Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) and Botswana Labour Migrants Association (BoLAMA) this week applauded De Beers Group for heeding a call made to the mining sector and responded with a sizeable contribution of 20 million towards the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
The unions also called on other mining companies to heed the call and extend a helping hand by contributing to the relief fund that was set to assist mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus as it is commonly known.
On the 24th March 2020, BoLAMA issued a communique calling on the private sector to support the government of Botswanaâ€™s response efforts to combat Covid-19. The call specifically targeted the mining industry and subsequently called on the private sector for donations to the relief fund which was established on the 26th March 2020.
This week on the 6th April 2020, De Beers Group made an announcement on several of its social media platforms, of a $ 2, 500, 000 donation made across Botswana and Namibia as relief support towards the public health emergency. The amount directed to Botswana was $ 1,700,00 million of which BWP 10 million injected into the Covid-19 Relief Fund and another BWP 10 million slated for logistics, supply and community support.
BMWU and BoLAMA consider this gesture to be indicative of Anglo American/ De Beers Group commitment to responsible mining in line with its Corona-Virus Response Planning Community Guidance of 24th March 2020, by putting communities first.
Anglo America CEO, Mark Cutifani early this year while officiating at Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town said this is a deviation from supply- side CSR, which is often linked with managing reputation and financial benefits without considering impact of interventions.
â€œWe believe this is a show of commitment by De Beers, of its preparedness to deal with the social and economic after- effects of the pandemic on its direct employees and contractors during and post the pandemic. We are confident that Anglo American/ De Beers possess all the experience and technical know- how in dealing with public health emergencies as evidenced by their intervention in 2014 during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone,â€ he said.
Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) Secretary General, Tebogo Makhale said, â€œIt is a milestone gesture that sets a benchmark of visionary and compassionate leadership that should be emulated and supported by the entire mining industry. It is a commendable step in the right direction towards an effort to save the entire humanity as well as workers of Botswanaâ€.
Botswana Labour Migrants Association (BoLAMA) Executive Secretary, Kitso Phiri stated that private- public partnerships are needed for a strategic and coordinated response to COVID- 19. Phiri said mining as the economic bedrock of the country should play an even bigger role in the fight against the pandemic.
â€œWhat De Beers has done is commendable; they heeded not only the local call from BoLAMA but also the international call by WHO and the ILO to act responsibly amidst the pandemic. We await advice from the sector on what social protection measures they have put in place to mitigate income insecurities and catastrophic household costs of ex-employees and their families. This response is going to require significant financial support from all sectors and we should begin to think around strategies for domestic mobilization of resources to stand a chance of defeating this monster,â€ said Phiri.
The two unions also called on all other mining companies and allied industries to follow the example set by De Beers and also called on the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) to give an industry position on social protection strategies for employees impacted by COVID-19 and how they intend to work with government in realizing them.
They also called on the private sector to have a vision beyond their short-term financial interests, by realigning and contributing 50% of their unused CSR budget towards the COVID-19 response as well as urge the government to consider a enacting a law that makes CSR mandatory for all companies.
Masisi pits Balopi against Magang
A fascinating battle for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General position and perhaps the succession plan is looming on the horizon as the incumbent Mpho Balopi is set to face Lesang Magang in an intriguing duel. The position of Secretary General has attracted the interest of many democrats, but an interesting battle lies between the two.
The reason is plain and simple; the fallout between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Balopi and the former’s reported affection for Magang. The BDP elective congress has been postponed to next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and sources within the party tell this publication that Masisi is endorsing Magang albeit cautions. According to informants, the President wants someone fresh and who has deep understanding of the party and Magang’s hyped 30 years of serving the BDP fits that description.
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Magosi, Gen Masire war over State secrets
Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) boss Brigadier Peter Magosi is reportedly entangled in yet another feud with one of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s inner circle associates, Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire, for being an ‘enemy’ of State, WeekendPost is reliably informed.
Masisi’s inner-group is said to be riddled by factions and one member, Peter Magosi is described as dead-man walking and unwanted. Reports coming from the State house say that Masisi is in a dilemma as his trusted lieutenants are in an intensive cold war and as such that provides him with contradicting information which might see him firing blanks throughout his mandate. At the heart of the matter is a silent fallout between Magosi and former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Commander Lt General Tebogo Masire.
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BDP puts burden on Khama in P100 billion corruption loot
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi has hailed the South African independent political analyst Sandile Swana for piling the burden on former President Lt Gen Ian Khama to prove his innocence in the ongoing 100 billion corruption loot.
This comes after a close Khama ally and South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe has been fingered as a co-signatory to at least two bank accounts holding some of the more than P100 billion allegedly stolen from the Botswana government to finance “terrorism.”