The Gaborone International Meet (GIM) line up stands to be further weakened should some of the local top athletes compete at the Penn Relays scheduled for April 25 to 27 in the United States. This is the same period that the GIM will be hosting the 2019 edition of the local meet.
This week, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Vice President Kenneth Kikwe confirmed that they have already submitted a list of the 4x400m men’s relay team that will compete at the Penn Relays. Kikwe named a five-men squad of Baboloki Thebe, Boitumelo Masilo, Leaname Maotoanong, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Nigel Amos as the team that will compete at the Penn Relays. Coach Justice Dipeba has been assigned to lead the team as coach. He noted that only Isaac Makwala has declined the invitation preferring to participate at the local event of GIM.
Quizzed on why BAA would prefer to withdraw athletes from GIM with only two weeks left to the event, Kikwe explained that the turnout of events left them between a rock and a hard place. A decision he said had to be reached even though it would probably rub some the wrong way.
“We received invitation to compete at the relays just recently and it was through our long time technical sponsor Nike; with that, after weighing all available options we felt there was need to compete at the Penn Relays,” Kikwe said. The BAA vice president noted that they could not afford to burn bridges by disobeying a plea by Nike. He explained that BAA is struggling to secure sponsorships and should they lose the confidence of Nike, they will be back to a very hard and lonely place.
He noted that they have nothing against GIM and actually re-negotiated with Nike as they (Nike), wanted Botswana to send the entire national team to the United States. “At first they requested we send a team of both the 4x100m and 4x400m including the ladies side to the competition however we explained of the clash and discussed until they obliged,” he said.
Kikwe went on to say that not only are they pleasing Nike but they want to improve chances of the team qualifying for the Olympics by competing in more international competitions. Botswana has not participated in the Penn Relays since 2011 and Kikwe believes that the competition will be used to prepare for the 2019 World Relays to be held in Japan next month.
The 2019 edition of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays will serve as a qualifier for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships scheduled for Doha and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “We really have to improve our chances of qualifying for the Olympics and be ranked and that can only be achieved if we compete in many relay competitions,” he said.
He further admitted that the organizers of GIM are not impressed with the outcome of the events and somehow might feel that BAA is not playing fair. The founder of the meet, Glody Dube when reached said that BAA confirmed in a meeting that the athletes would not be available at the meet. Nevertheless, some athletes he said have approached him saying they do not wish to compete in the United States but were coerced by BAA.
Dube noted that he is just waiting to see what will happen, “With the BAA announcement, this means that should the athletes not leave for the Penn Relays and wish to run at GIM, there will be no appearance fees secured for them and it would be unfair on the athletes,” he explained. He added that he has written a letter to Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) seeking intervention on the matter. BNSC, he said is yet to respond to the matter.
For a positive change, the ladies senior national football team, the Mares, have the nation all pumped up ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifier games.
Life has undoubtedly been breathed into the once struggling Botswana ladies side. The Brave Gladiators of Namibia can attest to the fact that the current Mares’ form is nothing they have experienced during any of their previous encounters. Coach Gaolothoo Nkutusang’s side left Namibia all miserable and kicked to a very lonely place in a period of five days. During the first leg of the Olympic qualifiers played in Gaborone this past Friday, the Mares walked into the pitch oozing with nothing but clear confidence.
The cool breeze emanating from the fast approaching winter season sent chills down the spine even before the game started. Perhaps indicating that, what was in store in the 90 minutes was not anticipated.
From the whistle blow, the local side made their intentions clear and it did not come as a surprise when Refilwe Tholakele eventually found the back of the net to silence any hopes of Namibia pinning Botswana to a goalless draw. All breathing gaps were entirely blocked by team Botswana and the Namibians found all their ball tricks fly off the window as they desperately pushed for an equalizing goal. The audience interestingly had not disappointed either, the attendance was quite impressive and perhaps the ladies picked the positive energy and converted it to a performance of blazing ferocity.
