Bakgatla leaders petition govt over SA retailers ban

The Bakgatla leaders, Senior Chief’s representative, Kgosi Segale Linchwe, Mochudi West MP Gilbert Mangole and Kgatleng District Council are in a fighting mood.

They are up in arms against the government following the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry’s refusal to grant the South African retailers licences to operate in the Kgatleng P100million Pilane mall.

After a compromise was reached in the initial dispute, in which Prime Time Properties Ltd had written to request the ministry to exempt non-citizen retailers reserved business activities and allow them to expand their operations in the same line of trade, a new dispute has erupted in which the government now wants the SA retailers to buy local products.

The defiant retailers amongst them Jet, Mr Price, Clicks, KFC and others are still struggling on how to accede to this ultimatum with some arguing that they are already buying some of the local products such as towels.

The mall currently has 28 tenants, amongst them; First National Bank (FNB), Choppies Supermarket, Cashbuild, Puma petrol station, Barclays Bank, Knock-Out Cash ‘n Carry, OK Furniture and cell phone service providers.

Bakgatla, it is understood, are disappointed with the mall, which they long anticipated as an alternative for Gaborone. Conveniently built in the heart of Kgatleng District, the mall is expected to serve villages like Bokaa, Morwa, Pilane, Mochudi, Rasesa, Mmathubudukwane, Sikwane and Malolwane among others.


Botswana’s mobile internet use surges

Mobile internet usage in the country is becoming more pervasive as most people are getting their hands on more mobile devices.

This is according to Statistics Botswana (SB), which recently released a report that reflects on the country’s household access and individual use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in 2014.

The data-collecting agency says 40.6% of households had access to internet in the year under review, adding that the majority of households with access to internet used mobile internet. This constitutes 94.3% of all households with access to internet.

“In 2014, 85.3% of the population 10 years and over in Botswana used a mobile cellular telephone. Of these individuals, 44.2% were males while 55.8% were females,” reads the report.

SB further states that the most common device used to access the internet was a mobile cellular telephone, noting that most internet users, 78.4%, used it to participate in social networks.

It says those who used the internet to read or download online newspapers, magazines or electronic books amounted to 56.6% of internet users.

Internet banking and getting information from government departments’ websites were performed by 8.6% and 21.1% respectively of internet users.

“The majority of mobile cellular telephone users spend most of their time chatting, sending and receiving short messages as well as playing music and videos,” the report states.

According to SB, Gaborone had the largest proportion of mobile cellular telephone users in 2014, with 17.5% of the total, while Kweneng East and Ngwaketse districts followed with 14.6% and 6.3% respectively.


Parly has surrendered to Khama – Manual Workers

Manual Workers union has accused Parliament of abdicating its function to the President, allowing him to do as he pleases in the appointment of the judges of the Court of Appeal (CoA).

The union, under the banner of the National Amalgamated Local Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU), said according to the Constitution the number of justices of appeal was prescribed by Parliament instead of the President.

The union, in its legal challenge to Khama over his appointment of the seven justices of the appeal, argued at the Lobatse High Court this week that Parliament instead surrendered its responsibilities to the President.

The veteran union led by Johnson Motshwarakgole is also challenging the constitutional validity of Section 4 of the CoA Act in so far as it delegates, to the President, Parliament’s constitutional powers to determine the number of justices. They are seeking a declaratory order to that effect.

Alec Freund (SC) submitted that in respect of Section 99 (2) (b) of the Constitution, the provision requires that the number if any of the justices of appeal in addition to others must be prescribed by Parliament.

“Despite the fact that Section 99 (2) (b) requires Parliament to prescribe the number, if any, Parliament has given away its powers to the president.

It has left the number to be determined by discretionary decisions,” he said.

He explained that moreover the power conferred on Parliament by the latter section was a legislative power, which was required to be exercised by enacting an Act in the manner prescribed by Section 88 of the Constitution.


Brexit might trigger EPA revision

The recent vote for the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the European Union (EU) might lead to the renegotiation of the recently signed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Economic experts believe that by breaking away from the EU, the UK would cease to be party to any of the EU’s trade agreements including the EPA.

The EU and Botswana are important trading partners. Available data from Statistics Botswana shows that in December 2010, the country’s total exports were valued at P1.8 billion and almost half of them, P910 million, went to the EU.

The UK has been the largest import partner of Botswana, importing goods and services valued at more than P820 million. For December 2010, almost 45% of Botswana’s exports went to the UK.

In the latest economic review by Econsult Botswana, Keith Jefferis asserted that for Botswana, Brexit adds to uncertainty, given that the country’s beef is exported to the UK under the recently signed EPA trade agreement with the EU.

“This uncertainty will remain for quite some time, until the form of post-Brexit trade and economic relations between the UK, the EU and the rest of the world become much clearer,” he said.

He stated that the UK’s exit from the EU shows that people are prepared to support something that is not in their economic self-interest, if other factors are perceived to be more important.

“Certainly, it has had a destabilising effect on the global economy, not to mention the UK economy. For instance, the proposed mega-merger between the brewers ABInbev and SABMiller may well fall apart, because it is no longer as attractive given that it is priced in devalued post-Brexit sterling,” Jefferis said.

He further noted that global growth forecasts have been revised downwards slightly, post-Brexit, adding that nobody knows how these will play out.

Meanwhile, the Botswana Meat Commission, the sole exporter of the local beef to the EU, is on record saying it does not anticipate any immediate impact on its exports to both the UK and EU.