A “super moon” lit up Sunday night's sky over Maun and Ngamiland. It was a once-a-year cosmic show, overshadowing a meteor shower from remnants of Halley's Comet, the United States space agency (NASA) said. The moon seemed especially big and bright as it reached its closest spot to Earth at the same time it is in its full phase. The moon was the closest it got to the Earth this year - and appeared 14% larger because of it. At its peak it was about 356 954.8km from Earth. That's about 24 622.9km closer than average. Many people took advantage of the perfect conditions to picnic on the riverside or sail quietly on the river to watch the dramatic moon rise over the Botswana bush. (Picture: Associated Press).
MAJOR FARM PROJECT ON BOTETI
Preparations are at an advanced stage for a horticultural project to run along the Boteti River from Dikgatlhong to Makalamabedi II village.
The project is earmarked to run a kilometre on each side from the river.
According to the District Agricultural Coordinator for North West, Obert Mabutha, the consultative process was concluded on Wednesday. As part of the preparations, the Tawana Land Board (TLB) had had a land allocation moratorium in the area since the last quarter of 2011.
Mabutha disclosed that during earlier mapping of the area it was discovered that the targeted area has existing privately-owned fields. A technical team from the TLB has been enlisted to identify empty spaces within that area.
Mabutha explained that the project does not intend to take over people's fields as that would involve compensation. “Compensations are out as we are not going to move field owners out,” he said.
The identified blocks will be provided with infrastructure that include electricity and water reticulation but beneficiaries are expected to fund their environmental impact assessment studies that includes soil testing.
Mabutha says the blocks will be advertised and will be open to competition to all citizens interested in horticulture, including the youth. He, however, did not rule out the accommodation of those who already have ploughing fields in the area and would like to go into horticultural farming.
“We are open to other ideas as long as they are in line with the horticultural project. For instance, I think we should be able to consider such people (those with ploughing fields in the area) who come up with syndicates to partake in the project,” he added.
In the past, government has identified horticulture development not only as an important vehicle for economic diversification from mining and agricultural production base of arable farming and livestock but also for employment creation.
Additionally, it is expected to play a critical role in the country's food security as Botswana's annual horticultural requirement stand at 75 000 metric tonnes as opposed to the annual output of only 37 000 metric tonnes. The success of the sector will also impact positively on the country's huge food import bill.
The Dikgatlhong-Makalamabedi horticultural project will be run along the lines of ones at Glen Valley outside Gaborone, Dikabeya in the Palapye area or Ditladi in Tonota.
One such project in the north east, the Tshukudu Horticultural Growers Association, has 93 farmers occupying 111 hectares and who are able to produce 1 158 metric tonnes.
Excuses, excuses but Maun still without water
By Keagisitswe Dioka
Maun goes into a fourth week with a serious shortage of water.
It has resulted in some residents resorting to drawing water from the Thamalakane River. At the advent of the crisis, the Department of Water Affairs attributed it to the cleaning of the reservoirs, but it now appears the department's assurances that the situation would restored when the cleaning has been done, were just a smokescreen as the crisis is increasingly becoming acute.
This week, the department has a different story to tell. The cause of the current water shortage, they now say, is due to breakdowns of water pipes in Boseja and Riverside wards and also by the malfunctioning of a booster pump motor at the Shashe wellfield whose main tank supplies other water tanks in Maun.
This was said by Water Affairs acting station manager, Dr Naidu Kurugundla, in an interview with The Ngami Times this week.
He said the breakdowns in Boseja were dealt with on Tuesday and said they are still waiting for a pump motor from Francistown to replace the current one which is running at a slow speed.
He promised that without any further breakdowns, the situation would have normalised by the end of the week.
Kurugundla revealed that the problems of pipeline network work breakdowns, particularly in the Boseja and Boyei wards, are caused by old pipes that keep on bursting, adding that the situation would be addressed during the current financial year.
When asked about the possibility of boreholes being flooded as it occurs every year when the river floods, he said they are using sand and gravel to block water from reaching the boreholes. Kurugundla said their boreholes will not be affected by the flood water. Regarding allegations that some Water Affairs employees used the department's water bowsers to fill their personal water containers at their homes in Maun, he dismissed those allegations “as baseless.” He said water bowsers are always monitored and there is no way the vehicles could be used for such purposes.
He said there are some Jojo tanks placed around Maun, some of which are in Water Affairs employee's yards to assist all the residents with water when there is shortage of water.
NWDC storekeeper admits evidence, says not guilty
By Keagisitswe Dioka
The former North West District Council (NWDC) storekeeper, Loungo Dikgole (37), who is facing seven counts of stealing by servants and forgery, have after admitting to 20 statements and affidavits which were before court, this week told Chief Magistrate Mompati Taolo that she is not guilty.
Her admission to the prosecution's evidence in the statements was also an admission of guilt but the accused later claimed that even though she had admitted to all witnesses' statements, she was not guilty and added that she does not understand what that means or entails.
This prompted Taolo to call on Dikgole to put up a defence as she pleaded not guilty. She repeatedly said that she needs a postponement in order to secure a legal representation.
Dikgole, according to Taolo, was given the opportunity of a postponement of the case in the hope that she would find out the seriousness of the matter she is facing. She was also advised to bring own attorney during the trial, which has since been postponed to July 6.
Dikgole is charged with seven counts of stealing by person employed in the public service. The particulars of the offence are that the accused whilst employed by NWDC, on May 9, 2009, stole 400 bags of cement from Archein Hardware, 250 bags on the 11 th , 350 on the 14 th , 300 on the 16 th , 34 bags on the 19 th . It has been further said she proceeded to Archein Hardware again on June 14, and on a private truck loaded 2 025 stock bricks valued at P5 973.75.
