Opposition parties have no intentions to let the BCL mine closure slide through their four presidents and have vowed that they will, in the next parliament sitting put up an urgent motion to revoke and overrule government’s decision to place the BCL under liquidation.
The opposition parties made the revelation when addressing the media in Selibe Phikwe this past Thursday to give their position on the government’s decision to voluntary liquidate the mine.
Movement for Democratic Change (UDC) Chairman, Motlatsi Molapisi who is also the Botswana People’s Party’s (BPP) President, told members of the press as well as multitudes of workers gathered in front of Selibe Phikwe Post office that the government should have exhausted all alternative options before concluding on the mine closure.
Molapisi further raised concerns over lack of transparency and prior warning to workers and Selibe Phikwe residents pertaining to the company dissolution. According to Molapisi, decisions like shutting down the economic nucleus of over 50 000 inhabitants and thousands more greater Phikwe residents should be communicated well in time prior to implementation.
“The government should have notified the workers and the general public well in time that BCL closure exists in their vocabulary, not to wake up and melt down an economic engine of over 50 000 people,” said the BPP president.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando said that they (opposition) believe that government is hiding something from the public. He noted that the task team assigned to investigate and evaluate the stance and future of BCL should have waited until the next parliament sitting to reveal its findings to the highest democratic institution in the country.
“It is only in Botswana where such a huge decision which affects the national economy, people’s lives and government purse is made by cabinet only,’’ said Saleshando.
The former Gaborone Central Legislator added that cabinet should have presented its findings and recommendations before a full parliament sitting and asked for parliament authorization.
“The same way parliament was consulted on BCL loans guarantee, this closure decision should have come to parliament so that others get the chance to reject or accept it, just like the loan guarantee issue,” he quipped.
President of The Botswana National Front (BNF), Duma Boko who also presides as leader of Opposition in Parliament, said government coffers permit for BCL to be bailed out. He revealed that government, within a short period of time purchased complex fighter jets and equipment worth 16 billion pula from Sweden, and just before independence taxpayers popped out 320 million pula for a Presidential chopper which enticed the 1st citizen at an air show in France.
’’Government should have considered ARVs and tertiary education financing which they give as excuse for not saving your jobs, when making these reckless expenditures,” said Boko.
The Leader of Opposition also extended a free lecture on legal provisions and details of voluntary liquidation. According to him, workers stand to lose their exit packages should BCL assets and debtors if any not equate or accommodate company creditors.
“When the liquidator values the company and pays all creditors, there could be nothing left to pay your salaries and exit packages,’’ said the UDC President. He said that, it is this fear for the workers that motivates them to lobby parliament to revoke if not reduce liquidator powers and consider lives of over 4 thousand former copper nickel miners.
For his part, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Ndaba Gaolathe said BCL’s closure should be entirely blamed on lack of shrewd corporate governance and visionary leadership. Gaolathe indicated that BCL management should have anticipated commodity price fall and put in place measures to absorb the possible shock. The Bonnington South MP noted that for 10 years before 2002 copper nickel commodity prices were lower than now and companies survived.
”BCL needed leaders that have relevant business and economic acumen to foresee this circumstances , but unfortunately people who were running the company are political appointees that do not have necessary skills and intelligence to run such a complex company operating under this fragile mining industry.’’
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.