Archive for March 16th, 2009

source: Standay Standard
by Rueben Pitse
15.03.2009 6:21:28 P

The government of Botswana has decided to withdraw its peace-keeping troops from war-torn Sudan with immediate effect.

The Minister of Justice Defence and Security, Dikgakgamatso Seretse, confirmed the decision to the Sunday Standard.

He said due to the unrest in areas where the troops are deployed, the government had decided to pull its peace-keeping contingent, both Botswana police and members of Botswana Defence Force, from Sudan.

“As you might be aware, one of our BDF officers was short dead sometime last year during an ambush,” he said.

Seretse said although there are pulling out, they are disappointed because they were not yet ready to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The Botswana Tourism Board (BTB) will use over P94 million in the 2009/10 financial year to expand its projects and promote the a sector, the Minister of Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, told Parliament this week.

The funds have been allocated for BTB projects, while some of the money will be tapped from the Department of Tourism.

P46, 903, 140 is provided to enable BTB to continue its mandate of providing tourism services to the nation and to operate its six tourism offices in Maun, Kasane, Selebi-Phikwe, Francistown, Tsabong and Gantsi.

Mokaila said the P46.9 million figure is part of the P83, 465, 900 allocated for the Botswana Tourism Board to enable the organisation to provide tourism services nationwide and internationally.

A further P15, 324, 700 has been allocated to [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Gowenius Toka
15.03.2009 6:13:01 P

The Botswana Railways Train Crew Union (BRTCU), has presented a petition to the Minister of Works and Transport, Frank Ramsden, alleging corruption, bad and unsafe working conditions at the Botswana Railways.

They further asked him to delay the distribution of the organizations approved funds of P586.5 million.

The BRTCU told Ramsden that the recent financial statement for 2007/2008, which showed an operating loss of P79 million as presented by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Baledzi Gaolatlhe, is an indicator of a lack of accountability, which dominates the affairs of the BR.

“We question the credibility of the man behind the steering wheel of revenue. Does he know how much in monetary terms is the income generated by [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The Court of Appeal will in the future be operating on a full-time basis unlike in the current arrangement where it meets on ad hoc basis.

Parliament has been told that the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security is working with relevant authorities to come up with the right model and balance to achieve the localisation and permanence of the Court of Appeal.

This was said by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani who was acting for the Minister for Defence, Justice and Security when he was presenting the budget estimates for the Department of Justice.

Recalling the history of the judiciary in this country, he said since independence it was in the hands of expatriates.

He added that the country did not have many trained citizen lawyers who could immediately localise the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

SEROWE: The push to quicken the maintenance of primary schools in the Central District is not moving at the desired pace because of problems with the supply of building materials.

The Central District Council (CDC) has said the shortage of the materials and delays in supply because of the massive construction work in South Africa for 2010 World Cup facilities has adversely affected its plans to clear that backlog of maintenance of its primary schools.

Under the CDC 2008-2009 backlog eradication programme, there are 15 packages comprising 63 schools. But due to the global economic downturn, 12 packages comprising of 53 schools were deferred. These included the Palapye School for the Disabled.

The CDC chairman, Lesego Raditanka said at a council meeting that [continue reading]

source: IOL
March 16 2009 at 07:10AM
By Gaye Davis

Intelligence Minister Siyabonga Cwele has denied that his wife, Sheryl, was involved in alleged drug smuggling that led to the arrest and imprisonment in Brazil last year of a former friend and neighbour over raw cocaine worth about R3-million.

Advocate Cecil Burgess, the chairperson of parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, told Independent Newspapers on Sunday that the minister had contacted him early to alert him to an article published by the Sunday Times. The article cites emails and text messages alleged to have passed between Sheryl Cwele, a municipal official on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast, and an unemployed Margate woman, Tessa Beetge, who was arrested in Brazil en route to Johannesburg in June last year.

Police spokesperson Director Sally de Beer on Sunday confirmed that a police investigation was [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Bashi Letsididi
15.03.2009 6:37:15 P

The ministry of works and transport has denied allegations that a machine in the Communications Operations (ComOps) office at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) did not work for more than a year and that substitute action resulted in wrong information being sent to the International Civil Aviation headquarters.

The allegation is contained in a report prepared by ComOps staff in the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) who operate that machine. The staff report which was written late last year, say that the archive terminal, as the machine is called, “has not been working for more than a year which results in wrong monthly statistics sent to International Civil Aviation Organisation [ICAO] headquarters.”
On the other hand, the ministry’s spokesperson, Charles Keikotlhae says that the archive was not working for only seven months – between May and November last year – and that it is now working properly.

Contrary to what the staff report says, Keikotlhae asserts that it is not possible to send wrong monthly statistics to ICAO because the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The fast tracking of the development of Botswana’s international ICT hub, also known as the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), tops list of priorities this year. The project is allocated almost 50 percent of the ministry’s development budget.

Out of the P743,696,069 allocated for development projects in the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, the ICT Hub project has been allocated P360 million. Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, stated in Parliament this week: “This is our flagship project whose implementation will start in earnest in the next financial year from April 2009.

