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Molale, Mzwinila clash over lack of water in Goodhope

A spat has erupted between Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services and the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Eric Molale over shortage of water in the latters constituency amid by elections.

Documents seen by these publication shows that Molale lost his cool after his counterpart, Mzwinila did not address some of the issues he raised in several letters that he had written to him.

Responding to one of Mzwinilas letters, Molale stated that, I want to raise the issue of attending to operational issues, which I realised you did not respond to. In discussing with you verbally, you indicated that those are operational issues that are for the Water Utilities Corporation Board.

Mzwinila had informed Molale that some of the complaints he had lodged about Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) not being able to provide drinking water in his constituency should be escalated to the Board of the corporation.

Molale admitted that he could not talk to the Board himself. Procedurally if I, as your colleague, need to be assisted on matters relating to your Ministry, I have to direct issues to you, he informed Mzwinila.

He added that, Having clarified that, I request Honourable Minister, you respond to the second part of my letter to you. I humbly so request, moreso that we are now in the midst of a bye election where the topical issue is lack of water.

In one of his letters, Molale informed Mzwinila that, I have raised issues with you on the above subject matter (water situation in Goodhope-Mabule) on several occasions.

Molale further stated that, I do not appreciate that every time I spoke to you on the subject you would cause your officials to attend to such with a view of finding solutions. I also appreciate the fact that indeed water sources are not adequate and therefore need to be augmented through bowsing.

He said, I however need to bring to your attention that if the existing sources were managed optimally, the acute water shortage that we currently experience would be not as pronounced as we see it now.

Molale said there were, managemental issues which I believe if attended to, would ease the problem.

Molale pointed out that the following are some issues that be dealt with to improve the situation.

-Stop villages from sharing pumping engines. An engine pumps at one village for two/three days and then removed to go and pump at some other village. I do not believe Water Utilities (WUC) could be so broke to go that extent.

-Pumpers/Engine Operators are not thoroughly supervised. They do not have operational/pumping schedules.

-broken/damaged pipes have remained unrepaired for 10 month at some places like Tshidilamolomo.

-Engines have not operated for some time due to lack of diesel.

Molale also informed his counterpart that We have a WHATSAPP group with your WUC official, which is meant to facilitate for easy and quick information follow as well as helping to report on issues that need attention.

He said the observation is that reports are reported to sluggishly and at times the information we receive is not in tandem with the situation on the ground.

Honourable Minister, I write this letter to seek your intervention in addressing these challenges. Time permitting, I would like to invite you to see for yourself and get first hand of these challenges, said Molale.

He added that, I would also request that some of your officers be transferred out of the region. I am aware that one officer recently arrived from elsewhere. Initially he seemed quite effective. Of late he has kind of slowed down and am suspicious that he may be pulling down by these overstays.

Mzwinila informed Molale that Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) was progressing well in addressing operational issues in Goodhope-Mabule Constituency.

Management issues, WUC regularly reviews deployment of its personnel across management centres. The recent changes affecting Goodhope Mabule Constituency are transfers of the Head of Business Centre for Lobatse and Senior Technician Production, Distribution and Maintenance based at Goodhope, he said. He added that the changes effected from 1st January 2022. Thus, with these recent changes the issue of human resource was being addressed, he said.

Regarding sharing of pumping engines by villages, Mzwinila said it was not common practice for the Corporation to move and have boreholes sharing engines or equipment. Nonetheless, he said, there were some areas which are supplied using electric generator sets, which are few, whereby during emergencies, quick interventions are implemented to alleviate and supply challenges by moving equipment from one borehole to another on a temporary basis, as a relief measure, such as an intervention is always done considering alternative supply options for the affected areas.

Delays usually exist in repairs to equipment by external contractors and this greatly hampers service delivery. Six out eight generator sets were functional as at December 2021, of the two non-functional, one is for Sekhutlane village as well as one of two at Sedibeng village. The two generator sets have been repaired and are now operational, said Mzwinila.

On broken pipes that allegedly remained unattended for more than 0 months in places like Tshidilamolelo, he said, the Corporations standard is to ensure that all leakages are attended to within a maximum of 24 hours.

The Goodhope-Mabule Constituency is going satisfactory on this regard moreso that the area is water stressed and the pipe pressures are low and hence vey pipe failure occurrences. A dedicated WUC team was stationed at Tshsidilamolomo village from July to August 2021 understanding various activities, said Mzwinila. He said the team mainly focused on construction of road crossing sleaves along Phitshane-Molop-Mabule Road.

Mzwinila said the engines fail to operate for many days due to fuel shortage which is collected from Lobatse and supplied to far villages like Sekhutlane, he said fuel for service centre is sourced and distributed from Goodhope using a diesel bowser in accordance to set a schedule.

However, this was has been inconsistent for some time due to frequent failures of the diesel bowser. The bowser has been off-road since August 2021 and is becoming obsolete due to age. Budget for new one is not yet available, he said.

In the interim, he said, the Corporation resorted to the use of light duty vehicles which are limited to a carrying capacity of 3×210 liters of diesel to supply areas distant from fuel sources.

With regard to update on WhatsApp group, Mzwinila admitted that the level of communication through this platform has not been adequate adding that the new business centre head has been instructed that all interventions like bowsing schedules, water tanker downtime and other important issues must be communicated.

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BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.

 

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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.

 

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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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