North West District Councilors have requested that officials from Maun’s Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) be summoned to the full council sitting, which commenced this week, so as to answer for irregularities on their part, most of which have been discussed at kgotla meetings and many other forums, calling for the betterment of service delivery.
The Councilors decried the lack of seriousness by BMC on carrying out even sensitive issues, like the transportation of live animals, which they feel is, in a way, a little cruel as cattle are kept for a longer time at quarantines, leading to them losing weight or, at times, dying before they could reach buyers.
Most of the trucks which were in the past engaged by the BMC are said to have experienced frequent breakdowns, and thus delaying transportation, something which they feel should be discussed with other community leaders for credible solutions before more damage is done.
Matlapana councilor Tapoloso Mosika said for a long time now, the BMC has been too ignorant and has failed on numerous times to provide necessary feedback to farmers, most of whom having always raised complaints concerning the lack of transparency and continued favouritism of a handful of farmers, particularly those from the Haina Veld at the expense of others.
Mosika said their failure to transport cattle in time is a serious concern, adding that although complaints have been raised and relevant officials contacted on the matter, there seem to be no changes.
“This is why we want them here so that they may explain themselves in a way which we may all be able to understand. We are not impressed by the whole thing and we want them to find other alternatives of sourcing transport instead of relying on same people for the provision of such,” he said.
Responding on the accusations levelled against them, the abattoir’s Public Relations Officer, Seganabeng Selebogo, said it is true that they experienced problems with transport in the past two weeks, which is why they ended up sourcing assistance from private truck owners.
“Most of the cattle are transported from Makalamabedi quarantine to Zimbabwe. Because we were experiencing those problems, our Zimbabwean counterparts brought their own small trucks, which could not carry all the sixty live cattle as there would have been congestion, also taking into consideration the long distance,” Selebogo told the Sunday Standard. “It is also worth noting that soon as we are done with buying these cattle from various farmers, they automatically become the responsibility of the BMC and not the owners, as we continue to feed and maintain them in every way possible. I must say also that we feel very much relieved now that local transport owners have responded to our plea and will soon be of assistance.”
Meanwhile, council chairman, Latlhang Molonda, has told council that BMC continues to source animals from area 2D, which covers Shorobe, Chanoga, Thamalakane, Maun East, and Haina East and West Farms. He said the Maun Plant has already slaughtered 5162 animals between 22nd February, 2013 and 21st June, 2013, which is an improvement from last year’s same period in which only 4239 were killed.
“All the cattle were from Haina Veld farms, most of which weighed 400kg and above. We have also been informed that BMC has failed to deliver the requested number over the last three weeks, mainly because of transport issues. We are very much aware of the challenges they come across pertaining to the issue of transport and we are just hopeful that it will be rectified sooner rather than later, because as it stands now, it poses a serious danger of these animals going wild into the green zone whilst in transit,” said chairman Molonda.