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No Water: Investors directed north

Gaborone dam and Molatedi dam have been declared failed projects by the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC)

Potential investors in the mining sector this week paid a courtesy visit to Botswana to solicit information on the business environment – in particular whether it’s currently conducive for conducting copper mining, WeekendPost can reveal.


This publication has gathered that the investors, who visited this country through a consultancy, want to set up a mining venture by processing copper into final products as it has been exported to other countries while raw.


It is understood that Business Botswana, formerly Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) facilitated their business visit as they viewed it as local investment opportunity despite the country going through water and power crises.

This publication has established that the investors will henceforth weigh their options of investing after gathering first hand and sufficient information on water as well as power conditions in the country.


“Yes it is true Business Botswana brought the investors here, and basically they are doing preliminary investigations in terms of trying to establish the business environment in Botswana especially with regard to the water state of affairs,” a highly classified source at Water Utilities revealed this week, while preferring not to mention the consultancy or names of the investors.


According to the top official, the investors want to establish where they can position the mining venture in terms of water status. The investors are said to have also come to meet different stakeholders like Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), Mining companies, Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) among others; as they try to explore chances of investment.


“We need to give them facts in this regard. We need to tell them the truth about the current situation we are facing as well as how we are stabilizing the water situation,” the WUC highly placed source indicated.

“So in our view what matters is where they place their investment. If they intend to place it in the south for sure they will face difficulties as severe water crises is felt in the south.”

He said if government is to attract investors, it needs to inject more funds into various projects by Water Utilities so as to help improve the water situation, and at the same time bridging the unemployment gap.


According to the source, funding either from government, loans or private sector remains a big issue in the matter as the corporation continuously tries to lure them to invest in the water sector so as to implement their projects line up and ultimately reach water security. The country has been plunged with a worsening water crises situation and last week it reached an all-time low level – a predicament the immaculate source who sits in the Corporation executive confesses.


According to a WUC statement, Bokaa dam has almost dried up following Gaborone dam which has absolutely dried up at the moment.

“Bokaa dam is currently at 3.5% and might fail at any time. The failure of Bokaa dam will translate into reduced supply as well as a loss of one more source of water for the Greater Gaborone area, following the failure of Gaborone dam – which dried up completely in December 2014,” WUC Corporate Communications Manager Matida Mmipi said in a statement released last week.

As a result, Mmipi states that, with effect from today (Saturday), water rationing days will be intensified from three to four days a week in Gaborone – a move the investors might find arduous for business.


Currently, she said, the Greater Gaborone area’s sources of water are the Bokaa dam, Molatedi dam (also on line to dry up) and the North South Carrier 1 (NSC 1) which transfers water from Dikgatlhong dam to the South. Bokaa dam currently produces 19 million litres a day and NSC 1 harvests 60 million litres a day while Molatedi dam churns out 9.7 million litres per day.

However the Greater Gaborone area’s average water demand is said to be standing at 125 million litres a day. This therefore means the area is running on a water deficit of 37.7 million litres a day and this is expected to drop further, due to the anticipated close down of Bokaa in a few weeks.  
In addition, and as a matter of fact, the source told Weekend Post that Bokaa dam is virtually considered failed and Molatedi dam is going down loose as well. “To tell you the truth our hopes are now on rainfall – that is where we can get the water,” he pointed out.

Apart from that he hinted that they put their last hope on the Masama West Well-fields project which is on the offing but would take almost 12 months to be operational. Masama project, which is currently being tested, will augment water to the Greater Gaborone area, and when fully functional it will inject 30 million litres into the NSC 1 a day to water Greater Gaborone area. Masama is 100km from Gaborone en-route Francistown.


Meanwhile NSC 1 which transmits water from the second largest dam, Dikgatlhong, after Gaborone dam feeds the northern part of the country, and additionally augments the south in the current arrangement. In the south the water crises is attributed to flat land and high rate of evaporation.

It is also understood that NSC 1 was never implemented to solve the water problem in the south completely but to augment it, as Greater Gaborone cannot rely on dams from the north as they will eventually dry up, even faster, too.


Information gathered also suggests that Water Utilities is looking for a fourth pump station to push more water to the South with more pressure. With more water in the pipeline, there is likelihood of a breakdown and the fourth pump would serve as back up (spare). The simple logic is that when one pump is down the other would be running.


Although the pipelines used for NSC 1 are said to be of sub-standard material, the project is fully built and now functional. “The Pipelines materials are not exactly what we wanted, we needed steel,” the immaculate source highlighted.

Currently, there is an ongoing project to replace the entire 26 km pipeline as there are already a number of leaks (around 7 to 8) in it. “These leaks cannot be repaired, the repair would take longer as water would have to be drained out of the pipeline (and it’s huge) followed by excavation and then the repairing, so the whole pipeline needs to be replaced. That is why this project is running parallel to the pipeline.”

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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