- The Liquidator issues ultimatum
- Staff demand that their concerns be addressed prior to vacating houses
- Challenge President Masisi to fulfil promises
FRANCISTOWN: Disgruntled former BCL employees are refusing to vacate mine houses, at the end of the rent free period at the end of January, unless the government addresses their concerns and fulfills the promises made in 2016, when the mine was shut down.
Their resistance to vacate the mine premises is due to a letter written to them by the liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren, in which he reminded former staff that the rent free period will come to an end at the end of January.
In the letter written to the employees occupying the mine houses, the liquidator also states that those willing to lease the houses will be given the option while those who do not will have to vacate the houses. “I will give the former employees first option to remain in the premises and pay rental from February 1st, 2019. Please complete and return the attached form by not later than January 14 indicating what you intend to do after January 30th. For those employees who indicate they wish to remain in the houses a lease will issued to you by 22nd January,” reads part of the letter.
In reaction to the letter former BCL employees wrote a petition to President Mokgweetsi Masisi demanding government introspect and show that they are the caring entity they portray themselves to be internationally and are perceived to be by the international community. The Former employees claim that they will only vacate the houses if their concerns are dealt with or if they receive a positive response from the government.
“In spite of all the concerns mentioned above, the government of Botswana had never made an effort to brief us, as one of the main creditors. When they liquidated the mine they came and told us of the catastrophe that had fallen upon us and made empty promises which we are yet to receive. Now we are being kicked out of the houses so that they can divide and rule us as most of us will be far away from each other to voice our concerns whenever the need arises. We need to be clearly informed if Selebi -Phikwe has been declared not part of Botswana. Ever since the closure of the mine, the former president of Botswana, Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama had never visited Selebi- Phikwe to brief the Ex BCL employees until he left the office (sic). Now the current president, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is also following in the footsteps of his predecessor. They are visiting other areas of the country such as Tobane, Sefophe, and Kanye where they will discuss the issues related to the closure of the mine, leaving us here,” the ex-miners state in the petition addressed to the President.
The ex-employees state that they will not vacate the houses when the promises made by Masisi have not been fulfilled, noting that moving out of the houses is just a tactic to kill their unity. “We were made to believe that our jobs and welfare, were safe and cared for by the government, only to be slapped in our faces with a liquidation in October 2016 without any counselling. We therefore request to be paid our retrenchment packages. Failure to do so we will not vacate these houses,” the Ex-BCL employees emphasized in the petition.
In an interview with the Chairman of the ex-employees group that petitioned the President, Longeyareeo Kombani said that what they need is assurance that the government will fulfill all the promises made when the mine was closed. “Our feeling is that we have been abandoned by the leadership of this country because the current and the former President have never made an effort to come and address us about our situation. We understand that these house are BCL property but we want an assurance that the promises will be fulfilled before moving out,” Kombani said.