Archive for March 17th, 2008

source: Mmegi

BY RYDER GABATHUSE
STAFF WRITER

PALAPYE: The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has retained Palapye constituency in a pulsating by-election that saw the BDP candidate, Moiseraele Master Goya, winning by a margin of 463 votes. Goya, BDP’s new kid on the political block, had a doubtful start.

The odds were stacked against him with some BDP members associated with primary elections twice losers, Health Minister Professor Sheila Tlou, and the youthful Isaac Maforaga, threatening not to vote for him.

The 46-year-old banker proved his mettle as he garnered a larger share of about 1,942 votes, ahead of the veteran Botswana Congress Party (BCP), James Olesitse who was voted by 1,456 people and the Botswana National Front (BNF)’s 72-year-old Sentsho Malatsi who came third with only 135 votes.

About 24 ballot papers were spoiled as part of the 3,557 people who voted in the weekend by-election. About 9500 people were eligible to vote in the weekend by-election.

Although it was earlier feared that [continue reading]

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source: BOPA
14 March, 2008

GABORONE – Poor human resources, health and hygiene and lack of ICT infrastructure have resulted in Botswana ranking 87th in the global tourism rankings.

The country comes behind Tunisia, Mauritius, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and The Gambia in Africa, according to a report on global competitiveness in travel and tourism by the World Economic Forum.

The index which looked at 130 countries focused on issues such as safety and security, tourism infrastructure and government prioritization of the travel and tourism industry.

Although Botswana boasts some of the best tourism destinations in the continent it failed to occupy the top half of the index.

The report identifies Botswanas low standards in the quality of domestic rail road infrastructure and lack of enforcement of environmental regulations.

The report highlights that tourists prefer to travel to places where their safety is not compromised.

According to the report Botswana has a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

BAME PIET
STAFF WRITER

The inauguration of a President is not such a big event in Botswana, though it means a lot in the country’s history.

All that happens is a parade by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), an inspection of the Guard of Honour and the President is sworn in.

According to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Ernest Mpofu, who is the coordinator of the organising committee, the event may last for less than an hour because there is not much to be done.

Mpofu said even foreign heads of state are not invited to the event: “It is just a routine thing that will take place in front of Parliament buildings,” he said.

Asked if there will be a press conference thereafter, Mpofu said [continue reading]

source: BOPA
14 March, 2008

KASANE – Traffic moving in and out of Botswana at Kazungula border gate has come to a stand still since the water level in the Zambezi river increased dramatically.

Vehicles at that border are ferried across the deep waters of the river through a pantoon that is owned by the Zambian government.

Since the Zambezi river started to flood, the pantoon has been slow to ferry heavy vehicles across the river and thus causing traffic congestion in that area. Mr Frankel Mohutsiwa of Botswana Police at Kazungula said, Since the water level in the river increased, the pantoon movement has been very slow, thus creating traffic congestion, Mr Mohutsiwa said resulting from traffic congestion, vehicles are forced to use one lane as trucks waiting to be ferried to the Zambian side have parked on the other lane of the road.

There is no other space where these vehicles can park and we have ensued that they do not block the junctions, he said.

He said some motorist waiting to be ferried to Zambia had at times tried to park on the other lane adding that they have since cautioned them against doing that.

The vehicles waiting to be ferried to the Zambian side occupy a space of about 4-5 kilometers, he said.

He said the Chobe council has since provided portable toilets in the area. Mr Mohutsiwa said there have been no [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

WANETSHA MOSINYI
STAFF WRITER

The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) is currently in the process of procuring consultancy services for purposes of evaluating the feasibility, investigating options and identifying technologies for copper beneficiation in Botswana.

The Director of Technology Innovation at LEA, Walter Kgabung says the results of the study are expected before the end of 2008.

The insignificant participation of Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME) in the mining sector and the invention of the Activox copper refining method presents opportunities for SMME participation in mining. Kgabung says the Activox plant in Selebi-Phikwe and the possible production of pure copper by Botswana Metal Refinery also present an opportunity for value addition and that there is a need for that opportunity to be exploited before BMR enters into long-term binding contracts for the sale of copper. “Recent advancements in the processing of copper ore to pure copper through the introduction of Activox technology have opened up opportunities for beneficiation,” he says, citing DTC Botswana, which is already doing similar work for the diamond sector, as a good example of beneficiation.

