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SEZA targets locals in robust job spinning move

In tandem with the government objective of making Botswana a high income economy, the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) is broadening its impact on stakeholders by proposing solutions that will ensure that those at the bottom of the economic ladder also benefit from the country’s envisaged progression.

SEZA is said to have been updating stakeholders including stakeholders on various projects that are likely to improve the economic standing of the country in the medium to long term projection.
A big role in the changing the economic landscape of the country will be played by the special economic zones (SEZs) because they will boost economic growth and its diversification.

According to SEZA, “SEZs present an investor-friendly business environment that supports timely company registration, the issuance of business and residence permits, and the opening of company and utilities accounts, among other benefits. We forecast an initial investment of $20m in SEZs, which is expected to drive economic growth, diversification, job creation and technology transfer.”

Whilst there has been the main challenge related to the development of SEZs is that many investors scaled down investment budgets following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, to attract additional investment, SEZA has come up with an initiative to ensure that SEZs offer prospective investors the same incentives found at other SEZs around the world.

Speaking to Oxford Business Group for the Botswana Focus Report, SEZA CEO, Lonely Mongara noted that potential for boosting local value addition and import substitution exists in the agri-business, water management, energy, financial services, applied ICT, health and general manufacturing sectors.

“The cereals, horticulture, meat, dairy and?agro-processing subsectors, in particular, are key to increasing value added and fostering import substitution. An abundance of land – coupled with a growing population, both locally and abroad – are factors underpinning agriculture’s potential,” he said.

The recent changes at the Ministry of Lands speak to some of the proposals made by SEZA to ensure that ordinary Batswana have total ownership of their land so that they can use it to play a meaningful role in agriculture beneficiation. To push this approach, family trusts will be encouraged hence Batswana can now possess title deeds of their masimo and other land assets easily. The trusts are more likely to be managed through village leaderships with the help of locally based lawyers.

According to Mongara, manufacturing is another sector with significant potential, particularly mineral beneficiation of diamonds and base metals. “Africa, and Botswana more specifically, is home to an abundance of minerals, the bulk of which are exported unbeneficiated. We are therefore on a beneficiation drive to maximise the potential of these minerals,” he told the Oxford Business Group.

SEZA currently supports efforts on nation branding, proper marketing of the SEZ offerings to potential investors, and a supportive regulatory and incentives framework are key to attracting investment. Mongara further told the Oxford Business Group that foreign investors will bring skills and knowledge to various areas in Botswana, which will be transferred to the citizens by way of employment, joint ventures and partnerships.

However this publication has been informed that experts have warned that should all the SEZA initiatives succeed, Botswana may be forced to import thousands of skilled people. There is speculation that the map of projects and companies coming in through SEZA would need close to 300 000 workers at their peak.

Mongara is of the view that SEZA recognises that investors are increasingly applying ESG principles in their analysis processes to identify material risks and growth opportunities. To this effect, the authority is committed to ensuring that the establishment, development and management of SEZs are ESG-compliant, he told the Oxford Business Group.

“In terms of environmental and social standards, SEZA ensures that the entire development process of its SEZs is compliant with the best international environmental and social practices. Meanwhile, the principle of governance will be upheld by key stakeholders in the establishment, development and management of SEZs”.

The sectors identified as key to driving economic growth are mining and mineral beneficiation; education; agriculture; ICT; health; automotive; cargo, freight and logistics; manufacturing; infrastructure; and financial and business services.

The SSKIA and Francistown SEZs, the coal value-added complex at Palapye, and?the mineral and metal beneficiation SEZ at Selebi Phikwe provide environments?for investors in these services to focus their attention and develop networks of?expertise that link industry knowledge with legal and financial acumen.

The SSKIA SEZ is almost done, with a few companies having indicated readiness to start operating in the medical, food and beverages fields and they are targeting the export market. Information gleaned from sources suggest that they will start operating before the end of the year.