She is alleged to have gone to Seftim (Pty) Ltd and falsely loaded 800 bags of cement, claiming the NWDC had placed an order for the cement when in fact the NWDC had not placed any such order. The accused person knew that the representation was false. All bags of cement stolen are valued at P179 834. The case was registered last year and it is prosecuted by Pascal Mhandu of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
President gives figures for Ipelegeng project
KANYE – President Ian Khama says the Ipelegeng programme has employed 55 000 across the country. Addressing a kgotla meeting at Kgwakgwe in the Kanye South constituency, he said 657 people employed in the scheme are in the constituency. In a wide ranging address he told residents of the government's intention for clinics to operate 24 hours. However, he said such efforts are hampered by shortage of nurses. He has also tasked the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo to assess the drought situation with a view to see how best the situation can be tackled. Responding to comments, Local Government minister Peter Siele said the government is aware of homes that are flooded by ground water, adding that a committee has been appointed to work on the problem while the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, said the government is introducing a Youth Empowerment Scheme to coordinate youth empowerment activities in ministries. Mr Kgathi said the programme is geared towards moulding the youth into responsible future leaders. ( BOPA)
‘Stop relying on government'
People living near Ntimbale Dam in the north-east have been urged to utilise the dam to undertake income generating projects. The Minister of Transport and Communications, Nonofo Molefhi, told Masingwaneng residents at a kgotla meeting that they could venture into fishery and vegetable gardening. “Fishing is not just a hobby but can also be used to earn a living” he stated, and it was time for Batswana to stop their dependency on government. They should find other means of diversifying the economy. Molefhi pointed out that they could make Ntimbale Dam a tourist attraction for their own benefit. He also urged residents to use government programmes such as CEDA and LEA to improve their living standards. He was responding to the Village Development Committee (VDC) complaint that too few people from the village are enrolled under the Ipelegeng Programme.
Well-loved resident remembered
Emerita Gros-Coray, who settled in Maun in 1982, has died at the age of 61.
Well-known as bursar at the Matshwane Primary School since 1993, she passed away at the Letsholathebe II Memorial Hospital, in Maun, on Saturday following liver complications.
Known to a generation of children for mothering them as the school became larger and larger, she was, despite her small stature, a tower of help to all.
Emerita, born in the Ilanz area of Switzerland, came to Maun at the request of the famous Bernadette “Ma Duck” Lindstrom who owned a restaurant called the Duck Inn.
She had struck up a friendship with “Ma Duck” while travelling in North Africa - the friendship was everlasting - and other countries in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.
Her talents in cooking and speaking different languages during a transport job taking heavy vehicles through North Africa to Kenya was noted by Bernadette. In Kenya, Emerita broke several ribs and was hospitalised in Nairobi with Bernadette taking care of her.
Returning to Switzerland, she worked as a tourist guide on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, dealing with German and Swiss tourists for five years, before being telephoned to come to Maun. Emerita fitted in well with the lifestyle of Maun as well as the people.
After a year at the Duck Inn, she worked at Xugana Camp catering for a BBC television crew filming “The Jewel of the Kalahari” and enjoyed it so much that she made it a permanent career by travelling to different camps or on mobile safaris training cooks and waiters. In her spare time she continued to help in the restaurant.
The Okavango River Lodge had a special place in her heart for it was there that she met one of the then-owners, Mike Gros, in 1987. It was love at first sight and she married him on September 5, 1992, in the garden of the well-known Ann Sandenbergh. Oldtimers recall it as “the event of the decade for Maun as everybody was there.”
In March 1993 she had a baby daughter, Michelle (known as Michi).
Emerita Gros-Coray's death took place shortly after visiting friends in South Africa. She took ill on her return and was hospitalised for two days before her passing away last Saturday.
A memorial service for her will take place at Matshwane Primary School from 4pm next Tuesday (May 15).
The family has requested that in lieu of flower tributes, donations be given to the school's bursary fund.
Northern Trade Fair on track
FRANCISTOWN - The Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) will host its 18th annual Northern Trade Fair from May 24 to 27. The fair will be held under the theme: “Seizing opportunities of economic diversification amidst a recession”. The trade fair is aimed at creating a platform for businesses to interact, network and create awareness about their products and services. It will be officially opened by Anthony Masunga, Group General Manager for Commercial Affairs at the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC). The Director of Business Development Services at BOCCIM, Zoe Isaacs, says preparations for the trade fair is at an advanced stage as bookings for stalls have exceeded 110, with more requests still coming. “We currently have 74 exhibitors registered, but we continue to receive enquiries,” said Isaacs. (BOPA)
The water fiasco carries on
Just when we were beginning to direct our attention to other pressing matters, the perennial water crisis has reared its ugly head.
In all honesty, there has been a false sense of water security for the residents of Maun as the Department of Water Affairs has over the years religiously ensured that we never get that security, particularly when the Okavango and Thamalakane rivers are in flood.
They have always vacillitated between the execuses of submerged water pumps due to flooding and old broken pipes. In the past few years, with unprecendented flooding from the delta, they have been feeding us the staple diet of submerged water pumps.
Now it would appear with the forecast of low levels of flooding this year, the department has returned to hiding behind “old and rusty water pipes and equipment” - their mantra during the pre-flooding years. The excuses tend to insult the intelligence of consumers.
At the beginning of the recent crisis, we were told the water shortage was due to the cleaning of the reservoirs and we were assured the situation would normalise once that exercise has been completed. But, alas, this week in the face of continuing shortages, they have changed tack to invoke their now worn-out bursting old pipes excuse.
Such shenanigans fuels concerns on whether the Department of Water Affairs really understands and appreciates the central role water plays in the sustanance of individual life, and indeed the town's economic life.
There is a frightening suspicion that the department does not regard water as an essential commodity. Otherwise, how does one start to explain their conduct when they have the timerity to embark on a reservoir cleaning exercise without even alerting the community of impending water shortages?
The department has never treated non-availability of water as an emergency situation, hence their lacklustre response in addressing water-related situations such as taking their time in procuring a replacement pump motor from Francistown, which is a mere five-hour drive from Maun.
At the height of the water crisis last year, assurances were made that portable water treatment plants will be urgently constructed at the old Maun General Hospital but as far as we can tell, the department has not been showing any urgency in achieving that task.
Cumulatively therefore, we should have little faith that even the much-touted Maun master water plan will be executed in time, and without the now-legendary structural defects.
