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Judge baffled by BNYC chair’s benefits

VICTORIOUS: Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) Executive Director, Benjamin Raletsatsi is seen here with lawyers acting for his organisation after they successfully fought an urgent court application by the suspended BNYC chairman, Louis Sibanda on Wednesday.

The plan by suspended Botswana National Youth Council Chairperson (BNYC) Louis Sibanda to keep receiving financial benefits from the organization while serving his suspension was this week shattered by the High Court in Gaborone – after his urgent application was dismissed with costs.

High Court, Judge Zein Kebonang questioned why the BNYC chairman gets priviledges similar to those of employees.

The main contention to the case was Sibanda’s uneasiness with losing benefits associated with his office. This publication understands that BNYC provides Sibanda with free accommodation as well as sitting allowances by the virtue of him being the organisation’s chairperson.

Investigations by this publication have revealed that the chairperson of the organization benefits from a relatively high cost house worth of P6500 per month of rentals. It is also understood that Sibanda gets an estimated sitting allowance of P700 per sitting.

BNYC Executive Secretary Benjammin Raletsatsi also confirmed briefly outside court to this publication on Wednesday that the chairperson of the organization benefits from a medium-high cost house worth of P6500 per month of rentals.

According to Raletsatsi, “the bearer of the position (chair) also attracts a sitting allowance of around P700 per sitting and normally the Executive Committee sits once or more than that per month”. Other board members are estimated to receive around P500 in every sitting of the organisation’s meetings.

Sibanda was deprived of the priviledges and suspended from office for alleged maladministration. The benefits were scrapped following his suspension by the Executive Committee as he was removed from office to create way for unhindered and un-interfered parallel investigations by both the National Assembly and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

Initially the urgent application by Sibanda had sought to have the decision of BNYC Executive Committee to suspend him be set aside on account of procedural irregularities that occurred in the process of reaching its decision. However more concentration was targeted particularly to benefits deprived of the chairperson during the suspension – at least that was their bone of contention, this publication has observed.

Justice Zein Kebonang has also questioned the logic behind Sibanda’s benefit of free accommodation while he is and was not an employee of BNYC – but just a board member.

When making submissions before court, a lawyer representing Sibanda, Mugoni Molodi of Mugoni Molodi Attorneys said that if court does not set aside the suspension, his client (Sibanda) will lose benefits which she is entitled to, like free rental house and sitting allowances – as he remains the substantive chairperson despite suspension.  

He said these priviledges were mandatory to the chairperson until his term of office elapses (after the 3 years which they are allocated in office).

On his part renowned attorney Uyapo Ndadi of Ndadi Lawfirm who represented BNYC said it was befitting that he be denied the benefits because he was not carrying out any duties related to the office due to his suspension. “He has no right to that accommodation as he is not entitled to it – it is a priviledge,” he argued.

“He is not doing any business with BNYC because he is not carrying out that duty. He does not even deserve to have been in the house to start with, in my opinion. Moreover he has not shown that he has that right to accommodation in his argument, he acknowledged it as a privilege – which is self-defeating,” Ndadi pointed out.   

Ndadi further asked the court to endow punitive measures to Sibanda as the case is self serving and places individual interest beneath interest of the organization. He said Sibanda wants to protect self serving interests like sitting allowances and accommodation while he was not currently carrying out the organisation’s functions.

“These elements show that this application is self serving as it is just about personal rights. It is an abuse of court process,” he argued.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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