The looming trade dispute between Botswana and South Africa has escalated with some sections of that countrys government weighing a number of options.
South Africa through the Western Cape department has said that it intends to hold talks with role players in private sector within Botswanas agriculture industry as part of interventions on import bans by Botswana.
Initially, it was only the South African private sector which has spoken out about the decision by Botswana and Namibia to close their borders to some of vegetable imports from South Africa.
Now, the Western Cape Province has waded into the issue and is recommending that instead of dealing with the issue at national level or through diplomatic channels, other options or interventions should be explored.
Daniel Johnson, the spokesperson for Western Cape Provincial Minister for Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, indicated that better coordination and collaboration can speed up the process of resolving Botswana and Namibia’s ban on South African vegetable exports.
For this reason, the participation of key role players from different spheres of government dealing with market access issues is essential to speedily identify and resolve market access challenges, he said.
Urging for Namibia and Botswana to reopen their borders to allow the importation of fruits and vegetables, Johnson said while trade diplomacy is facilitated at a national government level with the partner country, leveraging the relationships that the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) has established through its commodity approach model could streamline processes to speed up discussion among role players.
Informed by the commodity approach model, the WCDoA has signed agreements with various industries, including the vegetable industry. These agreements aim to ensure private sector participation in developing and advancing the agricultural sector and should be leveraged for our agricultural exporters’ benefit, said Johnson.
He added that; In the interim, the WCDoA will continue its various market development activities to expand in other potential markets in Africa in collaboration with the private sector.
Botswana and Namibia have recently prohibited the importation of several types of fruits and vegetables in an attempt to protect local producers. In fact, Botswana has blocked South African exports of tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, chilli peppers, butternut, watermelons, sweet peppers, green mealies and fresh herbs since the beginning of this year.
South African agricultural body AgriSA, which represents the majority of farmers, says these bans are against existing trade agreements.
AgricSA noted that Botswana and Namibia’s recent unilateral decision to block some fruit and vegetable exports from South Africa is unfortunate and contradicts the existing Southern African Customs Union (SACU) trade agreement.
South Africas Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza is yet to respond to calls by AgricSA to intervene after Botswana and Namibia blocked certain South African agricultural imports. The organisation believes the move was in violation of Southern African Customs Union Agreement.
We are all part of SACU and there are rules that we would have agreed to, said AgricSAs Christo van der Rheede adding that South Africa had done no wrong but Botswana and Namibia sought to promote their own agricultural sectors.
Johnson said in 2021 the Western Cape’s total vegetable export to the SACU totalled R268 million, with seventy-five per cent of this destined for Namibia and Botswana.
He said import tariffs and non-tariff barriers continue to represent critical barriers to South Africa’s agricultural exports. Importantly, they should never become arbitrary or unjustifiable. However, when they do, they pose a discriminatory challenge for an export market, countering the benefits of a duty-free trade formed through customs unions or regional economic regions, he said.
19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College
The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.
Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.
Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.
Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.
The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.
In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.
BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more
The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.
The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.
Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.
In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.
The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.
The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.
As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.
In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.
Childrenâs summit to discuss funding of NGOS
One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrensâ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th â 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.
A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the childrenâs agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.
According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil childrenâs rights and welfare.
âChild Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,â said Chepete.
The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.
In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled âState philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,â in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.
âCivil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,â argued Dipholo.
He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.
âA consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,â said Dipholo.
In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.
He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.
Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.
Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.
However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.
âWe recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the countryâs development agenda,â said Modukanele.