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Judgment reserved in WUC, Phakalane P4 million suit


Lobatse High Court Judge, Mercy Garekwe on Tuesday reserved judgment until July 31, in a case in which Phakalane Estates is suing Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) P 4 451 556.58 in damages for the construction of a water storage facility.

According to documents filed with the High Court, Phakalane Estates constructed and paid for a primary network consisting of a ground storage reservoir, elevated storage reservoir, associated pumps, equipment and trunk main from such storage to secondary network at its own costs which according to the plaintiffs was in breach of the tacit term of the agreement entered into between Phakalane and WUC for the design and construction of the onsite water reticulation.

In the final submissions the plaintiff emphasized that since the storage was primary in nature, it must be paid by WUC and that the provisions of Section 18 of the Waterworks Act regulated the provision of water to Phakalane and its residents, contrary to the defence’s argument that Section 18 of the Waterworks Act does not impose any liability in the case and that the Phakalane storage is not primary.

Section 18 of the Waterworks provides that, “the minister may, after consultation with the corporation, give the corporation such directions of a general or specific character as to the exercise and performance of its powers in fulfilling its functions as are necessary as a matter of public policy and as are not inconsistent with this Act nor with the contractual and other legal obligations of the corporation, then the corporation shall give effect to any such direction”.

Advocate Andrew Redding, representing Phakalane emphasized that Phakalane residents were not different from any other person residing in other parts of Gaborone. “There is no basis upon which the residents of Gaborone ought to be treated differently simply because of the area in which they reside, or because of the identity of the developer in their area,” he said.

He cited that if an analysis had been done at the time of the extension of the water supply network at Phakalane, it would result in every consumer’s tariff going up by 50%, then WUC would be entitled to look to Phakalane (the developer) to finance that cost by invoking section 18(3). “It would be entitled to do so in respect of any developer, whether a private developer or any other parastatal such as Botswana Housing Corporation,” said Redding.

Redding further questioned the legal obligation binding the developer to pay for the water storage. “WUC gets revenue by charging a water tariff to the consumer, each user has a meter and that is how it charges each,” said Redding.

According to the defendants’ heads of arguments, it is the function of the defendant (in terms of section 14 of the Water Utilities Act Cap. 74:02 to ‘supply water in bulk or otherwise’ to areas including the Township (that is Phakalane) and to ‘do all such things as may be necessary or advantageous in order to secure adequate supplies of water for the performance of its function.

Phakalane Estates (Pty) Ltd is wholly owned by David & Dorcas Magang and their children, Lesang, Thola and Bonang Magang. They together with Mr. S. Parthiban are all active directors of the company and/or its subsidiaries.

Phakalane Estates was represented by Advocate Andrew Redding SC and Tremayne Dalrymple while Water Utilities Corporation was represented by Advocate K. J Trisk SC and Advocate R. L, the parties will convene for judgment on the 31st of July at Lobatse High Court before Jugde Mercy Garekwe. 

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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

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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