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Molebatsi calls for internal roads



Member of Parliament for Mmadinare, Molebatsi Molebatsi has decried lack of development in his area.

When responding to the State of the Nation Address, Molebatsi highlighted that although he appreciates government’s efforts in investing in infrastructural development projects across the country, Mmadinare constituency has been largely neglected and therefore in need of serious and urgent attention.

He pointed out that that the constituency was promised internal roads during NDP 8/DDP5 and now government is on NDP 11 and yet there is no sign of the promised internal roads.

“You can imagine such a big village with no internal roads. There are no taxi services because of the absence of internal roads. I humbly plead with the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to consider including Mmadinare internal roads network and street lights in the current NDP 11 Mid – Term review,” Molebatse said.

Calling for a bridge in the village the MP pointed out that, “There are two rivers between Tobane and Tshokwe villages, being Motloutse and Molabe Rivers respectfully. The two rivers are less than 10kms apart. There is a bridge that crosses Motloutse and there is no bridge crossing Molabe River.”

He further highlighted that the river that crosses Motloutse will continue to serve no real purpose since once you crossed Motloutse you can’t cross Molabe River because there is no bridge crossing that particular river.

Molebatsi pleaded with the government to consider building a bridge on the long awaited Molabe River so that people could connect between the two villages during rainy seasons when the rivers a flooding.

“During rainy seasons, Tshokwe people get trapped on the other side of the river and don’t access the facilities like hospitals that are in Tobane, Selibe Phikwe and Mmadinare,” he pointed out.

Molebatsi however thanked the Ministry of Transport and Communication for having started the process of construction of the long-awaited road from Mmadinare to Robelela.

“The 20kms tarred road does wonders to the development of our constituency; it’s an alternative route to Zimbabwe,” the MP noted and went on to request that when the construction of the second phase of the remaining 20kms of the road starts, government should also include a connecting road to Tonota, joining the A1 highway.

“When the Kazungula border opens, we are going to have many trucks going to the north being diverted from Beitbridge and we need to create more route options in Botswana, ” Molebatsi said.

He also noted that since the opening of border posts in SPEDU region like Platjan, Zanzibar a need has risen to open more routes for tourists and truckers going to the North.

” The increased number of vehicles passing through the constituency will bring opportunities for truck stops, filling stations, motels, bed and breakfast businesses on their route, the MP noted.


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Elephant mortality in Okavango rises to 110, Anthrax ruled out



Wildlife and National Parks department has ruled out Anthrax as a killer disease for elephants along some villages in the Okavango delta.

As of Friday last week, at least 110 dead elephants were discovered in areas of Seronga, Gunotsoga and Eretsha in the past three weeks and were suspected to have died from Anthrax.

However the Anthrax laboratory tests have come back negative, leaving the government departments searching for more answers. 

“Laboratory results have ruled out Anthrax and we are awaiting more results,” explained regional Wildlife coordinator in Maun, Dimakatso Ntshebe.

Ntshebe said his department through the help of veterinary department services are still conducting further tests to find out whether or not this mysterious disease is not a result of poisoning.

The disease according to Ntshebe causes the giant’s front legs to weaken and therefore the unwell animal walks in uncoordinated manner and ultimately drops to its death.

“We don’t know what could be the cause of this disease but we are working around the clock to find out and hopefully work on the cure,” added Ntshebe.

Some samples are to be sent to South Africa for further testing. “We could have taken other samples to the neighbouring Zimbabwe, but because of COVID-19 that brought everything to almost a standstill, we could not send them,” Ntshebe explained before adding that, “before coronavirus outbreak, Botswana and Zimbabwe were in talks and have entered into some agreements including exportation and importation of certain medications, but we have not yet concluded the matter regarding samples, that is why we have not been able to send samples to Zimbabwe.”

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SADC Executive Secretary disturbed by obstacles in movement of goods



The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned member states that any lack of cooperation among then during the COVID19 era has potential to reverse the gains made in the last decades.

Addressing a virtual SADC Council of Ministers meeting this week, Lawrence Tax said that the regional ministers approved Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Movement of Essential Goods and Services across borders early April. 

She said that whilst the guidelines have played a critical role in facilitation of movement of essential goods, there are notable obstacles that have been noted by the Secretariat.

The obstacles include non-compliance/non recognition of regional legal frameworks; uncoordinated operations at the port of entry among border agencies; lack of harmonization and synchronization of policies and procedures among, and between member states; unilateral decisions outside agreed framework; as well as different approaches to deal with epidemiological challenges,” she said. 

She added that; “all these are resulting in increased cost of doing business, and negatively affecting the implementation of national and regional programmes”.

She advised that there is need to have measures, and coordinated approach in place since the region is in a post lockdown period since the transportation of non-essential goods and services will be resuming.

Lawrence Tax added that COVID19 is a global pandemic and that the SADC regional approach should expand to COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and eventually to other continental blocs.

“The Secretariat is already working with COMESA and EAC, specifically, in terms of harmonizing and synchronizing regulations and procedures for movement of goods and services under the Tripartite arrangement. We need to move in unison and avoid unilateral decisions, specifically with regards to cross border movement of goods and services,” she said.

According to the Executive Secretary, the regional office has already conducted a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID19 on the region and the results have shown that the pandemic will impact negatively across many socio and economic sectors.

“The decline in the global economy is projected to lead to a decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020. This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Lawrence Tax said.

On the flip side,  the region’s International Cooperating Partners have made pledges to mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on its economy. 

“To date, the Secretariat has secured Euro 7.3 million from the German Government; Euro3.6million from European Union, Euro 190,000.00 under the GIZ/Africa Union Commission, whereas the African Development Bank (AfDB)  has considered a support UA 7 million. Engagements with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are also at an advanced stage,” the Executive Secretary said.

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