Monday, September 21, 2020

“Privatisation of Air Botswana illegal” – Sebetela

Boyce Sebetela says efforts by cabinet and the privatization agency, PEEPA, to privatize Air Botswana are illegal.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard the outspoken Member of Parliament for Palapye said the transaction goes against the Public Authorities Act which vests the authority over parastatals with parliament.

He said the ongoing transaction with the privately owned South African airliner, SA Airlink, also violates the Finance and Audit Act which gives powers to the Minister of Finance.

Sebetela also talked about the sale of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, saying it is null and void.

He said as per the Finance and Audit Act, the authority to sell the state owned fixed line Telco lies with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

He said cabinet made a mistake in giving the power to sell Air Botswana to Transport Minister, Lesego Motsumi, who in turn passed the power of attorney to PEEPA.

Sebetela said PEEPA is an advisor to government on matters pertaining to privatization, and cannot at the same time be the executor.

He said as such there is no way the transaction can go ahead as it would be challenged in a court of law.

“It is worrisome. Some of us are not against privatization. But we want it to be done in accordance with the laws of the land,” said Sebetela.

He said he is worried at the haste on the part of cabinet to get rid of Air Botswana so much so that they have no qualms breaking the laws of the country.

He said parliament has not abdicated their legal rights over parastatals to anyone and, as such, for there to be a legal disposal of any of the parastatals such a transaction would have to be sanctioned by parliament, the rightful owners of the assets.

He said it is not for cabinet to give away the powers and rights they do not have, that are not even theirs.

Parliament last week passed a motion calling for the immediate suspension of Air Botswana.
But cabinet has said the transaction would go ahead, anyway, saying the motion is not binding.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.