Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Controversial police uniform investigated

The Botswana Bureau of Standards, BOBS, has been commissioned to investigate the quality of Botswana Police Service uniform part of which was supplied by a ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) functionary.

The quality investigations by BOBS follows growing complaints by opposition politicians and members of the public that the uniform issued three years ago at a cost of P24 million was of poor quality and is already worn out.

Police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Dipheko Motube confirmed to the Sunday Standard that the BPS is waiting for a report from BOBS, which will guide them on their next course of action.

“The samples have been sent to BOBS. We are waiting for their findings, which will help us determine the way forward. Yes, we admit that something went wrong that is why we have involved BOBS to assist us.”

Motube explained that the problem was rampant in areas like Nata where residents use salty water.

The award of the P24 million tender was surrounded by controversy when it emerged that Marine Garments, a textile company owned by a leading BDP activist and his wife, was awarded a big share of the tender. Parliament was told two years ago that MacDonald Peloetletse’s company was awarded a P15 million tender for the supply of the uniform out of a total amount of P27 million. The remaining P12 million was shared among four other companies. In response to a question from Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi, who had asked how much government spent on the new uniform, the then acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Lesego Motsumi, revealed that since the award of the tender for the new uniform on December 12, 2008, up to November 30, 2010, the government had spent P27 million. She said a total of five companies were awarded the tender to supply the new uniform and its accessories. Peloetletse, who is relatively new in the textile industry, is the co-director of Marine Garments together with his wife, Maria. Premier Clothing has been in this business for a long time, but was only awarded a tender of P1.7 million. The Lobatse-based Caps and Helmets got a tender of P1 million, Dinesh Textiles P3 million and Kalahari Fashions P3 million.

In the past, Botswana Police declined to reveal the names of companies awarded the tenders.

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