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DPSM considers implementing the PEMANDU report

As the nation prepares for the first budget speech under President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Monday by Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo, government through the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) is considering implementing some of the findings of the controversial PEMANDU report, Weekend Post can confirm.

The classified report, leaked to this publication exposes the Botswana Public Service while proposing some major sweeping changes with wide implications. Chief among them are a proposal of a salary hike of 20 percent for grades A and B; 10 percent for grades C and D and 15 percent for grade E and F. It says however to bridge the widening gap between lower and higher paid civil servants, higher grades of E and F should receive no increment in the proposals and keep their range.

In the absence of the increments of grades E and F the report further recommends 15 percent for grades A and B; and 10 percent for grades C and D only. The additional costs to the government however will be P1.23 billion. In addition to increments some of the findings include; redesigning the salary structure to have broad bands that get broader at the higher grade (fan-shaped) with a high degree of overlap between one range and another.

The report also proposes that government calibrate the salary to narrow the gap with the private sector to be more comparable but not leading; and that a formal salary review process should be established and undertaken regularly to ensure the salary structure is still relevant and parity with the private sector is maintained. It also calls for the allowances be terminated or be streamlined.

“The initiatives will put the remuneration system on a competitive basis and in line with best practices in other countries. It will enable the public sector to attract, recruit and retain the skills and competencies it need to transform the public sector into a high performing organisation that is ready and capable to further the transformation programmes to achieve Vision 2036,” report posits. The report was compiled by a Malaysian firm, PEMANDU Associates, at the tune of USD 1,677,390 (BWP 17, 6 million).

In light of the PEMANDU report, when speaking to Weekend Post on Wednesday, the Director of DPSM Goitseone Mosalakatane confirmed that indeed they are considering implementing the report for the civil servants in Botswana. “We are considering the report. We will discuss it with the reference group. Immediately after next week we will call a reference team meeting. It has not been discussed as yet. It’s premature but we will definitely consider it – as soon as possible,” she told this publication.

When asked what her overall impressions were on the confidential and controversial PEMANDU report, she said “we will formulate an opinion around the case. So my opinion alone does not count.” She highlighted that however she was shocked that the classified report got leaked to Weekend Post before they receive, read, internalise and deliberate on it especially deciding on whether to implement the well-researched findings.

According to the Director of DPSM, the long awaited PEMANDU report was received by government on the 25th January 2019 and has since been shared with all Public Sectors Unions on the 29th January 2019. When asked who now misled President Masisi in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in November that the unions were handed the report, the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi referred this publication to the DPSM.

The DPSM Director in turn was mum and chose not to answer when asked on what transpired leading to the president being misinformed. The report, she said, is now being processed by the parties (government and unions) and information shall be availed in due course regarding future engagements. The DPSM stated that however she would like to put it on record that the report is not a reflection of government’s position (at least as yet).

When asked on the briefcase carried by Matambo with regards to public servants salaries she was cagey with the details and instead told this publication that, “it would be too early to comment on the budget salary component because the salary negotiation process is still ongoing.” In order to expedite the salary negotiations process, she said the eight Public sector unions will be negotiating with the employer party as two blocks comprising; Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), National Amalgamated Local, Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU), Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), Botswana Land Board, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU), and Botswana Nurses Union (BONU). There will be six negotiators from each negotiating party.

The other trade unions block includes Trainers and Allied Workers’ Union (TAWU) and Botswana Government Workers Union (BOGOWU) which will only have two negotiators from each negotiating party. Mosalakatane emphasised that although the unions will negotiate in two blocks as stated, but conclusive agreements will be entered into with each trade union. The DPSM Director went on to state that the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) will remain dysfunctional.

This is despite the fact that President Masisi has promised the nation that the government is committed to the resuscitation of the PSBC to advance the interests of public sector employees in a fair and transparent manner. The unions maintain that all what the president promised; resuscitating the Bargaining Council has not materialised, and that they have lost hope on his government right from the beginning. Against what Masisi promised initially, Mosalakatane said the resuscitation of the PSBC has been halted in order to fully focus on salary negotiations.

It is planned that once these are complete (salary negotiations), the PSBC resuscitation process will continue. In a separate statement, the Chief Negotiators for the Employer Party and the Union Party in the just established salary negotiations, Dr Theophilus Mooko and Tobokani Rari respectively stated that the PEMANDU report “has not been processed by the relevant structures of the two parties, but can be used to inform that process.”

The DPSM’s declaration that they will “consider” the findings of the PEMANDU report barely comes after Weekend Post ran a story last week on another confidential paper by Minister of Finance and Economic Planning titled “economic background paper to inform government’s position on the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers” which backed the PEMANDU recommendations.

The Ministry stated: “It is therefore important that the recommendations from the PEMANDU study on the public service remunerations should be considered against all these other competing needs on the government budget, as well as the limited fiscal space available in the medium term.” According to the Ministry report, which is based on the baseline budget for 2019/2020, and to be submitted to cabinet, one can consider two scenarios for the implementation of the recent PEMANDU recommendations; “scenario 1 it’s either government adopts full implementation of the recommendations; or scenario 2 government adopts and implement at least 50% of the PEMANDU recommendations.”

Masisi had said that it was government’s wish for any (PEMANDU) recommendations agreed upon – to be budgeted for and effected on April 1 2019 (which is the government’s beginning of the financial cycle). However it remains to be seen this week what in the brief case for the public servants. The DPSM head has also stated that the government is alive to the fact that poor working conditions contributes to poor productivity and poor employee relations.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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