Ministry of Local Government assistant minister Ambrose Masalila has told a full Gaborone City Council (GCC) meeting that the council will receive P156 million for the roads rehabilitation.
Making the announcement yesterday, Masalila said that a special warrant is to be signed this week and a total of over P536 million awarded to all councils to fix damaged roads.
He urged all the councils to utilise these funds properly. The assistant minister, who was at the council to address the councillors on project implementation, noted that there is a problem in implementation.
Masalila said that they plan to have labour intensive public works as a permanent feature, not during drought, and workers will be rotating especially in the rural areas. He also mentioned that they are hoping to have doctors overseeing clinics and would have a country assisting them with doctors.
He mentioned that currently local doctors have not returned home. "Perhaps with the scarce skills allowance, they may come back home," he said. He was hopeful that some might return because of patriotism. He said the government would no longer build health-posts but rather upgrade them to clinics. He said they would offer medical attention to people over 65 years in government institutions but are still to assess the disabled issue.
On the issue of nurses, he said that the case was still at Cabinet level and that they have asked them to continue assisting people in the meantime.
Masalila also revealed that they are to have housing for the destitute and although they have had such a programme, they would like to use brigades for it or have some building and only pay for their labour.
On other matters, the assistant minister said that children of destitute, orphans and needy students should have full uniform by the end of this month. He said purchases should be made from the local seamstress/tailors. He complained that assessment
Masalila said that they are introducing a coupon system (credit card like) for those registered on the destitute programme. This, he said, would allow them to buy anywhere they want and give them dignity. He said the system has worked well in other countries.
He also said that the police and local police are to merge. Masalila applauded the issue of graduate internship, stating that it would give the interns the necessary experience.
However, Masalila expressed concern over reports of corruption, which must be stamped out. "Corruption is not allowed, let it be reported," he said.
He urged the local authorities to make money through rates and said Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) owes a lot of money to the council.
When responding to Masalila, Sebele ward councillor Lemme Kgopa said they do not accept labour intensive public works as people are paid low wages. He said the graduate internship is exploitative. He said that it is clear that there are vacancies so the graduates should be employed. He also said that it was "corruption for the government to pay three presidents and to build a house worth P20 million".
However, Mayor Harry Mothei said that the councillors should not deviate but stick to the issues raised by the assistant minister.
Others complained that there are no tarred roads, and sewerage system, especially in the SHHA areas. They complained of pit latrines and that it takes a long time to assess people for the destitute programme.