Property magnate Sayed Jamali says what he has for people of Tlokweng is just love and appreciation and nothing sinister as some people want to portray him.
Jamali is battling accusations from various quarters that he is illegally taking land from Batlokwa and undertaking developments in Tlokweng without following proper procedure. In an interview with Botswana Guardian this week Jamali said people are twisting issues with the intention of tarnishing his name.
“I am not the enemy here. All I want to do is to develop Tlokweng because people of Tlokweng have accepted me as one of their own for the past 40 years I have been here. This is why when I think of any development I think Tlokweng and no other area. Tlokweng is my home and I will continue to bring developments to the area to benefit this beautiful community,” said Jamali on Wednesday.
The soft-spoken businessman explained that the recent outburst by some people regarding the construction of a road and bridge that connects Gaborone with Tlokweng was stirred by people who do not know what is going on. He also dismissed recent media reports that due diligence was not done when undertaking the project.
“Everything was followed to the letter. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report has been submitted to Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conversation and Tourism. The delay for the construction of the road and the bridge was due to the fact that Kgosi Puso Gaborone had taken some time to call a public hearing regarding the construction.
“The public hearing finally took place after 9 months and was chaired by Kgosi Kgolo. There have also been adverts on newspapers and notice boards as a way of engaging stakeholders in the matter. Department of Roads, Gaborone City Council (GCC), South East District Council (SEDC) and Tlokweng Landboard are all aware of the project,” said Jamali pulling out a file of documents to back his story.
The project is expected to cost Jamali between P10 million and P20 million. He said he had earlier wanted to construct the road which is 2.4 km and the bridge under Public Private Partnership (PPP) but could not manage as the Department of Local Government and Technical Services referred him to SEDC. The ministry of local government expressed appreciation for Jamali’s initiative in a letter dated December 15th 2015 but indicated that such a proposal should be submitted to the SEDC.
“I had wanted to engage in a PPP initiative so that I could recover the money and build other developments, which is why when this failed I proposed for toll-gates so that revenue could be realised and be used for other projects. The toll-gates initiative also failed which is why I decided to go solo on the project and help Batlokwa.
“This road which connects Gaborone and Tlokweng via University of Botswana will reduce traffic congestion into and out of Tlokweng. People would have alternative routes rather than flock one road in the morning and in the evening,” he said. Although it had rejected the PPP model and opted for public tender, SEDC expressed gratitude for Jamali’s gesture.
During a meeting of July 20th, 2017 at Notwane Primary School in Gaborone, it was indicated that the proposal for the construction is done as corporate social responsibility initiative. It was to coincide with the company (Universal Builders Botswana)’s 35 years of existence in Botswana. According to Jamali he had wanted the construction completed and handed to government before Botswana celebrated 50th independence Anniversary.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the project included a bridge, connection of roads between the proposed bridge to the existing Tlokweng road network and existing road near UB Academic Hospital (from Maru-a-Pula). Gaborone City Development Plan 1997-2021 also states that, “a road link between Broadhurst and Tlokweng should be constructed. The proposed alignment should be from the ‘T’ intersection on Limpopo road opposite Motshaba close.
Its direction should be towards the Gaborone Game Reserve.
“Thereafter, the alignment should change in the direction between Game Reserve and Lot 61298. At the end of the Game Reserve boundary, that the alignment changes into the corridor between Village BDF and Game Reserve boundary. This is intended to improve the problematic east to west network observed during the report of the survey.”
Tlokweng Development Plan 2001-2025 also indicates that there is a poor link between the Northern part of Tlokweng and Gaborone as well as settlements to the North. It further states that also missing is a by-pass road for through road traffic which needs to necessarily pass through Tlokweng built- up area.
It is in this regard that Jamali thought he could assist. Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism has since given Jamali’s company Universal Builders Botswana a go-ahead to start site establishment, temporary access road and other preconstruction activities.
According to the letter dated June 13th 2018, the company is allowed to start such activities whilst awaiting the EIA authorisation. “You are therefore permitted to undertake
vegetation clearance, setting of offices and storage areas including electricity and water connection, preparation of temporary access and surveying and installation of pegs. Actual construction of the bridge shall commence after the approval of EIA.” Tlokweng Landboard also held a meeting on the 23th of July 2018 to discuss progress on the ongoing project according to a letter dated 18th July 2018.
Jamali revealed that this is one of the many projects he intends to bring to Tlokweng.
He said he wants to build a mini hospital as he did with the stadium. He explained that he is also engaging in an expensive agricultural project of green technology.
“I have started with Moringa and have told the neighbourhood at the farm to prepare their land for Moringa.
The Agricultural facility we are putting up will be used to teach Batlokwa about agricultural green technology which will benefit the community a lot and create jobs. That is what I want for Tlokweng to create jobs for the community,” he said.