Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi had his hands full yesterday when addressing masses of former BCL employees.
Phikwe Town hall was filled to capacity with an expectant audience as Morupisi took to the podium.
The PSP however may have failed to read the mood as his announcement that government is doing all in it’s power to help the former employees, did not go down well with most of the unemployed audience. Morupisi said some former employees have been hired by government giving an example of seven nurses and one doctor.
A former employee Western Ebepile told Morupisi to forget about his political ambitions if indeed he harbours any. “When this mine was closed decisions were taken at the very highest level, now when it comes to issues of paying employees it has dropped to a lower level of a PSP,” said Ebepile.
“You should be careful when dealing with this issue, they are campaigning you as we understand you are interested in one of the constituencies,” Ebepile said.
A fuming and emotional Head Seponono told Morupisi that he was addressing an issue that does not concern him. “There’s only one man who should be addressing this issue, but we know he is retiring and we can only say good riddance. I wish he could retire tomorrow,” Seponono said adding that the Botswana government has treated BCL employees worse than dogs.
His sentiments were reiterated by Phetogo Lepetu. “You’re only here because the President is arriving tomorrow. But let me warn you and your government, decisions you make will slowly turn this country into Iraq and Sudan of this world,” he said.
Botswana Mines Workers Union (BMWU) Secretary General Moffat Ramokate reminded Morupisi that all they want to hear from him is assurance that they’ll be paid. “A caring government cannot close a mine in October 2016 and only check on her people I’m January 2018,” he said much to a deafening applause.
Ramokate said Morupisi should tell President Khama that as he retires he should not forget that he has left a debt behind. “It was during his tenure that about seven mines were closed in Botswana, including the Lerala Mine whose payroll was being run in Australia. How is that even possible,” charged Ramokate.
In response Morupisi pleaded with the former employees to be patient and to bear with government. “I can’t make any pronouncements because there are issues I’m not allowed to talk about,” he said.
The former BCL employees showed their displeasure by walking out of the hall in the middle of a prayer ending the day’s proceedings.