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Govt flunked opportunity to increase influence in De Beers

Magang says Gov’t should have acquired 10 percent stake from the Oppenheimers

Former Cabinet Minister, David Magang has revealed that government wasted a golden opportunity to take control of De Beers when the Oppenheimer family decided to offload their entire 40 percent stake in the company in 2011.

Magang is of the view that government should have acquired the 10 percent stake it was offered by the Oppenheimer family in 2011, which would have raised Botswana’s total stake to 25 percent. Botswana refused to take up the offer, a development which saw Anglo American moving swiftly to take up the entire offer and increase its stake to 85 percent.

Minister of Finance and Development Planning stated at the time that the decision not to take up the Oppenheimer family offer was influenced by the fact that Botswana could not afford it. The 10 percent offered to Botswana was valued at P9.8 billion which Matambo reasoned that it was equivalent to 10 percent of Botswana’s GDP.

Other reasons advanced by the Minister were that the country already had a total debt portfolio of P20.5 billion, of which P14 billion or 68 percent constituted external debt. Matambo reasoned that the acquisition of the portion of Oppenheimer would have compromised Botswana’s standing with credit rating agencies as well. “I thought the Government’s reasoning was self-serving, if not out rightly selfish,” wrote Magang in his latest book, Delusion of Grandeur, “Here was a golden opportunity to empower its people that it scuppered willy-nilly.”

Magang wrote in his book that Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) has a whole of Gaborone-full cash that it has invested overseas which government should have recalled part of to use to them to acquire the extra stake in De Beers. “P9.8 billion was just over only a quarter of BPOPF’s total funds under the management at the time,’ he contended.

According to Magang if Government was not in a position to spend the whole P9.8 billion it should have acquired at least a further 1 percent- just under P1billion- not for its own sake but for its people. “It should have then formed a new company for this purpose and issued an IPO aimed at citizens only,” he reasoned.

Magang contended that if government had managed to establish companies like Okavango Diamonds to sell diamonds and Botswana Oil to buy and sell oil, another SOE to take care of the citizenry’s De Beers stake would not be much of a stretch.

“Citizens would then have been invited to buy shares into the company using a bank loan partly underwritten by Government,” he argued, “De Beers is not a risk proposition: it is a global blue chip. The odds that Government would lose its money hardly arose.”

The Phakalane Estate proprietor argued that had government done likewise, it would have made a quantum leap in one fell swoop toward real economic empowerment of its citizenry. “Sadly our government is concerned only about its own wealth: that of its citizenry is way secondary, it makes my heart bleed,” Magang contended.

Magang took a swipe at the government’s Citizen Empowerment Policy (CEE) describing it as “a mere permeable” and looking incomplete. “It does not by any measure strike one as authoritative document; to the contrary, one gets the impression it is little more than an advisory paper that was prepared not by a seasoned policy craftsman but by an intern,” he argued, “Frankly, it galls me that millions of taxpayers’ money were spent only to come up with such a amateurish product.”

Magang said the CEE is neither comprehensive nor strategic and lacks holistic approach to citizen economic empowerment. “The indicators of empowerment are only casually outlined. There are no accompanying quantifiable targets and timescales to attain degrees of these targets,” Magang noted.

Magang wrote that the fact that the then Minister of Trade and Industry Dorcus Makgato-Malesu told the Competition Authority conference in 2013 that government was not obliged to procure locally produced goods and services and it was her ministry tasked with overseeing and coordinating CEE left much to be desired. “I think I now know what CEE, or rather CED, is all about.

It is a propaganda technique to give Batswana a false hope of the future to perpetuate in them the illusion that government is doing something about their economic anonymity when it is actually either indifferent altogether or systematically and stealthily disempowering them to glee and cheer of foreigners and their allies in the hierarchies of Government,” he expressed.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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