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COVID-19: What experts say on Diamonds

“The diamond industry remains the most important to the Botswana economy, even though the level of economic dependence on diamonds has been reduced somewhat over the past few decades.

As we have noted earlier, 2019 was generally a poor year for diamonds, but there were signs of recovery in December 2019 and January 2020. Now, however, the global diamond industry has ground to almost a complete halt. Retail stores are currently closed in most countries, so few sales of diamond jewellery are taking place (there are some online sales).

Travel restrictions mean that buyers cannot travel to physical sales events, such as those held ten times a year in Botswana. There are excess levels of inventory at all levels of the diamond value chain – retailers, jewellery manufacturers, cutters and polishers, traders and mining companies.

Even when retail sales do re-start, it will take some time for the demand to flow through the value chain down to the level of diamond mining companies. There are also concerns that the impact of COVID-19 has been so traumatic that it will take time for spending on high-value luxuries to resume.

In the short term, Debswana has suspended mining operations during April 2020, having brought forward previously-planned maintenance and engineering operations. Current plans are for mining to resume in May. Even under the lockdown, mining is classed as an essential service, and most of the other mines in the country are still operating; a resumption of mining operations by Debswana would help to limit the negative impact of COVID-19 on GDP.

Nevertheless, the De Beers group is projecting a 20% reduction in output below previously-planned levels in 2020, and the reduction in Debswana’s output will be at this level or even higher. However, mining diamonds that cannot immediately be sold means that they have to be stockpiled; GDP is boosted by the ongoing production, but the lack of sales means that export earnings and government revenues are impacted until sales recover. Our current expectation is that it will take 12-18 months for the global diamond industry to fully recover from COVID-19.”

EConsult Economic Review Q1 2020


Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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