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SPEDU, BTO develop dam tourism master plans

In its endeavour to develop high profile, high value tourism niche products and opportunities, SPEDU, in collaboration with Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO), is developing tourism Master Plans to guide the development of critical high value tourism clusters at Letsibogo, Dikgatlhong and Thune Dams.

The Master Plans development with the exception of Thune, will be funded under the Sysmin Re-Employment Account, SPEDU has reported in its 2017 annual report. The Master Plans among other things will guide the nature and extent of the required primary infrastructure, address Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and processes of investor engagement.

Once the Master Plans have all been approved, SPEDU together with BTO, will embark upon trade and investment missions to allow private sector to invest in the required enterprises, the annual report has revealed. According to the annual report, the project will result in increased inward tourism investment, a wide sector employment base, increased tourist numbers, spend and bed nights in Selebi Phikwe and the Region and further downstream opportunities for Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises uptake. It reveals that project will substantially contribute to the growth of the Gross Domestic product (GDP) as propelled by non- mining economic sectors.

The Thune and Letsibogo Master Plans have already been approved while the consultancy for Dikgatlhong Dam Master Plan was terminated due to failure by the consultant to deliver on the Terms of Reference. SPEDU has reported that another consultant will be engaged in 2017/18 financial year to produce the Master Plan. SPEDU says the primary objective of the project is to increase the tourism profile of the SPEDU Region, positioning it as a reputable and destination of note for tourism and recreation in Botswana.

To achieve efficiency in its economic diversification drive and to enhance investment setup in the region, SPEDU in collaboration with Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) reviewed the Selebi Phikwe Development Plan. The main objectives of the review of the Development Plan include infusion of SPEDU projects plan into the town`s developmental footprint, to align zoning of land use with economic sectors, to consider future expansion of the town as well as to clearly mark the township boundaries.

The new development plan for town has since been approved by the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services and thus it is the development guide that SPEDU and SPTC use in their investment promotion endeavour. SPEDU has noted in the report that four areas were considered under the review being, Enterprise Zone, Tourism Zone, Urban Agriculture, Urban Core (mall, bus rank and other developments). The annual report records that the inclusion of these four zones in the new development plan will accommodate the key sectors that have been identified to promote inward investment into the Region.

SPEDU ACHIEVEMENTS

SPEDU achievements so far include the Selebi Phikwe Airport Runway Refurbishment which started with a feasibility study funded by the European Union. The study recommended resurfacing of the airport runway, apron and taxiway. The Airport is now open for operations and has satisfied quality assurance standards. SPEDU says the refurbishment will allow air traffic into the Region for both passengers and cargo.

The regional investment company further reported that they are in dialogue with airliners and other stakeholders with the intention to commence operations of air charter services and related services such as refuelling and Aviation academy at the Selebi Phikwe Airport.
Other achievements are the Agri-business Projects which include Kwenantle Farms, Motloutse River Farm Electrification project, Tsarona (Lotsane Dam Irrigation Scheme), and the National Agro Processing Plant.

Kwenantle Farms project involves Irrigated horticulture and grain production by Kwenantle PTY LTD. According the annual report, the Company took over Talana Farms from Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) in August 2016 and since created 130 jobs. Motloutse River Farm Electrification Project entails construction of a 42 km power line along the Motloutse River from the Selebi Phikwe sewage ponds to the Bobonong/Gobojango Bridge.

The project was delayed by the requirement to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which was completed in August and October 2016. Thirty farmers are reported to have applied for connection and the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is working on estimating and costing the services to be offered to the farmers.

Tsarona (Lotsane Dam Irrigation Scheme) project involves private South African investors to cultivate 250 ha land for horticulture near Lotsane Dam. The project whose operations started in Novembers 2016 has currently created 60 jobs and is expected to create 190 jobs once fully operational. The National Agro Processing (NAPRO) Plant is also in operation since commencing its commercial production in August 2016.

The plant’s business model was fashioned to reduce post-harvest losses by value addition resulting in the production of a variety of food stuffs. According the report, NAPRO has procured a total of 66 039 kg, being 45 572 kg tomatoes, 8 755 kg cabbage, 4 348 kg onions, 3 268 carrots and 4 094 kg of beetroots. NAPRO has secured a market from various supermarkets such as Choppies, Daily Needs and Sefalana Group and 31 jobs were created.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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