When playing a return leg of the game in Namibia this past Tuesday, the local girls cemented their bold statement that they mean business. An early goal from the Gladiators did not anyhow dampen their spirits, and if anything, the ladies came out fiercer than ever. Namibia had at the back of their minds anticipated that they would use the home ground advantage. It all came falling down when Botswana equalized the scores to tie the Brave Gladiators to a 2-2 score line. This meant that the Mares on aggregate, qualified for the next round of the Olympic qualifiers. It is an achievement that the Mares have effortlessly worked for. Namibia has in the past been a pain to deal with and for more than a decade; Botswana has never been able to penetrate the Namibian defence.
It is victory that will surely go down the history books and perhaps a new era for Botswana football. Given the dullness that had engulfed women football locally, an improvement in performance can perhaps lighten up the mood. The ladies are eagerly hoping to gain the recognition that has surrounded men football.
Nevertheless, Botswana will once again be forced to prove that the stellar performance against Namibia was not a fluke. A tough assignment in South Africa’s Banyana Banyana awaits the local ladies in the next round. There can never be any better time to once again challenge the menacing side of Banyana Banyana. Botswana’s last encounter with the South African based side was during the 2018 COSAFA group stages.
Banyana Banyana had at the time struggled to break the Mares defence and just when SA thought that they were nearer to netting more goals, goalkeeper Sedilame Bosija of Botswana proved to be another hurdle Banyana Banyana was never ready for.
Bosija blocked every little chance of SA scoring and even denying them a clear given penalty. It was only in the dying minutes of the game that Botswana handed their opponents their much-needed goal.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) regional coordinator Setete Phuthego has confirmed that they have procured an alternative kit for Sankoyo Bush Bucks to use this weekend, in case their supplier repeats the first leg antics.
A week ago, Sankoyo was forced to play in an alternate kit against Sua Flamingoes in Francistown. 90 min Plus, their supplier was said to have failed to deliver well on time. Phuthego said that Simon Ramosweu of 90min Plus when reached, told them that he was currently out of the country and will be returning on Thursday. “We could not trust that he will come back and give us the kit, lest we find ourselves in an impossible situation, we could not afford to let the matter disrupt the games for the second time,” he noted.
The team is scheduled to play Jwaneng Galaxy in Maun this coming weekend.
According to Sankoyo Spokesperson, Thato Molosi, they are in the dark about the whereabouts of their supplier who they say is not even answering his phone when contacted. “We are running around looking for alternatives and the possibility is that we will play using a kit not from our supplier 90min Plus,” Molosi said. It seems there is an ugly standoff between Sankoyo and 90min Plus. In fact, BG Sport can reliably confirm that Sankoyo are looking into terminating their contract with 90min Plus. The contract was only signed in January 2019 and already both parties feel frustrated.
Ramosweu when contacted said that he does not want to share his grievances with the media and will only channel his concerns to the right stakeholders being Orange and BFA. Meanwhile, the unimpressed Orange Public Relations and Social Media Specialist Mosarwa Molema washed his hands clean from the matter, saying it is a team-supplier issue. Molema said that there is something cooking between Sankoyo and 90min Plus.
“We cannot be entangled in teams and their supplier issues, the two parties have answers to this and I actually blame Sankoyo for trusting 90min Plus with the responsibility of delivering the kit,” he said. Molema expressed worry that should Sankoyo once again come to the field of play without the kit, it would negatively affect the brand. He said it was worrisome that a team comes to compete not properly dressed and if the Francistown scenes come to play once again, the possibility of Sankoyo forfeiting the game would not be a far-fetched option.
Once again, the Orange FA Cup returns this coming weekend with another round of exhilarating football fanfare, upsets and the exit of eight teams from the 2019 tournament. The million-pula question, however, is who amongst the 16 teams will bite the dust as the heat intensifies coming into round three of the Orange FA cup.
The battlefield will be away from the lavish bright green grass but the dusty fields for many teams participating in the tournament. It is only the stone hearted that will survive the blurred vision. Based on the fixtures, it is hard to tell who is most likely to come out victorious however one of the games that will probably spark public interest is that of Orapa United and Sand Diamonds Club of Hukuntsi.
