Items filtered by date: Friday, 05 October 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Friday, 05 October 2018 16:39

BOPEU ship sinking

Former President of Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) Andrew Motsamai says he feels for the union members as it is clear the ship is sinking.Motsamai who is currently entangled in a legal dispute with the union has indicated that even his sacking as Babereki Investment Executive Chairman was not business prompted but had everything to do with political wars at the union of choice.

Motsamai had slapped his former employer with a demand letter for payment of more than P2.1 million and interest at the rate of 10 percent. Babereki Investment would later issue a counterclaim for more than P 43 million. Motsamai has so far been paid more than P1, 2 million by his former employer following the termination of his contract last year.

Motsamai has been accused of contravening Section 127 of the Companies Act during the period December 2016 and before by overriding the decisions of Babereki Investment as he allegedly acted without the approval of the Board in respect of various transactions that Babereki Investment engaged into with third parties.

Speaking to Botswana Guardian in response to the just released BOPEU Consolidated Annual Financial Statement for the year ended 30 June 2017 and Babereki Investment Audit Report, Motsamai says the audit report has vindicated him because there was no wrongdoing found on his part. According to him his dismissal was not done for the good of the union but his colleagues had a political agenda.

“Right now there is a huge mess when you go through the BOPEU Consolidated Financials. During my time of more than 10 years as president of the union this was never experienced. “I mean what happened to the close to P1 million? It is only that my colleagues did not share the same vision and strategy for the union and its business arm with me,” he pointed out.

The financials prepared by Ernst and Young Auditors indicate that some of the payments to third parties amounting to P939, 918 were not supported by adequate documentary audit evidence. It has also been revealed in the report that the union investment subsidiaries (the Group) has not consolidated investments in subsidiaries; Babereki Ka Lorato Funeral Services and Future Sustain International that the Group acquired during 2016 because it has not yet been able to determine the fair values of certain subsidiaries’ material assets and liabilities at the acquisition date.

“The investments are therefore accounted for on a cost basis. Under International Financial Reporting Standards, the Group should have consolidated these subsidiaries and accounted for the acquisition based on provisional accounts. Had Babereki Ka Lorato Funeral Services and Future Sustain International been consolidated, many elements in the accompanying consolidated financial statements would have been materially affected.

“The effects on the consolidated financial statements of the failure to consolidate have not been determined. There are no effects on the separate financial statements. The Group’s payment parties amounting to P939,918 which are included in the administrative expenses and donations in the Statement of Comprehensive income as amounts of P86, 124, 341 and P3, 528, 408 respectively were not supported by sufficient appropriate audit evidence to confirm the occurrence and measurement of the recorded expenditure,” the auditors noted.

“There was no system of internal control over such payments on which we could rely for the purpose of our audit. Owing to the lack of accounting records, we were unable to confirm the occurrence and measurement of this expenditure by alternate means. Consequently, we were unable to determine whether any adjustments to these amounts or profit or loss may be necessary,” the auditors stated.

The impairments of the subsidiaries according to the report have now negatively affected the value of both BOPEU and Babereki Investments by close to P50 million. Motsamai wondered how the subsidiaries could be written-off if they have not been audited to determine their performance. He said he never sat in any of the subsidiaries as a board member. “I could not supervise subsidiaries during my time because they had their own board members.

Those boards are the ones that should be supervising their management. I mean how do you write-off a subsidiary like African Wild Lodges and Safari Pty ltd which is making a lot of money in the tourism industry?” he wondered. “BOPEU has three lodges in the Ngami area where they all charge in US Dollars rates from USD 750 per night which translate into P7 500.

The only investment I could say I made bad judgement was Future Sustain International but can you be judged just for one investment gone wrong and people write-off other investments?” asked Motsamai. He revealed that the implication of having the BOPEU audit report qualified is that they have a tough time ahead for any lender or funder to consider them if there is a problem with internal controls.


Published in News

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Advocate Duma Boko has expressed optimism that very soon his party will be able to have a Parliamentary candidate for Gabane-Mankgodi.Gabane-Mankgodi has been allocated to Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) as a contracting partner. BMD has failed to secure a candidate for the constituency.

Primary elections in the area for a parliamentary seat had to be postponed as no one from the BMD had expressed interest for the constituency. Addressing the media recently regarding the constituency, Advocate Boko said in no distant time there will be a candidate who will represent them in the 2019 general election.

“We have Major General Pius Mokgware who is a sitting Member of Parliament. Majority of councillors are from UDC. We have our friends out there whom we have nothing but love for them. Currently we do not have a candidate that we can announce, we do not want to rush things,” said the UDC leader. There has been talk that UDC is trying to recruit Mokgware back to its fold.