“We have land reserved for pharmaceuticals at the SSKIA SEZ, but the zones will act like small cities,” Orekolotse Koloi, strategist and consultant at SEZA, told OBG. “There will be jobs for 8000 people and their families, and opportunities along the health and?education value chains.” According to SEZA, the zones also aim to attract companies that can improve Botswana’s capabilities in the downstream processing of raw materials to create value-added products for export.

Elsewhere, the agro-processing SEZs at Tuli Block and Pandamatenga, which focus?on horticulture and cereals, respectively, are instrumental in reducing the food?import bill, boosting food security in the face of rising climate and health-related?threats, and minimising poverty and youth unemployment in rural areas.

While there are no zones solely dedicated to improving human capital by raising health and education standards, each zone will function as a self-contained unit with opportunities to provide civic services. Meanwhile, there is a twist which will ensure that community clusters benefit in the agro-processing sector.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi is said to have pushed that SEZA should include these clusters as priority – and the first phase will include citizen centred clusters in Ghanzi, Phuduhudu, Lubu, Mosesedi, among others. They will get the same support offered to Pandamatenga. These clusters are expected to play a critical role in supplying the Lobatse Leather Park.

“Over time SEZA will be responsible for growing clusters, or connected networks,?of capital, know-how and talent in specific industries, and introducing SEZ companies?to the national and international networks necessary to grow their businesses,” Mongara further told OBG.? In November 2020 President Mokgweetsi Masisi told regional press that SEZA had?15 potential investors with an estimated investment value exceeding BWP10bn.

Government aims to improve the growth of its dairy herd and, therefore, reduce its reliance on imported dairy products by partnering with specialists in embryo-transfer technology. According to Mongara, as under the SEZ model adopted by China, the intention is that foreign businesses will share intellectual property and skills with local enterprises and workers.

“With this in mind, SEZA has issued policies that offer businesses the flexibility to import talented labour should it be considered necessary. Managerial development and skills sharing is a high-priority area as Botswana seeks to maximise the market potential of its SMEs,” he said.

On the other hand, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has a mandate to attract foreign direct investment and promote the country’s exports. The BITC has been seeking to develop new and existing gold, uranium, copper, nickel, coal,?manganese and other mined resources; as well as diamond trading, cutting and?polishing; jewellery manufacturing; and related services such as security, banking,?insurance, certification and brokerage.


BPS, Mosala Funeral Parlour butt heads over SA national remains

19th September 2023

A squabble has broken out between Pule Mosala Funeral Parlour and the Botswana Police Service (BPS) over the remains of a South African national who has been in the Mosala mortuary for more than nineteen months. The deceased was one of 10 suspects who were controversially shot dead during a lengthy shootout with law enforcement authorities in Gaborone’s Phase 2 early last year.

The deceased individual’s family based in Soweto, has encountered difficulties in repatriating the body which has been in the care of Mosala Mortuary Services. Following the incident, it has emerged that all 10 bodies were transported to PFG mortuary in Lobatse for a brief period while the police attempted to locate their next of kin.  It is reported that the families of the deceased were eventually identified and informed to come and identify their loved ones, including other South African nationals who were part of the criminal group. These families also witnessed the autopsy procedures conducted at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone.

Except for the family from Soweto, nine of the bodies were claimed and taken by their separate relatives. The Soweto family claims they lack the resources to bring the body back to South Africa and has made it known that they are looking for money. To end the supposed verbal agreement over the body’s storage for repatriation, Mosala Funeral Service has filed a case against the police at the Lobatse High Court.

According to Keakantse Mmotlhana, the company’s Sales and Marketing Manager, 10 people who were killed in Phase 2 by gunfire were all temporarily transferred to one of PFG’s branches in Lobatse by the police while efforts were made to find their next of kin. She expressed outrage at the statement made by the Minister of Defense and Security, recently.

After Assistant Police Commissioner Dipheko Motube called her office to apologize for giving the Minister wrong information during a news conference, she confirmed that they had accepted the apologies. He made it clear that one of the victims was still at Pule Mortuary in Lobatse.