The department's notorious indifference to Maun residents' plight last year led to a historic protest, and we had thought the department would now have wised-up to avoid the recurrence of such demonstrations.
It was a red letter day for Maun aviation when a Boeing 737-200 of new airline Blue Sky Aviation landed here on a proving flight on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB).
Then there were red faces as well . . . because the plane reportedly did not have airstairs to allow disembarkation, so the crew had no choice but to return to Gaborone without stepping on to the hallowed soil of Maun.
Talk about oops! if this is all true.
The Boeing 737 that we have seen landing here in recent days is on a three-month contract for Air Botswana from South African charter airline Starair – and it does have airstairs.
Starair also operates on behalf of Air Malawi between Johannesburg and Lilongwe as well as undertaking flights for the Mozambique national carrier, LAM.
Blue Sky is awaiting the go-ahead to operate scheduled services within Botswana and possibly to other southern African destinations. Incidentally, Shuffle hears that the arrival of the Starair Boeing is like a homecoming for the company's Peter Annear who in his younger days used to fly Cessna 210s out of Maun.
If you're a Greek or a French person and your government is spooked by the huge amount of debt your country has to repay, and has imposed “austerity” measures on you and your compatriots to enable the country to remain solvent, and you don't like them, what do you do?
Silly question! Simple answer! You get together with all the other millions of don't-give-a-stuff-about-debt feckless, handout-dependent entitlement-minded compatriots and you vote the government out of office. You replace the disciplined reducers of debt with your own big spending borrowers. Who needs hardship, belt tightening and never enough money to buy a bottle of ouzo or vin ordinaire? Right! This week the prudent governments were booted out. The spenders are back in town! Sure, we're in a deep hole of debt, but any fool knows that when you owe more money than you can repay, the way to go is to borrow more!
Dig yourself into a deeper hole, set a new date to repay your old debts, as well as your new debts. Just an arbitrary future date. Doesn't matter when, because you can always negotiate a new date. The indus trious nations like Germany and Britain will bail you out, and the indus trial ones like China and South Korea will want to keep you as consumers of their products.
So you see, it's a good life!
Our taxi drivers still haven't learnt the art of motoring.
This week Shuffle was behind a scooter driver who had to take fast evasive action to avoid being knocked to the tar as taxi number B158ACP literally skidded passed him after entering traffic without a thought for man or beast.
The taxi driver is one of many who obviously do not heed any rules of the road – only their rules!
It is going to be fun (?) to see these fools of the road negotiate the new traffic lights.
While on the subject of motorists, it is a sobering thought that the Booze Bus is on the prowl during the day – and night.
This past weekend must have been a wonderful one for the fuzz as parked outside the police station were up to 16 cars in a neat row, and the obvious answer is that all 16 were temporarily impounded when the owners left nightclubs and bars.
Pilots have taken umbrage at a Shuffle insert recently about a fight among them and locals at a particular pub in Maun.
We want to make it clear that the pub in question was not one which is frequently visited by numerous pilots.
Shuffle apologises if the wrong impression may have been given.
Ivory disappears from government warehouse
KASANE - Thieves have broken into a high-security government warehouse here of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and stolen 26 elephant tusks being kept there under lock and key.
The stolen ivory is suspected to be heading to Asian countries where the market is lucrative.
According to Kasane-based District CID officer, Suprintendant Letsweletse Baiile, more than 20 Wildlife officers were questioned and released while a security guard at the warehouse remains in custody for further investigation. Baile further disclosed that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) has dispatched its audit unit from Gaborone, to ascertain the exact figures of tusks that could be missing.
A Zambian has been arrested by authorities in Zambia after he was found in possession of ivory believed to be from Botswana. The coordinator for Communications Research and Development in the ministry, Mable Bolele, confirmed the probe - “some of our officers are under police investigations following the disappearance of the ivory,” she said. They were alerted by the Zambian authorities after a suspect was arrested and found in possession of ivory that was marked “BWK” (Botswana Wildlife Kasane.) Bolele said some of the stolen ivory was scheduled to be transported from Kasane to Gaborone on April 4 to be stored in the capital but because of a lack of transport, the transfer was postponed. On April 23 it was discovered that some of the ivory had been stolen. There was no sign of a break in. “The security where the ivory was kept is very tight therefore we do not know how the tusks were eventually stolen but the police will probe the matter,” she said. “It is very unfortunate that such an incident has occurred and the ministry will do its best to ensure that the ivory is kept safely, which has been a priority.”
‘Reasonably positive' local economy
The first quarter of 2012 has been reasonably positive for the Botswana economy, says Dr. Keith Jefferis, Chairman of the Bifm Investment Committee.
“The international diamond market has shown some recovery from the dismal performance experienced towards the end of 2011, while the 2012 Budget reported a much more favourable, albeit still challenging, fiscal position than was anticipated a year ago,” he said. “Inflation has continued to decline, in line with expectations, and although the mining sector underperformed in 2011, GDP growth figures show that the non-mining private sector has continued to perform ahead of expectations.”
Figures released by Statistics Botswana indicate that the economy grew by 5.1% in 2011, a reduction from the 7% growth experienced in 2010. The slowdown was driven largely by a small reduction in mining output, which did not continue the strong growth experienced in the previous year. The global economic picture during the first quarter of 2012 remains characterised by uncertainty, although the overall picture is somewhat more positive than it was in the last quarter of 2011.
“On the positive side, the immediate crisis in the Euro zone emanating from the Greek debt situation has been resolved, at least temporarily, and growth performance in some major economies, notably the USA and Japan, has come in ahead of expectations,” Jefferis said.
“Nevertheless, some concerns remain. Many commentators view the Euro zone crisis as having been merely postponed, with the focus moving to Spain and Italy, where the problems will be much more difficult to resolve. “Growth in the emerging market powerhouse, China, is slowing, although in the Chinese context a ‘slowdown' means growth of ‘merely' 7%.”
Rising oil prices are being driven largely by geopolitical concerns emanating from tensions in the Middle East, notably those between Iran and Israel, as prices are much higher than would normally be expected in a weak global economic environment.
