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No retired army officers is owed pension – Kgathi

Defence, Justice and Security Minister Shaw Kgathi says there are no retired Botswana Defence Force (BDF) officers who are still owed their retirement pension packages as alleged by some Members of Parliament claim.

Kgathi told parliament this week that his ministry has no debts pertaining to retired army officers. Kgathi further refuted claims that BDF members retire into poverty due to inadequate pension paid to them. He said in 2001 the government moved from a Defined Benefit Scheme to the Defined Contribution Scheme as to improve pension packages.

Kgathi was in particular responding to Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse who had made numerous deliberations on issues affecting army officers and their welfare. He had asked the minister if he was aware that army personnel retire into poverty because of inadequate pension paid to them.

Keorapetse said there were still cases of soldiers not being paid their pension and wanted to know when the minister will address the issue. He added that the soldiers earn little and there is no satisfaction that the recent amendments to the Act will improve the situation. “Retired army officers’ welfare is compromised, their pension is not adequate to sustain them and there is also lack of follow up programmes on retired soldiers to asses and track their living after retirement,” charged Keorapetse.

However, Kgathi reiterated that soldiers’ are well provided for and their packages after retirement are enough to sustain them. He also pointed out that he engaged Actuarial Consultancy Services to review the BDF Pension benefits. He further said “The Consultants have recommended a ‘Defined Contribution Scheme’ with targeted benefits from privates up to Warrant Officer.”

He continued “I don’t know which BDF retired officers have retired into poverty. I only know that some politicians are the ones who find themselves in poverty upon retirement and in this house we have retired soldiers such as Pius Mokgware, Michael Molefhe and Kitso Mokaila who have not retired into poverty and are living just as other retired officers.”

Kgathi also pointed out that the recent amended Botswana Defence Force Act led to the retirement ages in the BDF being raised, save for the rank of Private and Lance Corporal which was retained at age forty five (45) and forty seven (47) years respectively.  He said the raising of the retirement ages was done in consideration of the fact that the increase of retirement ages will consequentially lead to a longer period of defined contributions with a net effect of ten to fifteen percent (10-15%) increase in the Net Replacement Ratio (NPR).

For his part, former BDF officer and Gabane–Mmankgodi lawmaker, Pius Mokgware said indeed there were soldiers who have retired and have not yet been paid their pension. He cautioned Kgathi against denying such serious matters as this one, advising that he should rather work on ensuring that the said retired officers get their pension pay-out.

Another legislator, Dr Phenyo Butale said the minister was taking lightly the welfare of army officers. “I am surprised that you say you are not aware that soldiers are owed pensions and you are also denying that there is a report showing the list of unpaid retired soldiers.”
Butale has also accused Kgathi of trying to sugar coat his ministry when addressing issues affecting the army officers welfare and said he (Kgathi) has once told parliament that the new BDF structure relating to the soldiers welfare has been given to consultants for reviewing although he now denies that.

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DJ Bafana’s one man show on the cards

21st February 2024

DJ Bafana, a talented DJ from Francistown, is gearing up to host his very own one-man show, a groundbreaking event that aims to not only showcase his skills but also empower fellow musicians. This ambitious project is currently in the planning stages, with DJ Bafana actively seeking out potential sponsors to help bring his vision to life.

In a recent interview with WeekendPost, DJ Bafana revealed that he is in talks with two potential venues, Limpopo Gardens and Molapo Leisure Gardens, to host his show. However, he is facing challenges in securing sponsorships from companies, particularly those who do not fully understand the importance of music-related events. Despite this setback, DJ Bafana remains determined to make his one-man show a reality and to use it as a platform to empower and support other artists in the industry.

What sets DJ Bafana’s show apart is the fact that he will be making history as the first person living with a disability to host a one-man show in Botswana. This milestone is a testament to his resilience and determination to break barriers and pave the way for others in similar situations. By showcasing his talent and passion for music, DJ Bafana is not only proving his worth as an artist but also inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face.

As DJ Bafana continues to work towards making his one-man show a reality, he remains focused on his goal of empowering and uplifting his fellow musicians. Through his dedication and perseverance, he is setting an example for others to follow and showing that anything is possible with hard work and determination. The date for the show is yet to be announced, but one thing is for certain – DJ Bafana’s one-man show is sure to be a memorable and inspiring event for all who attend.

 

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Lady of Soul remains tenacious as ever

21st February 2024

Radio Personality Tebogo Sekgoma affectionately known as Lady of Soul is determined to keep pursuing her ambitions vigorously, in spite of hurdles and stumbling blocks.

In an exclusive interview with this publication, Sekgoma divulged that she is working on her memoir. Although she won’t reveal much, the broadcast veteran said she will essentially be telling the story of her life.

The former Sunday Live host is also serving as a board member (Secretary General) at Botswana Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (BABPS). She is actively involved in advocating for the rights of the visually impaired, a hiccup she refused to succumb to.

 

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Inside the new disability Law

21st February 2024

The new Disability Law in Botswana is a significant step towards ensuring the rights and inclusion of persons living with disabilities in the country. This act, which was passed into law on the 11th of December 2023, is a reflection of Botswana’s commitment to upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

One of the key provisions of the act is the prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities in work-related matters. This means that employers will no longer be able to discriminate against individuals based on their disability when it comes to hiring, promotion, or any other aspect of employment. This is a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

The act also establishes a National Disability Council, which will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the act and ensuring that the rights of persons with disabilities are protected. This council will play a vital role in advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and ensuring that they have equal access to opportunities in all areas of life.

In addition to prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, the act also sets out disability standards that must be adhered to by employers and other entities. These standards are designed to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access the same opportunities and services as everyone else, without facing any barriers or discrimination.

Furthermore, the act provides for actions plans to be developed to address the needs of persons with disabilities, as well as administrative penalties and fines for those who fail to comply with the provisions of the act. This sends a clear message that discrimination against persons with disabilities will not be tolerated in Botswana.

Overall, the new Disability Law in Botswana is a positive step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all. By prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and setting out clear standards for the treatment of persons with disabilities, this act will help to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their abilities, have the opportunity to fully participate in society.

 

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