Gaborone — The late Debswana managing director Mr Albert Milton, who died on August 16, will be laid to rest in Gabane on Saturday, August 24.
On August 21, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi joined multitudes in a memorail service held in Gaborone to pay tribute to Mr Milton.
Conveying his message of condolences, President Masisi described him as a steward and public servant who had dedicated his life to contributing positively towards building the nation.
He said Mr Milton's untimely death had spread shock and pain throughout the country.
"Death like a cruel thief in the night has robbed us of one of the most productive citizens of this country and it is on that note that on behalf of all Batswana and government, I extend the country's most heartfelt sincere condolences to the Milton family and his in-laws alike," President Masisi said.
The President said his first encounter with Mr Milton was when government was in the process of identifying an expert to spearhead the facilitation of the country's foreign policy during South Sudan, Malawi and Liberia foreign mission support and the deceased was one of the candidates.
Dr Masisi said through his mining expertise, Mr Milton was instrumental in assisting South Sudan to put in place its mining strategy.
In addition, he represented some of Botswana's best interests hence the country remained grateful for his contribution, the President said.
"To the Milton family, do not despair and stay positive as you mourn the loss of your beloved son, husband, father and statesman and find strength and comfort during this time of grief as it is now time to huddle and hold hands and be consoled in the full understanding that Mr Milton would be proud of the life he lived," he said.
For his part, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Mr Eric Molale described Mr Milton as a self-driven transformer, who was pivotal in Debswana's citizen economic empowerment drive during his time at the helm of Jwaneng mine.
Minister Molale credited the success of Jwaneng Cut 8 Project to the visionary leadership of Mr Milton and his cautious approach towards mining safety regulations.
De Beers Group chief executive officer, Mr Bruce Cleaver said the deceased had been an asset to the company since joining it in 1985 and worked his way up the ranks until he occupied one of the highest offices in Debswana when he was named managing director and appointed to the group's executive committee in December 2018.
As a leader, Mr Milton was an inspiration to all involved in implementing the Jwaneng project within the stipulated time, budget and safely.
"Mr Milton not only understood the essential role business plays in uplifting communities, but he also understood the role that Debswana plays in uplifting a nation, as he oversaw multiple investments to build the fabric of communities including classroom constructions, clinics and community water reticulation projects and his impact will be felt by generations to come," he said.
From Orapa Thandy Tebogo reports that Vice President Mr Slumber Tsogwane said Mr Milton had left a reputable track record in all the mines that he worked for.
"His passing on is a great loss to the country and it will not be easy to fill his vacancy. It is not an easy job to fill the post of a Debswana managing director," he said.
The loss of Mr Milton, he said, had touched the hearts of many as he had a sound relationship with his employees and had a good understanding of the working environment in the mines.
"Milton played an instrumental role in developing the career of his subordinates, mentoring and moulding them into responsible leaders," he said.
Mr Tsogwane said the loss of Mr Milton had put the country in a difficult situation because transforming the country into a high income and knowledge-based economy could not be possible without a person of the deceased's caliber.
The Stone Age era, he said, did not end because of lack stones, but because of lack of knowledge, saying the government's objective was to have the face of Batswana in the diamond value chain.
Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) general manager Mr Bakani Motlhabani described Mr Milton as a great visionary leader and family man.
He graduated from Camborne School of Mines with a Bachelor of Engineering.
Mr Milton rose through the ranks to become the mining manager at Orapa and Letlhakane mines, general manager at Morupule, general manager at Jwaneng until he was appointed Debswana managing director last December.
A Debswana employee, Ms Tshokologo Chakalisa, said Mr Milton saved a lot of people from losing their jobs.
She said Mr Milton always played a key role in addressing employer and employee relations issues.
A family member, Ms Busisiwe Chihiya said Mr Milton, who was called Mbikeni at home, took his studies with the seriousness it deserved.
The family was very proud of him, she said.
His vision, she said, was to work hard towards serving and developing his country.
Union representative Mr Joseph Tsimako said Mr Milton had a good working relationship with the unions.
He said the deceased had developed strategies that could be employed to address employee welfare issues in a fair manner.
In Jwaneng, BOPA reporter Olekantse Sennamose reports that Mr Milton's long-time protégé, Mr Koolatotse Koolatotse highlighted three things which were important to the deceased; family, people and safety.
"He was of the view that these three determined everything else that you may dream of as an employee, a leader and even anyone who does not work in a mine. People are at the heart of every organisation," he said.
Mr Koolatotse, who is also Jwaneng mine general manager, said Mr Milton's love for people extended even beyond the mine.
His interaction with communities in the vicinity of the mine was unparalleled, he said adding that he helped build good relations with stakeholders.
He also praised Mr Milton for his ability to develop ordinary employees into good leaders, saying most of the people he developed from the lowest levels now held senior positions in the mining industry.
Kgosi Malope II also hailed Mr Milton as a man of his word who gave support to villages throughout GaNgwaketse.
"I started knowing him in 2013 when he came to my office to introduce himself after being appointed the Jwaneng mine general manager. I was surprised at how soon he came to introduce himself and within a week he was already asking me what was it that I wanted the mine to assist me with, and he always acted on his word," he said.
Kgosi Malope II said Mr Milton introduced him to cycling, which was one of his passions and that he even helped establish the annual GaMaila Cycling Challenge.
"The year 2013 is not that far back, but already I feel that I have known him for years. We hope those touched by his death will find peace, and we also hope that his humanity has rubbed off on his juniors," he said.
Jwaneng Mayor, Mr Obed Monkge also described Mr Milton as a visionary leader that everybody would desire to emulate and that his passion for sport helped resuscitate many sporting codes in Jwaneng.
He said Mr Milton was always supportive of activities in Jwaneng and always engaged the town's leadership in any new developments at the mine.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>