Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) today petitioned Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi over prevailing problems that continue to plague the BCL mine in Selebi-Phikwe.
The petition, which was submitted after a court case over the correct procedures to be followed when making a peaceful demonstration, was finally handed in at the Notwane grounds.
One of the underlying issues raised by the union was the increasing number of recent fatal accidents at the mine, as well as the management’s apparent failure to provide effective, potentially life-saving measures.
Submitting the petition on behalf of the workers, BMWU President, Jack Tlhagale, noted that in the past 5 years, a total number of 19 employees have died whilst on duty.
He added that many other employees have sustained serious injuries with some of them becoming permanently incapacitated.
“Accidents continue to happen and employees are dismissed on medical grounds before they have fully recuperated and lose company medical cover after three months of boarding. It is important to realise that accidents do not only result in deaths and injuries but also cause terrible suffering to families and dependents of the affected,” he said.
Tlhagale further complained that government investigations are kept secret, making it difficult for employees to contribute towards corrective measures.
He also claimed that investigations conducted by mine inspectors revealed there are no amendments made to avert similar incidents from occurring in the future.
The BMWU president added that there are no real consequences for any negligence committed.
When receiving the petition, Masisi assured all mine employees of their safety, saying as government they do not want any employee to go to work not knowing whether they will come back or not.
“Government is committed to making sure that all of you are safe, therefore be free and raise your issues freely without any fear. We have instituted investigations at the mine and the consultants have been told to do a thorough investigation, leaving no stone unturned. If anyone is found liable for any criminal act at the mine, they will face criminal charges,” promised Masisi.