The provincial government of the North West in South Africa is funding a multimillion Pula research project in Botswana called the National Liberation Heritage Route (NLHR) in collaboration with North Department of Arts and Culture, Botswana Tourism and the Department of Museums and Art Gallery to trace, track, assess, identify, document and protect and propose for listing to the South African Heritage Resources Agency, sites which represent indigenous Africans Wars of Resistance and the struggle against apartheid.
A source close to the project Kopano Lekoma of Pitsane and ex-Umkhonto We Siswe combatant says, the project is an initiative of the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, as represented in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
The research project will on the other known as the Liberation Heritage Route and which may ultimately be made available to UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in order to preserve an important period in the history of South African liberation struggle which may also be made available for packaging as attractive tourism products.
The 2005 UNESCO World Heritage Committee 33rd General General Conference foregrounded the "Roads to Independence – African Liberation Struggles" specifically recommended the collection, documentation, conservation and commemoration of Africa's heritage and experience accumulated during the struggles for independence.
This project is a manifestation of this ideal and represents Botswana leg of the South African Liberation Heritage Route under the auspices of the North West Provincial Government.â€¨â€¨The NLHR focuses on the SADC member states generally whose liberation struggles had global, continental and regional dimensions.
This project will result in a series of sites that in combination expresses the key aspects of the South African liberation experience and the Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of global history( World Heritage Council, 2009).
This project complies with the vision of UNESCO and the AU, that the NLHR should first cover South Africa and ultimately encompass the rest of the SADC members states of Angola, Botswana ,Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with a potential of identifying other African states outside the SADC region.â€¨â€¨
The Roads to Independence African Liberation Heritage Project is therefore, a multi-country programme which acknowledges the importance indigenous Afriican resistance and the role of the liberation movements to the process of decolonization of the African continent as well as the role played by African countries in providing material and moral support to the liberation movements which led to the struggle for independence in Southern Africa, according to fomer First Secretary at the South African High Commission Nthaniel Serache. â€¨â€¨A significant part of this history stands to be lost unless it is collected, documented and made accessible to the public.
The project attempts to document and recognize the contribution of people and institutions to the liberation of the continent (Wadaw, 2013). Many of the personalities who were instrumental in the prosecution of the liberation struggle are no longer alive and those who are still alive have not documented their experiences in any detail.
There is therefore a gap due to the lack of transmission of information and knowledge to the younger generations. The project will therefore bridge the knowledge and information gap, says Dikgang Mopelwa, former South African High Commissioner to Botswana.
â€¨â€¨MEC for Arts and Culture Ms Tebogo Modise While recognizing the role of the liberation movements in the struggle for independence in Africa, the role of civil society organizations and ordinary citizens who contributed to the achievement of independence in various countries on the continent in often not recognized and there are still many liberation veterans past and present who have not been adequately recognized.
Consequently, the significance of the project goes beyond the singular acknowledgement of the role of the liberation movements, to a broader recognition of the role of African people and institutions in the attainment of freedom for the continent. It is a broader vision that informs the project and positions. It is a key element in the realization of the African Union vision.â€¨
Modise says, the project is viewed in the context of transnational serial nomination and part of the SADC serial nomination. The project is also based on the Decisions of the 32nd World Heritage Committee(Quebec City, Canada, 2 – 10 July 2008, item 10, "Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List (WHC 08/32 COM IOB) as well as the African Position Paper on the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention adopted by the 29th Session of the World Heritage Committee, Durban, 2005, the Sixth Ordinary Session of the AU Summit of the Heads of States held in Khartoum on January 2096.
The project also addresses issues elucidated in paragraph 7 of COHC's Decision 32, COM 10 B especially providing a list of existing serial properties on the WH list and calling on state parties to submit a list of "all known and potential future nominations (whc.unesco.org) â€¨â€¨She says the research project will record and celebrate the neglected history of the African support for the liberation struggle in other African states.
The African liberation movement and the coordination work of Liberation Committee of the OAU is the single most influential factor in modern day Africa. As such it demands urgent attention lest an important part of the African history is lost. â€¨â€¨Much of the history was not documented or records of the clandestine nature of the struggle were destroyed to ensure the secrecy of the activists.
Many of the living figures are now approaching old age and there is an urgent need to record their oral histories – it is a race against time. In particular the role of women in the struggle needs to be documented, including the sacrifices made to support the activists.
Many internally and in the region who also played a critical role in support of the liberation struggle have not been acknowledged and out of the public domain, according to Modise â€¨â€¨Cultural heritage can include tangible and intangible things. The form may include monuments, buildings, sites, works of nature and works of man (UNESCO, 1972; Throsby, 1997).