The game will be played at Tshane Prisons Grounds giving Sand Diamonds a home ground advantage. Fortunately for the Hukuntsi based side, they have been saved the trip to travel to Orapa, which might have worked greatly against them as they come into the game as underdogs.
Playing against an elite league giant like Orapa is perhaps one of the most intimidating moments for a second division team of Sand Diamonds. Just the thought of having to break the thick walls of experienced players like Ommatla Kebatho, Mpho Kgaswane, Kobamelo Kebaikanye and Lemogang Maswena to name a few is enough to squash all the Sand Diamonds gathered confidence.
However, Coach Thabo Phori of Diamonds will have to develop a thick skin and try to put out his best show. Having survived round one and two of the tournament could only suggest that he has a pool of bold and defiant players that can take the game to a whole new level when playing Orapa.
Another interesting clash is that of Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Jwaneng Galaxy. Both elite league teams come to play in a very foul mood. Sankoyo has not been doing well this season while Galaxy is busy trying to paint the team as the next best hot thing to have ever happened to Botswana Football. In fact, they are actually doing a good job so far in claiming the bragging rights.
Sankoyo might be down but defiantly not out, the Maun based side actually has a stubborn attitude towards local big teams. Sankoyo can gladly receive serious drubbings from developing teams however always pull from all reserve tanks against big opponents.
With that, Galaxy might just as well prepare for a very electrifying and challenging game in Maun. Nevertheless, Galaxy also can equally decide to humble Sankoyo at whistle blow and totally destroy all tactics and weapons formed against them.
With the defending champions, Gaborone United out, Township Rollers is one of the teams that are expected to chase the gold title. However, they will have to break the barrier that is Extension Gunners. The match that will be played in Lobatse will see Rollers flex its muscles to eliminate Mapantsola from the competition. Mapantsola are one unpredictable side, Coach Pontsho Moloi as one of the youngest coaches locally is thirsty for blood. In his efforts to mark his presence, defeating Rollers will decorate his portfolio well.
On the other side, Mochudi Centre Chiefs (MCC) will travel all the way to Jwaneng to play against a first division south team of Jwaneng Fighters. MCC will have to prove that they are the bigger team coming into the match however there is no telling how success hungry Fighters will react once provoked at home soil.
Other games scheduled for the weekend are that of Kazungula Fighters against Tafic in Kasane, BDF XI will play Notwane in Molepolole. BR Highlanders against Security Systems and Miscellaneous up against Police XI in Serowe.
The celebrated fashion designer, Gert Johan Coetzee maintains that a wedding is the biggest red-carpet moment for any couple, deserving all elements complementing each other.
From the food, the décor, the grooms suit and even the venue, the song, the rhythm must be complementary. Coetzee was in the country this weekend at the invite of the Grand Palm Hotel, and he was the guest at the hotels annual Wedding Expo. He says that those who wish to create everlasting memories on their big day should start planning in advance, and take care of all the nitty gritty details of a wedding. This, he says will set them for a perfect wedding day.
Speaking on the side lines of the expo, which was also coupled with a one of a kind fashion show, courtesy of the partnership between the hotel and the Fashion Without Borders brand, the versatile designer chatted about this and that with Style on Saturday evening. Earlier during the day, he had an interesting conversation with the public who came to the expo to learn about new wedding trends. On Saturday evening, he showcased six intricate and beautiful wedding gowns. The ballgowns were just beautiful, and spoke volumes about his talent, and what he can create for his many diverse clients from across the world.
One of these six ballgowns included a wedding dress that was worn by Larona Moagi who plays the character of Itumeleng Mokoena on the River, a telenovela that airs on 1Magic on DStv. In the TV show, Itumeleng wore the dress when she wed Zolani (real name Lawrence Maleka) at a beautiful ceremony. Besides dressing Itumeleng, many would remember that he was also the mastermind behind Minnie Dlamini Jones' wedding dress.
