Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology & Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi last week told parliament that Majwe-mining’s contract termination Debswana Diamond Company was a step towards achieving Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEE).
Debswana, a 50-50 joint-venture between Government of Botswana and De Beers announced termination the multi-billion pula Majwe Mining Cut 9 contract with effective from the 4th January 2021. By the time of termination, the contract had run for 18 months since April 2019 and the initial contract duration was nine years being from 2019-2027 worth P15.7 billion.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration has previously disclosed that the government is formulating a law on citizen economic empowerment to support the existing Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEE) policy. The President last year told parliament that when parliament convenes later this year (August sitting), the executive arm of the government will unveil the proposed law to be approved by parliament.
Masisi conceded that the country’s economy was not in the hands of indigenous citizens and promised sweeping changes if his party is returned to power. When responding to 2021/2022 Budget speech, Minister Lefoko assured the legislature that no jobs will be lost as the projects will be done by the locals.
“It does not make sense to take P3.5 billion to other countries. Those funds should be circulating in our economy right here in Botswana and create more jobs for Batswana,” he told the 12th parliament of Botswana. “Those machines belong to Debswana, everything belongs to the mine. Batswana who are qualified, will continue using those machines here. No Motswana deserves to lose a job like that.”
Lefoko said they will evoke section 12 of Mines and Minerals Act to ensure that everything is done in Botswana and also ensuing that they will implement them as long as they are safe, efficient and also affordable.
Debswana Diamond Company Group Head of Corporate Affairs, Rachel Mothibatsela said in a media statement that in accordance with the “termination for convenience” requirements of the contract, a 90-day notice period shall run from the date of termination.
She assured safety of workers throughout the transition period and beyond. “Debswana and Majwe Mining will work together to ensure a smooth and efficient transition. Debswana is committed to ensuring that the mining operations are not adversely impacted by this transition,” said Mothibatsela.
She further indicated that the Cut 9 operation still requires labour in its execution and added that Debswana will manage and operate the Cut 9 project with some of the key services and resources, such as labour, being provided by contractors and service providers to Jwaneng Mine.
Mothibatsela said that the Cut 9 operation will transition to an owner-mining operation, with some of the key services and resources, such as labour, being provided by contractors or service providers to Jwaneng Mine. She said in this regard, Debswana remains committed to its Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy (CEEP).
Majwe is a joint venture between Australian Mining company- Thiess (70 per cent) and long-term local partner Bothakga Burrow Botswana (30 per cent)- which was expected to provide full scope mining services over nine years, including drill and on-bench services, mine planning, equipment maintenance, load and haul, and mining operations.
This week’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting held at State House chaired by Party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, turned into a ‘boardroom brawl’ with Masisi expressing concerns and accusing central committee members of not adequately shielding him from opposition missiles.
The meeting which was held on Monday this week was to deliberate on a number of agenda items but the President took the moment to tongue lash his inner circle to stop silly PR blunders that are causing more harm than good. The reprimand was mostly directed to party Secretary General Mpho Balopi as well as Chairman of Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
It took the intervention of the Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi to arrest a dispute between the warring Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), by instructing the former to hand over the unfinished P100 billion docket to the latter.
But the PSP’s efforts are not enough, the two institutions are back in the boxing ring again following a letter from the DPP inviting the DCEC back into a case they long declared as “hogwash”. A savingram dated 18th January 2021 from the DPP to the DCEC is calling on the DCEC to assist with further evidence in the P100 billion case, but the DCEC which has never hidden its indifference posits that the move by the DPP can be summed up by the expressions: ‘opening healing wounds’.
A fed-up Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo has come out guns blazing over an order from the Director of the Directorate of Public
Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi instructing the DCEC, to solicit a statement from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and ruling party Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule, regarding the role he played in the issuance of Whelheminah Maswabi’s intelligence operations passport.