Members of the Gaborone Golf Club (GGC) have scored a major victory in their bid to halt the P100 million development of the club. The project, which was expected to commence next year, has been halted.
The landlord, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) had terminated GGC lease and the club was given up to January to vacate the premises.
But assistant minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Kefentse Mzwinila has stepped in and stopped the project, after the intervention of President Ian Khama, who announced last week that the developments were not going ahead.
“Conceptually, we are interested and support any efforts (targeted) at sport development. However, the project was not approved because of a number of reasons. Firstly, the project wants to dispose or sell government owned land, and any disposal of government land has to follow a due process,” he said.
Mzwinila said the location of the proposed project is in an area allocated for sports development and not the building of multi-residential units. GGC captain, Martin Mogomela said they were left out despite being the tenants.
The land belongs to the BNSC and the GGC lease has been terminated. The GGC had a 25-year lease, which was renewed in 2010 for another five years.
According to minutes of a meeting that was addressed by BNSC chief executive officer, Falcon Sedimo in October last year, the BNSC welcomed the new developments. Sedimo had promised to accommodate the concerns of the GGC members.
“Given the concepts that were being tabled, the BNSC then engaged with the government and Gaborone City Council with this proposal and they were all in agreement and supportive of the proposed future development including agreeing to release more land, eight hectares, near the University of Botswana Medical School that could be incorporated into the GGC lease,” read the minutes in part.
The October meeting agreed that once the physical planner had completed the work and proposed development plans would then be discussed and finalised. The GGC executive committee was supposed to be later briefed on progress.
Some GGC members wanted to know if the plan of the project was already on the table. They expressed disappointment that there had been that much progress without consultation. The members complained that they were not part of the decision-making process and they wanted to know who the developers were.
“We have been given up to January 2018 to vacate the land. We do not know where we are going. We do not know what is being done on this land. We just heard rumours that the course is being developed. We have not been consulted about the project by BGU and BNSC,” a disappointed Mogomela told Mmegi Sport recently.
He said as a tenant they should have been consulted before decisions were taken and they should be playing a role
Mogomela said it is the responsibility of BGU to be the link to the GGC and BNSC, but that has not happened.
Mogomela said in September, he submitted a letter to BNSC seeking an update on the project, but there has been no response to date.
Had the project gone ahead, the GGC was supposed to retrench its 34 employees.
But BGU president, Enoch Mushango said they made a presentation to the GGC committee in November 2015 regarding the development.
“The committee supported the idea and they gave us up to January 2016 to carry-out their internal consultation. The deadline was extended to February 2016. The former captain indicated that they had no more contributions to make. Due to other complaints that were raised, BGU requested a special general meeting to do a presentation to GGC members,” he said.
Mushango said the BGU flew in a specialist from South Africa for a meeting in March 2016. He revealed that the former club president changed the agenda and instead they discussed the burnt club house. He said the members were denied an opportunity to hear what the meeting was about.
“In August 2016, another presentation was made to the previous committee and they were excited about the project. They tried to have it presented to the members and trustees but that was blocked by the former president (Ouma Reddy),” he said.
Mushango said a special general meeting was held in October 2016 where BGU and BNSC addressed the members informing them that the project would going ahead and all approvals had been obtained. He said the golf club was supposed to be leased back to GGC after the completion of the project.
“I have a pile of correspondences on this matter. I do not know what consultation they are talking about. They were requested to provide information since July, but they did not do that,” he said.
Mushango said they would accept whatever decision on the future of the project. Regarding the signed contract with the developer, they said they would be guided by the provisions in the agreement.