The intangible includes traditions and customs (Snowball and Courtney). Heritage industry gives rise to cultural capital (Throsby, 2003) based on market and non-market values placed upon it or physical capital value (stock variable) and the cultural value respectively.
The two values are not independent. If the physical assets is not conserved and developed, the flow of services or cultural values will diminish. Cultural value is part of a nation's wealth and should be conserved for future generations.
It is defined by Throsby as "assets that embodies a store of cultural value separate from whatever economic value it might possess.â€¨â€¨Thus heritage sites produce economic values in the form of market value of the site itself from the income generated from tourism for example, as well as intangible cultural values setting apart cultural heritage sites from other sites.
Cultural capital is important for sustainable economic development. Just as ecosystems or environmental capital are essential for the maintenance of economic activity, so also can cultural ecosystems and cultural diversity be seen as an important component of infrastructure supporting a dynamic economy (Throsby, 2007:23).
A claim of a link between economic development and the preservation and documentation of heritage motivated the development of LHR in South Africa, however, says Snowball and Courtney, such correlation is often not easily determinable, due to non-market value of many of these benefits which are often quantified using methods like contingency valuation and in some cases, hedonic pricing, which have their own problems and biases (Ruijgrok, 2006; Snowball, 2008). Attracting funding for heritage is also often constrained by equally competing and deserving national priorities of a developing country such as education, health, etc. â€¨â€¨
Mowana Copper Mine in Dukwi will finally pay its former employees a total amount of P23, 789, 984.00 end of this month. For over three years Mowana Copper Mine has been under judicial management. Updating members, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) Executive Secretary Kitso Phiri this week said the High Court issued an order for the implementation of the compromise scheme of December 9, 2021 and this was to be done within 30 days after court order.
“Therefore payment of benefits under the scheme including those owed to Messina Copper Botswana employees should be effected sometime in January latest end of January 2022,” Kitso said. Kitso also explained that cash settlement will be 30 percent of the total Messina Copper Botswana estate and negotiated estate is $3,233,000 (about P35, 563,000).
Messina Copper was placed under liquidation and was thereafter acquired by Leboam Holdings to operate Mowana Mine. Leboam Holdings struck a deal with the Messina Copper’s liquidator who became a shareholder of Leboam Holdings. Leboam Holdings could not service its debts and its creditors placed it under provisional judicial management on December 18, 2018 and in judicial management on February 28, 2019.
A new company Max Power expressed interest to acquire the mining operations. It offered to take over the Mowana Mine from Leboam Holdings, however, the company had to pay the debts of Leboam including monies owed to Messina Copper, being employees benefits and other debts owed to other creditors.
The monies, were agreed to be paid through a scheme of compromise proposed by Max Power, being a negotiated payment schedule, which was subject to the financial ability of the new owners. “On December 9, 2021, Messina Copper liquidator, called a meeting of creditors, which the BMWU on behalf of its members (former Messina Copper employees) attended, to seek mandate from creditors to proceed with a proposed settlement for Messina Copper on the scheme of compromise. It is important to note that employee benefits are regarded as preferential credit, meaning once a scheme is approved they are paid first.”
A savingram the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development sent to Town Clerks and Council Secretaries explaining why councilors across the country should not have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term has been revealed.
The contents of the savingram came out in the wake of a war of words between counselors and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The councilors through the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) accuse the Ministry of refusing to allow them to have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term.
This has since been denied by the Ministry. In the savingram to town councils and council secretaries across the country, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Molefi Keaja states that, “Kindly be advised that the terminal benefits budget is made during the final year of term of office for Honorable Councilors.” Keaja reminded town clerks and council secretaries that, “The nominal budget Councils make each and every financial year is to cater for events where a Councilor’s term of office ends before the statutory time due to death, resignation or any other reason.”
The savingram also goes into detail about why the government had in the past allowed councilors to have access to their terminal benefits before the end of their term. “Regarding the special dispensation made in the 2014-2019, it should be noted that the advance was granted because at that time there was an approved budget for terminal benefits during the financial year,” explained Keaja. He added that, “Town Clerks/Council Secretaries made discretions depending on the liquidity position of Councils which attracted a lot of audit queries.”
Keaja also revealed that councils across the country were struggling financially and therefore if they were to grant councilors access to their terminal benefits, this could leave their in a dire financial situation. Given the fact that Local Authorities currently have cash flow problems and budgetary constraints, it is not advisable to grant terminal benefits advance as it would only serve to compound the liquidity problems of councils.
It is understood that the Ministry was inundated with calls from some Councils as they sought clarification regarding access to their terminal benefits. The Ministry fears that should councils pay out the terminal benefits this would affect their coffers as the government spends a lot on councilors salaries.
