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Gov’t introduces Special Implementation teams

President Lt Gen Ian Khama says government has taken a decision to introduce a Special Implementation Teams for mega projects around the country. The President admits that past failures have informed the assembling of this team.


According to Khama each mega project which is in the offing will be assigned its own special implementation team. He said the teams will be comprised of experts who are experienced in project implementation and management.


He expressed concern about the money that government lost in projects that incurred cost overruns as a result of suspect supervision. He stressed that while there will be cost implications for introducing these special implementation teams, the money used is incomparable to the cost overruns incurred as a result of poor implementation.


President Khama also pointed out that the implementation teams will not in any way be under the ministries responsible for the mega projects. He said the Special Implementation teams will be independent of the Ministries but will work hand in hand with the Government Implementation and Coordinating Unit (GICO). “We are going to have dedicated implementation teams for mega projects,” said Khama.


Government has had to battle with the backlash of failed or delayed projects such as the Palapye Glass Projects which saw the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) losing close to P500 million Pula; the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport expansion also incurred a lot of cost overruns and potential lawsuits from executors.

The Morupule B Power Plant has seen government incur costs as a result of poor execution as a result of lack of proper supervision.  Failure of Morupule B to operate at full capacity has plunged the country into power challenges.


The President said projects such as the Agro Zambezi and the North south Carrier water Project will attract the services of specialised implementation teams. Khama said the infrastructural development for the Zambezi Agro-Commercial project will soon commence, while arable production will continue to benefit through our cluster development strategy.


He said there are other mega projects such as the Selibe Phikwe steel project which government wants to be successfully implemented because of its potential to create thousands of jobs.  

During the State of the Nation Address, Khama said Government continues to deploy audit teams to ensure that all new construction projects and procurement of offices and staff houses are defect free at completion stage or rental/purchase stage.

Commenting on mega projects, the President said: “With regard to problematic projects, a contract for the completion contract of the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport has been awarded. Work commenced in July 2014 and is scheduled to be completed during the first half of 2015. The completion works for Francistown Stadium, will cost just over P 100 million and is being undertaken as two separate contracts.  Major refurbishments of the Serowe Sports Complex, which included installation of the artificial turf and cleaning and repair of sewage pipes, has been completed and are in use.”

According to researchers, hierarchal assessment of factors has found that the top 3 most significant factors of cost overrun are fluctuation of prices of material, cash flow and financial difficulties faced by contractors and poor site management and supervision.


“These factors belong to two categories i.e., contractor’s site management and financial management category, thus improvements in these categories are paramount for controlling cost overrun in construction projects.”


Researchers have also established that poor site management and supervision factor is focusing more towards contractor group. They state that it reflects the weakness and incompetence of contractors and affects significantly on the cost performance.


“This can come as a result of failure to comply with statutory body’s requirement, poor communication with sub-contractors and material suppliers significantly, thus affecting the progress of project.”
 

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021
Botswana-economic-recovery-depends-on-successful-vaccine-rollout---BoB-

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021
Inside-the-UB-BDF-fighter-Jet-tragedy-report

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021
JAKO HUBONA

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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