Items filtered by date: Friday, 12 March 2021 - Botswana Guardian
Friday, 12 March 2021 11:57

LPG gas market dominated by foreigners

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) market arrangement is oligopolistic and still dominated by foreigners who rake in millions every year through imports, Lefhoko Moagi, Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security minister, has told Parliament.

Moagi said in response to a question posed by Shoshong Member of Parliament Aubrey Lesaso, that the local market currently has six (6) importers and ten (10) known distributors. Lesaso had asked the number of gas importers in Botswana; how many are indigenous Batswana Companies and how many are gas distributors or retail. Moagi said the retail space comprises of numerous small businesses that sell gas to consumers. Retailers range from those with cages of varying sizes to a small man in the street known as “bakkie boys”. The retail space is reserved for Batswana. Moagi named the importers as Afrox, Easigas, Tswana Gas, Air Liquide, Quick Gases and Simsa Gas.

He said according to information sourced from the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) website, only one company (Tswana Gas) has majority citizen shareholding at 57.4 percent and the other companies are foreign owned. Lesaso also wanted to know how much in volumes are these importers distributing, and how many of these distributors are indigenous Batswana and if the Minister does not see that as a monopoly. Despite the temporary closure of Quick Gases, the local gas market continues to operate efficiently, serviced by the other five importers. Moagi said they did experience some disruptions last year due to challenges in South Africa at the refineries but it was for a short time.

Therefore, there are generally no significant challenges experienced regarding the supply of LPG into the country. Moagi said all volumes imported into the country are filled into cylinders of varying sizes (9kg, 14kg, 19kg and 48kg) and distributed accordingly. The minister said information on shareholding of distributing companies sourced from the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) shows that Lobatse Gas Works is 70 percent citizens, Calvin Technology 100 percent, Salubrious 80 percent citizens. He said City Gas is 80 percent citizens, Seahorse Investments 100 percent foreign, BC&LM 100 percent foreign, Shanaz Gas 100 percent foreign, Viking Voyagers 100 percent foreign and Sefalana Tsabong Sefalana Holding Company Limited (100 percent), while Nari Gas information is not available on CIPA website.

Lesaso asked the minister to say what he is doing if the LPG market is found to be a monopoly; and how will he create an environment that will incorporate indigenous Batswana into the industry and further state the potential jobs the gas industry could create for Batswana in the value chain. Moagi said as the licensing Authority in the energy sector, Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) continues to ensure that Batswana are facilitated by way of granting licenses to operate businesses in the energy sector, including LPG.

He said that the licensing committee of BERA sits every Friday to consider license applications brought before the Authority. Furthermore, the minister said that Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) has been established as a government strategic entity to among other objectives ensure meaningful citizen participation in the petroleum sector, including LPG. Moagi assured parliament that his ministry through its strategic entities will ensure that Batswana companies are capacitated through awareness sessions on issues pertaining to running sustainable operations in the energy sector, including LPG. Lesaso had also asked the Minister to state the total volume of Low Pressure Gas (LPG) imported into the country every year and to categorise the volumes into domestic, commercial and industrial uses.

Quoting preliminary information collected by BERA for a market study that was commissioned by government, Moagi gave volumes of LPG imported into the country from 2010 to 2019 thus: He said in 2010 the volumes were 7, 929,400; 15, 893, 390 (2011), 16, 968, 147 (2012), 18,360, 119 (2013), 18,110, 695 (2014), 19,788, 244 (2015), 19, 749, 516 (2016), 20, 426, 337 (2017), 21, 805, 702 (2018) and 21, 712, 945 in 2019. Moagi said that information on disaggregated volumes according to domestic, commercial and industrial uses is currently not available. “This information will be sourced in future as more work is undertaken to assess performance of the sector,” Moagi said. The minister said the LPG market study will be ready by April 2021.

Among other things the study is looking into the market structure in terms of the value chain, market participants including company shareholding, pricing of LPG, investments into the sector, including ownership of assets, citizen participation, and safety and health issues pertinent to the sector. The LPG industry in Botswana has been unregulated over the years. However, Parliament passed the BERA Act in 2016 to regulate the provision of energy services including LPG in order to fully establish how the LPG industry has been functioning.

