SOWA TOWN: The usually sleepy soda ash and salt mining township of Sowa was a hive of activity last Saturday when the Botswana Ash (BOTASH) (Pty) Ltd hosted a successful 2023 Inter-Mines Fist Aid Competition.
While BOTASH didn’t emerge as the winners of the competition held at the Flamingo International School, all credit and praise were directed towards the hosts for their exceptional organisation and hospitality.
Under the capable leadership of Kangangwani Phatshwane, the organisation extended such courteous hospitality that emboldened visiting teams from places such as Jwaneng, Orapa and Letlhakane mines, Khoemacau and Palapye to freely express themselves.
This kind of hospitality resulted in miners from Jwaneng and Karowe mining entities freely breaking into song and dance – a development that brought life and vibrancy to the Sowa Township. And the mood flowed into the competitions where 13 teams took turns to show off their talent and skills in the provision of the first aid assistance to the patient before the arrival of a medical doctor.
The participants gave the spectators and the dignitaries a classic show and proof that the mining entities are taking first aid serious. It was a marvel to watch the competitions held under the theme: First Aid in the Digital World.
Earlier, the Managing Director of BOTASH, Kangangwani Phatshwane noted that it is concerning that eight out of every ten people across in the southern part of Africa lack first aid skills, despite its importance.
“First Aid preserves life and promotes quicker recovery,” said Phatshwane before accentuating the importance of acquiring and being equipped with First Aid skills.
Phatshwane stated that it is against this backdrop of the importance of having first aid skills that the mining sector is investing heavily in it.
“The mining sector’s investment in first aid therefore transcends the needs of the sector to the greater public benefit of higher levels of first aid skills in our population,” Phatshwane emphasised.
Deliberating his keynote address, the deputy director at the Department of Mines in the Ministry of Minerals and Energy, Hosia Chimbombi, said the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) Inter-Mines First Aid Competitions started way back in 1984 to promote safety in the mining sector.
Although only four mining houses were participating in the early days of this concept, Chimbombi said the mines did not give up on this initiative – a development that shows how safety is regarded highly in the mining sector. Chimbombi said the mining sector under the able leadership of the BCM aims to serve as the torch bearer in as far as promotion of first aid such that other sectors of the economy can benchmark from the mines’ tenacity and valuable investment in it.
“Besides saving the injured person’s life, it helps make the recovery process faster, saves healthcare costs and prevents the likelihood of the injured person getting worse,” said Chimbombi.
As a nation and the regulators of the mining industry, Chimbombi said the government through the Ministry of Minerals and Energy do recognises the mining houses for the good work, efforts of saving the lives of their fellow colleagues and the public.
“We commend you (the mining houses) for the good work,” said Chimbombi.
For his part, BCM chief executive officer (CEO), Charles Siwawa while elaborating the objectives of the inter-mines first aid competitions, encouraged the mining houses to ensure that at least 30 percent of their workforce has got first aid skills. He also called for the first aid teaching to be indoctrinated into the national education system such that the old and the young have got the knowledge of what to do when any sort of an accident has struck.
With Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) coming on board of the annual competitions which are hosted on a rotational basis, Siwawa urged other organisations such as the Motor Accident Fund (MVA) and those in the quarrying industry to consider being part of these competitions. Jwaneng Mine emerged the winners of this year’s Inter-Mines First Aid Competitions while Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) scooped the second position with the third position going to Lucara’s Karowe Mine.