Botswana miners who worked in the South African gold mines from the 1960s will next year smile all the way to the bank as they get a stake in R5 billion (about P4 billion)availed by the South African government as class action settlements for gold miners.
For a long time the miners, mining companies and the government of South Africa have been in extensive negotiations as to how to pay the former workers. The decision to pay the miners was arrived following Occupational Disease in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA) 78 of 1973. However, the decision has been taken that only miners who suffer from silicosis and tuberculosis and have worked in the mining companies from 1965 up to date will be eligible for compensation.
Briefing the miners about the decision, Dr Barry Kistanasamy who is the Compensation Commissioner from South African Department of Health says the miners will get their due next year. “We will be back in February/March next year or thereabout for operational planning with the payments expected later on,” he said. The whole sum has been divided as thus; R4 billion will be directed to miners pension and provident funds, R1.2 billion in compensation fund for miners and R5 billion for class action settlement for gold miners.
According to the statistics out of 1,624,938 miners in South Africa, Botswana had 29,224 workers. It is however emphasized that not everyone who worked in the mines will get the share but for those who worked in six mining companies of African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye Still Water. Medical examination will also be conducted to verify if at all the claimants suffer from the conditions stated.
“There should be empirical evidence that your condition is as a result of working in the mines. For example it would be difficult to compensate administrators, cleaners and cooks because they never worked underground,” he said. Dr Kistanasamy has revealed that his office has already made R600m payments to 20,000 claimants. “R200m were paid to Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland,” he said.It was further highlighted that there are ten classes of claimants who once properly certified will be eligible for a benefit.
Silicosis Class 1 or early stages will get a compensation of R70, 000 while those who suffer silicosis class four which is the aggravated condition will pocket R500, 000. For TB patients’ first degree will go home with R50, 000 and the claimant should have worked underground. Second degree will get R100, 000. The benefits however will increase annually by the extent on the increase of Consumer Price Index (CPI).
More former miners are invited to link up with Botswana Labour Migrants Association (BOLAMA) so they can possibly get the compensation. In case of death with a proof that the causes of death are the diseases in question, dependents of the deceased will be eligible for the claims.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.