Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water & Sanitation Services, Ms Bonolo Khumotaka has appealed to Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) customers to pay their outstanding water bills.
She said this will help the Corporation to recover costs and ensure it continues to operate without hindrance. Speaking to members of the media this week, Khumotaka revealed that during the COVID-19 lockdown WUC was only able to collect around P50 million from utility fees instead of the usual P150 million. She observed that this is a whooping P100 million deficit in revenue collection during the month of April 2020.
When COVID-19 intensified President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi instructed WUC to suspend its process of disconnecting water supply for defaulting customers. President Masisi indicated that the decision was imperative and necessary to enable Batswana to comply with COVID-19 protocols and requirements. Batswana are encouraged to maintain general cleanliness especially the washing of hands and sanitization.
The Permanent Secretary reiterated that the Water Authority was therefore suffocating from overwhelming operating costs that are not recovered. “We encourage all those who can pay their water bills to do so, this will enable us to continue servicing the country with the much needed water during this period of COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary further noted that it is crucial for WUC customers to pay their bills so that the Corporation recovers costs and keeps its workforce. “Distributing water is very expensive, because we have to maintain our pipes and pumps to keep water supply afloat. We appeal to Batswana to meet us half way, even if its paying half of the bill, it is very much welcome,” she pleaded.
Khumotaka further added, “The Corporation is employing Batswana, so for us to avoid cutting costs and coming to drastic decisions such as laying off some employees, it is important that we recover costs from Batswana who can afford to pay their bills. We have come up with new payment platforms, including digital and cell phone payments methods to make it easy for our customers to pay,” she advised.
Khumotaka said on a monthly basis, Botswana needs 10.5 million cubic meters of water, but currently the country only provides around nine million cubic meters. Meanwhile responding to concerns that WUC was relatively ineffective in delivering water to Batswana, Khumotaka said Government was currently formulating a decentralization policy in which Central Government would be relieved of some duties and mandates.
Concerns from rural settlements are that since public water supply services migrated from Local Government (Councils) to Central Government (Water Utilities Corporation) delivery has been relatively poor. “The policy will inform Government of which services to take to Local government, water supply is one of those under review,” she said.
Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) has come out with guns blazing after they were accused of releasing false positive Covid-19 results which were later declared negative by the government task team force.
GPH insists that it is beyond doubt that their 8 positive Covid-19 results were indeed accurate.
This publication is in possession of a report that indicates how the government might have faulted with their results. They narrate what might have caused the various results between laboratories.
The report indicates that one or more negative results do not rule out the possibility of Covid-19 virus infection. Furthermore a number of factors could lead to a negative result in an infected individual.
GPH is immovable in their results and believe that poor quality of the specimen containing little patient material (as a control, consider determining whether there is adequate human DNA in the sample by including a human target in the PCR testing) could be a factor in diagnosing whether the case reads positive or negative.
The hospital, in the report shared internally, also point out that another factor may be as a result of the mishandling and incorrect shipping of the specimen. The report also establishes that technical reasons inherent may be one of the reasons why results may vary.
This publication has also established that same test kits were used but with different time collection of the samples. GPH affirms that this might have also impacted why the results varied.
“We are happy with our quality and believe that reporting positives with one gene detected the right decision. With the other labs only calling positives when two genes are detected, they are possibly under reporting and releasing negative results that should be called positive based on the less stringent algorithm.”
Unconfirmed reports have indicated that the government has launched a thorough investigation into the matter as GPH faces possible retribution over the matter.
“The government knows they blundered and now want to silence GPH by indicating that they are the ones who faulted. There is a lot of mix up with how the government tests and confirms results as negative.” Botswana currently stands at 46 new cases with only 17 active cases with 28 recoveries and 1 death.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has also gone into his fourth quarantine since Corona was discovered in Botswana. According to a press release released on Thursday, there is a new positive Covid-19 result on one of the President’s officials.
A confidential report from enquiry on the award of tenders at Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has recommended that key employees within the organisation be subjected to a Declaration of Assets exercise in a bid to find if they have been part of improper award of tenders cabal.
The confidential report seen by this publication was commissioned to give an overview on how procurement of equipment (imports) is conducted and awarded at BPC. The report titled “Enquiry into BPC tenders” which was released last month (5 May 2020), recommends that the organisation should be clear from the start whether they use selective tender or open tender process and which one will work for them.
High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng has this week reinstated a Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agent who was fired by the spy agency in August 2017. Justice Radijeng further ordered in the judgement that he be paid arrears from the time he was fired and for the cost of the litigation.
The reinstated DIS agent, Walter Matsoga, was in 2014 involved in a car accident and sustained injuries in the course of his clandestine job. More than a year later, on the 15th June 2015, the spy operative was subjected to a medical assessment at the instance of the DIS to determine his fitness to continue being in employment. The assessment was carried out and he continued to be under the employ of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security.