towards war capabilities.

“Africans are nervous that Africom will sanction the militarisation of diplomacy and severely undermine multilateralism on the continent,” warned Wafula Okumu, head of the African Security Analysis Programme at the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

Concerns about the Pentagon’s importance in shaping US relations with Africa were echoed by Republican Senator Richard Lugar.

Speaking at a recent Capitol Hill inquiry on Africom at which Mr Okumu testified, Senator Lugar pointed out that the Pentagon has greater financial and personnel resources than the State Department, which has long been considered the main instrument of Washington’s Africa policy. “This imbalance within our own structure will be reflected in Africom initially – hopefully not perpetually,” Senator Lugar suggested.

Africom represents a potential threat to the very countries the US claims it is intended to benefit, Mr Okumu added. “Africom will not only militarise US-African relations, but also those African countries in which it will be located,” Mr Okumu predicted.

“This could have far-reaching consequences since the presence of American bases in these countries will create radical militants opposed to the US and make Americans targets of violence.”

Most African nations will not want to associate themselves with Africom because they “will be [continue reading]