looking at bonang power, #SaveMurchisonFalls might be a storm in a teacup


JUST two weeks ago, the Supervisor of the Security Company that serves us decided to suspend our guard, and then a day later dismissed him from employment.

I was surprised because we have suffered with worse guards that the Supervisor hadn’t addressed himself to, but pleased because this particular fellow really had it coming from the day he arrived.

Not many of the guards turn out dressed sharp and to the nines, but this one always had his uniform dishevelled and crumpled as if he had packed it in an A4-size envelope then sat upon the envelope for a ten-kilometre ride after a heavy meal of boiled beans and cabbage.

I asked him about it once and he mumbled something I couldn’t understand even after I had made him repeat it thrice.

He tended to roll up to work and go straight to sleep, which wasn’t the cause of his dishevelled appearance, because he’d blackout slumped in a garden chair.

He also had no inkling of any etiquette whatsoever, and didn’t find it awkward to be woken up to tend to his duties, and with no apologetic punctuation shuffle off to another corner to fall asleep again within minutes.

His unsuitability for the job was so incredible that the Supervisor withdrew him from work; the same Supervisor who had ignored the fellow’s violently drunken and dull, dim-witted predecessors who tended to get tricked by even the house puppies.

So when the departed guard started hounding me with phone calls and SMS texts I was astonished. He was asking me to employ him directly to do “any work” round the homestead.

This was not a situation I needed to consult anyone over or escalate to the spouse; so I rejected his proposal firmly the minute I heard it.

That lousy guard came to mind this week when the #SaveMurchisonFalls outrage exploded on our socialmedia-sphere in Uganda.

I had to re-read the news story that ignited the outrage and picked out two main points. One – the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) was announcing that it had received an application from “a South African energy firm” for the generation and sale of power; Two – the company was called Bonang Power Energy Limited.

Taking this in reverse order from bottom up, I went straight to the internet to find out more about this Bonang Power Energy Limited. I was certain that only the most serious of companies could court a feature as globally important and rare as the Kabalega (or Murchison) Falls.

All the options on the first page Google brought up were of a South African celebrity called Bonang Matheba, who I had never heard of before in my life.

I went on till I found bonangpower.co.za and was alarmed within minutes.

Few companies with the resources to build a hydropower dam would spend so little money or energy (no pun) on their official online presence.

Another person would have laughed at the way Bonang boldly proclaimed on its home page: “2014 – Year Established; 2 – Projects Completed; 80 Partners Yrs Experience.”, but I couldn’t.

Their address, listed as ‘195 Jan Smuts Avenue, Randburg, 2196’ in South Africa, showed up on Google Maps with the image of ‘The Business Exchange, Rosebank’ https://www.tbeafrica.com/ – a commercial property that also offers co-working and virtual office space.

I did not dare imagine that a large energy company in South Africa might be based in a co-working or virtual space to build and run massive dams in places like Murchison Falls.

And I even thought I had seen the address wrong but:

I’m still checking what I did wrong here…

Their other page is the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Hydropowerinfrastructure/ and, again, perhaps large energy companies in South Africa generally don’t aim for many social media contacts.

More importantly, I noticed that Bonang Power already boasts on their website – when you click on this superb photograph of a Dam (below) about “Uhuru Hydro Power in Uganda”, https://www.bonangpower.co.za/project-3?fbclid=IwAR3X2L7SbtgtMP3DteHxMiyooksqFMVSeznqpHq-HmTekS-kg5GrrKZsi1o and talks about new hydro power stations that “will be built at Ayago, Uhuru, Kiba and Murchison Falls…” but without saying that Bonang will build them.

Then I spotted the link ‘Company Profile’ (in font ‘Times New Roman’) and had to download it https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/9b31a5_24628ee6192d414eaf424b98ea728833.pdf hoping that the #SaveMurchisonFalls battle was worth all the vitriol.

What a waste of time. Besides the type of spelling errors one finds on the packaging of cheap Chinese-made toys or in Nigerian fraudster emails, Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) Ltd.’s Company Profile was a sad affair.

The space under the title ‘Team Snap Shot’ was blank – which is probably very accurate because this is clearly a briefcase company!

And they can’t deny it because the mugshot of a smiling chap in a hard hat is the same one on their Facebook page (with three – 3 Likes), and the photo of the Company Chairman, Ernest Moloi, is the same on used in his interview with Forbes Magazine.

The guy in a hard hat on their Facebook page and website is a model you find on Shutterstock when you search for ‘construction worker african american black’.

I won’t even bother going into the profiles of the two people listed as staff because neither has anything to do with hydropower or construction.

In that interview by Forbes Magazine, by the way, is the sentence: “(Moloi) has managed to convince the Ugandan government to build a toll road from Kampala to the corridor of Kenya, and preparations are underway” followed by a claim that he was going to build shopping malls in Uganda.

So he’s already here?

I stopped there to go and do more important things.

Moving up to the first issue I had with this #SaveMurchisonFalls story made me ponder ERA’s wisdom in making their announcement about Bonang Power.

The cursory online check I did on the ‘Company’ was barely due diligence but did not give me confidence to take them seriously. Much the same way that fired guard’s unkempt uniform and poor attitude at work made him too unserious a candidate for me to even tell the spouse about his request for work.

5 thoughts on “looking at bonang power, #SaveMurchisonFalls might be a storm in a teacup

  1. You might actually enjoy looking into the two employees on the website cause I did and there is no sign on their LinkedIn that they are affiliated to that Bonang company in any way

    Like

  2. Thanks for the piece, I was doing a background check on this Bonang Power and that how I came across your article. The company profile raises many credibility questions. Please allow me to share your article on twitter, fb this deserves more attention than all the noise out there.

    Like

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