Archive for March 3rd, 2009

source: Mmegi
Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe
Staff Writer

The High Court in Lobatse is today expected to deliver judgement in a case in which Stocks $ Stocks is fighting over the P429 million tender for the construction of Botswana’s second university in Palapye.

The court case was heard by Justice Walia last week. Three interested parties are opposing the Stocks & Stocks’ application for interdict, namely the bid winner, China Civil Engineering, the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB), and the Building and Engineering Services/ministry of Education.

Stocks & Stocks are arguing that they were not informed that they lost the bid. They also argue that the evaluating committee did not consider each and every appendix they submitted before disqualifying it.

The applicants also argue that it is unreasonable adherence to fixed principle to require that bidders have their documents certified by the issuing authority and that disqualification for failure to do so is preference of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

In line with the falling inflationary pressures and the need to support economic activity in view of the global economic recession, the Bank of Botswana last Friday reduced the Bank Rate by 1 percent from 15 percent to 14 percent.

Although the economic performance scope has deteriorated rapidly in the past few months, falling oil prices have forced down inflation to 12.8 percent in January from 15.1 percent in August.

A statement released by the Bank’s Public Relation Officer Chepete Chepete said “At the meeting held today, the Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy
Committee decided to reduce the Bank Rate by one percent, from 15 percent to 14 percent”. This is the second time the Bank has reduced interest rates in the past three months with the last reduction in December when it was reduced by 0.5 percent.

The Bank rate cut comes shortly after BoB governor Linah Mohohlo announced in the 2009 monetary policy statement that the bank will [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
01.03.2009 9:34:21 A

The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, said in parliament Friday that the main driver of the tourism sector will not remain unaffected by the global economic crisis that is currently affecting main areas of the economy, especially mining.

“The current indications are that major cancellations, though expected, are not normally immediate due to the long lead time in bookings, a situation which may change as the year progresses,” he said.
He indicated that certain target markets “have indeed started to cancel bookings previously made”, saying “for example, some of the tourism sub-sector operators have recorded a decline in bookings held, compared to the same period last year”.

His reasoning is in line with what most economic observers have [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
02 March 2009

An elderly couple are being treated for serious injuries after they were attacked by a gang of thugs who invaded their smallholding outside Harare on Saturday night – this is according to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) who has expressed fears about the continued onslaught against the country’s remaining white farmers.

The couple are the latest victims in the renewed campaign to force farmers off their land, which has seen many of the remaining farmers being forced into hiding. The fresh wave of invasions has already seen almost 80 farms being seized and more than 100 farmers facing prosecution. At the same time at least 50 farms are confirmed to be under siege by lawless thugs – with the farm owners facing possible violent eviction. The threats by police have also continued with police officers ‘visiting’ at least two farms over the weekend, including the farm of Digby Nesbitt who is already ‘sharing’ a house with Bulawayo’s Deputy Police Chief Veterai.

The campaign against the farmers confirms that ethnic cleansing is underway, as the invasions are “the forcible removal of an ethnically defined population from a given territory.” The action meanwhile is [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe
Staff Writer

Government has appointed a consultant to review the impact of the 30 percent alcohol levy on locally brewed products and imports. This comes after local brewers KBL and BBL shed off almost 100 jobs after losses made over the Christmas holidays.

The introduction of the levy has also been criticised by some of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament (MPs) during the on going parliamentary session, saying it has contributed to inflation.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry told the Monitor that a multi-sectoral committee, with a dedicated consultant, has been established to advise government on the various aspects of the regulation and control of intoxicating liquor, including the administration of the alcohol levy.

“The impact of the levy, therefore, would be assessed from time to time by the multi-sectoral committee. The appointment of a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Government efforts to cut liquor trading hours and ban braai stands at butcheries could have far-reaching ramifications and prove counter-productive as hundreds find themselves jobless overnight.

The country’s sole brewer of clear beer, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), has announced that 92 workers will be retrenched at the end of March.

The government revised liquor-trading hours and imposed a 30-percent levy on alcohol in November last year. The punitive surcharge on consumers of alcohol is threatening the viability of KBL, which faces tough competition from international alcohol brands.

Butcheries are also reeling from a ban on the use of braai stands and barbecues on their premises, which has affected their sales. Most butcheries in this mining town have retrenched their employees while some are faced with closure.

Indigenous retailers complain that the new law favours their foreign counterparts, particularly those of Asian origin.

“How do you explain the existence of an Indian-run wholesale in residential areas? Our businesses are suffering while Asian business owners are allowed to sell items by the unit at wholesales,” says butchery owner, Nzwaligwa Nzwaligwa.

Nzwaligwa says most general dealers face stiff competition from [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe
Staff Writer

Botswana Railways (BR) passenger trains are in such a poor state of disrepair tragedy could strike any time, it has emerged.

