Saturday, October 16, 2021

No answer in sight for Boteti dwellers who paved way for Debswana’s Orapa mine

For many social and economic commentators, the fact that Boteti-an area that is home to Botswana’s most precious resources, diamonds-has largely remained undeveloped and impoverished is a shameful blight on Botswana’s illuminating reputation as a poster child of ‘diamonds for development.’

Boteti East Member of Parliament, Setlhomo Lelatisitswe believes diamond mining has left the people of Boteti impoverished as they have nothing to show for it.

During the just ended session of parliament, Lelatisitswe continued with his push to have the issue resolved. He however seems to have temporarily hit a brick-wall as the ministry responsible says it is still digging more information over his concerns.

“Every time the question is poised for an answer the Minister calls for a later date citing adequate more information he has to gather over the debate,” Lelatisitswe said in an interview Friday.

He is insist the cattle-posts that were relocated especially for the poor “minority” Basarwa tribe to pave groundwork for the operations of Letlhakane DK1 and Orapa mines from their ancestral rich lands were without “due care and attention.”

“What I wanted to hint about is the mistake the Government alongside De-beers company committed to dump them at borehole L009 (2125B301754) without any land rights for the area while the joint venture company Debswana wallow in wealth accrued from the communities rich ancestral lands,” he added.

Currently according to the youthful legislator the communities of the predominantly vulnerable minority Basarwa are chased away by the “majority” Tswana tribes’ individuals claiming rights to the land.

“Their children live in abject poverty without going to school as the Debswana accumulate wealth. I wanted to show the Government this anomaly through a question in Parliament,” Lelatisitswe said.

The axed Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Sadique Kebonang and the incumbent Eric Molale could not offer the answer instantly in the just ended Parliament session requesting “a later date as they still have to dig more information over the issue.”

A conventional open pit mine, Orapa mine was discovered 1967 to become fully operational 1971 while Letlhakane will be opened 1975 in the Boteti area as the founder first President of Botswana Seretse Khama called for equal share of the natural resources countrywide for infrastructure developments despite the place of origin.

But already there are murmurs of disapproval as mineral rich areas appear abandoned, infrastructure developments tending skewed to certain areas especially the towns without any natural resource generation.

Boteti region, according to the area MP is no exception with lack of infrastructure developments but inundated with diamond mineral resources sparsely decorating some areas countrywide with eye-catching state of art facilities.

Lelatisitswe is of the view that Debswana took advantage of the socio-economic status of Basarwa living in Letlhakane and Orapa mines to dump them in the area of the company’s choice.

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