Mmegi Online :: Residents call for revitalisation of Phikwe – Keorapetse
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Last Updated
Friday 22 September 2017, 15:45 pm.
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Residents call for revitalisation of Phikwe – Keorapetse

Following the liquidation of BCL Mine, residents of Selebi-Phikwe are eagerly calling for the resuscitation of their town so as to attract investors.
By Pini Bothoko Wed 29 Mar 2017, 15:12 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Residents call for revitalisation of Phikwe – Keorapetse








Selebi-Phikwe West Member of Parliament (MP), Dithapelo Keorapetse told Mmegi on the sidelines of Parliament session on Monday that his constituents feared Selebi-Phikwe will end up a ghost town. 

The MP had early asked the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration  in Parliament if he was aware of the wishes of Selebi-Phikwe West people who had sought audience with President Ian Khama as soon as possible at a kgotla meeting, regarding their concerns following the liquidation of the Mine and the town’s future generally.

He said the liquidation of the Mine is always on the agenda of every kgotla meeting within the town, with residents appealing for the visit from the President so as to have some kind of closure on the issue.

“It hurts because ever since the closure of the Mine, residents of Selebi-Phikwe have not been addressed formally on the issue (by the President), something residents and the business community are not pleased with,” Keorapetse said.

The Mine employed over 5,000 people, and since its closure, the town is now battling with high levels of unemployment. Keorapetse said the residents were confused about the future of the town and as the person responsible for the country’s governance, the President should consider addressing them.

“The Government owns BCL Mine and Cabinet, through the leadership of the President, took the decision to shut down the Mine.  As it stands he (Khama) is the right person to explain to residents what exactly caused the closure of the Mine and what the future holds for the Mine,” Keorapetse said.

He stated that there was no proper consultation prior to the

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liquidation of the Mine because even the employees were addressed after the process.

Keorapetse said the town is in a desperate situation, as a majority of its occupants face poverty and are reeling in debt with no source of income.

“Life has drastically changed for Selebi-Phikwe and if things continue as they are, in two years to come that town will turn into a ghost town,” Keorapetse said.

“We need a marshal plan towards the revival of Selebi Phikwe. Residents wish for some ministerial and parastatals’ headquarters to be moved to the town and call for major industries to set up shop so that they can boost the town’s economy that has since collapsed,” he added.

He emphasised the need for the Government to open a coal liquefaction plant, as once promised to help revitalising the town’s economy.  Responding to Keorapetse’s question in Parliament, the Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Thato Kwerepe said he was aware of the wishes of the people of Selebi-Phikwe West to meet Khama.

He said due to Khama’s tight schedule in the past, he decided to assign Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi the task. Masisi led a team of Cabinet ministers to consult BCL employees and the community of Selebi-Phikwe. Kwerepe stated that Khama is therefore satisfied with regard to the engagement of the Selebi-Phikwe community by the team.

“The team subsequently produced the revitalisation plan of Selebi-Phikwe, which is now being implemented. This is a standing item on the agenda of Cabinet on BCL and the revitalisation of the town. So, Government is regularly updated on the matter,” Kwerepe said. 

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