Archive for March 19th, 2008

source: Mmegi

BRIAN BENZA
STAFF WRITER

All is set for the official opening of Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) this evening, a milestone occasion at which outgoing President Festus Mogae will be present.

Also present will be Vice President Ian Khama, De Beers group executives Gareth Penny and Nicky Openheimmer, senior government officials and diamond industry magnates. The occasion will also mark the handing over to the Botswana Government of the P400 million DTC Botswana building by De Beers.

During a media tour of the building yesterday, De Beers Botswana Managing Director Sheila Khama said 14 foreign journalists had also been invited to witness the momentous event which will have a crucial effect on Botswana’s future course of economic development.

“We are very excited by this moment,” Khama said, “and we wish to appeal to everyone to join us [continue reading]

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source: BOPA
18 March, 2008

PARLIAMENT – Parliament has been requested to approve P223 million as supplementary funding for four ministries.

The supplementary estimates to be included in the 2007/8 budget estimates include P95 million required by the Botswana Police Service for salaries, allowances, and payment of arrears for overtime allowance to police officers who were engaged in the Matsiloje/Matopi Foot and Mouth Disease eradication in 2002 as well as provision for Special Constables.

Ministry of Local Government requested for P113.5 million to cater for the six per cent salary adjustments effected in April 2007, increase in prices for destitute food baskets, increase in fuel price and provision for the purchase of bulk water supplies from the Department of Water Affairs to water to some villages in the North East District.

About P2.4 million was requested for the Department of Administration of Justice to meet additional costs arising from [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC)

PRESS RELEASE
19 March 2008
Posted to the web 19 March 2008

As Zimbabweans head to the polls in the country’s March 29 elections, serious electoral flaws and human rights abuses by the government undermine any meaningful prospect of free and fair elections, Human Rights Watch said today.

In a 59-page report, “All Over Again: Human Rights Abuses and Flawed Electoral Conditions in Zimbabwe’s Coming General Elections,” Human Rights Watch documents how the government and the ruling party ZANU-PF, in the run up to the 2008 elections, have engaged in widespread intimidation of the opposition; have restricted freedom of association and assembly; and have manipulated food and farming equipment distribution to gain political advantage. Human Rights Watch also documented biased media coverage in addition to numerous incidents of police and state-security violence against human rights activists and perceived opposition supporters throughout Zimbabwe. The report is based on research conducted over seven weeks across the country and in the capital, Harare.

“Despite some improvements on paper to the election regulations, Zimbabweans aren’t free to vote for the candidates of their choice,” said [continue reading]

source: BOPA
18 March, 2008

PARLIAMENT – Labour and home affairs ministry continues to encourage all Batswana whose Identity Cards (Omang) expire within 11 months to apply for renewals as a way to reduce late hour registration.

Answering a question in Parliament, the Assistant Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Mr Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri said the ministry has always known that a total of 400 000 National Registration cards will expire this year 2008.

He said with the general election scheduled for the year 2009, his ministry is now going to intensify the public campaigns for registration or renewal of expired identity cards.

Mr Matlhabaphiri said the intention is to avoid those who qualify to vote to fail to exercise their rights on the reasoning that opportunities were not availed for both renewals and registration of Omang.

To disseminate information, he said, requests would be made to share platforms at the Kgotla meetings with [continue reading]

source: IOL

March 19 2008 at 03:24PM

South Africa’s official border crossing times have been extended to accommodate travellers during the forthcoming public holidays, the department of home affairs said on Wednesday.

The extensions are: Mpumalanga: Lebombo: March 19 to March 25: 24 hours, April 29 to May 5: 24 hours, Oshoek: March 19 & 20: 7am to midnight, March 21: 6am to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
18 March, 2008

SEROWE – The decision to exempt work and residence permits requirement on certain key positions will not in anyway disadvantage the locals, says Commissioner of Labour, Mr Claude Mojafi.

Speaking at the forth congress of the Botswana Railways Amalgamated Workers Union (BRAWU) in Palapye, Mr Mjafi said the decision was taken after thorough consultation and it was meant to be an administrative attempt to facilitate recruitment of skills that were easily not available in the country.

The recent governments announcement that it intended to exempt work and residence permits for certain key positions held by expatriates had not gone well with some labour organisations as they felt that the decision was not good for the country.

However, Mr Mojafi assured them that the decision should not exempt companies from localising key positions and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

19 March 2008
Posted to the web 19 March 2008

Dumisani Muleya
Harare

WITH just over a week to go before Zimbabwe’s critical presidential election, polls show President Robert Mugabe is trailing main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and latecomer Simba Makoni is a potential surprise winner.

A survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute shows that last week Tsvangirai was leading by 28,3%, while Mugabe was behind with 20,3% of the vote.

Makoni had 8,6% but could emerge as a shock winner because there is a huge pool of voters who refused to reveal their choices.

Most of the undecided voters are likely to be Makoni’s supporters, the survey says.

At least 23,5% said their vote was their secret, 7,5% refused to [continue reading]

surce: BBC Sport

Hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup could cost South Africa $3.7 billion, according to the organisers.

