Archive for March, 2010

source: Mmegi
MBONGENI MGUNI
Staff Writer

Applications from the troubled textile industry have started rolling into the Department of Industrial Affairs, the lead agency tasked with administering government’s P38 million-rescue package for the sector.

The department, which is housed within the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has established a working committee with the Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) that represents the majority of textile industry players.

The committee is expected to meet this week to, among other matters, begin assessing the applications that have been received so far.
Industrial Affairs Director, Violet Mosele told Mmegi that by [continue reading]

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source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
30 March 2010

An agreement meant to be thrashed out by Zimbabwe’s feuding political parties has remained out of sight, with a deadline for an agreement to be reached passing on Monday.

The deadline was set by South African President Jacob Zuma earlier this month, when he intervened in the dispute over outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement. Zuma, who is the Southern African region’s appointed facilitator, came away from the mediation trip lauding ‘progress’ in the form of a package of measures to rescue the fragile coalition. He set three dates for party negotiators to meet and to work out an agreement on how to move the unity government forward, details that are meant to be presented in a report on Wednesday.

But the talks’ deadline passed on Monday with no conclusion or agreement, and the negotiators were set to meet again on Tuesday after Cabinet adjourned. Zuma’s own mediation team meanwhile jetted back into the country on Monday to ‘assist’ the negotiators, but its is widely believed that there is no chance of [continue reading]

source: News24
2010-03-30 16:04

Cape Town – Civil rights group AfriForum seized a Cape Town property belonging to the Zimbabwean state on Tuesday, saying the move was the start of a “civil sanctions” campaign against President Robert Mugabe’s government.

“This is a process aimed at helping all the people of Zimbabwe in a way that creates hope and shows that it is possible for civil society to institute civil sanctions against a regime that does not help its people,” Willie Spies, a lawyer for AfriForum said outside of the offices of the sheriff for the district of Cape Town.

The process started in November 2008 when the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal ruled in favour of Michael Campbell and 78 Zimbabwean farmers that the land reform programme in the country was [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BRAIN BENZA
Staff Writer

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)-listed Discovery Metals Limited (DML) has reported that a scoping study at its Boseto copper project, in Botswana, has confirmed the economic viability of underground operations at the Zeta mineral resource.

“The positive results of this study are very encouraging. The study shows that a Zeta underground mine has the potential to add significant value to shareholders through increased operational flexibility and optionality in relation to the copper price, production volumes and extensions to mine life,” said DML managing director Brad Sampson in a statement.

In addition, the scoping study has shown that the mine has a “very low” incremental development capital cost with attendant scope for rapid payback, Sampson added.

“We envisage that the Zeta underground proposal will improve in the future because at this stage the scoping study manager has [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Morula Morula
28.03.2010 8:50:15 P

Fly Mokwadi on 24 of March became the 42nd person to be executed in Botswana since the country attained independence in 1966.

Mokwadi was found guilty of having murdered his child.

His execution comes amidst condemnations by civil society groups in the country who say that the government should abolish the practice, which has been widely condemned in other countries as being both abhorrent and not a deterrent.
Leading this campaign in Botswana has been the Botswana Human Rights organisation (Ditshwanelo).

The organisation has been campaigning against the death penalty for years now, saying that the government should move with the times and abolish the practice and replace it with life sentences as is the practice in most democratic countries around the world.
The government’s stand has always been that Batswana in general are pro death sentence and that [continue reading]

source: News24
2010-03-30 22:27

Pretoria – It is a concern that the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) has allocated only 50 megawatts (MW) for Concentrated Solar Plants (CSPs) by 2013, the Southern Africa Solar Thermal and Electricity Association (Sastela) said on Tuesday.

“The current project pipeline under development is between 500 and 1 000 MW… we recommend that Nersa revises the CSP allocation to 500 MW by 2013,” Sastela spokesperson Pancho Ndebele told Nersa’s hearing in Pretoria on the selection criteria for renewable energy projects under the Refit (renewable energy feed-in tariff) programme.

According to Nersa, a Refit is a mechanism to promote the deployment of renewable energy that obliges certain institutions to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Botswana is looking to collaborate with Russia in diamond mining and cutting, Interfax reported.

The news agency cited Nchidzi Mmolawa, director of mineral affairs in Botswana’s Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources saying that the two countries “need to work closely in diamond mining and to sign the necessary agreements.”

“We’d like to see Russian companies involved in exploration, and activity on the part not just of ALROSA but of other companies, too,” he added. The two countries are the world’s two largest diamond producers with Botswana topping the list when measured by value and Russia being the biggest by volume. ALROSA contributes an estimated 97 percent of Russia’s total production.

In Botswana, mining is carried out by Debswana, a joint venture between [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
30 March 2010

The construction of a US$600 million ethanol plant in Chisumbanje, Manicaland province has ignited a storm of protests and claims that it could result in thousands of families being evicted from the area.

The plant, which government says will provide the country with 80 percent of it’s ethanol needs, is being built on land currently owned by the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA). The ethanol will be created from sugarcane grown in Arda Chisumbanje and Arda Middle Sabi. Clouds of uncertainty now hang over the welfare of over 250 000 villagers living along the vast Sabi river.

