Palapye has outgrown expectations and continues to grow but the fact that the council is subordinate to Central District council is not helping the situation.
The final decisions are made in Serowe and the Administrative Authority is faced with staffing and funding challenges to meet the ever growing demand.
With over 41 000 people this overdue town makes Sowa town and Lobatse seem like small villages but it has to share meager resources with other villages under CDC.
Council Secretary, Koti Molefi, 53 from Mabalane village however makes running Palapye look easy. This formidable former biology teacher talks to ARCHIE MOKOKA about the challenges of running a town regarded as a village
Q: Have you always been in leadership positions?
I’ve always been given leverage to lead. Whenever there is an event at home I’m the master of ceremonies.
While I was a science teacher we went to Kenya for West East and Central Africa Science Teachers Training Workshop and I was elected president.
I was also team leader for a group of inspectors when we went to the UK.
Q: What is it like to run Palapye?
Palapye is a Sub District headquarters which has all support institutions i.e. it’s charged with the responsibility for administration and guiding development of the village.
The Council has the responsibility of providing the physical infrastructure and implementation of development plans.
Palapye is faced with major issues of population, employment, major land use dispositions, social and community needs, transportation and infrastructure development in the planning area.
Over the years haphazard development has occurred in the village due to absence of a development plan to guide intended development programmes and projects.
This lack of properly coordinated development in the settlement has made it difficult to provide well laid down physical infrastructure to support the current population size in Palapye built up areas.
Palapye Development Plan makes it possible to rationalise existing development, provide the necessary physical infrastructure services, and at the same time provide efficient and effective use of space, to achieve sound spatial development.
Q: How big is Palapye?
The population of Palapye Admin Authority is around 41102 as per the 2011 population census and the villages in the surroundings will probably be around 50 thousand which provides enough market for micro to macro-economic activities taking place within Palapye.
In terms of spatial size, Palapye Planning area covers an area of 25038 hectares square kilometres (Palapye Planning Area Development Plan 2007-2031).
Q: What plans are in action for infrastructure development?
There are areas in which Infrastructural development is taking place in Palapye such as the Land Servicing at Dibokwe Extension 11.
The project involves construction of storm water drainage, sewer and water reticulation, telecommunication civil works, provision of power and street lighting sleeves.
Extension 10 is at design stage while there is water & sewer reticulation and Network expansion of Extension 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11. Connection of Fibre Network in Palapye is at consultation stage.
Just by its position Palapye is attractive in many aspects, how are you taking advantage of this?
Palapye is situated in the centre of the country for people going to the North through the A1, and North West through Serowe, to South Africa through the Martins Drift road.
An Industrial free Enterprise zone has been designated by CDC Physical Planning Committee in order to make land available to investors.
It has been handed to BITC in order to attract Local and International investors.
Q: How is the Council helping make business easier?
Palapye Admin Authority through creating an enabling environment and market for the locals through supporting Local Procurement of Goods within the locality and local empowerment.
The issuance of Small Scale Business licences which operate in residential houses and indefinite licences.
Q: Is there anything lined up for amusement?
The Development Plan has some designated open spaces which some of them can be used as amusement parks.
Currently an inventory of open spaces is being compiled so as to see how they can be fully utilized.
Q: Has Palapye outgrown expectation?
Yes major projects like BIUST has attracted a lot of people to Palapye and investors are beginning to realise potential here.
Currently there are three approved Mega Malls willing to set up in Palapye.
Q: There is talk of Palapye`s town status, is there any fire without this smoke?
Palapye has potential to be a town looking at both public and private investment willing to set up in Palapye, and Palapye shall realize its potential once declared a town.