Connect with us
Advertisement

Selebi Phikwe Town Council hikes service fees

The cost of using Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) services will go up by November this year as the Town Council last week adopted the proposed fee increases for various services that the Local Authority provides to the public.

Presented by the Chairperson of Finance and General Purposes Committee, Councillor Moses Serite, the Cost Reduction Strategy Review Report which outlined fee hikes for various services and introduced fees for services previously not charged, councillors adopted the report without a single dissenter.

The report records that the SPTC has proposed to review cost reduction strategies in place “due to the fact that it has been offering certain services and it has emerged that most of them were either undercharged for services charged or not charged at all.”  It further notes that the review of the strategies is “so as to bridge the imbalance between running expenses and income generated.”

It further states that “some costs have been introduced due to the fact that too much effort and resources are used in order for the council to render services like site visits, inspections before and after developments, and this automatically includes maintenance and operational costs including sitting allowances that committees attract by sitting for decisions to be made.”

The council have adjusted upwards most of its fees and service charges at a times where businesses are struggling to stay afloat in a town still reeling from the economic shock that saw some businesses close shop following the closure of BCL mine in October 2016. The Town Clerk has been given the authority to make a waiver where necessary. All cost changes are effective on November 01, 2018.

Several services have been seen cost increases of over 100%. The stadium which has been charging P3, 500.00 for local festivals have been hiked to P10, 000.00, representing a 186% increase. International pastors and other international festivals who have been paying P7, 000.00 will from November have to fork out P15, 000.00, the reports reveals.

Fees have also been increased for Advertising and Hoarding Signs with perusal fee being increased from P12.00 to P200.00.The Advertisement Levy per year for Super Billboards and Custom Billboards have been increased from P1, 500.00 to P1, 800.00 while for Electronic Billboards, the levy has increased from P2, 000.00 to P2, 500.00. Advertising on Street Light poles, Refuse bins and Bus Shelter moves up from P300.00 to P700.00.

Fees for using Council facilities like Civic Centre, Community Hall, Show Ground and Recreation Centre have also been revised upwards. Several fees have been upped by 25% (P200 to P2500) except for hosting of festivals from P500.00 to P3, 000.00 at the Civic Centre. The highest charge for hosting an event at the Community Hall and Recreation Centre is P1, 000.00 per day for an all-night prayer and church conferences. The charge for hosting Church Conference has moved from P350.00 to P1, 000.00. According to the report, Charitable Organisations which have not been paying for utilising council halls will now have to pay a 50% subsidised fee for all their activities.

The report indicates that the charges “are influenced by the cost of managing the facilities like preparing for leases, legal costs for non-compliant lessees, security of facilities, insurance incurred by the Council among other reasons especially for activities of high income returns, high risk activities and fees required for maintenance, cleaning, power and water consumption.”


According to the report, recreation spaces like children play area moves up from P1, 500.00 per day to P2, 000.00 to cater for damages that might occur. It indicates that some of the damages has been exceeding the money generated. Grave excavation costs have also gone up. The reports records that grave excavation costs are “too high due to high fuel consumption during excavation.” Graves for children will now cost P75.00 from P30 for citizens while it will cost foreigners P100 from the previous charge of P30. The grave for an adult will cost P150.00 from P95.00 for citizens while for foreigners, the cost moves up from P95.00 to P200.00.

For the Show Ground, one will need to pay up to P5,000.00 per day to host a music festival which feature international artistes while other uses will be charged P250.00 hourly. Again, Charitable Organisations and Government Schools will be subsidised by 50% for all their activities. Under Environmental Health, charges have also been hiked. Abattoir charges have moved up from P50.00 to P100.00 plus P30.00 slaughter levy per head of cattle, making the total charge for slaughtering a cow P130.00 per beast.

