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GCC’s diamond city dream far-fetched

It became evident yesterday that the vision by Gaborone City Council (GCC) to turn the capital in to a diamond city is a far-fetched dream.

The permanent secretary (PS) for Local Government and Rural Development, Molefi Keaja told the Public Account Committee (PAC) that the city currently does not have enough resources to achieve its dream.

This was after specially elected Member of Parliament (MP), Bogolo Kenewendo wanted to know if councils were empowered and the PS was aware of the GCC mayor Kagiso Thutlwe and council management’s intention.

“GCC cannot turn into diamond city as the nation wishes because of lack funds and resources. The councils are playing a major role of development with a constrained budget. That is the reason why some councils have started to have trust funds and even to engage private companies to help them to develop their towns and villages,” Keaja said.

Keaja told PAC members that they were working in partnership with Business Botswana to try to capacitate councils, especially bigger ones on how to raise funds without relying on the government.

However, Tati East MP, Samson Guma wanted to know if the council’s expenditure was being monitored since councillors and council management are always in committee meetings but producing no results.

 “There are lot of activities going on at councils, but people don’t see any results.

There is huge expenditure at councils and their books for auditing are always behind. Are they the ones delaying or it is the Auditor General?” Guma enquired.  Keaja said majority of councils have submitted their books for auditing but the delay has been at Auditor General’s office to release the audited books except Lobatse council, which delayed due to computer technical problems.

On other issues, Keaja informed the PAC that they have not finished consultation with MPs regarding the P570 million allocated to constituencies.

PAC members demanded to know more about the constituency funding.

“Why are you involving them now when you could have involved them when consultations were starting, and people suggesting projects for their areas. Do you think MPs could change what people suggested?” Guma charged.

PAC chairperson, Abram Kesupile chipped in saying; “I understand that your ministry is in crisis because it has realised that some submissions were done by social workers without people’s input. Your office returned some submissions because people were complaining and now you want MPs’ intervention”.

However, Keaja responded that the ministry was still consulting and that cabinet has approved the guidelines on how the funds should be spent.




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