It is, indeed, an honour for me to officiate at this momentous occasion, the launching of a housing project developed by the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU). I wish to congratulate BOPEU for having embarked on this noble initiative to venture into property development for the benefit of their members. This is a remarkable achievement that must be encouraged and commended by all of us. It is the first project of its kind in this country.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as Government, we firmly believe in harmonious industrial relations between the Government and all trade unions. We recognise the pivotal role played by trade unions and workers in the national development agenda of our country.
As such, it is important to nurture strategic relations between the Government and trade unions which are anchored on consultations, trust and mutual respect. We recognise that trade unions are social partners in a tripartite relationship between Government, Business and Labour.
As Government, we cannot develop the country alone. We can achieve more as a people and a country through collaboration between the Government and its social partners. Issues such as poverty, lack of decent housing and the general standard of living affecting public servants and society in general can only be addressed through partnerships between the Government and other key stakeholders. It is for this reason that I am grateful to witness the launching of a housing project meant to benefit members of BOPEU and society in general.
As you are all aware, the role of trade unions has evolved with time. At their formation, trade unions were primarily concerned about low wages, conditions of service, collective bargaining and floor shop issues. In recent times, the role of a modern-day trade union extends beyond the floor shop and the collective bargaining table. Modern day trade unions actively participate in all facets of human social life and beyond the work place.
To this end, I wish to congratulate BOPEU for having had the wisdom to invest in this project which seeks to provide decent and affordable housing to its members. This is in line with our National Vision 2036 aspirations which states, ‘I quote’ Our cities, towns and villages will be safe and clean, providing decent and affordable housing and economic opportunities for all. ‘End of quote’
It is my wish that other trade unions will benchmark on BOPEU and invest in projects which seek to give dignity to their members. I was particularly humbled and impressed by the name of the project – Seriti Estate. As you know, Seriti means dignity and the spirit of Botho.
I have no doubt that the project will give dignity and honour to your members and their families. By providing homes to your members, BOPEU is undoubtedly leaving an indelible lifetime memory for its members and descendants. Secure Home Ownership is a vital component in human development.
Without secure home ownership and decent accommodation, it is impossible to develop a human being. The success and prosperity of a human being is dependent on decent accommodation among other things. Your project is, indeed, life changing and transformational. As a Union, you have demonstrated visionary leadership by embarking on this important project.
Undoubtedly, this housing project will go a long way towards improving the welfare of your members. Some of the requirements for the provision of decent and adequate housing include the following: security of tenure, affordability, accessibility and habitability. From the information that I received from the Union leadership, your project satisfies all these requirements.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am told that the project will be delivered in three phases, with the first phase comprising 84 units anticipated to be delivered at the end of December 2023.
I am also informed that the entire project will take a maximum of 30 months, comprising a total of 248 units at a cost of One Hundred and Twenty Five Million Pula (P125m). It is my hope that the set targets will be achieved in order to provide the much-needed accommodation relief to your members.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Seriti Housing Project as an aspect of infrastructure development will have a significant social and economic impact on the Mmopane community as a whole. The project will change the landscape of Mmopane. Most importantly, the project will create many jobs for the youth in this area during construction.
In conclusion, I wish to congratulate BOPEU for this noble project which will change the lives of families and improve home ownership in Botswana. I take this opportunity to pledge Government’s support in any way possible to ensure the success of this important project.
With these few remarks Ladies and Gentlemen, I now have the pleasure to officially launch the Seriti Project.
SPEECH BY PRESIDENT MASISI ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF THE SERITI HOUSING PROJECT