Archive for May 19th, 2009

source: Mmegi
Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe
Staff Writer

President Ian Khama has called for the reduction of the cost of food and other consumer items.

Addressing the annual High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) meeting in Gaborone last week, President Khama said he does not understand why prices should continue to escalate when fuel prices have gone down. “One of the positives that we have witnessed during the global recession is the reduction in oil and fuel prices. When fuel prices increase, food and other prices increase on the basis of increased transportation costs and when they reduce, the same should happen for food.”

In the same way, the president expects that the reduction of fuel prices should help to facilitate reduction in food and retail prices of consumer items. “We would like Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), in conjunction with [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Baboki kayawe

The spokesperson in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Lebogang Bok says the production of Botswana’s first e-passports is progressing well and that they will be ready by next year as scheduled.

In an interview with Mmegi on Friday, Bok said they are happy with the level of progress thus far. A German company Giesecke and Devrient (G&D) was awarded the P120 million tender in November, 2008 at a time when Botswana has been warned by the UK and other European countries to improve its passport security features. Botswana’s poor passport security features have resulted in easy forgeries by criminals.

Asked what her measure of the project’s progress is, she said, “The project consultant has reported to us that they are within their action plan as per the month of May,” The tender award is in two parts. The first is for the design, supply and [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
18 May 2009

A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Zimbabwe over the weekend, as the financial lending institution starts rebuilding a working relationship with the unity government.

The five-member team will spend more than two weeks in the country to conduct an assessment of Zimbabwe’s public finance management system. The visit comes almost two weeks after the IMF announced it was resuming technical assistance in targeted areas of Zimbabwe, such as tax policy and administration, payments systems, banking supervision as well as central banking governance and accounting.

Ironically, it is the unity government’s ‘commitment’ to economic recovery that led to the IMF’s decision to resume targeted technical assistance in the country. But while the government, understandably, has remained committed to improving conditions so that money would pour into its [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3, two days after ‘Workers’ Day’, perhaps by coincidence, but possibly also by a fortuitous act of history.

The ‘press’ owes its beginnings to the concern among a few of the educated elite who treasured the principles of democracy, wanting that the huge masses of the marginalised should be protected from the excesses of the privileged few who controlled money and power. In modern times, the world celebrates ‘press freedom’ in the belief that it remains a cherished component of the practice of democracy. Sadly though, the world must confess to itself, that the cruel vices against which ‘press freedom’ was established have adapted to the principle of freedom of expression, corrupting it whilst smothering it. The drive for profit, deposited in the hands of a [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Bashi Letsididi
17.05.2009 12:31:08 P

The much-talked-about Green Scorpions, on whom the government will spend P208 million during this financial year, have no sting.

Some have been reduced to begging green criminals not to commit environmental crimes.

“The Scorpions are not performing as well as I thought they would,” says Gaborone mayor Harry Mothei.

To illustrate the ineffectiveness of these environmental police, the mayor offers a hypothetical yet plausible scenario of a Green Scorpion pouncing upon an elderly man urinating in public. The man rebukes and orders the Scorpion: “O ntibileng m’shiane k’wena? Leba kwa!” (Boy, what are you looking at? Look away!). Meekly, the Scorpion complies and the culprit nonchalantly proceeds to pound the ground in front of him with unrelenting urinal force.

When they are confronted with such aggression and resistance, Scorpions are powerless to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Gideon Nkala
Staff Writer

TOKYO : Botswana is in comparison to other African countries receiving very little aid even from major development donors like Japan.

This was revealed by Kemmiya Misa, the assistant director of the African Department of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at a briefing of African journalists here on Friday.

According to Misa, from their 2007 financial report, Botswana got assistance valued at USD 4.5 million of which USD 2.47 million was in the form of grant provided through the bilateral facility while USD 2.02 million was in the form of technical assistance.

Most of the technical support, Misa said, was in the form of volunteers and other experts helping in various sectors. Botswana’s relatively small assistance is in stark contrast with the massive aid pumped into other African countries such as Tanzania (USD 687.70 million), Zambia (USD 1.1 billion), and [continue reading]

18 May 2009

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) says state company Eskom has applied for a 34% nominal tariff hike to help fund its R343-billion capital expansion programme, and has invited members of the public to comment on the application.

This was an “interim” move pending finalisation of the funding model for Eskom’s capital expansion programme, Nersa said in a statement last week.

“The funding model seeks to balance the need for equity injection from the shareholder (government), borrowings from investors, and tariff increases,” it said.

“Eskom is applying for an interim price increase to maintain a healthy cash flow situation in the short term while allowing an opportunity for the funding model to be finalised.”

Nersa has invited public comments on Eskom’s application – which is available on its website – before 2 June and oral representation at public hearings on 8 and 9 June.

Nersa said the interim application excluded Eskom’s new [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Tension between the Botswana Police Services (BPS) and Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) seems far from over.

Information reaching Mmegi indicates that DIS legal advisor has written a strong worded letter to BPS warning them that DIS agents cannot be tried for crimes allegations while on duty.

