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New broom Glaum facing BCL heap of muck

A less known but old company from the South African city of Cape Town, Sanek Trust Recovery Services, this week assumed the heavy task of managing the insolvent mine of BCL and provisional liquidation of  Tati and BCLI.

BCL creditors and the nation waited in anticipation for the man who is going to replace Nigel Dixon-Warren who was fired abruptly, and Trevor Glaum is now at helm. Leading a company established in 1970, Glaum has a bigger challenge of liquidating a 63 year old mine whose abrupt liquidation was a matter of controversy since BCL was placed under liquidation which stalled for three years.

No much information of how Glaum or his company Sanek landed the role of BCL liquidation but on Wednesday this week outgoing liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren wrote a communication that was spread to creditors and other stakeholders announcing that he is stepping down. Furthermore Dixon-Warren announced the takeover by Glaum of Sanek. Dixon-Warren announced that Sanek’s Glaum will be the sole liquidator of the controversial BCL liquidation starting from Wednesday this week following his (Dixon-Warren)’s resignation on Tuesday of the same week.

Glaum will also be a jointly co-provisional liquidator of BCL Investments or BCLI with Stephen Gore of Sanek. BCLI is an investment arm owned by BCL Limited. BCL limited also owns the BCL mine.Dixon-Warren also reminded that on the 26 July 2019 the Court of Appeal issued a provisional order that the estates of BCL and BCLI should be inter alia wound up as one company, in terms of section 468 of the Companies Act.

The matter has been referred back to the High Court to determine the time periods before which the order will become final. Glaum together with Sivalutchmee  Moodliar, his colleague at Sanek, are co-provisional liquidators of Tati mine which is owned by BCL Limited with a stake of  85 percent.

Political interference

When handing over BCL to Dixon-Warren in October 2016 the then vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi who is now the state leader pleaded that the man be given a chance without any interference.  However Dixon-Warren found himself caught in a political storm as his liquidation fees caught the attention of legislators who felt he was getting too much or was out to rip government off. Dixon-Warren’s call for resignation came as a backlash coming from across the entire political divide agreeing that his head be chopped.

A political pressure started by an MP coming from an area with people who are affected by the closure of the mine who asked how much the Dixon-Warren was earning for BCL liquidation, and then it reached a minerals minister who also felt the liquidator was a liability. The BCL closure and its liquidation has become a huge political project and Glaum’s character will be tested beyond measure as politics became the demise of his predecessor.

Financial position of BCL

In the Tenth Status Report to the creditors the outgoing BCL liquidator Dixon-Warren said the financial position of BCL since 26 October 2016 was at P108 923 527. This is the money reflected 19 days after BCL was closed.  “On 28 February 2019 the level of funding in the estate went down rapidly to P78.5 million and the rate continues to diminish. Government of Botswana is the lead creditor in this liquidation with and its claims against BCL account for a total of P1.35 billion or 94 percent of the proven claims,” Dixon-Warren.

Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale recently told Parliament that government has already spent  P600 million on liquidation since the process began in 2016.Glaum will see himself out of the total recurrent budget estimates for the financial year 2019/2020 which is P733 061 670 and represents an increase of P327 127 210 or 81 percent from this year’s allocation of P405 934 460 because the significant increase is mainly due to BCL funding for rehabilitation.

This means the mine will continue to gobble a lot from government fiscal budget in this coming financial year. In his report to creditors Dixon-Warren said for the Phase 1 of the project of rehabilitation around P50 million and P100 million is needed, hinting that more money from the government until winding off.

Legal battles waiting for Glaum

Glaum got into an office which is not without a headache or stress. The hot seat of being a BCL liquidator also comes with burning litigations being thrown from all places as the mine was closed down abruptly while overlooking at many underlying legal issues. Standing tall before Glaum is the fight for the sale of Nkomati and Tati mines with Russian mining giant Norilsk.

Another impending legal tussle waiting for Glaum and Sanek is the one with a Zimbabwean mining company RioZim. The outgoing liquidator Dixon-Warren reported to the creditors recently  that he already has commenced recovery proceedings against RioZim in Zimbabwe for P340 million owed to BCL. In this court application BCL alleges that it is owed P340 million for some minerals sold to its Zimbabwean counterpart RioZim. In this application BCL seeks to attach RioZim refinery or have it put under the hammer.

