Wednesday, October 4, 2023

UDC in secret deal with Bridgette Motsepe/Khama

The opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has asked Bridgette Motsepe Radebe for R100 million, 200 000 t-shirts, branded vehicles and top South African musicians for their 2019 elections campaign, the Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.

UDC spokesperson and Botswana National Front (BNF) Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa who indicated that he was representing the UDC President Duma Boko on 2nd May 2019 met Bridgette Motsepe Radebe’s sidekick Malcolm X, National Union of Mineworkers President Joseph Montisetse and one Mthoko Nxumalo at Klerksdorp Mike’s kitchen where the request was relayed.

Initially, Mohwasa tried to deny the meeting, but when Sunday Standard shared the details they had, he asked for a written questionnaire.

In his written response, Mohwasa tried to play down the meeting saying: “It would not be correct to say we asked for that money from Bridgette Motsepe. Yes I met my friend Joseph Montisetse, who I have known for a number of years in Klerksdorp. He was with his friends and we talked about the Botswana political landscape in general. I was in town for a wedding that was taking place the next day. He lives in Orkney, just outside Klerksdorp. So naturally I had to check on him and he suggested that we have dinner at Mike’s Kitchen. He was with two other people, one of whom I later learned was Malcolm X. In our conversation we talked about the challenges faced by the opposition in the country. I have to say that the leadership of the UDC has an obligation to talk to potential sponsors and I guess the same goes for any party. I and others in the party have and continue to talk to many people both within and outside the country. We however carry out due diligence on all who promise to assist. We do not take money from anyone and as far as I know we are not expecting any money from Bridgette Motsepe. We haven’t even made any follow up meeting therefore to suggest that we are expecting branded vehicles and top South African artists is incorrect. In fact that talk of artists and t shirts was when we were talking about the manifesto launch. So since there were no foreign artist in Maun and 200 000 t-shirts, I take it that you have been answered. So we did not get any help and are not expecting help from Bridgette Motsepe. We are not even pursuing her.

Sunday Standard investigations have further revealed that following their meeting with Mohwasa, Malcolm X and Montisetse were to meet Khama and Motsepe Radebe two weeks later at the NAC VIP Lounge, Lansaria Airport where they were to discuss among other things the new party’s coalition with the UDC and their funding. Montisetse however could not attend the meeting and instead sent an apology explaining that he had been robbed at Sunnyside, Pretoria the previous night.

It is understood that the funding for Khama and the UDC is in exchange for lucrative tourism deals in Botswana for Malcolm X and BCL diamond, platinum and uranium licences for Motsepe Radebe.

When BCL was closed under curious circumstances, the loss making copper and nickel miner was on the verge of a major diamond, platinum and uranium strike which could have catapulted the company fortunes beyond that of Debswana.

Among those privy to the BCL potential riches were members of the Khama family. The Sunday Standard can reveal that former President Ian Khama’s nephew tried to sell the BCL Mine diamond licence a few months after government decided to close the copper and Nickel mine.

Sunday Standard investigations have turned up an SMS message from Ian Khama’s nephew (name withheld) to a colleague in the industry asking him for help to find a buyer for the BCL diamond mining licence.

The SMS message is one of the many pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that add to the emerging picture that powerful vested interests with political connections pushed for the closure of BCL to lay their hands on the company’s “substantial diamond deposits” discovery in the CKGR.

BCL had 51% in Maibwe Mining, a joint venture with Botswana Diamonds and Future Minerals which owns the licence for the CKGR diamond mining licence.

In May 2016, a few months before government announced the closure of BCL Mine, Botswana Diamonds released a statement announcing a Large Diameter Drilling (LDD) programme for macro diamond evaluation, to be undertaken by Maibwe Diamonds. Sunday Standard has established that BCL had already paid the MSA Group in South Africa P540 000 as deposit for the supervision of the LDD programme.

This was a follow up on diamond drilling conducted in 2015 on PL 186 which found a number of diamondiferous kimberlites. Work on PL186 identified four diamond bearing kimberlite pipes forming a cluster within close proximity to each other.
The pipes were identified through a series of ground-magnetic surveys at 50m spacing and 800m of diamond core drilling from which 305kg of sampled material returned diamonds.

Botswana Diamonds Plc chairman John Teeling said the company already knows that there are substantial diamond deposits on Prospecting Licence Number 186 and wanted to use the upcoming drilling to establish the grade and quality of the gems. While Botswana Diamond Shareholders and BCL managers were rubbing their hands gleefully in anticipation of a windfall from their diamond lucky strike, government crashed the party and decided to close down the BCL. The then Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security resisted the move to close down BCL and tried to convince Cabinet against the decision.

The then President Lt Gen Ian Khama immediately stepped in and roiled the water with a cabinet reshuffle, appointing Sadique Kebonang to the ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security and moving Mokaila to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The curious cabinet reshuffle threw mining industry watchers into a confused “who farted? Pass the gas game”. While fingers pointed to Kebonang as the party pooper, the former minister told the Sunday Standard that when he was appointed to the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Cabinet had already made a decision to close down the BCL mine and “there was nothing I could do. Kebonang said “BCL was liquidated during the first Cabinet meeting with the decision having almost been made before I became a Minister. The recommendation came from the Cabinet Ministerial Committee among others. The other recommendation came from Paul Smith of MDCB (state-run Minerals Development Company of Botswana).”

Motsepe Radebe further promised to help Venson Moitoi’s son to win business deals in South Africa. This was after Venson-Moitoi told her at a May 19th meeting in Pigalle Bedfordview Restaurant that all tenders and other contracts that her son had won had been revoked and terminated without sound reasons “after the Victoria Falls meeting.”


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