Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) held a ground breaking ceremony over the weekend in Palapye village to kickstart the construction of a multi-purpose stadium that will benefit the village and the surrounding areas.
The sports facility is part of MCM’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives under Motheo Expansion legacy. Construction of this stadium is expected to cost over P25 million.
Motheo Expansion legacy is a project established by MCM to develop an open cast mine, a coal washing plant and associated infrastructure. The main aim of the project is to facilitate MCM’s contribution to Botswana’s economic growth and transformation of coal into unlimited sources of energy.
Giving a brief overview of the construction of the multi-purpose stadium, Senior Project Manager at MCM Lefika Moagi said it is their standard as MCM to leave footprints with every expansion project they do.
“Morupule Coal Mine applied for land immediately after approval of the project by the MCM board and management. In partnership with the Central District Council, a site was secured within the mixed-use planning area deemed a strategic site linking the traffic nodes from all corners of Botswana,” he said.
Moagi revealed that that detail engineering drawings for the stadium project were completed in early 2021 and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) permit was approved by the Department of Environmental Affairs in March 2021. He also added that the building permit was issued in April 2021 by Central District Council and in November 2021, the MCM Board of Directors approved the full capital to develop the project.
“A Memorandum of Agreement for the development of these facilities between MCM and CDC was signed towards the end of November 2021,” he said.
Moagi also revealed that MCM appointed Excavation Hire (EH) Construction, a 100 percent citizen owned company to undertake the project. The project will be constructed in phases. The multi-purpose stadium will entail amongst others a football field, netball pitch, grand stands, parking facilities, wall, fencing, access roads and pedestrian walkaways.
According to Moagi, MCM intends to develop other phases with other interested partners in the future or allow other developers who are interested to develop the project for the benefit of the community.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kgotla Autlwetse who was the guest speaker commended MCM for its contribution in the development of Palapye and the Central District at large.
“The 2020 government budget borders on survival owing to two critical factors; Covid- 19 and two subsequent fiscal deficits. It says we must save Botswana, first from the pandemic by a deliberate allocation of the lion’s share of the budget (16 billion) to the Ministry of Health and Wellness with a specific P2 billion committed to the pandemic alone,” he said.
Secondly the Minister said the budget targets impactful infrastructure development projects and by so doing it will bring employment opportunities for the 26 percent of youth who are unemployed. He emphasized that what inspires him is that even if MCM is wholly owned by the government, it has always been self sustainable.
Among other important issues he said the idea to construct a multi-functional facility in Palapye underscores the government’s key employment drive. He urged the residents of Palapye and the neighbouring villages utilize the facility to their benefit.
Meanwhile the General Manager of MCM Edwin Elias said the partnership between MCM and government is a legacy for posterity that reveals the achievement of their national endeavor to contribute to the growth and development of the country. He further said through this partnership, they are creating an enabling environment for youth empowerment and sports development in Botswana.
“The government of Botswana has chosen a path of prosperity and so does MCM. We want to see our coal being transformed into unlimited sources of energy and in turn, our business must enable Botswana to transform from an upper middle-income country to a high-income country,” said Elias.