Overall global growth, while showing signs of recovery, is likely to remain below trend, between 2.5% and 3%, for much of the next 12 months.
New railway to follow highway's route
Botswana's Transport Hub coordinator, Thapelo Leareng, says the proposed P70-billion Trans-Kalahari railway line will follow the Trans-Kalahari (Kgalagadi) highway route. He was briefing Kgalagadi councillors about the national integrated transport policy recently. Leareng said the project will provide a new trade route to the Atlantic Ocean through Namibia, adding that it will open up development opportunities in the 1 500km corridor. He said the project will provide a radical change in the railway business, and that it will provide a competitive alternative to South Africa's Transnet. Leareng also said rail transport has the potential to create employment. The government will engage private companies in the construction of the railway line. He urged local authorities to come up with plans so that they could make money through the project. Leareng said another envisaged railway line will connect Botswana and Mozambique. Boshoek councillor Bakaseno Motsamai said planners for the original Cape-to-Cairo railway line failed to make provisions that would connect villages it passed through and . added that Botswana is the only country in southern Africa with no passenger train service.
New Boteti mine launches production
Lucara Diamond Corp. has officially launched production at its Karowe mine in the Boteti and expects up to 40 000 carats to be available at its first sale in June.
Viewing for the first sale of Karowe diamonds will be held in Gaborone during the first week of June, with an online auction scheduled to take place on June 11.
Excellent progress continues to be made at Karowe. The attendance at the diamond launch in Gaborone was evidence of a strong diamond market and a keen interest in the quality goods which Karowe will be producing,” said Lucara president and CEO, William Lamb. “Our focus wills remain on the ramp-up activities which will culminate in sustainable operations at design capacity by the end of the quarter and the first cash flow from Karowe.” During April, Lucara completed commissioning activities at the mine and recovered 10 000 carats from 28 000 tonnes of ore. Ramp-up to full production is in progress and the company expects to achieve 50% of the design throughput during May and 75% in June. The company expects operations to be running at a full design capacity of 350 tonnes per hour by the end of the second quarter.
Lucara is developing the AK6 diamond mine near the Orapa and Letlhakane mines in the Boteti area. It is 100% owned by Lucara, a Canadian company.
Construction of the mine infrastructure such as the access road, power supply, process plant and waste stripping were completed in advance of with production operations.
Bus overturns in Francistown
FRANCISTOWN - A woman has been admitted To Nyangabgwe hospital while five people were treated for shock after a Zimbabwe-bound Leighwoods passenger bus overturned along Guy Street in Francistown last Thursday. The bus was carrying 58 passengers was heading towards the Ramokgwebana border.According to the bus driver, Ortwell Dube, he had just started off to the border when he heard a tyre burst, whereupon he lost control, which resulted in the bus overturning.“I don't know what happened because I was driving slowly and then I heard the sound of a tyre burst. The worst thing is that we had just bought the tyre about thirty minutes back,” he said.
‘Get rid of red tape' - Khama
President Ian Khama has called for the elimination of unnecessary government bureaucracy.
Addressing the High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) meeting in Gaborone last Friday, he said unwarranted red tape only served to detract and inconvenience people.
The President said government had the responsibility to ensure there was quality national business environment and the private sector had to focus on improving its operations and strategies to make Botswana more competitive in the global economy.
He called on BOCCIM, the private sector and civil society to identify unwarranted bureaucracy as well as inconsistent application of regulations, which only served to increase the cost of doing business and frustrate people without any meaningful value added to the process.
President Khama assured the gathering of government commitment to the ideals of Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification. The strategy required government, private sector and development partners to be focused.
He asked BOCCIM to engage ministries and identify hurdles for appropriate action.
This, he said, should be extended to the Doing Business ranking of ministries regarding efficient service delivery at one end of the scale and unwarranted bureaucracy at the other.
He told each ministry to submit Doing Business ranking before the end of September.
The strategies for eliminating the budget deficit, he said have been successful. However, there is need to exercise restraint in demands because the global economic environment remains uncertain and unpredictable.
Khama said it was pleasing that the non-mining sector continued to grow over the past few years at a fair rate, with construction and manufacturing in the lead. This, he said, was evident that efforts towards diversifying the economy were less dependent on the mining sector.
BOCCIM president Alex Monchusi said the government had to improve on rationalisation of policy formulation activities.
Monchusi called on government to have all ministries, departments and other state funded organisations to publish their annual procurement plans with timelines to be adhered to. (BOPA)
Insight into the life and times of Fred Bartlett
The death in Kasane recently of Frederick George Bartlett, one of Africa's legendary big hunters, has attracted much attention.
Last week, we published an abbreviated account of his life, and his widow, Elizabeth (better known as “Jock”), has now provided more details. “He was born on March 5, 1923, in Nairobi and did his primary schooling in Kenya before completing his education at the Christian Brothers College in Boksburg (South Africa). He served with the South African 6 th Division in North Africa and Italy during World War II and after the war returned to the family farm ‘Viewpoint' at Timan in Kenya with me, newly-married,” she recalled. Bartlett joined the Kenya Game Department and was game warden in the Mount Kenya and Aberdares region.
With the outbreak of the Mau Mau emergency in Kenya, Bartlett, along with his brother-in-law Don Bousefield, was seconded to the police force to run a tracker team. The team was successful on a number of missions in the forest around Mount Kenya.
Once the emergency had come to an end, Bartlett continued with problem animal control until 1957 when he left the Game department to start a career as a Professional Hunter with Ker and Downey Safaris.
“After seven years with the company, he left and joined White Hunters Ltd and hunted with them until 1969 before, in February 1969, permanently moving to Botswana. Together with John Lawrence they carried on operating as Hunters Africa Ltd,” she said.
Bartlett and his son-in-law, Peter Kibble, built the original famous Old House in Kasane.
He continued to hunt in southern Africa until 1997, operating in South Africa, Namibia and southern Angola.
During his retirement, Bartlett wrote a book entitled “Shoot Straight Stay Alive.”
“He led an extraordinary life that most of us could only wish for,” his wife said.
