Friday, June 21, 2024

Mayor laments prolonged closure of Francistown BMC

Francistown Mayor Godisang Radisigo has lamented over closure of the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) facility in Francistown saying that it is long overdue. He says that the city council is working around the clock to make sure that the facility is re-opened to benefit cattle farmers in the North Region. Addressing a press conference at Thapama Hotel in Francistown last week Thursday he said they have since received overwhelming interest from some members of the private sector willing to utilise the facility.

“Some of these local investors told us that they have since identified partners from outside to resuscitate the facility and put it into good use. We believe that by resuscitating BMC there will be creation of employment. However, we have met with his Excellency the President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and the Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao over this issue,” he said.

BMC abattoir in Francistown was closed in 2018 as part of the parastatal’s privatisation process. The facility was closed as government said it was not viable to operate as it failed to meet its business target. The facility has a capacity to slaughter 380 herds of cattle per day.

Adding to what the Mayor had said, Francistown City Clerk Stephen Motlogelwa said there is an Expression of Interest (EOI) from the private sector which was tendered some years back to take over the facility. He however said the process to identify the suitable candidate has still not been finalized by government.

“Government is still yet to identify the suitable investor to run the facility,” he said.

Answering questions on efforts by the Francistown City Council to transform the idle Francistown Golf Course into a Central Business District (CBD), the city clerk said they are currently in the process of rezoning the area. 

The unkempt Golf Course which sits adjacent to Nyangabwe Referral Hospital (NRH) is owned by the City Council and has been lying idle for years providing habitat to criminal activities. The initial sole purpose of the Golf Course was to serve as a recreational facility. The intention was to form an integrated sports and recreation hub. The plot had been leased to the Francistown Golf Club which failed to develop the plot into an expected standard. The Club collapsed and the city council then decided to take over the facility and changed its use.

The City Clerk said they have since subdivided the area into various plots to try and transform the area into mixed land use. He emphasised that they believe they will reap more benefits due to various activities which will be undertaken in that piece of land once the process is completed.

“Once this process is completed, we are going to engage developers who are interested in coming in. Looking at the number of activities that can be undertaken in that piece of land we believe this will spark huge interest from investors,” Motlogelwa.

The city council first proposed to develop the under-utilized 42-hectare plot into a CBD in 2013 as part of its vision to diversify the ailing economy of Francistown and bring about the much-needed jobs for the residents. The project has been stalled over the years due to failure to service this land to the required standard.

The City Council carried out a cadastral survey of the plot in 2017 which was followed by a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in 2018. A layout plan was revisited in 2023, after a feasibility study was conducted in 2022.

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