“The replacement liquidator will need to apply to the High Court of Zimbabwe to be recognized as a foreign liquidator in order to continue with this litigation. Thereafter, the replacement liquidator will need to file security with the Zimbabwean Master in order to be allowed to proceed with the litigation,” Dixon-Warren who is handing over to Glaum advised creditors in his last liquidation report.

Glaum will also have to put on his legal amour and lock horns with construction and building materials giant PPC which is said to have failed to adequately rehabilitate the waste rock dump over which it was granted a lease by BCL. This litigation is on-going.  According to documents, the quantum of this claim has yet to be finally determined but will amount to several million Pula, according to Dixon-Warren.

BCL should also sue Air Liquide for failing to deliver equipment pre-liquidation to a subsidiary of Tati and as a consequence of this failure substantial storage costs have been incurred by the BCL Group, the BCL is claiming P20 million for any incurred damages or liabilities. Outgoing BCL liquidator said these goods which Air Liquide failed to deliver are stored in Belgium, South Korea and France.Air Liquide deals supplies industrial and specialty gases to the steel, automotive & fabrication, food & beverage, mining, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and glass industries.

Glaum leads BCL as it will go on head-on with Barclays Botswana for what the previous liquidator in the last creditors report being the Twelfth Status Report said the bank for three years failed to return a sum of P1.4 million which was incorrectly paid to the BCL pre-liquidation account. Glaum may also decide to go to court as Dixon-Warren suggested in the creditors report the bank has ignored several attempts by BCL to have the money recovered or the account in question closed.

Sale of the mine

Selling BCL mine has been a daunting task for Dixon-Warren who said many fear investing on an old mine which will come with a lot of uncertainties. Glaum inherits that problem of the mine which remains unable to get a buyer. Many investors are reported to be at qualms with the P2.8 billion which should be set aside for Environmental Rehabilitation Liability even in the event of a closing plan when the mine goes for closure. The sum of P2.8 billion was seen as an environmental rehabilitation and reclamation obligation by a report carried out by Dixon-Warren in 2015 and this amount remains an obligation few buyers would be willing to accept given the present value on site at BCL.

However there are reports that there has been interest shown from around the world. In an interview this year, Dixon-Warren did not want to divulge names of who he met as interested in buying the mine. Dixon-Warren said he has dealt with a number of international companies who have the skills, expertise and finance for BCL, but “none of them has made any offer after undertaking initial assessments of information. It doesn’t take much to assume who those big companies might be.”

Glaum and Sanek

As Glaum and Sanek take over the ruins that is left of the legendary BCL it is not clear whether the company has what it takes to handle the mine. Sanek is an acronym for Suid Afrikaanse Nasionale Ekseketeurskamer. In its website Sanek touts itself for being able to manage liquidation of a large property, Glen Anil, which was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (as it then was) found itself in financial difficulty and was wound up.

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Transgender persons in Botswana live a miserable life

23rd November 2020
Transgender persons

An international report complied in South Africa dubbed ‘Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana’ says that the transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana live a miserable life. The community experiences higher levels of discrimination, violence and ill health.

In this report, it has been indicated that this is because their gender identity, which does not conform to narrowly define societal norms, renders them more vulnerable. Gender identity is a social determinant of health, which means that it is a factor that influences people’s health via their social context, their communities and their experiences of social exclusion. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized this, and transgender people are considered a vulnerable population under the Botswana Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2010-2017.

In a recent study that shed light on the lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana, transgender persons often experience discrimination because of their gender identity and expression. The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town, LEGABIBO, BONELA, as well as Rainbow Identity Association and approved by the Health Ministry as well as the University of Botswana.

Of the 77 transgender and gender non-conforming people who participated in the study, less than half were employed. Two thirds, which is approximately 67% said that they did not have sufficient funds to cover their everyday needs. Two in five had hidden health concerns from their healthcare provider because they were afraid to disclose their gender identity.

More than half said that because of their gender identity, they had been treated disrespectfully at a healthcare facility (55%), almost half (46%) said they had been insulted at a healthcare facility, and one quarter (25%) had been denied healthcare because of their gender identity.

