Thapelo Olopeng: i'm philanthropist by nature

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Thapelo Olopeng, President Ian Khama's famed closest friend, says he won't back down from helping the needy just because some political rivals have politicised his philanthropy, which he says dates back to 2009.

Olopeng said it is not true that he gets blankets from Khama to distribute in every village. As soon as Parliament opened recently, Acting Speaker and Olopeng's political rival for Tonota  South constituency, Pono Moatlhodi, had a field day openly criticising Khama for giving his rival blankets to distribute to the poor to help his campaign to unseat him(Moatlhodi).On Friday, Olopeng told The Monitor that it pains him that he has been painted as a friend who cheaply uses his influence on the President.

"The fact is I have never asked for blankets from the President, nor will I ever do that. The President is not so short sighted either. Truth is I am man enough to help the community where they think I could assist," he said.Olopeng said as a businessman who has business associates and sympathisers, he has always called upon them to assist him in lending a hand. He denied that he used public forums like kgotla meetings for political party campaigns.  "For a start, I was approached by the Department of Social Welfare in my region after identifying 55 needy people in Shashe-Mooke and 195 in Tonota. The assistance was specifically for these registered needy people. The district commissioner then wrote to me, inviting me to be there when they distribute the items," he said.

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