The BTC st last comes to life

Quite extraordinary. Here was a full page advert in the Guardian announcing that the BTCL, alias the Telecommunications Corporation, has held a conference to try and do something about cable theft and the theft of related material. Mind you, I have been hearing about cable theft for perhaps five years now.

And I, not least have been denouncing the BTC on three recent occasions for its obvious disinterest in the amount of cable that is stolen, its apathy and incompetence. I have suggested that an MP should ask for information about the annual loss to the BTC through outsider theft, I have suggested that the police alone cannot be expected to crack this problem, that other parties must be involved, that the BTC’s passiveness and chronic indifference to this continuing theft is ruining many businesses, causing immense inconvenience and misunderstandings and that its continuance impacts badly on hopes of obtaining foreign investment and will do so until it finally wakes up and does something. Now miraculously, and ages after it should have done so, it has finally come to its senses. More or less – ‘the less’ because it, in its advert, it is now telling us, its poor suffering customers, what we have been trying to tell it – but it couldn’t hear or didn’t want to hear. And that strikes me as being very odd. What have all those important heads of BTC departments been doing all this time – I mean the ones with pics in the advert? Could not one of them have responded to any of my comments in The Monitor in the last few weeks? Or do none of them read newspapers or alternatively are they all of that category which believes that everything therein is a tangle of lies.  Is that enough to get it off my chest? No, not really. I suspect that were the BTC to be involved in a customer satisfaction survey it would come out bottom, not that I would stress because of the staff members at the lower end of its employment scales, who, have been invariably friendly and helpful. But because of those higher up. Next. If am not, self evidently, a fan of the BTC, I am very much an enthusiast about the new Kazungula bridge and hopefully the upgrading of the road from there to Nata and Francistown. But now are we being made to understand, very much at the 11th hour, that Zimbabwe has claimed that there can be no bridge because this country does not share a border with Zambia.  Further that it objects to the plans to construct such a bridge because it will have a negative impact on the traffic using Beitbridge. I thought that SADC and all the array of inter country and inter governmental organisations were long ago intended to sort out such matters.  But seemingly not. So could we please get an authoritative comment about this?

And lastly yet another concern – because I only have space for one more! – namely the old, abandoned Sekgoma Hospital in Serowe which I visited for the first time very recently. Two things about this institution immediately struck  me One, was that it is very large and two, that as with so many old buildings, it had been properly constructed and superficially at least, looked in good shape.  But it does disconcert me that so many old buildings up and down the country, like this old hospital, have been abandoned seemingly without any thought for conservation and re-use. They are just left to rot.  It may be that a hospital today needs to be housed in purpose designed buildings with all today’s necessary extras.  But it would be easy enough to adapt an old hospital into a very decent school or training centre or even into offices. But at Lobatse, not least, this is not happening. The old Commonwealth Development Corporation Offices behind the High Court are left to the vagrants, squatters and petty looters whilst Germond’s handsome house was being used, the last time I checked, for storing the government’s derelict furniture.  But even though those ideas may have no appeal, we could use such buildings to give better accommodation to some of those who now need to be given specially constructed and contributed homes. Given the opportunity, I wonder how many would take their chance and make a move. And why not? At the Sekgoma Hospital I found at least one light that was on and working. Presumably the others were not working simply because the bulbs or strip lights were bust.  But just think about this. What would happen if an advert was to be placed in one or another of the newspapers announcing that in Serowe free accommodation is available at the old hospital, either for domestic or working needs, with electricity and water provided; preference to be given to a) the proven poor and destitute and b) to small-scale firms employing five or more people? 

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