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Public Procurement and Asset Disposable Board (PPADB) is seeking Court of Appeal intervention in a case in which High Court Judge, Michael Leburu has ruled in favour of Cul De Sac Construction Company in the P450 million Tshesebe-Mosojane-Masunga Road tender.

Judge Leburu ruled that the P450 million tender be awarded in favour of Cul De Sac instead of Landmark Pty Ltd and Van and Truck Hire Pty Ltd. According to court documents Cul De Sac (Pty) Ltd, Bango Trading, Zebra Construction, Landmark Projects (Pty) Ltd and Van & Trucks (Pty) Ltd were the companies that made bids for the 51 kilometre road tender. In his judgment Leburu said Independent Complaints Review Committee had deliberately disregarded the tendering and procurement laws.

But Tshiamo Rantao’s (representing PPADB) bone of contention is that judge Leburu could have remitted the matter to PPADB and not to make a substitute order in favour of any company. In their grounds of appeal, PPADB said the judge has misdirected himself by ruling in favour of Cul De SAC in holding that the 4th and 5th Respondents supported the application, when the 4th and 5th Respondents actually opposed the substitution being sought. According to Rantao, the judge also failed to hold that there was no evidence of bias and/or connivance on the part of the Appellant at all. “The Judge was also wrong in holding that it was entitled to make a substitution order in favour of the 1st Respondent (Cul De Sac) on the basis that, the Appellant and the 3rd Respondent, having resolved that bidders should be re-invited to submit their bids, the 1st Respondent was inexpiably excluded from so doing without any reasonable explanation,” reads the court documents.

Rantao argued that since the judge said the PPADB and the 3rd Respondent (Government) had exhibited gross incompetence on the interpretation of the Invitation to Tender by initially contending that the tender was an Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) and subsequently vacillating by stating that it was not an ESP project; a substitutionary order was necessary because this was a developmental project dating back to 2016. Rantao argues that this was wrong. Rantao further said in fact, quite apart from opining that the 6th and 7th Respondent was not technically compliant, the court did not even discuss the compliance of the 4th and 5th Respondents even though these two were lower in pricing than the Applicant. He said in fact, on its version, the Court a quo decided not to even discuss on the technical compliance of the 4th and 5th Respondents’ because it made a clearly incorrect factual finding that “the 4th and 5th Respondents support the Applicant’s prayers for review and substitution.

“The Applicant is the only tenderer standing, in casu, hence a foregone conclusion that it be awarded the tender.” Rantao argues that this is patently and materially flawed; in failing to properly consider and/or make a proper substitution order based on the correct facts herein. He prayed for the Court of Appeal to set aside the decision of the High Court and to order Cul de Sac to pay the cost for both High Court and Court of Appeal. Justice Leburu in his judgement explained that to award the tender or recommend other companies other than Cul de Sac was irrational. The judge was clear that the awarding of the tender to Land Mark Projects and Van & Truck Hire was null and void in terms of regulations of the procurement. He pointed out that the successful bidders ought to have been disqualified at the technical stage of evaluation. Justice Leburu explained that the applicant was the only bidder who was technically compliant and should have been awarded the tender with a recalibration and revision of the pricing thereof, occasioned by the delay and price fluctuations.

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The clash between the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) seems to be further compromising the prosecution in the State versus Welheminah Maswabi otherwise known as “Butterfly” case.

DCEC is said to have told both DPP and DIS that they cannot interview Former Director of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Mabuse Pule over the issuance of passports to Maswabi as it is not part of their mandate. Pule is currently the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Member of Parliament for Mochudi East. The false passports are alleged to have been used to open offshore accounts and the prosecution is basing their case on the evidence of Pule. Maswabi is charged on two counts of possession of unexplained property, and false declaration of passport.

The DCEC is said to have maintained their stance at a meeting which was attended by DPP and DIS officials where they were represented by Joao Salbany and Keene Dick that it is the mandate of the police to investigate the false declaration of passports and interview Pule. They allegedly told DPP and DIS officials that they cannot be dictated to by any person how they should conduct their investigations and cannot circumvent their processes thus breaking the law in order to satisfy some people.