For as long as many can remember, Coetzee has been the most trusted hand when it comes to dressing the one and only Bonang Matheba. The relationship between the two spans many years. When Queen B turned 30, Gert did not disappoint. Talking about the ball gowns, he explains that they were all show stoppers, and pointed out that people would love them. Taking us through the process of creating a masterpiece of a show stopper, he explains that it takes him months to bring one to life. In total, together with 7 or 8 other team members, it takes eight months to breath life into one masterpiece. “It is very expensive to create one,” he tells Style.
He also says that whenever he has to create a show stopper, he tries to capture the personality of a client. Besides his second visit to Botswana, he notes that he has been busy with the annual South African fashion week, as well as an exhibition in Sandton of some of his most iconic dresses. The eight dresses include Queen B’s iconic 30th birthday dress, as well as Miss Universe SA's is dazzling gown. The gown was made with hundreds of crystals and is a vision of a dream, as well as Minnie’s wedding dress. “Social media is going crazy about this exhibition,” says Gert. Besides his exhibition, he shares that he has a lot of bride clients from Botswana.
Quizzed by a local fashionista, Loungo Andre Pitse about the level of fashion in the country, and his thoughts during the three-day event, he gushed that Botswana has a lot of talent. He also noted that the quality of work displayed by the designers who showcased was outstanding. “They have given me a run for my money,” he gushed.
A wedding, and finally walking down the aisle is not as easy as some would like to think. Finally, walking down the aisle and marvelling at the final product that will wow one’s friends and family takes months, and for some a year or as much time as it takes before the bridal couple can smile and exclaim that, this is it.
Dresses, décor, cakes, entertainment, food, dessert, venue and even graphic designs of small but important things that range from menu, invitation cards, table numbers and so much more are just what make a wedding what it is. This past Saturday, one of the leading resorts in Gaborone, Grand Palm Hotel hosted their annual Wedding Expo. This year, the Grand Palm Hotel had partnered with the Fashion Without Borders, and the expo was a culmination of three days of exciting events that included a fashion exhibition, wedding expo as well as two thrilling nights of fashion shows.
The wedding expo affair provided many with an insight about latest wedding trends. Exhibitors ranged from décor companies, wedding cakes and desserts, wedding planners, and more. Something that Style learnt at the event is the fact that the dripping cake is the in thing now. The cakes that were shown on the day gave many a glimpse of what many prospective brides would be opting for this year. According to Batish Nchini of Celebration Cakes, wedding trends keep changing every day. She says that clients were now getting excited over naked cakes, and that some were running away from big cakes to small cakes. Others, she says, were intrigued by a dessert table.
“Right now, clients are going for dripping cakes,” she says. She also notes that her company is doing something unique and decorating cakes with fresh flowers, caramelized popcorns, Oreo’s and even marshmallows. She further said that when it comes to décor, people were now interested in Chameleon chairs instead of tiffany and phoenix chairs which used to be all the rave. Also trending right now, she says are gold glasses. “As décor companies we are constantly buying and trying to keep up with the times,” she notes. Speaking with one of the exhibitors, Melanie Harmse of Mystique Bridal Services Botswana, explains that her company specialises in a number of services that include invitation and RSVP Cards (online), save the date cards (online), seating chart, order of the day, table card, menu cards as well as welcome poster.
The company also provides décor and bridal services. Based in Phakalane, she explains that something that sets them apart from other companies is their unique offer to their clients; a website page for their special day. The company was established two months ago, and for those who are looking for the perfect dress, it is the go to company. “We can also custom make your dream wedding gown,” she says. She further says that they hire and sell wedding dresses and advises that clients or would be brides should opt to hire instead of buying dresses. This, she says, is cost effective. She also says that they have dresses for different clients, from budget to high end. “We are a one stop shop and we offer clients with almost a complete package except for catering,” she says.
Another exhibitor who is offering clients with a sweet tooth of an array of beautiful creations is none other than Sunflower Desserts. The company was created in 2016, and specialises in wedding cakes, desserts, cupcakes, dessert table and birthday cakes. Speaking with this publication, the company representative, David Matabane explains that for clients who are interested in procuring their services, they start off with a consultation which will determine the client’s budgets and needs.
