Selibe Phikwe West Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse has observed that the State of the Nation Address (SONA) offers no hope for the unemployed former BCL Workers and the community of Selebi Phikwe.
Keorapetse observed that President Ian Khama should have acknowledged in his SONA that liquidating BCL was a mistake adding that the impact on the people and the economy is huge.
“The town of Selebi-Phikwe is becoming more and more desolate. There is despair, anguish and sorrow. The future for many is uncertain, for some there is no future at all. The government made a terrible mistake or alternatively that it was ill advised by especially the executives of Mineral Development Company Botswana (MDCB) to liquidate BCL,” said Keorapetse.
Keorapetse argues that the unprecedented and dastardly decision to throw thousands of people into the streets by closing BCL is one of the greatest frauds of the twenty-first century Botswana.
“The decision was selfish, discourteous and devilish. When the time comes, those responsible must be held accountable,” he said.
He condemned Khama for not making any assurances to the people of Selebi Phikwe, he hasnÔÇ║t admitted to the mistake of closing BCL. He doesnÔÇ║t say what he will do with the unemployed former BCL employees.
“People are leaving Selebi Phikwe empty handed with banks and other lenders taking a big share of their small terminal benefits. The pitiable benefits are so depressing that some are committing suicide. By failing to acknowledge the socio-economic impact of the mine closure the president proves further and beyond doubt how insensitive of him and his government are,” said Keorapetse.
The Selebi Phikwe West legislator says Khama claims BCL closure will have no impact on the fundamentals of the economy but fails to acknowledge the enormity of the problem.
“He glosses over the issue and understates the problem. ItÔÇ║s unclear how they intend to create jobs in Selebi Phikwe,” Keorapetse added.
“Khama is ambiguous about revitalizing the economy. For me BCL has to reopen and government has to accelerate diversification of the town’s economy. With two billion pula recapitalization and restructuring including reducing non core activities and good management,BCL is a profitable venture,” said Keorapetse.