Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST)
News
04.05.12
MIST Donates To The Less Fortunate The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology in partnership with Ministry of Health through their Workplace Wellness Committees donated blankets and toiletry humpers to six Old Naledi and Bontleng residents living with mental illness. Speaking during the short ceremony held at Old Naledi Kgotla, the Director of Research Science and Technoloy – a Department under MIST - Ms Lesego Motoma, said the donations were raised through contributions from members and staff as a response to a plea for help by wellness commitee across the Ministry. The project was held under the theme “MIST befriending a family with a mental health patient”. These patients were identified through the asistance of District Health Management Teams and health care workers from Bontleng and Old Naledi Clinics. One of the sixth patients Mr Joseph who spoke on behalf of the other beneficiaries indicated that mental illness patients needs support from both the family and the community. He further indicated that as patients they need love and mostly respect like any other individual. The Ministry of Health’s Mental Division provided technical support and funded a two day orienatation workshop for MIST Wellness Committee members last year July to prepare them on the general overview of mental health programmes in Botswana and how to work and interact with persons living with mental illness and their families. After the event, the attendants headed to Bontleng where the Wellness Committee have developed back yard garden for one of the beneficiaries. The mother to the beneficiary was very grateful and said even the patient has the chance to water and weed the garden which assist in keeping the patient busy.
13.04.12
CONTRACTOR AT BIUST PROMISES TO DELIVER THE PROJECT BY JUNE 2012. The Contractor at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), China Civil Engineering Company says it will deliver the long awaited project by June 2012. Speaking on April 10, 2012, during a tour of the project by the Honourable Ministers Johnie Swartz of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Phandu Skelemani of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation alongside the Chinese Ambassador to Botswana, China Civil acknowledged that the project has been seriously delayed. The Company representative Mr Mac said he produce a program of works showing how they will deliver the program within the next two months as promised. The BIUST project should initially have been completed in 2010, but this was never to be. Extension was only granted by the Ministry till the second half of 2011, after which it was felt that the contractor was being too slow to execute the project. Minister Swartz decided to invite the Ambassador of China to Botswana as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation so that they can as well appreciate the challenges the Ministry was facing in having the project completed. The Minister of Education and Skills Development Hon. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was unable to come but sent one of the Deputy Permanent Secretaries in her Ministry. At the tour Minister Swartz impressed upon the Chinese Ambassador to speak to his fellow countrymen to take the project more seriously and have it completed in time for the University’s first intake in August 2012. Minister Swartz expressed dissatisfaction with the slow speed at which the contractor has been doing the project saying it has shown very little commitment on the part of the Chinese company to complete the project in time. The BIUST project is one of the few projects executed by the Ministry under the design and build model, which means the contractor cannot blame any external party about any delays relating to both civil structural works and the design because they are all under his control. The Chinese Ambassador regretted the situation at BIUST and other Ministry projects where Chinese companies executing them were taking too long to complete saying he will speak to them with a view to helping improve the situation.
03.04.12
MINISTER SWARTZ TOURS MINISTRY PROJECTS Minister Johnie Swartz of Infrastructure, Science and Technology recently toured some Ministry projects that included the new High Court and Court of Apeal in Gaborone, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, IHS Housing Project at Block 6, Lobatse Stadium, Geological Survey Headquarters project in Lobatse and the Industrial Court in Gaborone. The purpose of the tours was for the Minister to be updated by consultants and contractors on site on how the projects were progressing. Most of these projects are well behind schedule, in the exception of the Industrial Court which has long been completed. The High Court and Court of Appeal project which is currently 99.9% complete is however expected to be handed over to the Department of Justice by July 2012. The Sir Seretse Khama International Airport which is now more than 12 months behind schedule is also expected to be ready for takeover by July 2012. At Lobatse Stadium, the contractor is busy redoing the turf at his own cost. The contractor made a promise to the Minister that they will be ready to hand over the project in September 2012. The Minister did express his displeasure with some of the other projects like the IHS Housing project at Block 6, Geological Survey Department project, which are also taking longer than expected to be completed. He called on the contractor and the consultants to up their game and ensure that they prepare programs that show how they will fast track the completion of the projects. The aim of the Minister’s visits to sites is to see first-hand how Ministry projects are progressing and appreciate any challenges or success stories contractors and consultants on the field may have so that the Ministry can intervene accordingly.
