By Keamogetse Letsholo
SOWA, March 15 (BOPA): The President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama has commended Botswana Ash (BOTASH) for its contribution to the education and tourism of the country.
Lt Gen Dr Khama was speaking at the handing over of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects by BOTASH on Tuesday.
He said the donation of the Guidance and Counselling centre in Nxakato junior secondary school and the science laboratory in Flamingo International School attests to BOTASH’s commitment to education and will to help in complementing what parents and the community had already been doing with regard to improving the quality of education. He said on annual basis, the mine goes an extra mile through allocating a part of its profits to fund social investment projects citing the education, tourism and environmental conservation projects such as the Makgadikgadi Epic and Race for rhinos as some of the projects. Regarding the handing over of the ten zebras that were donated to BOTASH by Morupule Mine, Lt Gen Dr Khama said the mine was doing a diligent work in preserving wildlife in the country.
He encouraged the mine to introduce other species as part of its efforts in the re-introduction of species that were previously endangered in the vicinity. BOTASH Managing Director, Mr Montwedi Mphathi commended the government for its plan to set up a number of Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Mr Mphathi called for the addition of Sowa in the list of SEZs and designate it a strategic economic zone for chemical manufacturing in order to take advantage of the sodium resource in
the pans and even leverage the infrastructure that is already in place. He noted that the key enabler of the SEZ would be the provision of an adequate water supply
through the development of the Mosetse dam and a fibre connection to the national fibre backbone which currently passes Sowa just 20 kilometres away along the A3 road. Mr Mphathi noted that Sowa has been somewhat been neglected and has grown very slowly
that facilities such as the primary hospital, magistrate court and the banking facilities have found homes in the surrounding villages instead of the town.
He said the town, however, with its modern facilities has potential to be a regional service centre for the surrounding villages and he assured the President that the BOTASH mine will continue to work with the council to facilitate the increase in economic activity that will ensure the growth of the town.
Mr Mphathi said by bringing back the wildlife species, that used to be indigenous to the area, the mine hopes to encourage investment in tourism to complement its mining activities and create sustainable job opportunities.
In his welcome remarks, Sowa Customary Court President, Mr Bond Abalone said Nxakato has faced challenges of shortage of classrooms, hostels and teachers houses. He said the school was initially a six stream school but was later increased to a 12 stream despite the shortage of facilities. Kgosi Mabalane said they were hoping that through the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) the shortage of offices for government departments will be addressed as most of them are operating in BHC houses but unfortunately there is nothing for Sowa in the programme.