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Mzwinila pumps P4.5 billion into water projects

For the financial year 2022/23, the Ministry of Land Management, Water & Sanitation Services has set aside over P4.5 billion for water projects. This was revealed in Parliament this week when Minister Kefentse Mzwinila presented the Committee of Supply statement for his Ministry.

The proposed development budget for the Ministry is Five Billion, and Sixty – Four Million,Seven Hundred and Ninety – Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty -Eight Pula (P5,064,798,358), which is P197,068,149 or 4% less thanthe revised 2021/2022 Development Budget of P5,261,866,507.

The largest share of the Development Budget is allocated to Water SupplyPipelines, at P2, 332,287,108 or 46.0%. Projects to be financed from thisallocation include the completion of ongoing components of the North-South Carrier 2.2 being Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant and TswapongSouth; NSC 2.3 Mmamashia – Gaborone Portable Water Scheme;Molepolole (Gamononyane) – NSC Connection.

Other projects include the BEWSE projects (Sowa andSelebi Phikwe Water projects); and commencement of new projects suchas Kanye Network Rehabilitation; Kgalagadi North Boreholes as well as theearlier mentioned North-South Carrier 2.2 Contracts 1 to 3 that arecurrently at tendering stage.

The second-largest share is allocated to Water Supply and SanitationNetworks at P2,192,500,000 (43.3%) of the Development Budget, bringing the total funds allocated to water projects to P4.5 billion. The Water supply and sanitation networks budget will be used largely for the completion of the ongoing projects beingLobatse Water Master Plan, Moshupa Sanitation, Kasane/Kazungula WaterNetworks, Seronga – Gudigwa Village Water Supply, Shakawe WaterTreatment Plant Rehabilitation, and Maun Water and Sanitation.

Fundshave also been allocated for the commencement of new contracts being Maun Waste Water Treatment Plants; Maun Satellite Villages ConnectionsIncluding Treatment Plant at Sexaxa and Molepolole Water and Sanitation. Throughout the NDP 11 period, over 80% ofthe Ministrys Development Budget has been allocated for Water andSanitation Infrastructure projects, mainly for the development of watertransmission and distribution schemes.

RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS

During the Financial Year 2021/2022 the Ministry completed theconstruction of Masama – Mmamashia 100km Water Pipeline benefitingGreater Gaborone area including Kanye, Ramotswa cluster, Lobatsecluster, and Goodhope Sub District. The Ministry also completed theconstruction of Shakawe and Gumare Water Treatment Plants, benefitingShakawe and Gumare catchment areas; and pipeline connection ofMokgacha Village from the Seronga Gudigwa Potable Water Scheme. The expansion of Water Treatment Plants for Mahalapye and Palapye was commissioned and handed over in February 2022 and communities arenow benefiting from these projects.

Minister Mzwinila told parliament that the construction of the Lobatse bottleneck and Mogojogojo Pipelines are also substantially complete, adding that commissioning and handing over for these projects is ongoing and “the communities arealready benefiting from the projects”. Construction of the North East/Tutume Sub District Water Transfer Scheme under the Botswana Emergency Water Supply and Efficiency supported by the World Bank has been completed. The scheme was put to beneficial use for residents of North East District and Tutume Sub District from November 2021.

ONGOING PROJECTS

In terms of ongoing major projects, Maun Water and Sanitation Phase 2 – Contract 1 (extension and upgradingof water distribution network and sanitation reticulation) commenced inOctober 2019 and is scheduled to be completed in thirty-six (36) months.The water reticulation component of the project is substantially done, while the sewerage component of the project is trailing behind schedule. Contract 2, being equipment of boreholes at Kunyere, Shashe, andTsutsubega wellfields, construction of a water treatment plant, andadditional storages commenced in February 2021 and it is planned to becompleted in twenty-four (24) months.

The Design and Building of Mmamashia Water Treatment Plantcommenced in November 2020 with the design phase. The project commenced in March 2021 and it is scheduled to be completed by October 2023. The project construction phase is now 21% against the planned 22% completion.

The other major ongoing project is the North-South Carrier (NSC) 2.3, a potable water scheme intended tofurther distribute water from Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant toGaborone. The project commenced in November 2020. Progress for the threecomponents of the project as at end of February 2022 was at 64%, 65%, and 70% completion for Contract 1, Contract 2 and Contract 3respectively. The completion date for the project is May 2022.

Lobatse Water Supply Master Plan also commenced in November 2020. The project involves the construction of a water transfer scheme that conveys potable water from Gaborone to villages in the five constituencies ofLobatse, Moshupa – Manyana, Goodhope – Mabule, Ramotswa, andMmathethe – Molapowabowang. The project progress as at end ofFebruary 2022 was 73% and 52% for Package 1 and Package 2respectively. The completion date for the project is May 2022.

Molepolole (Gamononyane) – NSC Connection, commenced in October 2021 and is planned to be completed in April 2023. The project is running on schedule. Goodhope Water Supply – Phase 2.2 (connecting 32 villages in the Goodhope Sub District) was awarded in February 2022 and it is expected to commence in March 2022.Selebi Phikwe Serule Water Transfer Scheme is progressing well, as at end of February 2022 progress was 21% against plan of 25%.

PROJECTS AT PROCUREMENT STAGE

Minister Mzwinila told lawmakers that a number of other major water projects are currently at various stages of procurement in preparation for contracting awarding in 2022/2023: The three contracts under the North-South Carrier (NSC) 2.2 being: Contract 1 – Masama to Mmamashia Pipeline; Contract 2 – Mahalapye toMasama Pipeline; and Contract 3 – Palapye to Mahalapye Pipeline are attendering stage.

The other projects that are earmarked for commencement in 2022/2023 are; Thune Dam Contracts, Kanye Network Rehabilitation, Maun Waste Water Treatment Plants, Maun Satellite Villages Connections, and Molepolole Water and Sanitation. Pre-qualification of the bidders for the proposed Glen Valley Wastewater Reclamation Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project was completed in June 2021. The shortlisted bidders have been issued with Request for Proposals so that they can submit technical and financial proposals for implementing the Project. The tender is currently running and will be closing by end of March 2022.

Tender for Transaction Advisor for Chobe Zambezi Water Transfer Scheme(Pandamatenga to Gaborone) which will be implemented on PPP basisclosed in November 2021. Evaluation of the submitted tenders has beencompleted and the appointment of the Transaction Advisor for the Project isexpected to be done by end of March 2022.

Boteti Southern and Central Cluster of villages Water Supply Scheme is at tender evaluation stage and expected to be awarded by June 2022. The project is meant to improve water supply and quality for the villages of Mokoboxane, Kedia, Rakops, Mopipi, Xhumo, Toromoja, Mmadikola and Xere. Sowa Water Supply Scheme is at the initial stages of procurement and it is expected to be awarded by September 2022.

Under the World Bank-supported Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency programme, is also the Letlhakane and Mambo wastewater and sludge management projects.A feasibility study has been completed for Mambo Wastewater Treatment Plant and the process to procure a design and build contract for refurbishment and upgrading of the treatment plant has commenced while expansion of Letlhakane Wastewater Treatment Ponds is at tendering stage.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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