Archive for August 22nd, 2007

source: ZimOnline

Wednesday 22 August 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s annual inflation accelerated to 7 251.1 percent in June, to set a new world record and highlight the Harare government’s inability to break a vicious inflation cycle that has left consumers impoverished and the economy in deep crisis.

According to a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) circular to local financial institutions and which was shown to ZimOnline on Tuesday, year-on-year inflation was pegged at 4 350 percent in May before shooting up by more than 2 900 percentage points to 7 251.1 in June.

Month-on-month inflation was 55.4 percent in May and 86.2 percent in June, according to the circular released on Monday this week.

President Robert Mugabe’s government has since April withheld inflation figures, in a move observers said was meant to shield the administration from embarrassment for its failure to stem runaway inflation, which has come to symbolise the country’s unprecedented economic meltdown.

But RBZ governor Gideon Gono was forced to literally let the cat out of the bag by [continue reading]

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source: SW Radio Africa

By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 August 2007

Leaders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have received strong condemnation over their recent failure to pressure their colleague Robert Mugabe to reform his policies and bring back the rule of law to Zimbabwe. Heads of state from the region concluded their summit in Lusaka, Zambia on Friday without adopting any concrete plan to deal with the political and economic crisis that has gripped the country.

A final communiqué issued Friday commended South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki for his mediation efforts, called upon the ruling party and opposition in Zimbabwe to push ahead with talks and reaffirmed their commitment to free and fair elections in March, 2008. A financial rescue package for Mugabe is also in the works. But there were no details discussed to end the ongoing terror campaign against the opposition, civil leaders and activists. And with elections just months away, no solid plan was worked out to begin ensuring the atmosphere was conducive to free and fair polls.

The global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch strongly criticised the SADC leaders for failing to focus on the continuing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Tiseke Kasambala, the group’s researcher on Zimbabwe, said the group expected tough action after some SADC leaders criticised the brutal beatings of opposition officials back in March. She explained that the mandate given South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis had also signalled a willingness to act by the Heads of State. “But instead Mbeki was commended and Mugabe was patted on the back,” said Kasambala.

Human Rights Watch is also concerned about the [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 22 2007 at 02:11PM

By Sherlissa Peters

South Africans mourning the suspension of the national lottery can now get back in the groove and take their chances on lotteries in the UK and Europe.

There has been widespread discontent among avid national lotto players in the country after a ruling by the High Court in March 2007 regarding procedural irregularities surrounding the awarding of the new licence to the Gidani Consortium by the National Lottery Board of South Africa.

It was announced that the South African Lotto would be suspended indefinitely.

However, the UK and European lotteries have taken off in South Africa with more South Africans resorting to entering these lotteries online via various websites.

Sites such as UKlotterylive.com make it possible for people to play the UK national lottery online from anywhere in the world.

Since its launch on [continue reading]

source: Reuters Africa
Wed 22 Aug 2007, 9:54 GMT

By Moabi Phia

GABORONE (Reuters) – Inflation in Botswana is likely to increase modestly in the second half of 2007 due to sharp price rises in neighbouring South Africa and higher domestic food costs, the central bank said on Wednesday.

In a mid-term policy review, Bank of Botswana Governor Linah Mohohlo said improved productivity and other factors would bring sustainable low inflation over the long-term.

“It is anticipated that inflation will stabilise around the upper end of the 4-7 percent inflation objective range,” Mohohlo said in a statement.

She said increases in the cost of fuel and government health services in July and September 2007 would contribute 1.4 percentage points directly to inflation in the third quarter.

“The other upside risks to inflation include a possible further increase in fuel and other administered prices … while there is a likelihood of an increase in water tariffs associated with drought,” Mohohlo added.

Another round of tariff rebalancing by [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 August, 2007

TLOKWENG – Batlokwa have been advised to sustain and respect Bogosi so that it does not perish. Speaking at the coronation of their chief, Kgosi Puso Gaborone, Kgosi Seepapitso IV of Bangwaketse said bogosi was an integral part of Setswana culture.

