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BCL struggling to find P20 million jet buyer

  • BCL spokesperson confirms the struggle   
  • Aircraft sold as part of cost cutting measure
  • The mine is in deep financial crisis
  • Crisis caused by decreased prices in nickel

Cash strapped copper nickel producer, BCL mine (formerly Bamangwato Consortium Limited) located in Selibe Phikwe is struggling to find a buyer for their 20 million Pula private jet, WeekendPost has learnt.  

“We are still looking for the buyer,” BCL Marketing and Public Relations’ Manager, James Molosankwe told this publication on Wednesday.

The besieged BCL mine spokesperson added that the challenge they are facing is that the aircraft market is not currently doing well as it is determined by lots of factors that may delay the buying of the jet.

Molosankwe emphasised to Weekend Post that it is the “market that simply dictates” when asked to explain the long strain the mine is encountering in selling the private jet. The organisation is itself currently in financial tatters and it is understood that the funds will assist augment the already deteriorated financial situation.

The mine resolved to let go of the aircraft as part of their cut costing measures. The mine is currently on a rampage to dispose-off its non-core assets as well as reducing utilities costs in any way possible to the gain of the organisation.

WeekendPost has established that since the announcement about the intent to sell the aircraft earlier this year, the jet has yet to find a buyer, causing the besieged organisation to disintegrate further.

Selibe Phikwe legislator, Dithapelo Keorapetse has previously complained about BCL management, which he said engaged in a flashy and extravagant lifestyle over the years, including but not limited to “keeping a private jet for senior executives”.

At the time, he said it was “unnecessary luxury for a struggling government company.” The MP further said some BCL investments are highly questionable, going on to wonder who did due diligence for the mine.

When reached for comment this week, the Selibe Phikwe legislator said the BCL jet “can fetch 10 or so millions. It’s a small jet bought at less than 20 million. I hear they are selling it because the Minister sees it as a luxury.”

In addition to the aircraft, it is understood that the broke organisation is involved in evaluating some measures and processes to cut its costs of operation and such measures include accelerating Selkirk open pit which is a resource at Tati Nickel Mine to be on line by the end of 2016.

The mine is also said to be increasing utilisation of the newly rebuilt smelter by attracting additional concentrate from outside.

Since the beginning of the year, BCL has been embattled with issues of deteriorating safety standards, where a sizable number of miners perished in line of duty to looming staff retrenchments. Most critically, the mine is crippled by a financial crisis which has since been degenerated by its failure to sell huge nickel stocks due to the global downturn in the demand and price of nickel prices.

The cash chomp has hit the company’s growth plans by stifling its exploration and new mine development capability after 50 years of continuous exploitation amid reports that its available nickel resources in Selebi Phikwe are on the border of running out anytime soon.

Earlier this year when they were at the brink of collapse, the mine was loaned 1 billion by Barclays bank and sister company ABSA, this has not necessarily restored the situation, though it has temporarily stabilised matters, particularly the financial situation at the mine.

Some legislators including Bonnington South law maker, Ndaba Gaolathe have called for BCL to look at its business model and attempt to divert into a profitable entity that can sustain itself in the long run.

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Boko’s rivals plan new party

15th August 2022

Following their loss to the Duma Boko-led lobby in the Botswana National Front (BNF)’s national congress last month, some members of the party are reportedly considering forming a new political party.

According to members, the new party will be formed after they receive a tip-off that the BNF will do all it can to ensure that the aggrieved members do not participate in the 2024 national elections. This will reportedly done through a carefully orchestrated primary elections elimination campaign. 

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13 AUGUST 2022 Publication

12th August 2022

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DIS blasted for cruelty – UN report

26th July 2022
DIS BOSS: Magosi

Botswana has made improvements on preventing and ending arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but significant challenges remain in further developing and implementing a legal framework, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said at the end of a visit recently.

Head of the delegation, Elina Steinerte, appreciated the transparency of Botswana for opening her doors to them. Having had full and unimpeded access and visited 19 places of deprivation of liberty and confidentiality interviewing over 100 persons deprived of their liberty.

She mentioned “We commend Botswana for its openness in inviting the Working Group to conduct this visit which is the first visit of the Working Group to the Southern African region in over a decade. This is a further extension of the commitment to uphold international human rights obligations undertaken by Botswana through its ratification of international human rights treaties.”

Another good act Botswana has been praised for is the remission of sentences. Steinerte echoed that the Prisons Act grants remission of one third of the sentence to anyone who has been imprisoned for more than one month unless the person has been sentenced to life imprisonment or detained at the President’s Pleasure or if the remission would result in the discharge of any prisoner before serving a term of imprisonment of one month.

On the other side; The Group received testimonies about the police using excessive force, including beatings, electrocution, and suffocation of suspects to extract confessions. Of which when the suspects raised the matter with the magistrates, medical examinations would be ordered but often not carried out and the consideration of cases would proceed.

“The Group recall that any such treatment may amount to torture and ill-treatment absolutely prohibited in international law and also lead to arbitrary detention. Judicial authorities must ensure that the Government has met its obligation of demonstrating that confessions were given without coercion, including through any direct or indirect physical or undue psychological pressure. Judges should consider inadmissible any statement obtained through torture or ill-treatment and should order prompt and effective investigations into such allegations,” said Steinerte.

One of the group’s main concern was the DIS held suspects for over 48 hours for interviews. Established under the Intelligence and Security Service Act, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has powers to arrest with or without a warrant.

The group said the “DIS usually requests individuals to come in for an interview and has no powers to detain anyone beyond 48 hours; any overnight detention would take place in regular police stations.”

The Group was able to visit the DIS facilities in Sebele and received numerous testimonies from persons who have been taken there for interviewing, making it evident that individuals can be detained in the facility even if the detention does not last more than few hours.

Moreover, while arrest without a warrant is permissible only when there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, the evidence received indicates that arrests without a warrant are a rule rather than an exception, in contravention to article 9 of the Covenant.

Even short periods of detention constitute deprivation of liberty when a person is not free to leave at will and in all those instances when safeguards against arbitrary detention are violated, also such short periods may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

The group also learned of instances when persons were taken to DIS for interviewing without being given the possibility to notify their next of kin and that while individuals are allowed to consult their lawyers prior to being interviewed, lawyers are not allowed to be present during the interviews.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention mentioned they will continue engaging in the constructive dialogue with the Government of Botswana over the following months while they determine their final conclusions in relation to the country visit.

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