SELEBI-PHIKWE: Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has reacted with anger at a decision by BCL Mine to demand rent from former employees describing the development as ‘pathetic and inconsiderate’.
Upon liquidation last October, employees were entitled to remain in BCL houses for 12 months free of charge as prescribed in the lease agreement. The rent-free lease agreement elapses end of October this year.
BMWU president, Jack Tlhagale told Mmegi that it is very unfortunate that such a decision has been taken. “It is just pathetic and inconsiderate. Government knows very well that former mine employees have got no money and it seems unconcerned about their plight,” he said.
Tlhagale said even worse is the fact that the government has refused to pay the former employees’ retrenchment packages. He said the decision on paying rentals should be a matter of discussion with those affected and stressed that proper consultation must be done.
The company’s provisional liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren has issued correspondence to all former employees currently occupying the houses informing them about the arrangement that will commence at the beginning of November. Those who will remain in the house after the end of October will pay rent that will be determined by the type of the houses they occupy.
“Should you wish to leave earlier than January 2018, you can do so by giving the necessary notice. Those wishing to continue to rent BCL owned houses after February 2018 will have to pay a commercial rental. Rentals will be payable in advance
For the period from November 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018 BCL house occupants will pay P300, P350 and P400 for high-density houses depending on the housing grade. For low density houses rental would range from P1,500 to P3,000, according to the housing grade while hostel rooms will be charged P100 per month.
The correspondence further states that if the occupant wished to stay until the end of January next year the lease will be for three months, but open to extension for two years.
It also states that former employees who want to stay after October 31 this year must occupy the houses personally and those that are not occupying the houses on full time basis will be given notice to vacate the houses.
“Former employees will not be permitted to sublet the houses nor will they be permitted to use the houses to store their belongings. Unoccupied houses are to be rented to third parties,” it states. Those vacating the houses are expected to hand back the houses to the BCL housing department and be paid their retention.
Those occupying will also pay their own utilities. Those who are not living in the houses and those who have not handed back the houses must have vacated by the end of October.