Mokgware is also Alliance for Progressives (AP) Chairman and Parliamentary candidate for AP in the constituency. Mokgware in July this year revealed that he would be working with UDC councillors in the coming 2019 general election to retain Gabane-Mankgodi Constituency.Maj. Gen. Mokgware stated that the UDC councillors are very hard working and that he was prepared to work with them and encouraged electorates to vote for them in next year’s polls. Gabane-Mankgodi has ten (10) Wards.

AP has one (1), Gabane South West while UDC has five wards. Contracting partners Botswana National Front (BNF) has three (3) - Tsolamosese, Gabane North West and Gabane South East; Botswana Congress Party has one (1) - Gabane North East and BMD has one (1) – Diagane, commonly known as Mogoditshane Block 9. Botswana Democratic Party has four, being Mankgodi South and North, Metsimotlhabe and Lesirane.

Maj. Gen Mokgware told a press conference at his office in Gabane village at that time that he had a good relationship with the UDC councillors and he was prepared to join forces with them next year. He said the intention is to ensure that the BDP does not win the constituency. According to Mokgware, as it has been his party’s stance, he also believes in opposition unity.

“I am confident that we would be working together in 2019. We believe in opposition unity as AP. Even though there is a party position, as an individual my position is that having worked with these councillors and the relationship having been healthy we would have to work together for 2019.

“We need each other and I would not see anything wrong in endorsing them. We would definitely work with other like-minded opposition parties. Even though I cannot tell you what type of model we would use, I am confident that we would be together,” he stated at the time.

Published in News
Friday, 05 October 2018 16:24

Ian Khama speaks

While supporters of President Mokgweetsi Masisi are waxing lyrical about the president “fixing the country”, his predecessor, former president, Dr. Ian Khama is defending some of the decisions he made while at State House. Amongst the decisions he is defending is the closure of the BCL mine. When Khama made the heavily critised decision to close the mine, Masisi was his deputy. Currently Masisi’s government is exploring ways of re-opening the mine.

Although there are signs that his government erred when they closed down all operations of BCL mine, Khama still vehemently defends the decision stating that the mine had turned expensive to mine and unprofitable.He said in interview with Botswana Guardian last week that P1bn was about the last payment that government stood guarantee for and “we were told BCL will be coming for another P1bn.” 

He revealed that government could have spent that or even more over BCL because the state of the mine itself and the commodity prices have been so low. The mine has not been able to generate enough revenue to sustain itself for development and recurrent expenditures hence government continuously had to bail them out, he said.

“That is why other people who were involved as shareholders saw the writing on the wall, not that we did, but we kept the mining going because we knew that if BCL was ever to be closed the impact of Phikwe and the surrounding areas would be quite significant,”Khama said, adding that they got to a stage where it was no longer justifiable to be “using public funds trying to keep something afloat which was never going to come out”.

“You may want to think that it was not a good decision because of the impact on the workers lives and the local community, but when we look at the amount of money and public funds which are for everybody that we were pouring into BCL and we were expected to put more, plus the mine was getting more and more unsafe the older it was getting and you know months before that people had died inside that mine.”

 According to him a lot of money was needed to modernise the mine as it was getting deeper and deeper and the life of the mine was getting shorter and shorter. Said Khama, “So the writing was on the wall we had to take a decision. I can tell you as long as I was in government we knew that the mine was going to close one day”.

Khama says for him it would be interesting to see if anybody can walk in there and take over the Phikwe operation as we know it today. “They are going to put in a lot of money and they want their money back,  the only way you get the money back is by selling the commodity and if the commodity price is depressed you are also going to make losses.

“So we looked at other things, there was the smelter because you can smelter for other mining corporations and that could be quite a viable thing to undertake, so there are different aspects that can probably be taken over but that needed a lot of money,” he said.
On why the Arabs who looked promising changed heart at the last minute, Khama said when you are not on the ground and you hear about something and you do preliminary investigations, you will think maybe there is an opportunity.

“But, when you then come and do a more detailed survey of what it is you want to take over, it hits you and you realise that this is going to be a big undertaking, what the benefits are, because everybody wants to make profit. So when you do the sums and you realise it is not going to work you obviously pull out.

“They were also looking at issues of Agriculture and maybe a cargo hub for the region.  I do not know what was going to be their anchor as they may prefer to have an anchor. Maybe it was the mine and if the mine did not come through they realised that the others were not worth pursuing.”

On other issues Khama denied accusations that he is involved in active politics. “I am not involved in partisan politics, when I went to Bobirwa, no one was wearing red and I was not too. It was not a political event, there were no BDP slogans, and we only spoke about the launch,” he argued, adding that parties do not launch trusts.

He said when it comes to politics he was invited to attend the rally of Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo during the Kgatleng East by- elections. However Khama argued that he is still a member of the BDP and members have obligations and one of them is to support the party come elections. Asked about his relationship with President Masisi, Khama simply said he has no comment. “You just asked a question which I think the answer is obvious,” he said.

