Botswana: Water Scarcity Burning Issue in Boteti

Rakop — The issue of Water scarcity in Boteti West took centre stage during the Radio Botswana Parliamentarian debate conducted at Rakops on September 22.

Boteti West Parliamentary Candidate under Alliance for Progressive Mr Michael Molatlhiwa indicated that water scarcity was a critical issue in Boteti that had dragged for years.

Mr Molatlhiwa stated that water in Boteti West had high salinity and bad odour, citing that it was not good for human consumption.

Boteti, he said, was marginalised, citing that water pipes and taps remained dilapidated without undergoing maintenance.

Agricultural production in the constituency, he said, had declined due to wildlife destroying the fields, citing that 40 per cent of land was occupied by wild animals.

He argued that large a portion land that could have been used as a grazing area for livestock was reserved for wild animals.

Mr Molatlhiwa pledged to advocate for an abattoir in Boteti West, saying the area had over 200 000 cows.

He also expressed concern that compensation for wild animals killing livestock took long to be addressed.

Diamonds, he said, were mined in Boteti, but the area remained under-developed.

Sharing the sentiments with Mr Molatlhiwa, Umbrella for Democratic Change candidate Mr Sam Digwa reiterated the issue of highly saline water in the constituency.

The plan, he said, was to erect a treatment plant in Mokobaxane to ensure supply of good quality water.

He indicated that UDC intended to make Boteti West a sub-district, noting that most of the services were accessed from Letlhakane.

Mr Digwa also stated that Boteti was rich in natural resources, but the constituents were not benefitting from them.

He emphasised that Batswana were not gaining any benefit from proceeds made through wildlife, saying the aim was to separate wildlife from tribal territory.

UDC's plan, he said, was to promote agro-tourism, saying the people of Boteti did not have camp sites.

Moreover, Mr Digwa said there were poor roads in Boteti, stating that there were no tarred road connecting Makalamabedi road to Motopi.

He also indicated that the intention was to advocate for tarring of Kedia road, as well as electrification of Kedia and Xere.

Diamond mines, he said, were located in Boteti, but the local community was not benefitting, citing that stakeholders like the local community did not have a say in the running of the mines.

Mr Digwa said they would ensure that royalties were introduced to allow the local community to benefit from the mines.

He further stated that his party was against inequality in the workplace, citing that bonus for Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines' employees was not distributed fairly.

He noted that bonus for employees on B-band and those on D-band had an unreasonably huge difference.

Mr Slumber Tsogwane of Botswana Democratic Party stated that almost all the villages in Boteti West had been electrified except Kedia and Xere, whose electrification was also underway.

Mr Tsogwane stated that there was a water treatment plant in Motopi supplying villages located in the west of the constituency.

He indicated that plans were underway to erect a treatment plant in Mokobaxane that would supply villages in the south of Boteti West and the project was expected to kick start in the first quarter of 2020.

The project will cover villages from Mokobaxane to Rakops, he said.

The project, he explained, had since been included in the National Development Plan, but was deferred due to lack of funds, noting that its funds had been secured with the World Bank.

Mr Tsogwane explained that the project was also delayed because the first project design for Boteti southern water cluster did not meet World Bank standards and requirements.

The project, he said, had been re-designed and its tendering would be done in December.

Private companies, he said, had been implored to partner with government in developing the country, stating that Moreomaoto Clinic funded by Debswana and TKM engineering was on its completion stage.

A clinic, he said, had also been planned for Sekgophane ward near Mmadikola, saying porta cabins had been secured to be used to provide health services to the locals.

In an endeavour to address human/wildlife conflict, hunting ban, he said, had been lifted. Government, he said, had also taken a decision to erect 105km Makgadikgadi game proof fence to a location preferred by the community.

Members of the community through the trust, he said, would be expected to erect the electrified fence and undertake its monitoring and maintenance.

Mr Tsogwane explained that members of the public were vested with the responsibility to take care of government property, stating that government could not be blamed for vandalism of property, citing the solar panels that were stolen from the game proof fence.

BDP government, he said, would create employment opportunities, adding that the economy was expected to grow at the rate of 4.9 per cent from this year to 2023.

He indicated that the aim was to support small medium enterprises by allowing them to operate from the homesteads, and allocate them business operating licenses.

The BDP chairperson said the party would promote local economic development and Economic Diversification Drive, encouraging procurement of locally produced goods.

In addition, he stated that Community Based National Resource Management programme would be employed to empower the locals to benefit from the natural resources.

Moreover, Mr Tsogwane stated that mines had structures in place to address employees grievances regarding the issue bonus inequalities between lower scale and high scale employees.

He stated that he had addressed the mine union at OLDM as the area MP and arrangements had been made for the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources to address the unions.

Source : BOPA

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