BY THOBO MOTLHOKA
Member of Parliament (MP) for Boteti East Setlhomo Lelatisitswe has accused Debswana Diamond Company of failing hospitality companies in the sub-District by providing ‘free’ accommodation to companies doing business with the mining giant.
He said Debswana provides accommodation and meals to mostly foreign owned companies in Orapa at the expense of Letlhakane based hotels and guest houses mostly funded through Citizen Entrepreneurial Department Agency (CEDA), National Development Bank (NDB) and commercial banks.
He said by providing accommodation for as little as P30 per night at their 600 room Contractors Camp the mining company is competing unfairly with local hospitality businesses.
The MP sought answers from the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Kitso Mokaila.
Lelatisitswe wanted to know what type of license the facility was operating under, the effect on local businesses and whether Debswana is competing with local businesses.
“Our investigations have discovered that the Contractors Camp is operating with 600 rooms per sharing thus making 1200 beds. Their rates range from P.36 to P56.70 per night,” Mokaila said.
He said the facility was not a hotel but rather a contractors’ camp accommodating employees who could not be given housing by Debswana. He said as such, no license has been issued for the facility by his ministry because of the nature of its operation.
The minister said it was not easy to provide occupancy rate for the facility because it is not licensed and therefore not providing monthly returns. There are 29 licensed tourism facilities within Boteti Sub-District including Letlhakane, with a total of 319 rooms and 686 beds.
Debswana operates three mines around the Boteti area which roughly 5 hours drive away from the capital Gaborone.