Archive for August 13th, 2008

source: IOL
August 13 2008 at 07:45AM

By Hans Pienaar and Peter Fabricius

If there is no deal in the Zimbabwe talks, as seemed likely on Tuesday night, chances of Botswana’s President Ian Khama attending this weekend’s SADC summit would be slight, a source in his office said.

Botswana broke ranks last month with the 13 other Southern African Development Community members and declared it might not attend the summit on Saturday and Sunday in Sandton if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is there.

The source said this meant at the “political level” – Botswana officials would still take part at ministerial level in the preliminary rounds.

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad made it clear on Tuesday at his weekly briefing that Mugabe would be welcome at the summit, at which South Africa will take over the chair.

He said it was the prerogative of the SADC secretariat to [continue reading]

source: News24
13/08/2008 09:45 – (SA)

Pretoria – President Thabo Mbeki left Zimbabwe on Wednesday amid reports that power sharing talks between leaders in the neighbouring country had broken down.

“We’re going home,” his spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga told Sapa on Wednesday morning. “But we are going to Angola first,” he added. Mbeki would give a report to SADC chair of defence and security, President Jose (Eduardo) dos Santos.

Asked when Mbeki would return to Zimbabwe to continue talks between Robert Mugabe and leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutumbara, Ratshitanga said an announcement would be made later.

“We will make an announcement as usual,” he said.

On whether Mbeki’s departure from Zimbabwe meant that talks had broken down, he replied: “No, it doesn’t mean that.”

Foreign news agencies reported that [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Ownership of the AK6 diamond mine could change hands from today depending on the policy of the Botswana government and London-listed Gem Diamonds is showing keen interest.

James Campbell, MD of African Diamonds, told Miningmx he met with Gem CEO Clifford Elphick during the Botswana Resource Sector Conference in Gaborone on July 24 soon after his company declared a dispute with De Beers over AK6.

Gem Diamonds is currently involved in the development of the controversial Gope project in the CKGR. The company bought the project from De Beers last year for $34.1m.African Diamonds owns 28 percent of JV company Boteti, which controls AK6 but is in dispute over development of the mine with De Beers, which owns 71 percent of Boteti.Said Campbell: “We had a general discussion with Elphick and some of the Gem directors. We get on well with [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
13 August 2008
Posted to the web 13 August 2008
Hilary Joffe

ESKOM could look to borrow up to $1bn a year from the World Bank over five years as it adjusts its funding strategy to cope with difficult global markets and ratings downgrades.

These loans, which would be backed by government guarantees, would be by a very long way the largest yet extended by the World Bank to SA as the government has always been reluctant to accept World Bank funding on any significant scale.

News of Eskom’s talks with the World Bank emerged yesterday after rating agency Moody’s downgraded Eskom’s credit rating by four notches, a move likely to raise the cost of the R150bn it planned to borrow on local and international markets over the next five years to help fund its build programme.

Eskom finance director Bongani Nqwababa said Eskom was “rechecking” its funding strategy and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
13 August 2008
Posted to the web 13 August 2008
Dumisani Muleya

TALKS between Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu (PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deadlocked last night, raising fears that negotiations for a new dispensation may be on the brink of collapse.

After four hours of talks, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai stormed out of the meeting, saying to his rivals: “I do not understand the language you are speaking”, a senior Zanu (PF) official told Business Day.

The latest deadlock arose over how to share executive power in a new political arrangement.

Tsvangirai looked tired and dejected as he left the talks venue. He refused to address journalists, saying only that President Thabo Mbeki, the talks facilitator, would make a statement. But despite promises of a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Resource stocks on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) continued with their turbulence over the past week, worsening their prices further from their previous week’s closings.

As a result, the FCI lost 0.24 percent to 2,577.50 on the back of losses experienced by some resource stocks as the total value traded for last week was P20,2 million on 2,5 million shares.

Discovery Metals was the highest loser of the week, retreating 12.86 percent overall as the counter opened at 269thebe from last week’s 280thebe and slipped gradually to close at 244thebe.Aviva and African Copper shed 11.49 percent and 7.10 percent to end the week at 416thebe and 327thebe. The other losers were A-Cap (3.41 percent), African Diamonds (3.23 percent) and DiamonEx (2.40 percent) which closed the week at 264thebe, 749thebe and 122thebe respectively.

“CIC Energy announced positive results of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
13 August 2008
Posted to the web 13 August 2008
Renée Bonorchis

THE JSE yesterday released a healthy set of interim results, which showed attributable profit rising 326% to R173m, in a results season peppered with less than stellar figures.

The means the local stock exchange is now in a position to use its more than R837m in cash for the acquisition of African exchanges, the purchase of central securities depositary Strate, and technology upgrades.

“Nigeria is too big to ignore,” Russell Loubser, CE of the JSE, said yesterday when asked which stock exchanges in Africa could be attractive to the JSE. “But you’ve got to be careful.”

Loubser, who has long been involved with the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), said that having helped Cairo and Mauritius to join the federation, Nigeria was now in the process of joining. Once it was part of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone Central, Dumelang Saleshando, has expressed concern at the rising number of Chinese people flooding the country and doing jobs that Batswana are qualified to do.

Commenting on the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKI) Upgrading and Expansion Project (Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) Loan Ratification Bill, he said that “even deep in rural areas there are many Chinese people working as labourers”. He stated that he was also disturbed to find more Chinese people digging trenches at the construction site at SSKI when Batswana could do the job.

He urged the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs to stop issuing work permits to unskilled foreigners.

