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Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR)
First Stakeholders Workshop of the Thune Dam Construction Pr...
17/10/09
The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, in partnership with Stakeholders is mandated to provide reliable, adequate and good quality water throughout Botswana. Informed by this responsibility, the Ministry's Department of Water Affairs has constructed a number of Dams throughout the country

The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, in partnership with Stakeholders is mandated to provide reliable, adequate and good quality water throughout Botswana. Informed by this responsibility, the Ministry's Department of Water Affairs has constructed a number of Dams throughout the country - the main purpose of this gesture being to ensure reliable domestic water supply to all villages throughout the country. The latest Dam planned to be constructed in the not so distant future is the one on a site along the Thune River between the villages of Molalatau and Mathathane in the Bobirwa Sub-District.

Informed by the Ministry's responsibility to keep all the key Stakeholders abreast with progress achieved to date, the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources conducted the First Stakeholders Workshop of the Thune Dam Construction Project on the 22nd September 2009 at Molalatau Secondary School Hall in the village of Molalatau just a few kilometers away from the village of Bobonong.

The main purpose of the workshop was to give all the key Stakeholders involved in the project the platform to interact with one another and engage in information exchange in view of the progress made regarding construction of the planned dam. On the one hand, the project officers wanted to get feedback from the Stakeholders on the various aspects of the project to ensure successful execution of the project at all levels of construction.

In his keynote address, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Dr. P.H.K. Kedikilwe started by emphasizing the importance of the workshop by saying; "the purpose of this meeting, in my view, is to share ideas and give advice with a view to guarantee the smooth execution of the project and ensure that benefits or spin-offs that can potentially be derived from the project are maximized."

Delving into the deep of his address, the Minister gave attendees an insight into some of the cardinal features of the dam. According to him, the dam will be 33.6 m high, with a 90 million m3 capacity. The length of the wall will be 1.7 km with the dam's full supply level at 628.5masl.

On the contract, related to the dam and associated works, Honourable Kedikilwe said that the tendering process is ongoing with the submission date extended to the 7th October 2009 at the request of bidders. He told the workshop attendees that construction of the dam is expected to commence in February/March 2010 and is expected to take 3 years. On the construction of staff housing, the Minister said that the contract has been awarded to GSP (Pty) Ltd at the contract sum of P14, 369, 134.15 with a completion period of 315 days from January 2010 - October 2010. Although construction is scheduled to commence next year, the contractor is expected to mobilize in November 2009.

Thune dam, after completion, will supply the villages of Bobonong, Motlhabaneng, Mathathane, Tsetsebjwe, Mabolwe, Semolale, Gobojango, Lepokole and Molalatau. The Minister said that the village of Lentswe-le-Moriti is not covered under the Thune Dam Project as it is on a freehold farm (private property).

The Minister pointed out that the construction of the dam will create employment, income generation for small businesses such as selling food to the dam workers as well as resulting in rentals and other business opportunities such as Lodges, Fisheries and many others. He also brought to the fore some of the challenges that will come with the construction of the dam; influx of illegal immigrants in search of jobs, increase in incidents of crime, social disruption on the lives of the communities nearby the project due to an increase in population in the area, increase in the risk of contracting HIV and AIDS and other diseases. The Minister also pointed out to other ills that will derive from the development such as squatting and teenage pregnancy.

"To this end, we have made it a requirement for all the contractors to have an HIV and AIDS Management Plan at the workplace as well as to have an HIV specialist site. The other challenges such as illegal immigrants, theft, squatting and many others will be addressed with the assistance of relevant government departments. That is one of the reasons for convening this Stakeholders meeting to facilitate exchange of ideas on we can mitigate the anticipated challenges."

The workshop was, further, assured of the Ministry's unwavering commitment to environmental issues and was told that environmental monitoring will be a continuous process throughout all the stages of project execution. Having recently exhumed and reburied some remains from the site ear-marked for the construction of the dam, the Minister reminded the attendees that any more graves that could be found during the construction of the dam will be reported and appropriate mitigation or salvage measures will be taken.

In closing, the Minister emphasized the importance of involving all the key Stakeholders at all levels of the project and appreciated their indispensable contribution towards ensuring its success. "To this end, we appreciate your role and the need for your full involvement throughout the project implementation and urge you to contribute positively for the benefit and success of the project."

The workshop attracted a tangible number of Stakeholders from Government, private and parastatals. Also in attendance were village elders from Molalatau and the surrounding villages.

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