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Public transport travel, a nightmare

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Travelling by public transport has turned into a nightmare for most passengers. If it is not the dirty, torn car seats and safety belts, it is the loud music or the overloading. For daily public transport commuters, nothing is more painful than being dressed in classy and fancy wear only to be squeezed in seats simply because the drivers want to make an extra buck by overloading. Overloading is a common phenomenon during rush hours (morning and evenings) because passengers will be having limited options to refuse the unfair treatment.

As if that is not enough, there will be loud music banging in these vehicles, with dysfunctional windows and doors that are a struggle to open. It does not help the passengers that the government recently increased bus fares by 20% effective 1st April 2018. While the development is a good one for the transport business, customers affected by the circumstances feel the pinch. The last time the fares were reviewed was in 2012 and according to Department of Roads, Transport and Safety (DRTS), the adjustment was meant to cater for the high cost and maintenance of the transport industry. Asked about the unpleasing state of public transport locally despite the latest review of bus fares, Acting Director of DRTS Godwin Tlhogo said that they always do inspections every six months to check if all public transport vehicles are roadworthy. He added that there is an inspectorate division that physically checks all passenger transport. He said there are laws and regulations that govern public transport.

Tlhogo said there have been instances when some kombis or even taxis were removed from the road during enforcement operations while others were fined depending on the nature of offences committed. Another DRTS official who preferred anonymity said sometimes drivers try to cheat the system and always borrow/use new car parts during the DRTS inspection and return them to the owners once the process is complete. This explains the many un-roadworthy cars in the market. The official advised that even though drivers are often the targets of blame, the customer also has a part to play. He advised that all should find ways of building a healthy relationship. Meanwhile public transport owners argue that their vehicles are not in a healthy state because passengers themselves vandalise the vehicles. They argued that most customers want to tag their heavy luggage along and they are forced to assist them or run at a loss. Some of these luggages cause the tears found on the car seats and it is expensive to replace on a daily basis.

They argue that most passengers drink and eat inside public transport vehicles, spill and leave the cars dirty. “We try to keep our cars clean everyday, if you go around you will find men busy at work washing their cars because we know that our Professional Driving Permits (PRDP ‘P’) can be revoked if we are careless,” said Jeremiah Lesung who operates on the Mmopane route. Lesung argued that students often make funny markings on the back of the seats and sometimes mess the seats with ink. Responding to the issue of loud music being played in their cars, Setlhare Kobo of Gabane-Game City said customers should be free to openly tell the driver to reduce his radio volume if it is too loud. He said normally it is the younger drivers that get carried away by loud music.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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