By: Kelvin Chiringa
Four workers at B2Gold mine are fighting a labour court case after they were fired for various charges including incitement and racism.
The workers are accused of writing emails to the mine’s headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, detailing what they claimed were irregularities at the Otjikoto mine.
Even though the four have been fired, several others say that the management is still witch-hunting more regarding the email sent to a certain Bill Lytle in Canada.
Lytle, according to available information, received the emails and directed it to the B2Gold managing director, Mark Dawe, for discussion.
However, sources within the company have indicated that the matter was brushed under the carpet.
When the witch-hunt on who sent the grievances to Canada started, some screenshots of the email were found on one of the workers’ laptop.
The sources within B2Gold have disclosed that even though the workers are being accused of having penned the email to Canada, the grievances were genuine and needed to be dealt with.
These grievances date back to 2018 and involved the mine being accused of elitism and favouritism.
The mine owners were informed that the son of the personal friend of the managing director landed a job at the mine, much to the chagrin of the workers.
He has been identified as Victor Maas, reported to be the son of a Dr Maas.
The latter is said to be B2Gold mine’s managing director’s family doctor, according to the sources.
Victor was said to have enjoyed perks such as using the company vehicle to and from work at that time.
The Villager was informed that while he came in as an intern, Victor is now fully employed by B2Gold.
On top of this, a doctor is said to have been employed while the workers did not need his services.
“The doctor’s service was to cost the company N$100 000 a month and the union told the management that this was unnecessary as workers mostly got treatment from their private doctors in their respective towns,” a source said.
The sources added that the doctor’s contract was approved even though it was disputed by the union.
“The inconsistency in the grading system created by management was an indication of elitism being practiced at the expense of the hard-working employees of B2bgold.
“The employment and promotion of staff was never dealt with transparency. Industry practice ad governance roles required that senior positions whether recommended or not, go through a transparent sorting process, however, this was not the situation or practice at B2Gold,” the source said.
“These unfair (practices) were creating labour unrest among the employees. Vancouver B2Gold head office was informed of all these irregularities, but nothing was done at B2Gold to improve work relationships with employees,” The Villager was informed.
Lytle was also informed in the same email that was sent to his office about Red Pepper Construction, which was roped in without any due process by the managing director and his management.
“Red Pepper construction was one of the company’s receiving jobs from the MD and his management.
“All capital projects never went through the tender process only the MD instructed Wynand van Wyk and Henry White to give to his friend Jacos du Plessis.
“In two years’ time, Jacos du Plessis managed to accumulate jobs worth plus or minus N$20 000 000. Proof is available! Jacos Company name is Jacos du Plessis Building and (is) registered as a company that built house.
‘’We don’t just know how it’s registered at BIPA, but he was given every job at B2Gold whether it was mechanical, electrical, excavation, civil construction, welding, and fabrication. And all this information relating to this job orders can be found on the screen shots i sent to you,” said the source.
B2Gold managing director Mark Dawe confirmed that indeed grievances were sent to Canada but said these were investigated and found to be unfounded.
Dawe also denied any witch-hunt.
“That’s completely wrong. That’s absolute nonsense. Any complaints that go to Vancouver are followed up by Vancouver. The ideal is they don’t go to Vancouver; they have to go locally through the grievance process which is completely anonymous.
“So, they are not supposed to give any names. (The) 2018 (grievances) where investigated and found to be null and void,” he said.