The formation of Kweneng Ventures (Pty) Ltd, a 100 per cent wholly owned subsidiary of Kweneng District Council has sparked fears that the municipality is creating competition against local businesses and the community owned Bakwena Community Development Association (BCDA). BCDA is a trust previously known as Kweneng Rural Development Association (KRDA). The brigade component of the latter was taken over by government in 2011 and is in the process of being transformed into a vocational training centre.
BCDA board Chairman Shima Monageng and KDC chairman Jeffrey Sibisibi denied that their companies have an overlapping mandate and conflicting interests. BCDA owns KRDA secondary school, petrol stations at Boikanyo (Molepolole-Thamaga junction) andanother at Mafenyatlala, which was reopened last month after it was rebuilt for P8 million), horticulture plantations in Molepolole, Kopong and Letlhakeng. Some Bakwena are furious that KRDA board sold one of the eucalyptus plantations in New Town for a song to a foreigner. The forced sale is said to have been caused by the financial quagmire KRDA found themselves in some 10 years ago, and were facing liquidation.
Monageng said such accusations are baseless because bids were called publicly and nobody responded. He said with the remaining plantation the board had resolved to allocate Anne Stine school for disabled children a five hacters plot, gave a piece to Molepolole sub landboard to allocate for construction of houses for police officers. "We are currently in negotiations with government to hand over the remaining over 100 hacters in the plantation in exchange for the KRDA bridgade plot near Mafenyatlala mall. Morafe has already agreed. This would enable us to develop a proper CBD in the centre of the village," said Monageng.
He said now that they have completed the reconstruction of the filling station they will now focus on the hotel and town houses as part of Phase 2 of the development. He explained that they are looking for investors to partner with to diversify their investment strategy away from a lease back basis, which they used to develop Mafenyatla mall.For his part Sibisibi denied that the two have an overlapping mandate and are duplicating strategies. He said Kweneng Ventures is an investment arm of the council, where the local authority owns 100% shareholding while BCDA is a community development trust. "No. We are not competing, we are complementing each other to develop Kweneng," he said.
With a budget of close to half a billion pula KDC should be able to create opportunities for Kweneng Ventures (Pty). Sibisibi said KDC has a pool of professionals who will lend support to the company and a board made up of professionals from different sectors of the economy.