Under fire South African mining services company, Equestra, has been given seven days to appear at the Francistown Industrial Court.
Lawyers representing close to 500 employees who lost their jobs following the company’s fallout with Lucara Diamond made an urgent application this Friday morning, but the case could not proceed as Equestra did not appear.
Stating his case, Nkiwana Ndaba, representing Botswana Mine (BMWU) Workers Union said the respondent was served on 21st December and acknowledged receipt on 22 December.
He said they are yet to receive a replying affidavit or notice of opposition from respondent. “With advice from this court we would like to proceed with this matter,” said Ndaba.
His colleague, Leatile Sengwatse, representing ununionised former employees also pleaded with court to proceed with the matter as Equestra has shown very little regard despite hundreds of their former employees who remain stranded in Letlhakane.
Sengwatse said they served Equestra on December 23rd but only received an email on 29th December just hours before court date. “Equestra Maintenance Manager informed us through email that his principals are on a Christmas break in South Africa and have not given him full instructions on what their attitude is towards this matter,” said Sengwatse.
Postponing the case to January, Justice Baruti, said while he understood the two lawyers’ reasoning, it was important to give the respondent a chance. “Lets give them a chance to appear before court so that our file will clearly show that we actually bent forward to accommodate them, said Baruti.
Equestra employees were left stranded after their company contracted to Boteti Karowe mine had its contract terminated.
Employees have not received their December salaries and according to affidavit are worried Equestra is employing delaying tactics to give them time to sneak out of the country.