Archive for December 7th, 2009

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Power outages started rocking all parts of Botswana on Tuesday, but the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) says the problem has nothing to do with a planned 100MW supply reduction from South Africa.

It is not known how long the problem on the other side of the border will take, but the BPC has confirmed they are short of 150 MW of electricity, after the Morupule Power Station’s capacity was also greatly affected by the power supply from South Africa.

Power cuts returned to the capital, Gaborone beginning Tuesday afternoon when various parts of the city were switched off. The power cuts continued into the evening with some areas without electricity for up to four hours. The outages continue. Nearby Ramotswa was the first to be [continue reading]

source: BOPA
07 December, 2009

GABORONE – Botswana benefits from international treaties and trade agreements, assistant minister of trade and industry has told Parliament.

The agreements, Mrs Dorcus Makgato-Malesu said, assisted developing economies by reducing trade barriers, thus improving access to markets for these countries.

When responding to a parliamentary question, the assistant minister said the interim economic partnership agreement (IEPA) between the SADC EPA countries and the European Union (EU) had removed tariffs and quotas on Botswanas exports to the EU, except for arms and ammunition.

She told Parliament that beef was the most important agricultural commodity produced by the rural communities in Botswana and was exported to the EU under the IEPA.

Mrs Makgato-Malesu said as a trickle down effect, there would be employment creation and [continue reading]

source: The Standard
Saturday, 05 December 2009 21:19

PF Zapu veterans in Zanu PF have threatened a showdown at the party’s congress opening on Wednesday if President Robert Mugabe rejects their choice for the party chairmanship.

Mugabe last week made a stunning summersault on the nomination of Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo by the majority of Zanu PF provinces after his lieutenants challenged the selection process.

Zanu PF sources said Mugabe was pressured to take the position that might threaten the very foundation of the troubled party after Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa made it clear that he would never consider Moyo as his boss.

Current Zanu PF chairman Didymus Mutasa has also been protesting publicly about the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
07 December, 2009

KANYE – Sekhutlane residents in Southern District have been promised that Botswana will approach the South African government about the possibility of opening a border gate at Mabule.

Addressing a kgotla meeting in Sekhutlane last week, President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama said opening of a border gate usually involved bilateral talks between neighbouring countries.

He however, doubted if South Africa would agree to open the border gate because they had previously stated that they had opened enough border gates.

Nonetheless, he said efforts would be made to open negotiations with them.

President Khama was responding to a village development committee representative who asked that a border gate be opened at Mabule since the Ramatlabama one was a distance for people around Sekhutlane, Mabule, Lorolwana and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Will motorists have an early Christmas cheer or will they have to fork out more as they travel to different destinations this holidays?

That is the question in view of rising international crude oil prices coupled a recent hike in fuel prices in South Africa.

The government last increased fuel prices consecutively in August this year after a long break due to the global economic meltdown which saw international crude oil prices drop from an all time high of $147 per barrel in July last year to just under $40 per barrel.

The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources increased petrol prices by 96 thebe and diesel by 60thebe between July and August. Petrol is currently P5.40 per litre.The ministry’s Energy Committee will meet in two weeks’ time to review fuel prices and decide whether to [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Fayruz Hamed
06.12.2009 5:19:10 P

With the World Cup fast approaching, southern Africa could be faced with human trafficking on an unprecedented scale. Experts investigating human trafficking estimated that some 40 000 women and girls were trafficked into Germany for the World Cup in 2006, and Hanlie Linde, of the Stop the Trafficking of People Alliance (STOP) in South Africa, estimates that up to 100 000 could be trafficked into southern and South Africa for 2010.

At the South African Bishops’ Conference, Father Chris Townsend, spokesman from the Bishop’s Conference of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, suggested that organised crime could actively target fans with [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Botswana has said it no longer listens to complaints from Zimbabwe over the Voice of America broadcasts relayed through its territory.

Zimbabwe government newspaper – The Herald – published a story this week acussing Botswana of hosting what it called ‘pirate radio station’ from Voice of America (VOA). The paper said that Zimbabwe will make a formal complaint to Botswana over VOA. Zimbabwe accuses VOA of beaming hate messages to its people, in violation of the power-sharing agreement. Zimbabwe says this threatens the survival of its coalition government. The Herald accused the Botswana government of lobbying for regime change in Zimbabwe.