The MP took a swipe at the [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
By Cris Chinaka Reuters
Published: August 12, 2008

HARARE: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe agreed a power-sharing deal with a breakaway opposition faction on Tuesday, but has yet to agree with main rival Morgan Tsvangirai, South African President Thabo Mbeki said.

Mbeki, mediating in talks to end the political and economic crisis paralysing Zimbabwe, said negotiations had not broken down and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai was still considering his position.

“We have dealt with all the critical elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara agree, but there’s disagreement with one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai has asked for more time to reflect,” Mbeki told reporters.

Mbeki was confident a solution to the crisis was possible. “I have no doubt that’s what will happen,” he said. “If it means staying in this country for 6 months, I will do that”.

A senior official of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF told Reuters a deal had already been signed with Arthur Mutambara’s MDC faction, however, a spokesman for that group said it was untrue. Mbeki said he did not know whether[continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Brian Benza
Staff Writer

The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed property concern RDC Properties says its new project – Masa Towers – in the new Gaborone Central Business District (CBD) is estimated to cost P275 million by the time of its opening around May 2010.

The building, which comprises retail, office space as well as a 157-room hotel, is one of the many properties currently being developed in the new CBD area.

Speaking at the release of the company’s unaudited six-month results to June 30, 2008 in Gaborone last Thursday, group managing director Guido Giachetti said the Masa Towers project, whose civil and building contract has already been tendered, is set to diversify the company’s portfolio, which has been skewed towards office properties.

“Following a re-engineering of the project to reduce costs the contract to build the property was eventually awarded at a cost of P197 million after having received tenders as high as P294 million from contractors.

“The property has been designed as [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
12 August 2008

There are a number of indications that South African President Thabo Mbeki might fail to deliver a Zimbabwe power-sharing deal to his SADC peers, when they meet for the upcoming summit which starts on Saturday in Johannesburg.

Mbeki is under pressure to show results before he hosts the summit, which appointed him to find a solution to the country’s crisis that is undermining regional security. But so far, his power sharing push has hit a political head wind.

On Monday the South African leader had to personally intervene to restrain MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai from walking out of the talks, after a heated exchange of words with Robert Mugabe.

A source in Harare told us it would be a miracle if Mbeki secured a deal before Saturday’s summit.
The talks came to a boil when Tsvangirai told Mugabe point blank that while he could work with Zanu-PF moderates he could not share power with him.

‘Mugabe furiously went into a tirade, calling Tsvangirai names and accused him of being used by Western leaders. An equally angry Tsvangirai hit back accusing Mugabe of being a murderer, who [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Isaiah Morewagae
Staff Writer

Some University of Botswana lecturers in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology (FET) are up in arms over the attraction and retention policy the government announced earlier this year.

The policy, popularly known as scarce skill allowance, is aimed at retaining scarce skills in the civil service by paying those who qualify for more money. However, FET lecturers are worried that since the announcement of the policy, they have not benefited. They are puzzled about what is going on after management informed them that they are still considering the document and due consultation will be made with relevant governance structures of the university.

The spokesperson for the group, Dr Mandu Jeffrey revealed that they have received a communique from the director of human resources informing them that due consultation will be made before a final decision is announced. He said that the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Onalenna Modikwa
Staff Writer

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Enraged members of the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU), Selebi-Phikwe branch have resolved to reject the proposed 15% salary increase.

The members expressed their feelings at a meeting convened by the branch committee to give feed back on the ongoing wage negotiations with BCL management. The mine employees said they persevered and laboured hard to bring the BCL mine where it is but the management has failed to recognise their input by giving them meaningful rewards. They urged the branch committee to seek audience with President Ian Khama and vowed to finance a trip to see the head of state if the union does not have money. “We have now reached a point of rejecting the 15 percent offer by the management and demand the initial 40 percent. This time we are not going to retreat and we want to show the mine management that [continue reading]

Need to Increase Exports

source: The Botswana Gazette

Botswana’s significant imports come from one country

Botswana is faced with the serious challenge of reversing the situation where about 83.5% of its significant imports come from one country, South Africa.

The National Trade Policy is expected to come up with ways of addressing the current trade imbalance.

Botswana imports most of her food and fuel from South Africa. With rising food and fuel prices economic experts say it will be difficult to control imported inflation. 70% of local power comes from South Africa and most retail shops that sell imported foods originate in South Africa.

According to Mrs. O. Ward of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, too much dependence on a few commodities and limited markets remain some of the serious challenges facing Botswana’s trade relations.

She said Botswana’s current reality is that it [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
12 August 2008

The power sharing talks between ZANU PF and the MDC formations are said to have reached a critical point, as the dispute over the distribution of executive powers remains unresolved. The ZANU PF rational is that Robert Mugabe is the ‘legitimately elected leader’ and so he should remain as executive President, and they are apparently pumping pressure on Morgan Tsvangirai to capitulate and accept a position of Prime Minister, with limited powers. Tsvangirai is refusing to accept this, resulting in the talks breaking off on Monday night.

The MDC leader won the first round of the Presidential election on March 29th but Mugabe grabbed victory in an undemocratic run off on June 27th where he stood unopposed. The MDC boycotted the run-off citing a campaign of violence that had decimated its structures and killed hundreds of people and displaced many tens of thousands.

The political parties reconvened Tuesday afternoon to see if they could re-negotiate the issues, but journalists and commentators close to the talks said it was unlikely that a deal would be signed in this round. It is reported Tsvangirai nearly walked out of the talks on Monday night, but was [continue reading]