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Students graded 0 for lost exam papers

While the whole country is still in shock over the poor recently released JC results, new investigations by WeekendPost have revealed that a number of students from different schools were graded a 0 mark for exam papers that got lost between the school authorities and Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) officials.

This publication can confirm that all 33 Art students at Marakanelo CJSS in Ncojane Village in the Kgalagadi District got a ‘Fail and Discontinue’ grade in the Art subject; A student got As and Bs plus an X at Mmachibaba CJSS in Ratholo in the Tswapong District and was awarded an overall X for all the subjects; At Rutang CJSS in Tonota, some students were given a 0 marks for mistakes done by officials.

Secretary General for Secondary Sector, Thomas Kajuu confirmed the incidents of at least these three schools. He said they were aware of the irregularities and damned BEC for the poor work. “The question is when and how are they going to grade these poor kids? Will it pose fair marks? And will the public rely on it as authentic?” he questioned.

Kajuu averred that this year the country have registered more Xs than any other year. “And this is not because children did not write…it is mistakes by BEC system.BEC is not competent,” he charged. In an interview, the Minister of Basic Education Unity Dow stated that, “I can confirm that an investigation is ongoing by the BEC to determine how and why the scripts did not reach their destination for marking regarding Marakanelo CJSS case. The chain of custody of the scripts is being investigated.”

She also stated that appropriate action will be determined once the investigation is complete. “There are two possible options; re-writing or grading based on continuous assessment,” said the minister who stated that she might not be aware of many other issues because it is not every irregularity that is brought to the minister’s attention. She highlighted there are procedures in place and that a proper report is also made for records keeping.

According to reports from Marakanelo CJSS, parents of the concerned students were summoned to the school recently where they were told by the School Head, Armstrong Mothibi that their children’s papers got lost after they wrote the examinations. “He told us the papers got lost in Gaborone where children are graded. My daughter got Cs and X for Art,” said one parent who sounded a bit calm adding that, “Ga ke itse gore ke eng ne basa ba fe sengwenyana (I do not know why they did not at least give them an average mark instead of zero).”

When reached for comment, the School Head for Marakanelo, Mothibi lamented that, “We are waiting for the children’s marks from there. They are there at BEC. We have given them the papers, so we are waiting for the grades.” However, when asked to be clear on what could have happened that they were still waiting for the marks when the JC results have already been released, Mothibi lost his temper and snapped, “I know what I am saying, and I mean it. I have worked in the ministry before. Don’t tell me what to say, this issue is still under investigation between our school and BEC officials.”

The School Deputy Head, Lawrence Staphel who is at the centre of the issue as he was the last person to be in possession of the papers on behalf of the school pleaded with the reporter not to go ahead with the story saying the issue is still under investigation. “I can advise you my sister to shelf the article for now. Do not blow the issue out of proportion because it is still internal and has not yet reached the elders’ desks,” he lamented, adding that he was aware that some people were going around sharing internal issues with outsiders just to ruin other people’s reputations.

In an interview with BEC Corporate Communications Manager, Fingile Makgalemele she confirmed the irregularities and stating that as the assessment body they have investigated the issue and still on it with the relevant stakeholders. “BEC advised the school to contact and counsel the affected parties,” she noted. “When results are released they become provisional for six weeks to allow for all queries and enquiries to be attended to by the examining body. Examinations have different issues and we address them as they come, this issue is one of them.”

Makgalemele further advised that the JCE Results are still Provisional Results since they are still within the six week period that all enquiries are addressed and solved by the Council, therefore, BEC is still doing what it needs to do to solve any query that occurred during the 2017 JCE Examination period.
 
Pressed further to clarify on what exactly happened, Makgalemele noted that, “X denotes failure to meet grading requirements for the award of a qualification and these are addressed during the provisional six week period.” On the issue that BEC is not competent, Makgalemele’s response was that BEC is not in a position to address personal opinions.

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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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