He also explains that in their dessert options, clients can choose delectable pancotta, cheesecakes, malva pudding, chocolate mousse and trifle. The company, he explains does not only targets weddings but also caters to individuals and corporate clients. The company is run by his sister, Nametso Senwelo who is a trained professional.
Recently a good friend to yours truly announced that she was planning to come to Gaborone. The German friend, Victoria Schneider is presently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. A dear friend and sister, the news about her latest visit was kind of funny. Since her first visit to Botswana, she has flown and used a bus, but what she was proposing this time around was surprising.
She was planning to ride her trusted bicycle from Johannesburg to Gaborone. Last week, the topic about the impending visit came up again and this time, it seemed like she was really serious. Schneider and a group of ecstatic cyclists were planning an adventure that would seem impossible to cycling virgins. So, on Wednesday, Schneider confirmed that indeed, they had started what would turn out to be a three- days journey to Botswana. The colourful group is made up of ten cyclists, two women and eight men. Around 1730Hrs on Friday afternoon, they crossed into the Botswana border.
They are a complement of different backgrounds including a restaurateur, an entrepreneur who is always hunting for opportunities, an urban farmer and bee keeper, renewable energy guru, to mention but a few of their jobs, proving they are just a bunch of regular lives, after all.
Tired, and still nursing some aches and bruises from the 380 km quest the eclectic group met with Style on Saturday at the Grand Palm Hotel; to share more about the motivation behind this ‘impossible’ dream. The group comprises of two Germans, unknown to each other until the trip, a Zimbabwean who was tasked with maintaining the Bikes, namely Prosper Mlilo who had to turn back at the border due to issues with his passport, a Portuguese (Bruno Lopes) and South Africans. The colourful and jovial cycling buddies, without a real formal name, complement each other.
You have Thembalezwe Mntambo, the quiet one, and very friendly and then there is the group leaders namely Senzo Mncadi and Mofihle Molaba, who all bring different dynamics to this group. All in all, everyone here has a place, and the array of character traits that they display all adds to the dynamics of this lovely and unique buddies. Other members include the jovial Kganyapa Kganyapa, Mangaliso Masuku and Lesego Button Konupi. Sharing the vision of the group, Senzo Mncadi explains that the group are mostly from the Maboneng City Riders, which comprises of close to 200 members and other riding communities are also represented. The objective is very simple, do what they love which is cycling and tour different places while they are cycling. “We want to explore and are seeking adventure,” he says.
To date, they have cycled to different provinces in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana was their fourth country. In all the places they have cycled to there is a funny story that accompanies the adventure. What is adventure without a funny story, anyway! Take for instance, their Swaziland trip; they somehow found their way right inside a national park, and only realised this when they saw a board that read beware of lions, a scary moment that however, did very little to deter them from continuing with their journey.
Now back to the Botswana maiden trip. On the first day of the trip, they covered close to 140 kilometres, a difficult task. It was on day two that the dynamics of the group and their personalities kind of split the group into two along the way, between Koster and Zeerust towns. For starters, the group does not agree that they had planned to cycle through the N4. Somehow, the group split into two groups, the first group made up of Motlatsi and Schneider took the N4 head on, while the other eight trusted ‘GPS’, as they were hoping for a short cut, only to find themselves in a dusty trek in between farms.
The two groups had to endure lonely time on Day two and were missing each other so much throughout the 100 km that they covered that day. The big group had to contend with trying to cycle on dirt road which really challenged them. Eventually, they were rescued by farmers who gave them a ride in their bakkie, a 40 km sub-trip that could take a whole day to be narrated on its own. Until this point in the story, the group has been on the same boat about the trip, but it appears that some were still unhappy about the decision to split into two groups, and it took a bit of time before they eventually let go.
As fun as it appeared from the outside, the journey challenged them to the core. And they are very open about the fact that their bicycles humbled them, that part they all agree on. The terrain, they say, was not as easy as it looks. Take for example, between Magalies and Koster, that is when they started to really feel that this fun joy ride was a mission and a half. But they had a mission to accomplish which was to cross into Botswana, and so they soldiered on, leaving no man behind.