The false passports are said to be critical in the case of money laundering against Maswabi and the investigations into the P5.6 billion which is said to have been syphoned from government coffers. A Savingram referenced DPP1/2/30(C) I 22), STATE VS WILHEMINAH MPHOENG MASWABI-CMRRS 00006-19 (DCEC Assessment Docket N0. 508/2019) from Director of DPP Advocate Stephen Tiroyakgosi stated that DCEC was mandated to carry out investigations surrounding the creation of the passports. “It is important to have a statement from the former Director of Immigration to establish the role he played in enabling the issuing of this passport,” reads the Savingram. One of the passports that were allegedly used to open accounts and companies is said to be under the name Lorato Hilton which DPP said should be investigated.

“It is alleged that the same name Lorato Hilton was used to open a local company named Local Matter (PTY) LTD which is suspected to have been used for laundering purposes. We request that an investigation be carried surrounding that fact. It will support the evidence whether or not the passport was used for covert purposes,” said Advocate Tiroyakgosi. DPP has also raised concern over the DCEC failure to take witnesses’ statements on investigations surrounding the offence of possession of unexplained property by Maswabi. “Take note that the file we received from you does not include witnesses’ statements to speak to the documents, may those be obtained,” noted Tiroyakgosi in the Savingram dated 18th January 2021.

He added that there are witnesses who testify that they were instructed to override the system in order to be able to make the passport in the names of Lorato Hilton. “It is alleged that the passport was not handed over to the current Director General-DIS at the time when he was taking over the office. We need to establish the status on the where abouts of the passport and whether covert passports are a norm within the DIS. In the event that it is a norm, establish the rules and procedure that regulates it”. Documents seen by this publication indicate that there is an allegation that Maswabi owns and or controls the following property; Plot No. 11388 Tawana Gaborone; Plot No. 71077 North Park, Phakalane; Plot No. 2948 Extension 10 Gaborone; Plot No. 2401 Metsimotlhabe (sold to Bonnake); Plot No. 182 Mogoditshane; Plot in Artesia; Plot in Nkoyaphiri (leased to David Mathumo); Plot No. 70793 subdivision (to establish ownership); Plot No. 60407 Block 7 Gaborone; Toyota Fortuner B 313 AWD; Toyota Fortuner B 637 AOR; Nissan Navara B 279 AOH; Toyota Fortuner B 923 ANH; BMW B967 BBX.

According to the DPP Director it has currently been established that the accused person’s known source of income has always been her salary from her employment at DIS. It is therefore imperative to establish whether indeed she owns or controls the above listed property because if it is established that she does then it would be incumbent upon (her) to demonstrate how she could afford such properties given her known source of income”. DCEC Spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said they are not privy to allegations that the Directorate has refused to interview Pule over the issuance of passport to Maswabi.

“In any case your enquiry seems to relate to the false declaration of passport which is an offence under Penal Code and not within the mandate of the DCEC, therefore the said allegations if any is not true,” he said. DCEC rebutted allegations that they are dragging their feet in interviewing witnesses in the Butterfly case. Motshoganetsi confirmed investigations into the P5.6 billion allegedly laundered from the government coffers. “We can however confirm that the DCEC is in receipt of an allegation effecting that P5.6 billion has been syphoned out of government coffers, a matter which is currently receiving the DCEC’s due attention. Whether this relates to any particular person or offence is a matter to be determined by the investigations,” Motshoganetsi said.

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Friday, 12 March 2021 11:45

Rasesa bogosi dispute flares in the open

A group of disgruntled residents of Rasesa in the Kgatleng District has petitioned the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Eric Molale to “cancel forthwith” the appointment of Kagiso Buisanyang as Kgosana for the village. Buisanyang was appointed Headman of Record for Rasesa late last year, filling a post that had been vacant since 2015 after Samuel Kgwaripa’s contract expired.

The post was not filled for all this time on account of lack of funds. The disgruntled residents, who have annexed their signatures to the petition, argue that Buisanyang’s appointment was irregular and borders on illegality since it violates the provisions of the Bogosi Act (Section 22) and a longstanding tradition of consultation with the community before a Kgosana can be appointed. They say they were “shocked” when in October last year, when Headman, Kgosi Letshwenyo Rasesa informed them that the minister had appointed Buisanyang as Kgosana. According to the Ministry, Buisanyang will replace Rasesa when his contract expires in 2022.