This revelation comes just days before curtains are set fall on the passenger train service.

The service will be terminated on April Fools’ Day, Ministry of Works and Transport deputy permanent secretary Lewis Malikongwa announced at a press briefing held at the corpration’s Gaborone offices on Friday.

Malikongwa was accompanied by BR management chiefs when he narrated how over the years passengers’ lives have been in danger because the trains have not been serviced for the last 15 years for lack funds. Malikongwa says according to the planned maintenance programme, the coaches were to be overhauled at 500, 000km or every five years.

“The overhaul is ideally meant to address issues of wear and tear and safety critical components to [continue reading]

Standay Standard (2 March, 2009): Botswana Railways passengers lucky to be alive and well

source: Al Jazeera

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, has urged the country’s last remaining white farmers to leave the country, in a speech delivered during his 85th birthday party.

“Land distribution will continue. It will not stop … the few remaining white farmers should quickly vacate their farms as they have no place there,” he said at the celebration in Chinhoyi, north of the capital Harare, on Saturday.

“Let not the original owners of the farm refuse to vacate those farms,” he added.

Mugabe’s birthday event, which is reported to have cost $250,000, comes as a new unity government aims to tackle an economic crisis that has [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Ephraim Keoreng
Staff Writer

Cholera cases have been on the rise since last December. At a press briefing on the update on the cholera situation in Botswana, public health director Shenaaz El-Halabi sid by December 15, 2008, eight suspected cholera cases were reported, three of which were confirmed.

She revealed that since February 24 this year, 55 suspected cases of cholera have been reported in various districts. El-Halabi said of the 55, 15 have been confirmed to be cholera and of the number, two deaths have been reported at Princess Marina and Maun General hospitals. Both fatalities, she added, are a man and woman of Zimbabwean origin.

“All confirmed cases are adults, five males and 10 females. The nationalities of the confirmed cases are two Batswana, a Zambian and 12 Zimbabweans. The first Motswana case is originally from Zimbabwe, married to a Motswana and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The MP for Serowe North West, Tshekedi Khama does not seem to have any interest in parliamentary proceedings. Since his election last year, he has not asked a single question or moved a motion neither did he respond to the President’s State of the Nation Address.

Maybe he finds parliamentary debates boring or not up to standard. He does not attend parliamentary sessions regularly. He has not said much about his constituency since he came to Parliament. Besides being an MP, Khama is a prominent businessman who owns a number of businesses with his twin brother Anthony.

One Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MP, said when they miss parliamentary sessions, they are taken to task by the party leadership but he does not know if Khama is ever reprimanded.

Khama became the MP for Serowe North West following a by-election to replace his elder brother, President Ian Khama.

The younger Khama was [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
2 March 2009

Johannesburg — IT IS way too early to give Zimbabwe any money. Aid, yes. Zimbabweans are sick and hungry and they need help. If that country’s thuggish president and his party could be persuaded to allow foreign aid agencies in to help feed and treat his citizens that would be wonderful.

In all probability though, he would try to use his people’s plight to blackmail the rest of the world into financing him out of the jam he has created for himself.

A Southern African Development Community (SADC) committee heard at the weekend that Zimbabwe needs $2bn now to stabilise its economy. Details are thin on the ground and “stabilisation” may simply mean paying the salaries of restive soldiers or public servants. It would not be money well spent.

An SADC extraordinary summit is [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The Ministry of Works and Transport is eager to have the P433-million expansion project of the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport completed in time for FIFA Soccer World Cup in South Africa next year.

Minister Johnnie Swartz says the government is holding regular meetings with the contractor SinoHydro Corporation, and the consultant NACO-SSI, to ensure that the project is completed within time and cost.

Following a fast-track tender system last year, SinoHydro was given from June 10, 2008 to May 11, 2010 – a period of 23 months – to complete the project.

“We had a briefing from them in January and they said the work was on schedule,” Swartz said recently. “We told them we would be coming back to check on them. They said they are slightly behind, especially on the runway because of the rains this year.

However, they are confident that they will finish on time.

“We are talking to them about the quality of the work because these [continue reading]

2 March 2009

Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, one of nine South African cities that will host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, is 75% complete and will be ready for handover to Fifa in September.

That’s the word from the mayor of Mbombela local municipality, Lassy Chiwayo, who was briefing an inspection team led by South African Deputy President Baleka Mbete at the venue on Saturday.

Mbete was accompanied on her visit by several cabinet ministers, as well as a 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) delegation led by LOC chief executive officer Danny Jordaan.

Construction at the venue has faced a number of problems, including labour disputes on site and a dispute over the ownership of the land on which the stadium is being built.

Despite these challenges, Mbete said she was confident that, with the support of all levels of government, the municipality would complete the stadium and other required infrastructure ahead of [continue reading]