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Six billion Pula bridges to preserve migratory wildlife

Consultants propose billion pula bridges to save animals

The proposed Trans Kalahari railway line has posed some environmental concerns that are set to add a substantial amount to the cost of the project. The route of the railway line is set to collide with route taken by migratory wildlife that move across borders in due season.

During Botswana’s summer months in the Kalahari with the onset of the summer rainfall thousands of migratory animals get on the move, closely followed by predators.

Three main wildlife corridors have been identified, linking the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in the Kalahari regions of both Botswana and South Africa and came into being as the official merger of the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa.


The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa was established in 1931 and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana was established in 1938. These parks shared a common border.


Since 1948 there has been informal cooperation agreements between conservation agencies in Botswana and South Africa to ensure the wellbeing of animals in both parks and to control development in the area.


The two parks were officially combined in 1999 and on 12 May 2000 the new Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was formally opened by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and Botswana's President Festus Mogae as the first Transfrontier Park in Africa.


During Botswana’s summer months the Kalahari bursts into life with the onset of the summer rainfall whereupon, thousands of migratory animals get on the move, closely followed by predators.

Project consultants, Australian firm, Aurecon have in a report handed over to Botswana Government late last year recommended the provision of access for the migratory animals by constructing the rail line on a low bridge or viaduct type structure on defined sections across the Schwelle.

This move is seen by the consultants as having several advantages, among them being that the bridges will; alleviate the need for significant earthworks; allow cross drainage can be constructed without adverse impact on the continuing movement of wildlife through these corridors.  Estimated costs of the low bridges stand at US$600 million (P5,8 billion).

The railway line is expected to unlock the monetisation of Botswana’s coal resources, which are seen as a way to augment the depleting diamond resources that have been the mainstay of the country’s economy. Aurecon has given the resultant capital expenditure costs at a total of USD14.2 billion (P136 billion), comprising USD8.6 billion for electrified rail, and USD1.9 billion for above rail, and USD3.6 billion for the port.


Botswana possesses substantial coal deposits of 212 billion tonnes, the majority of which are low grade. Under favourable conditions, and until solar power becomes a feasible option for supplying base load electricity, this coal could be either exported or used for local regional electricity production and consumption. Electricity shortages impose a considerable constraint on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

This strengthens the argument for local production of coal-fired electricity, especially if regional fossil fuel supplies are integrated in a technologically adept manner to ensure economies of scale. However, coal extraction for either export or local production is environmentally costly despite advances in technology.


The efficiency of the railway line coal supply chain is expected to be maximized by Copper resources in North West Botswana identified to boost TKR viability, Manganese ore resources in southern Botswana identified to add to the viability of the TKR, both these mineral developments (copper and manganese) will add to the diversification of Botswana’s GDP.  Mineral resources along the TKR corridor in Namibia have the ability to further improve the viability of the TKR.


The TKR  is contemplated as a “seamless international rail freight corridor”, consistent with the Bi-Lateral Agreement – the TKR is likely to precipitate a suite of inter-governmental agreements and legislation essential to provide a streamlined international rail system.


Operational efficiency would be greatly diminished if every train was required to stop at the border and effect Customs, Quarantine, and Security inspection hence the employment of  Strategies and guidelines successful in other jurisdictions such as in Europe, will be implemented.


Enabling mirror legislation consistent with the intent of the Bi-Lateral Agreement signed by the governments of Namibia and Botswana, is required for consistency across the TKR value chain such as train inspections and infrastructure maintenance practices. With enabling legislation, locomotive and driver changes will not necessarily occur at the border – drivers may require special visa treatment as they cross the border at speed on board a train service.

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Why Katholo engaged private lawyers against State

16th May 2022
Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.

In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

16th May 2022
Dada

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.

While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

16th May 2022
Gulaam Husain Abdoola

Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.

Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.

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