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BDP rubbishes UDC proposal on BCL

BDP Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has rejected a proposal tabled by opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to save the beleaguered BCL mine, which is headed for possible closure.

When addressing the media this week, BDP Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane,  dismissed UDC’s efforts as political grandstanding aimed at scoring political points amid a desperate situation.

“They have sought to cash some political brownie points from the problems engulfing BCL mine in Phikwe. The fact of the matter is that it is only Government that can bring relief to BCL,” he said.

“There is absolutely nothing UDC can do to assist BCL. They cannot offer any financial guarantees, tax exemptions, loan guarantees or any form of bailout, which is what the BDP government has been doing every time BCL find itself in distress.”

Two weeks ago, UDC called a press conference, addressed by party Secretary General, Ndaba Gaolathe and president, Duma Boko, during which the former called on government to open avenues of national dialogue for stakeholders in order to save the financially riddled BCL.

Gaolathe remarked that it was clear there is a real danger of BCL closure, which will collapse Selibe Phikwe as well as a chance of precipitating a recession of the entire country’s economy despite the fact that the crisis could be averted.  

“There is need to forge a national dialogue on BCL and mining in general to lay bare the seriousness of the financial and economic challenges faced by the BCL,” he had said.

“We should bring stakeholders together to find robust collective solution and demonstrate that BCL could be an opportunity for the country, not just gloom, if we get it right.”

Ntuane has however expressed that the BCL situation has been occasioned by the plummeting of commodity prices.

“In huge economies like Brazil and Australia, privately owned copper mines have shut down. The same applies in neighbouring Zambia where thousands have lost jobs because of this problem,” he stated.

The former legislator also said the fact that BCL continues to survive, albeit in challenging circumstances is because it is a nationalised operation and government still refuses to abandon the mine.

“This is a compassionate government that has at heart the interests of BCL workers, as well as the town of Selebi Phikwe itself and its surrounding communities. Workers must not be misled by the rhetoric and political opportunism of UDC because that won’t improve their situation,” he said.

Gaolathe had argued, when addressing the media that, BCL’s problems are not entirely because of the commodity prices, as he noted that, incompetent leadership in the board and at management level have the larger share of blame.

Gaolathe said it was wrong for government to have had Akolang Tombale presiding over BCL Board because of his track record at Botswana Meat Commission (BMC). BMC is another financially ruined parastatal.

“Government intervention has been ineffectual because of failure to appoint high impact board members, which in turn led to failure to appoint a high impact CEO and management,” he expressed and added that, “finding the right people is not a difficult task because we can identify them. We know them. We can sit down and agree that these are people who are knowledgeable. They do not have to be UDC or BDP (Botswana Democratic Party). They just need to be high impact people.”

BDP also questioned the P6 billion suggested by the UDC as money required to save the fortunes of BCL. Ntuane said UDC leadership was ‘throwing figures around’ without anything which informed their statement.

Also speaking at the BDP press conference was Deputy Secretary General, Shaw Kgathi who said UDC never thought about the impact the amount they suggested could be used to bail BCL would have on the economy.  

Kgathi said Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila has engaged team of experts with the view of soliciting a well informed analysis of the situation and what ought to be done by government.

Gaolathe had opined that government do not necessarily need to be the one financing the whole P6 billion, as he noted that a proportion of the amount can be through debt.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

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 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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