Selebi-Phikwe abattoir shutdown for maintenance
The Selebi-Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) has shutdown down the local abattoir for maintenance purposes. The abattoir will open on January 25th after its closure on the fifth. The facility suffered several shutdowns last year due to factors such as outbreak of measles, an attack by rats on carcasses and its failure to meet the Meat Industries Act.
Last week, Acting Deputy Town Clerk (Technical Services), Lucas Makepe told Mmegi that they decided to close the abattoir after benchmarking from the Francistown Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) abattoir. He explained that they have now taken a decision to shutdown the facility quarterly to undertake maintenance.
He explained that butchery owners have been notified about the latest developments through the relevant committee. Makepe said the Council was repairing plumbing, electrical wiring and closing areas where there was leakage in the roof. He stated that the works could not be done while the facility was operational.
"We have informed butchery owners to slaughter their cattle at Mmadinare and Bobonong abattoirs in the meantime. It is unfortunate that Mmadinare only slaughters ten cattle a day as their licence limits them to that number.� The number is determined by the equipment and manpower that the facility has," said Makepe.
He mentioned that the business community has complained that ten is little and pleaded for an increase in the number. However, the Acting Deputy Town Clerk noted that only the Department of Veterinary Services could take that decision. He added that the Mmadinare facility was also not an abattoir but a slaughterhouse, which was only being used for the convenience of the Selebi-Phikwe business community.
Makepe said the SPTC had sent six skinners to assist in Mmadinare last week and offered them transport to the facility. "We also agreed to buy them lunch since they were not in their station. However, the skinners did not turn up for work on Wednesday due to the reasons better known by them," he said.
The Acting Deputy Town Clerk revealed that the Selebi-Phikwe abattoir will continue to cause the local authority and the business community headaches as it is old, having been built in 1972. He stated that there is need for a new facility to be built. The shutdown has not gone down well with butchery owners who have accused council employees of being incompetent and even called for the transfer of Town Clerk Kutlwano Matenge. One businessman, Austin Lekwapa said the shutdown has affected their businesses.
He explained that butcheries are operating at a loss.�"The council is forgetting that we have rates, utility bills and employees to pay and how are we going to do that if our businesses are suffering? Some of us have won tenders to supply beef to schools and we are now struggling to deliver as expected," he fumed.
Lekwapa stated that they are now slaughtering beasts outside Selebi-Phikwe and thus incur costs. He added that as cattle take a long time in trucks waiting to be slaughtered, this could be interpreted as animal cruelty.
Hospital Ward Councillor, Odirile Kelebetse said he was unaware of the abattoir's closure. The facility falls under the Hospital Ward. He stated that the Council never informed him adding that even the community was equally ignorant. "I only heard about the closure on Friday. I then phoned the Town Mayor to ask him why he did not announce this during the full Council meeting last week. There is no flow of information in the Council and that is disappointing," he said.
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