Without mention of names, the Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) has come out to describe the proposed pay-out of former cabinet minister, Boyce Sebetela for his Morupule land as “unjustifiable”.
In its first public statement to clear the air with regards to a dispute in which Sebetela along five other farmers’ demands millions of Pula as compensation for their land in the Morupule area, MCM says the compensation rates used were significantly higher than the rates used regularly in the market.
MCM is worried that should the government accede to proposal by the Ngwato Land Board to pay Sebetela over P26 million, and six other farmers a combined P10 million, this could results in a bad compensation precedent set.
Chief Communications Officer at MCM, Boineelo Seitshiro said in a statement that some of the assessments have significant arithmetic errors, which resulted in an increase of the final figures.
“By way of example one of the farmer’s compensation amount was, without any justifiable basis adjusted upwards from BWP 8,414,699* to BWP 26,230,763.45”, reads part of the statement signed off by Seitshiro.
MCM is said to have objected to the revision of the assessments on a number of grounds, including a conflict of interest by one of the officers who was involved in the preparation of the revised assessment.
The rejection by MCM of the new revised compensation fees have resulted in a dispute between the farmers and the NLB on one hand and the coal mining company on the other.
“Attempts to resolve the dispute on compensation by referral to arbitration have been futile as both the farmers and the NLB rejected proposals for same”, Seitshiro said.
Sunday Standard has been informed that MCM is believed to be considering a compulsory acquisition of the land as the only remaining solution which would permit the commencement of the planned open cast coal mine in time.
MCM holds a mining licence over tribal land in Botswana, falling within the jurisdiction of the Ngwato Land Board where it intends to develop a new open cast mine which will supply an upcoming extension of Morupule B power station with coal.