At the same time, the ‘Are we doing right’ study suggests that transgender and non-conforming people might be at higher risks of experiencing violence and mental ill-health, compared to the general population. More than half had experienced verbal embarrassment because of their gender identity, 48% had experienced physical violence and more than one third (38%) had experienced sexual violence.

The study showed that mental health concerns were high among transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana. Half of the transgender and gender non-conforming study participants (53%) showed signs of depression. Between one in four and one in six showed signs of moderate or severe anxiety (22% among transgender women, 24% among transgender men and 17% among gender non-conforming people).

Further, the study revealed that many had attempted suicide: one in three transgender women (32%), more than one in three transgender men (35%) and three in five gender non-conforming people (61%).

International research, as well as research from Botswana, suggests that not being able to change one’s gender marker has a negative impact on access to healthcare and mental health and wellbeing. The study further showed that one in four transgender people in Botswana (25%) had been denied access to healthcare. This is, at least in part, linked to not being able to change one’s gender marker in the identity documents, and thus not having an identity document that matches one’s gender identity and gender expression.

In its Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework for HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Health Ministry noted that “transgender persons in Botswana are unable to access identity documents that reflect their gender identity, which is a barrier to health services, including in the context of HIV. In one documented case, a transwoman’s identity card did not reflect her gender identity- her identity card photo indicated she was ‘male’. When she presented her identity card at a health facility, a health worker called the police who took her into custody.”

The necessity of a correct national identity document goes beyond healthcare. The High Court of Botswana explains that “the national identity document plays a pivotal role in every Motswana’s daily life, as it links him or her with any service they require from various institutions. Most activities in the country require every Motswana to produce their identity document, for identification purposes of receiving services.”

According to the Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana report, this effectively means that transgender, whose gender identity and expression is likely to be different from the sex assigned to them at birth and from what is recorded on their identity document, cannot access services without risk of denial or discrimination, or accusations of fraud.

In this context, gays and lesbians advocacy group LEGABIBO has called on government through the Department of Civil and National Registration to urgently implement the High Court rulings on gender marker changes. As stated by the High Court in the ND vs Attorney General of Botswana judgement, identity cards (Omang) play an important role in the life of every Motswana. Refusal and or delay to issue a Motswana with an Omang is denying them to live a complete and full-filing life with dignity and violates their privacy and freedom of expression.

The judgement clarified that persons can change their gender marker as per the National Registrations Act, so changing the gender marker is legally possible. There is no need for a court order. It further said the person’s gender is self-identified, there is no need to consult medical doctors.

LEGABIBO also called on government to develop regulations that specify administrative procedure to change one’s gender marker, and observing self-determination process. Further, the group looks out for government to ensure members of the transgender community are engaged in the development of regulations.

“We call on this Department of Civil and National Registration to ensure that the gender marker change under the National Registration Act is aligned to the Births and Deaths Registry Act to avoid court order.

Meanwhile, a gay man in Lobatse, Moabi Mokenke was recently viciously killed after being sexually violated in the streets of Peleng, shockingly by his neighbourhood folks. The youthful lad, likely to be 29-years old, met his fate on his way home, from the wearisome Di a Bowa taverns situated in the much populated township of Peleng Central.

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Khato Civils fights back, dares detractors

23rd November 2020
Khato-civil

CEO of Khato Civils Mongezi Mnyani has come out of the silence and is going all way guns blazing against the company’s adversaries who he said are hell-bent on tarnishing his company’s image and “hard-earned good name”

Speaking to WeekendPost from South Africa, Mnyani said it is now time for him to speak out or act against his detractors. Khato Civils has done several projects across Africa. Khato Civils, a construction company and its affiliate engineering company, South Zambezi have executed a number of world class projects in South Africa, Malawi and now recently here in Botswana.

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UDC petitioners turn to Saleshando

23rd November 2020
Dumelang Saleshando

About ten (10) Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidates who lost the 2019 general election and petitioned results this week met with UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando to discuss the way forward concerning the quandary that is the legal fees put before them by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawyers.

For a while now, UDC petitioners who are facing the wrath of quizzical sheriffs have demanded audience with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) but in vain. However after the long wait for a tete-a-tete with the UDC, the petitioners met with Saleshando accompanied by other NEC members including Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, Reverend Mpho Dibeela and Dennis Alexander.

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