Venson Moitoi, in her committee of supply speech, told Parliament that the hub is being established as a world class activity centre. She said the vision is to position the hub in such a way that researchers and business operators from all corners of the world will converge here for knowledge creation aimed at [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
15.03.2009 6:35:41 P

South African Airways will next month in April start operating in Botswana.
This was said by its incoming Director, Olesitse Moakofi, during a cocktail launch at the Gaborone International Convention Center on Wednesday night.
The airline will be joining South African Express, another South African airline already operating in the country.

It is expected that the airline will operate from here to Johannesburg, and then connect to Cape Town and Durban in South Africa, as well as Windhoek, Namibia.

The airline used to operate from the country in the past but pulled out later.

Present at the launch as a guest of Honour was South African High Commissioner to Botswana, Dikgang Moopelwa, who said that they were banking on Batswana to support their airline. He also said that the launch of the airline in the country comes at a time when there were financial crises not only in [continue reading]

source: IOL
March 16 2009 at 07:21AM
By Caryn Dolley

The scarcity of properly trained firefighters at Cape Town International Airport “poses a risk” and “is serious enough to threaten” the airport’s operating licence.

Poorly trained airport firefighters do not know how to use equipment, do not know their assigned duties on the fire engines and lack the experience to drive these.

This is according to , dated December 12, on Cape Town International Airport.

Another internal airport document has said that two-thirds of the firefighters do not have enough training.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to investigate the training of the airport’s firefighters during its next audit.

The airport fire service is privately owned and run by the Airports Company of SA (Acsa).

According to the report by an internal auditor, Aldrich Blignaut, who has since been hired as the fire service’s emergency response planner, firefighters “lacked knowledge” of how to operate fire tenders and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

DAR-ES-SALAAM: Botswana and most African countries reeling from the volatility in commodity prices caused by the global economic crisis are paying for their delay in diversifying their economies, it emerged at the IMF-Africa Conference here this week.

The conference, “Changes: Successful Partnerships for Africa’s Growth Challenges,” ran from March 10 to 11 and brought together African policymakers, development partners, the private sector and civil society to share experiences and learn from successful efforts to address both the immediate crisis and longer-term challenges with the common goal of forging a renewed partnership for growth and poverty reduction in Africa.

In a panel discussion which looked into how African economies could manage commodity price shocks effectively on Tuesday, it emerged that like Botswana, many African economies had crafted economic diversification plans long ago but [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Gowenius Toka
15.03.2009 6:38:32 P

Even though the global financial crisis, which started in the developed world, particularly the United States, has not yet directly hit African economies, experts predict that things are still to get worse before they could get better.

Dominique Straus-Kahn, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director addressing Ministers and Central Bank Governors and Finance Experts from African countries, at a conference in Dar es salaam, Tanzania, under the auspices of “Change; Partnerships for Africa’s Economic growth”, said, “Continued deleveraging by the world’s financial institutions, combined with a collapse in consumer and business confidence is depressing domestic demand across the globe.”

World Trade is also falling apart at an alarming rate and commodity prices have tumbled.

“Even though the crisis has been slow in reaching Africa’s shores, we all know that it is coming and its impact will be [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

In a rather cautious way than as aggressively as initially envisaged, emerging banking group, ABC Holdings, says it will roll out its retail banking operations in Botswana in July this year.

“We are excited about the project but realise that the economic environment is now very different from when it was first conceived,” Group CEO, Douglas Munatsi, said on Wednesday during the announcement of ABCH results for the year ended 31 December 2008.

“Instead of the aggressive approach that was planned for, we will now proceed in a measured way and position the business for the economic turnaround.”

The first branch will be opened in Gaborone while the rest of the country will be serviced through a mix of channels like ATMs and Internet banking. ABCH has already begun recruitment of personnel.

Munatsi said retail banking by its very nature is a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Mathabo Le Roux
16 March 2009

Johannesburg — THE European Union (EU) is likely to move towards the official signing of an interim economic partnership agreement, known as an EPA, with countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that will exclude SA.

A meeting last week in Swakopmund, Namibia, between the European Commission (EC) and the SADC group failed to break an impasse over concerns SA has, despite significant further concessions by the EU to sweeten the deal.

A source close to the talks, who declined to be named, said it was likely the EC would ask to be given the go-ahead to prepare to sign the interim deal as all attempts to bring SA back into the talks had failed. This will see Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland sign the deal, leaving SA, the only other member of the Southern African Customs Union, out of the deal.

The EU agreed to favourable terms for infant industry protection, which could see the countries in the SADC configuration exclude sectors earmarked for development from [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Rueben Pitse
15.03.2009 6:24:29 P

After a year, the Serious Crime Squad says it has completed its criminal investigations against LobTrans and is ready for prosecution.

The company has to account for cash amounting to P20 million.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, the head of the Fraud Division at Serious Crime Squad, Assistant Superintendent Chifana Toitoi, said, “We have completed criminal investigations against LobTrans after a year and the prime suspect will be charged with forgery.”

He said so far only three commercial banks appear to have been swindled but he said he was not in a position to [continue reading]