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LEA CEO confirms 100 jobs to be lost

Authorities at Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) say more job losses are looming as the state owned enterprise is going through a remodelling exercise. In an interview with WeekendPost, LEA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Racious Moatshe said the purpose of the remodelling exercise is to make the organization more efficient but also minimizing job losses in any way possible.

Moatshe highlighted that since retrenchment is a very sensitive issue as it involves the livelihood of people, they have been engaging labour unions since the beginning of this year so that the process can run smoothly. “We are currently giving our permanent staff that might lose their jobs counselling to prepare them emotionally and psychologically,” Moatshe said.

The Authority is said to be spending about 74 % of its annual grant from government on salaries, with only 6% reserved to pursue its core mandate. The Authority’s grant for 2018/19 financial year escalated to P156.8 million, from P141.7 million in 2017/18 and P139.9 million in 2016/17. LEA’s structure is also reportedly unbalanced with 45 managers and 10 directors spread across the country. On a monthly basis, the Authority apparently spends between P30, 000 to P50, 000 paying rent for each of its 12 branches across the country, despite the fact that the parastatal has land for development in various locations.

Ever since ascending to the highest position at LEA in October 2017, Moatshe has been hard at work spearheading the restructuring exercise after realizing that the state owned enterprise was not serving its co-mandate. LEA was established by the Small Business Act of 2004, Chapter 43:10 of the Laws of Botswana to carry out on behalf of the Government of Botswana, and more specifically the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry (MITI), the mandate of entrepreneurship and enterprise development in Botswana.

In the on-going restructuring exercise, Moatshe revealed that they are going to shed over 100 permanent jobs. “After completing our strategy, we had to put estimated costs of running the organization and consider which positions can be deemed redundant so as to reduce costs and make the organization more efficient,” Moatshe pointed out.

Meanwhile, Moatshe awarded 10 students certificates who have been trained on manufacturing of detergents at the authority’s incubator in Francistown for six weeks.  Two products being the liquid dish wash and Pine gel that were produced by the graduates have already been certified by Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBSA).

Moatshe encouraged them to seek funding from other government departments that fund small and medium enterprises to set up their businesses and create the much needed job opportunities. He emphasized that for the graduates to excel as entrepreneurs, they need to be passionate. “As LEA we promise to continue giving you support after setting up your businesses to ensure that they become successful entities. I urge you to apply for funding as a group so that you get more funds and set up an industry that can create hundreds of jobs,” Moatshe averred.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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