The Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation has walked away from the Gaborone block 10 premises before they could even occupy the multi-million Pula fencing facility located between Airport Junction shopping mall and Sebele Centre; a stone throw from the upmarket Setlhoa residential village owned by the late Louis Nchindo.
Initially, the huge barb wired prison’s facility centre was for the purpose of keeping the illegal immigrants before deporting them but government has decided that it is not appropriate to have a prisons facility there anymore.
With prison officials busy at work, passersby have for the last few weeks been dumb-struck by the rational of taking down an expensive fence that has only been erected a few years ago.
The facility was erected only a few years ago at a cost of over P2 million.
The Public Relations Officer Senior at Prisons Department, Senior Superintendent Wamorena Ramolefe confirmed the uprooting adding that they started plans on moving from the site since last year.
“It was not the Department of Prisons’ space. We used the space with our facilities temporarily,” said Ramolefe.
He also pointed out that they have removed equipment from the premises as well as their temporary porter caravans which were used as office space.
Ramolefe said the space remains the property of the Ministry of Defence and Justice. He did not reveal how much his department spent on the construction as well as bringing down of the facility.
Contacted by Sunday Standard, the Minister of Defence Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse confirmed the relocations of the Department of Prisons from the Gaborone block 10 commercial and residential up-market area.
“It was very inappropriate to a have the initial illegal immigrants prisons’ facility there. It was located in the city centre hence it was moved from there,” said Seretse.
It however remains a mystery how a government department could fall victim to such an embarrassing and costly planning gaffe when it is government itself that controls all the planning through the Department of Town and Regional Planning.
Asked who is taking over the premises under the Ministry, Seretse said they are considering accommodating any of Botswana Police units. Seretse was not in a position to state how much money has been spent on the facility.