Mmegi Online :: BCL Mine workers: From formal employment to drawing of lots
Banners
Banners
Banners
Banners
Last Updated
Wednesday 20 March 2019, 15:58 pm.
Banners
BCL Mine workers: From formal employment to drawing of lots

Life has changed drastically for former employees of BCL Mine in the ghost town of Selebi-Phikwe. A visit to the sleepy town this week to observe how people are surviving in the aftermath of the closure of the mine depicts a gloomy life. The ex-BCL Mine employees claim that in the midst of their suffering, the country’s leadership has abandoned them. Staff Writer LEBOGANG MOSIKARE reports
By Lebogang Mosikare Fri 01 Feb 2019, 13:32 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BCL Mine workers: From formal employment to drawing of lots








SELEBI-PHIKWE: A walk around the mall in this once vibrant town shows many disheartening scenes. Handfuls of people loiter the streets, a sharp break from the past when the streets were teeming with life.

During the yesteryears, it was common to see many residents of this north-eastern town wearing BCL Mine overalls, but today, that is very rare.

Stores that once buzzed with shoppers are now virtually empty, which is obviously hitting hard on the bottom line of entrepreneurs - small, medium and large.

The mine’s closure has also not spared property entrepreneurs. Some shops in the mall are closed and vacant, a situation that extends to many homes that were rented by the ex-mine workers.

Many people are overcome with acute nostalgia when they recall the days when the mine was still operating.

The discontinuation of mining at the BCL Mine has not only robbed the former mine workers of income, but also their dignity.

The ex-miners preferred to talk to this publication without giving their names and they totally declined to have their pictures taken.

The Mmegi crew saw dozens of people sitting at the offices of the Department of Labour in the morning. Upon asking, Mmegi discovered that they were mostly former BCL Mine workers who had come to the labour offices to look for menial jobs.

But the process of getting the elusive menial jobs is also difficult and requires a bit of luck - a situation that is totally different from the one the ex-mine workers were accustomed to. Here is how the process of getting menial jobs works.  These ‘jobs’ mainly involve cutting grass at various government departments in the municipality for P65 per day.

Job seekers who come to the labour offices write their names on a piece of paper and then deposit these in an empty box that is provided by the labour officials.  

If by any stroke of luck it happens that there is a piece- job for cutting grass and clearing bushes at one of the government departments in the municipality, an official of the Department of Labour comes and shakes the box in the presence of those who came to look for menial jobs.

The official will then draw lots and pick out a few names depending on how many people are needed for the job.

As the day went, the number of piece-job hopefuls at the labour offices decreased.

Most people who spoke to Mmegi said that they did not necessarily go to these offices to look

Banners

for piece-jobs, but in some cases were just there to pass the time because they were bored and had nothing to do at home.

“It is better to come here every morning and pass time with my former work colleagues than sitting at home and doing nothing. We are living with a lot of stress since the mine ceased to operate.  If you sit at home alone you may end up hanging yourself because we are living with a lot of stress. So it is better to come here and be comforted by people who are also feeling your pain,” the ex-BCL Mine employee said.

As the ex-mine employee narrated his painful life, his colleagues, who had now taken keen interest in the interview, nodded in agreement.

Another added: “What is most saddening about our plight is that the leadership of our country has abandoned us. President Masisi briefed us about the impending closure of the mine when he was still the Vice President. 

“However, since he ascended to the presidency, he has never set foot in Selebi-Phikwe; at least to come to console us as the father of the nation.

“When Masisi told us that the mine would be closed, he also promised us that we will be given 18 months of salaries, but up to today he has not honoured that promise.”

The former mine workers’ conversation with Mmegi took political turn as the interview progressed.

The ex-mine workers have one thing in common. They are of the view that of their two representatives in Parliament, only Dithapelo Keorapetse of Selebi-Phikwe West is concerned about their plight.

The plight of the former mine workers is also felt by small businesspeople.

Ruth Joseph who survives by selling food at the Selebi-Phikwe bus and taxi rank said that ever since the mine closed, customers have reduced to dribs and drabs.

Different small-scale traders who were also interviewed by this publication shared her sentiment.

Those who survived by making school uniforms are probably among the hardest hit by the closure of BCL Mine.

They said that their customers have drastically reduced because most parents transferred their school-going children to their home villages.

Some former BCL-Mine workers are now working under the Ipelegeng programme just to make ends meet, although they cried out that the money is too small to sustain a family let alone one person.

“Still, it is better to work for Ipelegeng and put food on the table than to sit at home and do nothing.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Banners
Banners
Banners


Features
Fri 01 Feb 2019, 15:31 pm
Fri 01 Feb 2019, 13:55 pm
Fri 01 Feb 2019, 13:32 pm
Fri 25 Jan 2019, 12:19 pm
Fri 18 Jan 2019, 15:52 pm
Fri 18 Jan 2019, 11:54 am
Fri 11 Jan 2019, 14:03 pm
Fri 11 Jan 2019, 13:33 pm
Fri 21 Dec 2018, 14:25 pm
Fri 21 Dec 2018, 14:19 pm
Fri 21 Dec 2018, 14:18 pm
Fri 21 Dec 2018, 14:12 pm
Fri 14 Dec 2018, 12:58 pm
Fri 14 Dec 2018, 12:55 pm
Fri 14 Dec 2018, 12:54 pm
Fri 14 Dec 2018, 12:52 pm
Fri 07 Dec 2018, 13:42 pm
Fri 07 Dec 2018, 13:42 pm
Fri 07 Dec 2018, 13:35 pm
Fri 07 Dec 2018, 13:35 pm
Fri 07 Dec 2018, 13:35 pm
Fri 07 Dec 2018, 13:33 pm
Fri 30 Nov 2018, 13:53 pm
Fri 30 Nov 2018, 13:52 pm
Fri 30 Nov 2018, 13:51 pm
Banners
Banners
Subscribe to our Newsletter
have a story? Send us a Tip
Banners
  • Previous
    Wonder Park
    Next
    Masa Centre
    ::: Friday 15 Mar - Thursday 21 Mar :::
    Wonder Park
    Captain Marvel
    A Madea Family Funeral
    What Men Want
  • Previous
    Captain Marvel
    Next
    Riverwalk
    ::: Friday 15 Mar - Thursday 21 Mar :::
    Captain Marvel
    Wonder Park
    A Madea Family Funeral
    What Men Want
  • Previous
    Wonder Park
    Next
    Gamecity
    ::: Friday 15 Mar - Thursday 21 Mar :::
    Wonder Park
    Captain Marvel
    A Madea Family Funeral
    What Men Want
Selefu
Internation Image
Banners
Banners