Over 100 Former BCL employees imprisoned for debts

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Keorapetse engages Legal Clinic to rescue the former employees

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

FRANCISTOWN: Since the closure of BCL mine three years ago 106 Former employees have been sentenced to civil imprisonment due to failure to pay the debts they incurred while still employed.
When the mine shut down indefinitely in 2016, more than 5000 employees were left jobless. Initially when the mine was put under provisional liquidation the government promised to pay former miners salaries for 18 months, but the promise was not fulfilled . Member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse revealed that upon realisation that civil imprisonment is looming for most of the former BCL employees, he engaged Legal Clinic advocate Duma Boko to represent those affected. The Legal Clinic is mandated to represent clients pro bono.
Last year, Member of Parliament for Francistown (MP) South Wynter Mmolotsi’s motion meant to rescue the former miners from debt was rejected. Mmolotsi called on the government to meet the ex-employees half-way by paying back the commercial banks the loans they acquired before the mine was shut down. Keorapetse supported the motion, reasoning that a similar arrangement was made to bail out farmers who owed the National Development bank (NDB)
However, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MP’s argued that the government will be setting a bad precedence. They said BCL mine is not the first company to be liquidated.