Monday, June 14, 2021

BCL liquidation burden on the fiscus – MP Keorapetse

Member of Parliament (MP) for Selibe Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse is perturbed by the ongoing BCL mine liquidation. He claims the liquidator has a flagrant disregard for the laws of Botswana. And is in violation of the Mine Quarries Works and Machinery Act and a raft of other laws. Dithapelo Keorapetse told Parliament that there were a number of expatriates working at the mine with questionable qualifications and a further two expatriates who work at BCL without work permits. He further revealed that the two expatriates have been in Cape Town since lockdown which means their services are not important.

“Why still keep them if they work remotely and at very high cost, government should investigate procurement of services at BCL. Due processes are not followed,” said Keorapetse. He added that as an engineer who has worked in a mine, the Minister knows the implications of running a mine operation, even under Care and Maintenance, without a 6.1 appointee.

“There is a 63-year-old expatriate who is working without a contract of employment and a work permit. He is earning big monies and the govt is doing nothing about it. There is nothing compelling about this guy to expose him to risks, he is of advance age,” said Keorapetse. He also stated that there has never been strict adherence to Labour laws by BCL liquidators for workers on Care and Maintenance. He said they have no job security, many of them have been fired adding that they have lost their previous benefits including allowances and only get slave salaries.

Keorapetse stated that they only work because they have no alternatives and that they work in unsafe working environment. “Closing BCL was a monumental mistake. The reasons provided then and now are still inadequate and consequently unacceptable,” he said. The legislator stated that BCL liquidation has become a burden on the fiscus, adding that the people of Selebi-Phikwe and Batswana need to know when the mine will reopen. He wondered why the mine is still closed when nickel sells for about US$ 7 per/pound while copper fetches around US$3 per/pound.

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