Sowa Town Council (STC) is set to embark on an ambitious developmental plan which will see the township developing into a commercial hub in the sectors of mining, agriculture, tourism and recreation.
Information obtained from a leaked 194 page Sowa Planning Area Development Plan 2013-2037 has proposed that Sowa area has got the potential to become a mining, tourist, commercial and industrial centre of choice for many.
Since its establishment as a township through the Statutory Instrument No 26 of 1991 under the Township Act, Sowa has dismally failed to attract population to the soda ash and salt mining settlement.
In its current state, STC is as good as a mining settlement which came into being to serve and accommodate Botswana Ash (Botash) employees and very few central and local government workers.
It is against this backdrop that STC enlisted the services of consultant, Environmetrix (Pty) Ltd to come up with a 25-year developmental plan that will see the township expanding into a bigger town than what it is now.
The proposed expansion of Sowa is informed by the desire to fully utilize its resources and economic potential. Although Sowa lies in the region with abundant tourist attractions such as the Makgadikgadi pans, Ntwetwe pans and the unique bird species at the Nata sanctuary, it has to date failed to attract visitors and tourists.
“The town’s failure to attract visitors and tourists may be attributed to lack of appropriate facilities such as hotels, guest houses, camping sites, meeting and conference rooms,” reads part of the proposed developmental plan by the consultant.
To date, the proposal explained that Sowa lacks a full range of commercial, recreational, civic and community facilities that support everyday life in any town or urban centre. The survey by the consultant established that the town is literally a place to work but to live, ply or recreate.
As a result, the survey found out that the town is dominated by a male population while very few households own houses in the town. To the majority of the resident population, the survey by the consultant also discovered that Sowa is not the home to many mine workers.
“The long term vision of this proposed plan is to turn Sowa into a place to live, work and recreate. At the end of the proposed developmental plan, Sowa and the entire planning area shall be a tourist destination of choice,” reads part of the findings.
Contacted for a comment, STC Mayor George Maphane confirmed that the township of Sowa is doing everything within its power to ensure that the town do attract businesspeople and general population.
Currently Sowa planning area has got a population of about 6 225 people, according to the 2011 census results.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
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Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.