The Chairman of the Southern District Council (SDC), Mephato Reatile has called on Councils not to be apologetic in their bid to empower citizens. Delivering his maiden address to the Council recently, Reatile said he fully associates with the Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy adopted by parliament in 2012.
I was a member of parliament then, and I strongly supported the draft policy. Parliament passed the policy because it recognised that our national development strategy cannot succeed when Batswana are left marginalized away from fully participating in the building of their own economy.
“This is our country and we must not be apologetic about empowering our people. If we fail to do so, where do we expect them to get empowerment to a point where they are able to prosper and graduate from being concentrated at the SMMEs level to become captains of their respective industries and commerce in general?”
Reatile said as Southern District Council, they must endeavour to make concerted efforts to ensure that this worthy legislation is implemented and given full expression through procurement processes that place Batswana, especially young entrepreneurs and SMMEs in general at the forefront of economic activity.
“Within the framework of existing procurement processes, let us strive to elevate our Council to a position where it will be admired for being the hub of citizen economic empowerment. For as long as they operate within the law I urge our technocrats to be bold and take that extra step in making our empowerment drive a reality,” he stressed.
Reatile said as politicians, they cannot micromanage procurement of goods and services, but they have a duty to exercise strong oversight through committees and ensure the empowerment drive is fairly implemented to a point where sons and daughters of the privileged and the less privileged will be inspired to dream big and work hard towards realizing their dream.
“And they can only muster that courage and inspiration if they know that only their brainpower and hard-work is the passport to winning business in their own council. I want you all not to misunderstand me to be saying non-citizens are prohibited from bidding for projects and supply of goods and services in Southern District,” he observed.
Reatile said Botswana’s laws give non-citizens the right to participate but in doing so, he encouraged them to go into joint ventures with locals even where it is not a tender requirement. “After all, we will certainly struggle if we were to try to come up with at least one name of a country that was able to prospering without an input from citizens of other countries.”
He said non-Batswana companies which make such an the effort must be recognised by extending preferential treatment in the award of tenders because in so doing government will be helping them transfer skills and best practises to their local partners.
He said at SDC, the political leadership of the council shall work together with the leadership of the administrative wing of the council to work-out exactly how the empowerment drive shall be roll-out.
Still on the subject of economic empowerment, Reatile further made an undertaking to establish the Southern District Business Forum/Economic Forum. He said the mandate of the forum shall be to pull together various stakeholders for the purpose of addressing issues of trade and commerce; identify and exploit available economic opportunities that the district has.
“All shall take part in the forum, right from our VDCs to business community, central government organs, public enterprises and others crucial partners we shall together agree on. While more information on the forum shall be communicated to the entire district in due course, it is worth emphasizing that it need be remembered that the be all and end all of the forum is to improve the status of economy of our beloved district.”
The chairman observed that the district needs to harness its economic power, from tourism and hospitality to mining; retail; to fashion, arts and entertainment; commercial farming; sports and; the service sector to mention but a few of what can make up the economy of this district. He observed that the initiative extends to bringing our ever vibrant informal sector closer to the mainstream of our local economy.
This shall be attained through targeted interventions. “Once again, I appeal to you all to humble me and indeed our council, both its political and administrative wings. If we get it right from our first attempt, then Southern District would be poised to become a model for other local authorities on how best to deliver meaningful citizen economic empowerment.”
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.