LOBATSE: The Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, (MITI) Sadique Kebonang has rubbished allegations that the multi-million-pula project, Milk Afric is silently dying.
In an interview with Monitor Business this week, Kebonang revealed that despite the fact that residents have continued to discredit the project due to lack of information, the project is however on the right track.
“As we speak, Lobatse Town Council officials have gone to Kimberly in South Africa to see the dairy cattle which have been bought for this project. Things are coming together but it would not be as fast as people might think. Things will soon turn around and materialise,” said Kebonang.
He said that people think the project is slowly dying because they lack information, noting that even starting a company takes some time as things like the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is required, some regulations, too much red tape which usually causes delays in establishing businesses.
In addition Kebonang said that despite the silence, there are other things that are being done in the background, noting that they have sent people to school to facilitate production of milk at European standards.
“We have to wait for them to finish, put systems in place, there are issues of water, and electricity in place that have to be tackled. In terms of putting it together, you may have different ministries dealing with the same thing. Something, which will ordinarily take four months, will end up taking three to four years,” he said.
Lobatse residents have however expressed discontent over the project. Bakang Morwe said the silence is an indication that the project chances of success are futile.
“There is totally nothing to expect from this project, its facilitators have gone mute. There is totally nothing at the site and I think those thousands of jobs which we were promised were just an empty promise and we should deal with it. If that’s not so why are they silent?’’ he said.
Another resident, Mothusi Mosiane said, “About 12 months back, they promised us that by April this year there will be some people employed on the project but it’s totally a different case as they have instead gone quite about it just like the leather park, which has long been preached about without at least any signs of hope.”
On the ground, a biosecurity entrance and fence have been fully constructed, no visible structures are on site, but boreholes have reportedly been drilled.
Milk Afric chief executive officer, Phil Matibe was not available for comment as his phone ran unanswered at the time of going for press.