The Monitor :: Alternative Mining Forum Convenes
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Last Updated
Friday 15 December 2017, 17:56 pm.
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Alternative Mining Forum Convenes

PALAPYE: The Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) president, Bishop Metlhayotlhe Beleme says the church will continue to explore and promote an alternative economic system based on moral values and ethics as a basis of economic justice and good governance.
By Zolani Kraai Bonte Seepi Mon 13 Nov 2017, 15:57 pm (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: Alternative Mining Forum Convenes








Officially opening Botswana’s fifth Alternative Mining Forum in Palapye yesterday, Beleme said BCC is committed to supporting those that work towards achieving equal and fair sharing of resources such as minerals, water, and land.  He also said BCC will strive to promote justice and improve the wellbeing and peaceful co-existence of Batswana, especially those that are residing in the areas surrounded by mining activities. Beleme, who is also the Bishop of Anglican Church in Botswana, shared that since BCC was conceived in 1966, it continues to take its rightful place in the development agenda in Botswana. 

BCC in collaboration with its regional partners, has over the past five years been working on issues of extractive industries dubbed Alternative Mining Forums.

 The initiative is informed by the regional platform called Alternative Mining Indaba convened in Cape Town by the Economic Justice Network of Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA) and its partners.

Also, the National Council of Churches (NCCs), like the BCC, are expected by Economic Justice Network (ECJ) to create space for National Dialogues on Extractives Industries in their respective countries and share their stories with other stakeholders within the region. For his part, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) extract Officer and community mobilisation coordinator, Percy Makombe appreciated the role BCC is playing supporting communities in Botswana, in as far as socio economic developmental issues are concerned.

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He stressed that the church must continue to take its rightful position in developmental issues and speak for the voiceless.

Makombe added that the church is not an opposition party but cannot ignore their role in addressing labour and socio economic and developmental injustices of the country. He said it is vital for the church to interrogate issues surrounding lack of transparency and accountability.  He further said, time is now for BCC to address Parliament on issues that would assist government in diversifying the economy hence reduction on it’s over reliance on the diamonds. 

Notwithstanding, the Alternative Mining Forum seeks to create a platform to address issues that impact negatively to the mining on the environment and agricultural lands around mining areas, the right and participation of host communities on extractives.

This year’s forum will focus on areas such as listening to the community voices from Selebi-Phikwe and surrounding villages on the negative impact of the BCL Mine closure, as well as to start a national movement on mining, tax and transparency issues.

Other focus issues that will also form part of the deliberations will be the identification of policy issues for the High Level Policy Forum and to develop strategies of upscaling advocacy and lobbying especially through the media fraternity. This year’s Alternative Mining Forum is convened under the theme, ‘The African Mining Vision-Ensuring No One Left Is Behind’.

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