For goats and sheep, it has moved up from P12.00 to P30.00 per goat or sheep while slaughtering a pig will attract a charge of P50.00 from the previous charge of P20.00. Cold Storage costs moves from P25.00 to P50.00 per animal day. The Report explains the charges are meant “to bridge the imbalance between abattoir running expenses and the income generated from providing the service.”

Hiring of classroom has seen a 100% increase from P300.00 per night to P600.00.Booking a classroom for a meeting will cost P100.00 per an hour. It was previously charged P25.00 hourly. Hiring of a pot also moves from P25.00 to P100.00. According to the report, the justification for an increment on these items is because “a lot of expenses are incurred in paying for utilities and maintenance of schools.” The report also says that Selebi Phikwe is a town with accommodation facilities in place for use.

Under Civil and Mechanical, reinstatement of roads moves form P775.00 per an hour to P900.00. The report says this is due to an increase in maintenance costs and payment of employees. Equipment hire has also increased by 22% for both Front End Loader and small TLB (Backhoe Loader). The bigger TLB, Grader and Roller has seen an increase of 20%, 15% and 33% respectively. The hikes according to the report are meant to “augment for the repair costs and payment of officers which increase overtime.”

New fees Introduced

Tables, chairs, plants and florist services which were previously not charged for will now carry a charge. Table and chair hire will cost P10.00 and P2.00 respectively while hire for plants and florist services will cost P20.00 and P800.00 respectively. Other new fees include among others charging P1, 000.00 per day for use of open space by industrial or commercial entities while Non-Governmental Organisations will pay P370.00 for the same. Driving Schools will have to pay P250.00 monthly while celebrations and churches will pay P300.00.

The Council will now sell some documents which it has been previously issuing out for free. A 1.5, 2.5 and three roomed house plan will cost P100.00, P150.00, and P200.00 respectively. Maps in various sizes will also be on sale at P20.00 (A4), P30.00 (A3), P40.00 (A2), and P50.00 (A1).

Under Physical Planning, Housing and Estate Management, perusal fees for planning permission and application fees have been introduced. Low Income Residential (SHAA) will cost P500.00 while other non SHAA residential will be charged P750.00. A P1, 000.00 will be charged for non-residential plans like commercial industrial, civic and others. However, there has been no increase for domestic waste collection for both industrial and residential, Skip Hire, incineration and clinical waste collection and disposal.

Continue Reading

News

Jackdish Shah loses interest in BDP

17th May 2022
Jackdish

As the preparations for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress are about to kick off, reports on the ground suggest that the party’s Deputy Treasurer Jackdish Shah will not defend the position in August as he contemplates relocation.

According to sources, the businessman who joined the BDP Central Committee in 2015 at the 36th Congress held in Mmadinare is ready to leave the party’s politburo. It is said he long made up his mind not to defend the position last year. A prominent businessman, Shah, when he won the position to assist Satar Dada in 2015 was expected to improve the party’s financial vibrancy. By then the party was under the leadership of Ian Khama.

According to close sources, Shah long decided not to contest because he has fallen out of favour with the party leadership. It is said he took the decision after some prominent businessmen who are BDP members and part of football syndicate decided to push him out and they used their proximity to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to badmouth him hence the decision.

“The fight at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Football League (BFL) has left him alone in the desert and some faces there used their close access to the President to isolate him,” said a source. Media reports say, Shah does not see eye to eye with BFA President MacLean Letshwiti who is also Masisi’s buddy hence the decision.

BFL Chairman Nicholas Zackhem is said to be not in good terms with Shah, who at one point Chaired the then Botswana Premier League (BPL). “He is seriously considering quitting because of what is unfolding at the team (Township Rollers) which is slowly not making financial gains and might be relegated and he wants to sell while it is still worth the investment,” said a highly placed source.

Shah is a renowned businessman who runs internet providing company Zebra net, H &G, game farm in Kasane, cattle farm in Ghanzi region and lot of properties in Gaborone. He also has two hotels in USA, his advisors have given him thumbs up on the possible decision of relocating provided he does not sell some of the investments that are doing well.