However, the coordinator of Botswana government Communications and Information Services (BGCIS), Dr Jeff Ramsay said yesterday that they are used to the threats but they [continue reading]

source: News24
2009-12-06 18:21

Harare – Foreign airlines have stopped using Zimbabwe’s airspace because the country’s meteorological service is incapable of supplying weather information they need, according to officials.

The state-run Department of Meteorological Services automatic equipment at Zimbabwe’s airports is antiquated and cannot issue the mandatory and crucial minute-by-minute information to aircraft flying over our airspace, met office acting-director Morris Sahanga was quoted as saying in the government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.

“Aircraft depend on these weather updates, and so they are bypassing our [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Godfrey Ganetsang
06.12.2009 5:13:32 P

The long running war of words between opposition parties and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party over abuse of the state media was once again reignited on Friday when the national broadcaster, Btv, unexpectedly shelved a recording of a Matlho-a-Phage program during which the constitutional review was meant to be discussed.

Botswana National Front representative Kagiso Ntime and Botswana Congress Party’s Dumelang Saleshando, who were apparently raring to square off with the BDP representative, were not amused by the unprecedented shut down, saying that it was a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The expensive nature of the Jwaneng mine expansion, billed to cost P23 billion, has forced Debswana mining company to outsource the provision of essential services like accommodation and bus service.

As a result, Debswana is looking for local investors to provide accommodation facilities, transport services and other amenities for the planned expansion of the Jwaneng Mine, in a move they hope will translate into huge savings for the company.

Debswana would not immediately say how much the construction of new accommodation, bus services, and other amenities would cost but indicated they expect the cost to be lower than [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Tlotlang Rahube
06.12.2009 5:11:39 P

The University of Botswana has made a commitment to become a research intensive university that is internationally recognized for the volume, quality and impact of its research by 2012.

This was revealed by Vice Chancellor Bojosi Otlhogile at the recent annual research awards held at UB.

Otlhogile said that research is part of UB’s long term strategy, and the institution has over time undertaken initiatives that drive them towards their roadmap, among them increasing budget on research and developing and approving a research strategy, which will give direction to both the institution and staff.

“Every appointment, promotion and review of senior staff members consider their contribution to research and other related skills. Another incentive for research is the research leave that was [continue reading]

source: IOL
December 07 2009 at 12:12AM

An initiative which will allow teachers to purchase subsidised laptops will help raise standards of education in the country, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) said on Sunday.

“Our teachers will now receive subsidised laptops which have far-reaching implications towards improving the quality of education,” said Sadtu on Sunday after its national executive committee met in Johannesburg.

“Our teachers will be able to access relevant information for teaching and learning, as well as for their own professional development via the Internet.”

The union said the initiative would be [continue reading]

source: BOPA
07 December, 2009

FRANCISTOWN – The mining industry in the Francistown periphery has pleaded with the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs to be more understanding when mines apply for work permits to hire expatriates.

Speaking at a Friday meeting with Mr Peter Siele, representatives from the mines: Tati Nickel Mining Company, Moolman, Mupane Gold Mine and Matsiloje Portland Cement, underscored the need for skilled labour, which is not available locally.

Tati general manager, Mr Sebetlela Sebetlela said getting skilled labour locally was their biggest challenge.

He said lack of skilled labour force, left the mines with no option but to look outside the borders.

Mr Sebetlela said they did not have the luxury of time when they cast their net outside the country and the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The Botswana Government is yet to decide whether it will take De Beers’ offer of investing close to P1 billion in the diamond giant as part of a rights issue, a senior government official has said.

De Beers has offered its three shareholders, itself included, different levels of raising their stakes in the world’s largest diamond miner.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Gabaake Gabaake, confirmed in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the government had agreed only in principle to rescue De Beers from debt.

The government, which owns 15 percent of De Beers, was still considering the offer and [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by KABO MOKGOABONE from Okavango Delta
06.12.2009 4:40:41 P

At a time when there are questions on the rationale behind the government strategy on high-value, low-volume approach to tourism, especially in the protected areas like the Okavango Delta, tour operators and tourists have argued for the latter as it protects the environment.

A leading player in the industry, Wilderness Safaris, and a number of tourists argue that if the country follows other destinations like Kenya, which has opposite strategies, there will be no future for the industry.

Sally Anne of Wilderness Safaris, a conservation organisation operating a number of camps in the delta, told Sunday Standard Botswana has been perceived as an expensive destination and revealed they use ‘high-value’ to dispel that argument.

“It is the value of the experience and not the cost,” she said.

Critics of the strategy say operators put profits first and thus locking out a number of domestic tourists in the country as tour operators normally target the [continue reading]