Thursday, August 5, 2021

Mayor to ignite the spark in Gaborone

Gaborone city Mayor Father Maphongo shares that the city council has plans to illuminate the city through strategic partnerships and key developments around the city.

In an interview Mayor Maphongo said: “We should think big as a city and country as we are known for our resources primarily diamonds and tourism. We have to position ourselves to attract the right investors hence the reason why we should be gunning for an upmarket kind of position. When we attract the right kind of people there will be benefits for the country such as creation of employment.”

The Gaborone City Council alongside the Special Economic Zones Authority will be undertaking major projects in the Fairgrounds and Sir Seretse Khama Airport area in order to accelerate activity.

“Fairgrounds is our financial service centre and the Airport area is more less a consortium of business activities ranging from Manufacturing and other services. It is a natural occurrence that when developments are done in area they have to be coordinated, need support for easy execution. We don’t want to be operating in silos and this will change the face of Gaborone the designs of the Airport area pleases the eye and move us to another level,” he said.

Furthermore, the Gaborone City Council is considering a monthly market place to assist Batswana who since Covid developments and lockdowns have gone into farming but some have trouble having access to markets through a concept known as the “Span-Plak”.

“Span-Plak is an Afrikaans word which means working place, but is an actual market place from when I was young in Francistown. It was a place where farmers would go and sell their produce on a monthly basis and it is something we could bring to Gaborone at constituency level. These things are better done by the Private sector and the City Council will only facilitate and currently we are having talks with LEA for a possible partnership,” Maphongo said.

The city council has a turn around strategy to improve lighting around the city. He said: “What we have to acknowledge is that Gaborone has been dark, hence making it unsafe at night. That is the reason why we found it necessary to come up with a turnaround strategy which could ensure we deliver lighting in the shortest possible time. I am confident we will have exceeded 75 percent of the work by end of November as currently we have erected over 23 towers and we are awaiting Botswana Power Corporation to connect them. There will be 20 more coming and we are hard at work to resuscitate some of the streetlights.”

In terms of challenges encountered, Mayor Maphongo said “The challenges since my ascension to office included the slowness in terms of procurement process that has been a major hindrance and we have been working around the clock to make sure it does not delay delivery of projects. The other aspect is the illegal squatting by carwashes, we want to deal with that and ensure everybody is operating where they are allocated space.

Gaborone was founded in 1964 and was named after Kgosi Gaborone of the Batlokwa tribe. For a long time the city has served as the economic capital and the government capital by housing headquarters to numerous companies, the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) until recently Government has decided to decentralise services to other parts of the country to promote growth and promptness in service delivery.

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