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Kavindama wins against Land Tribunal, Gaborone City Council

High Court Judge, Kabelo Lebotse has this week ruled in favour of fashionista, Ineeleng Kavindama in a case in which she was challenging Land Tribunal and Gaborone City Council (GICC) decision to reject her three storey building on the basis that the building encroached on the side and front setbacks.

Kavindama who is the daughter of former Okavango Member of Parliament, Joseph Kavindama got a relief against ‘demolishing or rectifying violating parts of a building at her plot in Gaborone, Block 10. According to court papers, Kavindama submitted a house plan to the Gaborone City Council (GCC), for the construction of a two story building and the plan was approved. Kavindama however proceeded to build instead a three storey building on the plot and later submitted a modified plan to the GCC for consideration for approval. The GCC considered the application on the 3rd of June 2014 and rejected it on the basis that among others, the building encroached on the side and front setbacks.  

Kavindama appealed the decision of the council to Land Tribunal, but the latter upheld the decision of the GCC, leading to Kavindama seeking relief from the High Court. Kavindama, through her attorney Unoda Mack of Mack Bahuma Attorneys sought the court to set aside the decision of Land Tribunal; grant application for front set back waiver and also ordered the respondent to pay the cost of suit.

The respondent’s attorney, Gosego Lekgowe of Dinokopila Lekgowe Attorneys wanted to oppose the suit based on section 28 of the Town and Country Planning which he said should be read as only applying to a situation where a person built on land before applying for permission. He contended that in such situation the Physical Planning Committee may grant retrospective permission.

Lekgowe argued that the provision does not entitle a person to build in violation of standards and then apply for waiver, further adding that the Kavindama knew what was required of her but nonetheless proceeded to build in violation of the Development Control Code. Judge Lebotse concurred with Kavindama the the law, section 28 (1)  of Town and Country Planning Act No.4 of 2013 gave GCC a large margin of discretion to grant waivers for violations including those emanating from instances where there was no planning permission, arguing that it cannot be read to be prohibitory.

“Where there is a violation or instance of noncompliance, that violation and noncompliance is just but one factor to be taken into account in considering whether or not to grant a waiver,” read the judgement. “It would be wrong to give it more weight than other considerations as seems to have been the case in the instant case.” Lebotse said Development code allow for variations where “the proposed variation will not impair on adequate supply of light and air to the adjacent properties, or endanger the public safety, or substantially diminish or impair property values within the neighbourhood.

Lebotse also quashed the Land Tribunal ruling as he contended that its tone evinces a view that its attitude is that, once there is violation one must suffer the consequences. Judge Lebotse quoted part of the Sharp v Wakefield & other 1891 AC 173 at page 179 where it’s said: “… discretion means when it is said that something is to be done within the discretion of the authorities that that something is to be done according to the rules of reason and justice, not according to private opinions… according to law and not humour. It is to be, not arbitrary, vague and fanciful, but legal and regular. And it must be exercised within the limit, to which an honest man competent to the discharge of his office ought to confine himself.”

The High Court is of the view that the Tribunal applied its mind and failed to properly consider Kavindama’s case. Judge Lebotse remitted the matter back to the Land Tribunal so that “it could properly consider it with the provision of the Act and the Development Code uppermost in its mind would be appropriate.”

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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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