Shanghai Fengyue Glass Co has made startling claims, suggesting a conspiracy between some Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) board members, politicians and regional glass manufacturing cartels to kill the Botswana glass manufacturing plant.
This comes at a time when construction at the glass manufacturing plant has come to a complete stop as BDC will not disburse further funding.
In an open letter to the government and people of Botswana, the Chinese company at the centre of the Palapye glass manufacturing plant controversy states: “the project has been delayed without proper reasons, due to political struggles and infighting in the BDC and we suspect interference from our glass manufacturing industry competitors, through local connections in order to protect the glass manufacturing monopoly, finally bringing the project to a complete halt”.
Reports of rival glass manufacturing cartels first surfaced in 2007 during a BDC special board meeting where management briefed the board about the threat from the glass manufacturing cartels.
According to the report of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee of Inquiry, “one of the board members expressed reservations on the use of terms such as cartels, which was used to describe the glass industry by the BDC management”.
“ The director said the word was more of passing a negative judgment on other companies, which would be viewed by other people as offensive.”
By “infighting at BDC”, Shanghai Fengyue Glass Co is apparently referring to the running battle between the BDC board, on the one hand, and management backed by Finance and Development planning Minister, Kenneth Matambo, on the other hand. The BDC management, which claimed that the board was frustrating the project, was fighting in the corner of Shanghai Fengyue Glass Co and enlisted the support of Minister Matambo.
In their open letter, Shanghai Fengyue states that “the project has been delayed due to the failure of the BDC to cooperate and to support the project as partners, and the completion of the project has been badly affected by delays caused by BDC. The project is now being delayed by a further year again due to the delay in providing the necessary and agreed funding. We, unfortunately, have been left with no choice but to expose the truth in order to protect ourselves, our reputation and our shareholders’ interests.