Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) which is Malaysian, meaning “guide,” has in their confidential report to government of Botswana proposed widespread changes with far reaching implications in the public service.
Among the sweeping changes, the secretive report which was prepared for the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) has recommended 20% increment for public servants on grade A and B; 10% for grade C and D; and 15% for grade E and F. It further states that in the absence of increments to civil servants on higher notches, of grades E and F, “we recommend the following: 15% for grades A and B; 10% for grades C and D.”
The classified report dated 20 December 2018, points out that the additional cost to the government however will be P1.23 billion per annum. According to the report, the recommendation is based on among others the affordability to the government; that it is fair to all; and sustainable to the government; and will act as a motivation to government employees.
In line with the Botswana Public Service Remuneration Policy 2018, the report further recommends a formal new salary structure review process be established and undertaken regularly to ensure the salary structure is still relevant and parity with the private sector. Best practices as in USA, South Korea and Japan was cited as having adopted a band salary structure that gets broader at the higher grades (fan-shaped) with a high degree of overlap between one range and another.
The overlap allows an employee to progress and enjoy higher salaries within the same grade without having to be promoted to the next grade, reports highlights adding that the system removes the constraint of an employee reaching the ceiling sooner, having to wait for available vacancies in the higher grade and to be promoted in order to progress along the salary scale. “It gives recognition to experience – an employee in lower grade (D4) can earn more than a new recruit in a higher grade (D3),” the Pemandu report emphasizes.
â€¨In terms of the salary review, report maintains, should be done at least once in 5 years or specifically when triggered by any one of the following factors; cost of living (inflation) – when it rises beyond 6%; government revenue – when the revenue (% of GDP) increases beyond 40%; GDP growth – when it increases beyond 6%. Currently, there is no process to review the salary, reports highlights that adding that the historical reviews were based on directives from the presidents.
First, in 2002, the then President Festus Mogae set up a salary review commission to recommend an appropriate pay structure for the public service and this was triggered by a court action by the teachers union. In 2007, the presidential public service salaries review commission was appointed to review the conditions of service (including salary scales, allowances and fringe benefits) of the public service. â€¨The outcome of the review was to award a 15% salary increase across the board and a 10% increase in the public service salaries resulting from the implementation of the 2008 Public Service Act.
In addition, report also suggests the establishment of a permanent remuneration review commission tasked with regulating the remuneration policy and process as practiced in countries such as Kenya, South Africa and Australia. “The initiative above 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,”the report states.
To sustain the parity with the private sector, it also states that what’s need to be done is right sizing the public service; productivity improvement – increasing government effectiveness and efficiency; and job evaluation (internal equity) which is urgent. Many countries such as Germany, Austria and Korea are redesigning the public-sector salary to be competitive with the market. Belgium and Hungary have narrowed the gap between the public sector and the private sector pay. In the US, many of the States are adjusting the government salaries to be more competitive with the private sector, providing flexibility in starting salaries and offering bonuses.
It is understood that, Pemandu, is shaped by the belief that methods and approaches used in the private sector can be applied successfully to the public sector. As such new employees in the public service will be offered market pay to attract and retain them as is the case with some sections of private sector. With regard to the allowances, the report also recommends that the allowances should be streamlined: and scarce skills to be terminated and converted to salary based on the threshold. The additional cost to the government, it states is 32 million pula per year.
In terms of allowances, the report explains that they are created to act as a supplement and over time – distort the salary structure. Today, there are 80 allowances in the data base; 39 pertain to the defense, police, prison departments and others (MP’s, village chiefs and so on) and the balance of 41 pertain to the public service.
Even with just 41 types of allowances in Botswana civil service, the report highlights that it is deemed excessive when compared to other countries like Japan which has only 6 types of allowances, Korea 30 and the Gambia 8. It further recommends that there is need to check on their applicability and relevance today and consolidate them to a more manageable level.
In the research leading to the compilation of the report, Pemandu conducted 20 meetings with stakeholders ranging from Ministries to DPSM; Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO); National Strategy Office (NSO); and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED).
In addition, Unions were also cited as having been contacted being Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU), Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatals Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU), Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) and Trainers & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) among others.
The Malaysian government, in 2009, set up PEMANDU to lead change in the country and to ensure that its national transformation programmes were successfully delivered. It has focused on the key areas where public services and the economy were most in need of reform and has made a positive impact on such issues as crime prevention, reducing levels of corruption, and improving rural infrastructure. Botswana government is therefore recommended to heed the changes and implement them in the country for massive progress in their public service.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.