Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Debswana management face prosecution over miner’s death

The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has been furnished with an inquiry report that was commissioned by the Department of Mines at the Debswana Jwaneng Mine after the 2012 fatal accident that led to the death of Motshwari Rseiteo.  

The report has been handed over for possible prosecution after it was revealed that there was lot of negligence on the part of the Debswana senior management which led to contravention of Mines, Quarry, Works and Machinery Regulations.

Responding to questions from The Telegraph, Director of Mines, Gabotshwarege Tshekiso said, “In the case of a fatal accident, the Mines, Quarry, Works and Machinery Act require that an inquiry into the cause of the accident be conducted.┬á Based on the findings of the inquiry the recommendations are made to prevent an accident of similar nature in the future. Any further action is decided by the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).”

Gabotshwarege said the report of the accident has been submitted to the DPP for further consideration.

Debswana has also revealed to this publication that disciplinary action was taken against some members of staff who were suspended after the accident. Responding to The Telegraph, Debswana Group Public & Corporate Affairs Manager Esther Kanaimba-Senai said there were disciplinary hearings that were held to afford the employees to show cause why action should not be taken against them.

“Of these employees, one was returned to work after the investigations and hearings were completed and remains in our employ. The other three were disciplined for specific instances of failure to execute their responsibilities to the requisite standard. One of them was given a final written warning and returned to work. He has since resigned from our employ. The other was dismissed in absentia (as he declined to avail himself for hearings). Another employee has since been disciplined and was also given a final written warning,” she said.

Senai said while the report raised a few non- conformances with the Act, these have not warranted any criminal action.

She added that since the death of Raseiteo, the mine has been able to employ devices to create a safer environment.  She said the mine has gone to great expense to increase the number and type of devices employed in the slope stability programmes.

On allegations that they have not compensated Raseiteo family sufficiently, Senai said the late Raseiteo’s children still reside in the Jwaneng Mine house in which they lived with their father.

“They are still enrolled in Acacia Primary School. They also continue to get subsistence allowances from the Debswana Pension Fund on a monthly basis to cater for their living expenses. However, following the agreement that was reached in late December 2013, the family advised that they had received legal advice, and were now ready to accept the compensation unconditionally and were satisfied therewith. They proceeded to sign the release forms for disbursement of compensation.”

It is not yet clear whether DPP has already preferred charges against those who were found liable for the death of Raseiteo.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper