FRANCISTOWN: Francistown city councillors have said they were not fully engaged with the Botswana Games, which the city hosts from Friday.
The councillors said it was key to fully engage them so that they inform their electorates on how they could benefit from the games.
They also bemoaned that procurement procedures for the games were shrouded in secrecy and lacked transparency.
Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng said in future the commission would improve the way it does things. BNSC are custodians of the Botswana Games.
“Francistown is not used to hosting major games. We are building capacity for the city to host big sporting activities. When you build capacity there is bound to be challenges, but in future we will improve the way we do things.”
Reikeletseng also said the 2018 Youth Games will be held in Francistown. This year’s Botswana Games are used as qualifiers for the African Union (AU) Region V games that will be held in Angola next year.
“We also intend to host the AU Region V Under 20 youth games in Francistown in 2018, that is why we are trying to build capacity by hosting more sporting activities in Francistown,” he said.
Meanwhile, the games’ Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, Bobby Gaseitsiwe said preparations are almost complete. Addressing a full Francistown council meeting late last week, Gaseitsiwe said various facilities in schools around the city as well as Shashe and Tonota would be used to host the games. The games run from December 5 to 13, 2015.
The games will attract 2,607 athletes, 265 officials and 500 volunteers.
“We are busy winding up the preparations, which include doing minor improvements of various sporting facilities that would be used for the games. We are almost ready to host the games,” he said.
The Francistown Sports Complex will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies in addition to hosting athletics.
He said the teams will stay at various schools and tertiary institutions in the city and neighbouring villages. Team officials will stay at lodges in the city. Gaseitsiwe said they have requested government to assist them with support staff to help during the games.
“We will pay the support staff members their overtime allowances and provide them with daily meals,” he said.
He said the 500 volunteers who have been roped in to assist at the games will be given daily transport allowance.
Gaseitsiwe informed the meeting that only 16 vendors would be allocated vending space at the Francistown Sports Complex.
“Ninety people have applied and we only have 16 stalls at the complex. However, we will allow those who want to sell their goods to do so outside the stadium. We will also engage authorities in other facilities will be using to allow the vendors to do business in their respective facilities,” he said.
The Francistown City Council has since indicated that it will allow vendors to do business at the old Francistown Stadium, which will host football games.
Gaseitsiwe added that P15 million has been allocated for the games.
President Ian Khama will officially open the Francistown Sports Complex on December 10 during the course of the games. Thirteen sport codes from 16 districts across the country will take part in the games.