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Gov’t gets tough on Security companies

Routine inspection of private security services is a must

Parliament has repealed the Control of Security Guard Services Act of 2007 as it prepares to replace it with the Private Security Services Act of 2015 which was passed on Wednesday this week.

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi is expected to publish the bill in the national gazette any time soon following the unanimous support of the bill by Members of the house.

“This Act may be cited as the Private Security Services Act, 2015 and shall come into operation on such a date as the Minister may by Order published into the Gazette appoint,” the Minister told the house.

The new Act would regulate all trades related to security services including, security guards, manufacturing, importing, distributing or advertising of monitoring devices or surveillance equipment, private investigators, locksmiths, use of security equipment, installation, servicing and repairing of security equipment, monitoring signals or transmissions from electronic security equipment amongst others.

The new law will force security traders to confidentiality oath and carries a fine of P5 000 or a two Months prison term for contravening this particular provision.

“A licensee or former licensee shall not divulge to anyone, either directly or indirectly any information acquired by him or her in the course of engaging in or carrying on the business in respect of which the licence is or was held except for the purpose of legal proceedings,”  the bill states is section 31.

The new law further introduced routine inspection of private security services by selected public service employees. The Inspectors would be chosen and appointed by the Minister and are empowered by the new law to access any data contained in private security company computers. Anyone who obstruct an inspector in carrying out this kind of duty commits an offence and stands to be imprisoned for two Months or fined P10 000 or to both.

A maximum fine of P50 000, three months jail term or both would be imposed to those who operate without a licence. The licence is to be issued by a licensing board following through vetting of applicants.

“When an application for licence in terms of section 17, is lodged with the Board, the Board shall consult the Commissioner of Police and may make whatever investigations it thinks fit and shall, having regard to the interests of the public, thereafter determine the application,” Kgathi told the house.

The new Act establishes a private security service licensing board which will consist of three representatives of government, two representatives of the private sector, two representatives of the security association and two additional members from the public. The Chairperson of the board would be appointed by the Minister from the existing members. The Minister would further appoint the Secretary of the Board from his choice of qualified public service employees.

The Act further gives the Minister power to limit or suspend the application of all or any of the provisions of this Act, “either generally or in respect of a particular person, class or description of persons for such period and subject to such conditions as he or she thinks.”

The former Judge of the High Court who sits in Parliament as specially elected Member of the house, Unity Dow said the broad security legislation has come at the right time as it is a show of a robust government structure.
She supported the bill because she strongly believes that laws should be changed to keep up with the ever changing international trends. The contention was that this particular bill does not only deal with one aspect of security being guards, but the broad area of the trade including document inspections, surveillance and others.

“I stand to support the passing of this bill into law. This 2015 bill recognises where we are today and could not have come at a better time,” Dow pointed out.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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