Government entered into the deal with controversial businessman Billy Rautenbach and his companies Macdom Pvt (Ltd) and Ratings Investment.

The 51 year-old Rautenbach is a multimillionaire Zimbabwe businessman well known for his aggressive business tactics. He is also closely linked to Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF. He was added to the EU targetted sanctions list in January 2008, and the US targetted sanctions towards the end of 2008 for his alleged involvement with the former ruling regime. It is alleged he has aided ZANU PF financially and the deals have been mutually beneficial. Mugabe, grateful for financial support, often returns favours to Rautenbach by granting him dubious and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
29 March, 2010

GABORONE – Botswana cannot ignore the huge business and other opportunities that China offers, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Phandu Skelemani, said in Parliament Thursday Besides being a super power, Botswana was also aware of Chinas increasing role in world affairs when she opened a mission in that country.

Mr Skelemani noted that China had a deliberate policy to help third world countries and Africa in particular, through an initiative called the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The assistance, he highlighted, covered sectors such as agriculture, health, education, transport and communications. Botswana, he said, actively participated in that forum and had benefitted from programmes under FOCAC.

The minister explained that relations between the two countries dated back some 35 years, and throughout that period, Botswana was a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

South Africa faces increased risks of power cuts from 2011 to 2013 unless co-generation projects come on line and consumers try to conserve more electricity, a government minister said on Friday.

Africa’s largest economy is battling a chronic power shortage that has curbed production at the world’s top platinum producer and a major producer of gold because of electricity rationing by government. The national grid almost collapsed in early 2008, costing South Africa billions of dollars in lost output across all sectors as government enforced rolling blackouts to save the grid. Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan said if demand management initiatives aimed at saving energy were not successful, and if industrial co-generation projects did not come on line, the risk of blackouts would [continue reading]

source: News24
2010-03-30 07:59
Special Report

Harare – Zimbabwe’s political parties failed to meet a Monday deadline set by South African President Jacob Zuma to resolve a power-sharing dispute that threatens to tear apart the country’s coalition, a cabinet minister said.

President Robert Mugabe formed a unity government last year with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, but the union is fraught with disagreements over how to share power.

Zuma, who is mediating in Zimbabwe, held talks with the two rival leaders early this month and said Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai’s MDC had agreed a package of measures to rescue the unity government.

Zuma then set a March 29 deadline for Zanu-PF and MDC negotiators to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Calistus Kolantsho
Correspondent

SELEBI-PHIKWE: The Selebi-Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) came under heavy criticism from the business community here during a consultative meeting at the Selebi-Phikwe Town Hall last week.

Andrew Mosweu of Smart Youth Dry Cleaners said nobody cares about Selebi-Phikwe and the agency was jumping to deal with problems in other places like Bobirwa, Tswapong North and Mmadinare instead of dealing with problems in Selebi-Phikwe.

“I came to this meeting expecting to get feedback on the issues that we raised during another meeting that we held towards the end of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Daily Independent (Lagos)
Kingsley Ighomwenghian
29 March 2010

Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors from South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal and Ethiopia began a two-day meeting hosted by the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, on Monday in Lilongwe, capital of Malawi.

According to a report by international newswire Bloomberg, the meeting will primarily assess the impact of the global economic recession on jobs on Africa, and find ways to boost economic growth by spurring regional trade.

The meeting is billed to discuss a report on the level of integration in Africa.

Maxwell Mkwezalamba, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union, told the AU and UN officials in Lilongwe on March 25 that “regional integration has played only a marginal role in most of our development. I do hope that you will make concrete and actionable recommendations as to the way forward.”

The crisis crippled growth across the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Calistus Kolantsho
Correspondent

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Selebi-Phikwe government hospital has a shortage of high blood pressure tablets. The hospital public relations officer, Obakeng Sukube said that two weeks ago, they ordered 1,000 packets of Nifedipine from Central Medical Stores (CMS) but they only got 50.

“This is a referral hospital and we get referrals from clinics in the region and the drugs were wiped out quickly. The problem is with CMS because they failed to supply us with the quantity we require. Right now, we have placed another order of 1,700 packets but I know we will not get this,” he said.

Sukube explained that Nifedipine comes in two types – the XL and the normal drug. He stated that there can be a negative reaction if a patient does not take the drug for a month or two.

Meanwhile, the hospital management came under heavy criticism from Selebi-Phikwe councillors for locking the gates of [continue reading]

source: IOL
March 30 2010 at 09:21AM
By Carien Du Plessis

South Africa is reaching the point of no return as corruption becomes so endemic and acceptable that it is almost impossible to fight.

In 2004, about R40-billion changed hands during corrupt transactions and this was “growing all the time”, retired judge Willem Heath told an SACP anti-corruption seminar.

Ivor Sarakinsky, from the School of Public Development Management at the University of the Witwatersrand, added that the tender system was a “big issue” when it came to corruption.

“Bold steps are needed,” he said.

“We need to reappraise state procurement processes.”

Sarakinsky said corruption was getting so endemic that it would soon reach the point of no return.

“Once you reach that point, it is difficult to turn back the [continue reading]