Archive for August 28th, 2007

Cyber Scams Escalate

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

27 August 2007
Posted to the web 28 August 2007

Oliver Modise

The Botswana Police have warned members of the public to be wary of letters and email spam sent with an ‘INTERPOL’ logo.

The warning was made at the weekend by the Gaborone INTERPOL office. The local Interpol contact alerts members of the public to look out for e-mails and letters with business proposals purporting to have links with INTERPOL Officer Commanding Botswana’s Interpol office, David Mosetse revealed that their office was worried that the spam was circulating at a high rate as people continued to receive e-mails and letters promising millions whilst urgently requesting for bank accounts and identity documents.

“They have gone a step ahead in their schemes by stating that INTERPOL can verify,” he said.

“If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be an [continue reading]


28 August 2007

A consortium led by US power producer AES has been selected as the preferred bidder to build, own and operate two new power plants in South Africa, representing an investment of over R5-billion during the construction phase, a significant portion of which will constitute foreign direct investment in the country.

In what has been seen as a decisive step towards involving the private sector in South Africa’s energy arena, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica announced on Monday that the AES consortium was the preferred bidder to build two open cycle gas turbine peaking power plants, a 760MW plant in Durban and a 342MW plant in Port Elizabeth.

The plants will contribute to state electricity company Eskom’s efforts to improve the reserve margin of SA’s power system, which has fallen in recent years due to strong economic growth in the country.

To address the need for new generation capacity, the government has set a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

27 August 2007
Posted to the web 28 August 2007

First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB) on Friday warned its competitors that for the next few months, it will focus on accelerating its expansion programme and on making itself more visible to the growing mining industry.

The warning was made as the bank unveiled its year-end results to June 30, 2007 that feature a healthy balance sheet that shows a total asset growth of 15.8 percent at P8.4 billion from P7.2 billion in the corresponding period last year.

The robust balance sheet is attributed to a 13.1 percent increase in advances driven by the bank’s property finance division, retail banking and WesBank, FNBB’s car finance division.

The bank’s property division is currently at par with the Botswana Building Society (BBS) as a result of vigorous mining developments, particularly in the northern parts of Botswana.

The growth is also [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

Government intends to foster meaningful participation of citizen-controlled companies during the construction of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).

Assistant Minister of Education, Mr Peter Siele, told parliament that in the contract signed between government and the transaction advisors, International Finance Corporation (IFC), there was a clause for citizen participation.

This is now the basis for IFC s procurement as it engages sub-consultants for specialist services, he said. So far out of three areas of legal, education and technical expertise, only the legal services aspect has been awarded to a local legal firm.

The other two will also be awarded with [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

GABORONE – President Festus Mogae has appointed a commission to look into issues pertaining to salaries, conditions of service and other entitlements for the president, vice president, speaker, ministers, assistant ministers, deputy speaker, leader of opposition, members of parliament, members of ntlo ya dikgosi and councillors.

A media release from the Office of the President says the commission, chaired by Judge Maruping Dibotelo, will be guided by terms of reference which include reviewing pay scales of the aforementioned to reflect the level of responsibility and accountability for each of the categories.

The release says the commission will review the existing conditions of service and other entitlements, including allowances and terminal benefits for each of the categories with the aim of making appropriate recommendations.

The commission, according to the release, can make other recommendations, that it deems necessary, provided they take into account Botswanas financial ability to sustain the proposals.

MP for Bobirwa, Mr Shaw Kgathi, said upon completion, the outcome will empower MPs and councillors to deliberate and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

GABORONE – Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) is in a process of identifying ways to include people under special circumstances such as remoteness and people having disability as part of their learners.

Officially opening BOCODOL stakeholder consultation workshop, Assistant Minister of Education, Mr Peter Siele, said the college recognised the challenge it faced in the provision of services to learners in special circumstances.

Following consultation with different stakeholders, he said the college intended to develop an inclusive learner support strategy that shall be guided by a comprehensive policy framework.

It is my ardent hope that the framework will develop out of these consultations to promote access to all learners through creation of enabling environment to facilitate full participation and equal opportunities for all categories of learners, he said.

Mr Siele said this was an affirmation that BOCODOL was [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

GABORONE – Tanzanias Head of the Public Service, Mr Phillemon Luhanjo, has emphasised the need for a set of values to guide the public service.

