MIST commemorates Month of Youth Against HIV/AIDS
MIST Construction Pitso 2013
MINISTER SWARTZ WANTS HIS MINISTRY TO SCORE MORE THAN 75% DURING HIS TIME AS MINISTER.
Minister Johnie Swartz of Infrastructure, Science and Technology has urged Serowe Depot Staff to take their jobs seriously and deliver on the Ministry’s mandate. Addressing the Serowe Depot staff on 04 may 2012, Minister Swartz said he is aware of the challenges faced by many staff members in his Ministry like shortage of transport, slow progression and others, but urged them to persevere and endeavour to do their best despite these challenges.
He advised them that this can only happen if they can love their jobs and devote more commitment to it, adding that it is possible for the Ministry to score higher than 75% in government ministries’ assessments by the Office of the President. He also advised them to desist from corruption and other unethical activities like excessive alcohol drinking and in some cases indulging in too many debts resulting in financial embarrassment where officers receive zero pay at the end of the month. He however thanked those who always try their best to see to it that the Ministry performance improves. Members of staff also shared their other challenges with the Minister which included delay in their payment of overtime and need for more skills to deal with modern machinery used in their daily duties. Some called for introduction of risk allowance especially those working at Sekgoma Memorial hospital. The Deputy permanent Secretary (Corporate Services) Mr Jeff Siamisang who was also with the Minister promised to look at their concerns and advised them that those relating to adjustment of work conditions like introduction of risk allowances should be channeled to the employer through their representatives as is procedure.
After addressing the Serowe staff, the Minister who was now joined by the Permanent Secretary Mr Dikagiso Mokotedi and Deputy Permanent Secretary (Infrastructure) Mr Ulf soderstrom toured the Serowe College of Education Project and the Serowe Sports complex. The Serowe College Project is now more than a year behind schedule and the Minister was promised that the outstanding work will now be completed in a matter of weeks. The Minister was however impressed with the progress being made by his Serowe Depot staff to rehabilitate the Serowe Sports Complex and encouraged them to do a good job. The Minister emphasized that he now wants to see a new culture of quality and timely project execution in this country.
Botswana Hosts the 7th Square Kilometre Array Working Group Meeting
Government of Botswana through the Department of Research, Science and Technology hosted the 7th Square Kilometre Array (SKA) working group meeting on 31st January 2012 and 1st February 2012 at Gaborone International Convention Centre. The main aim of the meeting was to update partner countries on the SKA bid process and agree on how to prepare for and influence the decision and announcement of the bid, which is envisaged to happen in February and June 2012 respectively. The purpose also served as a networking platform for SKA partners and other stakeholders.
Participants were drawn from all SKA partner countries supporting South Africa in their bid to host the SKA telescope. These countries are: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa. Botswana was represented by DRST, University of Botswana and Botswana Telecommunication Corporation.
The SKA is a mega international science project intending to construct the largest radio telescope in the world by 2024. The SKA will be made of thousands of receptors linked together across an area the size of a continent. The total collecting area will be about one square kilometre, giving 50 times the sensitivity and 10,000 times the survey speed of the best current-day radio telescopes. The SKA will be located in either Africa or Australia-New Zealand, and the first construction of the SKA will be made in 2016 - 2019.
Participants were given an update on the SKA bid process. It was explained that all countries had submitted their letters of commitment in support of the South African bid. The meeting heard that all site readiness reports had been completed. Some countries however indicated that they had not received their copies of these reports and the SKA office promised to send all partners their respective reports.
Participants were also informed about the technical recommendation that was expected to be made by astronomers by the end of February 2012 regarding the selection of the site for hosting the SKA telescope (between South Africa and Australia). The recommendation would then be forwarded to the voting countries which are: Netherlands, China, Italy and the United Kingdom. These countries will be given at least three months to decide on the selection of the site, based on the recommendations of the technical experts.
In order to influence the decision of the voting countries, several communication strategies were undertaken by the project to date and these include the production of publications (magazines and newsletters); Articles in the national newspapers; Workshops; A lobbying meeting in Banff, Canada; A strategic policy dialogue between RSA and Ghana.
Adecision on the location of the SKA site will be made in early 2012.
Readthe AU Summit's Decission on the African SKA project here.
MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY HOSTS CONSTRUCTION PITSO
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST) in collaboration with Ministries of Lands and Housing (MLH), Transport and Communications (MTC), Local Government (MLG), and Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MEWR) will on October 06, 2011 host a Construction Pitso at the GICC. The theme of the Pitso will be “Constructing the Economy Through Strategic Partnerships.”
The aim of the Pitso is to dialogue with major stakeholders in the construction industry on how government and private consultants and contractors can help develop the industry. It has been observed in the recent past that government has not been happy with the performance of most consultants and contractors doing government projects. There have been problems of many projects going far beyond the original completion date, exceeding the initial budget in the process and at other times falling far too short of the expected quality.
Government decided to respond by introducing some penalties for companies that do not do a proper job. These penalties include charging companies that fail to stick to contractual obligations if found guilty and having companies that do a poor job blacklisted and removed from the list of those to be considered for future government jobs. The consultants and contractors who from time to time are engaged by government also have some issues against government. In some cases they say payments for work done are processed late and that at times there are variations which occur when the project is in progress and that this delays project completion.
These and more issues will be thrashed at the Pitso. The five government Ministries decided to co-host the Pitso because all of them are involved in the construction of government facilities like buildings, dams, roads and others. The other aim is for government to have common practices, standards and requirements for contractors and consultants doing government work. The Pitso will also provide an opportunity for government and the construction industry to look back at the previous construction Pitsos and review what has been achieved so far and even chart the way forward.
