President Ian Khama last Friday commended his predecessors, for having prudently utilised diamond revenues to improve the lives of Batswana.
Khama who was officiating at the 30th anniversary celebrations for the Jwaneng Mine said the role that diamonds have played in the lives of the people and the country’s development was a testimony to the fact that diamonds were for a good cause.
The President noted that Debswana’s contribution to the national economy could not be over-emphasised as throughout the years, the company had generated billions of Pula in revenue which led to beneficiation through dividends, royalty and taxes remitted to government.
“Today Botswana boasts of world class physical and social infrastructure such as roads, water supplies, electricity, telecommunications, health facilities, schools and above all developed human capital, thanks to diamond revenues,” he said.
Khama also explained that diamonds from Debswana are the reason Botswana is categorized as a middle income country from the poorest developing nation status at independence in 1966. He noted that in the health sphere, Debswana provided healthcare to communities around its mining areas through its two state of the art hospitals in Jwaneng and Orapa both of which service over 100 000 public patients annually.
In addition, he observed that the two hospitals were the first to be accredited in Botswana by the Council for Health Services Accreditation for Southern Africa (COHSASA) and they had continued to retain this accreditation year after year noting that this was a remarkable feat because COHSASA standards were very high.
The President also commended Debswana employees for their contribution to the country’s development agenda and maintaining a good safety record. “I am reliably informed that the safety record of Jwaneng Mine is impressive despite the recent unfortunate slope failure that claimed a life of an employee.
I would like to encourage you to maintain your excellent safety record, which is bearing fruit as the mine continues to experience a drop in lost time injury frequency rate,” he said. Khama was also presented with a P500 000 cheque by the Jwaneng mine employees for the President’s Housing appeal.