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Mathokgwane: I resigned due to ill-health

Former MP says he is diabetic

The former Member of Parliament for Goodhope/Mabule, James Mathokgwane resigned from his Parliamentary seat this week due to ill health.

In an exclusive interview this week, Mathokgwane confirmed that he is diabetic and the condition is affecting his heart and that his doctor had advised him to quite active politics to nurse his condition.

“At the beginning of the current Parliament I felt sick and could not even read my speech. Parliament had to adjourn because of that. My doctor told me that every time I get agitated my blood pressure escalates and people do not care about these things. Nobody remembers these things!” Mathokgwane further explained.

Mathokgwane tendered his resignation to the Speaker of Parliament on Wednesday this week. His Party, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) maintained that his reasons for resigning were personal. However this week as speculation became rife that he was probably bought by the ruling party to betray the opposition, Mathokgwane had to explain himself and clear the air.

 “I have four beautiful kids and if a drop and die today, politics would not send them to school, politics would not feed them and it would never care for them. Of course politics have been my passion, but I have realised that they will kill me if I am not careful,” Mathokgwane explained.

He said he took the decision to resign from Parliament about two Months ago and he has been discussing it with his party President, Duma Boko since then.

“This is not an issue that just happened. I have been discussing it with the leadership. We did not discuss this over a week or two weeks. We discussed it over two months and it was not easy for either one of us but I am glad that he (Boko) understood why I had to quit,” Mathokgwane added.

Mathokgwane would be joining the Selibe-Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) as a very senior officer. Although he had not confirmed it the WeekendPost has it on good record that the job also comes with very lucrative incentives.

“I can only confirm the fact that of course I have found employment and I would be joining the organisation very soon. After the doctor told me of the seriousness of my illness I started applying for employment,” Mathokgwane further explained.

Although speculations are rife that Mathokgwane was bought by the ruling Botswana Democratic party to weaken the opposition, he had denied it and maintains that he remains a member of the Botswana National Front (BNF), which is a group member of the UDC.

“I am not joining any other political organisation. I was not bought. I am not for sale. I have worked for reputable organisations before including the World Bank organisation. My credentials allow me to find a job anywhere,” he further pointed out.

Mathokgwane was a new comer to Parliament after his win against the then former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila and a long serving member of parliament for the area, which was then called Borolong constituency.

In the run up to the October 2014 general elections, Mokaila was said to be among the favoured men who President Ian Khama wanted as Vice President. Mokaila’s loss meant that Khama was left with one favourite, Mokgweetsi Masisi who was subsequently appointed the Vice President of the country.

Mathokgwane was therefore one of the opposition MPs who was believed to have messed up the Presidential succession plan. But even though the win margin was less than 500, Mokaila allegedly would not contest the coming by elections in the area as he was since specially elected to Parliament and is currently the Minister of  Minerals, Energy and Water Resources. Instead the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale  rumoured to be likely to take his chances in the by elections.

Mathokgwane is not the first MP to quit. In 2007, the Kgalagadi North MP, Obakeng Moumakwa of Botswana national Front and  The Palapye MP,  Boyce Sebetela of the Botswana Democratic Party resigned in pursuit of greener pastures. In 2008 the Gaborone Mayor, Nelson Ramaotwana resigned and joined the Attorney Generals Chambers.

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BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.


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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.


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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









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