Archive for July 28th, 2008

Liquor Tax Up 70%

source: The Botswana Gazette
Traditional Brews to be Regulated.

Cabinet has proposed that the liquor tax be upped by 70%. Procedurally anything passed by Cabinet automatically becomes law in the space of about two weeks, The Gazette has leant.

The President Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama announced at a Kgotla meeting recently that the alcohol tax would go up by 70% and that the situation would be monitored closely and if people continue to drink, another 70% would follow in three months.

It is likely that the law will come into effect on the 1st of August this year.
Meanwhile a task force has been appointed to establish ways to regulate shebeens and traditional brews.

The Assistant Minister of Local Government, Ambrose Masalila, said Councils have been given the task of coming up with a framework of regulating traditional brews including Chibuku. “The intention is to have these brews controlled under the Liquor Act like other alcohol beverages,” he said.

The Assistant Minister also warned the public that traditional brews such as Khadi and Mokok’ontshebile and others are prohibited, “it is illegal to brew and sell them,” he said. Asked why [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
27.07.2008 6:44:11 P

The Ministry of Health high command, including two deputy Permanent Secretaries, scores of directors and assistant directors have resigned en masse in protest against the appointment of Newman Kahiya as Permanent Secretary.

The Ministry’s long time Permanent Secretary, Batatu Tafa, tendered her resignation earlier this year. This opened the flood gates for the en masse resignation of the ministry’s high command.
Among those who have tendered their resignations are: the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Matsae Balosang, who vacated her office on June 30th; Dr Majane, another Deputy Permanent Secretary, who will vacate his office next week; Napo Ndibi, Director of Ministry Management, who resigned on June 30th; Dr Mompati Mmalane, Director Clinical Services, who is serving notice; Assistant Director G Mosarwe; Assistant Director Ministry Management O. S Modise and Assistant Director Mojela, who asked to be transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Health, Colombia Boitshoko, would not comment on the mass resignations.

Sunday Standard, however, has been informed that the Ministry’s senior managers tendered their resignations in protest against the appointment of Newman Kahiya as permanent secretary.
It is understood that the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Nation (Nairobi)
28 July 2008
Posted to the web 28 July 2008

Kitsepile Nyathi and agencies

Zimbabweans kept in the dark about the ongoing secretive talks between the country’s major political parties have only one wish: a deal that will halt an economic decline that is gathering pace every day.

President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last Thursday began talks to end a political impasse caused by the disputed June 27 one candidate presidential run-off election.

Except for the memorandum of understanding setting the agenda and time frame for the dialogue that was signed amid pomp and funfair by Mr Mugabe and his arch rivals Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara of the MDC, everything is being done in secret.

Today, South African President Thabo Mbeki said the Zimbabwe parties are continuing with negotiations to resolve the country’s political crisis. “Those negotiations among the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

28 July 2008
Posted to the web 28 July 2008

Lesley Stones

MTN is planning R7,1bn in capital expenditure this year, mainly on increasing its network capacity and coverage.

The spending is roughly double the amount it invested in its South African operations last year. The plans centre on laying fibreoptic cables in urban areas of Gauteng and laying another 5000km of lines to create a national backbone. That will end its reliance on leasing lines from Telkom for its network backbone.

Its network can support 19,5-million active subscribers, and is already serving about 15-million users in SA.

Cable-laying to boost capacity in Gauteng will begin in August and cost up to R150m, with an expectation of [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Morula Morula
27.07.2008 6:49:46 P

Court of Appeal judges on Friday ruled in favour of night club owners in a case in which the Attorney General was appealing against a judgment passed by Lobatse High Court judge, Isaac Lesetedi, concurring with an application brought before his Court by night club owners who wanted him to order that they are entitled to operate in accordance with the regulations of their old licences which allowed them to operate from 8 pm to 4 am.

In their judgment, the Court of Appeal judges, led by Lord Coulsfield, dismissed all the three arguments brought before them by lawyer Isaac Kamwendo of the Attorney General’s Chambers on grounds that they lacked merit.

On the first argument brought by the appellants that, under the legislation, the power to prescribe trading hours was a function of the Minister and that it had not been shown that the Minister had delegated that power to local licensing authorities or that the function had been removed from the Minister.

Answering this, Coulsfield said that in his opinion, this was a simple misunderstanding as the function of issuing licences, subject to [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by John Regonamanye
27.07.2008 6:35:38 P

While the alcohol industries and the public in general agree with government’s concerns over the adverse effects of irresponsible consumption and abuse of alcohol by consumers, stakeholders are adamant increasing the price of alcohol would make things worse.

As recently as last week, at a Kgotla meeting in Gabane ,the local media fraternity carried headlines trumpeting president Ian Khama’s bold decision to up the alcohol prices by almost 70 percent come August 1.

But the alcohol industry believes that Prersident Khama’s overtures would not curtail the irresponsibleness displayed by Batswana imbibers.
“Kgalagadi and Botswana Breweries share government’s concerns on the harmful effects of irresponsible consumption and abuse of alcohol by some consumers. However there is evidence that while increasing the price of alcohol may limit its purchase by some people it does not address the most pertinent matter of alcohol abuse and its associated harms,” reads part of a Kgalagadi Breweries statement Friday.