He became ill a few weeks ago and passed away on April 27 at the age of 89.Fred Bartlett leaves his wife and children, Cecil, Elizabeth and Brian, son-in-law Peter, nine grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
Bon Arrivee hosts Eritrean artist
By Lesley Van Neel
An Eritrean visual artist, Mulugeta Beraki will be holding a 30-day exhibition hosted by the Bon Arrivée restaurant in Maun from May 24.
Beraki was born in 1977 and hails from Asmara, Eritrea, where he grew up and was educated.
He says his love for the visual arts started when he was a child.
Having obtained a diploma in Visual Arts from the Asmara College of Art in 2000, Beraki has taken part in a number of exhibitions in different countries. He took part in a group exhibition at the French Cultural Centre, the African Art exhibition at Casa Della Italiani, and Realistic Art Exhibition in Asmara between 1999 and 2004. He also exhibited at the German Cultural Centre in Khartoum, Sudan, in 2007 and more recently in the group exhibition at Maun's Nhabe Museum. Beraki specialises in modern art and says his paintings are inspired by nature.
Africa a risky but worthwhile place for business
By Denise Mhlanga, News24.com
Africa's collective GDP in 2020 is expected to reach US$2.6 trillion (about P15-trillion), with US$1.4 trillion (about P9-trillion) in consumer spending and 128 million African households that have discretionary income.
This is according to a report entitled: Lions on the Move – The progress and potential of African economies by McKinsey Global Institute.
The report reveals that Africa's future growth will be supported by external trends such as the global race for commodities, Africa's increased access to international capital and its ability to forge new types of economic partnerships with foreign investors.
Furthermore, the long-term growth of Africa's economy will be lifted by internal social and demographic trends, particularly Africa's growing labour force and the related rise of the middle class consumers.
McKinsey notes that for companies, the report analysis suggests that four groups of industries together will be worth US$2.6 trillion (about P15-trillion) in annual revenue by 2020. These are consumer-facing industries (such as retail, telecommunications and banking), infrastructure related industries, agriculture and resources.
Meanwhile, the Annual Broll Property Report notes that Sub-Saharan Africa continues to experience an increase in demand for real estate solutions in a very complex structure of emerging markets. Construction in these locations is booming.
In Nigeria, thanks to rapid urbanisation, consumerism and a growing middle-class, demand for retail space has increased during the past 12 months. The backlog of formal upmarket retail developments has brought new proposals and it is estimated that 250 000 square metres of gross lettable area of retail space will come on stream during the next 24 months.
There is demand for office space with new developments.
South African and international retailers are reportedly continuing to enter the retail market in Ghana. The Accra Mall, measuring 20 000 square metres, is the only premier shopping centre in Ghana attracting 7 million shoppers a year.
New office developments are leaning towards A Grade type prime locations and these are expected to have basic rentals of between US$35 (about P215) and US$40 (about P280) per square on completion.
In Namibia, the supply of retail space has declined while demand sales have remained stable.
Dave Bennie, of Africa Retail Leasing and Consulting, says it is much easier to do business in Africa where you do not need a visa and there is ease of travelling to that particular country. Namibia and Zambia were cited as relatively easy to operate in while Mauritius was said to be overtraded.
Construction in Sub-Saharan Africa is booming and Nairobi in Kenya has good infrastructure, lots of new modern residential apartments and the area is poised for growth.
Bennie says Lagos is a tough place to do business in as property and land generally cost more than they would in New York City in the United States. Property rentals are high and landlords require rentals to be paid for a year in advance.
This expensive location will become a mega-city in Africa, Bennie predicts.
He urged businesses wanting to trade outside borders to ensure that they check their health, things such as getting a yellow fever vaccine are very important - “More importantly, doing business in Africa should be seen as an adventure, one needs a strong heart and will and lots of patience.”
Retailer Woolworths aims to open 16 stores in African countries this year taking the total number of stores to 60 in the current financial year. The new stores will be larger than current ones and the retailer expects to be trading in 104 stores on the African continent outside South Africa by June 2014.
Woolworths is currently trading in 12 countries.
Glenn Gilzean, Woolworths Group director for retail operations, says Woolworths have the advantage of having traded on the continent for many years and is well placed to expand its footprint, adding “we are very mindful of the competition for limited retail space and the need to deliver a compelling shopping experience to different customers in a range of territories.”
Gilzean says finding the ideal entrepreneurs to “set up shop with” (as they enter into joint ventures with partners in African countries) remains a challenge to doing business in other African countries.
A number of factors have spurred the interest in African countries including the growth of consumer spending, which now accounts for more than 60% of the African GDP and is expected to increase with the growth of the upper and middle income groups.
“The appetite for formal retail is another factor and we are well resourced to meet the needs of the aspirant African consumer,” says Gilzean.
Jason Krause, managing director of International SOS South Africa, says there is no one size fits all approach to minimising risk in African economies, and notes that lack of awareness and preparedness of what happens in other African economic markets remains a risk factor for many businesses wanting to trade outside their own countries.
While opportunities are seemingly endless in Africa, the continent is also the most risky location to do business in. These include infectious diseases, opportunistic crimes and other health issues.
Krause says malaria is seen as a huge threat followed by road accidents . . . for those wishing to jump on the Africa economic opportunities bandwagon, it is important to increase awareness among shareholders regarding the chosen country to do business in Africa and protecting employees heading these businesses is necessary to taking advantages in Africa.
“It's all about knowing the risk, preparation and managing the risk posed by doing business in that country,” he said
Dave Butler, managing director, Southern and East Africa Control Risks, says Africa has become an investment destination of choice and with its young working population, the continent is poised for further growth. Business opportunities exist in sectors including infrastructure, consumerism and telecommunications.
Businesses face risks including government change, which signals risks to long-term investors, contract negotiations, red tape and corruption.
Butler says if one is thinking of expanding into Africa, they should know exactly where they are going – understand the country and its politics; know your partner, ask questions such as who is behind the company and what companies' or partners' original source of wealth is. Do a thorough due diligence; and, protect reputations against allegations of corruption and bribery by remaining ethical in all business dealings.
