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DPSM sat on P1billion budgeted for jobs

The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) has shockingly returned close to P1billion budgeted for vacant government post to consolidated Fund, despite the high unemployment rate in the country, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard this week.

Appearing before the committee, DPSM Director, Naledi Mosalakatane who reported for duty on Monday, was without answers for the probing PAC members. Mosalakatane is among a group of senior civil servants who were appointed to top posts recently following the ascendance of President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the throne. PAC was informed that the DPSM which is responsible for hiring civil servants has in the past financial year returned P900 million back to government.

 The monies were budgeted for filling vacancies across ministries as unemployment has proven to be a hot potato Botswana. It was shared with the inquisitive PAC members that government has over 7000 vacancies which need to be filled.  However it has been revealed that these posts could not be filled owing to the bureaucracy and the centralised DPSM hiring procedure. “Different council and ministries want to hire on their own but it is not possible because we have a system that we use as the DPSM. So that is why the whole process has stalled,” Mosalakatane said.

The DPSM has in recent years been criticised for failing to absorb employees even at entry level, positions which are not as complicated as other advanced postings. This publication has learnt that Government departments are advocating for a more decentralised system so that they can give employees who have been given short contracts permanent employment.There are some who have been given six months contracts, interns and others who the ministries considered as they have institutional memory and therefore can perform to the expectations.

The DPSM on the other hand is using the graduate register for their hiring process. The list as of current is still considering the 2010 graduates leaving the current ones who are having ‘piece jobs’ at their respective ministries with nothing. WeekendPost has established that most of the vacancies that need to be filled are at councils and within the disciplined forces.

SHORTAGE OF PERSONNEL AFFECTS SERVICE DELIVERY

Earlier this year, the then Minister of Basic Education told this publication that employing teachers on temporary arrangement is affecting school performances. She noted that this is not because teachers who are hired on temporary basis are less qualified but because they do not have security of tenure.

“I know some of them are great teachers, but if they do not have security of tenure, it affects their productivity. I would have happier teachers and secure teachers if they were not temporary,” she stated.

Dow has said this however was beyond her as minister, even if she would have loved to employ more teachers on permanent basis

“Unless the system [DPSM system] creates vacancies we cannot hire anybody on permanent and pensionable basis, only temporary,” she said. According to Dow, Ministry of Basic Education needs more than 3000 teachers in public schools to deal with the shortage.  The teaching service currently has 26 000 teachers employed on permanent basis.

JOBS PRESIDENT

When Masisi was appointed Vice President, one of his tasks was to champion job creation agenda for government. However, since then, there has never been a point where government has managed to create a good number of jobs. In fact, over the past four years, government has seen scores of citizens losing their jobs, the most devastating one being the closure of BCL mine in 2016, which resulted in over 5000 employees directly losing their jobs.

Masisi has been termed “jobs president” for his promise to create jobs during his tenure. However, Masisi has indicated that his idea of job creation is the one which is led by the private sector while government takes the role of an enabler. In any case, Masisi has revealed that he does not intend to grow the public service.

Immediately after assuming the presidency, Masisi told international media of his intention to shrink the civil service, sell state companies and cut red tape as he targets increased foreign investment. According to Bloomberg, Masisi has identified reducing Botswana’s reliance on diamonds and creating jobs for the almost one in five workers who are unemployed as his top priorities since taking office six weeks ago.

“The government in and of itself does not really create jobs,” Masisi said. “It is not my desire to grow the public service any bigger, if anything it is my desire to trim the civil service so we are more efficient, we are leaner, meaner, and we can do business and we are more attractive to the private sector for them to invest,” Masisi said. 

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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