06.03.12
MIST Interacts with Tswapong South Public “I believe it is important that Batswana be exposed to the different operations of all Government Ministries including ours, so that they appreciate its role in the socio-economic development of our country”, these were uttered by Mr Dikagiso Mokotedi, the in-coming Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST) during his Ministry’s Open Day held in Sefhare on the 25th February 2012. Mr Mokotedi is at present the Deputy Permanent Secretary responsible for Infrastructure and he will be assuming his new role on the 1st April 2012. Mr Mokotedi was delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Minister, Hon Johnie Swartz who could not attend due to other official business. The Acting-PS went on to introduce his Ministry and its Departments and Parastals and went on to urge the attendants to learn as much as possible from them. The rationale for hosting open days is for the Ministry to interact with the general public on face to face basis. The event accorded the Ministry an opportunity to interact with the People of Tswapong South and surrounding areas. The Ministry’s Departments and Parastatals took the opportunity to explain their mandates, services and initiatives that are available for the public and sell the Ministry’s mandate through mini exhibition. All the Departments (Corporate Services, Building and Engineering Services, Research Science and Technology and Radiation Protection) and Parastatals (BOTEC and RIPCO B) were represented save for Botswana Innovation Hub who were engaged in other official businesses. This was the MIST’s second public Open Day since its inception in 2009, with the first held in Pitsane in September 2010. This year Open Day was held under the theme ‘MIST Living the Vision, Ke Yame Le Wena’ and it was aligned to the Government’s efforts of diversifying the country’s economy away from mining and agriculture through science and technology. Of late the country’s economy has been gearing towards sustainable diversification of trade, investment and industrial development. The Open Day also saw the Ministry through its Departments and Parastatals donating a few of their innovations and projects to the people of Sefhare. Donated was a RIM Oven by RIPCO (B) toKgetsi Ya Tsie society, three solar lamps by BOTEC and maintenance work done at Sefhare Junior Secondary School by DBES.
13.02.12
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.
14.11.11
MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AWARDS CERTIFICATES TO BOTSWANA INNOVATION HUB LISTED COMPANIES…… The Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Hon. Johnie Swartz has awarded certificates of registration to nine (9) companies registered with the Botswana Innovation Hub. The Botswana Innovation Hub is a company set by the government of Botswana to help diversify the economy away from diamonds. Currently the ground infrastructure for the BIH Park is being constructed along the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport road. The BIH intends to house all major companies specializing in such fields as IT, Mining Technologies, Energy, Telecommunications Technologies and other related fields. At this moment, qualifying companies are being registered to buy or rent space at the BIH Park once its completed. As such, the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Mr Johnie Swartz gave certificates of registration to nine (9) companies currently registered to operate as BIH tenant companies. At the ceremony in Gaborone, the Minister emphasized that the certificates carry conditions of being a registered BIH member, “All registered entities commit to start their operations immediately in temporary facilities whilst the BIH buildings are being developed. The certification also describes incentives that are extended to the awarded company. Government has facilitated for entities registered under the BIH to have access to special incentives. Key Statutory Instruments outlining the administrative process to access of these incentives are now in place. These incentives include: Favourable tax regimes facilitated through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning; Innovation Fund to facilitate business development; training Grant to encourage skills retention, labour dispensation to facilitate work and residence permits for professionals, highly technical and managerial positions of entities registered under BIH. Different incentives are extended on a case by case basis in line with intended business in the Hub.” Mr Swartz thanked the nine companies for having been successfully registered as BIH members and said that he hoped they will actively participate in the development of the local economy. He also revealed that about 30 other companies are currently being assessed for BIH listing. The nine companies that were awarded certificates included both local and multinational ones. The awarding ceremony took place in Gaborone on 07 November 2011.
02.11.11
MIST HOSTS THE PRESS.... The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology invites members of the Press to its first ever Press Brief on the status of its projects to be conducted by Hon. Minister Johnie Swartz and Permanent Secretary Mr Carter Morupisi. The Ministry has been mandated to deliver quality building infrastructure, promote socio-economic oriented technological research, and the safe application of nuclear technology. Since its formation in 2009, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology has had to grapple with many challenges of projects that never finished on time. When they finally get finished, which in most cases would be some months, even years past the initial projected completion date, more money would have been spent. As if that was not enough, the quality of some of the finished projects would be far below the expectations of the Ministry and members of the public. Because of these challenges, the Ministry devised some interventions which have of late shown some signs of light emerging from a deep tunnel. Other issues that the Ministry has had to deal with include the establishment of a storage facility for used radioactive materials. The Ministry would share an update on this and also on the envisaged policy on indigenous knowledge systems to guide the usage of traditional knowledge and skills and protect them from others who may want to steal and register them as theirs. As such, the Ministry would like to share with members of the media its experiences and challenges in project implementation like during construction of stadiums, government offices and others. The media will be provided an opportunity to ask and seek clarifications on the progress of our on-going projects. The Press Briefing will be held on 04 November 2011 at the Ministry Conference room, from 0845hrs to 1045hrs.
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