The Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) launched its new brand, logo and corporate slogan amid promises of thousands of jobs spanning the agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors.
At a high profile corporate event at the newly opened Hotel Selibe graced by political leaders, captains of industries amongst others CEDA Chief Executive Officer Mr. Thabo Thamane, BITC Executive Director for Strategy & Competitiveness, Mr. K Olebile who also seats in the SPEDU board, BCL top brass lead by Managing Director, Dan Mahupela who also chairs the SPEDU board, community leadership and other high profile senior government officials, the officials asserted that they are not just all about talk – jobs are coming.
SPEDU is a parastatal company wholly owned by the government established in 2007 to diversify the economy of Selibe Phikwe and the surrounding areas by diversifying the area’s economy away from mining.
When giving background and introduction of brand strategy SPEDU Chief Executive Dr Mokubung N Mokubung explained that the decision to rebrand SPEDU was influenced by the imperative need for his organization to keep up with corporate transformation and provide easy interaction with its clients.
Said Dr Mokubung: “Our corporate identity has to provide a first sight economic & investment attractive picture that expresses togetherness of all stakeholders with a vibrant color spectrum.”
Dr Mokubung emphasized that people expect a lot from SPEDU hence the move to update their corporate image in order to profile Selibe Phikwe as a premier sight for innovative and high technology companies which would translate into thousands of job creation.
Delivering the Keynote speech, SPEDU chairman, Mr Dan Mahupela who also seats at the helm of BCL Limited outlined some of the developments in the region and gave a positive future economic outlook.
Pointing out the National Agro Processing Plant, Mahupela explained that a horticultural study conducted in 2013 revealed great potential for the SPEDU region in food production credit to abundant water supply and fertile soil.
He added that SPEDU is facilitating the upgrading of the Selibe Phikwe airstrip to a fully flashed airport with improved flight aviation terminal and waiting hall. “As the SPEDU chairman I am pleased to announce that soon I will be able to fly with my CEO from Phikwe straight to Gaborone and from Phikwe Straight to Johannesburg,” said Mahupela.
The airport together with the Platjan bridge whose construction is expected to commence in two months’ time will make travelling easy for potential investors and business people also enhancing tourism efficiency,” explained the Chairman.
Speaking in an interview with Weekend Post SPEDU Executive, Ms Punah Molebatsi explained that the new logo and brand represent a joint collective effort of all stakeholders in transforming and diversifying the Phikwe region.
Said Molebatsi: “the old logo represented what we wanted to do as SPEDU, our intended strategic framework, but the new brand represents what we are doing, the ongoing projects and strategic undertakings that underway.”
She revealed to this publication that the town will soon receive a pharmaceutical factory and medicine park which will create thousands of jobs for the Phikwe and surrounding areas.
Molebatsi also indicated that a high standard shopping mall is also in the pipeline and the development is expected to give the Selibe Phikwe town a new phase lift and transform the region into an economic and investment hub.
Furthermore another project is underway to develop a 42 kilometer electrical line which will power 44 horticultural fields with an estimated land space of 800-1000 hectares along the Motloutse river basin, Mr Jazenga Uezesa SPEDU Director of Strategic projects revealed to Weekend Post.
The project, which is expected to be completed in December this year is financed by the European Union and it is undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).
Said Uezesa: “We have not quantified how much this project would contribute to the reduction of Botswana‘s import bill, but we are optimistic the project will enhance large scale horticultural production and help archive much needed food security.
Uezesa also added that SPEDU has an obligation to turn the region into the bread basket of Botswana.
Profiling the tourism potential in the region, the Strategic Project Director revealed to that SPEDU in partnership with Botswana Tourism Organization is in the process of developing a framework to enhance tourism efficiency in the region.
Uezesa said they are working hard to profile and market the SPEDU region as a tourism destination, because of three dams, being Letsibogo, Dikgathong and Thune. He said water tourism is one of the main tourism undertakings they are targeting.
“We will be cautious of environmental factors and sensitiveness of the water because the main aim of the dams is to supply the whole nation with water.”
The Strategic Project Director also revealed that his office is in the process of developing SPEDU tourism regional corridor which will provide information about attractive sites and promote value chain business opportunities.
An international report complied in South Africa dubbed ‘Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana’ says that the transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana live a miserable life. The community experiences higher levels of discrimination, violence and ill health.
In this report, it has been indicated that this is because their gender identity, which does not conform to narrowly define societal norms, renders them more vulnerable. Gender identity is a social determinant of health, which means that it is a factor that influences people’s health via their social context, their communities and their experiences of social exclusion. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized this, and transgender people are considered a vulnerable population under the Botswana Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2010-2017.