Africa will soon be courted by global corporates from more mature developed markets as the scramble for opportunities in Africa continues and 900 million consumers on the continent, the problems and pitfalls of doing business in Africa are quickly being outweighed by the promise of a market clamouring for goods and services.
Safety and Health at work places vital
By Basadi Morokotso
Various stakeholders. among them the Botswana Police Service, Botswana Power Corporation, Debswana and the North West District Council. formed part of the many that recently showcased their exhibits on safety at the workplace in commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health.
Guest speaker and Maun East MP Frank Ramsden said it is paramount that employers put in place safety measures at all places of work so as to safeguard the health and safety of their employees. He said this was in line with this year's theme of “Green jobs - promoting safer and heatlh in a green economy.”
He said staff at most institutions countrywide are motivated by safe and conducive work environments and are therefore always productive and able to deliver as per the expectations of their employers.
The MP said also that like other developing countries, Botswana has long recognised the importance of safety and health in the workplace, which is evidenced by the many statutes that have been enacted over the years, such as the Factories Act, the Mines, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act, the Agrochemicals Act, and the Radiation Protection Act.
In order to lessen the negative impact of unfriendly economic activities, he said, countries are now beginning to turn to ways that are more environmentally friendly in growing their gross domestic products, and are as a result trying to look out for more sustainable sources of energy such as solar and wind.
“You need to note that they are also doing more and more recycling of waste in order to reduce environmentally destructive consumption and depletion of non-renewable resources. Countries are also reclaiming polluted land in order to increase productive land, and all these new ways of sustainable economic development result in what is referred to as green jobs.”
The government, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and employers and workers organisations last year signed a commitment called the Botswana Decent Work Country Programmes, all of which are mandated with promoting decent and safe work. Local businessman John Wellio said they have joined hands as BOCCIM and have set up a unit which is in charge for human resources and industrial relations for its members and non-members. It is tasked with assisting employers in setting up workplace policies to ensure the application of occupational safety and health.
He said all can be achieved if there is full participation and collaboration of all in health and safety programmes.
High potential for iron ore at Xaudum
Tsodilo Resources on Wednesday announced that the assay results of initial holes on the Xaudum Magnetite Project have confirmed the potential for iron ore. The Project targets a 35-40 kilometres long magnetic anomaly.
According to a statement from the company, to date over 20 boreholes have been drilled into the northern part of the Xaudum Ironstones.
“Assay results, using ME-ICP61 and ME-OG62 methods of core samples from the first three holes on the BIF Magnetite deposit, are very encouraging over large intersections.”
Maximum values for iron as high as 59.5% have been achieved in hole L9600/12 with an average iron value of 57% over intersection 334-338m (5 metres) in the same hole, added the statement, noting that “the true thickness of the magnetite intercept is not the same as the down-hole thickness and this has not yet been accurately determined.”
The company has vowed to continue drilling the Xaudum Ironstones to outline the extent of the deposit with its two wholly owned rigs over the next four months. Core samples are being assayed at ALS Chemex laboratory in Johannesburg, South Africa. Additional samples are being submitted for Davis Tube Recovery tests to determine the magnetic content of the rock which will define the rock's recoverable grade.
Tsodilo Resources is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic kimberlites and metal deposits at its Newdico and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Ngamiland. The company has a 97% stake in Newdico (3,949 km² under Precious Stone - diamond licenses). The Gcwihaba project area: 3,728 km² under Precious Stone - diamond licenses; 14,914 km² metal (base, precious, platinum group, and rare earth) licenses; and, 6,925 km² under radioactive minerals licenses is 100% held by the company.
Tsodilo manages the exploration of both the Newdico and Gcwihaba licence areas. Overall supervision of the company's exploration programme is the responsibility of Mike de Wit, president and chief operations officer of the company.
Many drivers nabbed for drunken driving
By Lesley Van Neel
The Maun police say they recorded 18 cases of drunken driving over the weekend during a “booze bus” operation.
District traffic officer, Superintendent Alfred Magudu has expressed concern at escalating cases of drunken driving, saying the Friday to Sunday operation netted 18 offenders.
Magudu said this week that the development could be related to improved injection of cash into the local economy by the increasing numbers of entertainment festivals, workshops, and seminars. He noted that though this is good for the local economy it also has the unintended effect of increasing the risks of road traffic accidents.
The penalty for drunken driving is a fine ranging between P3 000 and P5 000 and cancellation of driver's licence or disqualification from obtaining a driver's licence for 12 months.
Communities adapting to climate change can learn from conservation method
A revolutionary approach to conservation and development pioneered in southern Africa provides vital lessons that can help communities worldwide adapt to climate change, according to a new report published by International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) this week.
Muyeye Chambwera and colleagues studied examples of Community-Based Natural Resource Management, a name for systems developed over the past three decades to enable communities to control and benefit from local wildlife, forests, water and other resources.
They found that CBNRM methods could form strategies for communities to become more resilient to challenges such as droughts, floods, extreme temperatures and changes to rainfall patterns.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed at a conference in Gaborone by the Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Affairs, in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Portia Segomelo, that Botswana does not have a policy on climate change but is currently developing one to protect, preserve and promote its indigenous knowledge and mainstream it into the country's macro-economic framework.
“We don't have a policy on climate change yet and we are waiting for the United Nations Development Programme to finance us to develop it,” said Segomelo. “Right now, we are going around the country on a mission to consult with traditional leaders on how we can go about it because climate change affects their daily life.''
Segomelo said development of the policy will involve identifying, documenting and gathering local traditional knowledge practices from areas, including agriculture, health, and culture and then feeding them into a legislative framework.
The international report says ”CBNRM has been a success when it has created processes and institutions that devolve power from central government, create tangible benefits for communities and allow the people themselves to take charge of their own development,” says Chambwera. “These factors will all be critical to the success of communities as they strive to adapt to climate change.” CBNRM is based on an incentive-driven notion that assumes that communities will manage their natural resources better, and in ways that also result in poverty reduction, if they are in control of those resources and derive direct economic benefits from them. This approach to conservation and development has enabled communities to cope with a range of stresses.
