Government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLG&RD) continues to inject millions of pula’s annually to fight the persisting extreme poverty in the country. This is the Ministry that oversees sixteen local authorities and semi-autonomous local authorities categorized into city, town and district councils inclusive of tribal administrations.
These institutions are decentralized to facilitate the Ministry’s development programmes and services at local level. They foster local democracy and governance while also promoting social welfare and economic empowerment of disadvantaged groups.
A new report, Mapping of Programmes under Botswana’s National Social Protection Framework, says there are twelve social protection programmes that this Ministry oversees.
Under the Department of Social Protection, the programmes are Community Home Based Care, Destitute Persons, Old Age Pension, Orphan Care and Vulnerable Children as well as World War Veterans.
The Department of Community Development is responsible for Constituency Community Projects (CCP), Ipelegeng, Early Childhood Development, Remote Area Dwellers Programme and Poverty Eradication Programme. The report says that the Department of Procurement oversees Primary School Feeding and Vulnerable Group Feeding Programme.
The Destitute Persons programme is based on the National Policy on Destitute Persons of 1980, which was revised in July 2002. The objective of the policy is to ensure that government provides minimum assistance to the genuine destitute persons.
According to this report, government budgeted over P350 million for destitutes between 2016 and 2017, while in 2018, the budget reduced by P50 million to stand at P300 million. Due to global economic crisis and the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, Botswana’s budget for this programme remained the same for two years (2019 and 2021). The year 2022 saw government put only P250 million for destitute’s welfare.
The Community Home-Based care is defined as the care given to individuals who are terminally ill in their own homes cared by their families, supported by social workers and other social welfare providers to meet spiritual, material and psychosocial needs with the individual playing a crucial role.
The programme provides monthly food basket prescribed by a government dietician and nutritional needs of an eligible patient (oral tube feeding patients get food worth up to P1200.00 while non-oral tube feeding get up to P500.00).
Budget allocation of this programme’s beneficiaries for the year 2021/22 indicates that for three years consecutively (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19), P150 million was used. In 2021/22, the budget was increased enormously and doubled to P300 million.
Constituency Community Projects (CCP) Programme was introduced in 1978 as LG 17 which was later changed to LG 1109. The overall objective of the programme when introduced was to improve the economic and social welfare of the people in the urban and rural areas. Over the years, it was limited to villages and recognized settlements.
This programme currently covers 57 constituencies and each of the constituencies were allocated P10 000 000. 0 annually between P2017/18 to 2019/20. In 2020/21 the figure was reduced by almost half to P5 263 158. 00. Statistics on the number of community members engaged through the programme (by contracted private companies) were not available.
Introduced in 2012, Poverty Eradication Programme (EPP) intends to deliver economically empowered individuals and families, enhanced self-esteem amongst beneficiaries and prosperous, productive and innovative individuals. The form of service provision is cash transfer of P15 000 for individuals and groups.
In this report, it is indicated that the Remote Area Dwellers Programme (RADP) is one of the oldest social development programmes addressing challenges faced by remote area dwellers. The programme strives to bring about desired change in socioeconomic, cultural, political and other developments.
RADP is implemented in all the 69 Remote Areas Communities (RACs) in Kgatleng, Kweneng, Southern, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, North West and Central.
Ipelegeng is also one of the oldest social programmes that provides short term employment for Batswana while at the same time implementing projects as per the National Development Plan (NDP). The total cost of Ipelegeng is P528 609 298. 00 per year.
RADP HOUSING BUDGET AND NUMBERS OF HOUSES CONSTRUCTED
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.
â€śBotswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,â€ť says Dr. Kwape. He wouldnâ€™t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.
â€śWe 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,â€ś 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 â€śGovernment 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.â€ť
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.
â€śSADC 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,â€ť 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.
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 deceasedâ€™s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.
Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrateâ€™s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.
â€śThe third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,â€ť 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.
â€śYesterday, 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,â€ť 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 12thÂ 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 (Astonâ€™s children) are staying.
â€śThato 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,â€ť 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.
â€śI 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,â€ť 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.
â€śPhillip 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 Mallâ€ť the Investigation Officer told the court.
He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the â€śunknown callerâ€ť and the route of the cell number.
Furthermore, the fourth accused,Â 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 6thÂ of next month
Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.
Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.
To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.
â€śWe spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine â€“ that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,â€ť said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.
Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herderâ€™s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.
“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,â€ť said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).