The new development comes at atime when the police are still pursuing allegations that some DIS agents tortured two members of the BPS and two members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) late last year.

BPS public relations officer, Assistant Commissioner, Christopher Mbulawa yesterday said he was not aware of any letter written to them by the DIS.

Mbulawa said he could not confirm the receipt of any letter from the DIS warning them (BPS) not to [continue reading]

source: News24
18/05/2009 21:03 – (SA)

Johannesburg – The culling of six white rhinoceros underway at the Eastern Cape’s Dwesa Nature Reserve was met with outrage on Monday.

The animals should be relocated rather than killed, said the National Council for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The Democratic Alliance questioned the decision to commercially hunt animals which had been described as “tame as wild rhinos can be”.

Two of the rhino had been shot dead so far, but one was roaming the reserve with a shot wound to the neck, NSPCA Eastern Cape national inspector Vonny Strachan said in a statement.

“We are gravely concerned about the welfare of this animal,” he said.

“The NSPCA is opposed to the taking or killing of wild animals, or the infliction of any [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Thato Moseki

BCL Mine’s retrenchment exercise has wound up with a total of 60 employees leaving the Selebi-Phikwe based copper and nickel mine.

Mine management has however been quick to note that further downsizing may become unavoidable should the global recession persist.

When it announced its plans to retrench earlier this year, BCL Mine had initially targeted laying off 348 employees as part of a slew of cost-cutting measures to survive the recession. In March, the mine revised the target to less than 200 workers, as a result of dialogue between prospective retrenchees and management. Part of the strategy had been to encourage employees aged 57 years and above to go on voluntary retirement.

Last week, BCL general manager Montwedi Mphathi announced that [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
17.05.2009 12:11:38 P

DURBAN: When thousands of football fanatics descend onto Africa’s soil next year for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it will not only be soccer hooligans that South African Police Service (SAPS) will need to watch out for.

There is another threat that the Police have confirmed concerns them: terrorism. The threat has led the SAPS to get in touch with their counterparts from Interpol and the countries where the participating teams are coming from.

“We are concerned about both (terrorism and hooliganism). There is a possibility of importing these,” said Vish Naidoo, Senior Superintendent with the SAPS.

Terrorists normally target soft spots where there are larger crowds, especially those comprising Europeans and Americans. Recently, Botswana deported alleged terror plotters who wanted to set up a sleeper cell to target visitors to the World Cup.
According to the latest tickets sales, there are [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

While vendors could be doing good business selling vegetables in Botswana’s second city, the trouble is that though there is a cornucopia of supplies, there are too many of them in the trade, writes GALE NGAKANE

FRANCISTOWN: It is harvest time in Botswana and people at masimo (farmalands) are reaping the fruit of their sweat.

In Francistown and other urban centres, vegetable farmers are laughing all the way to the bank as demand for their produce is at an all time peak.

A vegetable producer who declined to give his surname, saying he was only Alex, told Business Week that demand for his produce is threatening to overwhelm him.

“I sell to both individuals and companies and I do not have a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Sibongakonke Shoba
18 May 2009

Johannesburg — THE government plans to ease tensions between elected public officials and traditional leaders on rural development issues.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka said on Friday a traditional leaders’ institution would be established to improve consultation and enable these leaders to be “at the centre” of rural development.

Public representatives and traditional leaders have since the restructuring of local government authorities in 1995 fought over the planning, implementation and control of rural development programmes.

“We want traditional leaders to lead their people in terms of food security, and ensure that they participate on programmes of HIV/AIDS education. In all development programmes they must be at the centre,” Shiceka said.

Inkosi Mpiyezintombi Mzimela, deputy chairman of [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Pindai Dube in Bulawayo
17.05.2009 12:13:43 P

Overburdened workers in Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, have cried out to the inclusive government to put a fixed exchange rate following a rapid fluctuation of the United States dollar to the South African Rand.

Shops and supermarkets in the second city prefer the Rand against other currencies like the US $ and the Botswana pula.

However, the fluctuation of the US $ to South Africa Rand exchange rate in Bulawayo on a weekly basis has seen many workers failing to buy most basics, a situation that has sparked an outcry.

Shops and supermarkets in Bulawayo last week were saying US$10 traded at 85 Rand, down from 90 rand and 100 Rand.

“At this rate, the money changers will quickly find their way back to business. I now cannot afford to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff writer

The High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) chaired by President Ian Khama was told last Thursday that some retailers are abusing the recently introduced coupon system for destitute rations. The system is currently being rolled out to allow them to directly access food from local suppliers.

A press release from the HLCC says that there have been instances where some retailers have abused the system through practices such as overcharging, selling beneficiaries’ items outside the food basket list and confiscating coupon cards.

The meeting voiced strong consensus that firm measures need to be taken to remove the culprits from participation in the programme.

While opening the HLCC 28th meeting, Khama informed leading business and civil society leaders that a Task Force had been set up to look at [continue reading]