Archive for August, 2010

source: Sunday Standard
by Gowenius Toka
30-08-2010

Investigations by the World Bank have turned up information suggesting that the Botswana government may have diverted money that was budgeted for underprivileged citizens.

This comes hardly a month after the Parliament Public Account Committee completed their report, revealing how funds, which were budgeted for disaster management, were diverted to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services.

A World Bank document, Report Number 53959-BW, titled Botswana Public Expenditure Review, dated May 2010, points to what it describes as mixed evidence on whether the various Social Safety Nets (SSN) programs established by Government ever reached their intended beneficiaries. As a result, a delegation of experts from the World Bank found it difficult to [continue reading]

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Transport fares up

source: Mmegi
Baboki Kayawe
Staff Writer

The Department of Road Transport and Safety has announced an increase in public transport fares with effect from September 1. This development falls on top of the two percent Value Added Tax adjustment earlier this year.

The fares increased again following a price adjustment in 2008 when there was a reduction due to stabilised fuel prices.

A shared taxi will go up from P3.20 per person to P3.50.

The ‘special’ fare will be P17.60 per trip from P16.00. Minibuses, commonly known as ‘combis’, will charge each person P3 per trip, a 30 thebe increase from P2.70. A long distance trip on a bitumen road will cost 18.55 per kilometre from 16.86 and a long distance bus trip on a gravel or sandy road will be P20.52 per kilometre from P18.65 thebe.

A statement from the Department of Road and Safety announces that the [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Irene Madongo
30 August 2010

The Finance Miniser Tendai Biti says up to 2,200 workers at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will lose their jobs as part of plans to cut its expenditure and get it functioning effectively, according to media reports.

On Sunday it was reported that the Minister said the bank will have to make 85% staff cuts – leaving the institution with 400 out of 2,600 workers.

Under Governor Gideon Gono the bank took out loans it could not afford and failed to pay local and foreign companies tens of millions of dollars. It also failed to pay workers and was dragged to court for rent arrears. In June Zimbabweans were forced to take on the burden of the RBZ debt, reported to be US$1.1bn, after Robert Mugabe used his presidential powers to shift the banks liabilities onto the state. Gono’s decision to continuously print money also created an inflation rate that reached into the billions and the situation was only stabilized when the country had no choice but to get rid of the use of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Despite the good news that the Minister is trying to bring some sanity back to the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Diamond magnate, Nicky Oppenheimer, has been appointed Debswana Chairman with effect from August 18, a position he will hold until the end of next year.

Oppenheimer’s appointment was occasioned by the resignation of Gareth Penny as De Beers’ CEO and Debswana Chair.

In a statement Thursday, Debswana said Oppenheimer, who is also De Beers Group Chairperson, had previously served as the Debswana Chair from January 1998 to March 2007. He has been on the diamond giant’s board since January 1980, is also Namdeb Chair, as well as a non-executive director of Anglo American plc. Debswana officials explained that the Debswana Chairmanship rotates between a nominee of the Botswana Government and Delibes Holdings Limited every two years. Delibes Holdings Limited is the De Beers entity that holds 50 percent of [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Kagiso Madibana
30-08-2010

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has urged the government of Botswana to allow the First People of the Kalahari (FPK) access to water as a denial of such a basic right is a violation of one of the rights contained in the African Charter.

The Commission said on their website that government’s refusal to allow the Bushmen to use their existing borehole at Mothomelo can only be interpreted as a clear sign that it is determined to continue what is perceived as a policy of keeping the Bushmen from returning home.

The African Commission, which reports concern over the situation facing the FPK, is an organ mandated by [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)
30 August 2010

Pretoria — Government has responded to President Jacob Zuma’s directive to hold urgent talks with union leaders to find a solution that will bring an end to the public service strike.

This follows a meeting between Zuma and ministers at the weekend.

Government said in a statement that Minister of Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi had been consulting with union leaders with a view to finding a settlement.

“Government is committed to finding a solution that is acceptable to all the parties. Such a solution will be tabled at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) for approval.

“Government will make every possible endeavour to ensure that a settlement is reached as early as this evening so that all public servants can return to work. We remain optimistic that [continue reading]

Phikwe Mayor under fire

source: Mmegi
Calistus Kolantsho
Correspondent

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Ruling Botswana Democratic Party and opposition BCP gruelling attacks on Mayor, Lekang Mukokomani, do not bode well for teamwork and cooperation between himself and councillors in the copper-nickle mining town.

Mukokomani was accused of taking decisions alone suggesting that the rift between him and the councillors could soon become unmanageable. Kgakgamatso Ramatlopi of Botshabelo East complained that the mayor invited the Zebras team to come and play the Zimbabwean national team in Selebi-Phikwe without consulting them. He pointed out that he was only informed about the game on the last day on the phone. “I was surprised to see during a Botswana Television news bulletin someone being interviewed about the game and he was said to be the mayor’s representative but that person is not even a councillor,” said Ramatlopi. He said that he was not impressed about the way Mukokomani attacked them in [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
30-08-2010

Officers take bribes for tenders; companies are awarded contracts without being advertised; contracts are drawn and given to companies long after they have started operating – these are some of the allegations contained in a Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) report, presenting the University of Botswana as a cesspool of corruption.

