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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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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

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