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An After Thought – Another P48 Million for Lobatse Milk!

SANDY GRANT
Having had a recent look at the Mochudi to Malotwana road it was difficult to believe that in the mid 1970s I regularly used the road to go and buy thatching grass.

Then it was a really lovely road, single track, twisting and turning through a minor forest, hellishly dangerous of course because with the sand it was necessary to speed up and simply hope that nothing was coming the other way around the many blind corners.  The road today is a totally different affair going to Malotwana and past it on to the main north south road.

The minor forest seems to have disappeared and the twisty road is now dead straight and wide of course. When I first checked when it was newly constructed, it was a beauty.

When I next checked it, the thin skin of tarmac had been stripped away in many places and there were many potholes.  We went the other day to see how it had fared during the recent rain. You can imagine for yourself of course.

It was a wreck. Another of these scams perhaps? Or just a shitty job?  But then, much to my surprise another old friend popped up again when I had been led to believe that it was dead and buried, yes, Lobatse’s very own Milk Afric!  Minster and MP Sadique Kebonang has now reassured everyone, yet again, that all is well. Apparently the government (unspecifically) has made another P48  million available ‘to facilitate importation of the dairy cows’.  But importation from where?  Originally, we were told that an unstated number of dairy cattle would be purchased in Florida! But in the Monitor of 15.8.16 Mr  Kebonang indicated that there had been a U turn and that ‘Lobatse Town Council officials have gone to Kimberly to see the dairy cattle which have been bought for this project’. 

 Is P48 million really required to ‘import’ those cattle from South Africa?  Or are we back to Florida after all and the Town Council officials set up in an elaborate hoax? But for what purpose? And consider that the P100 million or so - the figure wobbles like everything else to do with this project – would have been made available by the government after it had carefully studied a complete project memorandum. 

This document, if it ever existed, would have itemized everything – including the costs involved in importing the dairy cows from a specified part of the world. In other words, the P100 million must have included the costs of  importation. But seemingly not.

The P48 million, representing no

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less than 50% give or take of the original budget, must have been overlooked! But what would happen if the application to the government (was there one?) for this additional P48 million had been refused? What then would have been the fate of those very valuable cattle and who then would be their owner? Milk Afric, I assume. And very nice too. But then Milk Afric had the government over a barrel, didn’t it?  Refuse to provide the cash and the project was doomed.

Mind you I am not at all convinced that there ever was a project. Such information as has been provided in the last three years has been patchy and contradictory.  Nobody, it seems, has been able to tell the truth – possibly because no one involved has ever known what this might be.

But if it was ever believed that this project could be viable this P48 million does mean that the government will be subsiding it until the end of time. But let me shift to Milk Afric’s companion project, the envisaged Leather Park.   If we have known little about the former, we know absolutely nothing about the latter even though, according to Hon. Kebonang , ‘we are still engaging international technical partners’.  Engaging them on what? Exactly what does this project comprise? Or are those technical partners expected to fill in the blanks! Leather projects consume vast quantities of water so why would the government have chosen to locate it in a place which has long standing water supply problems? The BMC, of course.

But then might it not have been wiser to take the project to the water than to do everything the other way around. At vast cost, of course.  But then those costs would be much reduced were a decision to be made to shift the project from Lobatse to Phikwe where it would have a much better chance of bearing fruit.

But what is a Leather Park? I personally have never heard of a project of this kind. But then perhaps they may be dotted all over the place and I have never noticed.

But will this be another of that kind which sends people to Florida for training but then has no clue how many were sent, their names and hat happened to them on their return.  Lobatse is indeed seeing marvels.



Etcetera II

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