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SPEDU to host investment conference

As Selebi Phikwe struggles to recover from the economic crisis that swept the entire SPEDU region following the closure of BCL Mine, SPEDU Company in collaboration with Selebi Phikwe Town Council is trying hard to unlock new opportunities to resuscitate the ailing economy. 

Speaking at the opening of the Selebi Phikwe Trade and Exhibition Show recently, SPEDU Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mokubung Mukubung revealed that they intend to host an Investment Conference next year in an effort to accelerate investment and to encourage sustainable development in Selebi Phikwe and the region.

The Business Investment Conference, Dr Mubukung said will bring together the business community in the region and across the country as well as international business community to deliberate on investment opportunities as well as addressing obstacles hindering investment progress. While SPEDU has made headway in attracting investors in Selebi Phikwe, the potential of investment to contribute to the economic development of Selebi Phikwe was dealt a heavy blow by the closure of the mine which was the backbone of the town’s economy. Without BCL, business has gone down as the buying power has been significantly affected by massive job losses.

The Investment Conference however will give participants an opportunity to build understanding around policies and all frameworks needed to enhance the attraction of investors into the SPEDU Region. The forum will bring together all concerned stakeholders to discuss and advance ideas and make important contribution to policies that have potential to deliver solutions that will address the Selebi Phikwe’s development challenges.

The Chief Executive revealed that as an investment promotion company tasked to coordinate investment promotion and economic diversification, they face challenges of investors dragging their feet to set up after they have been announced to the public, something that quashes the hopes of the public and affecting their confidence on the works of SPEDU. He noted that from now onwards, they will only announce to the public once the investors have already set up and made significant headway for the people to see for themselves and appreciate progress.

One example is Brite Star Aviation, an aircraft company that was to set up in Selebi Phikwe and has since dragged its feet to set up after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with six partners being SPEDU, Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Selebi Phikwe Town Council and Ngwato Land Board on last year to reflect the parties intention to collaborate and together heighten the economic diversification initiatives in Selebi Phikwe and the SPEDU Region.

Despite the challenges they face, he said they have hope “and determination to forge ahead in unearthing sustainable projects that will resuscitate the economy of Selebi Phikwe and the region.” He acknowledged stakeholder forum that they have which continues to grow and deliberate on various issues affecting Selebi Phikwe and the region.


Dr Mukubung said that they have projects earmarked for the region which when fully implemented will help recuperate the economy of the region and ensure that the region becomes economically sustainable. He said they will market products produced from the region across the country as well as in international markets in order to open up an export market for products from SPEDU Region. He pointed out that the Selebi Phikwe Trade and Exhibition Show was one way of providing market for locally produced products from the region.

Trade Show and Business


Officiating at the opening of the Trade and Exhibition Show, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi said that the show is a marketing platform for products from SPEDU region. He encouraged exhibitors to take advantage of the show as it serves as a springboard to catapults their business to sustainable status as it provides market for their produce.

Held under the theme: “Economic Diversification through Revitalisation,” Molefhi said the theme of the show calls for all stakeholders to introspect and utilise available opportunities to propel their business prospects in the region to a higher level. He said Government is “determined to address revitalisation and diversification efforts in the region.” The exhibitors at the show were largely from agriculture and manufacturing, key investment areas from which SPEDU is expected to create over 7000 jobs.

The minister further called on all stakeholders to play their part, pointing out that Government will play its part by expediting land servicing and facilitating provision of tax incentives to investors willing to invest in the region as well as addressing setbacks in governance systems hindering the ease of doing business in the country.   

He revealed that P1.2 billion in investments prospects have been secured for the economic development of the SPEDU region. The SPEDU Region comprises of four geographical areas of Bobirwa, Tswapong North, Sefhophe, Mmadinare and Selebi Phikwe which serves at the commercial centre of the SPEDU Region. Molefhi said all villages making up the SPEDU Region must also make contributions that will help drive the revitalisation of its own economy.

Going forward, the Selebi Phikwe Trade and Exhibition Show is expected to serve as a regional show where the winners from trade and agricultural shows from villages making up SPEDU Region will showcase their winning products and services before proceeding to the National Trade and Exhibition show in Gaborone.   

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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