The Mayor of Lobatse, Malebogo Kruger has moved to refute rumours circulating that the envisaged Leather industry Park will not be set up in Lobatse.
At a kgotla meeting, Kruger assured residents of Woodhall that the P350 million leather park would not be relocated to any other town. She also said following her benchmarking trip to India, alongside other officials, she expressed optimism that once the project takes off, Lobatse would be transformed. Over 5000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created from the envisaged leather industry park. Thus, 657 jobs comprising 300 hide collectors, 47 from the Common Effluent Treatment Plant, 180 from the Wetblue tannery and 130 from the retanning and finishing plant will be created.
As for why the leather industry park was taking too long to take off, she said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was the problem as it is currently underway. She indicated that the P400 million project, which will operate in a 38 hectare plot offered by the Lobatse Town Council might start operations in 2018.
According to LEA, the plan to establish the park, which will be a fully-fledged industrial complex, is well on course with construction expected to start in the 2015/16 financial year. LEA has since engaged scientists from Chennai-based Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) in India to help establish the leather park in Lobatse.
On other matters, Kruger expressed satisfaction that water and electricity supply was now stable, resulting in more companies willing to set up operations in the town.
Leather enterprises in Botswana have been sourcing finished leather from outside the country. The leather park is also expected to stimulate secondary industries for accessories, chemicals, services providers, component manufacturers and transport and logistics.