The recent decisions by government of Botswana impose restrictions on importation of goods will clamp down on South Africa, which is Botswana’s major trade partner among its neighbouring countries.
Recently Botswana invoked the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act and restricted the importation of bottled water as well as cement. The regulations restrict importation of bottled water in small quantities and only allows for 10 litres or more. The regulations were gazetted on the 6th of April this year and will come into force at the beginning of August. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the water bottling sector and assisting in the national diversification,” revealed Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo.
The Ministry of Trade is also in the process of assisting the cement industry by restricting importation of cement following an analysis that showed that the sector has the potential to create employment for the citizens and contribute to economic diversification. “The proposed restrictions will require that 70 percent of cement be sourced from local manufacturing companies and 30 percent be imported,” he said.
“The importation of cement will be done through the issuance of import permit after the importer has submitted evidence that indeed they have satisfied the 70 percent requirement.” The implementation is envisaged to come into force on the 1st of September this year. Government has also taken the decision to put restrictions on importation of salt of less than 100kg and exportation of Scrap Metal before satisfying the local demand.
Information gathered indicates that Botswana's major imports from South Africa include Mineral Products, Machinery and Precious metals making up the top three exports to Botswana. Other significant imports from South Africa to Botswana include Prepared foodstuffs, Chemicals, Vehicles and Products from Iron and Steel.â€¨â€¨According to South African Market Insights, total exports to Botswana in 2017 amounted to over P30 billion.
Meanwhile, on the flipside the total Botswana exports to South African amounted to just over P3 billion, which leaves Botswana with a trade deficit with South Africa of more than P26 billion. Botswana also recently took a decision to refuse to offer exemption for licenses in businesses which are reserved for citizens in the retail sector. The decision has created a conflict between government and South African retailers.
Despite these trade decisions being likely to affect South Africa companies, in 2017 at a ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), luncheon then African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe gave thumbs up to then Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse’s policy to reserve certain retail businesses for Batswana, which has seen the dominant South African retailers being put on the sidelines.
The policy has seen the clash between property owners and South African retailers, who feel hard done by the policy. “I do not have a problem with that if it is meant to empower the citizens [of Botswana]. In South Africa we have localisation policy which we encourage businesses to buy from our people. If you have a small farmer where do you expect them to sell?”said Mantashe who has since been appointed Minister of Minerals in that country.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.