Pressed further on the issue Khama said, “I do not want to rush, that is a very important question and it needs a serious and maybe a bit of a lengthy answer. I do not want to rush it and maybe say a wrong thing or you write the wrong thing. I would rather just take my time and explain.”   Khama flatly refused to give a comment on Masisi’s presidency.

“I  do not know even if I had time, I want to answer that question because one way or the other whatever one thinks, should I be commenting on his running of the country, is that a nice thing to do?” he protested.Among his many government caps, Khama is the Vision 2036 Champion, the Tourism Ambassador and the Patron of the Arts and Culture.

Although he regularly addresses Kgotla meetings as a Bangwato Kgosi , Khama says he will not be  taking over  on fulltime basis because it won’t be appropriate that, “I just go get another salary job from government.” Khama says he will just interact with Dikgosi from the central district with Kgosi Kgamane and whenever they want to call on him to engage with them, he is available to do that. “But sitting and doing tribal administration, I will not be doing.”

Published in News

Attorney General Dr Abraham Keetshabe has said that he is not aware of any task team that has been set up to look at possible constitutional review.The purported review was alluded to by Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Eric Molale in response to a motion by Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse calling for a review of the constitution.

Parliament rejected the motion. When appearing before Parliamentary Public Accounts, Dr Keetshabe who is the Principal Legal Advisor to Cabinet, said he was hearing news of a constitutional task team for the first time from the committee.When probing the Attorney General, Keorapetse wanted to know if the minister lied to Parliament.  “There was a motion in Parliament calling for review of the constitution.

The minister then stated that something is being done. He said there is a task team working on something. So I want to know as legal advisor to the executive, what is the progress so far,” asked Keorapetse. In response, Dr Keetshabe said he knew nothing about what the legislator has mentioned. “So the minister lied,” interjected Keorapetse to which Dr Keetshabe stated that as far as he knows he has not rendered any advice to government to review the constitution. 

The AG revealed that it is not his role to determine any policy but once the policy is put before him, he advises accordingly by giving effect and meaning to the policy direction that government wants to take. He expressed ignorance of a recent statement by President Mokgweetsi Masisi that the time has come for the constitution to be reviewed so that the president will have powers to choose members of his cabinet outside Parliament.

When presenting the motion in Parliament, Keorapetse had acknowledged the drafters of the current constitution and its role in moulding the country’s democracy, but emphasised that the motion was more focused on cumulating the country’s democracy.  He said democracy was a continuum, which like a tree, needed to be nourished and watered to ensure its democratic consolidation.

He said the 1963 to 1964 constitutional talks in Lobatse were dominated by colonial masters and chiefs and few representation of political parties as there were only two political parties then. The 1965 constitution, he said was a template constitution, which was given to Batswana by the then colonial masters, adding that it cannot be referred to as a public policy as it does not reflect divergent views of various members of the society.

The motion to review the country’s constitution, he said, presents an opportunity to legitimise the constitution and empowers Batswana to have ownership to their own constitution as they were not fully involved in the constitution draft in the colonial days.

Published in News

The unpleasing educational results in the Kgatleng district have compelled Bakgatla royals to intervene as community leaders in order to restore the situation to normalcy.The royalty led by the regent, Kgosi Bana Sekai were roped in following a request from the Morafe and some parents who approached Sekai and asked him to intervene as they believe that their children at Molefi Senior Secondary School are not being sufficiently prepared for their final examinations.

Kgosi Sekai confirmed that indeed he met and had a meeting with the Education leadership in Kgatleng where the issue of non-performance and poor results in the district was raised. “Our meeting was prompted by the fact that I was approached by parents whose children are attending school at Molefi.

At the meeting we decided that we should come up with a road map that addresses all issues to help improve the results. Our agreed ideas are likely to be implemented at beginning of next year,” he said. Kereng Koko, Regional Education Officer also confirmed meeting Kgosi Sekai.  “He (Sekai) called me to alert me of the situation. I did meet with the school head and his deputy alerted them of the parents’ complaints and or concerns.

I asked them to improve their supervision and we are still monitoring whether there will be any improvements,” said Koko.Meanwhile BG News has reliably learnt that the Molefi Secondary School principal has since written to his employers informing them of his intention to retire. Molefi parents are the second within the Bakgatla tribe to show concern over poor students’ results as well as demand that action be taken for those responsible.

Early this year the parents of Sedibelo Junior Secondary took the war directly to the education ministry succeeding in one instance to force the removal of a junior secondary school head teacher for non-performance.

