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BCP weighs into BCL accommodation saga

Publishing Date : 22 August, 2017


Botswana Congress Party (BCP) plans to plead with Government for at least three months extension of free accommodation for former BCL employees still occupying mine houses. This follows the BCL liquidators’ announcement that ex-employees still occupying BCL houses will start paying rent in November as the 12 month lease agreement they entered into with the liquidator elapses in October.

The Office of the Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe East and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) councillors in the constituency called a meeting on Tuesday to inform the affected former mine employees of the party’s intention to engage government over the new accommodation arrangements recently announced by BCL Liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren.

They argue that Government can intervene and engage with the Liquidator for an extension of free-rent accommodation up to January 2018. Councillor for Thakadiawa, Evelyn Kgodungwe says the extension is necessary to allow those with children attending school to make necessary arrangements other than vacating the house in October when the children are still attending school. She posits that while the Liquidator’s role is protect the interests of the creditors, the Government must however be seen to also protect the affected former employees.

The BCP argues that it is unreasonable for Government to pay school fees to some of the affected children who attends private schools to up to December only for them to be kicked out of the houses before December when the schools are still open. They contend that parents of the affected children are in Selebi Phikwe for the sake of their children who are still in school, and without jobs, they will not afford rent which will eventually lead to their removal from the house and it turn affecting the children’s education.
All BCL employees who were terminated at the date of the liquidation were entitled to remain in BCL houses in accordance with a 12 months free rent lease agreement signed by all who wished to remain in the houses. As the lease agreement expires end of October, Dixon-Warren has come up with a new arrangements. The Liquidator says former employees have the first option to remain in the houses after 31st October 2017 but will required to sign a new three months lease with effect from 1st November 2017.

They may remain in the house for three months from November but will be required to pay a nominal rental fee as to recover money for the creditors. The Nominal rental is only for the period of three months from November 2017 to January 2018. The nominal rental will be dependent on the type of house one occupies. Those who wish to vacate the house earlier than January 2018 can do so by giving the necessary notice. Those who wish to remain the house after January 2018 will be required to pay a commercial rental fee and the rental will be payable I advance and on monthly basis subsequent to the signing of a two year lease agreement.

There are other conditions. Dixon-Warren says all former employees will be compelled to occupy the house personally, explaining that all tenants not occupying the houses on a full-time basis will be given notice to vacate the house. Occupants of the house will also “not be permitted to sub-let the house nor will they be permitted to use the house to store their belongings but not live in the house.” Occupants of the house will have water meters registered in their names as they will be expected to pay their own utilities.

The arrangement is not only for former BCL employees. All unoccupied house after the former employees have signed their leases will be rented to third parties. This move, the liquidator says it was motivated by the demand of the BCL houses from interested prospective tenants and the need to need any possible opportunity to recover money for the creditors. Those vacating the houses are required to formally hand back the house key to BCL Housing Department in order to be paid their retention.



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