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Parliament rejects government BCL housing motion

03 Aug 2023

Parliament has rejected a motion requesting government to negotiate with the BCL liquidator on behalf of former mine workers for a special programme to enable them to buy mine houses at subsidized prices.

The programme was not to be limited to the rent-to-buy method or a programme with aspects of the Turn-key and Self Help Housing Scheme (SHHA) or any other social welfare housing scheme to enable the ex-miners to continue living in those houses and to prevent impending homelessness.

Selebi Phikwe West MP Mr Dithapelo Keorapetse, said the ex-miners during a meeting on 15 June 2023 tasked him to take their request to Parliament.

He said the liquidator had already kick-started the process of selling the houses and that the former miners expressed their desire to buy the houses but were mostly unemployed.

Mr Keorapetse said government, should assist the former employees, whom he said were not compensated adequately when the mine closed.

He said the small amount they got was mostly taken by debtors, hence the ex-miners would not afford to buy the houses.He said the houses were overpriced considering that they were of a poor structure, as they were not plastered and roofed with asbestos among others.

He said the liquidator had indicated that in selling the houses, former employees would be given priority.

He said should government approve the request former BCL employees to buy the houses and that still some remained, government should extent the same courtesy to employees of other institutions such as health, security and others.

Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi, opposed the motion, saying it was a political gimmick and could had been long brought to Parliament.

He said government was aware of the BCL ex-miners situation and that there had been inventions to assist them. Some employees were assisted to be absorbed by other mines.He said since 2016 government had been paying rent for the said houses to the liquidator, adding that some of the former employees were not living in those houses but had rented them for profit. Minister Moagi said the rent-to-buy method would take time and that the liquidator must finish his job and that all asserts must be disposed to avoid further losses.

He said job losses did not only affect Selebi Phikwe miners, adding that there was no way he would support the motion.

He further stated that there was nothing government could have done to avert the mine closer.

While Mr Kgoberego Nkawana of Selebi Phikwe East said had government heeded the call to save the mine, the current situation could have been averted, adding that the money paid to the liquidator could have saved the mine. He said the ex-miners were only asking for assistance from government.

He said the houses were overpriced although being of poor structure and roofed with asbestos.

Whilst Mr Paulson Majaga said the urgency of the motion was suspect.He further said the mover of the motion should have called government to ensure that the houses were bought by new owners of the mine rather than individuals. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Bonang Masolotate

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 03 Aug 2023