He said it will collapse if traditional leadership loses the respect of the people. He encouraged Batlokwa to support their kgosi so that he carries out his work effectively.

Also, he urged them to stop selling their land, but use it wisely so that they could continue to enjoy its benefits. Land, he said, was not infinite resource.

Kgosi Seepapitso IV who is also chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi said land was a gift from God and should be used in a proper way rather than being sold.

Our fore fathers have left this land for us as a heritage because they had vision and I urge you to stop selling, he said. He said what was found underground was for all Batswana and encouraged cooperation between the chief and residents.

He called on the government to bring developments to Tlokweng rather than concentrating developments in the city. He advised Batlokwa kgosi to address issues of land shortage and work hand in hand with his people.

In addition, he advised him to lead and treat his people [continue reading]

22 August, 2007
source: BOPA

GABORONE – A new pay television, Gateway Television (GTV), the second after MultiChoice, was launched in Gaborone on Sunday.

Subscribers of the new pay television will be required to buy new dishes, decoders and smart cards, as the MultiChoice ones are not compatible with GTV.

GTV Commercial Director, Rhys Torrington told the media and consumers during the launch that subscribers would have to part with P1 400 for full connection, which included a dish, decoder, smart card and one month subscription.

In addition, Mr Torrington said GTV would offer 13 top quality channels at an affordable price. He said the channels include G-Prime, which was packed with entertainment for the whole family such as cartoons, chat shows, soaps, Sky News, Al Jazeera, BBC World, Kiss, MTV Base, GOD channel, TV5 monde, Zee Cinema and MGM.

Mr Torrington said they had observed that Batswana appreciated entertainment that is affordabli priced, saying that was the reason they decided to target the market, which their competitor had ignored in the past years.

He said GTV offers two unique packages G-Base and G-Plus. He said G-Base would be available for just P155 per month and viewers would be able to enjoy the best of G-Prime.

In addition, he said G-Plus offered the full banquet of G-Base, plus G-Sports 1; G-Sports 2 and Fox Sports Africa for only P245 per month.

The companys marketing manager, Ompatile Kalabeng said their product had been available on air in [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – The Gaborone City Council and a private entrepreneur have a partnership to develop Bontleng Market.

Assistant Minister of Local Government, Mr Ambrose Masalila, told Parliament that the Gaborone City Council would provide the land and the partner would develop, occupy and use it for 15 years.

After this period the property would revert to GCC who at all times remain the owners of the property developed, he said.

The entrepreneur was selected after having presented an attractive proposal in response to an advertisement. However, there was no verification of the developers financial status as with other contractors doing business with the council.

Mr Masalila said the project was delayed because the developer had since run out of money. Another complication is that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 August, 2007

KASANE – Some farmers are against the SADC free trade which becomes effective in Botswana next year. Farmers who attended the horticulture day in Kasane told BOPA that the agriculture industry in Botswana was still at an infancy stage and could not compete with impoted products.

The Free Trade Protocol calls on member states to remove any barriers on trade.

Farmers said free trade would negatively impact on agriculture, as the sector was not well developed to compete regionally.

Chairman of Botswana Horticultural council, Mr Alfred Dlamini, said in an interview with BOPA that the agriculture sector had not yet set standard of quality crops, adding that Batswana farmers had to be educated on how to produce quality crops.

Farmers need education on marketing, standardization, packaging and post harvesting handling, he said. Vice Chairman of Ngamiland Horticultural Farmers, Mr Motlhabane Motlhabane, said local farmers could not compete with regional farmers.

Trade will be one sided, he said. Foreign produce will infiltrate the local market. Mr Motlhabane said free trade would allow inferior products to penetrate the Botswana market, adding that the production costs for the local farmers are also high because they relied on generators, as there was no electricity in farms.

He said it was expensive to connect electricity in farms.

