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Tawana Land Board wields axe for Shashe Squatters

The feud between Shashe squatters and Tawana Land Board is now at its peak, a Tawana Land Board official, Kgato Motai disclosed recently in a fully packed Kgotla meeting at Shashe.

The land board is said to be still hunting for some of the remaining squatters, following the December 2012 eviction of some residents of a so called illegal settlement at Shashe Bridge in Maun. 

The sub land board chairman, Motai dashed the hopes of many anxious residents who attended the meeting in large numbers with high hopes that he brought good news about their pleas for land when he instead told them the meeting was no ordinary one but a warning to the illicit settlers.

According to the land board official, the eviction of the squatters was incomplete since some of them had appealed to the high court, and were given a one year waiver to have moved out of Shashe which is said to be a sensitive flood plain area. He added that since the one year period had elapsed, the land board will do a follow up to establish whether all the affected people had moved.

Motai revealed to the residents that the yellow monster is on the way especially for those who settled in that area after land allocation was transferred from Dikgosi and land overseers to the Ministry of Lands and Housing. He further said some of the squatters were rightful land owners who had decided to sell their plots and became squatters in Shashe.

He however conceded that land board officials had also made mistakes as some residents who were born in Shashe and were its oldest residents were also affected during the 2012 eviction but said that would be corrected and compensation be paid.

One of the oldest residents born in Shashe, Fanabi Karome, who was also an assistant to the land overseer, condemned the 2012 land board assessments which were conducted before the 2012 demolition as inaccurate as he said the oldest born residents of Shashe from the families of Mbwe, Motlhabani and others were the mostly affected.

Karome said he suspected that things might not have been done properly at Tawana Land Board as there are now new settlers in Shashe with certificates for their plots, yet it was said there would be more land allocations in the area. “I suspect there is land dealing either by you or your colleague,” he charged.

He further questioned Motai on the 2004 rule where Tawana Land Board ruled out that land overseers should allocate open spaces between allocated plots, to which Motai responded also that indeed things were not done appropriately at that time, as land overseers were supposed to have stopped allocation in 1996 as physical planners had by then revealed that settlers would destroy the vegetation.

When responding to another attendant, who wanted to know why allocation in Shashe was not allowed, Motai explained that the area had been proven by physical planners as unsafe for human settlement or human activity, owing to it being an island. He said building on it would expose settlers to floods, the area, said Motai is also a tourism attraction site and its natural beauty has to be left as is. He also said pollution could occur if people were allowed to settle there as Shashe is the main water source for Maun.

Another resident Ofentse Marewa questioned whether the eviction targeted the blacks only as there are some white settlers along the river bank who never attend any meeting, asking whether they were not destroying the vegetation. Motai clarified that all the whites have certificates and they are the ones owning vegetable farms where most residents work.

Motai went on to warn some residents to stop seeking false witness from Dikgosi in order to be assisted by the land board officials. The sub land board chairman told the crowd that another assessment would be undertaken to see if the remaining people who had land rights at Shashe should be removed or left there.

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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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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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