“The processing of copper to a pure state in Botswana is a [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
16.03.2008 6:21:34 P

The Department of Transport is being investigated for its part in the Lobtrans multi-million Pula alleged fraud which is shaking the local banking industry.

The Botswana Police Service has opened investigations following reports from the banking sector that officials in the Department of Transport may have helped Lobtrans forge blue books for their fleet of trucks and hide the extent to which the company was indebted to the country’s three commercial banks, Wesbank (a division of the Fist National Bank of Botswana) Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

This helped Lobtrans to get refinancing for their fleet, increasing their debt to about P300 million at the time the company was put under liquidation earlier this year. Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that when the banks moved in to attach the Lobtrans fleet they had financed, they discovered that the blue books had been forged to indicate that the trucks were not bonded to them.

This was after Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered bank had [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe are very crucial to both the country and the region. Zimbabwean journalist, JERRY BUNGU believes that the election will be ‘a sham’.

South Africa, which has been tasked by SADC with mediating the political meltdown in that country between Zanu PF and MDC has not done anything to write home about. The situation is not helped by the stance that South Africa is taking, going to observe the Zimbabwe elections under the auspices of SADC and not as an independent observer as has been the case in the previous elections.

They are going there a week before the elections. Mbeki should complete his report to SADC by monitoring the elections as a mediator who has been working on the peace process since he was tasked a year or two ago. This will not happen.

Coming on board at the eleventh hour, Simbarashe Makoni was, until he was fired as finance minister, Mugabe’s “bell-boy” since the early 1980s.

He was relieved of his cabinet post and pushed to head the newly formed Southern African Development Community Conference (SADCC), transformed to SADC at the end of his term. Mugabe had a point to prove to [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by John Regonamanye
16.03.2008 7:22 P

The European Commission has finally reacted to the plight that has been plaguing the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board for quite sometime now by providing millions of Pula in technical assistance with the primary aim to improve operations, the PPADB head revealed on Wednesday at PPADB head office.

“The EU has provided P1,5 million in technical assistance to the PPADB through the services of a highly qualified international Procurement Advisor,” the executive chairman of PPADB, Armando Lionjanga, revealed at the inaugural meeting attended by the stake-holders and the press.
Lionjanga said John Finnigan will be tasked, inter alia, with reviewing PPADB operations and making recommendations for improvement.

“Besides producing manuals of procurement policies, systems and procedures, Finnigan will produce guidelines on [continue reading]

source: BOPA
14 March, 2008

GABORONE – BEDIA is planning to introduce a one-stop-shop for investors where they can process all the requirements to start a business.

Speaking in an interview at a BEDIA seminar for permanent secretaries and directors of departments, the organisations CEO Mrs Dorcus Makgetho-Malesu said the seminar intended to get different departments to learn how other countries operate their one stop shop, as well as come to an agreement on how to best implement the practice in Botswana.

She said investors currently go through a long process when setting up their business Mrs Makgetho-Malesu said investors usually required work and resident permits, structural plans, industrial plots, company registration, industrial license, telephone, water and electricity connection, environmental impact assessments among others when setting up their businesses.

We are looking at providing all this under one roof. She said that the personnel would not necessarily be working from BEDIA offices, but the plan was to make it a phone call away.

She expressed hope that the departments would assign someone who [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
AfricaFocus (Washington, DC)

ANALYSIS
14 March 2008
Posted to the web 17 March 2008

Washington, DC

The Bush administration budget for fiscal year 2009 (Oct 2008 to Sep 2009), yet to be approved by Congress, allocated $1,300 million for bilateral military programs related to Africa, including $400 million for the new AFRICOM military command, covering all of Africa except Egypt.

