The assets of both BCL and Tati Nickel Mine Company (TNMC) will be sold to pay off creditors and employees’ severance packages and salaries, if no investor comes forward in the next four months.
Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang on Monday broke the devastating news to Tati Nickel Mine Company (TNMC) management that their mine would also be liquidated alongside BCL. Kebonang said that government had tried the best it could to bail out TNMC together with its trouble-prone mother body, BCL but to no avail. A source who attended the meeting said that Kebonang said that government would have to go to the High Court so that the two can be liquidated, as they no longer generate income.
“What is going to happen is that a liquidator will decide a way forward and hopefully investors will then chip in to save the situation,” said the source. “The minister said that in the meantime we can stay at home and listen to the radios for information pertaining to our status, if anything comes up they will call us,” said a source employed by TNMC. He said that employees of the mine have been warned against talking to the media. “We were told that, if any one goes to the media about this matter which they say is an internal issue, an example will be set of that particular person”.
President of Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU), Jack Tlhagale said the Minister and the Vice President (VP), Mokgweetsi Masisi informed the union that a liquidator has been engaged but failed to present documentation. “There is no evidence of such information, we were just addressed,” Tlhagale said.
He said the union blames management and the board for the collapse of BCL. In his view the management swallowed more than they could chew as they failed to manage money well and implemented so many things at once. “Government should also take the blame because they delayed to step in when they had a chance,” Tlhagale said. In addition, government should have monitored the situation before the mine collapsed.Tlhagale said that it is unreasonable for Kebonang to come and stand in front of the workers saying they should keep their ears glued to radio sets. He said that they should at least give them a time frame.
“We want a just contract agreement which will explain the time frame. For example, they should say on this date we will address on radio not say that people should listen to the radio,” he said. All these are clear signs that government does not value its people, he said adding that a transparent government does not do such things. “These people are abandoning their responsibility because they left people stranded with no plan,” Tlhagale said.