Archive for July 14th, 2008

source: Standay Standard
13.07.2008 10:52:30 A

Former Botswana Railways Chief executive Officer, Andrew Lunga, was given a paltry P5000 (five thousand Pula) golden handshake and told to pack and go immediately.

Works and Transport Minister, Jonny Swartz, confirmed this week that Lunga’s contract was terminated and the former CEO was not even given a three months notice.

Sunday Standard investigations revealed that Lunga was due to be given a P320 000 golden handshake at the end of his contract. The free spending former CEO, however, had run up bills of up to P315 000 on the Botswana Railways credit card. When his contract was terminated, he only left with the balance, which was P5000.

Lunga would not discuss details, saying, “I got what belonged to me.” Lunga was, however, also paid a three months salary in lieu of notice.

The former BR boss leaves behind a parastatal at the center of corruption allegations. Minister Swartz told Sunday Standard this week that there are more questions than answers at Botswana Railways.

“Though my Permanent Secretary and I are new in the ministry, there are more questions that [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Metal Refinery (BMR) general manager, Wayne Venter has not ruled out the possibility of the Russian-based Norilsk Nickel International relocating the Activox Refinery technology to Russia.

BMR, a subsidiary of the Tati Nickel mine was in charge of the indefinitely postponed P4 billion Activox Refinery technology construction. On June 4, Peter Breese announced the halting of the multi-billion Pula project due to escalating costs.

Venter asserted that it is all dependent on the test work at the Activox demonstration plant at the Tati mine, which remained functional after the closure of the construction site of the main plant which occasioned the loss of 1,000 jobs.

“It’s all dependant on the test work going on now. If the test produces good results, then there is a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
14 July 2008
Posted to the web 14 July 2008

Sanchia Temkin

SA’s directors will in the near future be personally liable for breaches of their fiduciary duties and may be sued for loss and damages caused to creditors, employees or shareholders of a company, according to draft legislation recently released by the government.

The Companies Bill, which was recently retabled in Parliament, will introduce a new law in the form of a codified regime of directors’ duties, including “a fiduciary duty and a duty of reasonable care”.

The bill, part of the government’s corporate law-reform project, is aimed at improving regulatory oversight and redress for shareholders. Directors will be expected to act in good faith, in the best interests of the company and with a degree of care, skill and diligence that may reasonably be expected of a person in that position.

“Although these obligations have always been expected of directors, for the first time these levels of responsibility have been legislated by the government,” said Werksmans Attorneys director Eric Levenstein last week .

“Director participation at [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
13.07.2008 10:51:40 A

The Botswana Police service has awarded the tender for the supply and deployment of automated fingerprint identification system to Sagem Sécurité, part of the SAFRAN Group.

The company issued a statement this week saying that it had been chosen by the Botswana Police Service (BPS), following an international call for tenders, to supply and deploy the latest version of its Metamorpho Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The system will be installed at 61 sites around the country.

“An invaluable aid in crime-fighting, the Metamorpho system not only processes fingerprints for all ten fingers but also analyzes palm prints. This state-of-the-art system features very-high-quality image capture (1000 ppi, or pixels per inch), to guarantee the reliable, accurate and secure management of the country’s criminal data,” said the press statement.

“Ten years ago, Botswana chose our AFIS for its civilian ID cards, making it a pioneer in [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
12 July 2008
Posted to the web 14 July 2008

DOCTORS attending to President Mwanawasa in a French military hospital have expressed satisfaction with his condition as they continue treating him for hypertension.

Vice-President, Rupiah Banda, said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that Dr Mwanawasa had continued to receive treatment at Percy Military Hospital in Paris.

“The medical team is encouraged and satisfied with the current status and over the last two days, his condition has remained stable,” the vice-president said in the statement on the State House website.

Dr Mwanawasa recently underwent successful minor surgery to improve his breathing.

The president suffered a stroke while in Egypt for the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The new home loan scheme launched by Botswana Building Society (BBS) to specifically benefit young people has been hailed as a move in the right direction.

The Pinagare scheme has similar features to the mortgage product available to the general public but offers lower interest rates and a 30-year repayment period as opposed to 25 years.

