By Friday this week reality had struck for most BCL employees who had believed that there was still time for them to enjoy their comforts while the liquidator went about his business of evaluating the business before making his final pronouncement on the future of the business. Overnight everybody employed has turned into a risky client for lenders. Far beyond that businesses moved in swiftly to cut off any supply and extra loss that they could incur. The first casualty, at the beginning of the week, was BCL postpaid contract users who got a rude awakening when mobile companies blocked them, to stem further losses from the liquidated copper/nickel miner.
In exactly two weeks BCL workers staying in pool houses will be forced to vacate them as utility companies are moving fast to prevent further losses as the effects of liquidation are felt. Confusion, fear and uncertainty gripped the workers at the end of the week with some saying water has already been disconnected at their houses, and were expecting electricity disconnections to follow shortly. The problem gets even more complicated in families with school going children. BCL mine has been subsidising education for children of its employees at private schools spread around Selebi-Phikwe town for years. Employees only had to contribute P300, an arrangement which has died with the mine and may lead to closure of some schools as a majority of their students were sponsored by BCL.
Elsewhere in town, insurance companies have been battling with a sudden surge of policy holders seeking clarity going forward while others want to cash in before they lapse in three months. Groups of workers were busy making copies and certifying national identity cards, while others carried brown envelopes visiting different offices. Financial institutions are also watching the developments closely as many have extended loans to BCL workers with assurance of continued employment. Now the bubble has burst. Newly purchased motor vehicles, homes and other properties may soon be attached by banks and other hire purchase providers as the unemployed workers default on their monthly installments.
Norilsk Nickel will compound BCL problems after confirming plans to take the war against BCL mine to the courts following a somarsault by Botswana Government on the purchase of 50% shareholding of Nkomati mine. The Russian company entered into a binding agreement to dispose its African assets with BCL Investments, comprising of 50% participation interest in Nkomati Nickel and Chrome mine, SA and 85% in Tati Nickel worth $337 million or P3 billion.