Member of Parliament (MP) for Palapye constituency, Moiseraele Goya who is also Assistant Minister of Basic Education has implored Minister of Defence, Justice and Security (MDJS) to rather pilot the billion pula Safer City program in his boom town area of Palapye rather than in Gaborone as planned.
Despite Palapye being a benefactor to multi-millions of Pula in new development funds in the new National Development Plan 11, Goya wants more for his constituency. He complained about all developments starting in the capital, stating: “I want to talk about the Safer City program which will start in Gaborone. I wonder why everything has to start in Gaborone. Why can’t it be piloted in Palapye? This is where I disagree with Mr Kgathi because Safer City has to start in Palapye.”
In his response to Minister Shaw Kgathi’s NDP 11 report tabled in parliament this week, Goya contended that, it would be much easier and faster to monitor the efficacy of the project in a smaller town like Palapye than a bigger city: “you should not be misled by the word ‘city’; this can be piloted in a village like Palapye, in a small environment, not big like Gaborone,” and further probed: “why can’t it start in Palapye so that we see if it works well before it comes to a bigger town like Gaborone? That is the advice I wanted to tender.” Goya stated.
Safer City program is a crime fighting concept that will see Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) paraphernalia mounted on the city streets. The CCTV devices will also be accompanied by rapid response teams of police officers. NDP 11 is a six-year development spending spree period starting from 2017 to 2023. In the half-dozen period, Palapye will share P18 million of funds with Ghanzi for the construction of Legal Aid Service centers. Legal Aid was initially established in NDP 10 as a pilot project by the Attorney General’s Chambers and has since become a statutory entity and a parastatal under the MDJS.
The office of Ombudsman will also be constructed in Palapye in the same development plan. Other developments billed for the central boom town from MDJS include upgrading the Palapye Magistrate Court as well as the establishment of a court case management system called Library Management Services.
In the waning NDP 10, a deluxe bus-terminal was also constructed in Palapye. Another one was constructed in Molepolole. Besides the terminal, a fire station was also constructed in Palapye. Other three areas that received the same facilities are Francistown, Kasane and Mochudi.
An Industrial Court, circuit court which sits frequently conducting week-long sessions was also introduced to the boom town in NDP 10. Furthermore, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) also rented offices from the Palapye private sector where they now operate.
Palapye has been a destined boom town as far as NDP 9.
It has since surpassed the country’s third and fourth largest cities of Lobatse and Selebi Phikwe, in terms of volume of development. It currently hosts the country’s premier Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). Just recently, a Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse accused government of neglecting his town and instead focusing major projects on Parliament which is already a commercial centre. He had stated then, “When expects advised that the second university be built in Phikwe, it was instead taken to Palapye, an already commercial town.”
Palapye also plays host to the miscarried Morupule Power Station as well as the adjacent Morupule Colliery. Its rise from relative obscurity to an important central capital, albeit undeclared, has also not escaped the eye of big business. Majestic Five Hotel, a luxurious 4-star hotel also opened for business in the dusty river village in 2011.
Another state funded Palapye mega-project is the failed Fengyue Glass Plant which was sold for P10 million 5 months ago. Efforts by the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) to sell the Fengyue Glass Plant at a much high value hit a snag as it failed to sell at a P58 million tag price. The highest bidder even failed to pay and the engaged auctioneer, KPMG had to run around searching for the best among under bidders to take over the failed plant’s equipment.
The Glass Project was awarded to Rudy Schuhardt of Makoro Bricks at P10 million after the highest bidders failed to pay. In the first planned auction in 2015 no buyers had shown interest in purchasing the BDC’s Fengyue Glass Manufacturing plant. The plant, was sold after the project went up in smoke amid allegations of corruption and was put under liquidation.
Observers believe BDC found it difficult to attract buyers for the plant because it appears there was no proper feasibility study done before it was started. The Fengyue glass project was expected to create employment for residents of Palapye and surrounding areas.
Amongst the company assets that were up for auction is a float glass plant and equipment. An advert on the sale indicates that the float glass is designed to have a daily melting capacity of 450 tonnes of molten glass and designed in compliance with the China Louyang Float Glass Standards. The majority of the plant and equipment remained in its original packaging.
The plant also boasts of a 100 hectare piece of land close to the centre of Palapye and has a dedicated electricity substation with a railway spur. The Palapye Glass Project was 57 percent owned by China-based Shanghai Glass Manufacturing Company and 43 percent by BDC. At the time of total collapse the project was about 70 percent completed and approximately P410 million was disbursed.
Reports recently emerged that cabinet has also decided to sell the Morupule B project to China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC). The 600 MW Morupule Power Plant has officially failed after spending years faltering. The project went to tender at P7 billon but costs overran to reach P11 billion.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.