In a month I used more than P3 000 on generator fuel, while our neighbors only use around P500 as electricity costs, he said. We are forced to sell our produce at a high price to cover production costs.

Batswana farmers faced problems of lack of infrastructure such as roads, water and telephones in their farms, which would make it difficult to compete with other farmers. He called on government to subsidise farmers to enable them install electricity in their farms. Mr Jacob Van Der Westhuizen, the chairperson of the Commercial Farmers Association, said the local farmers must have crop insurance to guard against destructions caused by natural disasters and wild animals.

He said free trade might benefit Botswana because sorghum produced in the country is of high quality. However, he said local farmers are not ready for the free trade and [continue reading]

source SouthAfrica.info

22 August 2007

The number of tourists visiting South Africa between January and May this year has grown by 10% compared to the same period last year, driven by increasing numbers of visitors from Nigeria, Kenya and France, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said this week.

Van Schalkwyk was attending the launch of Tourism Month at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday, a time during which the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism will “showcase the unique and diverse tourism experiences offered by the country’s nine provinces”.

“South Africa is acknowledged as one of the fastest growing destinations in the world,” he said.

“The growth rate of international arrivals to South Africa far outstrips the rest of the world.”

Van Schalkwyk added that South Africa was [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Costs for the construction of Mahalapye Magistrates Court escalated by more than P5 million. Answering a question from Palaype MP, Mr Boyce Sebetela, Minister of Works and Transport, Ms Lesego Motsumi, said the original contract sum for the project was P17.6 million but the final amount was P23.3 million representing an escalation of P5.7 million or 32 per cent.

Parliament heard that the time and cost differences arose after the termination of nominated sub-contractor, Gaborone Refrigeration.

This was after the company failed to mobilise to site and having to appoint another mechanical sub-contractor. She said the project took 54 additional weeks to be completed and extension of time costs stood at P344 662.92.

The project was to be completed May 2004 but was revised to May 2005. Minister Motsumi said during the execution of the project, contractual variation was P4.4 million while contractual escalation ran to P756 948.75.

The Botswana Power Corporation connections were P216 540. 93 as opposed to the P80 000 in the bill of quantities. The minister also narrated to Parliament amounts paid to be main contractor and the sub contarctors on the project. Of all the companies only Zismo Engineering is 100 per cent citzen owned and their share of the work constituted 5.3 per cent or P1.2 million.

The cost for professional services for the project was P2 .6 million and 100 per cent citizen owned companies involved were [continue reading]

source: Buisness Day (SA)

Dumisani Muleya
Harare Correspondent

A FEW days after President Thabo Mbeki told regional leaders he was making progress to find a settlement to the Zimbabwean crisis, President Robert Mugabe’s government has resumed its bid to amend the constitution to entrench him in power.

The move sabotages the talks between Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu (PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), facilitated by Mbeki.

It also leaves Mbeki’s diplomacy on Zimbabwe in disarray. Whatever progress Mbeki was talking about could be torpedoed by Mugabe, who is clearly racing to pre-empt talks and outmanoeuvre Mbeki.

Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the central figure in the constitutional amendments, said last week in Zambia that the Zanu (PF) talks with the MDC were not useful.

This was in line with Zanu (PF)’s position that it is merely going through the motions because it believes it is talking to alleged MDC sponsors in the west, rather than the opposition, which it describes as a “front”.

When he returned from last week’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Zambia, Mugabe said he would proceed with his political and economic programmes, regardless of SADC’s actions.

Sources in Harare say Mugabe has decided to ignore Mbeki’s mediation and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 August, 2007

KANYE – Time has come that Batswana should embrace the idea of donating their body organs, if they can spare some, for the benefit of people in need of such organs, the Minister of Local Government, Ms Margaret Nasha, has appealed.

Ms Nasha was officially opening the Botswana Local Police fund-raising music concert sponsored by Shell Oil Botswana to raise funds for the Masisi Organ Foundation in Kanye over the weekend.