Asked about whether he will be contesting Shah could not confirm nor deny the reports. It is said for now it is too early as a public decision will have to be taken after the national council meeting and prior to the national congress. “As a BDP Central Committee member he cannot make that announcement now,” a BDP source said.

BDP is expected to assemble for the National Council during the July holidays while the National Congress is billed for August. It is then that the party will elect a new CC members. The last time BDP held elective congress was at Kang in 2019. The party is yet to issue writ.

Continue Reading

News

Govt ignores own agreements to improve public service

17th May 2022
Govt

The government has failed to implement some commitments and agreements that it had entered into with unions to improve conditions of public servants.

Three years after the government and public made commitments aimed at improving conditions of work and services it has emerged that the government has ignored and failed to implement all commitments on conditions of service emanating from the 2019 round of negotiations.

In its position paper that saw public service salaries being increased by 5%, the government the government has also signalled its intention to renege on some of the commitments it had made.
“Government aspires to look into all outstanding issues contained in the Labour Agreement signed between the Employer and recognised Trade Union on the 27th August 2019 and that it be reviewed, revised and delinked by both Parties with a view to agree on those whose implementation that can be realistically executed during the financial years 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively,” the government said.

Furthermore, in addition to reviewing, revising and de-linking of the outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement alluded to above and taking on a progressive proposal, government desires to review revise, develop and implement human resource policies as listed below during the financial year 2022/23,2023/24,2024/25

They include selection and appointment policy, learning and development policy, transfer guidelines, conditions of service, permanent and pensionable, temporary and part time, Foreign Service, expatriate and disciplinary procedures.

In their proposal paper, the unions which had proposed an 11 percent salary increase but eventually settled for 5% percent indicated that the government has not, and without explanation, acted on some of the key commitments from the 2019/2020 and 2021/22 round of negotiations.  The essential elements of these commitments include among others the remuneration Policy for the Public Service.

The paper states that a Remuneration Policy will be developed to inform decision making on remuneration in the Public Service. It is envisaged that consultations between the government and relevant key stakeholders on the policy was to start on 1st September 2019, and the development of the policy should be concluded by 30th June 2020.

The public sector unions said the Remuneration Policy is yet to be developed. The Cooperating Unions suggested that the process should commence without delay and that it should be as participatory as it was originally conceived. Another agreement relate to Medical Aid Contribution for employees on salary Grades A and B.

The employer contribution towards medical aid for employees on salary Grades A and B will be increased from 50% to 80% for the Standard Option of the Botswana Public
“Officers’ Medical Aid Scheme effective 1st October 2019; the cooperating unions insist that, in fulfilling this commitment, there should be no discrimination between those on the high benefit and those on the medium benefit plan,” the unions proposal paper says.

Another agreement involves the standardisation of gratuities across the Public Service. “Gratuities for all employees on fixed term contracts of 12 months but not exceeding 5 years, including former Industrial class employees be standardized at 30% across the Public Service in order to remove the existing inequalities and secure long-term financial security for Public Service Employees at lower grades with immediate effect,” the paper states.

The other agreement signed by the public sector unions and the government was the development of fan-shaped Salary Structure. The paper says the Public Service will adopt a best practice fan-shaped and overlapping structure, with modification to suit the Botswana context. The Parties (government and unions) to this agreement will jointly agree on the ranges of salary grades to allow for employees’ progression without a promotion to the available position on the next management level.

“The fan-shaped structure is envisaged to be in place by 1st June 2020, to enable factoring into the budgetary cycle for the financial year 2021/22,” the unions’ proposal paper states. It says the following steps are critical, capacity building of key stakeholders (September – December 2019), commission remuneration market survey (3 months from September to November 2019), design of the fan-shaped structure (2 to 3 months from January to March2020) and consultations with all key stakeholders (March to April 2020).

