It is more than eight years since both the Debswana and the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) locked horns over a new device known as “scannex”, which is expected to be introduced in mines to screen employees in order to curb diamonds theft.
However, no agreement has been reached between the two warring parties.
Debswana has already applied for a licence while the union says the director of the Radiation Protection Unit has told them that Debtswana has not yet applied for the license.
Speaking to Sunday Standard this week, the president of BMWU, Jack Tlhagale, said his union will intensify its campaigns sometime in January next year against the introduction of this scanning machine that is expected to be introduced by Debswana.
He said that, as the union, they object to the use of the device because it is a health risk to the employees.
“It has been proven that once one is exposed to such radiation it can cause cancer, which as the union we strongly condemn,” he said.
He pointed out that “we will not even allow Debswana to introduce such a deadly device to be used in the mines as it has being proven to be a health risk internationally”.
“Both the government and the company should care about the health of employees not the other way round,” said Tlhagale.
He added that one thing that disturbs them most is the fact that they have been informed that Debswana is secretly trying to acquire radiation license in order for them to introduce the machine.
He further said if it happened that Debswana is awarded the license, the union will then seek advice that will map the way forward.
Tlhagale appealed to members of the public to support them during their campaigns that will resume sometime in January next year.
However, the branch secretary of the union in Orapa, Molebatse Mukoni, said a few months ago the union met the director of radiation department to discuss about radiation issues as well as the possibility of Debswana being granted a license.
“It was a very informative meeting in which we learnt about the radiation,” he said, adding that the radiation director told the union during the meeting that Debswana had not yet applied for the license as is being said.
Meanwhile the Debswana Communications and Public Relations Manager, Esther Kanaimba-Senai said “the company had submitted an application for a lincence to the regulator to introduce Scannex”.
She added that the purpose of the scannex is to protect diamonds.
She further said the company respects the integrality and privacy of employees who currently have to endure inhumane physical searchers.
She concluded that her company is still waiting for the response from the regulator whether they will grant the licence or not.