22 July 2018

Botswana: Government Commits to Consultation

Orapa — Vice President Slumber Tsogwane has told mine workers union in Orapa that consultation was the bedrock of the current government.

Addressing Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) workers union on July 19, Mr Tsogwane said that government would make decisions informed by consultations with all relevant stakeholders.

Mr Tsogwane said meeting workers unions was among the resolutions made at President Mokgweetsi Masisi's maiden meeting with cabinet and explained that decisions would henceforth be taken after thorough consultations.

"Be it on issues of law, policies and programmes, stakeholders will be consulted for their input on possible changes. I am here to consult and discuss issues relating to you. We appeal for your support and will take seriously whatever concerns you," he said.

Vice President Tsogwane complained that in a mining town like Orapa, the majority of whose residents were mine employees, people were reluctant to attend kgotla gatherings.

"Kgotla gatherings are a traditional platform of consultation. We are aware that you work on shifts and therefore it is difficult for some of you to attend kgotla meetings," he said.

Mr Tsogwane said as their political representative it was critical to consult with them on government procedures and programmes and pleaded with union leaders to encourage their members to attend kgotla meetings where general issues of public concern were discussed.

Mr Tsogwane appealed to mine unionists to help government in fighting among other challenges corruption, poor service delivery and any other employment related issues.

Corruption affects the economy negatively and it also occurs in the work environment, he said.

Mr Tsogwane said it was unfortunate that people who were mandated in safe guarding the resources of the people were the ones involved in corrupt practices.

Mr Tsogwane promised union members that said the government would be working with workers unions in establishing a cordial working relation.

As a shareholder in Debswana, he said government wished for an affectionate working relationship between mine workers union and the company management.

He said government's interest was to increase diamond beneficiation.

"We want to see our people benefiting more from our diamonds, and this is the beginning, we will continue consulting," he said

Meanwhile, OLDM workers union representative, Mr Joseph Tsimako appreciated Mr Tsogwane's appointment as Vice President, saying it was an influential position and stated that they hoped to benefit from it.

Mr Tsimako said the workers union had been at loggerheads with the mine management on the planned improvement of security by introducing scannex.

Mr Tsimako said the anticipated security device had the potential of having negative consequences on workers' health.

Even though appreciating the importance of improving diamond security, the workers union is of the view that workers' health must not be compromised.

The mine workers union is also appealing to the management to look into issue of salary increment.

The workers also differ with the employer on the subject of bonuses. Mr Tsimako appealed to the management to introduce a tool that would be used to award bonuses in a fair manner.

The mine workers union also feels that workers are being victimised and Mr Tsimako said some anonymous informants were shocked to realise that their identities were revealed after giving anonymous reports.

Mr Tsimako also said it was unfortunate excellent safety policies in place were not being implemented.

The focus is more on production, sidelining safety policies aimed at averting fatalities, he added.

Orapa ward's Councillor Koketso Seloi was confident that the OLDM management would attend to workers concerns and advised the unions to commit to representing the workers.

Source : BOPA

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