Reports show that apart from elected councilors, the government spends at least P6, 577, 746, 00 on nominated councilors across the country as their monthly salaries. Former Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso once told Parliament that in total there are 113 nominated councilors and their salaries per a year add up to P78, 933,16.00. She added that their projected gratuity is P9, 866,646.00.
A surge in consumer spending is expected to be a key driver of Botswana’s economic recovery, according to recent projections by Fitch Solutions. Fitch Solutions said it forecasts household spending in Botswana to grow by a real rate of 5.9% in 2022.
The bullish Fitch Solutions noted that “This is a considerable deceleration from 9.4% growth estimated in 2021, it comes mainly from the base effects of the contraction of 2.5% recorded in 2020,” adding that, “We project total household spending (in real terms) to reach BWP59.9bn (USD8.8bn) in 2022, increasing from BWP56.5bn (USD8.3bn) in 2021.” According to Fitch Solutions, this is higher than the pre-Covid-19 total household spending (in real terms) of P53.0 billion (USD7.8bn) in 2019 and it indicates a full recovery in consumer spending.
“We forecast real household spending to grow by 5.9% in 2022, decelerating from the estimated growth of 9.4% in 2021. We note that the Covid-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on economic activity resulted in real household spending contracting by 2.5% in 2020, creating a lower base for spending to grow from in 2021 and 2022,” Fitch Solutions says.
Total household spending (in real terms), the agency says, will increase in 2022 when compared to 2021. In 2021 and 2022, total household spending (in real terms) will be above the pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019, indicating a full recovery in consumer spending, says Fitch Solutions. It says as of December 6 2021 (latest data available), 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose, while this is relatively low it is higher than Africa average of 11.3%.
“The emergence of new Covid-19 variants such as Omicron, which was first detected in the country in November 2021, poses a downside risk to our outlook for consumer spending, particularly as a large proportion of the country’s population is unvaccinated and this could result in stricter measures being implemented once again,” says Fitch Solutions.
Growth will ease in 2022, Fitch Solution says. “Our forecast for an improvement in consumer spending in Botswana in 2022 is in line with our Country Risk team’s forecast that the economy will grow by a real rate of 5.3% over 2022, from an estimated 12.5% growth in 2021 as the low base effects from 2020 dissipate,” it says.
Fitch Solutions notes that “Our Country Risk team expects private consumption to be the main driver of Botswana’s economic growth in 2022, as disposable incomes and the labour market continue to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.” It says Botswana’s tourism sector has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the related travel restrictions.
According to Fitch Solutions, “The emergence of the Omicron variant, which was first detected in November 2021, has resulted in travel bans being implemented on Southern African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini. This will further delay the recovery of Botswana’s tourism sector in 2021 and early 2022.” Fitch Solutions, therefore, forecasts Botswana’s tourist arrivals to grow by 81.2% in 2022, from an estimated contraction of 40.3% in 2021.
It notes that the 72.4% contraction in 2020 has created a low base for tourist arrivals to grow from. “The rollout of vaccines in South Africa and its key source markets will aid the recovery of the tourism sector over the coming months and this bodes well for the employment and incomes of people employed in the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and hotels as well as recreation and culture businesses,” the report says.
Fitch Solutions further notes that with economies reopening, consumers are demanding products that they had little access to over the previous year. However, manufacturers are facing several problems. It says supply chain issues and bottlenecks are resulting in consumer goods shortages, feeding through into supply-side inflation. Fitch Solutions believes the global semiconductor shortage will continue into 2022, putting the pressure on the supply of several consumer goods.
It says the spread of the Delta variant is upending factory production in Asia, disrupting shipping and posing more shocks to the world economy. Similarly, manufacturers are facing shortages of key components and higher raw materials costs, the report says adding that while this is somewhat restricted to consumer goods, there is a high risk that this feeds through into more consumer services over the 2022 year.
“Our global view for a notable recovery in consumer spending relies on the ability of authorities to vaccinate a large enough proportion of their populations and thereby experience a notable drop in Covid-19 infections and a decline in hospitalisation rates,” says Fitch Solutions. Both these factors, it says, will lead to governments gradually lifting restrictions, which will boost consumer confidence and retail sales.
“As of December 6 2021, 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose. While this is low, it is higher than the Africa average of 11.3%. The vaccines being administered in Botswana include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson. We believe that a successful vaccine rollout will aid the country’s consumer spending recovery,” says Fitch Solutions. Therefore, the agency says, “Our forecasts account for risks that are highly likely to play out in 2022, including the easing of government support. However, if other risks start to play out, this may lead to forecast revisions.”