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Destitution increasing in Phikwe after the closure of BCL Mine

Destitution increasing in Phikwe after the closure of BCL Mine
June 12
12:21 2018

TEBOGO MMOLAWA

Selebi Phikwe Mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa says ever since the closure of BCL Mine, the Department of Social and Community Development at the municipality has been receiving a lot of cases of destitution. According to the Mayor, the most prominent assistance asked for, is school uniform for school going children, transport fare as well as food baskets.

The economy of Selebi Phikwe is on a sick bed ever since the closure of BCL mine in October 2016. Several companies which were relying on the mine for business have since ceased operating which led to more job loses. Many described the decision by government to shut down the Copper and Nickel mine as a catastrophe. At that time, government said the mine was closed due to financial constraints. Another reason was that metal prices were decreasing.   Over 6 000 former miners were left jobless; some of them even took their own lives out of frustrations of losing their jobs.

Addressing a full council meeting recently, Molosiwa said it is unfortunate that in most cases  clients who come to seek for registration as destitute persons are mostly able bodied who are unwilling to engage under Ipelegeng programme. “It has surfaced that some individuals who are registered permanent and temporary destitute persons are also engaged in Ipelegeng at the expense of those who are neither getting monthly rations nor employed. This act is tantamount to double dipping -benefiting from more than one Welfare Service at the same time-. It has also been noted that some beneficiaries of Poverty Eradication programme are engaged in Ipelegeng at the expense of those not benefitting from any welfare service.  This has led to their projects eventually collapsing,” Molosiwa explained.

The mayor pleaded with Ward Development Committee members to be vigilant and ensure that no individuals benefit from more than one Social Welfare Service at the same time. Molosiwa expressed concern that some of the Ward Development Committees despite being functional, they do not operate accordingly and amicably with the council.

Since the closure of the mine, government has come up with different strategies to revitalize the economy of the town. But the residents are complaining that the initiatives are taking too long to bear any fruits. The Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) has come under spotlight for not doing enough to attract potential investors to set up and create job opportunities for the locals.

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