Four key elements form the foundations of CBNRM - sustainable use, devolution of management decisions from government to local institutions, collective control and legal rights over resources, and economic incentives that enhance the value of resources to communities that conserve them. The researchers identified eight key lessons that CBNRM has for community based adaptation. These are blending strategies for sustainable livelihoods and resource management can make communities more resilient and able to adapt to climate shocks, local capacity can decide whether communities can overcome climate threat, incentives must be direct and visible household cash incomes will enhance a community's capacity to adapt and community adaptation projects should build on traditional institutions.
The other key lessons are that institutions for community based adaptation should include all relevant stakeholders and that traditional leadership can be an important symbol for community ownership and Trust matters between communities and their leaders, and between leaders and project teams.
CBNRM is now operating at local, national and regional levels. The report says that for community based adaptation to climate change to become as well-established at such scales, it will need financial incentives, enabling policies, research, communication and people who will champion the approach.
”To succeed, long-term adaptation to climate change will depend on locally-based and proven approaches rather than top-down interventions that are driven by central governments or outside aid agencies, and which depend on external resources,” says Chambwera. “That's where CBNRM can provide useful models for community-based adaptation. In fact both systems can work hand-in-hand and strengthen each other.”
Airline claims fares ‘competitive'
Air Botswana fares are competitive and are based on operational expenses in relation to the airline fleet – and it is also not frightened of competition on its routes. Air Botswana assistant manager - communications, Thabiso Leshoai, told BOPA in Gaborone last week that in addition to the air fares there are navigation charges and airport tax, which is payable to the government. He said they do not feel threatened by competitors whose prices are lower because the Air Botswana market share in sectors that have competition is highly competitive. Leshoai said all fares were recently revised upwards by a minimum margin to align them with the continuing increase in fuel prices and other expenses. This increment, he said, was the first in over a five-year period, where the airline retained its fares at the same level without any adjustments. Leshoai said the application for fare increases were prompted by increasing operational costs and inflation, which include government and regulatory taxes that are passed on to the passenger. He said prices are guided by the mileage, cost of operation between points and other resources necessary to conduct business. Leshoai said their pricing does not disadvantage them in anyway as they are affordable prices for their customers.
FMD vaccine for Egypt
GABORONE - The Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI), in collaboration with its technical partner, MERIAL, has started sending the first supply of two million doses of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccines to control the disease that hit Egypt at the beginning of this year.
According to information from BVI, the first batch of 1.1 million doses has been blended, out of which 420 000 was dispatched to Egypt. BVI was also to dispatch 300 000 doses to Libya with the remaining balance of 350 000 waiting to be sent to the Gaza Strip next month. In an interview, BVI general manager Onkabetse Matlho said all the consignments, worth over P5 million, was made possible by over 30 years of collaboration with MERIAL.
Security firm to close down
Security company Shield Security is to close down at the end of the month. This has been confirmed by the Facilities Management Group and will lead to about 800 security guards losing their jobs. It follows a decision by the Competition Authority to reject the acquisition of Shield Security by the G4S company. FMG human resources manager, Domi Sanki said employees have already been served with letters terminating their employment. He said Shield Security could not operate beyond May as its licence is under FMG Management, an entity whose sale to G4S the Competition Authority approved. He said initially the group wanted to sell the company with its subsidiaries of Shield Security, PS Cleaning and FMG Management. He said the group wanted to sell all of its Shield Security shares while remaining with some of the shares of the other entities. However, the Competition Authority approved the acquisition of PS Cleaning and FMG Management saying the transaction of Shield Security to G4S would result in the latter having unfair market dominance. Shield Security has offices in Maun. He added that G4S United Kingdom, which is the group mother body, has already accepted the approved transaction of PS Cleaning and FMG Management. Shield Security has been operating for over 19 years providing security services throughout Botswana to government, parastatal and private companies.The company operations include supply, installation and monitoring of alarms as well as supply of CCTV cameras, DVD recorders for monitoring sites, and physical guards. (BOPA).
Cape Town route is now official
Air Botswana has officially confirmed that from June 1 it will launch a new daily service route between Maun and Cape Town.
According to a press release from Air Botswana, Maun serves as the gateway to the world famous Okavango Delta, which offers an opportunity for the holiday of a lifetime.
The release states that demands for the route has grown over the years and will provide the tourist market with an opportunity to combine the sea and delta holiday experience. “It is also perfectly timed to coincide with the peak tourism season, which will see increased levels of travel to most African holiday destinations.”
The release adds that the route comes at a time when Air Botswana is looking to expand its route network into other Southern African destinations. Currently, the airline flies to South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and also flies daily from Gaborone to Maun.
The route will be serviced by the BAE 146 jet.
Maun Terrors goes half way in promotional games play-offs
Maun Terrors, the representatives of the Nhabe Region in the on-going play-offs for a place in the 1 ST Division North league taking place in Kasane, have so far done very well winning two and losing one of the six matches each team has to play. They have put themselves comfortably in 4 th place in a seven team league with six points, 3 behind current leaders Francistown-based Amakhosi who won all three of their games to collect all nine points, and are trailing Kazungula Fighters and Green Lovers by a single point but the two have played a game extra.
Maun Terrors started the campaign with an emphatic 3-1 win over Morupule Wanderers on Saturday morning with goals coming from Fax Modongo, Chakala Shorty and a well- taken free kick by Zimbabwean international Tendai “Nyandoro” Katiyo before edging past Green Lovers by a single goal later in the day. That goal that came from the boot of free scoring Modongo.
The following day saw current log leaders Amakhosi brush aside Maun Terrors' challenge for top spot.
Terrors lost two players to red cards and the toll of a very long league season beginning to show as the guys carrying injuries and some showing signs of fatigue could not find the back of the net but fought gallantly and were unfortunate to concede a single goal that gave Amakhosi a valuable three points to top the log.
It will be a long journey once again this weekend for the Nhabe champions as they need to at least win 2 of the remaining games and maybe scratch for a draw to secure a place in the national league.
