Botswana: OLDM to Uphold Relations With Stakeholders

Letlhakane — Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines general manager, Mr Bakani Motlhabani, says the mines intend to build resilient stakeholder relations.

Mr Motlhabani said this during a recent stakeholder engagement meeting held in Orapa.

He said they aimed at enhancing relationship between the mines and communities.

He noted that key issues raised from stakeholder engagement included low Debswana corporate social investment budget, limited job and business opportunities.

Mr Motlhabani said grievances that were related to Debswana ranged from historical relocation and unfair practice by some Debswana contractors.

Mitigations to issues raised by stakeholders, he said, included annual legacy projects and co-funding initiatives, citizen employment and skills development through Orapa Technical College, attachments, internship and apprentices, among other things.

Furthermore, he explained that only Debswana contractors were accommodated at project camp in Orapa as per department of tourism exemption, as opposed to complaints that the camp was taking business opportunities from local businesses.

He also stated that Orapa Game Park expansion issues, which ranged from compensation, livelihood and ranch management were being attended to by the ministers' task force.

On the issue of historical relocation he indicated that a study had been commissioned in partnership with University of Botswana and government.

In addition members of community he said complained of depletion of underground water resources, and indicated that a study was conducted and results showed no impacts, adding that monitoring of water levels was ongoing.

Mr Motlhabani informed stakeholders that community benefit framework was aligned to socio-economic components of mine closure and Orapa Today Boteti Tomorrow vision.

The framework he said was subject to Debswana board approval and its objectives were to build capacity amongst communities in the zone of influence and establish one central fund that would be utilised to fund all Zone of influence community projects.

The objective he said was also to ensure sustainable livelihood development for communities as well as deliver sustainable community projects that could be beneficial beyond mining.

OLDM's socio economic components for mine closure was aimed at diversifying Boteti region away from mining, and included Orapa Game Park, Adrian Gale Diamond Museum, business park and technical college construction.

Mr Motlhabani stated that in continued partnership with the Ministry of Basic Education Debswana donated P3.75 million to construct a special education facility at Tsienyane Primary School in 2020.

He stated that OLDM's plan was to partner with Water Utilities Corporation to help address the issue of water scarcity for Mokobaxane, Kedia and Mopipi villages and ensure that water supply situation became sustainable.

The other plan he said was to establish Corporate Social Investment Programme amongst Basarwa communities of Makolwane, Buuhe, Malatswai, Setoto and Khwee villages which would cover literacy, psycho-social, child protection and family enrichment programmes at a tune of P698 000 as well as a capacity building programme at P2,050, 000.

When commenting Councillor Ntebogang Kgosi of Letlhakane North suggested that Debswana should be investing on major projects like construction of roads and clinics, and leave minor projects to sub-contracted companies.

Source : BOPA

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