About 300 delegates are expected to grace the Pitso. Honourable Minister Johnie Swartz of Infrastructure, Science and Technology will deliver the Official opening speech, while senior government officials and other officials from the parastatal and private sectors will make presentations on the state of the construction industry in Botswana and suggest ways of moving forward.
MIST HOLDS A SUCCESSFUL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PITSO
The Ministry of infrastructure, Science and Technology held a successful Science and Technology Pitso on 08 September 2011. As anticipated, most of the stakeholders invited from both government, private and academic sectors attended. Some members of parliament including the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly also graced the Pitso.
When officially opening the Pitso, the Honourable Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Mr Johnie Swartz said the Pitso fulfills one of the mandates of his Ministry, being one that relates to serving as a regulatory body for the use of nuclear technology and coordinating Research, Science and Technology. He therefore emphasized that the aim of the Pitso was “to provide a platform for interaction with stakeholders on policy and future developments in the Science and Technology arena and other issues that can enhance its contribution to economic growth. The importance of science and technology as a tool in addressing emerging challenges such as food security, environmental degradation, poverty and health cannot be overemphasized and therefore a critical factor in development.”
He also called upon all stakeholders to join hands in taking Science and Technology research in this country to the next level, “It is therefore imperative to use whatever scientific and technical knowledge at our disposal but at the same time generate knowledge that is unique to our specific circumstances/environment. This requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders. It is for this reason that we are all gathered here today to facilitate a common understanding on inclusive participation of all stakeholders in the implementation of the Research, Science, Technology and Innovation policy, in particular to articulate the role of government, academia and private sector - the so called “Triple Helix’’ in Research and Development.”
After numerous and informative presentations and exchange of views, the Pitso ended with a launch of Botswana’s Science and technology research status report, and a draft summary of Botswana’s Revised National Policy on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation and an Implementation Plan.
THE MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY HOSTS THE FIRST EVER SCIENCE PITSO ON 08 SEPTEMBER 2011
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology will host the first ever Science Pitso in this country on 08 September 2011. As the Ministry mandated to coordinate science and technology research in Botswana, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology has found it fit to call on scientists and other interested parties to converge at the Maharaja Conference Centre and discuss science and technology research and its future in this country.
This will be a one day event whose theme will be; “The role of research, science, technology and innovation on economic development.” Other topics will touch on the role of the Private Sector, the Research, Science and Technology Innovation Policy, Technology Transfer and Commercialization, and Nuclear Technology Application in Botswana. The Pitso which is expected to bring about more than 200 delegates from government, the private sector and parastatals, aims to provide a platform for interaction between the Ministry and stakeholders to dialogue on Botswana’s research, science and technology landscape and also on policy and strategic direction for future development. Knowledgeable presenters from such organizations as BOTEC, RIPCO, Botswana Innovation Hub, Department of Radiation Protection, Department of Research, Science and Technology and reputable academic institutions like the University of Botswana and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology will grace the Pitso.
The Pitso also aims to highlight efforts for inclusive participation of the public, private and academic sectors in research, funding and capacity development. The academia is seen as pivotal to scientific research because they can help streamline curriculum to guide development in science and technology. They will thus be prominently represented at this Pitso.
The Pitso will also provide an opportunity for stakeholders to dialogue on the Science and Technology Policy to see how it can be improved or reviewed. There has been a lot of developments in the global arena in terms of science and technology research. This has led to a need to review the current Science and Technology in order to align it to current trends in world affairs. Lack of relevant infrastructure to implement the policy has in the past been identified by many as one of the impediments to the growth of science, technology and innovation research in this country. The Science Pitso therefore, offers an opportunity for stakeholders to share ideas, experiences and and expertise on what direction can be taken to move science and technology to the next level.
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology intends to host the Pitso annually in order to allow stakeholders to regularly reflect on past recommendations and review any progress that could have been made.
MIST WILL NOT ACCEPT LOBATSE STADIUM UNLESS IT IS SATISFIED WITH THE QUALITY OF THE WORK DONE….
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Mr. Dikagiso Mokotedi says the Ministry will not accept the Lobatse Stadium Soccer pitch until it is satisfied that the job has been done accordingly. Speaking recently during Minister Johnie Swartz’s tour of the stadium, Mr. Mokotedi said the time had come for contractors doing government projects to perform according to established international standards and meet customer expectations.
The Lobatse Stadium which has cost 211 Million pula was officially opened a few months ago by visiting Malawian President Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika but was later found to have a poor drainage system in its soccer pitch. The contractor was thus required to re-do the job at its own cost. Part of the reason for the poor drainage was the poor mix of soil used in the pitch. The contractor is therefore remixing the soil to the required texture that would ease drainage of the pitch.
The Ministry has of late been tough with contractors who take time to finish government projects and those who do not deliver the desired quality. During his now frequent tours, the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Mr. Johnie Swartz always emphasize that government is now pushing for all those who do not do a good job to pay for their misdeeds. This also includes being recommended for delisting by the PPADB.
Other projects that the Minister alongside the Deputy Permanent Secretary Mr. Mokotedi and the Permanent Secretary Mr. Carter Morupisi visited in the same period include the Department of Geological Survey in Lobatse, the Institute of Health Sciences Staff Housing at Block 6 in Gaborone, the Mass Media Complex, the MTTC Hotel School and the Parliament Offices that are being refurbished. The Department of Geological Survey headquarters is progressing well and almost complete but the Minister was not happy with the few months that have elapsed past the original completion date. The same thing applies to the MTTC Hotel School and the Institute of Health Sciences Staff Housing at Block 6 in Gaborone which have passed their initial completion dates by over a year now. The Minister warned that at the end of all these projects, an assessment will be done to determine who contributed to the delay and recommendations would be made to the PPADB for future award of contracts in relation to non-performing companies.