• Demand P10 000 bonus
• Debswana offers P800 instead
Employees of Debswana, a 50/50 diamond mining joint venture between the government and De Beers, have decided not to attend the company’s 50th anniversary after Debswana refused to pay its employees bonuses, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Debswana’s 50th anniversary will be celebrated tomorrow (Saturday 20th July) at the GICC. Debswana had invited some of its employees as well as Mine Union management. At the celebrations, it emerges that Debswana wanted to award gifts to its employees in terms of wrist watches for men and necklaces for women. Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) Secretary-General Mbiganyi Moffat Ramokate said instead of the jewellery, they proposed a P10 000 bonus per employee. “We were of the view that the jewellery will not add value to employees because they hardly get paid bonuses, unlike the top management team which enjoys millions annually,” Ramokate told The Botswana Gazette. A meeting was held yesterday (Thursday) between the BMWU management and Debswana management to discuss the matter.
“Debswana management said it can only pay its employees P800 bonuses. We rejected that offer. Instead, we told them that we will not as Trade Union management and Debswana employees attend the anniversary. Further, we will be holding a mass protest tomorrow at Letlhakane against employee exploitation by Debswana,” Ramokate said, adding that the protests will commence at Letlhakane Community Hall this Saturday.
Debswana employs around 3500 people.
Debswana through its Letlhakane, Orapa and Damtshaa mines, is De Beers’ cash cow. In 2018, De Beers produced a total of over 35 million carats, interestingly, 24 million carats of that was produced here in Botswana. Efforts to solicit comments from Debswana management were futile.