In comparison, $1,497 million is proposed for the U.S. share of UN peacekeeping operations, leaving the U.S. $1,772 million in arrears on its UN peacekeeping obligations, in addition to some $700 million in arrears on the regular UN budget.

A coalition of U.S. NGOs is strongly opposing this acceleration of U.S. military involvement in Africa, with a campaign to Resist Africom (http://www.resistafricom.org). But so far few Washington policymakers have challenged the administration’s presentation of the command as necessary for anti-terrorism and [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by John Regonamanye
16.03.2008 6:24:41 P

Thousands of Batswana could see themselves disfranchised in the coming 2009 general elections because their national registration cards (Omang) expire this year – 2008, it emerged Friday in parliament.

It emerged further that the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs knew about the calamity the disfranchisement could bring about but sat on the ticking bomb.
“My ministry has always known that a total of 400 000 national registration cards will expire this year. Based on this knowledge, my ministry continues to encourage all Batswana whose cards will expire within eleven months to apply for renewals as a way to reduce late hour registrations,” said the Assistant Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri.

“With the general elections scheduled for 2009, my ministry is now going to intensify the public campaigns for the registration or renewals of expired national identity cards. The intention is to avoid those who qualify to vote to fail to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The Minister for Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Ponatshego Kedikilwe is scheduled to perform the official opening of the multi-million pula Morupule Coal Washing Plant in Palapye today.

The P87 million plant will improve the quality of coal by treating 30 000 tonnes of the black stone every month. It will also help Morupule’s drive for a cleaner atmosphere.

Washing coal improves its value by reducing its ash and sulphur content, that way increasing its caloric value or energy content.

“Many countries these days have strict regulations regarding emissions of offensive gases like sulphur-dioxide into the atmosphere,” says Moruntshi Kemorwale, Communications Officer at Morupule Colliery.

“This coal washing plant can be seen as our response to the challenges of ensuring that we have cleaner air and of giving our customers value for money because you get more calories from washed coal.”

The plant was built by South African company DRA Plant Design and Control Engineers.

The amount of ash will be reduced from 20.4 percent to 12.6 percent, while the amount of sulphur will drop from [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
16.03.2008 6:20:42 P

Thuli Johnson’s job as Managing Director of Barclays Bank Botswana is on the line.

There is a lot of behind the scenes lobbying and jostling by shareholders to have him replaced.

To show and drive home their displeasure, the shareholders in London have denied Johnson the year end bonus, the first time in five years since he joined the Group as the second citizen Managing Director.

With inside information suggesting that the parties are carefully sizing up each other before their next move, it is not yet clear if the bank chief will be sacked or transferred.

Sunday Standard has received information that Johnson has already turned down the offer by his superiors in London to have him transferred to [continue reading]

source: IOL

Edwin Naidu
March 16 2008 at 01:44PM

South African consumers are in for a new electricity shock when the government implements its plans from May 1 to penalise wealthier and heavier domestic users of power who fail to heed energy savings warnings.

Eskom will target its customers in the upper-income bracket – people living in wealthier suburbs with homes that have good lighting, a geyser, underfloor heating, electrical gadgets and a swimming pool.

Domestic dwellers in better-off suburbs will be asked to slash their energy consumption by 10 percent – or pay a penalty measured on a daily basis. At present, customers pay 40 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) for energy but when the new tariff structure comes into effect, heavy users would pay as much as R1,50 per kWh during peak periods.

The latest price penalty shock comes after Eskom got permission to raise its tariffs by 14,2 percent this year. In addition, an [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Philemon Molaodi
16.03.2008 7:17:40 P

The domestic bourse – the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) – revealed this week that efforts of widening and deepening the exchange are at an advanced stage. The BSE is looking forward to doing that by diversifying its product offering through the introduction of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

Briefing the media on Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of the BSE, Hiran Mendis, said ETFs would play a critical role in the development of capital markets. He said expectations are that ETFs would ease the problem of liquidity in the market and equally deepen it.

“Market capitalization is comparatively high but the liquidity is very low. Our turnover to market capitalization is around 3% – a comparatively lower figure to that of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, which stands at 36%. There is a lot of work to be done if we [continue reading]