Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Residents, Govt smoke peace pipe over radiation facility

A war that erupted between residents of Pilikwe and the Government over the establishment of a radiation facility 10 years ago has finally come to an amicable end.

A new site where the new facility is expected to be erected has already been identified by the residents. The residents have also regarded the resolving of the issue as a remarkable achievement.  

The minister of Infrastructure Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi has confirmed that the standoff between the residents of Pilikwe and Government has finally come to end.

“It is true that the matter has been amicably resolved and both parties are happy with the happy ending”.

“As you may recall this matter is from far back and soon after being appointed the minister, it was one of the thorny issues that I took upon myself and ensured that it must be resolved amicably”.

He stated that he studied the file and found it fit to start the matter afresh through consultation. 

Residents had refuted claims that any consultation had happened as government alleged.

Molefhi stated that both Government and the village representatives came to the table and discussed the matter at length.

He said the residents argued that the village was expanding towards the initial site which was allocated for the facility. This resulted in the government abandoning the initial site and requesting the residents to come up with a suitable facility where a new facility could be erected.

The minister revealed that he was proud to announce that they found a new site which is along the A1 road. He said the gesture by the villagers is very commendable.

He indicated that first they will apply for that piece of land through the Ngwato Land Board and will follow the same international procedure that is required when  a radiation facility is erected.

“Once those requirements are fully met, the ministry will then request the funds from Government to start the construction that is likely to start probably next year if plans can go according to plan”. 

Meanwhile minister Molefhi expressed his disappointment after it emerged that the temporary structure at Pilikwe was broken into in which unknown criminals got away with objects that are radioactive. The items were later discovered in Namibia and the police are busy investigating the matter.   

When contacted for comment Dr Sebusang said it is true that both parties have resolved their differences which is a good development in the right direction.

He said though this matter dates long back, it has been an uphill battle to reach where they are today.

He said his pressure group made up of Pilikwe villagers congratulated minister Molefhi for accepting to start the process of consultation afresh.

He emphasized that government has a fundamental duty to listen to its people on what they want as well as how they feel about certain issues. 

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