Archive for June, 2009

source: Sunday Standard
by Bashi Letsididi
28.06.2009 2:35:46 P

Parliament learnt on Friday that the not-rich-and-not-poor Batswana will soon have their own version of SHHA.

In response to a parliamentary question, Lands and Housing Minister, Nonofo Molefi, told the house that through the Botswana Housing Corporation, his ministry was in the process of introducing a housing scheme to be known as the Installment Purchase Scheme.

“The target group for the scheme will be the low-income upper as well as middle-income lower groups whose incomes range between P3000 – P7000 per month. This is a category of home seekers who are above the threshold of the SHHA scheme and are below the existing target of the Botswana Housing Corporation and have difficulties securing loans to either build or buy houses,” Molefi said.

Shortage of housing is a recurring theme during parliamentary debates and on [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
29 June 2009

Despite claims by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that things are running smoothly between his MDC party and Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF, more cracks emerged on Monday exposing serious divisions. MDC Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe issued a blistering statement explaining why her party boycotted a Cabinet meeting, which had been unilaterally brought forward by ZANU PF.

Cabinet meetings are usually held on Tuesdays, but Robert Mugabe brought this week’s meeting forward to Monday because he is leaving for an African Union Summit in Libya on Tuesday.

Khupe said in a statement: “This morning, we were advised that Cabinet had been shifted from its mandated day of Tuesday to Monday at 10am. Innocent and innocuous as this decision may be, the fact of the matter is that it underpins everything wrong about the present agreement. The decision seeks to deny the recognition of the Prime Minister as chair of Cabinet when the President is away.”

She said the decision by Mugabe reflected, ‘unilateralism, disrespect, contempt and a refusal to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

In the mature democracies of the world, the citizenry generally has a sense of what the government stands for.

It appears that in Botswana, one has to be a relative of somebody who occupies a senior place in government to gains an inkling of what the governors could be up to. On paper, the government proclaims itself to be a guardian of freedom of expression, the right to life and the rule of law, but there is little evidence of that on the ground. One need not travel too far back in time to find evidence of reckless degradation of the principle of ‘the rule of law’. In the last month, the country’s newspapers have been engrossed with the John Kalafatis story, which tells about the execution of the man in a hail of bullets by agents of the state, despite the existence of the courts.This government has savagely brutalised whatever vestige of freedom of expression was left and it is now hell bent on vandalising the little morsel of [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
28.06.2009 2:33:18 P

When two Batswana entrepreneurs entered into a venture to form Netcare 991, an agreement was made that after some time, the South African medical group would sell its shareholding to the locals.

After several postponements, Netcare 911 finally sold its shares to the two Batswana shareholders, Tumelo Pabalinga and Simon Modisaeman, last July.

One of the shareholders of Netcare 991, now re-branded Emergency Assist 911, Pabalinga told Sunday Standard on Friday that there has always been an agreement to sell shareholding to ‘us’ to continue as a citizen company in 2003.

“We kept on postponing, but in 2008, we agreed that time had come,” Pabalinga, who also doubles as Finance and Administration Manager at [continue reading]

source: News24
2009-06-24 14:05

Johannesburg – An increase in pirate activity during April and May has seen Seacom’s cable installation plans delayed from an initial ready-for-service date of June 27, to a revised date of July 23.

The cable system’s owners said on Wednesday that both in terms of intensity and geographical coverage, piracy necessitated a change in Seacom’s cable installation plans.

The planned route required the ship to transit an area of increased pirate activity where other ships had been attacked or seized.

The group said that cable deployment in the piracy-affected waters has since been completed and splicing to connect the section of cable from Mumbai to Africa was expected shortly.

Testing of the larger cable system is to be finalised shortly [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Debswana is speeding up the expansion of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Morupule Colliery, to match the fast-moving development of its biggest client, Morupule Power Station.

The Colliery’s expansion will see it tap into previously unexploited resources to ramp up production from about one million tonnes per annum to 3.8 million tonnes, which will also result in expanded surface facilities. Adjacent to the mine, the Botswana Power Corporation has accelerated the Morupule B Power Station project which involves the installation of 4 x 150 megawatt (MW) units from the existing 132 MW capacity. With the BPC hoping to commission the expanded power station by 2011, Debswana is anxious to speed up the expansion of the colliery to support the increased coal requirements.

Further highlighting the urgent need to speed up the colliery’s expansion, the [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Bashi Letsididi
28.06.2009 2:32:37 P

With almost three months into the 2009/10 financial year, less than 1 percent of the money allocated for maintenance of government property nationwide this financial year has been used.

That was as at Tuesday last week.
The total sum allocated is P11 227 300 but according to the Department of Building and Engineering Services, only P32 301 had been used as at June 23.
In the previous financial year, P1 085 619 of the maintenance money was not spent. The money comes from the recurrent budget.

According to DBES’s spokesperson, Morwalela Kesalopa, the unspent money is automatically returned to the government coffers and not carried over to the next financial year.
The total allocation for last year was P10 490 546.

