The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) elective congress which will be held in Mmadinare on 3-5th July has forced the BCL mine to postpone a scheduled shutdown to a later date, sources have revealed.
During the mine shutdown most hotels and lodges in Selibe Phikwe are normally fully booked as a lot of workers descend on the small town for maintenance work on the smelter and the electrical furnace and other associated works. This causes shortage of accommodation, which is aggravated by the fact that there are few hotels and lodges in and around the copper mining town which relies heavily on BCL mine for business. A member of BCL management, speaking on condition of anonymity, has revealed that the shutdown will be delayed by a week so that it does not clash with the BDP congress and inconvenience delegates in regard to accommodation. “Our shutdown will begin on the 6th of July instead of the 1st to allow the BDP to use the limited lodges without any disturbance,” said the source.
Addressing media recently BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi said one of their concerns with taking the congress to Mmadinare region was the issue of accommodation as it was going to clash with BCL shutdown. “But we are happy that the shutdown will not take place during the congress thus accommodation will be available for our members,” he said.
BDP elective congress which will be a first one after their poor performance in the 2014 general elections is expected to attract a lot of people to the sleepy village of Mmadinare. It will also go in history as the first elective congress in which the party will have more people standing for central committee positions especially for party chairmanship.
The congress will not only attract delegates but even political observers and already Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) have made it clear that they are going to descend in Mmadinare to campaign against vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The BCL Mine shutdown is expected to attract more than 800 people who will be working at the mine repairing the electrical furnace which has been in use for more than 10 years.
Contacted for comment BCL Public Relations and Marketing Manager James Molosankwe denied that they are going to delay the shutdown. “Our scheduled mine shutdown is starting on the 1st of July and ends on the 1st of September and I am not aware of any postponement,” said Molosankwe.