Amakhosi, on the other hand, need at least one win and a draw for security, as historically, teams have always won the promotional games play-offs with 13 points. For second and third placed Kazungula Fighters and Green Lovers, both need to win all their remaining games to be sure of qualification.
As for Stone Breakers of Boteti and Phikwe Pirates, the two are currently rooted at the bottom of the log having managed one draw each and it will be a difficult task for the two sides to try and make any impact this weekend. Maun Terrors and Stone Breakers are the only teams to have won qualification to the national league in recent years with Phikwe Pirates having played in this second highest league in 2005 when they were a household name in Selebi Phikwe and boasted star players like former Satmos coach Stanford Ntini.
The last time Maun Terrors were in the National 1st Division was two seasons ago and they were relegated to the lower division but have tried hard to beef up the playing squad and bring back the tried and tested players who saw them dominate the second round of the Nhabe league.
Zebras start long journey to World Cup
Botswana's Zebras start their long journey to the finals of the 3014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with a game against the Central African Republic in Bangui in June 2.
They will be playing the first leg match in the preliminary competition of the African Zone.
On their return they will take on South Africa's Bafana Bafana in a first leg home game, to be played at the UB Stadium in Gaborone, on June 9.
Meanwhile, the venues for the 2013 AFCON tournament and 2014 African Nations championships in South Africa have been finalised.
The cities chosen for AFCON matches are Durban, Nelspruit, Rustenburg and Port Elizabeth. Johannesburg will host both the opening and closing games and ceremonies at the FNB stadium (Soccer City).
The cities that will host the 2014 African Nations championships are Polokwane, Cape Town, Kimberly and Bloemfontein.
Maun Tigers hold visiting No Mathatha
Maun Tigers (aka Ngambera) played hard to hold no mercy No Mathatha at Maun Sports Complex in a rare happening for the football fraternity on Sunday morning - as the game which was supposed to be played on Saturday afternoon could not take place at the venue but had to make way for a cricket match as it was said that the football game had not been booked on the stadium's calendar of events.
It is not the first time that games have been postponed there to make way for other events. One person, who spoke anonymously, said that even the morning game was not supposed to take place as some people had booked the stadium for the morning and as a result Tigers negotiated with No Mathata to play the game at 7:30 am as to allow the Phikwe side to be able to make their journey home well in time.
Stadium workers do not refute the fact that they have fixtures for the games but say dropping fixtures at their office was not a way to book the ground.
In past years all events for the year were written down, but now the notice board hardly has anything written on it except for one or two outlined events.
Sankoyo did not play their home game as well. It was to have been played at 6pm but it is understood the game was cancelled beforehand and Hotspurs did not even make the trip to Maun. Last year a league fixture between Sankoyo and Sua Flamingoes had to be cancelled at the last minute when stadium authorities said it was not scheduled on their calendar and a social football game was all the spectators were treated to. When attempting to push the game to about 6 pm, there was no-one to switch the lights on and Sua Flamingoes had to make the journey back home with costs and without kicking a ball.
Some local league games recently could not take place as other events were seen taking on to the field before the games and even, at times, in-between the games as it was claimed they had booked the stadium.
Satmos in double win
Selebi Phikwe side Satmos registered emphatic wins over Great North Tigers in a be Mobile league Labour Day match, edging the other relegation candidates by 2 goals to 1 before shocking Uniao Flamingoe Santos by 3 goals to 1 over last weekend.
The loss by Notwane, who succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of BMC made the relegation battle at the bottom intensify as Satmos have a slight chance to survive the chop with Notwane, GNT, and Miscellaneous all falling into the relegation zone. Two teams will relegate automatically at the end of the season, but the question that lingers is who will face the axe as all four teams occupy the danger zone - and the one that wins most of the remaining games has a chance of surviving.
BMC shot back to the second spot on the log after their win over Notwane to displace Township Rollers who were inactive over the weekend. Mochudi Centre Chiefs' 2-0 win over BMC in mid-week pushed them closer to claiming the league championship. For Police X1, David Makakaba scored twice to surprise BDF X1 over the weekend when they won 2-1.
Be Mobile Premier League games cancelled
The Be Mobile football league games were on Saturday cancelled at the last minute following confusion at the University of Botswana stadium in Gaborone after four teams were scheduled to play at the same ground and same time.
The teams involved were current Be Mobile log leaders Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers, Tafic and Nico United.
According to close sources, fixtures had it on paper that the clash between Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Nico United, who were meeting again after the Mascom Top 8 game, were to play each other in a league fixture while Township Rollers were to lock horns with Tafic at SSKB grounds, but during the course of the week the venues were switched for the two games with the UB fixture taken to SSKB and the SSKB clash set for UB stadium.
Khumoyame Masonya, the public relations officer at Township Rollers, confirmed that on May 2 they received correspondence from the Premier league informing them of the change of venue for their game venue from SSKB to UB and Rollers made a follow up on Friday telephonically but could not reach anyone at the league to confirm the change. The chairman of Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Ernest Molome, also confirmed rumours that there was a change of their game but no formal correspondence was communicated to them until Thursday when it was confirmed.
The reason was that Centre Chiefs had played a mid-week game at UB and therefore that was reason enough to change the weekend game to SSKB, which they did not agree to as in a league Board of Governor's meeting that was held the previous Tuesday, an agreement was reached that fixtures and venues were not to be changed until the final games of the league as this was a crucial time for teams in contention of winning the league or those fighting off relegation.
On Saturday morning, centre Chiefs went to Lekidi, the Botswana Football Association administration centre, where it was confirmed that their fixture was still scheduled for the UB grounds. Three teams converged on the UB stadium - Centre Chiefs, Tafic and Rollers – while Nico United went to the SSKB grounds.
Tafic also confirmed receiving a letter switching their game to UB stadium but no reasons were given.
When contacted for comment, BFA chief executive officer Bennet Mamelodi he only answered by saying an interim investigation committee had been appointed to try and find out on what transpired and was to give back a report to his office by May 18. He also publicly apologised to sponsors and supporters.