Authorities at Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) say more job losses are looming as the state owned enterprise is going through a remodelling exercise. In an interview with WeekendPost, LEA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Racious Moatshe said the purpose of the remodelling exercise is to make the organization more efficient but also minimizing job losses in any way possible.
Moatshe highlighted that since retrenchment is a very sensitive issue as it involves the livelihood of people, they have been engaging labour unions since the beginning of this year so that the process can run smoothly. “We are currently giving our permanent staff that might lose their jobs counselling to prepare them emotionally and psychologically,” Moatshe said.
The Authority is said to be spending about 74 % of its annual grant from government on salaries, with only 6% reserved to pursue its core mandate. The Authority’s grant for 2018/19 financial year escalated to P156.8 million, from P141.7 million in 2017/18 and P139.9 million in 2016/17. LEA’s structure is also reportedly unbalanced with 45 managers and 10 directors spread across the country. On a monthly basis, the Authority apparently spends between P30, 000 to P50, 000 paying rent for each of its 12 branches across the country, despite the fact that the parastatal has land for development in various locations.
Ever since ascending to the highest position at LEA in October 2017, Moatshe has been hard at work spearheading the restructuring exercise after realizing that the state owned enterprise was not serving its co-mandate. LEA was established by the Small Business Act of 2004, Chapter 43:10 of the Laws of Botswana to carry out on behalf of the Government of Botswana, and more specifically the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry (MITI), the mandate of entrepreneurship and enterprise development in Botswana.
In the on-going restructuring exercise, Moatshe revealed that they are going to shed over 100 permanent jobs. “After completing our strategy, we had to put estimated costs of running the organization and consider which positions can be deemed redundant so as to reduce costs and make the organization more efficient,” Moatshe pointed out.
Meanwhile, Moatshe awarded 10 students certificates who have been trained on manufacturing of detergents at the authority’s incubator in Francistown for six weeks. Two products being the liquid dish wash and Pine gel that were produced by the graduates have already been certified by Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBSA).
Moatshe encouraged them to seek funding from other government departments that fund small and medium enterprises to set up their businesses and create the much needed job opportunities. He emphasized that for the graduates to excel as entrepreneurs, they need to be passionate. “As LEA we promise to continue giving you support after setting up your businesses to ensure that they become successful entities. I urge you to apply for funding as a group so that you get more funds and set up an industry that can create hundreds of jobs,” Moatshe averred.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.