The group notes in the petition that as a community they are aware of the hierarchy of their Bogosi and as a result have been ready to present to the Minister’s office the names of the “rightful person for the post for your consideration”. They say in the unlikely event of lack of consent by the community, they were prepared to have the “matter put to the vote”. Based on these grounds the petitioners want the minister to cancel the appointment of Buisanyang forthwith and allow the community to consult among itself and present the names of the “rightful Kgosana” to the Minister.

A Spokesperson of the Ministry, Masego Ramakgati confirmed receipt of the petition. He said the ministry is presently seized with the matter and will proffer advice at a convenient time. But Motshwarelela Kgosi of BaKgatla baga Kgafela, Kgosi Bana Sekai dismissed as preposterous the argument that the matter could be put to the vote in the event of lack of consensus on the names provided by the community. Kgosi Sekai, who was rebuffed by Letshwenyo Rasesa when, as an emissary of the minister, he presented Buisanyang to Headman Rasesa last year- said voting no longer exists in Bogosi matters in Kgatleng.

Rasesa chieftainship dispute spans over 30 years since 1984 when Raseipei Rasesa was appointed Headman through a vote at the Rasesa kgotla after years as regent (motshwarelela bogosi for boo-Rra Kgwarapi, who were recognised as the rightful heirs to the throne. Kgosi Mmusi Pilane (a regent for Kgosi Lichwe II) requested that Raseipei Rasesa continue as Motshwarelela Kgosi from 1982 until 1992 when again Mosekiemang Masekiemang was voted as Headman of Arbitration. He would later be dethroned when boo-rra Kgwarapi complained.

When the post was elevated to Headman (Kgosana) in 1992, Letshwenyo Rasesa (incumbent) was headhunted from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) allegedly irregularly and through the connivance of Olebile Samuel Kgwarapi, the late Edward Ramphaleng and Binang Mmakagaka , and has been Headman in Kgwarapi’s Kgotla ever since. The matter was however conclusively laid to rest in 2020 through a letter signed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Boipelo Khumomatlhare. The letter stipulated that Kgosi Letshwenyo Rasesa’s contract would run until it expires in September 2022 and that in the meantime the rightful claimant to Bogosi ba Rasesa, would fill the post of Headman of Records and ascend to Headman when Rasesa vacates office in 2022.

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Friday, 12 March 2021 11:40

Botswana resolute on fighting HIV/AIDS

The emergence of COVID-19 has burdened the health system and made the fight against HIV/AIDS heavier. However, the results of the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS V) are expected to enhance policy-making and planning.

Acting National Coordinator at National Aids and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA), Robert Selato says BAIS V survey has incorporated the COVID-19 pandemic and accommodated options for survey respondents to indicate for example, that they could not access health facilities because of lockdowns. The survey, according to Selato also has a portion on COVID-19 prevention and case management. Botswana government through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, NAHPA, Statistics Botswana, the US government, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, and other cooperating partners, are working together to implement the survey.

BAIS V is the fifth survey in a series of HIV/AIDS impact surveys conducted in the country, which has been an early leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Lead investigator, Dr. Manhattan Charurat from the University of Maryland Baltimore could not be more proud of Botswana. He said during the launch that Botswana is a global leader and model in the HIV/AIDS response and one of the first countries to adopt the HIV focus survey as an effective approach to the fight against the pandemic through the first BAIS in 2001.

“Botswana is also one of the first to adopt the ‘treat all’ approach as a way to fight the disease”, he said, adding that with Botswana surpassing the UNAIDS 90: 90: 90 target, BAIS V will provide the true picture of where the country is in relation to the pandemic control and show where new infections are occurring. “This information is crucial in helping Botswana and the US government to direct resources more efficiently to attain full pandemic control”, Dr Charurat said. Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Edwin Dikoloti said since the first AIDS Impact survey, Botswana has seen growth in such surveys with current surveys which take place every four to five years incorporating scientific vigour, representativeness, ethical considerations and the use of advanced technology.

“We have come from using paper-based questionnaires, anonymous HIV testing, to the use of smart phones to capture information and offering HIV testing only to those ready to receive their HIV results and link the positive cases to care”, Dikoloti said. Dr Dikoloti revealed that Botswana recently expanded antiretroviral treatment to include non-citizens, so that all PLHIV can access treatment for free at any public health facility. “Initiatives such as these draw us ever closer to ending the epidemic, but there is still more work to do”, he said, adding that Botswana should be proud to be a part of BAIS V and to continue the fight to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic and ensuring the availability of critical information to guide planning and decision making.