Published in News

The beautiful Karabo Winnie Moalosi has been endorsed with a new title, Miss Africa Botswana, of which she will represent Botswana in Jo’burg on November 24th.She is not new to pageantry and modelling, but holds a few titles under her name. The 22 year old Moalosi told BG Style that her dream is to bring the coveted crown home and therefore needs everyone’s support on this.

The beauty queen says that this has been good news to her ears and she is doing all in her power to raise money for her transport to Joburg where the grand finale will be held. This endorsement is actually a dream come true for Moalosi. “I have always wondered how other ladies do it, to reach the greatest heights, but now I am a testimony of a higher title.

I have always had a one million dollar question on my mind if I will reach that far but God just did it for me and I am so excited about it”. Moalosi told BG Style in an interview.She is ready to face other contestants from across Africa, as she has been on international stages before. Just last year, Moalosi was crowned Miss Botswana Bikini model and she was also crowned the Face of Summer 2018, in March in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

She says the secret behind her success as a mode and a beauty queen is believing in herself.She is thankful to the famous faces of pageantry and modelling in Botswana, Mpule Kwelagobe and KaoneKario, who she says have inspired her journey in this industry. “I have always looked up to these two beautiful ladies from a tender age and with my slim body I have always believed that I would make it one day.

I looked up to Kario as a model and Mpule as a beauty queen and now I have the two in me and I am forever proud of these ladies,” explains Moalosi.Moalosi will host a models seminar on November 3rd, as part of raising funds for her trip to Joburg. This seminar she says will feature some international models like Ben Chest from Zimbabwe and Arcacia Molatudi from South Africa. The seminar is also a call to all aspiring models and beauty queens.

Chest is an award winning international male model, actor, king presenter and businessman while Molatudi is an international female model and an experienced beauty queen.Moalosi is confident that local aspiring models will learn something from these two models as they boast lots of experience in the field. The seminar was also inspired by the feedback that she gets from the public.

“I always receive messages from people asking me to mentor their kids and friends on modelling, so I found it worth to do that through this seminar because I felt it would be easier to guide, advise and provide all the relevant information that they need about modelling and pageantry.

“Some people wanted me to coach them, so I thought this seminar would be beneficial to a group of people who need it,” she said. Moalosi is in need of $300 or P3000.00 for registration fee before October 10th, and has to work hard to find it, since the ministry can’t fund her. She welcomes any form of support to represent Botswana.

Published in Style
Friday, 05 October 2018 15:48

Big adventure at Terrafou Safari Lodge

Terrafou is Botswana’s hidden secret in the middle of the African bush. The lodge is Botswana-owned and located right on the banks of the mighty Limpopo River at the Tuli Block.It boasts lovely woods, all green landscape, well-kept self-catering chalets, decent food and hospitable staff. The place was indeed home away from home.

I went there with my family where we enjoyed our two day-stay during Independence. It is well kept and the staff was very helpful and taking good care of us. The chalets are convenient as they cater for children as well. According to the manager Priscah Makgwathana, the place has been in existence for over 30 years.

At first, it was a holiday home for a Denmark fellow who has since sold it to other shareholders. It would later be turned into a hunting area and later a place for tourists. The lodge is surrounded by tranquil lawns, lush gardens and the reviving breath of air.

Wildlife at Terrafou
 Safari Lodge
We went on a game drive with the zealous guide Freeman Kaisara Lephole. He explained a game drive as rather ‘the beauty of nature and not just seeing wild animals.’ The refreshing sight of the bush was in itself therapeutic. 

Terrafou lodge covers an area of approximately 4300 hectares consisting of a mix between bush veldt and hillocks. In the river we saw hippos and crocodiles. A variety of antelope can be found roaming the area including kubu, elephant, lions, impala, waterbuck, steen buck, duiker and gemsbok. Other animals include zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, warthog and an abundance of different bird species.
 
Terrafou Hunters’ Camp
- Deluxe rooms
Hunters’ Camp consists of 3 double houses each housing two double rooms. All rooms have private facilities and air-conditioning. The camp itself has an outdoor covered dining area, splash pool and a platform stretching out onto the river from where we enjoyed a sundowner and the beautiful nature.

Terrafou Middle Camp
– Deluxe rooms
Middle Camp consists of three double houses each housing two double rooms. All rooms have private facilities and air-conditioning. The camp itself has an outdoor covered dining area, splash pool.

Terrafou Old Camp
 - Standard rooms
Old camp is a little bit more primitive but has a lovely atmosphere. This camp also consists of two double houses with two double rooms in each. Each house share a bathroom. The camp itself has an outdoor covered dining area as well as a splash pool. 

The food was also tasty and credit should go to KabeloMabelebele and his gifted team for delicious cuisine, especially those herb-spread dumplings and chicken stew. We are definitely going there again soon. The peace and quiet and the enthralling beauty make it worth another visit.
 

Published in Style

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