The Women in Politics movement has called into question the impact of the Sexual Offender register. The movement which comprises women from different political parties in Botswana has revealed that it was recently denied permission by the Office.
It expressed disappointment at the Presidencys decision not to grant permission to march and the present its petition, on the 31st March. Botswanas Parliament has since passed a motion to create a mandatory sex offenders’ registry and ban sex offenders from working in institutions that deal with children and gender based violence.
In the petition, the movement said while it was aware that there is a Sexual Offenders register, an Inter-Ministerial Committee on GBV and a toll free number assigned for reporting violence, it however does not see or hear much about these processes, what they are doing, the reports gathered from the processes and most importantly, the impact they are having on the scourge.
The petitioned signed by one Tshimologo Dingake from the movements secretariat added that We believe the processes and procedure dealing with GBV are not at the level of dealing with a pandemic, as GBV is in our society.
The petition states that In our commemoration of the Month of Women, We the Women in Politics would like to raise our concern about Gender Based violence in our country.
We are concerned about the killings, the rapes and the violence that we feel have degraded the dignity of the woman and the girl child in our society.
Women in Politics said gender based violence, according to statistics, is primarily perpetuated in families and between intimate partners, often exposing and endangering children. Citing a survey by the World Population Review, the petition says Botswana is reported as the number one rape country in the world.
The UN Women states that one in three women reports having been exposed to violence in their lifetime. GBV threatens to tarnish Botswanas reputation of a peaceful country, but most concerning, the violence endangers the lives and degrades the dignity of women, and children, especially the girl child, the petition says.
Women in Politics said while it is normally concluded that the main cause of GBV is patriarchy, we believe that the major driver is inequality, which is caused by a gendered economy. They added that A gendered economy leads to economic disempowerment of women, creating dependency on men.
Citing GBV stories by GenderLinks,(2019), the petition says clearly show that 2 most of the women victims condoned abuse for long periods of time because they felt they depended on the perpetrators for support. It is also clear that an economy, where the face of poverty is a woman, leads to her being vulnerable to abuse, the petition says.
We note that there is the Domestic Violence Act, which we believe needs to be reviewed to make GBV a criminal offence. The Childrens Act protects children in cases of defilement, the petition says. The petition further states that We however believe the Childrens Act needs to be strengthened to improve access to justice adding that We are aware that implementation of these acts is also not effective as processing of cases take too long, giving no hope to survivors of violence.
Women in politics noted that the Penal Code, and observe that in terms of rape it has gaps and needs review to strengthen the justice system. Serial rapists are allowed bail and they continue their violation of women while awaiting trial. The justice system needs to be proactive to treat cases of GBV as emergency and priority. Stiffer penalties need to be in place, they said.
Proposing a way forward, they demanded for timely, effective and robust and urgent implementation of related Acts to protect human rights and the rights of Women and girls. We still repeat our call that: GBV is a pandemic in Botswana and has taken far too many lives of women and girls. GBV presents a major obstacle to attaining gender equality and equity, they said.
They also called on government to set up a commission of enquiry on Gender based violence, to give us insight and evidence as to the reason why our men are so angry at women they have turned into murderers and rapists. They also called for the review of all laws that discriminate against women, with special focus on customary laws that remain a serious barrier to womens emancipation.
In order to improve womens economic empowerment, we call upon government to unlock economic opportunities for women that include access to productive resources and employment opportunities, Women in Politics Botswana said.
They also called upon government to change the current electoral system to a mixture of First Past the Post and Proportional Representation system in order to increase womens representation in decision making structures of the country, especially parliament.
We want to give input to the process of creating laws, gender sensitive laws. In the meantime, and as a matter of urgency, we call on government to increase its budget contribution to a meaningful amount, in view of the spike in GBV cases, to address GBV as a pandemic it is, so that adequate resources, they said.
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.Â 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 BTCâs commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that âthe 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 Francistownâ. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that âthe donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTCâs commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industriesâ.
He further stated that through this marathon, âwe 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 societyâ. Â He concluded by stating that âBTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at largeâ he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that âhe is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathonâ. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the âCSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communitiesâ, 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.
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.
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.