For the past four years, the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff writer

While President Ian Khama continues to be linked with potential and existing court cases, legal minds seem divided on what presidential immunity entails. In the follow-up to the Kalafatis scandal, Khama threatened to sue a weekly newspaper for its report linking him with the killing.

The newspaper threatened to counter-sue and Khama withdrew the case. However it is in the case that will arise out of the Kalafatis’ family efforts to get justice that the theory of immunity is likely to be tested.

One school of thought maintains that a president is totally immune from prosecution on matters relating to his time in office, while others say immunity is limited only to the period of office. The second preposition puts the president, at the end of his term, under threat from cases arising out of his time in office.

Last week, lawyers of [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
28.06.2009 2:39:21 P

The embattled Botswana Railways is to embark on a massive assets stripping exercise involving the deposal of a fleet of its locomotives, passenger train coaches and livestock wagons through an open-cry auction.

The latest move is likely to push the already embattled organization closer to liquidation if an alternative strategy aimed at saving the railways is not found soon.

In an announcement made last Friday, Botswana Railways said it is inviting local and international buyers to submit tenders for six locomotives that it is planning to dispose off.
Further, BR said it is selling 45 passenger train couches, 23 livestock wagons, one railcar and seven guard vans.

“Bids should be submitted in plain, sealed envelopes and marked “DISPOSAL OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT” and are expected to be submitted by [continue reading]

OP says it`s untrue

source: Mmegi

The Permanent Secretary to the President (Eric Molale) says their office has received a letter from Boko & Co. Attorneys, “purportedly acting for the family of the late John Kalafatis”, who are said to seek H.E. the President’s assistance in matters related to certain ’causes of action’ they intend to pursue.

Government information services coordinator, Dr Jeff Ramsay said in a statement yesterday that while the content of the letter is under consideration, “we wish to express our concern at the fact that a letter that is apparently intended for His Excellency’s attention should have found its way into the local media, almost simultaneously with its receipt by his office”.

The same letter makes the claim (since reproduced in the Mmegi newspaper of 19/6/09 (headlined “Kalafatis lawyers want Khama”) that the President recently extended similar assistance to [continue reading]

source: IOL
Karyn Maughan
June 29 2009 at 10:05AM

Pre-paid cellphone users will have to provide proof of their identities – or say goodbye to their numbers.

On Wednesday, legislation regulating tapping of phones and intercepting emails will come into force, making it necessary for anyone buying a pre-paid SIM card to provide proof of address and identification.

It further requires current pre-paid SIM owners to provide their details to their service providers or face the termination of their number.

Justice Department spokesperson Tlali Tlali has confirmed that the department would hold a press conference tomorrow to address concerns about the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Lawyers acting for the late John Kalafatis’ family are threatening to drag the state owned Botswana Television before the Media Complaints committee as well as apply for the Director of Information and Broadcasting, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, to be disbarred as a journalist.

It is almost two weeks since, President Ian Khama’s sister, Jacqueline, tabled a complaint against the Sunday Standard newspaper before the Media Complaints Committee demanding that two of the paper’s journalists be barred from writing following a story the weekly ran after the killing of Kalafastis by security agents.

In a letter addressed to Kaboeamodimo, Kalafatis family lawyer, Dick Bayford, demands that Btv should give his clients a chance to refute stories and comments made at two press conferences addressed by cabinet ministers, Dikgakgamatso Seretse and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.”In the course of the said press conferences, which were aired [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Kagiso Madibana
28.06.2009 6:05:32 P

The Ministry of Health (MoH) recently quashed rumours and allegations that about 5 cases of the H1N1 virus (generally referred to as swine flu) had been identified in Botswana.
Batswana were recently faced with the biggest scare of the year when reports came out, alleging that there were five identified cases of ‘swine flu’ in Botswana.

The H1N1 pandemic, which has wrongly been referred to as swine flu after experts misread the symptoms as those belonging to the latter, is yet to be identified in Botswana, this according to the country’s top health organization, the MoH.

The confusion surrounding the identity of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
2009-06-29 09:04
Jeanne-Marié Versluis

Johannesburg – Another two cases of H1N1 (swine) flu were reported in South Africa on Friday afternoon.

This raises the number of recorded cases of influenza A in the country to four.

A person from Gauteng and another from the Western Cape – both adults who had travelled home from London and the USA respectively – were recovering at home after being diagnosed with the virus.

National health department spokesperson, Fidel Hadebe, said the patient who had travelled from London, showed “flu-like symptoms” on Wednesday (June 24) and the diagnosis was confirmed two days later. He couldn’t release the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The Ministry of Education has spent P9.4 million in overpayment of allowances to 745 students who were studying in South Africa between 1999 and 2005, Assistant Minister of Education, Kavis Kario, confirmed yesterday.

“There were 364 responsive debtors. one hundred were difficult to trace due to no form of identification, 281 did not respond at all and two are deceased,” Kario told Parliament yesterday.

He was responding to a question from MP for Palapye, Moiseraele Goya, who wanted to know how much was spent in overpayments to students and how much has been recovered to date.

He also wanted the minister to state what measures are in place to ensure non-recurrence of [continue reading]