Shaw Kgathi, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, discusses the impressive progress Botswana has made in bringing its defence, justice and security systems up to the highest international standards. He also highlights his ministry’s recent projects and goals.
European Times: What are some high points in the evolution of Botswana’s justice, defence and security systems over the past 20 years?
Shaw Kgathi: Botswana has a low crime rate and is now ranked one of the safest countries in the region and the world. Botswana offers security, rule of law and an independent judicial system, all of which makes this country very attractive for foreign investors. Botswana now has 23 High Court judges compared to less than 10 in the past, and all these High Court judges are local citizens. We have also introduced mobile and special courts dedicated to handling special types of cases, including small claims, stock-market theft, corruption, traffic violations, child support and others. This has significantly improved the efficiency of the court system and made court services more accessible. In addition, the Legal Aid Project launched in 2011 now serves citizens in Francistown, Maun, Tsabong and Kasane as well as Gaborone.
European Times: What advances have been made in Botswana’s defence system?
Shaw Kgathi: Botswana has a vibrant and well equipped defence force and we have expanded and modernised the country’s defence infrastructure. We will continue to work to make Botswana one of the safest and most liveable countries in the world.
European Times: What are some recent developments in Botswana’s legal and security systems?
Shaw Kgathi: Botswana’s parliament passed many important new laws in 2014, including laws on human trafficking, serious crimes, criminal procedures and evidence, forensic procedures, electronic records, chemical weapons, judicial services, legal aid and more, all of which went into effect in January 2015.
Botswana’s police force has made great progress in fighting crime and has launched successful new programmes like the Police Volunteer Scheme, the Special Constabulary and Cluster Policing.
European Times: Does your ministry partner with foreign companies and investors?
Shaw Kgathi: The ministry offers many opportunities for international partnerships through the tender process, and online bidding for projects is expected to be rolled out later this year. We will be seeking partners to supply legal publications, ICT software and equipment, security services and systems, motor vehicles and construction services, among others. Botswana has great potential for investors.