Original estimates had been as low as $295 million, but costs have risen steadily.

In 2006, the projected cost of hosting the event had soared to just over $1.5 billion.

The country’s Deputy President has warned that government spending will not be “open-ended.”

A bigger building programme and rising costs for raw materials have contributed to the expanding budget.

New stadiums in Cape Town and Durban were added to the construction plans after the initial bid.

The government has also been using the tournament to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
17 March, 2008

PARLIAMENT – The Minister of Justice, Defence and Security, Mr Phandu Skelemani says bicycles continue to be used on police patrols in areas suited for cycling.

Answering a question in Parliament from the MP for Kanye North, Mr Calvin Batsile, Mr Skelemani said the Botswana Police Service has long been using bicycles for patrol purposes.

Mr Skelemani said all special constables who enrolled with the police service in 2004 were taken through the basic two weeks special constable training upon appointment, he said.

He said at present, a comprehensive four-week training curriculum has been developed to further enhance their performance and all special constables, including those who were enrolled in 2004, were being taken through this enhanced training at the Botswana Police College.

Mr Skelemani said upon reaching five years of service, special constables would continue to benefit from consideration for extension of contract adding that those who qualify to join the police service have been and continue to be recruited [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

RYDER GABATHUSE
STAFF WRITER

PALAPYE: When the moment that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was waiting for Finally arrived when Vice President and BDP chairman, Ian Khama came, the crowd became uncontrollable.

There was a stampede with people shouting Khama! Khama! before he finally alighted from the army chopper.

Khama’s arrival was announced by an army chopper, which landed on the grounds of the Kediretswe Primary School a stone’s throw away from the star rally where Khama was the guest speaker. He was co-piloting the military helicopter.

Despite criticism levelled against Khama and his government, he continues to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Voice (Francistown)

18 March 2008
Posted to the web 18 March 2008

Zeph Kajevu
Francistown

Last month, a weeks-long investigation into software pirating resulted in the Botswana Police arresting alleged software piraters in Gaborone. This according to Lee-Anne Poon of Tribeca Public Relations, who told The Voice this week that after weeks of careful investigations, planning, a successful sting operation was achieved.

Poon, speaking to The Voice this week from base in Rivonia, South Africa, said the two computer and software resellers in Gaborone (names withheld for now), are the latest companies to be raided by the Botswana Police Service on positive proof that they have allegedly been selling computers with pirated Microsoft software.

In total, six computers containing unlicensed versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system and Microsoft Office applications on sale have been confiscated – in addition to 16 CDs containing a variety of [continue reading]

source: AdelaideNow

March 18, 2008 09:00am

OSCAR-winning director Anthony Minghella, who turned literary works “The English Patient,” and “Cold Mountain” into acclaimed movies, has died aged 54.

Minghella died yesterday of a hemorrhage following surgery.

Minghella’s publicist, Jonathan Rutter, said the filmmaker died at London’s Charing Cross Hospital. He said Minghella was operated on last week for a growth in his neck, “and the operation seemed to have gone well. At 5 a.m. today he had a fatal hemorrhage.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who became friends with Minghella after the filmmaker directed a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

18 March 2008
Posted to the web 18 March 2008

Harare

Extra cash in the pockets of civil servants ahead of the elections and a spiralling foreign exchange rate has pushed up the prices of basic foodstuffs and essential items by 300 percent in the last few days, said economists.

“There has been quite a spike [in prices] in the past week,” said John Robertson, an independent economist based in the capital, Harare. Retailers had hiked up prices because people’s spending power had increased ahead of the elections, he added.

The average salary of a civil servant went up from Z$100 million in December 2007 to Z$500 million in February 2008. Salaries were revised again last week: a government employee can now take home more than Z$4billion a month.

While the government has [continue reading]

source: BOPA
17 March, 2008

SHAKAWE – More than 136 000 students countrywide have so far been exempted from paying school fees, says President Festus Mogae.

Addressing Shakawe residents last week, Mr Mogae urged parents who could not afford to pay school fees to consult social workers for assessment.

Even though I do not believe that students should be sent back for failing to pay school fees, it is important for parents to communicate with school heads and make proper arrangements in settling the amount owed.

Mr Mogae emphasised that school fees was a cost recovery method, aimed at engaging both parents and government in sharing responsibilities towards the childrens education.

He told Shakawe residents that the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the area should not be used as a scapegoat for failing to pay school fees, saying those who could not afford should come forward for assessment.

He said the government had agreed that parents should pay [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

18 March 2008
Posted to the web 18 March 2008

Renée Bonorchis
Johannesburg

IT WAS a bleak Monday as more than R100bn was wiped off the value of SA’s equity market and the rand reached new lows against the euro — all while the US economic crisis worsened.

Global stocks fell sharply and the dollar tumbled yesterday as JPMorgan Chase’s acquisition of troubled US investment bank Bear Stearns sparked concerns that a worldwide credit crisis would claim more casualties.

This came as International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said the global economic outlook was worsening, and the risk of contagion from a financial markets crisis that began in the US was now “very high”.

The trouble started on Friday when the institution that first [continue reading]