In a recent study that shed light on the lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana, transgender persons often experience discrimination because of their gender identity and expression. The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town, LEGABIBO, BONELA, as well as Rainbow Identity Association and approved by the Health Ministry as well as the University of Botswana.
Of the 77 transgender and gender non-conforming people who participated in the study, less than half were employed. Two thirds, which is approximately 67% said that they did not have sufficient funds to cover their everyday needs. Two in five had hidden health concerns from their healthcare provider because they were afraid to disclose their gender identity.
More than half said that because of their gender identity, they had been treated disrespectfully at a healthcare facility (55%), almost half (46%) said they had been insulted at a healthcare facility, and one quarter (25%) had been denied healthcare because of their gender identity.
At the same time, the ‘Are we doing right’ study suggests that transgender and non-conforming people might be at higher risks of experiencing violence and mental ill-health, compared to the general population. More than half had experienced verbal embarrassment because of their gender identity, 48% had experienced physical violence and more than one third (38%) had experienced sexual violence.
The study showed that mental health concerns were high among transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana. Half of the transgender and gender non-conforming study participants (53%) showed signs of depression. Between one in four and one in six showed signs of moderate or severe anxiety (22% among transgender women, 24% among transgender men and 17% among gender non-conforming people).
Further, the study revealed that many had attempted suicide: one in three transgender women (32%), more than one in three transgender men (35%) and three in five gender non-conforming people (61%).
International research, as well as research from Botswana, suggests that not being able to change one’s gender marker has a negative impact on access to healthcare and mental health and wellbeing. The study further showed that one in four transgender people in Botswana (25%) had been denied access to healthcare. This is, at least in part, linked to not being able to change one’s gender marker in the identity documents, and thus not having an identity document that matches one’s gender identity and gender expression.
In its Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework for HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Health Ministry noted that “transgender persons in Botswana are unable to access identity documents that reflect their gender identity, which is a barrier to health services, including in the context of HIV. In one documented case, a transwoman’s identity card did not reflect her gender identity- her identity card photo indicated she was ‘male’. When she presented her identity card at a health facility, a health worker called the police who took her into custody.”
The necessity of a correct national identity document goes beyond healthcare. The High Court of Botswana explains that “the national identity document plays a pivotal role in every Motswana’s daily life, as it links him or her with any service they require from various institutions. Most activities in the country require every Motswana to produce their identity document, for identification purposes of receiving services.”
According to the Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana report, this effectively means that transgender, whose gender identity and expression is likely to be different from the sex assigned to them at birth and from what is recorded on their identity document, cannot access services without risk of denial or discrimination, or accusations of fraud.
In this context, gays and lesbians advocacy group LEGABIBO has called on government through the Department of Civil and National Registration to urgently implement the High Court rulings on gender marker changes. As stated by the High Court in the ND vs Attorney General of Botswana judgement, identity cards (Omang) play an important role in the life of every Motswana. Refusal and or delay to issue a Motswana with an Omang is denying them to live a complete and full-filing life with dignity and violates their privacy and freedom of expression.
The judgement clarified that persons can change their gender marker as per the National Registrations Act, so changing the gender marker is legally possible. There is no need for a court order. It further said the person’s gender is self-identified, there is no need to consult medical doctors.
LEGABIBO also called on government to develop regulations that specify administrative procedure to change one’s gender marker, and observing self-determination process. Further, the group looks out for government to ensure members of the transgender community are engaged in the development of regulations.
“We call on this Department of Civil and National Registration to ensure that the gender marker change under the National Registration Act is aligned to the Births and Deaths Registry Act to avoid court order.
Meanwhile, a gay man in Lobatse, Moabi Mokenke was recently viciously killed after being sexually violated in the streets of Peleng, shockingly by his neighbourhood folks. The youthful lad, likely to be 29-years old, met his fate on his way home, from the wearisome Di a Bowa taverns situated in the much populated township of Peleng Central.
CEO of Khato Civils Mongezi Mnyani has come out of the silence and is going all way guns blazing against the company’s adversaries who he said are hell-bent on tarnishing his company’s image and “hard-earned good name”
Speaking to WeekendPost from South Africa, Mnyani said it is now time for him to speak out or act against his detractors. Khato Civils has done several projects across Africa. Khato Civils, a construction company and its affiliate engineering company, South Zambezi have executed a number of world class projects in South Africa, Malawi and now recently here in Botswana.
About ten (10) Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidates who lost the 2019 general election and petitioned results this week met with UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando to discuss the way forward concerning the quandary that is the legal fees put before them by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawyers.
For a while now, UDC petitioners who are facing the wrath of quizzical sheriffs have demanded audience with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) but in vain. However after the long wait for a tete-a-tete with the UDC, the petitioners met with Saleshando accompanied by other NEC members including Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, Reverend Mpho Dibeela and Dennis Alexander.