NEC members accused of corruption and maladministration
Register of Societies entangled in the wars for favouritism
Dissidents de-campaigned and expelled from the union
Concerned members wants the NEC removed from office
At least 15 union members serving in various structures have been either suspended or expelled from the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) as a bitter war involving the leadership and dissenting members over accusations of corruption, maladministration and violation of the constitution ensues.
The casualties to the dissidents come on the back of the failed urgent application to interdict the leadership that was elected at last year’s congress from holding office.
According to Bophuthu Goshetwang, one of the leading figures in a court application, the leadership of Mine Workers Unions has been disregarding the union’s constitution and failed to account for the finances of the union.
Internal bickering in the union has lingered since 2008, but a resolution for the parties to find a common ground has not been found. Prior to the court action the concerned members of the union wrote to the Registrar of Trade Unions seeking to interdict the new leadership from being registered but failed as well.
The failed application had sought the court to suspend registration of the new leadership and for their recognition to be held in abeyance pending review proceedings on the validity of their registration. They also wanted Fincraft (Pty) Ltd, interdicted from selling shares owned by the union pending finalisation of investigations into the conduct of some in the union leadership.
The applicants further wanted the court also to determine whether the instructions issued by Jack Tlhagale, the union’s president to sell the shares was in accordance with the Resolution the Delegate Congress held on the 26th September 2015.
With dissidents accusing the leadership for maladministration, they also wanted the court to interdict them from assuming office as members of the NEC pending investigations into their eligibility or fitness to hold office and disciplinary action against them for conduct that brings harm to the union.
The applicants argued that the instruction by the leadership to Fincraft (Pty) Ltd to sell shares of the union without necessary mandate thereto had financial exposure of P2.3 million affecting the net value of the Union.
The applicants also accused the union leadership of manipulating minutes of the Delegate’s Congress purporting to be a true reflection of what transpired, yet the contents are inaccurate and not subject to the normal process of approval enunciated in the Constitution of the union.
The court bid however failed after being dismissed on grounds that it was not urgent. The matter will drag on going forward.
Meanwhile eight members have been suspended and seven expelled from the union. Goshetwang was expelled in absentia, after the union failed to send a request to BCL mine for him to be excused from work to appear at the Disciplinary Committee.
Goshetwang told this publication that it was a ploy to get him removed by hook or crook. The DC accused Goshetwang of blatantly disregarding the union internal dispute resolution mechanism when he and others launched an application before court that reportedly led to the union losing out on a major investment at Mmegi Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, resulting in reduction of union shares from 28 percent to 8 percent.
“Anyone who voices his concern about the affairs of the the unions is punished or de-campaigned,” said Goshetwang, who also stated that Tlhagele has now assumed total control of the union and rule by iron fist.
“The union leadership over the pass years have been failing to submit annual returns to the Registrar of Trade Unions, and auditors are being told what do.”
Tlhagele, who is appealing the expulsion from the union has also been shown the door from his job at BCL. Sources close to the developments indicate that the union leadership have convened with BCL management to ensure that he loses his job.
Mbiginyane Ramokate, who Goshetwang describes as member of Tlhagale cohort, wrote to Goshetwang in June informing him that his expulsion appeal was not concluded by the General Council (GC) because members raised issues which required further particulars to be provided to determine his fate.
The GC is expected to be held again next month where Goshetwang’s fate and others who have been suspended and expelled will be decided.
Goshetwang also point a finger of blame at the Registrar of Trade Unions for failing to invoke his powers by launching an investigation into the affairs of BMWU despite compelling evidence presented before his office.
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.