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BOCRIJA, Police run anti-piracy campaigns

Yvonne Mooka

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Vendors in Gaborone selling pirated material from local artists will soon come face to face with law enforcement agencies as an ongoing campaign to cease the transgression continues.

Botswana Criminal Justice Association (BOCRIJA) board member Lerunne Moremi informed The Midweek Sun that the operation, which started in 2017, is sponsored by Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA).

He said Phase 1 of the project was in Selibe-Phikwe and Kasane last year and that Kanye and Gaborone are in Phase 2 of the exercise. In December, Phase 2 began in earnest as BOCRIJA partnered with Botswana Police Service, District Law Enforcement and Kanye creatives to collect pirated CDs and DVDs from individuals and companies selling them in the village.

The campaign started from Sejelo Police to Choppies BG Mall. Phase 3 will be undertaken in Maun and Gantsi later this year. “Our artistes are suffering because some people out there copy their works and sell them. We are shocked that even some big retailer brands buy and sell pirated music,” he said.

Piracy is defined as illegally reproducing any copyrighted work. It refers to copying, distributing, selling, and lending of the works without the permission of the owner. Botswana has a robust Copyright Law which aims to combat any sort of copyright infringement.

The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, which is administered by CIPA protects such works as literary and artistic works, dramatic works, musical works, audio-visual works, architecture, photography, paintings and sculptures. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, and no registration is required. However, CIPA encourages creators of works to deposit a sample of the work with them in order to create evidence of ownership.

In the case of audio-visuals and sound recordings, the Copyright Act states that before they are sold they must have a security device (hologram) affixed to them. Holograms are sold at CIPA for P0.30 each, and provide a means of distinguishing between pirated and non-pirated works.

Copyright infringement attracts penalties of up to P20, 000 or 10 years in prison, or both upon conviction, depending on the severity of the case.The owners of the works being infringed are also allowed by law to take civil action against the perpetrators in order to claim back lost revenue.

Meanwhile, BOCRIJA executive director Ronald Ntebela said that the NGO which started in 2013, fights all forms of injustice such as alcohol and drug abuse, human trafficking, among many others. He said that they were going to embark on another operation called ‘Mopagamibua’ under which they will be asking passengers to speak about their trips. “Majority of fatalities are passengers and sometimes you’ll realise that someone dies because the driver was drinking and driving or over-speeding,” he said.

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Healthcare system to improve

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The Health ministry has developed a seven-point programme to guide the country in improving the healthcare system, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele.

“The seven priority areas will serve as a roadmap and a guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us,” said Madigele at Masa Square Hotel on Tuesday.

The focal areas include decentralisation; Universal Health Coverage, Tertiary Care, Strategic leveraging on the Private sector; Supply Chain; Research as well as Staff welfare and accountability.
Point-one of the seven priority areas according to Dr Madigele is about empowering the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and transforming them into fully fledged Regional Health Authorities.

“In this case, they will be rationalised from 27 to 18 and have the authority to hire A and B Scales, promote up to C1 and manage micro procurement,” he said. Point two is about improving the quality of healthcare services. “The main causes of mortality and their risk factors in Botswana are Primary Health Care issues,” Dr Madigele said.

He added that “Our efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage should thus focus on: Prevention; Comprehensive screening; Early treatment; and Surveillance at the community.”
This he said, would require revamped grassroots efforts in which adequate numbers of community health workers through partnerships with the non-governmental sector will be deployed as necessary.

According to Dr Madigele, the top five causes of death in Botswana in 2017 were HIV/AIDS, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and Diabetes. He said compared to 2007, NCDs among these had increased in burden by an average of 34%. The top five risk factors related to these causes of mortality were unsafe sex; poor diet; high blood pressure; alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Improving the quality of care, Madigele said will also include the safety and security of patients; attitudes of staff as experienced by patients; time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication and the availability of drugs.

Meanwhile, the health minister revealed that the commissioning of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is ongoing with the facility scheduled for opening on April 24th. “This will be a phased approach commencing with some services including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy”.

A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce overdependence on South Africa for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super specialist services within Botswana.

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JUST PROPAGANDA

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Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.

It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.

According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.

Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.

“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.

Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.

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