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Tati Nickel undertakes to promote localisation

Staff Writer
FRANCISTOWN: A senior manager at Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC) says the company will never exceed its set 10 percent ratio of local employees to expatriates.

Addressing journalists after a tour of Phoenix Mine, TNMC manager for organisational capability, Peter Meswele, said his company promoted localisation.

"During the construction of the Dense Medium Separation (DMS) plant and other newly acquired technology, experts came from all over to help us," he said in response to a question.

He said while other countries had the expertise that TNMC and other mining companies needed, "we vow never to exceed our set target of 10 percent reserved for expatriate employees", Meswele said.

Fielding questions at then same press conference, TNMC's manager responsible for capability development, Matildah Mangole, said the localisation programme was emphasised at both TNMC and companies that did jobs for it.

There was concern that certain companies, among them one presently doing excavation work at Phoenix Mine, did not appear to have a localisation plan. Parliament's special committee on labour has looked into TNMC's employment of Zimbabweans, for instance.

"We explain to sub-contractors to comply with all our set standards and requirements," Mangole said. "In short, (sub-contractors have localisation plans similar to ours."

She produced figures purportedly proving that TNMC was still far from its 10 percent quota of expatriate employees. As at end of last

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July, TNMC had about 1115 employees, only 64 of whom were expatriates, which was 5.74 percent of the workforce.

Responding to a question on voluntary exit packages, the company's general manager, Sebetlela Sebetlela, said the exercise had started in May and had seen 65 people apply for consideration.

"Two of them were holding critical positions and we declined," he said. "We are considering the rest of the applications on their merits. The whole exercise is simply voluntary." Mangole interrupted to say TNMC had also lost other workers through the natural attrition.

Meanwhile, in a subsequent interview yesterday, the regional administration officer of the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU)he said while TNMC was boasting of a good localisation plan, there were grey areas at the top. 'Among the departments that do not need expatriates because qualified Batswana are there are the finance and the engineering departments," said Kealeboga Keakantse.

He described the voluntary separation scheme as "a management tool". "The BMWU challenged the scheme at the Industrial Court but we lost the case," he said. "It's an ongoing exercise and if the management finds it in their interest to give volunteers packages, they do so."



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