The main objective of the scheme is to encourage young Batswana to own houses instead of buying cars. Pinagare mortgage attracts a 14.5 percent variable interest rate, which is 2.5 percent below the prime lending rate.

A 30-year-old Francistown court interpreter, Letsweletse Mophalane welcomed the new housing loan scheme, saying young people are facing difficulties in investing in fixed assets. He said he has been working for five years but he does not own a house.

He said many young people see a car as priority and not a luxury and this is why at times they consider buying one first before a [continue reading]

14 July 2008

Volkswagen South Africa’s customer interaction centre (CIC) claimed first place at the 2008 World Contact Centre Awards, held recently in London, in the category “Best Outbound Campaign” in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In a statement last week, Volkswagen SA said it had fended off competition from the Mellon Group (from Greece), Barclays Bank (Portugal), Softline Pastel (also from South Africa) and the National Bank of Greece (from Greece).

The centre qualified for the world award after wining national honours at last year’s Business Process Enablement South Africa’s (BPeSA) annual contact centre awards.

BPeSA is a national coordinating body representing the interests of the business process outsourcing and offshoring sector in South Africa, with focus on growing the local industry.

“The Volkswagen SA CIC has managed to scoop people awards on a regional level in previous years, as well as this year, but has never had the honour of winning on an international level,” enthused [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
13.07.2008 10:47:17 A

Botswana and South African police are investigating local elephant poachers believed to be linked to “international organized crime which run sophisticated trafficking networks.”
Detective superintendent Monthusi Ben of the Criminal Investigation Department confirmed this week that they are following leads that may lead to the arrest of a criminal syndicate that specializes in illegal ivory.

Information raised from other sources suggests that the syndicate, which operates from the Chobe area where the biggest population of Botswana elephants is found, maybe linked to international organized crime that runs sophisticated trafficking networks dealing in drugs, arms and other contraband.

Botswana Police and their South African counterparts mobilized the joint operation after it emerged that Botswana ivory is being smuggled into the South African black market from where it is believed to be shipped to China, United States of America and Japan.

“We have mounted joint investigation with our counterparts in South Africa where some of Botswana ivory has been confiscated by the South African Police Service,” Ben told the Sunday Standard.
He said they have not yet arrested anyone but [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

FRANCISTOWN: After a year as chief executive officer of Russian mining group, Norilsk Nickel International, Peter Breese has called it quits to pursue other interests.

The Zimbabwean-born 47-year-old Breese joined the mining concern about four years ago under the former owner and major shareholder LionOre International. This was before the 2007 acquisition of Tati Nickel by the Russian mining giant, Norilsk Nickel International from LionOre International.

Breese was the head of the Nickel Division outside Russia. His docket included Norilsk Nickel mining projects in Botswana, Rwanda, Finland, South Africa and Australia. Managing directors heading mining projects in the respective countries reported directly to him.”When I took up my current portfolio over four years ago, the parent company then was LionOre International. I joined because I saw tremendous growth in Africa that also required a lot of optimisation. In other words, the challenge was to generate some requisite growth,” said Breese.

“I have grown Tati Nickel mine to the level that it is one of the largest mining operations in Africa, just like I did [continue reading]

source: IOL
Bongani Mthembu
July 10 2008 at 02:00PM

The Chinese government has pledged to help KwaZulu-Natal to grow its economy, but raised serious concerns about the high level of crime in South Africa.

Speaking during a business seminar organised by the provincial government on Wednesday, Consul-General of China in Durban, Liu Yantao, said more effort should be made to fight crime.

The seminar was attended by business and government leaders from China and the KwaZulu- Natal provincial government.

“We believe that more effort should be taken in fighting crime, improving social security and protecting the safety of the Chinese community. In South Africa, the Chinese community is disadvantaged because of the language difference,” Liu said.

On Wednesday seminar provided an opportunity for leaders of the Chinese and South African governments to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

14 July 2008
Posted to the web 14 July 2008

Lesley Stones

MICROSOFT has renewed its commitment to giving free software to schools across the country by promising to donate products that would cost R750m if it levied its usual licence fees.

Its operating systems and productivity software will go to about 26000 schools attended by 11,2-million pupils.

