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UDC, BCP lobby MPs to reject BCL closure

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.’’

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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