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Investors walk away from 400 million pula varsity in Kanye


Kgosikgolo Malope Gaseitsiwe II

Investors have allegedly abandoned an initial proposal to build a university in Kanye village in the Southern District, following a land tussle between them and Bangwaketse Tribal leadership. The technical state-of-the-art university was estimated to cost a whopping 400 million Pula which was already sourced from the European Union and available, Weekend Post learnt.  

The university’s aim was to assist bridge the skills mismatch, boost the economy in the village, create employment and provide practical education by training students on woodwork, welding, tannery (leather), mining, food processing amongst others.

Weekend Post has established that the university investors had wished to construct the institution under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) at a place known as Showgrounds – which was seen as strategic and a central location. The area is closer to amenities such as water and electricity as well as in the heart of the village.

Showgrounds is owned by morafhe and reigning Kgosikgolo Malope Gaseitsiwe II is the custodian. Although the land was supposedly allotted to host the Kanye Agricultural Show, it has been a white elephant for more than 20 years. With regards to the university proposal, Kgosi Malope has been “non-committal” on calling a lebatla to neither solicit advice from morafe nor allocate the land to the proposed university team.

Weekend Post has also gathered that the planned university was a brainchild of some prominent village elders who together with other citizens formed an organization dubbed Thuto Africa precisely for purposes of expediting the idea and securing funds – to fulfill the late Bangwaketse Chief, Kgosikgolo Bathoen Gasitsiwe II’s dreams of seeing the university in Kanye.

Amongst the organisations’ Kanye tribesmen with the vision for a university is former President Sir Ketumile Masire who chairs it, High Court Judge Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe, and top notch academic Professor Rodgers Molefhi, who all hail from Kanye. Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and real estate magnate Willy Kathurima are also members of the organisation.  

This has always been the dream and aspiration of the esteemed Bathoen, who held education with high regard and envisioned a university in his village at one point.

Subsequent to securing the funds, Thuto Africa, therefore wanted to implement the matter but soliciting land was a ‘headache’ and have therefore withdrawn.

This publication has also gathered that the organization competed with other African counterparts for the EU funds and still triumphed and have always looked upon Kanye as a strategic planning and developing area for the project.

A high ranking source close to the developments told Weekend Post in an interview this week that “Malope is the custodian of the land which is owned by morafhe, and Thuto Africa, spearheaded by Professor Molefhi found it fit to rightly request for allocation from that authority hoping that he would call a lebatla for morafhe to deliberate on and advise accordingly – but although surrounded by a pool of advisors he was even not promising on freeing the land.”

This publication understands that the Show committee responsible for the Showground was also consulted on the matter and was “prepared” to relinquish the land “since it is currently not being utilized and has been a white elephant for more than 20 years and still counting”.

Show committee’s position with regards to Showgrounds

When reached for comment, Show committee Chairman, Richard Tshitlho, confirmed that Thuto Africa, chaired by former President Masire and Professor Molefhi as the Secretary indeed approached and consulted them that they need the land for constructing the university under PPP arrangement.

According to Tshitlho if they had their way they would release the land for the school as they believe it will widely benefit the village.

“We thought that since they are speaking of a university we could engage them as it will boost the informal sector, create employment and uplift the level of education in Kanye and by extension the country,” Tshitlho highlighted.

While investors thought the central position that is ideal is show ground and taking into consideration that it is not even utilized, Tshitlho submitted that others feel it still can be built on the outskirts of the village but at the same time worried that the location will be far from students especially those sponsoring themselves.

If the great opportunity of building a university in Kanye, for whatever reasons, does not come to pass Tshitlho highlighted that the consequences will be that developments will lag behind and the place may remain rural without buildings attracting more investors further. “We will remain stagnant, there will be no employment creation, no accommodation business opportunities, and no uplifting of the economy of the informal sector as well as local transport industry.”

The Show committee Chairman also pointed out that they were advised by The Low Level Local Consultation Committee and it posits that it is useless for the Showground land to keep idling but instead they can loan it to some people to utilize it under PPP like Southern District Council (SDC) did with Mongala mall previously.

“We also thought there could be thorough consultations with Southern District Commissioner, (SDC) Council Secretary and Ngwaketse Landboard Secretary to discuss the issue with them further so they advise accordingly.”

Meanwhile he also said they met Malope on the matter. “We went to Kgosi Malope to meet him on the issue,” he pointed out while adding that they had wanted Malope to consult morafe on the matter. “Right now Kgosi don’t want to call morafhe as he feels the strategy may not work.”

District Commissioner, SDC Council Secretary have their say

District Commissioner Mmoloki Raletobane also re-affirmed that the land belongs to morafhe and the Kgosi is the custodian. “He holds it on behalf of the community but it is that morafhe that can guide him on how best to utilize it,” he stated.

As DC, he said any development that is in the interest of government and in line with community, and also not breaking any law “we can give it a nod” while emphasizing that their job is to advise what is simply in the interest of government.

He however said he was not officially approached on the matter of the university but got winds of it being proposed to be built at Showground. “I just know there is a Showgrounds which they want.”

On his part, Council Secretary Mompati Seleka said he is aware of the move, and while they have not contacted his office, he gathers that some village elders came up with the university proposal to be erected at Showgrounds but were facing some resistance from certain quarters of the community.

He stressed that they could have approached them because as Council they are the planning authority and everything has to pass by them.  “When people want to start something like this, they engage us as a Council facility as we would assist them accordingly. We would facilitate the process with regulations to make them accommodative,” he stressed.

Kgosikgolo Malope II was not able to provide this publication with a comment on the matter when contacted this week. “I am sorry I cannot comment on that university proposal issue,” he said.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

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 reaching WeekendPost 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 publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as 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,” 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.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

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.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

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.

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