A growing number of former BCL mine employees is said to be now enrolled under the government social programme ÔÇô Ipelegeng.
An intensive hard labour programme that involves the cutting down of trees, sweeping of roads pavements among others, Ipelegeng is designed to cushion the economic hardships of the ordinary Batswana who are experiencing the worst of their life.
“Because of their able bodied character some of BCL employees were absorbed into the Ipelegeng following the closure of the mine to cushion them from the economic hardships”, says Minister responsible for Local Government and Rural Development Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.
Moitoi was speaking in Parliament on Wednesday when answering a supplementary question from Ramotswa Member of Parliament Samuel Rantuana. Rantuana was standing for Selebi-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse currently on official duties outside the country.
It is said that following the closure of the mine the Selebi-Phikwe Town Council deplored 15 social welfare officers in different social and Community Development stations within the township to deal with the increasing requests.
Moitoi told Parliament that since October 2016 a total of 437 people approached Selebi-Phikwe Town Council seeking welfare services. Parliament was further told that 48 of those who sought social services were rejected as they did not meet the eligibility criteria and most were referred to other Government programmes including non-rotational programmes.
Selebi-Phikwe mining town came to a standstill 2016 October as the BCL copper and nickel mine came to an abrupt shutdown closing operations indefinitely.
Selibe Phikwe Mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa recently told a full council meeting that the closure has led to an increase in destitution in the former copper mining town.
“The most prominent assistance asked for is school uniform for school going children, transport fare as well as food baskets. However it is unfortunate that in most cases these clients who come to seek registration as destitute persons are mostly able bodied people who are unwilling to engage under Ipelegeng,” he said.
Molosiwa said on the other hand it has surfaced that some individuals who are registered permanent and temporary destitute persons are also engaged in Ipelegeng at the expense of those who are neither getting monthly rations nor employed. He said this act is tantamount to double dipping (benefitting from more than one welfare service at the same time). He said it has also been noted that some beneficiaries of Poverty Eradication programme engaged in Ipelegeng at the expense of those not benefiting from any welfare service.