The US government, Centers for Disease Control Prevention and PEPFAR have been instrumental in providing the needed support to carry out the survey. “It is because of our collaboration, that we have gained a more precise understanding of HIV and AIDS in Botswana and have been able to apply our resources wisely and with maximum effort to achieve the goals of Botswana’s Third National Strategic Framework for HIV (NSF III) and the UNAIDS 95-95-95 Fast-Track initiative of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” Dikoloti said.

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Gender wage gap exists in Botswana labour market as women earn less than men despite the increase in the labour market. Findings of a study conducted by Botswana Institute for Policy Analysis (BIDPA) shows that gender wage gap between men and women is 17 percent. 

According to the study compiled by Masedi Motswapong, wage differentials for local citizens, evidence suggests that women in mining and quarrying, construction, real estate and central government earn more than men. On the other hand, women in health, education and wholesale and retail trade earn considerably less than men, earning 60 percent and 75 percent of men’s wages.

According to the study findings, private returns to education tend to increase as the education level moves up and from lower parts of the wage distribution to higher parts with females getting higher returns. “As we move up the education level, females have higher returns to education than males in the lower and upper levels of the wage distribution,” the study says. Research statistics shows that male-female wage gap exists with respect to most characteristics, except in post-graduate education, workers in the private and NGO sectors and also in rural areas.

According to the figures, females with education attainment lower than the post-graduate level earn considerably less than males and those with postgraduate education earn 1.2 times more than males.  Motswapong revealed that males in the public sector earn more than females and females in the private sector earn more than males.

On the other hand females in the parastatals earn considerably less than males with the gap of 67 percent but females earn convincingly more than males in NGOs, three times as much on average. “This gap is not entirely unexpected because most of the NGOs are built on fighting for equal rights and are dominated by females,” states Motswapong. Furthermore females earn 1.1 times more than what males earn in rural areas and less than males in cities and urban villages.

However the study findings conclude that higher education is instrumental in giving females a competitive edge over their male counterparts. In addition empowerment of females in society should be promoted to change common perceptions of female workers in the labour market. “There is also a need to value females work in highly feminised sectors. For example attracting males into clerical support services, health and education sectors would also address the wage gap problem and address occupational segregation”.

Botswana ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1996 and also signed the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development in 1997 which committed member states to ensure the equal representation of women and men in decision making and the achievement of a target of women comprising at least 50 percent of the political and decision making structures by the year 2015.  Motswapong pointed out that despite all the efforts the country has embarked on, women continue to face challenges because gender disparities are still visible in the labour market.

“Even though there has been an increase in female labour force participation, the rate of increase has been lower than that of males,” the study says. Since 2008 the percentage of women employed in the economy increased from 43 percent of the total workforce to 49 percent in 2016 and the labour force participation rate stood at 56 percent which is lower than that of males which stood at 67 percent.

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Lack of basic infrastructure and accessibility to farm lands across the country are among the most serious challenges that hamper food production and maximising of profits by farmers. Although some farms are situated in fertile land, their production is limited due to numerous factors which lead to farmers incurring great losses from ploughing to harvesting time.

Such challenges include poor roads, which lead to the farm lands, produce getting damaged while being transported to the market and at times the roads are impassable especially during the rainy season. Member of Parliament for Maun East, Goretetse Kekgonegile asked the Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Karabo Gare if he is aware that lack of roads and accessibility to electricity in cattle posts, ploughing fields and farms contribute to low food production in the country.

He also asked if the Ministry plans to change this, it must state the target in terms of district coverage by 2023; and if such plans include the Haenaveld farms. Gare said his ministry is aware that lack of roads and accessibility to electricity in agricultural areas, cattle posts, arable fields and farms, negatively affect agricultural productivity in the country. He said in recognition of this challenge, the Agriculture Infrastructure Development Initiative was developed detailing on how agricultural production areas can be serviced with roads and electricity amongst others.

