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Tension brews over Mupane localization

CHAKALISA DUBE
Mupane Mine
FRANCISTOWN: Mupane Gold Mine (MGM) has denied mounting reports that the company wants to defy a localisation plan agreed upon with employees.

The plan relates to the posts of commercial manager and mine surveyor. Contracts for the two expatriates employees, who have been with the mine for some years, come to end in June. Some employees at the mine have expressed doubt about the mine’s commitment to localise the two posts.

The employees occupying the two aforesaid posts were supposed to have left the company last year. But their contracts were renewed by a year, a development that was widely contested by Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU).

The mine’s decision to advertise the two posts has reportedly irked some employees. They reportedly believe that it is nothing but a tactic that would later be used to convince labour officials that an advert for the two posts was run in the local media and did not attract suitable Batswana candidates.

The general feeling amongst employees is that those who have been placed on an understudy basis are competent and should assume the positions automatically.

Mupane general manager, Cedric Sam readily responded in an interview this week in relation to allegations labelled against the mine.

“A review will be done in accordance with individual development plans signed by the mine and the union. If the review proves that those who are on an understudy basis are competent to take over, they will be appointed to the two positions on a substantive basis”.

“We have also invited outside applications for the two vacancies. We did that because it is possible that we may get more competent Batswana from the external job market who can take over the two posts.”

The mine recently advertised the two posts in various local newspapers.

However, Sam’s above position sharply contrasted with what he previously told Mmegi in relation to localising the two posts.

In July last year, he defended the company’s decision not to alternatively look for suitable candidates in the job market through advertising as recommended by BMWU.

At the time, he had said the mine was committed to ensuring that the incumbents (those placed on understudy for the two positions) assume

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the positions, hence there was no need to source from the external market.

This week, Sam also said that he could not give assurances that the two positions will be given to locals.

“The decision to localise will depend on the results of the review of incumbents (those on an understudy basis). We will also look at the profiles of those who have applied for the two jobs. If those reviewed or those who have applied are not suitable then we will have to go for skilled foreigners.”

Further reports have since suggested that the mine management and Mupane BMWU branch leadership recently had a meeting where it was agreed that an assessment of those who have been on understudy should be carried without delay.

However, it is alleged that the branch members doubt the commitment on the part of the mine to undertake an objective review.

Sam confirmed that a date for the reviews has already been scheduled.

But employees have often suspected the mine was reluctant to localise the two positions because they were perceived to be highly sensitive and strategic. They claimed that the mine management was of the view that giving the two positions to locals might put at risk some of its dealings in future particularly with the government.

Yesterday, BMWU president Joseph Tsimako said that he hopedthe mine will keep its promise to localise the post.

“Early last year during a tripartite meeting, the mine indicated that those placed on an understudy basis for the two positions were not ready to take over. The mine asked to extend contracts of the two expatriates by 12 months and promised that the posts would have been localised by June this year. We hope that the mine will keep its promise,” said Tsimako.

Nevertheless, he said that the union is yet to engage the Mupane branch leadership or employees at the mine in relation the latest developments with reference to localissation of the two posts. 

BMWU officials, Mupane management and the commissioner of labour attended the tripartite meeting.



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