The move updates Microsoft’s previous efforts to see its software used by the next generation of potential customers — it first pledged free software for all state-owned schools in 2002. But the scheme was only partially successful, and after three years only 6000 schools had been covered. The rest were unable to benefit for a variety of reasons, including a lack of electricity and the absence of any computers.

Those problems, coupled with the inability of many teachers to use technology, saw Microsoft donate hardware as well as software to some schools. It also launched a training initiative and has [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
13.07.2008 10:37:03 A

Botswana President Ian Khama on Friday night urged Batswana to work hard for the country in a bid to position it along modern trends of the global economy.

Speaking at the University of Botswana Foundation Dinner Dance for 2008, Khama, who looked relaxed amid being called a lot of names, told the gathering that he had now politically matured and took any label as something that “comes with the job”.

“During my first years from the military, I used to respond strongly to that but now I think it comes with the job,” he said, referring to a barrage of names that he is being called.
However, Khama stood firm on his commitment of trying to improve service delivery in the country, saying that he is surprised that people work hard and long hours at funerals and weddings where they do not get paid, but, when it comes to their salaried jobs, they tend to let standards get lower.
The speech, “Repositioning Botswana Through Excellence”, marked his first address to the University of Botswana Foundation as its Chancellor since assuming the presidency of the country at the beginning of April.

“Contrary to popular view, Batswana are hard workers. But I do not understand how we can put so much effort at community activities, such as funerals and weddings where we do not get paid and have poor performance where we are salaried,” he complained.

Khama further warned the nation to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Botswana’s presidential term lasts for 1,825 days – five years – excluding the 19 months transition the president gets from his predecessor through automatic succession. President Ian Khama this week completed his first 100 days in office and is left with roughly 15 months before the general election. Mmegi Reporter BAME PIET found out what some organisations and individuals think of his presidency.

Taking office on 1 April 2008, President Khama promised to fight unemployment, social ills, low productivity and laziness in the civil service, and vowed to maintain a disciplined nation that has dignity, and to economically empower Batswana.

Several directors of government departments have since been forced to retire. Rumours were flying that it was because of projects that were planned for a long time ago but have not been implemented.

President Khama also came at a time when there are many initiatives such as Work Improvement Teams (WITS), Performance Management System (PMS) and Performance Based Reward System (PBRS) put in place to entice civil servants to work hard. But they were not enough as some civil servants continued to favour low productivity, behaving like bosses to their clients – members of the public – at the same time disrespecting them and going to work late in [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
13.07.2008 10:48:26 A

The political tension between Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia may disrupt construction of the US$ 70 million Kazungula Bridge, a vital economic link between Botswana and Zambia and the rest of Africa.

Botswana and Zambia have taken a tough stand against the Robert Mugabe administration following the recent controversial elections and subsequent presidential run-off. The latest three-way political tension follows the same fault lines of last years border dispute over the construction of the Kazungula Bridge where Zambia took sides with Botswana against Zimbabwe.

The Zambia Daily Mail reported Thursday that the NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) Business Foundation has cautioned Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe not to let politics derail the ambitious project.

It called the project, envisioned specifically for developing the mining sectors of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, of critical importance to the SADC region and the entire continent.

NBF senior project manager, John Roche, revealed that Zimbabwe, which did not participate in the initial project feasibility study, now wanted to [continue reading]

source: News24
13/07/2008 08:04 – (SA)
Sibongile Khumalo

Johannesburg – South African firms are resisting the urge to pull out of Zimbabwe despite an increasingly hostile business climate in the hope they will be in prime position to benefit from a future upturn.

Once a relatively stable market, Zimbabwe has become a nightmare for foreign businesses in recent years with the annual inflation rate now well into eight figures and the government trying to impose prices for goods and services.

Several Zimbabwe-based South African bosses were hauled before the courts last year for overcharging while they are also having to absorb the impact of a new law forcing them to cede a controlling stake to native Zimbabweans.

But analysts say the dozens of companies – ranging from mining giants and banks to tourist operators – which are still clinging on are confident that things are bound to get better at some stage.

“I believe that the decision by companies to stay in Zimbabwe is more of a long-term business strategy than a humanitarian gesture. They are simply positioning themselves for an [continue reading]