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SPEDU signs Platjan Bridge contracts

SPEDU signed off the Platjan Bridge Project contracts with Estate Construction and Wellfield Engineering last week in Selebi Phikwe.

The construction of the bridge is meant to ease movement across the borders on both sides of the Limpopo River that constitute points of entry between Botswana and South Africa. The contract sum for the project is P104, 547,735.72 (one hundred and four million, five hundred and fourty seven thousand, seven hundred and thirty five pula, seventy two thebe).

Speaking on behalf the SPEDU Board Chairman, Daniel Mahupela at the signing ceremony, SPEDU’s James Mathokgwane explained that the project was earmarked for commencement in 2014 under the Department of Roads. SPEDU took over the facilitation of the project in April 2016. The ground breaking to mark the commencement of the project is scheduled for June 29, 2017.    

SPEDU Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Mokubung Mokubung stated that the Platjan Bridge construction project is a strategic diversification initiative resulting from a reciprocal bi-lateral agreement between Botswana and South Africa. He explained that under the terms of the bi-literal covenant, Botswana committed to the construction of the bridge across the Limpopo River while the Republic of South Africa agreed to construct the bridge across Notwane River in Botswana. Both bridges are located at International Border Posts and are meant to ease travel both ways between the two countries.

Mokubung said the project entails the construction of an eight meter high, 155 meter long and 12.5 meters wide dual carriage structure with culverts and gabions on both the South African and Botswana sides. It also entails tarmac feeder roads of 500 meter and 200 meter length connecting the bridge on the South African and Botswana sides respectively.

The CEO noted that they conducted the SPEDU Regional Tourism Study which served as a business case justification of the need to enhance ease of access into the SPEDU Region through physical and virtual networks. He said the study recommended the construction of the Platjan Bridge as a catalyst to tourism investment and growth.

He said that Selebi Phikwe usually lose out on business opportunities as a result of tourists by-passing the town since they enter the region largely through Martins Drift Border Post. The bridge will therefore see Selebi Phikwe have business opportunities like accommodation and tourist spending for hotel and hospitality enterprises operating in the town.

The bridge will also serve to link the various tourism clusters in the SPEDU Region Tourism Cluster Corridor which  include Tuli Block, the Selebi Phikwe Tourism Cluster, the Tswapong Hills Tourism cluster as well as Dam tourism cluster comprising the trilogy of dam based tourism attractions of Letsibogo, Dikgathong and Thune Dams. It will also de-congest the busy Martin Drift Border Post thus contributing to business and tourism travel efficiency among other benefits.

Mokubung added that the strategic importance of the construction of the bridge is not strictly limited to enhanced tourism sector development as the bridge will support further development of the agro-business sector in the Tuli Block Area. He said commercial horticulture at Talana Farms and the planned Thune Dam Irrigation Scheme Project which lie between the Platjan Bridge and Selebi Phikwe will also benefit in terms of cost and time efficiency in the transportation of perishable goods and production inputs into and out of either side of the bridge.

Mokubung said there is need to invest in further support projects such as an upgraded commercial border post on the Botswana and South African sides of the bridge, an upgrade to bitumised standard of the 27km connecting road between the bridge, Mathathane, and Lekkerport Junction as well as provision of enhanced mobile and internet communication infrastructure in the Tuli Block within the environs of the Platjan Bridge.

He says these upgrades are necessary to maximise the economic benefit flows from the project, explaining that in conjunction with other stakeholders, they are proactively looking into the ways and means of bringing these strategic ideals to fruition as part and parcel of the Revitalisation Strategy of the SPEDU Region.

He described the construction of the bridge as a milestone for SPEDU. “The occasion of the signing of the contract between SPEDU and the contractors for the construction and supervision services of the Platjan Bridge project represents an important milestone in the over-arching economic diversification and regeneration initiative in the SPEDU Region,” he said.    

The Deputy Board Chairman of SPEDU, Ronald Yane commended the European Union for supporting the Government of Botswana. The Platjan Bridge Project is funded under the Sysmin Re-Employment Account (REA). The REA is a repository of funds accumulated from cumulative loan and principal repayment on a facility extended by the European Union (EU) to the Government of Botswana under the Economic Diversification of Mining Sector (EDMS) project. Yane said EU continues to assist Botswana Government by funding SPEDU projects towards diversification of the economy.

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021

In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).

The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.

Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.

The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.

This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).

The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.

The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.

In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.

Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.

Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.

“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.

Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.

“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.

The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.

UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.

Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.

Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.

Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”

Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.


With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.

BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.

BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.

It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.

Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”

It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.

At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021

Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.

Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.

BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.

The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.

By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.

In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.

“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.

“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.

The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.

All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.

“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.

Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.

Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.


As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.

“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.

The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.

“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.

The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.

“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.

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