Incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi looks set to sweep unions under their feet. Government’s decision to engage Malaysian company, Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) Associates to review the public service remuneration and performance systems, is expected to be the basis for a long overdue increment for government workers.
BOFEPUSU family of trade unions recently confirmed that on 14th February 2018 met the Employer (DPSM) on over the issue of salaries. At the meeting, DPSM proposed a salary increment to the Public servants pending the outcome of reports of consultants engaged by the two parties. “The Union party submitted that it accepts the principle of salary increase, but that should not prejudice their labour rights as per their Collective labour agreements. The house did not finish its business and the next meeting is scheduled for 20th February 2018. We remain hopeful that such a meeting will bear desirable fruits,” Mogomotsi Motshegwa, BOFEPUSU Acting Secretary General.
According to the Directorate of Public Servants Management (DPSM), the company has been contracted with special focus on the remunerations which have gone unchanged for some time now. Trade unions have been at war with government over public servants salaries for a long time now. Just recently, the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) collapsed owing to incongruities between government and trade unions. The contracted company will also review government’s Performance Management System (PMS) tools.
“The consultancy was initiated on the basis of the need to establish a proper remuneration system that will guide future reviews of salaries. This was necessitated by calls from employees to relook at the current salaries, which are believed to be low relative to market rates,” DPSM director Ruth Maphorisa said.
The expectation from DPSM is that the ongoing exercise will establish a remuneration system for Botswana that will set parameters for salary structure and the basis reviews in relation to the budget. The study will further link remuneration to performance management and the reward system. It is also to address issues relating to allowances which have been a source of litigation.
According to Maphorisa, the consultancy will run for 52 weeks and it commenced on the 1st December 2017. The consultancy has been awarded at the cost of USD (1,677,390) inclusive of withholding tax of USD 218, 790. However, sources are of the view that the consultancy might propose recommendations that border on altering of conditions of service. “Government should bear in mind that some of the issues that the consultancy might propose on its recommendations might border on altering of the current conditions of service,” a source said before adding, “The same conditions of service for employees however fall squarely with negotiable matters and as such government will have to negotiate with unions on the recommendations of the consultancy.”
Trade unions on the other hand say they were not engaged on the decision but rather informed that the consultancy had begun in December. “We were only informed about this development in December by government,” Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Secretary General Tobokani Rari said.
Meanwhile BOFEPUSU, insisted on being part of the evaluation meeting of the consultancy’s research, and are also carrying out a parallel exercise to compare it with PEMANDU’s. “The federation has since engaged Tsa Badiri Consultancy to carry out a review of the same with a view to table the report to DPSM that we would use to bargain in view of them engaging their company,” Rari said.
Quizzed on whether the union does not trust the Malay company, Rari said: “It is not that we don’t trust them, we cannot cast aspersions on them. We don’t know whether they will do a good job or not, but our reasons for engaging Tsa Badiri is that we are definitely of the conviction that issues subjected to a consultancy by DPSM are issues within the realms of bargaining and negotiations.” The union believes that it will need to have an informed position on them to engage DPSM when the consultancy is completed. The two reports are expected to be done before April with government and unions expected to start negotiating employees’ conditions using the recommendations by the two consultants.
WHY DPSM ENGAGED PEMANDU?
The relationship between DPSM with PEMANDU has grown out of bilateral cooperation with the government of Malaysia for South-South development. The company according to reports has previously assisted DPSM in coming up with the delivery unit for Vision 2036 and National Development Plan.
PEMANDU Associates is a consultancy firm established by PEMANDU; a Malaysian government unit that was established under the Prime Minister’s department in 2009. It has since been disestablished. PEMANDU's main role and objective was to oversee the implementation, assess the progress, facilitate as well as support the delivery and drive the progress of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). It is touted for its success in transforming the Malaysian economy, and their work, and in particular their Big Fast Result methodology in providing solutions on transforming government in other countries is well documented.
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.
BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.Â BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.
The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.
Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTCâs commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that âthe annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistownâ. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that âthe donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTCâs commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industriesâ.
He further stated that through this marathon, âwe demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active societyâ. Â He concluded by stating that âBTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at largeâ he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that âhe is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathonâ. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the âCSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communitiesâ, he said.
The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.
Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.
According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.
The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.
Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.
Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.
Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.
In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.