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Parley to decide Morupule B, WUC future

Gaborone Bonnington South Member of Parliament Ndaba Gaolathe will bring before Parliament a motion which seeks to cause government to establish regulatory authorities for both water and power.

The motion which was suppose to have been debated last week, could not go through due to collapse in quorum, and will return to the law making house in near future.

The motion in essence seeks to de-monopolise the two sectors and bring other players on board. In his contention, Gaolathe state that the absence of a regulator also creates an unpredictable and opaque environment within the energy and water sector, at the expense of meaningful and timely investment in these sectors, investments worth billions of Pula, which Government cannot be expected to match by quantum or effectiveness.

Gaolathe also highlighted that not only will Botswana create more jobs, but has the potential to be a leader in power sector, which will in turn create potential for significant export revenues, in the tune of billions of Pulas.

“Any delays in pursuing this approach, will result in the bleeding of Government through the loss of billions of Pula, incurred by subsiding the Botswana Power Corporation and the Water Utilities,” he contended.

He says further delays will further result in structurally high cost of production of both water and power (electricity and other forms of energy), which will adversely compromise access for low income families.

“The resultant high costs also tend to dissuade investment in other sectors of the economy especially those that are energy intensive and water intensive,” he said.

Explaining his belief on water and power regulator, Gaolathe noted that if done properly, it will ensure; security and adequacy of supply, low cost of production and retail price of energy and water.

Gaolathe further remarked that it will provide incentive for direct and indirect investment into sectors, wider social inclusion and facilitation of wider economy and economic diversification.

“To achieve our objectives, we need to concern ourselves with several regulatory domains, for both power and water sectors such pricing, regulation of monopolies, service and performance standards, and regulation of entry,” he argued.

Gaolathe opine that an electricity sector operation, dominated by the public utility, the BPC, which has effectively rendered itself a natural monopoly, is not structured efficiently.

“Although Independent Power Producers are allowed, the landscape is too opaque to know how power purchase agreements are negotiated and implemented fairly.  The BPC is involved, but it is conflicted because it is also a power generator,” he said.

“Regulation alone is of course not adequate.  Regulation should envisage a progressive sector structure and bring out the best in that sector structure, in order to realise the stated objectives.”

The Bonnington South legislator noted that Botswana needs to unbundle vertically – separate power generation, power transmission, power distribution, power supply and ancillary services.

Gaolathe observed the same problem with WUC as he noted that it is necessary to break up sector into various components, along the vertical chain – identify various parts of the value chain – water resources authorities, bulk conveyance, water-services institutions – indentify the natural monopoly parts and the contestable parts.

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General is of the view that this would bring out the best out of water regulation.

“Even if Water Utilities remains as is, it still is necessary to regulate price, standards, water, sewerage quality to apply pressure on effectiveness and efficiency,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Minister of Mineral, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila hinted to Parliament that the government are considering the introduction of water and power regulator.

This is also as a result of the government’s decision to explore the possibility of selling the troublesome Morupule B to the contractor and later procure power from the contractor.

Gaolathe said government will decide on whether to set up a single regulator or separate regulators because there are different models, and also depends on how well it’s implemented.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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