Following an out of hand response from the Assistant Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Kgotla Autlwetse in the recent Parliament sitting over the ownership of feedlots contracting with Botswana Meat Commission, opposition Member of Parliament Noah Salakae has named of some of the owners with a long history with the ruling party.
Former president Ketumile Masire owns GM Five feedlot while Wallgreen is for the former minister Patrick Balopi, raking in Millions of Pula with the lucrative and coveted tender.
“GM Five for Masire is at Lobatse while Wallgreen for Balopi is at Mmamashia,” Salakae revealed on Friday. He did not identify the owners of Betta Beef and Makokhs feedlots contracting with BMC except to say “are manned by white men of Boer origin”.
Other equally competent aspirant cattle farmers wish to venture into the project only to meet response that the contract is already occupied by the four companies.
BMC purchases cattle only to dispatch the same to the aforesaid feedlots to feed them with supplementary nutrients raking in millions of Pula in the transaction.
GM Five, Wallgreen and Betta Beef feedlots service Lobatse BMC while Makokhs is for Francistown meat facility.
Answering the concerns of Salakae during the Parliament session, Autlwetse refused to name ownership of the feedlots maintaining their names were “already in public domain”.
“Should the honourable Member want to obtain the names of the owners he should visit the Registrar of Companies to obtain such information. Their names are already in public domain,” he curtly responded then.
Both Masire and Balopi are distinguished ruling Botswana Democratic Party bigwigs who served the country on different capacities as president and minister respectively.
Autlwetse, however, said “everyone is entitled for contract with BMC regardless of their party connections and colour,” during the session.
“Together the four feedlots contribute 30 percent of the total throughput in a year. For example this year alone these feedlots are expected to contribute 34 500 cattle for slaughter,” Autlwetse further told Parliament.
He maintained the contract was time framed – thus liable to expire when it elapsed.
For three years both the companies have been contracted with BMC with GM Five, Wallgreen and Betta Beef starting business since November 13, 2015 and ending on November 12, 2018.
Makokhs resumed contract on December 9, 2015, meaning it will end on December 8, 2018.
It remains to be seen who will fill the gap following the expiry of the contracts.