GABORONE – The Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has accused the Office of the President and the Botswana Police of trying to muzzle it by blocking a planned peaceful demonstration in Gaborone.
The BMWU had initially planned to carry out a demonstration as part of the petition that was to be handed to the Vice President this Tuesday. However by the time of going to press on Monday, the two parties were locked at the industrial court in Gaborone where Judge Walia was to rule on the decision by the Police to refuse giving the BMWU a permit to stage a peaceful march.
“Before the Police could issue a permit for the march a complication erupted in the OP. We were told by telephone that the VP will no longer receive the petition in Gaborone but in Selebi Phikwe because according to the Private Secretary to the Vice President an emergency situation had arisen which required his immediate attention in Selebi Phikwe on 5 July 2016, “ BMWU President Jack Tlhagale said Monday.
Tlhagale also said that the sudden change of heart from the OP came as a shock as it was highly unexpected. “We then engaged Mr. Pilane and explained to him that his decision came too late as costly arrangements had already been done on our side so it would be difficult to transfer to Selibe Phikwe especially at short notice”
Tlhagale further stated that following futile attempt to make their request to continue with the march on Tuesday, the union then decided to make an urgent application to the High court.
BCL is currently facing various problems key amongst them cash flow problems which have resulted in government bailing it out. The company’s Selebi Phikwe underground mine recently incurred accidents one of which resulted in the death of four miners. This has resulted in a disgruntlement from the BMWU whose view is that the both the BCL board and minerals minister have failed to resolve the embattled copper mining company.