Minister Nasha said in the past, Batswana literally frowned at the idea of donating blood as they believed the fairy tales such as donors could bleed to death or that they usually experienced fainting or dizziness after giving away their blood.

She said with time, some Batswana had now become aware that such were fairy tales and that blood donation was important, and the way to go, if lives are to be saved.

Although blood donation has become acceptable, the situation is not same with plastic surgery and organ donation and transplant as the ideas were still alien to many Batswana.

Ms Nasha said it was not in the Setswana culture or tradition to donate human body organs. Therefore, the need to educate Batswana on the safe and possibility of the processes involved could not be overemphasised.

She said it was evident that lives could be saved through organ donation and replacement of dysfunctional organs which were damaged to the extent that they could no longer sustain life.

Organs such as kidneys, heart, eyes, skin and other body parts can be donated to save other peoples lives, the minister said, adding that with more information, organ donation was gaining momentum in modern surgeries.

She said she was humbled by [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Voice (Francistown)

21 August 2007
Posted to the web 21 August 2007

There is a lot of drone rumbling across the many minds of Batswana about a new pay TV service promising to launch in the middle of the year.

The anticipated pay TV service promises to unlock premium satellite-based TV to a potentially huge new market.

The company, which is the vision of Julian McIntyre, one of the founders of Gateway Communications; founded back in 2000 is said to be one of Africa’s largest international communications networks.

The company is also credited for having coverage over 37 countries across the African continent as well as having built the largest pan-African communications network.

A communiqué from Gateway’s public relations agency said due to the company’s success story, there has never been a better time to invest in Africa and in television.

To back up their urge to invest in Africa, the company quotes the [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 August 2007

South Africa’s opposition parties on Tuesday united to deliver a statement in parliament calling on President Thabo Mbeki to move rapidly to defuse the escalating political crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki’s parliamentary opponents in South Africa have on many occasions accused him for failing to publicly criticise Robert Mugabe. But Mbeki has insisted on his policy of ‘quiet diplomacy’ which has been described as a failure by many analysts.

Led by the Independent Democrats, the opposition parties said it is critical that President Mbeki act quickly and decisively to halt the suffering of millions of Zimbabweans.

Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats, delivered the statement in Cape Town and it was immediately supported by the Democratic alliance, the Inkatha freedom party, United Democratic movement, African Christian Democratic party and the Pan Africanist Congress.

The parliamentary statement also called on Mbeki not to be averse to the proposal raised by the MDC that SADC broaden the mediation talks to include two former Presidents from the SADC bloc or two of its serving Presidents.

Mbeki was in April appointed by fellow Southern African leaders to act as a mediator between the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Voice (Francistown)

21 August 2007
Posted to the web 21 August 2007

Zeph Kajevu

John Fouche is a man on a mission. As GWM Botswana dealer principal, Fouche planned to see growth, fast. He is expecting sales of the just unveiled Chinese one-ton bakkies and multi-purpose wagons are expected to double over the next three months as a result of popular demand from both individuals and the corporate sectors.

Fouche told The Voice that the overwhelming response has been largely due the fact that only six months after setting up a car dealership franchise in Gaborone, the availability of warranty, back up, after-sales and related services have boosted consumer confidence for the Chinese brainchild.

“The GWM also rated South America’s top selling one-tone bakkie has arrived in Botswana. Yes, I’m talking about GWM, the largest privately owned vehicle manufactured in China. This is the second Chinese car maker to set up locally within the last six months,” said Fouche.

He promised Botswana motorists ac opportunity to drive a new range of high quality, compliant and cost-effective pick-ups perfect for the budget buyer looking for exceptional value money proposition.

“We believe we are giving the budget buyer a choice of getting a new pick-up or exploring the used-vehicle market for a similarly priced vehicle,” he said, adding “we are dealing in a range of vehicles that has proved its mettle in the left hand drive international markets.”

For instance, Fouche said the GWM K-1 bakkie on offer “has been the biggest selling bakkie in South America because of its [continue reading]