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Dixon-Warren: BCL Creditors unlikely to be paid

BCL Liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren says that creditors owed money by BCL are most unlikely to be paid their dues for a longer period of time if they will be paid at all.

Responding to a question asked by Councillor Moses Serite at the SPEDU Stakeholder engagement meeting on Monday, the BCL Liquidator noted that payment of creditors can only be made once the operations have been bought, but even then it will still take a considerable amount of time as there are operation costs involved. Serite had wanted to know when will former BCL employees be paid their terminal benefits as well as when will creditors’ payment be settled.

“Creditors are not going to be paid for a very long time if at all they will be paid,” said Dixon Warren. As for terminal benefits he said all terminal benefits have been paid, explaining that Government purchased the cost of former employees’ terminal benefits from its own accounts and it has since submitted a claim against BCL to recoup the money. This means that the Government of Botswana is one of the many creditors owed by BCL who will have to wait for much longer to be paid their dues.

The Liquidator who recently resigned from KPMG to focus on winding up BCL advanced that BCL mine should have long been put on Care and Maintenance a long time ago as it was “mining blind” without a proper mining plan which led to serious operational challenges. “BCL should have long been restructured as it was inefficient and it had serious safety problems,” he said.

In the Report of the Provisional Liquidator released last year in October, Dixon-Warren stated that the mine failed because it was unable to pay its debts with the main identified reasons for the company’s insolvency being very poor and inadequate governance and management. He reported that the BCL Board exercised poor governance over strategic direction and executive management “coupled with a weak, incompetent and inexperienced management team that was unable to adapt to changing market circumstances.”

A further cause of failure was the pursuit of the Polaris II Strategy considering the technical and financial capability within the BCL Group, Dixon-Warren had reported, explaining further that “many if not all of the investment decisions made under this strategy were of doubtful financial benefit to BCL and were questionable.”

The Liquidator noted in his report that BCL liquidation is the largest in Botswana’s history and that the  BCL Group was Botswana’s second largest “private sector” employer after Debswana Diamond Company. On Monday, Dixon-Warren revealed that because BCL is a “different animal” that requires a lot of money to buy and operate, many potential investors have come and go unable to make a practical offer.

He stated that todate, 180 interested parties have registered their interest but no offer had been made. He took the opportunity to clarify issues surrounding the Dubai based investor whose announcement that it was doing due diligence on BCL had brought a little flicker of hope that finally the mine will be purchased and be reopened. Emirates Investment House, a consortium of United Arab Emirates (UAE) businessmen from Dubai were expected to pump billions of Pula into BCL but the deal did not fall through.

 “The reality is that to buy and re-open BCL will need approximately 5 billion pula and any interested party should be able to demonstrate from the onset that they have or they have access to that amount of money,” said Dixon-Warren. He explained that when the company showed interest, he conducted his own investigation on the company and his finding indicated that the investor has no financial capacity to operate BCL. He said that he made his view known but was advised to continue the process with the company and allow them time to conduct due diligence on the operation, wasting time and money. “We have wasted a lot of public money on the process,” he said.

“I do not want BCL to be run by an inexperienced investor because BCL is fundamentally a different animal. This is a base metal operation and people make it as though I am sitting on a diamond mine,” said the Liquidator. However, he has revealed that currently they are two interested parties and that in due course, he will advertise an Expression of Interest (EOI) for interested parties to submit their proposals demonstrating their capability to purchase and operate BCL mine again.

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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Disability characterized by exclusion

22nd February 2024

Disability in Botswana, like in many other nations, has been characterized by exclusion, discrimination, and stigmatization. Negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities (IWDs) have led to barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information. The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has further perpetuated the exclusion of IWDs from society.

The National Policy on Care for People with Disabilities (NPCPD) in Botswana, established in 1996, aims to recognize and protect the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities. The policy emphasizes the importance of integration and equal opportunities for IWDs in various sectors such as health, education, employment, and social development. While the policy provides a framework for addressing disability issues, it falls short of enacting disability-specific legislation to protect the rights of IWDs.

In 2010, the Government of Botswana established an office for IWDs within the Office of the President to coordinate disability-related policies and programs. While this office plays a crucial role in mobilizing resources for the implementation of policies, its approach to service delivery is rooted in social welfare, focusing on the care of IWDs as a social burden rather than recognizing their rights.

The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has hindered the recognition of the rights of IWDs and the enactment of laws to protect them from discrimination and exclusion. Without legal protections in place, IWDs continue to face barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information, perpetuating their exclusion from society.

In order to address the exclusion of IWDs in Botswana, it is crucial for the government to prioritize the enactment of disability-specific legislation to protect their rights and ensure equal opportunities for all. By recognizing the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, Botswana can work towards creating a more inclusive society where IWDs are valued and included in all aspects of life.

 

 

 

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DJ Bafana’s one man show on the cards

21st February 2024

DJ Bafana, a talented DJ from Francistown, is gearing up to host his very own one-man show, a groundbreaking event that aims to not only showcase his skills but also empower fellow musicians. This ambitious project is currently in the planning stages, with DJ Bafana actively seeking out potential sponsors to help bring his vision to life.

In a recent interview with WeekendPost, DJ Bafana revealed that he is in talks with two potential venues, Limpopo Gardens and Molapo Leisure Gardens, to host his show. However, he is facing challenges in securing sponsorships from companies, particularly those who do not fully understand the importance of music-related events. Despite this setback, DJ Bafana remains determined to make his one-man show a reality and to use it as a platform to empower and support other artists in the industry.

What sets DJ Bafana’s show apart is the fact that he will be making history as the first person living with a disability to host a one-man show in Botswana. This milestone is a testament to his resilience and determination to break barriers and pave the way for others in similar situations. By showcasing his talent and passion for music, DJ Bafana is not only proving his worth as an artist but also inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face.

As DJ Bafana continues to work towards making his one-man show a reality, he remains focused on his goal of empowering and uplifting his fellow musicians. Through his dedication and perseverance, he is setting an example for others to follow and showing that anything is possible with hard work and determination. The date for the show is yet to be announced, but one thing is for certain – DJ Bafana’s one-man show is sure to be a memorable and inspiring event for all who attend.

 

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