Trouble at SPEDU

SHARE   |   Monday, 21 November 2016   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Trouble at SPEDU

The organisation responsible for resuscitating the economy of Selebi-Phikwe region, after the collapse of BCL mine, may itself be in need of life support after sources revealed that employees at the pararastal are embroiled in internal strife which threatens to derail it. At the core of the internal strife are allegations of corruption and nepotism which has led to tender procedures not being followed while appointment to positions have been politicised. Things are said to have taken a nasty turn after the organisational rebranding and restructuring exercise, which led to the creation of new posts at SPEDU. Last week Friday morning, Head of Communications at SPEDU Keleabetswe Punah Molebatsi tendered resignation from the company without giving much reason. Inside sources said that Molebatsi was frustrated after being sidelined when decisions are taken on issues that affect her department. One of the tenders that is said to have pushed her out is the one that was allegedly given to Incepta Advertising Agency for the rebranding of SPEDU which cost more than P1.4 million.

The rebranding of SPEDU caused a furore in Parliament recently when MP for Selebi Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse wanted to know what it entails. bAnswering the question Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse said it entails brand strategy development, internal and external communication, advertising and production of promotional material. Soon thereafter, SPEDU splashed adverts in the media in an attempt to explain the rationale behind the P1.4 million expenditure. Information gathered by this publication shows that Molebatsi was only instructed to sign the three-year contract with Incepta Advertising Agency. When contacted for comment, Molebatsi refused to field questions choosing to say that she is currently on sick leave and would revert next week.

Suspension of HR Manager
Early this week, SPEDU Human Resources Manager Sydney Mmopele was slapped with a suspension for unknown reasons. Sources at SPEDU said Mmopele’s greatest sin was to question plans to appoint the wife to one of the Executives as Community Facilitation officer. In an answer in Parliament recently Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Biggie Butale said SPEDU has facilitated projects inclusive of major feasibility studies and management development plans with a total investment value of P226.6 million by both Government and the private sector. He said SPEDU has successfully facilitated refurbishment of the Selebi Phikwe Airport runway and taxiway. Another multimillion pula project that SPEDU is coordinating is the construction of the Platjaan Bridge which connects Botswana and South Africa. Butale informed Parliament that running SPEDU office including staff and operations cost government P32 million per annum.  Efforts to get comment from SPEDU Chief Executive Officer Dr Mokubung Mokubung were futile as his mobile phone was off air.