“However, the implementation of this initiative has been slow and of low magnitude owing to budget constraints,” Gare said. Gare said there are few areas where provision of this infrastructure has progressed.
“Although in principle we have the plan per production areas, it does not help target in terms of district coverage by 2023 due to budget constraints”. He said Haenaveld is unfortunately not in the current plan but will be considered in future.

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Some residents have been found to abuse the citizen empowerment land dispensation and in the process compromise the food security potential of the eastern corridor.

Batswana may optimally utilise land they possess by introducing other economic empowering activities on up to 50 percent of their agricultural land. This was introduced by President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi in 2018 to empower citizens with the most precious commodity that they have- land. But, sadly some Batswana are subdividing their land into small plots while others sub divide their fields (masimo) into the minimum requirement of 1ha portions and transfer them with the intention of benefiting more from the said fields especially where Land Boards have provision for in-kind compensation.

At the rate at which such sales are taking place, it is evidently clear that in future Land Boards will not manage to acquire land for equitable distribution to Batswana. This turn of events also threatens the food security as it reduces the already scarce productive agricultural land that exists in the country. The eastern part of the country boasts the most fertile agricultural land. The Revised Development Control Code allows Integrated Agricultural Farming ancillary use provision of up to 50 percent of the total area of the land parcel.

It says that supporting agricultural developments and, or activities up to 50 percent considered as ancillary to agricultural land use, do not constitute change of land use. Ancillary developments of up to 50 percent of Agricultural Land would be considered mixed use and would require change of land use.

The policy states that the development control code and other related instruments have been amended to allow changes and no piece of agricultural land shall be subdivided without the permission of the planning authority. Non-Agriculture related developments of up to 50 percent should be allowed as mixed use. Minimum lot size allowed for Intensive Agricultural/National Agricultural Production Zone is 4ha, while minimum lot size for Extensive Agricultural Zone/Ordinary ploughing fields (masimo) is 1ha. This was pronounced by instrument No147 of 2019.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, the ministerial management team composed of all Departmental Directors and led by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation services, Bonolo Khumotaka, shared their views, experiences, concerns and specific amendments regarding the subject matter. What is clear is that the subdivisions and changes of land use to non-agricultural uses by some residents pose several challenges which could leave many poor in the long term, and cause mushrooming of unplanned settlements and villages.

Although the guidelines state that the plot holders or masimo owners should take the responsibility of the cost of infrastructure and other services in accordance with the management team, there is no commitment of such and the problem will still go back to government as it is that population who are also taxpayers who will demand infrastructure and services in future. The Director at the Department of Town and Country Planning, Eunice Mmono said it is important to bear in mind that the land in question is Tribal Land - ploughing fields (masimo) which were allocated on customary grant for subsistence purposes.

It should be borne in mind that fertile agricultural land resides on the eastern corridor of Botswana and that production on that land is important to feed the urban populace which also concentrates on the same belt. Mmono explained that the overall goal of the Revised Botswana Land Policy of 2019 is to protect and promote land rights of all land holders and promote sustainable human settlements. She said it is clear that the sub division and subsequent disposal of land are clearly at variance with the overall goal of the Land policy.

“Batswana are increasingly dispossessing themselves of their land rights for short term gains. They temporarily empower themselves financially which has proved not to be sustainable and government needs to protect these rights”.
She fears that the haphazard and indiscriminate mushrooming of settlements will grow without the requisite comprehensive planning and provision of infrastructure services. She said in as much as the guidelines suggest that landowners should provide for services, lessons learnt from areas such as Gaborone North are examples of such.

These will eventually come back to demand that government should provide such services, as the occupants being Batswana and tax payers will rightfully deserve such eventuality. What puts government in an awkward position is that in some cases transfers are done by the Sub-land boards which do not have jurisdiction. Botswana Guardian has learnt that the current legal position is that any sub-divisions attempted pursuant to these permissions can be rejected by Surveyor General and Registrar of Deeds.

Mmono explained that it is clear that the planning of Tribal Land and changes thereto is the exclusive domain of the main Land Board. In the present case, change of land use permissions was granted by the sub-land board. She said in that case such permissions are not lawful as the sub land board lacked jurisdiction. The Sub Land Board must be instructed to inform the public that it lacked jurisdiction and therefore the permissions granted are invalid. The Land Board can apply to court to declare any certificates issued thereto as unlawful and invalid.