The unions and government had also signed an agreement on performance management and development: A rigorous performance management and reward system based on a 5-point rating system will be adopted as an integral part of the operationalization of the new Remuneration System.

Performance Management and Development (PMD) will be used to reward workers based on performance. The review of the Performance Management System was to be undertaken in order to close the gaps identified by PEMANDU and other previous reports on PMS between 1st September 2019 and 30th June 2020 as follows; internal process to update and revise the current Performance Management System by January 2020.

A job evaluation exercise in the Public Service will also be undertaken to among others establish internal equity, and will also cover the grading of all supervisory positions within the Public Service.
Another agreement included overtime Management. The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) was to facilitate the conclusion of consultations on management of overtime, including consideration of the Overtime Management Task Team’s report on the same by 30th November 2019.

Continue Reading

News

Health Expert rejects ‘death rates’ links to low population growth

17th May 2022
Health-Expert

A public health expert, Dr Edward Maganu who is also the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health has said that unlike many who are expressing shock at the population census growth decline results, he is not, because the 2022 results represents his expectations.

He rushed to dismiss the position by Statistics Botswana in which thy partly attributes the low growth rates to mortality rates for the past ten years. “I don’t think there is any undercounting. I also don’t think death rates have much to do with it since the excessive deaths from HIV/AIDS have been controlled by ARVs and our life expectancy isn’t lower than it was in the 1990s,” he said in an interview with this publication post the release of the results.

Preliminary results released by Statistics Botswana this week indicated that Botswana’s population is now estimated to be 2,346,179 – a figure that the state owned data agency expressed worry over saying it’s below their projected growth. The general decline in the population growth rate is attributed to ‘fertility’ and ‘mortality’ rates that the country registered on the past ten years since the last census in 2011.

Maganu explained that with an enlightened or educated society and the country’s total fertility rate, there was no way the country’s population census was going to match the previous growth rates.
“The results of the census make sense and is exactly what I expected. Our Total Fertility Rate ( the average number of children born to a woman) is now around 2.

This is what happens as society develops and educates its women. The enlightened women don’t want to bear many children, they want to work and earn a living, have free time, and give their few children good care. So, there is no under- counting. Census procedures are standard so that results are comparable between countries.

That is why the UN is involved through UNFPA, the UN Agency responsible for population matters,” said Maganu who is also the former adviser to the World Health Organisation. Maganu ruled out undercounting concerns, “I see a lot of Batswana are worried about the census results. Above is what I have always stated.”

Given the disadvantages that accompany low population for countries, some have suggested that perhaps a time has come for the government to consider population growth policies or incentives, suggestions Maganu deems ineffective.

“It has never worked anywhere. The number of children born to a woman are a very private decision of the woman and the husband in an enlightened society. And as I indicated, the more the women of a society get educated, the higher the tendency to have fewer children. All developed countries have a problem of zero population growth or even negative growth.

The replacement level is regarded as 2 children per woman; once the fertility level falls below that, then the population stops growing. That’s why developed countries are depending so much on immigration,” he said.

According to him, a lot of developing countries that are educating their women are heading there, including ourselves-Botswana. “Countries that have had a policy of encouraging women to have more children have failed dismally. A good example is some countries of Eastern Europe (Romania is a good example) that wanted to grow their populations by rewarding women who had more children. It didn’t work. The number of children is a very private matter,” said Maganu

For those who may be worried about the impact of problems associated with low growth rate, Maganu said: “The challenge is to develop society so that it can take care of its dependency ratio, the children and the aged. In developed countries the ratio of people over 60 years is now more than 20%, ours is still less than 10%.”

The preliminary results show that Mogoditshane with (88,098) is now the biggest village in the country with Maun coming second (85,293) and Molepolole at third position with 74,719. Population growth is associated with many economic advantages because more people leads to greater human capital, higher economic growth, economies of scale, the efficiency of higher population density and the improved demographic structure of society, among many others.

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!