Some authorities are saying that there is a danger that the indiscriminate cutting of trees by Ipelegeng workers may have a negative effect on the environment in the long term.
The observation was made on Thursday by participants at a meeting in Selibe Phikwe between government departments and Ward Development Committees to review Ipelegeng projects.
One of the participants, Etlhomilwe Raditshego, suggested that those in charge of the programme should consider introducing the planting of trees, especially in schools and to also provide protective clothing to those on duty.
Ipelegeng coordinator in the area, Lekgotla Sebifelo, said the programme has benefited over 14 thousand people, 12 thousand of them being the youth.
He said that Government still does not provide protective clothing for Ipelegeng workers despite reports of accidents and injuries taking place during their working hours.
But the Minister of Local Government, Peter Siele, told parliament this week that Ipelegeng beneficiaries are not provided with protective clothing because they are engaged on a rotational basis.
He said the employees are only given safety clothing on a selective basis. Siele added that the government is still studying the review of Ipelegeng programme with a possibility of recommending protective clothing to workers.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who is also the Member of Parliament for Tlokweng, Olebile Gaborone, announced that the total number of injuries accrued by Ipelegeng employees stood at 18.
He conceded that his ministry had received reports of injuries and accidents to Ipelegeng beneficiaries.
“A total of 18 assorted injuries were reported, 3 employees have been compensated while the other employees are in hospitals,” confirmed Gaborone.
The Minister was responding to a question asked by the Francistown South MP Winter Mmolotsi who wanted to know if there had been reports of injuries and accidents. Mmolotsi further asked why Ipelegeng employees are not provided with protective clothing.
Gaborone in his answer said the Ipelegeng beneficiaries are not provided with protective clothing because they are engaged on rotational basis, an answer which raised some murmurings among the Members of Parliament who wondered if the given answer means that Ipelegeng employees are not liable for injuries.
“On selective basis the beneficiaries are provided with safety clothing,” added Gaborone.
Rammidi, the MP for Kanye, said that that it would be very costly if the Ipelegeng employees work on 3 months basis.
“It is a very short term, the Ministry should look deep in the workers law to try and put safety for them,” said Rammidi.
Gaborone further explained that he is aware of the conditions of service of the Ipelegeng beneficiaries and they had been taken into consideration.
“My Ministry is still studying the recommendations of the review of the programme before submission to cabinet for decision,” said Gaborone.