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President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi’s insatiable appetite for acquisition of land all over the country and his interest to get Banyana farms and a tourism concession is not only unethical, but also exposes the country to state capture.

As if that was not enough, President Masisi has registered many companies after he assumed office. Member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse argued that all these are hallmarks of “state capture”. Keorapetse said the President’s privileges give him an unfair advantage over everyone. “The president has executive powers to govern, he gets intelligence briefs including on the economy and business opportunities, he is a regulator of businesses and can punish businesses which are wayward,” Keorapetse said, adding that conflict of interest cannot be avoided.

Keorapetse also expressed worry about Masisi’s acquisition of land all over the country and his interest to get Banyana Farms and a tourism concession saying such a move is unethical. According to Keorapetse there is need to revamp Botswana’s anti-corruption strategy by formulating and codifying anti-corruption policy. In his view the Policy will serve as a reference point in the broader fight against corruption. Keorapetse was speaking in Parliament in response to the Committee of Supply speech for the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, which was presented by Minister Kabo Morwaeng.

The MP called for a reform of all anti-corruption laws including Corruption and Economic Crime Act. He said the Act should be reviewed to make the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) independent of the executive especially the Office of the President. He argued that the Director General must be appointed by an independent Anti-Corruption Commission and that DCEC must be given a budget that enables it to carry out its operations. Concerning the DCEC Act, Keorapetse said the clause giving the president powers to restrict access of the DCEC, should be removed as it allows him to interfere with investigations. He said there was need to review other statutes such as the Whistle-blowing Act and the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities among others.

Presenting the 2021/2022 Development and Recurrent Budget for departments under his Ministry, Morwaeng said P1, 584, 641, 320 has been reserved for recurrent budgets, and another P622, 798, 683 for the Development Budget. He said the Ethics and Integrity Directorate established in terms of the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act of 2019 is operational and has started receiving declarations, as appropriate. “I therefore urge those affected by the Act to submit their declarations to help us to promote good governance and transparency in Botswana,” Morwaeng said. Morwaeng is expected to table an amendment to the Act during this current sitting of Parliament.

He will also table a Bill to establish a Committee to assess the remuneration and conditions of service of Members of Parliament, Councillors, Members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi and other Specified Officers. According to Morwaeng, the National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Act was amended in 2020 to incorporate car allowance at the rate of 10 percent of basic salary for Members of Parliament who are not provided with official vehicles. Payment of the allowance came into effect on 1st December 2020.

He said his ministry is at an advanced stage in setting up the Information and Data Protection Commission in accordance with the Data Protection Act of 2018. The Act provides for the protection of personal data to safeguard people’s rights to privacy. Under the management of Public Service, Morwaeng said government wage bill stood at 48.27 percent during the 2019/20 Recurrent Budget and 52.24 percent in 2020/21. The wage bill is projected to increase to 53.72 percent in the 2021/22 financial year, representing a 1.48 percent increase over the 2020/21 financial year.

He added that government is developing a comprehensive workforce plan for the Public Service. In the meantime, 50 percent of vacant posts are to be abolished effective 1st April, 2021 as an effort to reduce the wage bill. He said the total manpower requirements submitted by Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the 2021/2022 financial year stood at P1, 018, 977, 297. A significant number of these positions were required to adopt the new working conditions in the midst of COVID-19.

However, due to the economic downturn, additional funding for manpower has been deferred except for 290, 000, 000 for Ministries of Basic Education at P260, 000,000, and Health and Wellness at P30, 000, 000. On prevention of corruption, Morwaeng said the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime continues to develop and implement strategies for addressing corruption through the promotion of good governance best practice. DCEC has now introduced and implemented interventions such as Corruption Audits, Corruption Risk Assessments, Corruption Risk Management policies and action plans in public institutions. During the 2020/2021 planning period, institutions were capacitated to effectively implement recommended anti-corruption measures.

He said DCEC is in the process of developing a Quality Management System (QMS) for certification by the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS). This QMS will help the DCEC to improve public confidence and customer satisfaction about its products and services. The programme was funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which is also providing technical assistance for DCEC to establish an operational Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation (RBM&E) and reporting system to strengthen the agency’s efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability.

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