Continued the statement, “The measure assumes that by making beverage alcohol more expensive, per capita consumption will be decreased and, with it, the incidence of problems.
“However this development will not solve the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) is engaged in talks with government following last week’s announcement by President Ian Khama that tax on liquor will go up by 70 percent from next month.

“We are busy talking to the government to help them understand what the implications are,” said KBL director of Corporate Affairs, Thapelo Letsholo. He added that KBL and Botswana Breweries share the government’s concerns on the harmful effects of irresponsible consumption and abuse. However, he said, while increasing the price of liquor may limit its purchase by some people, it does not address the most pertinent matter of alcohol abuse and associated effects.

He said the government’s proposal assumes that by making alcoholic beverages more expensive per capita, consumption will be decreased and with it the associated problems. But he feels that this development will not solve the problem, if anything, it will exacerbate it. “As a result, we are opposed to the intervention.”

He said the most compelling evidence against a massive tax hike as an effective policy measure against abuse comes from [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
27.07.2008 6:54:04 P

The Botswana National Youth Council says they join the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana Chapter in condemning the Media Bill which is to be presented to the parliament session that is to start in a week’s time.

The Acting BNYC Executive Director, Ndulamo Morima, says his organization is of the view that the Bill goes against the spirit and letter of Vision 2016 of an “educated and informed Nation.”
BNYC say, for Botswana to achieve such an ideal, there is need for a vibrant, free and self regulating media.

“Unfortunately the Media Bill defeats such through political interference.”

The example of political interference given by the BNYC is the appointment of both the Complaints Committee and the Appeal’s Committee by the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology as envisaged by the Bill.

In a statement, Mr. Morima says while under normal circumstances the registration of professionals is essential, “BNYC is concerned by the Bill’s requirement for registrations and accreditation of journalists. In countries where such provisions exist, refusal for registration and de-registration have sometimes been used to stifle free speech and freedom of expression.”

Meanwhile, BNYC say they commend the [continue reading]

see: The Media Bill should remind us of the perils that brought Zimbabwe to its knees!
by The Watchdog – Opinion Sunday Standard

source: News24
27/07/2008 14:02 – (SA)

Johannesburg – African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma, soon to stand trial on corruption charges, says he would “decentralise” power if elected South Africa’s next president, the Sunday Independent reported.

Politicians and the Cosatu labour federation have accused President Thabo Mbeki, who has been in office since 1999, for centralising power in the presidency.

“Once you allow that tendency (of centralising power) you are in danger that the people will not be able to defend their democracy (or) defend their power,” Zuma was quoted as telling the newspaper in an interview.

“We must never allow it, it is a dangerous thing,” he said, adding that under his rule, the ANC leadership – not him personally – would take decisions on state matters.

Zuma – whose trial on 16 charges ranging from money-laundering to racketeering is to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have sidelined Botswana’s request to have the government of Robert Mugabe suspended from the organisation’s meetings and called instead for talks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani has said.

As it turns out, only Tanzania agreed with Botswana; and even then, only on the issue of negotiations being conducted on the basis of the parties being equals.

In an interview with Mmegi yesterday, Skelemani said Botswana had presented her position to the 10th Meeting of SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security in Durban, South Africa last week, which was to have Zimbabwe suspended from SADC structure meetings.

“That’s when we had hoped that the other SADC countries would agree with us,” he said. “The basis of the suspension was that Mugabe has not been elected.”

Skelemani maintained that the report of the observer mission was to [continue reading]

source: SABC News
July 27, 2008, 08:00

Botswana says the number of Zimbabwean refugees crossing into the country has increased following the June 27 presidential runoff elections.

Minister of foreign affairs in Botswana, Phandu Skelemani, says Botswana had no alternative but to provide Zimbabwean refugees with humanitarian aid. This has had a negative effect on Botswana’s limited resources.

“The influx of Zimbabweans, whether there is a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

HARARE: Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu, told journalists here over the weekend that the government has banned exports of all basic food commodities with immediate effect.

Mpofu said although Zimbabwe has an obligation to meet certain regional export commitments, the domestic market came first and that his ministry was in the process of officially notifying governments in the region.

“We have trade protocols with our neighbours,” he said, “but we are in the process of informing them that we are cutting exports. It does not help to export products that are not available in the country.”

The move is part of the government’s initiatives to ease the effects of the economic crisis. At 2.2 million percent, Zimbabwe’s inflation is the world’s highest. Shortages of [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
27.07.2008 6:53:05 P

The Botswana government says it remains proud of the stance it has adopted against Zimbabwe following the disputed election process in that country which saw the opposition withdrawing, citing political violence and anarchy meted by the government backed militias.

Botswana has insisted that they do not recognize Robert Mugabe as the legitimate President of Zimbabwe.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phandu Skelemani, said Botswana was disappointed that other SADC countries have not only failed to condemn Robert Mugabe for his behaviour, but have also not stated their position.
He, however, said, like Zimbabwe, SADC is better reminded of the ramifications of breaking one’s own laws and regulations.

Skelemani said Botswana supports and welcomes the negotiations between the rival parties in Zimbabwe “not as a solution but rather a resolution.”

He said the route of the negotiations does not altogether cure the [continue reading]