BCL recorded the highest deaths in mines across the country in 2015, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) president Jack Tlhagale told delegates at the union’s ongoing elective congress in Gaborone yesterday.
“That BCL tops the list with 11 deaths is a matter of great concern in regard to deteriorating levels of safety in that mine,” Tlhagale said.
According to Tlhagale, the situation is so dire that between January and February 2015, the mine had seven fatal accidents and 89 lost time (reportable) injuries. He said preventable occurrences at BCL confirm that another major disaster is looming.
Tlhagale said a total of 17 people lost their lives this year in different mines in Botswana.
“In Jwaneng one miner died after slope failure, in Ghaghoo mine two miners died after the ground fell, while at the Boseto mine, one miner died after a front end loader ran over him. Moolman mine recorded two deaths,” he said. He also said that more of their members have died at home after retirement on medical boarding or ill health separation, arising from injuries on duty or occupational diseases.
He said some die a few months or years after leaving employment from work related causes.
“This includes comrades who formed part of the 181 ex-BCL mine, the 461 ex-Debswana and the four, Boemo Mmusi and others, ex-Tati Nickel Mining employees who died whilst waiting to receive justice in their unfair dismissal cases,” he said.
Tlhagale said it is disappointing that reports on the causes of death have been delayed.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) Kitso Mokaila told members that they should not be quick to point fingers at anyone. He also noted that the families of the deceased are still in mourning and it would be unfair to open old wounds.
“I will not say much here, but I believe that I will meet with your president to discuss some of the issues [raised].
The issue of death is very sensitive and should be handled with care. I know that mine workers are angry and want to see the reports, but it is important to allow the employer to finish investigations,” he said. by villages of Makobo and Shashemooke and 768 day-scholars from Borolong and Chadibe.