Funny enough, they narrate how at some point they were so happy to see a board of a Caltex garage, and were hoping to rest and get some refreshments. You can imagine their shock, when they arrived, to find the garage closed. “This meant that we had no place to buy refreshments and water,” recalls Henrike Bachem, one of the two females in the group. But she says that what made this journey amazing was the fact that they shared whatever they could, and worked as a team. For Bachem, who is on a three month trip to South Africa from her home in Cologne, Germany, she surely has some beautiful memories and stories to share with her family.
According to Mncadi, Day three saw them doing more climbing. “Everyone was strong and Henrike had an injury but still continued with the journey,” he says. Bachem adds that this was a really amazing experience. “We were challenged physically and mentally,” says Mncadi.
He also notes that there was a point where Bachem would have loved to nurse the injury but couldn’t. He also notes that one of their highlights was the support they received from the community along the way. Motorists hooted and waved at them as they passed them. On their arrival in Gaborone, they lodged at Hana Bed and Breakfast in Village and did some sight-seeing in the city. On their way back to Johannesburg, they opted for public transport, and departed at 1400HRS on Sunday. One of them had misplaced a passport, which they eventually found. So, what is next for the cycling crew? they are in talks with the Gaborone cycling club, and mulling about cycling to Zambia and Namibia,
Founder of Fro Crowns BW, Goabaone Dinama developed interest in caring for natural hair, after she witnessed her own mother’s hair affected by other relaxer products. “My mother used to have thick bushy hair, but cream relaxers ended up damaging her scalp and ended up with a patch, which is now recovering because of my Fro Crown products,” she tells BG Style.
This whole situation made her to develop interest in natural hair, and in 2017, she started being a best friend to the internet and googled a lot of Do it yourself (DIY) material. She shares that this is when Fro Crowns was born because she started using all the products that she formulated on her own natural hair and it worked wonders.
“At first, I would just apply anything to my kinky hair and used a lot of heat to straighten and enhance it with different styles, little did I know that heat also damages African hair,” says Dinama. She added that research shows that hair relaxers leave African hair dry at times, and makes it to easily break out.
When she started making her natural hair products, she started with a Gro oil named ‘Marula herbal infused Gro’, which she started sharing with family and friends before she started expanding and commercializing her products because of the positive feedback.
“A lot of people started showing interest and I realised that I could solve a problem for a lot of other ladies out there, especially that many were now embracing natural hair than before,” She says adding that nonetheless, people still lack knowledge on caring for natural hair.
“People believe that natural hair is difficult to maintain, but this is just a perception. Once one has found the right products for natural hair, they just enjoy keeping their hair because gone are the days when one couldn’t even think of how to style natural hair,” she says.
Not having a sponsor did not stop the 27-year-old Dinama as she tells BG Style that she had to knock at every salon and ask for containers which she re-used with her own brand whilst awaiting funding to elevate to the next level. Her products were tested and beside the local market she is reaching other SADC countries and as far as Ireland. She admits that she loves natural products including skin products.
For her hair range, she so far has; shampoo bar, butter cream, Marula herbal infused deep conditioner and she also looks forward to releasing kids range in no time. Her skin products include; honey and rooibos face bar and Moringa and Shikakai facemask. She says that both the African skin and hair deserves indigenous care products to look amazing than to depend on harsh chemicals that may end up causing damage.
Mascom Live Sessions never cease to amaze, as the long anticipated show by Ringo and the local act, Lizibo went accordingly this past weekend as people flocked for the show.
Despite the not so clear sound, people seemed to have enjoyed the entire show from the time when Lizibo electrified everyone with both his voice and super dance moves. On that cloudy, chilly night people came to enjoy the night not bothered by the ‘what if it rains’ question. Very often, Mascom Live Sessions are crowded by the young people, but it seemed that Ringo and Lizibo changed the expectation this time, as families and older people came in to watch the two stars of the night.
