The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology has spent a total of P276 million on the ill-conceived Target 20 000 initiative and a decision has been taken to suspend it indefinitely, parliament was informed recently.
The controversial programme came into being under the tutelage of Dr Unity Dow in 2015 before the Ministry of Education and Skills Development was split into two. The programme has attracted heavy criticism from opposition parties who claim that it was a looting scheme.
One strong critic of the programme within opposition ranks was Gaborone Bonnington South legislator and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) deputy leader, Ndaba Gaolathe who pointed out that the Target 20 000 Up Skilling is a prime example that shows that government does not know what the country needs.
“There are no clear objectives of what the programme intends to achieve,” he said. “Education should form a cog of economy’s transformation and should have put emphasis on certain key elements like; technical skills and managerial skills,” he told Weekend Post in 2015. Gaolathe contended that the initiative was ‘target based’ and not driven by potency to transform the economy. What the government wants to achieve is to increase the quantity so that they make the case, he argued. “It serves no purpose because it does not build the right skills that we need,” he said. “It does not increase the base of artisans, engineers, and doctors− simply it has no clear objective.”
Gaolathe, was of the view that government would rather had used the millions which are going to be spent on the Target 20 000 initiative to send unemployed youth abroad. He said, the youth would then be trained through attachment so that they earn the skills that the country needs. He mentioned countries like India, which has a blossoming diamonds industry as prime area, which Botswana can use for skills transfer. Private tertiary institutions became major beneficiaries of the programme while public institutions were sidelined.
The initiative encountered other administrative challenges as the ministry failed to meet various obligation such as paying beneficiaries allowances and also paying schools tuition fees. Before the National Assembly adjourned for the Winter break, Assistant Minister Malao told parliament that the programme was implemented in January 2016 and to date 9,953 unemployed youth benefited. He further noted that, 741 dropped out of the programme, 3,094 have completed or graduated in the different courses they pursued at various institutions while 725 are awaiting results.
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.