The Lobatse Town Council remains hopeful that the private public partnership project with Milk Afric will take off and create much needed employment for residents. This was revealed by Deputy Town Clerk, Oganne Gontse, who said they are still confident that the project will come to fruition, months after they signed a memorandum of agreement with the company’s management.
“We are still hopeful that this project will take off as agreed. It will create jobs for residents of this town,” he said.
Gontse revealed that the management of Milk Afric is in constant touch with the town council authorities, which given them hope that they are authentic.
“They told us that they are still waiting for the Environmental Impact Assessment report. But they are still in the country,” he said.
However, Gontse admitted that they are worried about the delay as they had hoped that the project would have been up and running by now.
“But we are confident that the project will take off because the delay is not caused by our partners but by the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism,” he said.
Last year, Milk Afric held a series of kgotla meetings in Lobatse and surrounding villages like Molapowabojang and Kgomokasitwa. The company intends to set up a diary farm housing 2000 dairy cows that will produce 9 million litres of raw milk per annum. The project is expected to relieve the country of persistent importation of milk from South Africa and create 250 jobs in a town that in recent years saw its economic prospects dwindling as companies’ closed shop and relocated. The arrival of Milk Afric was welcomed and supported by residents and authorities, including the Lobatse Town Council who immediately leased a farm to the dairy company and proposed a joint venture. Gontse revealed that they had gone into a joint venture with Milk Afric because they believed the dairy project would create jobs and revive the ailing town.
“Lobatse is slowly becoming a ghost town and we hope the dairy project will turn around its fortunes,” said Gontse.
However, Louis Herbest, a local businessman, believes the farm was leased to Milk Afric in a corrupt manner. However, Gontse dismissed the allegation, saying the same Herbest has leased a huge chunk of land from the town council claiming he wants to use it for irrigation purposes.