The DCEC study on UB procurement system followed “allegations of unprocedural award of tenders, conflict of interest, bribes and weak financial administration failing to collect tuition fees from expatriate students before leaving the country, unqualified lecturers taking students on course, vague recruitment and promotion procedures and students buying examination papers”.

The DCEC study turned up information that the university administration has favoured a relatively light touch in its oversight of procurement systems, resulting in a tip towards a [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
30 August 2010

A UK based Zimbabwe pressure group, Communities Point (CP), has said the regional SADC bloc lacks the credibility to monitor elections in the country, which are due anytime after the drafting of a new constitution.

Last week the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said SADC should monitor the country’s next vote, to stop the violence which has scarred past elections. But the chairman of CP, Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that Zimbabwe should look beyond SADC and ask the United Nations to supervise the next elections instead.

‘SADC has always supervised elections in Zimbabwe in the last two decades, all of which the outcome has not been credible. Judging from their past involvement in Zimbabwe elections, I don’t know if they can be said to be a credible organisation,’ Mutyambizi-Dewa said.

He added; ‘There hasn’t been any radical transformation of the body to think that [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
EPHRAIM KEORENG
Staff Writer

Linguist Dr Thapelo Otlogetswe together with some professionals has created a Google Search interface tool that allows a user to access Google in Setswana.

In an interview with Mmegi yesterday, Dr Otlogetswe said working together with Pontsho Puoesele, who works for an IT company in Botswana, Gao Mosweu, an employee of the Innovation Hub, they created the Setswana version of Google search. They also worked with 10 University of Botswana (UB) final year students, it has been revealed.

For every user in Botswana, the home page that comes out when you open the Google search engine website, http://www.google.com, you will be met by the Setswana-written homepage.

“It’s like a window that you use to look into the internet. It opens a door for you to [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 30 2010 at 08:36AM
By Gaye Davis, Xolani Mbanjwa and Aziz Hartley

Intense behind-the-scenes moves are under way to bring the government and unions together for informal talks in a bid to break the deadlock and avert the possibility of the crippling public sector strike lasting a third week.

Analysts have said the strike – and the cracks developing between President Jacob Zuma and his allies, Cosatu and the ANC Youth League, represent the greatest challenge and the weakest point of his administration so far.

Cosatu is piling on the pressure, with the labour federation’s secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi warning of a “total shutdown” of the economy, by drawing in private sector unions in a wave of sympathy strikes, set to begin on [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
ISAIAH MOREWAGAE
Staff Writer

The strict preventive measures employed by Debswana Diamond Company at its Completely Automated Recovery Plant (CARP) of Orapa Mines are the central part of the ongoing spy camera case before Lobatse High Court Judge, Isaac Lesetedi.

The security measures include strip searches, forbidding handshakes, hand to cover mouth when sneezing during working hours and installation of spy cameras in the toilets in the ‘Red Area’, which was used by 43 CARP employees.

They are now demanding P5 million each as compensation for breach of their human rights after discovering a surveillance camera in the toilets they have been using.

An artisan boilermaker in the Red Area of CARP, Galetshoge Mabiletsa (38), told the court yesterday that they never knew anything about surveillance cameras in the toilets.

Mabiletsa said he was embarrassed and disappointed that such a degrading situation can happen to him. “I even cried when I discovered this as I knew my privacy has [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BRIAN BENZA
Staff Writer

Government can potentially raise more than twice the P4.3 billion it collected in Value Added Tax (VAT) last year if proper measures are taken to plug leakages, the World Bank reckons.

Although the VAT rate is currently at 12 percent having been increased from 10 percent early this year, the World Bank estimates that the effective rate of VAT in Botswana is only around four percent due to leakages blamed on many factors, including non-compliance and a long list of exemptions.

This means government has the potential to multiply at least by two-and-half times the P4.3 billion in VAT revenue it raked in [continue reading]

source: News24
2010-08-29 20:20
Jan Raath

Harare – Zimbabwe’s bankrupt central bank is to retrench 85% of its bloated staff complement to help it move back into the black and function as a reliable national bank, according to Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

The lay-offs will mark the end of what analysts say was the use of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to prop up President Robert Mugabe’s party after years of misrule exhausted the country’s finances and led to economic collapse in 2008.

“There are about 2 600 employees at the bank but the board will reduce the staff to around 400,” Biti was quoted as saying in the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper.

He said the slashing of staff was the result of new legislation to restrict the bank’s operations to managing monetary policy, monitoring the banking industry and to act as [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BRIAN BENZA
Staff Writer

Botswana-focused uranium hopeful, Impact Minerals, has discovered large quantities of uranium deposits in the Central District, adding impetus to the Australia Stock Exchange-listed miner’s quest to open a mine in Botswana soon.

In a statement circulated to shareholders this week, Impact says it has unearthed significant resources in the Shoshong and Ikongwe areas, some of them very close to the surface.

“Soil geochemistry results from Impact’s Shoshong and Ikongwe Prospects within its 100 percent owned Botswana Uranium Project have defined numerous significant uranium in soil anomalies up to 8km long and 2km wide,” says a statement from the company.

“At Shoshong, at least five targets for follow-up work within near surface calcretes have been identified while at [continue reading]