Africa-Press – Botswana. FRANCISTOWN: Mineworkers plan to approach the courts to force the Department of Mines to conduct an inspection of Mupane Gold Mine and its sub-contractor, who stand accused of breaching the working conditions of their employees.
The Botswana Mineworkers Union (BMWU) also wants the court to direct the minerals ministry through the Department of Mines to enforce mining regulations under the Mines, Quarries, Works, and Machinery (MQWM) Act to protect the Mupane and SUV workers against potential harm. SVU Pty Ltd is the subcontractor at Mupane.
Last week the union filed a notice to the Ministry (of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security) declaring intentions to go to court after 30 days.
BMWU executive secretary, Kitso Phiri said in June this year the union met with the SVU management to discuss workers’ terms and conditions of employment including safety and health concerns. According to BMWU, SVU acknowledged its non-compliance and committed to remedying this in correspondence dated July 29, 2021.
The union says SVU failed to remedy the lapses and Mupane has been cited Mupane in the notice because it is the principal and mining license holder. According to documents seen by Business Monitor, on August 11, 2021the union notified Mupane management of the non-compliance with mining safety regulations and the obligations, which the company had towards its employees. On or about August 16, 2021, the union filed an application with the Chief Government Mining Engineer in terms of the MQWM Act, which sought to cause an inspection of the Mupane operations, including its subcontracting company. “The application was never responded to nor any action was taken in respect thereof,” reads the notice from the BMWU. Phiri also said subsequent to the Chief Government Mining Engineer’s failure to exercise his powers under the act, the union escalated the matter to the Department of Mines. “The Department of Mines director has also been indifferent to the union’s request and failed to take appropriate action,” Phiri said. The secretary-general expressed concern that the Department of Mines’ failure to exercise its statutory power to enforce compliance at Mupane Gold Mine and SVU means that their members remain exposed to injuries and diseases. Efforts to reach Mupane Mine representatives were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.