FRANCISTOWN: BR Properties (BRP), a subsidiary of Botswana Railways (BR), said it expects to construct the long-awaited mall in the first quarter of next year on a piece of land it owned.
The managing director of BRP, Utlwanang Golebanye revealed this during the ongoing full council session on Wednesday.
BRP had initially announced that it would build the mall worth P300 million four years back, but the actual laying of bricks and plastering has not yet started.
On completion, the mall was expected to have a piazza, filling station and other developments.
Golebanye stated that they had initially planned to build the mall worth P300 million, but due to unfavourable economic factors such as the closure of Tati Nickel Mine and other factors, they later decided to scale down the size of the mall.
“There is room for increasing the size of the mall as the economy improves,” Golebanye added.
He also stated that the mall would employ 287 people during the construction phase and 235 workers post the construction stage.
“The project is currently at the environmental impact assessment stage.
“The building of the mall is in line with government’s objectives of improving the economy, creating the much-needed jobs and Vision 2036.
“We expect the mall to add vibrancy to the City of Francistown,” said an optimistic Golebanye, who added: “We also expect the mall to decongest the city’s central business district”.
On other issues, Golebanye who was accompanied by senior management from both BR and BRP said that BR
“The railway line will run along the main road in order to minimise the costs of compensating private land owners.
“We are currently working on a bankable feasibility study to determine the cost of the project. The implementation of the project is expected to take six to seven years,” Golebanye said.
Previously, the chief executive officer (CEO) of BR Leornard Makwinja, who was said to be in China with President Mokgweetsi Masisi to attend the third summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, told a local publication that the construction of the railway line is estimated to cost $800 million.
Responding to Golebanye’s remarks, councillors Ephraim Maiketso, Peter Ngoma and Joyplay Gunda bemoaned that they have been told on numerous occasions that the mall will start but up to now nothing has happened.
Some of the councillors also stated that the new BRP mall should also include a swimming pool and cinema, which is currently not available in the country’s second city. Golebanye then assured the councillors that they are still in consultations with different stakeholders including the Francistown City Council on what to include at the envisaged mall.