Milk Afric Diary controversy reaches Mabeo

LOBATSE: The Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Tshenolo Mabeo says his Ministry is concerned with controversies surrounding the Milk Afric Dairy project in Lobatse.

Speaking in a kgotla meeting held here yesterday, Mabeo said according to information reaching his office, the equipment which has long been donated rusted at the plant since nothing is taking place.

“One of the issues that I am here for is to establish what is exactly going on at the dairy plant in Lobatse. I am concerned about why Milk Afric has not yet commenced production despite donations of machines and land from stakeholders.

According to information that has reached my attention, the land has been donated and machines have also been donated but they are already acquiring rust at the plant,” Mabeo said.

The Minister further said he will tackle the issue to make sure that Lobatse residents get the employment they have long been promised at the milk plant.

“We want to see what is happening at the dairy plant. This is an indication that I have now started to exercise my responsibilities in my new Ministry. It has been years since we first heard of the dairy project and I am now going to meet with those responsible for executing this project. We don’t have enough milk in the country and people have volunteered to donate necessities and we cannot let this project fail,” he said.

One of the residents, Kealeboga Samoipolai said there is no progress at the Milk Afric plant and they have lost hope.

“We always hear from the authorities that the project will commence anytime but residents are not even allowed to get into the plant to see progress. How can we believe what they tell us?” he asked.

Recently, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Advocate Sadique Kebonang told residents in a kgotla meeting that Government has agreed to finance the

project at the tune of P42 million.

In an interview on the sidelines of the council leadership elections recently, Town Mayor Malebogo Kruger said there is progress at the plant after the Environmental Impact Assessment report was released.

“The Milk Afric project has taken too long but it is not because the investor failed. The investor met some challenges. He waited for three years for the Environmental Impact Assessment report,” Kruger said.

She further said dairy cattle are ready to be transported from South Africa immediately after the erection of the facilities. She added that she went to the United States of America (USA) to see the progress of students who have been sent there for dairy production training.

“The 2,000 cows which will be milked have already been bought in the Northern Cape. I went there and saw the cattle and they are ready for transportation as soon as the building facilities are ready.

Milk Afric has sent students to Florida in the USA for training at the tune of P300,000 tuition fee for each student.

“I have been to Florida to see the progress of the students. Nine of the students have successfully completed their studies and one of them excelled and was the best student in the whole state of Florida. These are the students who are going to run the Milk Afric dairy project which is a massive project,” she said.

The Milk Afric project is worth P120 million and is expected to create 250 jobs in its first two-and-half years. Milk Afric, which has signed a processing agreement with Parmalat, has also roped in the Lobatse Town Council as they entered into a Public Private Partnership deal through the leasing of a dairy farm for 25 years.




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