BY CALISTUS BOSALETSWE
The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) has denied the shutdown of its Francistown abattoir plant has a bearing on elements of criminality.
Hundreds of employees were left in a limbo at the Francistown BMC deport after the Commission took a decision to shut down the plant for three years.
The Commission and the government are pinning their hopes on the private sector to express interest in the running of the abattoir after closure.
The shutdown to date affected the 240 employees some of whom have been absorbed at different plants in Maun and Lobatse abattoirs while it devises means to part ways with the remaining 122 employees as their positions became redundant.
Of the 122 employees facing the axe only 7 employees will be left to man-up the abattoir in Francistown.
The BMC move to close the Francistown abattoir comes after it engaged the government as part of the shareholder agreement about the state of the abattoir which was draining the entity and the government.
The government acceded to the BMC’s request after it became evident that there were no immediate signs of recovery from the loss making entity having gobbled millions in government cash injections to keep it afloat.
In an interview with The Sunday Standard, BMC Spokesperson, Brian Dioka, confirmed that indeed the Commission has taken a decision to temporarily put the plant under care and maintenance for three years.
Dioka disputed that the plant was closed as result of criminality which stripped the plant of some machinery.
Dioka pointed out that the move to shut down the plant was done through consultation with the government. He said the decision was meant to minimise costs as the plant was not profitable.
“The plant was unable to meet the expected output which was influenced by farmers’ failure to bring their cattle to the plant. This has been going on for years and this resulted in the plant operating at a loss and bleeding the commission, “he added.
Dioka said the vandalism that was seen took place only at the company properties. He said the vandalism could have been influenced by the absence of tenants since some of the people have already vacated the houses belonging to the commission.
He said the commission has been meeting with the government to devise a logical way to part ways with the remaining 122 employees while the other 7 employees will be hired to take care of the plant under temporary care and maintenance basis.
He said among the 240 employees at the Francistown abattoir some were absorbed at Maun and Lobatse abattoirs while the future of 122 employees at Francistown is being decided. Dioka also said they are pinning their hopes on the private sector to express interest in using the abattoir.