Giving a keynote address at the opening of this years public service convention on Sunday, Mr Luhanjo said every civil servant was to abide by such values.

Mr Luhanjo said for too long, some public service jurisdictions had not experienced the necessary rigour in terms of performance measurement hence it was rare to find public servants who had been let go because of poor performance.

Thus, he said, the process of setting values should first begin by focusing on merit during the process of recruitment to have competent and professional visionary leaders running the public service.

This will ensure that potential leaders are hired and can advance based on their ability to do the work rather than on personal favouritism and political patronage which for too long have marred some systems in our continent, he said.

Mr Luhanjo said the future of the public service in Botswana could be significantly affected by how well a worker did the job, and how he or she listened and responded to the real issues facing the communities.

He said this also includes whether employees rememberered that they worked for Batswana, and that the people ultimately decided if the public service was still relevant and should continue to exist as it was.

Possibly some of you are already doing their best to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – The Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund Bill which was passed Friday saw MPs debating until after midnight.

It was twenty minutes after midnight when Lobatse MP, Mr Nehemiah Modubule, stood on a point of procedure, and asked the Speaker, Mr Patrick Balopi, if parliament was not out of order since the days business elapsed at midnight.

The preseneter of the bill, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr Baledzi Gaolathe, had earlier evoked one of the Standing Orders to allow proceedings go beyond 7 p.m. — the usual time for parliament to end its meetings.

The speaker then concurred with the minister and asked for guidelines from Mr Phandu Skelemani, the minister for Defence, Justice and Security — who is a retired Attorney General — as the Parliamentary Counsel, Mr Lizo Ngcongco was on leave.

Mr Skelemani said indeed the days business should have ended by midnight.Thus, parliament adjourned at about half past twelve in the morning.

The night meeting saw amendments proposed by Gaborone Central MP, Mr Dumelang Saleshando, being shot down. Just after 11 p.m. Thursday, Mr Saleshando suggested that Clause 15 (1) of the bill be amended to allow board members of the fund to appoint a chief executive officer (CEO.) The clause in question states that the Fund shall have a CEO who shall be appointed by the minister on the recommendation of the board upon such terms and conditions for such period as may be determined by the minister.

Dismissing the amendment, Minister of Education, Mr Jacob Nkate, said there was nothing wrong in the minister being the one who elects the CEO as the board would recommend.

Also opposing the amendment was Leader of the House and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lt Gen. Mompati Merafhe. He said the [continue reading]

source: Peoples Daily
Cross border and other travellers between Zimbabwe and Botswana will soon benefit from the introduction of an additional border post to be opened south of Plumtree, ZBC News reported on Monday.

This was revealed by foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who attended the 10th session of the Zimbabwe- Botswana joint commission in Gaborone, Botswana, recently.

Mumbengegwi said the new border post should be opened by the end of September this year.
The additional crossing point aimed at easing and facilitating the free movement of people is in keeping with the spirit of SADC cooperation and neighborliness, under which the establishment of a free trade area is envisaged next year.

Mumbengegwi further disclosed that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

The total current cost for the construction of the retirement house, offices and domestic quarters for the current president is P14 million.

Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Daniel Kwelagobe, told Parliament that the total cost incurred by government to acquire the plots where the retirement house for the current president is being constructed is P1.7 million.

Meanwhile, he said, plot where the retirement house for the former president has been built belonged to the government and as such there were no costs incurred prior to the construction of the house.

Mr Kwelagobe said a ministerial house was demolished because it had structural defects, adding that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

MAUN – Government is currently undertaking a national capacity self-assessment project to ensure effective implementation of the ratified Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).

Director of Environmental Affairs, Mr Steve Monna, told a workshop in Maun that the capacity self-assessment project would be undertaken in partnership with the UNDP and the Global Environment Facility.

Mr Monna said the assessment was geared towards fulfilling Botswanas obligations under the various conventions ratified and to sensitise all stakeholders on the existence of the MEAs and what was required under each of the agreements and to determine the districts capacities.

He said his department had a biodiversity strategy and had just concluded the Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP), which was a step towards fulfilling the MEAs obligations.

He said capacity self-assessment workshops had already been held in Tshabong, Ngamiland and the next place is Francistown.

The MEAs include UN Framework on Climate Change, the Vienna Convention for the protection of the stratospheric Ozone layer, the UN Convention to combat Desertification and Drought, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

He said other MEAs that Botswana was party to include the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

KASANE – Local farmers have appealed to the government to exempt, with immediate effect, agricultural equipment, seeds and fertilizers from VAT for the sector to be competitive.

Selected agricultural equipment such as tractors were granted VAT exemptions recently. However, ploughs, planters, spares, fertilizers and seeds still attract VAT.

Out-going chairperson of the Botswana Horticultural Association, Mr Alfred Dlamini said in an interview that it is imperative that government do the same for all agricultural equipment and produce.

He said many SADC countries do not charge the tax on agricultural products and equipment to make it easier for their farmers.

If you buy a tractor in Botswana you are not charged VAT but if you buy spares for the tractor such as tyres or a starter you are charged VAT.

He said it is difficult for local farmers to maintain their machinery because of high costs.

A tractor tyre costs P4000 locally but if you buy it from South Africa it will cost you P2000, he said.

However, the tyre is taxed when it crosses the border.

Chairman of the Commercial Farmers Association, Mr Johan Van Der Westhuizen said VAT makes it hard for small farmers to be competitive.

Farmers pay P40 000 VAT on a P400 000 planter. This is a lot of money.

He understands that it will be a difficult decision for the government to exempt [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 August, 2007

GABORONE – The Botswana Consumer Fair kicked off in Gaborone yesterday with 235 local exhibitors and 36 international exhibitors in Gaborone.

Ms Frieda Bamu, Fairs and Exhibitions Manager with Fairground Holdings said the August 27 to September 2 event would feature 37 local manufacturers and 11 foreign ones from countries such as Kenya, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Tanzania, Japan, Egypt and Syria.

Ms Bamu said in an interview that the fair, which has been reduced to seven days from the initial 11, and held under the theme: Your Spring Shopping Oasis has seen major changes that reflect the innovation and creativity that the Botswana market needs.

She said this year show will also see the introduction of the agricultural sector which is aimed at creating value and variety to show-goers.

Food stalls will also be replaced by large retail chains including Nandos, Barcelos and Hungry Lion, which was precipitated by the need to provide hygienic and up market menus, but traditional meals will be catered for by the two charity organizations, Botswana Red Cross and the Nurses Association.

Our Pavilion Restaurant is a licensed liquor restaurant and therefore alcohol will only be sold from it.

There will be no alcohol promotions during the fair, she said.

Bamu said Fairground Holdings has also upgraded the traffic management system from [continue reading]

source: The Guardian

· South African find is twice as big as the Cullinan
· Expert predicts feverish bidding on huge stone

David Beresford in Johannesburg and Lee Glendinning
Tuesday August 28, 2007
The Guardian

The world’s biggest diamond, believed to be twice the size of the Cullinan, has been discovered in the North-West Province of South Africa. The find has electrified the diamond community, but the circumstances of the discovery are shrouded in mystery.

The diamond is expected to attract furious bidding from buyers worldwide and could fetch up to £15m.

A spokesman for the mining house which made yesterday’s find, Brett Joli, said the diamond was being rushed to a bank vault in Johannesburg and would be kept there for a couple of days “until we calm down and decide what we are going to do”. A security company was being hired to protect the precious stone.

The mining company which made the find has [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Nation (Nairobi)

28 August 2007
Posted to the web 27 August 2007

Kitsepile Nyathi

Botswana risks soiling its reputation as a model democracy in Africa if President Festus Mogae signs into law a hugely contested spy law that has become a rallying point for opposition groups to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in next year’s watershed elections.

The Security and Intelligence Bill, seeking to introduce a government-controlled spy network for the first time in the Southern African country’s 41 years of independence, was passed by parliament early this month and now awaits Mr Mogae’s signature.

Opposition parliamentarians who tried in vain to block the Bill boycotted the debate after it became clear that Justice Minister, Mr Pandu Skelemani was determined to fast track it.

There are growing fears that “securocrats” are increasingly taking charge of the political leadership of the diamond country.

Barring any miracles, Vice President Retired Lieutenant General Ian Khama – the son of Bostwana’s founding president, the late Sir Seretse Khama will take over from Mr Mogae after next year’s general elections.

Botswana’s Cabinet is already dominated by former generals in charge of foreign affairs, tourism and environment, youth and sport among others.

“Our country is sliding into a dictatorship and things are bound to get worse with the ascendance of Ian Khama,” said parliamentarian from the Botswana National Front (BNF).

“This is why we had to fight hard against the [continue reading]