4 September 2013

Botswana: Corrupt Practices Worrisome - President Khama

press release

President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama says although international communities continue to rank Botswana as the least corrupt country, there are worrying reports of corrupt incidences across local authorities.

Addressing a Cabinet meeting with the Selebi Phikwe councillors on September 3, President Khama called on Batswana to play a role in the fight against corruption and stand against criminal behaviour.

President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama says although international communities continue to rank Botswana as the least corrupt country, there are worrying reports of corrupt incidences across local authorities.

Addressing a Cabinet meeting with the Selebi Phikwe councillors on September 3, President Khama called on Batswana to play a role in the fight against corruption and stand against criminal behaviour.

He said allegations of corruption in councils were mainly centred on human resource management, particularly in recruitment, promotions, tender awards and collusion by some staff and suppliers.

He said such issues were a concern and called on the leadership to ensure that corruption prevention committees in councils, district commissioner's office and tribal administration were functional to guide staff on anti-corruption initiatives.

"I call on all councils, ministries and the nation at large to embrace anti-corruption strategies and report all forms of corruption. The war against this scourge is everybody's responsibility and this war must be fought from all fronts," he said.

On other issues, President Khama said the spirit of self-help and community resilience which laid a strong foundation for nation building and community mobilisation for development at independence needed to be revived.

"I therefore call upon all local authorities in this country to revive community development and mobilisation initiatives for capacity building and community empowerment," he said.

The President said it was important to discourage the culture of entitlement and enhance the uptake of government empowerment initiatives like poverty eradication and the youth empowerment scheme, among others. He said reliance on government for everything was neither desirable nor sustainable.

President Khama stressed that the desired impact of government programmes and other initiatives would not be realised if there was no proper coordination with central government ministries, the private sector, NGOs and other key stakeholders in Selebi Phikwe.

He said the council, as a major procuring entity, should use its purchasing power to support small medium and micro enterprises to grow the local economy and create employment opportunities in Selebi Phikwe as the government was doing through the Economic Diversification Drive initiative at national level.

President Khama also called on the council to make deliberate efforts to facilitate a conducive environment for operation of the informal sector without compromising public health, order and safety of the community.

In his welcome remarks, the Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) mayor, Mr Tebogo Matlhogonolo said the mining town was facing the challenge of scarcity of jobs, especially for women, since the collapse of the textile industry in the town.

Mayor Matlhogonolo noted that BCL Mine employed mainly men due to its nature and that when the textile industry collapsed, it impacted negatively on the employment sector.

He pointed out that BCL Mine had setup the Polaris II initiative aimed at extending the life span of mine beyond its mining operations where the mine smelter would continue to produce mineral ore from other mines within Botswana and the rest of the world.

Mr Matlhogonolo also noted that SPTC operated with one compact truck which made it difficult to reach its objective of refuse collection in the town. He further noted that the council was working with SPEDU to help diversify the economy of the region.

Foot and Mouth Disease and drought in the area, he added, had resulted in a major setback in the agriculture sector in the Selebi Phikwe and Bobirwa regions.

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