• Claim accidents could have been avoided
• Charges to be laid against those guilty
Botswana Mine Workers’ Union (BMWU) have accused the BCL management of endangering employees’ lives through negligence.
According to the union the majority of accidents at the Selibe Phikwe mine could have been avoided had the BCL management acted appropriately when they were forewarned.
Voicing their discontent, BMWO President Jack Tlhagale submitted a petition to Vice-President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, in Gaborone this week.
Staggeringly, Tlhagale revealed the fatal accident that occurred on the 29th of May earlier this year, claiming four lives and badly injuring six others, happened just 19 days after they met with Minister of Mineral, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila.
The union’s President claimed that during the meeting they warned Mokaila the BCL mine required urgent government intervention due to its inadequate safety measures.
“In the recent accident that claimed four lives, the rope of the General Man Transporter (GMT) was diagnosed and declared to be worn out on November the 30th by Owen Masterton Technicians. However management did nothing to replace it in reasonable time and it eventually snapped 6 months later, since they recently started using the facility management software and they are not really used to it. The significance of this accident is, among other things, that a delay, even by a day, can have disastrous consequences,” explained Tlhagale.
The BMWU President added that even since the tragedy, accidents continue to happen.
Tlhagale mentioned a rock-fall on June 20, which resulted in an employee sustaining a broken pelvis.
He also cited an incident on June 27, when a miner sustained a broken leg, and then another accident three days later, which resulted in a locomotive operator, who was trapped by his machine, ending up in hospital.
“At present, the recurrence of reported incidents and lost time injuries is so frequent that management has resorted to radio and television reporting as a solution. Up to this stage, there has been a lot of negativity played by management, which paints a gloomy picture about the future of BCL mine,” said Tlhagale regrettable.
For his part, Vice President Masisi acknowledged that complaints at the BCL mine are more frequent than any other mine in the country, hence government’s decision to engage consultants to look into the matters arising at BCL.
“These consultants are going to investigate everything and make recommendations. Note that no stone will be left unturned and, if anyone or procedure is found guilty, action will be taken, that’s a promise! I am going to forward your complaints to the cabinet, taking into consideration that you want your lives and safety to be taken seriously,” Masisi promised.