It was a chilled session in which some elderly came with their camp chairs to relax and listen to the soul soothing music by the two artists. “Ringo reminds me of the good days of my life that I had growing up and there was no way I could miss this show,” said one of the attendants. “I have never been to Mascom Live Sessions before, but when I heard that Ringo would be in Botswana, I made sure that my schedule was cleared so that I could attend, and I do not regret coming here. It is a simple chilled night for me and Ringo’s songs humbled me. He has a magical voice,” said Gofa Mere.
A lot of people also applauded Lizibo, saying that the man is incredibly talented, and he never disappoints on stage. His recent song, ‘Mosadi o ntshiwa di-out e seng dikeledi’ also resonated well to a lot of people, especially women who said it is a song with a meaningful message in this era of Gender based violence. Everyone cheered, sang and danced along as he performed.
The sophisticated artist simply masters his art of music; let alone how he dresses up for the stage. Just like it is a norm for the local act to take the stage first, after he did his part, Ringo followed and continued giving people what they have long anticipated. His popular song, ‘Sondela’ also gained the show the momentum as everyone appreciated it.
Botswana Oil Limited is buoyant that the regulator, Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) will have a positive second thought on its exclusive petroleum import license which it rejected nearly a year ago, Botswana Guardian understands.
Mid last year, BERA which is headed by Rose Seretse gave the company’s application for exclusive import of all petroleum and petroleum products thumbs down, arguing among others that Botswana Oil does not have financial and operational capacity to handle the pressure that comes with the license. Nonetheless, the company did not take the regulator to court but rather decided to engage with the parent ministry on a way forward.
When responding to this publication acting Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Oil, Meshack Tshekedi said they are upbeat a solution will be found, once and for all as far as the license is concerned.
“Ever since the license rejection we have been engaging BERA to look for a common ground and understanding and ways they can facilitate the license,” said Tshekedi. He was speaking on Wednesday from Doha, Qatar where he is part of a delegation of Botswana Investment and Trade Centre’s trade and promotion mission in the oil rich country.
Like the previous Chief Executive, Willie Mokgatlhe, Tshekedi is of the opinion the license should be granted to enable the state-oil company to transform the multi-billion Pula sector and create opportunities for citizen companies. Botswana Oil was established to support the government in achieving two broad national economic objectives of ensuring the security and efficiency of fuel supply to as well as promoting active citizen involvement in the petroleum industry.
Tshekedi, who is tipped to succeed Mokgatlhe in the company’s hot seat disclosed the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security is supporting them in their quest to get a license, which will effectively bar multinational oil companies from buying their supply from outside.
They will instead buy from Botswana Oil. However, BERA appears to doubt Botswana Oil’s readiness. “Botswana Oil has not submitted a business case in support of the proposed changes in the current arrangements for importation of petroleum and petroleum products in the country, therefore making it difficult to assess the costs and benefits of the proposal,” said the authority in its 8th May 2018 decision that rejected their application. Accordingly, it is this failure by Botswana Oil to state their financial readiness to be the sole importer, that the application is based on speculation, said BERA.
By law, any application for this license, Botswana Oil included, is supposed to provide evidence of their financial capability, but such information was not provided when the application was lodged. Back then, Mokgatlhe told Botswana Guardian that Botswana Oil is financially-ready to become the only importer of petroleum products in Botswana. He said, for every litre of petroleum products purchased by consumers, Botswana Oil is entitled to 17, 5 thebe. This allows the Gaborone-based company to go into the open market to raise cash if the need arises.
The former Chief Executive also revealed that the company, which has been registered privately, has also agreed with Omani Trading International to supply it with petroleum products on credit basis. “This is a done deal (referring to the Omani),” he said confidently. Omani Trading specialises in selling, marketing and supplying crude oil. Botswana Oil, which was established in 2013, resubmitted its application for the license last month.
Botswana’s petroleum industry which is worth billions of Pula and dominated by multi-nationals such as Pula Energy, Engen, Total among others. In the long term, Botswana Oil is expected to roll new fuel filling stations especially in underserviced markets.