As at September 2018, there were 120 illegal billboards in the capital Gaborone, Parliament has been told.
The revelation was made by junior minister at Local Government ministry – Kgotla Autlwetse who was responding to a series of question from Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa.
Nkaigwa is also a former mayor of the Gaborone City Council.
While there has been talk that atleast 14 companies in Gaborone own a total of 308 legal billboards and none of the legal billboards within the city are owned by youth companies Autlwetse said “we have noted that some of the illegal billboards are owned by youth companies.”
There is also a talk that the Botswana Democratic Party Secretary General – Mpho Balopi is amongst the business people who erect illegal billboards around the city.
Infact, Nkaigwa this week asked Autlwetse to explain why Balopi continues to have his billboards being regularized by GCC after he has erected them illegally?
“I want to appreciate from you whether you are aware that there is abuse of power by the Secretary General of the Botswana Democratic Party, whereby he continues to erect illegal billboards in the City of Gaborone by threatening Gaborone City Council officials with the effect that he has direct links with the Office of the President? If not, why is it that when illegal billboards were brought down in the city, his illegal billboards were not brought down because officials were fearing for their jobs?” asked Nkaigwa directing the question to Autlwetse.
In his response, Autlwetse said “I am not aware because it was not brought to our attention.”
When contacted for comment, Balopi told Sunday Standard, “this is a lie and smear campaign to try and discredit me. My company Native outdoor complies with city council bye-laws. I challenge those who are making unfounded allegations to come out in the open and state who I have contacted and threatened at the City Council and which billboards are illegal.”
“People are trying to score cheap political points,” he said further requesting that instead people should start embracing each other and ask where they don’t understand.
The current BDP led government he said is awash with progressive programs, policies and many opportunities to move this great nation forward.
“Let’s stop with the pull down syndrome. It is a waste of time and its draining. It is one of the silent killers,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile Autlwetse said that Gaborone City Council is currently finalising the billboards erection guidelines with plans to have them in use by the 1st of April 2019.