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Guma takes aim at Tshekedi, Kgathi

Tati East legislator Samson Moyo Guma who is also a member of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) has lambasted Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama  together with Defence Justice and Security minister Shaw Kgathi  over laxness in dealing with Zimbabwe government in fighting the Foot and Mouth (FMD) scourge.

The infuriated legislator spewed venom at the appearance of Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security at before PAC this week. His gripe with the duo emanates from the bilateral agreement between government of Zimbabwe and Botswana that should local cattle cross to the Zimbabwe side; they must be shot while Zimbabwe cattle should be returned home if they cross into Botswana.

This, he said, contributes to the continuous spread of the Foot and Mouth disease which threatens the local economy, the beef sector to be precise. He said if this is a serious national issue like the Permanent Secretary at the ministry Jimmy Opelo put it, then ministers involved should move out of the comfort of offices and show commitment.

“Kgathi [Shaw] does not see the urgency in dealing with this matter but it starts from his constituency [Bobirwa] up to Matsiloje. Minister of Environment [Tshekedi Khama] is also dragging his feet, same thing with the minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia,” Guma said. “I continue, there is no commitment from government including you officers. Your ministers find it difficult to come there and appreciate issues first hand. It is like re ba kolota botshelo. They should get out of the offices and go there. Maybe you should go and tell HE [President Mokgweetsi Masisi] about this,” Guma said to the quiet house.

The main reason Guma dragged the two ministers into the issue is the fact that the FMD matter is related to the two ministers. Soldiers under Kgathi are expected to guard and patrol the borders but they are failing because of elephants. On the other hand, the matter also borders on tourism issues as elephants are ravaging the fence erected to stop movements of cattle to and from Zimbabwe, something which Guma expects minister Khama to address.

It is said elephants wander this country in search of water and in process demolishing the fence which then makes it easy for cattle to follow over for grazing and water. Opelo together with Director of Veterinary Services Letlhogile Modisa had a torrid time in responding to Guma’s enquiries.

“We should admit honorable member that there is no coordination between the ministries but we have started to collaborate in coming up with holistic approach. We have already met with our counterparts from ministry of environment two months back but we are yet to draft a guiding plan,” said Opelo. Modisa also emphasised the need for a collective effort in dealing with the issue.  “This is a big problem we should admit and it needs collective responsibility with concerted efforts.”


Still at the session it was revealed that Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) has parted ways with CEO Dr Akolang Tombale. As it is, the ministry is awaiting conclusive recommendations as to who should now head the parastatal. PAC member Ndaba Gaolathe also asked about the liberalisation of the beef industry as it is now the trend in other countries.

“For now I would not have a direct answer but we have documents agreeing with you. Liberalisation will come, but I wouldn’t say when. We are only awaiting one component if unlocked all others will go-amendment of legislation hopefully in the next sitting of parliament,” said Opelo. It was revealed that presently, BMC is not financially sound despite the government’s decision to turn their loan into equity. On other abattoirs, the cabinet has issued a directive that the Maun abattoir and Francistown be ran by government while Lobatse abattoir will operate independently alone.


Efforts by the ministry to determine the cost benefit analysis of Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD) has failed following the contractual dispute with the consultant awarded the work. Opelo could not furnish the PAC with the amount spent by far on the programme.

“We had the intention to do the cost benefit analysis but we had disputes with the consultants at inception stage and as per the advice from the Attorney General we were told to set aside the case as millions if not billions have already spent on the programme,” he responded to the question posed by Gaolathe.

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BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.


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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.


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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









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