Bushie Mosala, the director and owner of Mosala Funeral Services, confirmed that the body of a South African national has been in his mortuary for the past nineteen months. He expressed his desire for the police to remove the corpse from the mortuary, characterising the situation as a “nightmare.” He has instructed his legal team to file a lawsuit against the police in the Lobatse High Court concerning the body.

Mosala urged the acting Police Commissioner to come forward and apologize to the nation for the situation, asserting that the public has the right to know the truth regarding the body of the South African national, w

C -002Bhich was preserved by the police as evidence.

The South African High Commission in Gaborone had not responded to queries from Weekend Post at the time going of going to press.

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BOSETU frustrated by Gov’t new dispute winning strategy

19th September 2023

Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) has expressed alarm over a troubling trend by the government. Tobokani Rari, Secretary General of the BOSETU, stated that it appears that these days, whenever there is a dispute between workers and the government, the administration is fast to run to the courts to attempt and muffle unions.

“This is quite disturbing development, we have seen it with the Botswana Doctors Union, there was a disagreement over the shift allowance, government rushed to court, they indeed got order that was saying the doctors should go and do the work. We have seen it with the nurses, they rushed to court they got the order, we are now seeing it with the teachers, they rushed to the court and they got what they wanted,” said Rari, who also served as the Secretary General of BOFEPUSU.

Rari raised concerns that the government’s enforcement of teacher’s work, through a court order will result in reduced classroom productivity and morale. Rari added that this situation would negatively impact labour relations and teachers emotional wellbeing due to dissatisfaction in their work places leading to persistently poor academic outcomes.

“You can get an order that forces people to work, but what happens at work, it heightens emotions, it destroys relationships and the morale goes down and productivity does. Courts and judgments don’t solve productivity issues. Productivity only comes when people are satisfied at the workplace, so if you force them to work through a court order then you may not get the maximum out of the working population,” said Rari


“As you are aware, the Ministry of Education approached courts and they were demanding three things from the court in this case between BOSETU and the ministry. First, they were demanding that the joint letter that was written by BOSETU and Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) asking members to stop doing course work because there was no agreement be declared unlawfully and BOSETU should write to its members and withdraw that letter within 24hrs. The second thing that they were looking for, was to interdict BOSETU from further issuing any instructions to that effect going forward. Lastly was that court should hold BOSETU to pay the cost of the lawsuit on a punitive scale,” Rari said.

Rari stated that the court decided to rule in favour of the Ministry of Education on all three relieves sought, that the savingram should be declared unlawful, that BOSETU should withdraw the contents savingram within 24hrs.

Court also said BOSETU should not issue any of such instructions going forward up until the case of contempt that BOSETU has taken to court, the contempt of the 2009 judgment has been decided. Court also awarded cost to the ministry on a punitive scale.

“BOSETU is a law abiding citizen and therefore we are bound by any laws and judgments that are there in Botswana and arise on the courts of Botswana hence we have complied with the order. On the 31st after the court case, we wrote to all our members and told them that the contents of that savingram as far as coursework is concerned has been withdrawn,” said Rari.

Rari said what happened in this case is that the judge decided to listen to the urgency without the responding affidavits of the opposing party, BOSETU, and went on to rule the merit of the case, which surprised the union.

“However we have been in discussion with our lawyers because if we leave things like this, we feel like we cannot leave that unchallenged. We have taken a decision to appeal the judgment,” Rari confirmed.


“We would like to make our members aware that the following day after the judgment, we were able to meet the Ministry of Education and we have arrived at a conclusion that we signed an agreement that coursework rates will be increased by 5%. If court had ruled that coursework is the duty of the teachers’ means it wouldn’t have been any agreement after the court case, it tells you that the issue is still open and it is on the table. We have arrived at an agreement that there is going to be an increment on all components of coursework and invigilation,” Rari pointed out.

Rari further explained that Article 2 says union party is to submit detailed proposals on the intensity of the coursework for further engagement. Intensity of coursework means where the coursework payment starts in terms of varying from different subjects. He said the outcome based subject that are taught Maun Senior Secondary School and Moeng college which are agriculture and hotel and tourism is that ministry have agreed and acknowledge  that there are some peculiarity in their coursework and   therefore should be paid in line with the peculiarities that are contained in their coursework.


Rari pointed out the resolutions taken at the conference where the issue of application of corporal punishment was addressed.  “BOSETU will issue out a memo to their members to advise them that they should not apply corporal punishment, they should leave it to be applied in line with the Education Act.”


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BMC sees red as mass buffaloes disrupt plans to supply schools

19th September 2023

The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) which had struck a deal with the Ministry of Education to supply some schools in the northern part of the country is counting losses as mass migration of buffalos jeopardize the Commission’s plans. 

Information reaching this publication shows that the beef exporter was recently given the greenlight to supply government schools with beef. According to documents seen by this publication, as a result BMC had scheduled to buy and collect cattle in the Nata-Gweta and Boteti constituencies from 11 to 17 September.

This was after BMC and the Ministry of Education struck a deal for the former to supply government schools with beef. Letters exchanged between Ministry officials state that it has been recommended to the ministry to support BMC by allowing it to supply schools with beef products.

The Ministry indicated that it was aware that some schools have contracts that are currently running with suppliers such as local butcheries.

The Ministry revealed that at the same time BMC has 256 tins of frozen quality meat at its Maun Plant.

The Ministry requested the Director-Regional Operations to appoint an officer to manage the procurement of meat for schools that do not currently have running contracts. The Ministry further stated that Modalities of collection will be arranged between the region and the schools identified.

According to the Ministry, a list of schools including the condition of their cold rooms and their number of deliveries and kilograms per week they buy should be compiled. The Ministry also requested its officials to share the list with headquarters and the acting director-Basic Education, and engage BMC accordingly to procure.

But this plan ran into trouble after it emerged that between 300 to 500 buffalos migrated from the buffalo fence area to Nata, Dukwi and Mosetse areas.

The Department of Veterinary Services sprang into acting by revising movement protocol for cloven-hoofed animals with immediate effect following buffalo sightings in zone 3b which covers Nata/Sowa, zone 3c which is around the Dukwi areas as well as zone 6a, which covers the Mosetse area, which fall under zones, 3b, 3c, 5,6a and 8.

The Department of Veterinary Services indicated that as a result, movement of live cloven-hoofed animals and their products out of zones 3b, 3c, 5, 6a and 8 were prohibited and that movement of live cloven-hoofed animals within and into these zones is only allowed for direct slaughter at licensed slaughter facilities under veterinary movement permit issued through BAITS.

The department also indicated that the movement of fresh products derived from cloven-hoofed animals such as raw milk, skins and fresh meat into these zones is also only allowed under a similar arrangement.

Movement of live cloven-hoofed animals into these zones for rearing and other purposes will not be allowed, and farmers and the general public is requested to continue being vigilant and report any buffalo sightings to the nearest veterinary office, the police or the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, the department said.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture has stated that following the press release on prohibition of movement of live cloven-hooved animals and their products in and out of Zones 3b, 3c, 5, 6a & 8, the acting Minister of Agriculture Karabo Gare, his counterpart Acting Minister of Environment, Wildlife &  Tourism Mabuse Pule, acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Joshua Moloi, Director of Veterinary Services Dr Kefentse Motshegwa and other government officials visited the areas of Sepako and Dukwi respectively on a mission to consult with communities regarding the invasion of the places by buffalos.

Minister Gare alluded that they have been sent by the President of Botswana, who is equally worried by the current situation. He noted that the affected areas have a total of around 300000 cattle and if the situation goes unchecked, there might be detrimental effects on the economy of this country.

He encouraged the communities to help government going forward by reporting any spotted buffalos in their areas, emphasizing that buffalos are dangerous and can kill people and that care should be exercised at all times.

The Director of Veterinary Services mentioned that they closed the above mentioned zones to allow for testing of buffalos & cattle for foot & mouth disease. The wildlife department’s Director Mr. Moremi Batshabang assured farmers and the community that they will eliminate small clusters of buffalos found within communities and translocate larger clusters to ensure their safety.


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